How To Start A Blog And Avoid The 3 Biggest Mistakes Almost All New Bloggers Make (Video)

Updated: January, 2017

Step-by-step instructions for how to start a blog are below...

But first, watch this video and find out how you can avoid the biggest mistakes that almost all new bloggers make. Then you can scroll down for the full step-by-step instructions.

(BTW, if you have any questions along the way, just click the little blue smiley at the bottom right of the page and we'll be happy to help :))

You know you want to start a blog and maybe even make some money online... But doing it all alone without any help, can seem like a daunting task! 

Don't Worry! We're here to help at EVERY step...

Our goal is to help you succeed and to succeed at blogging, you first need to realize that there's a ton of stuff "you don't know that you don't know". That's where we come in...

I'm Jennifer Baritchi and I started BlogPress with Dan (My awesome husband and partner in crime ;)). We got truly tired of watching our loyal blog readers struggle when trying to start a blog for the first time.

So we started BlogPress to provide a stable home for your blog along with the best blogging training and support there is. PERIOD.

You see... We did it...

BlogPress: Dan and Jennifer

Dan and I both walked away from our corporate jobs to become full-time bloggers, and so can you if that's your goal.

The really awesome news is that you get to take advantage of what we’ve learned over the last several years and avoid the sand traps that we had to dig our way out of.

Decide To Start Right Now - Today!

BlogPress: Choose Progress Over Protection 3d Word Blue Background

TODAY. No, not tomorrow, not next week, and not next month. Tomorrow always feels “safe” because you’re not having to make a decision.

The power of today is that you make that commitment to yourself. And that is the first step to success.

This step is the most critical one, and it’s where most people get stuck. Don’t dream about doing something. Just get up and do it!!!

"The best way to live the life of your dreams is to start living the life of your dreams Today, in every little way that you possibly can." – Mike Dooley

Step 1: Avoid The Biggest Mistake That Almost All New Bloggers Make...

Starting a blog can feel intimidating, even frustrating…

It’s especially frustrating when 9 out of 10 “How To Start A Blog” articles on the internet are nothing more than affiliate marketers trying to sell you old-school web hosting like BlueHost and HostGator.

Those articles show you how to sign up for web hosting, but provide zero help when it comes to actually teaching you how to start a successful blog.

The biggest mistake that almost all new bloggers make is trying to start a blog with a traditional web host and not getting the "blogging" help and support they need.

Don't get me wrong... BlueHost is excellent at what they do - web hosting. But, trying to start a blog with a web host is like buying the shell of a house. You’re going to have to build all the walls and install the plumbing yourself!

How much time do you want to waste trying to do this all by yourself with a traditional web host?

  • What you really want is a blog that just works from the start without having to install WordPress, plugins, and themes.
  • You want a step-by-step plan that you can follow from the very beginning all the way through building a successful blog and eventually making some money if you want to.
  • You want someone to guide you, help you when you get stuck, and answer all your questions along the way.
After years of sending our readers to these traditional web hosts and watching them struggle, we knew there had to be a better way. This is why we started BlogPress! So let's get started...

“I signed up about a month ago and set up a page with the help of Jennifer. She responded immediately and helped all the way to my satisfaction. I foolishly tried doing my 2nd site with Wordpress/BlueHost on my own and was road-blocked, frustrated, and told that for $80 I could sign up for a training seminar because they "aren't there to help with design" lol What was I thinking!!

I wasted two long days trying to do this stuff myself and within 5 minutes of logging into my BlogPress account and asking for help I was editing my new site with ease. Don't try to do it on your own. The money paid to BlogPress is by far the best value I've seen for any kind of blog setting up. Can't wait to start monetizing my pages.” ~Barbara

~ Barbara, Happy BlogPress Customer

Step 2: Create Your Blog Hosting Account

​This is where your blog is going to live. Do not go with an old-school web host.

Make the smart choice and go with a full-service blog host like BlogPress where someone else manages all the techie stuff AND you'll get all the tools, training, and incredible personal support you need to build a successful blog.

So let's do that now... Click the button below to create your blogging account.

Once you've completed the step above, your new blog is ready to go...

Click Here To Login To Your Account >

The image below shows you how to access your blog and get around in your account.

