So you want to create a WordPress blog…
Congratulations! WordPress is an excellent solution for how to start a blog, plus we think blogs are super awesome!
Better yet – it’s also surprisingly simple to create a WordPress blog. That’s why we say you can do it in under 15 minutes.
But as simple as it is to get started with WordPress, knowing what you need to do and how you can do it is still important so you don’t waste time.
That’s why we made this guide.
How to create a blog: what you’ll need
Just a quick note, though. This guide is not about using WordPress.com. Instead, we’ll show you how to start your own blog using self-hosted WordPress so that you’re in full control. This is our recommended approach.
If you’re not sure what the difference is, you can read this post for more on the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org/self-hosted WordPress.
If you want to start a WordPress blog, here’s a simple step-by-step guide:
- Sign up for web hosting (I recommend SiteGround).
- Choose a hosting plan.
- Pick a domain name for your blog.
- Complete your hosting registration.
- Install WordPress.
- Log in and write your first blog post.
Neither of these steps require in-depth technical knowledge and we’ll show you the whole process of how to set up a blog in detail.
Once you get your blog up and running, you’ll probably want to start writing and likely tweak its appearance/functionality. To help you do that, we’ll also show you how to:
- Write your first blog post using the WordPress Editor
- Change how your WordPress blog looks using a “theme”
- Add functionality to your blog using tools called “plugins”
As long as you know how to use sites like Facebook and have an overall confidence when it comes to “web stuff”, you can follow this guide. We promise!
Step 1: Purchase hosting and your domain name
Making your blog accessible to people around the world requires two things:
- Hosting – this is the engine that powers your site. While you don’t “see it”, every single website on the Internet has a host powering it.
- Domain – this is like your blog’s permanent address. For example, ours is
themeisle.com. Check out this post if you need help coming up with a good name.
You can purchase your hosting and domain at the same time – so don’t worry too much about the nitty-gritty details right now. But before you can do that, you need to choose a WordPress host. Because of WordPress’ popularity, there are a huge number of WordPress hosts.
We’ve personally tested the performance and reliability of these hosts. And after that testing, we recommend SiteGround to new WordPress bloggers.
- It’s affordable. You can host your site for the price of a latte each month.
- You can easily install WordPress. With just a few clicks, you can launch the WordPress software and have a working blog. No tech knowledge needed!
- It loads quickly and is reliable. For the money, SiteGround offers excellent performance in terms of speed and reliability.
All in, it will cost you about $62 to host your blog at SiteGround for the entire year.
That’s about as cheap as it’s going to get if you want to create a WordPress blog.
How to sign up for WordPress hosting at SiteGround
To get started, click here to go to SiteGround. If you scroll down on that page, you should see a list of SiteGround’s WordPress hosting plans.
For beginners, we recommend the cheap StartUp plan because it packs plenty of power for your fledgling blog. Click the GET STARTED button to start the process:
On the next screen, enter the domain name you want to use for your blog and click Proceed:
On the final screen, you’ll need to enter basic account and billing details at the top:
As you scroll down, you’ll see a Purchase Information section at the bottom. If desired, you can change the billing period and add additional services.
We don’t believe these services are necessary, though:
All in, you should pay around ~$62 for your domain name and one year of hosting.
Once you’ve filled in all of the information, click PAY NOW at the bottom to complete your purchase.
Step 2: Install the free WordPress software
If you want to create a WordPress blog, you’re going to, unsurprisingly, need to install the WordPress software.
We know this might sound a little intimidating – but we think you’ll be surprised by how easy it is to install WordPress.
When you completed the sign-up process in the previous step, you should have received an email from SiteGround with details on how to log in to the SiteGround Customer Area.
Go ahead and log in to SiteGround.
As soon as you log in for the first time, you should see a popup that says something like Welcome to our Website Setup Wizard!
In this popup:
- Check the box for Get WordPress preinstalled on this account
- Click Proceed
On the next screen:
- Enter your desired login details. You’ll use these to log in to your actual WordPress blog.
- Choose a WordPress theme. Don’t stress too much about this choice – we’ll show you how to change how your blog looks in a second.
- Click Submit.
After a few seconds, you should see a success screen:
You just learned how to create a WordPress blog – it really is that simple.
You can access your new blog’s dashboard by going to
Step 3: Go ahead and write your first blog post – you earned it!
Now that you learned how to create a WordPress blog, you’re probably excited to get to blogging!
We’ll show you how to change how your blog looks and functions in a second. But first, let’s go