BlogPress My Account Page
    1. My Account. Once Logged in, you may access your blog by clicking “My Account” at the top of the page.
    2. Blog Title Line. This is your blog's Title and Domain address. Remember, we’ll show you how to change this address at the bottom of this article so you don't need to worry about that just yet.
    3. See Live Blog. Click this button to see your live blog
    4. Customize Blog. This button will take you straight to the WordPress Customizer where you can do things like change your theme's layout and colors, set up menus and widgets, and other basic site design changes.
    5. Write New Post. Click this button to start writing a new post.
    6. Advanced. This button takes you to the advanced WordPress dashboard where you can control all of the really cool WordPress features like managing posts and pages, adding media to your media library, and configuring advanced plugins.

Step 3. Set Up Your Blog

The next thing you need to do is install WordPress, buy a premium theme for $99, and search through 1000's of plugins to find the best ones that won't crash your blog.

​JUST KIDDING... We've already done all of that for you. :)

Great news! Your BlogPress blog comes ready to go.

There’s NOTHING TO INSTALL OR "SET UP". 

We’ve already installed WordPress with more than 150+ premium themes and more plugins than I can count.

Everything you need to start a successful blog is already there, ready to go!

There are, however, a few “tweaks” you’ll want to make so that your blog is “production” ready.

This includes things like setting up categories, menus, and widgets - stuff that makes it easier and better for your readers.

We'll cover each of these individually in the next steps... 

If you did not create your blogging account in Step 2 above, now is a good time to do that.

Add Categories To Your Blog

In this section we're going to add some categories to your blog. But first, let's make sure you understand the difference between categories, subcategories, and tags - and when you should use each one.

Categories And Subcategories​

​These can be a bit confusing at first, so here are some examples that will help clear things up.

Categories

  • Subcategory 1
  • Subcategory 2

Here's an example for a blog about dogs...

Categories And Subcategories

Dog Breeds

  • German Shepherd
  • Poodle
  • Yorkshire Terrier

Dog Food

  • Traditional Dog Food
  • Raw Diet
  • Natural Treats

Dog Training

  • Puppy Training
  • Aggression Issues
  • Leash Walking

      ​Categories Vs. Tags

      A tag is like a keyword for your post. They're one or two word descriptions of what your post is about. Tags will help you organize your posts more easily and will allow you to group together similar posts.

      Think of categories as the table of contents for your blog.

      Tags would be like the index of your blog...

      They might include things like: leashes, poo bags, kibble, treat training, biting, barking, etc. - specific words that provide additional explanation of what the post is about.

      Here's an example of how all this might look for a specific post.

      Categories, Subcategories, And Tags For A Post

      Post Title: How To Train Your German Shepherd To Walk On A Leash

      Post Category: Dog Training

      Tags: German Shepherd, Leash, Heel, Flexi-Leash, Cotton Leash - any specific words you use in your post that are not broad enough to be the main category.

      Try to limit yourself to no more than 5 tags per article - it's easy to go "tag crazy"!

      I hope these examples are helpful. If you need additional clarification, just let us know. We're happy to help.

      Create Categories And Add Them To Your Blog​

      ​Let’s create categories for your top 3-5 blogging topics.

      Go to your My Blog Page and click the “Advanced” button. This will take you to the WordPress dashboard.

      BlogPress My Blog Page

      Click on “Posts > Categories” in the left menu of your dashboard.

      BlogPress - Create New Categories

      Create your categories (and sub-categories if you have them).

       
      Don't forget to clear your cache after making any site layout changes like themes, images, categories, menus, or widgets. This is necessary because BlogPress automatically caches your content so that it serves up really fast!

      Add Menus And Navigation To Your Blog

      Next, we’ll use those categories to set up the menus and navigation for your blog.

      A menu is basically a set of text links that go​ to the various pages and categories on your blog. Setting up clear navigation on your blog makes it easier for both your readers and the search engines to find what they are looking for.

      NOTE: Each theme has different menu locations. Some, like the default theme, have just one. while others have as many as 3 possible menu locations. We will use the default theme for this tutorial to keep things simple.

      In the WordPress Dashboard, click on Appearance > Menus in the left menu.

      BlogPress Appearance > Menus

      There are several things you can add to the menu – pages, posts, categories, custom links, etc.

      In this example, we’ll create a new menu and then add categories and a “Home” link to the menu.

       
      Remember... If you add new categories later, you will need to update your menus as well. New categories are not added automatically.

      Add Widgets To Your Blog

      There are many pre-built widgets you can add to your blog.

      A widget is a small block of predefined functionality you can add to your blog. They do things like display featured posts, email subscribe forms, or social media buttons. 

      You can add these widgets to your blog sidebar, footer, homepage, or other widget areas on your blog.

      NOTE: Available widgets also vary by theme. Different themes provide additional widgets that may not be available with the default theme.

      To manage widgets, go to Appearance > Widgets in the left menu of your dashboard.

      BlogPress Appearance > Widgets

      You can easily drag and drop widgets to add, remove, or change the order. Each widget comes with its own options and settings.

       
      If you're more visual and need to see the changes right away, you can also manage your widgets from the Customize page. (Go to Appearance > Customize, and then select the Widgets section.) We'll go over the Customizer in more detail in the next section.

      Customize The 'Look' Of Your Blog

      The Customizer is a framework for live-previewing any change to your blog. It provides a simple interface for you to customize various aspects of your theme and blog, from colors and layouts to widgets, menus, and more. 

      We’re not going to get into the details of the awesome power of the Customizer in this tutorial. We’ll save that for our advanced training… But here’s a quick tutorial to see how you can change the color of the default theme to give it a little more pizazz!

       
      Stay tuned! Very soon, you'll be able to set up your blog in the "live" view and see exactly what your readers will see. Front-end drag and drop editors are still very bleeding edge, but the next year will be a very exciting time for blog setup and design! 

      View Your Live Blog

      Now it’s time to see the results…

      There are several ways to view your live blog.

      1

      You can view your live blog from the post edit screen.

      ​From the post editor, click the “View Post” link that is available when you save new changes.

      BlogPress - View live blog from post edit screen
      2

      You can view your live blog from the toolbar at the top of your blog dashboard.

      From the top of the dashboard, hover over the site name (in this case “My New Blog”) and click “Visit Site.”

      BlogPress Visit Site Link
      3

      You can view your live blog from "My Blog" page.

      From the "My Blog" page, click the “See Live Blog” button.

      BlogPress My Blog Page - See Live Blog

      And here are the results...

      BEFORE: (This is a completely functional blog. It’s just a little boring…)​

      BlogPress Blog Setup - Before

      AFTER: See how just a few tweaks can make a huge difference? (and we didn't even change the theme :))

      Here’s a summary of the changes we made:

      1. New title and tagline and added some color
      2. Added a menu with categories and home link
      3. Updated widgets
      4. Added a new post with a featured image
      BlogPress Blog Setup - After
      Starting a blog does not have to be hard or complicated. With our help, you can start blogging today. This is just the beginning! Keep reading to see how to take your new blog to the next level and become a truly successful blogger.

      Step 4. Get A Custom Domain Name

      Do You Need A Custom Domain Name?

      In short, yes.

      We used to say this was optional, but no longer and here’s why…

      Custom domain names average about $15 per year and are completely separate from your blog. At least, that’s what I recommend. That way it’s yours to do with as you please rather than being tied to your blogging service. If you ever move from one service to another, your domain name can easily be switched over to the new service.

      What are the other benefits of a custom domain name?

      • It makes your blog easier to reach, i.e. you can give your friends and visitors an easy to pronounce and type address, e.g. “myawesomeblog.com.”
      • It shows your visitors (and search engines) that you’re serious about your blog, enough to not only start a blog but also secure your own name on the internet.
      • ​It “should” help you with SEO as well. SEO is a very complex topic with many factors, but you want every advantage you can get. If it’s my blog, I always opt for a custom domain name.
      • It makes your blog portable. If you decide to move from one blog host to another, you just take your blog content AND your domain name with you. That way you don’t lose the links you’ve built over time. If you didn’t have a domain name, you would lose all the “search engine rankings” and “link value” you’ve built up so far - so in a sense, you’d be starting over.

      Without your own domain name, your blog address will either be some crazy address (http://YourIP/~ControlPanelUsername/) or a sub-domain (myawesomeblog.theblogpress.com). While there’s technically nothing wrong with a sub-domain, you will lose the portability mentioned above.

      IMPORTANT! If you plan to have an email list...


      If you plan to create an email list, and we strongly recommend that you do, you'll need to add an email address to your domain.

      The major email services like Gmail, Yahoo, and AOL have made some recent changes that you need to know about. You need to have a domain specific email address that is connected to your custom domain. If you plan to send emails to your readers and you don’t have a domain email address, your emails are going straight to the SPAM folder!

      How Do I Get A Custom Domain Name?

      Before you click on the link below, take a moment to brainstorm a few options just in case your #1 choice is not available.

      Example Domain Name Ideas

      Continuing our recipe example from above, here’s a quick list…

      • recipesbyjennifer.com
      • paleoonabudget.com
      • puppyfoodrecipes.com
      • modernfoodblog.com
      • perpetualpasta.com

      Don't worry if you can't find a ".com" domain name or if the "exact" name is not available. Other popular domain extensions like ".info", ".net", or ".org" will work just as well. You can also add words like "best", "first", "the", or "my" to the domain name. Be creative and you'll find a good domain name. :)

      Are you ready for another bonus? I thought so...

      Step 5. How To Write Your First Blog Post

      Let's be honest... You really haven't TRULY started a blog until you've written your first post.

      Before we get into the details, let's clear up a big sticking point for all new bloggers...

      Posts Vs. Pages And When To Use Each One​

      Posts

      Posts are them main content of your blog. They are displayed in reverse chronological order on your home page (or other listing page like categories). Posts usually have comment fields beneath them and are included in your site's RSS feed. 

      Pages

      Pages are similar to posts, but there are some key differences.

      ​Pages are for content that that doesn’t change very much. Think of your About or Contact pages - they don't change often.

      ​Pages are for “non-blog” content. If you were to remove all of your blog posts, and leave just the pages, you would have a standard static website.

      ​Pages cannot be associated with categories and cannot be assigned tags.

      ​Pages are not included in your site's RSS feed.

      How I Write Blog Posts

      I’m very organized by nature, so my writing style is very structured and organized.

      Here are the steps I follow:

      • Select the keyword phrase to target
      • Write the heading (include the keyword phrase)
      • Write 3-5 subheadings (include the keyword phrase when possible)
      • Write the introductory paragraph
      • Write 2-3 paragraphs under each subheading
      • Write the conclusion (1-3 sentences)
      Jennifer 

      How Dan Writes Blog Posts

      Dan is the polar opposite of me. He is creative and whimsical in his writing style.

      Here are the steps Dan follows:

      • Free-write everything that comes to mind (he just lets it flow).
      • Read over what he’s spilled out to group the common topics
      • Create subheadings for the common topics
      • Write an emotional headline that pulls it all together
      Dan

      How To Write Great Posts

      Regardless of whether your style is more like mine or more like Dan’s, find what works for you. Here are a few more tips...

      • Make your posts somewhere between 500-1000 words. Less is too short and more is too long…
      • Always pick a category. Nothing should be “uncategorized.”
      • Use featured images. (More on that later…)
      • Don’t get stuck on trying to be perfect – be yourself.
      • Do think about the keyword (topic) and how it relates to your overall blog topic.
      • Add lot’s of white space – more than 2-3 sentences together is hard to read online. Yes, I know this goes against everything you learned in high school – get over it!
      • Use subheadings to make your posts skimmable. Online readers love to skim!
      Congratulations! You should now have a fully functional blog with your first post completed. Now, it's time to get to work!

      (Bonus) How To Pick The Best Topic For Your Blog

      What will your blog be about? This is your niche, your focus, what you will blog about the most. This will drive everything you write about and share on your blog.

      There are two schools of thought on picking a topic.

      1

      You should choose something you are passionate about because you will want to wake up every morning and write quality content.

      2

      You should only pick topics that are known money makers whether you are interested in them or not.

      I say it should be both...

      You want to be certain that thousands (if not millions) of other people share your enthusiasm and interest in the topic and will pay money for products and/or services that you have to offer in the niche from time to time. Even if you’re not interested in making money from your blog, I am assuming that you at least want other people to read it – yes? Then the same rules apply.

      Here are a few examples of titles and taglines to get your brain going…

      Titles And Taglines

      • My Awesome Blog (Title) – Blogging Is Awesome (Tagline)
      • Jane Doe (it can just be your name, seriously) – Blogger Extraordinaire!
      • Puppy Training 101 – Well Trained Puppies = Happy Pet Owners
      • Recipes & More – Healthy, Everyday Recipes, and Cooking Tips

      You’ll get bonus points if you know the main topics that you’ll write about. We will use these to set up your categories in Step 6 below and then again for your menus and navigation on your blog in Step 7.

      Here are a few examples for our recipe blog above…

      Main Topics That You'll Write About

      • Paleo Foods
      • Pasta Dishes
      • ​Fabulous Desserts
      • Egg Recipes

      (Bonus) How To Choose The Best Blog Hosting

      Have you ever thought about the difference between owning a home and renting? This may not seem related to blog hosting, but it really is a good analogy.

      When you rent a home or apartment, you are paying someone else's mortgage, but more importantly, you have no ownership over your own space.

      If you plant a tree in the backyard, you don't have ownership over it. Maybe you decide to put tile down in the bathroom, but you can't take it with you one day when you leave. Renting means that you are living somewhere at the approval of another person.

      Owning, on the other hand, means that you can do what you want because you own the space. You can paint, put down hardwood floors and fence the backyard. Sure, you might have some neighborhood covenants that govern certain things, but, for the most part, you are the captain of your own ship.

      With blog hosting, many people make critical mistakes when it comes to choosing how and where to host their blogs.​

      "Free" Web Hosting

      There are free blogging services like Blogger and Wordpress.com that you can use (don't confuse the Wordpress.com free web hosting with the very popular WordPress.org blogging software - which we use AND highly recommend). In fact, many people start out using these free services because they want to “test the waters”.

      However, there is a big danger is using free services if you want to build a long-term business as a blogger.

      Just as with renting, you can be “kicked out” of your free blog in a heartbeat. Let's say you spend 6 months building up a blog with tons of fantastic content and a following of faithful readers. Then, one day out of the blue, you realize your blog has been wiped clean.

      As unbelievable as it may sound, it does happen and is not a good surprise. When you build rankings to a free blog, you are paying someone else's mortgage payment in a way. You are building rankings for something you do not own which can be wiped out in any time for no valid reason at all.

      Also some free services like Wordpress.com prohibit the use of affiliate links on your free blog, meaning you can't make money with your blog. Which really makes “free” into a pretty bad deal...

      When you use a free blogging service, you have to follow someone else’s rules. If you break those rules, or they even think that you did, they can click a button and kill your business in a heartbeat. It is like building a house on sand.

      • They run whatever ads they want on your blog.
      • They’ll take down your blog if you say something they don’t like or if you get too much traffic.
      • They fail to provide help and support when you’re struggling.
      • They do not teach you how to blog or help you with the techie stuff related to blogging.

      Who needs or wants the stress of wondering if your business will still be there tomorrow? This is why we never recommend going with a "free" blogging service if you're serious about blogging.

      Paid "Old-School" Web Hosting

      This can be an excellent option for those of you who are a little more techie. "Old-School" Web hosting is very inexpensive (less than $7 per month for basic services) and will allow you to be the ruler over your own virtual “real estate” - but as the owner, you are responsible for the construction, upkeep and repairs of your home.

      As you learn how to start a blog and grow into and experienced blogger, you will be able to write what you want and build your business without constantly worrying about the possibility that someone will remove your content tomorrow.

      However...​ You better be a techie and ready to roll your sleeves up to get into the nitty gritty details of your blog! Things like installing plugins and themes, running database backups, customizing CSS code to make your blog look the way you want... That list goes on and on...

      "15 Things BlogPress Does That Other Web Hosts Won't"

      Why A Full-Service Blog Host Like BlogPress Is The Best Option

      If you're not "techie" and don't want to worry about all of the construction, maintenance, and upkeep on your blog, be smart and go with a full-service blog host where someone else manages all the techie stuff so that you can focus on blogging.

      You get all of the benefits of home ownership without the hassle - it's like you just hired a full service staff for your home.

      And this does not even include the free training and support you get with BlogPress :).

      You will soon see how we're really different AND better!

      Here's what you can expect from BlogPress...​

      • Full-Service Blog Hosting (running on the WordPress platform - we install all of the updates, security patches, manage the databases, handle all of the caching and performance enhancements, etc.)
      • We have already provided more than 150 premium themes so you will not need to purchase a theme. These are not free themes - they are highly customizable, professionally supported themes that we will be happy to customize for you - trying asking a traditional web host to do this for you.
      • We've already installed (and will help you setup) the best plugins that you need to run your blog (email subscribe, social media, forms, custom text widgets, Google Analytics, and MANY more)
      • We provide free training to all of our customers on both WordPress and how to create a successful blog.
      • Our very knowledgeable support team is here to answer ALL of your blogging questions - not just keep your server up and running - I challenge you to ask any other hosting company and ask them these questions:
        1. How to SEO optimize your posts? (BlogPress will)
        2. How often and which social media sites your should promote? (BlogPress will)
        3. Ask them to install your ad code for you or to help align the images in your post. (BlogPress will)
        4. Ask them to help you set up your email list and optin forms for your site. (BlogPress will)
        5. Ask them to set up and configure your site layout or customize the styles (colors, fonts, headings, etc.) (BlogPress will)

      To get started, sign up for a risk-free trial with BlogPress and Start Blogging Today!

      Next Steps...

      How To Grow Your Blog And Become A Successful Blogger

      Now that you've got your blog up and running.... it's time to get to work.

      But what's next? How do you go from "brand new mostly empty blog" to "successful blog with great content and tons of followers"?

      No problem - that's where BlogPress comes in.

      Most of our members come to us brand new, wanting to start a blog, but with no idea where to begin or where to go from there.

      That's what we specialize in... Helping new bloggers succeed!


      Become A Successful, Money-Making Blogger With Our Exclusive Step-By-Step Blogging Success Plan

      We will walk you through how to build your blog, how to come up with a never ending list of post ideas, show you how to promote your blog and get it out there, how to get readers and followers, and how to monetize your blog so you can make some money for your efforts if you're so inclined...

      "Our customers love us for the incredible training and one-on-one support
      you will not find anywhere else!"

      What You’ll Get In The Step-By-Step Blogging Success Plan...

      Mastering The Basics...

      You got started in the free "How To Start A Blog" guide above, but now it's time to roll up your sleeves and become a blogging master.

      • When and how to change your theme
      • How to change the title and tagline of your blog
      • Managing categories and tags
      • Setting up custom menus and navigation
      • How to set up ALL of the widgets you need to be successful
      • How often you should publish content
      • Headline templates that really work
      • Working with images in your posts

      SEO, Social Media, and Email Marketing

      • What SEO is and why it matters
      • Writing good content for readers and SEO
      • Social Media 101
      • 5-Step Social Media Marketing Plan
      • Why you MUST have an email list
      • How to set up your email subscribe form
      • How to notify your subscribers when you make a new post

      Make Money Online With Your Blog

      Your blog does not have to be just an expense...

      • The top 5 ways to make money online with your blog
      • Affiliate marketing 101
      • The best affiliate products for new bloggers
      • Getting started with Google AdSense
      • Google AdSense alternatives you should consider
      • The best places to put ads on your blog to make the most money
      Kim from http://tourismexposed.com/

      "Highly Recommended!"

      "I highly recommend BlogPress to all bloggers, especially newbies who don’t have any technical or website design know-how.

      BlogPress has excellent tutorials as well as the best customer service team out there, who are ready to help you and get your blog up and running in no time!"

      - Kimberly Ramsawak
      Mel from charitygolf101.com

      "What an amazing experience."

      "I was new to BlogPress. I moved my website over to them and set up my blog.

      Everything their advertising states they will do. For me they have done that and more! Love how they handle the “techie” stuff and nothing ever seems to be too much trouble. Working with the BlogPress team has been educational, speedy and fun.

      Thank you BlogPress!"

      - Mel Lewis (PGA of New Zealand)

      Get Instant Access To All The Tools, Training, and Incredible Personal Support You Need To Succeed!

      Click the button below to start blogging with BlogPress.

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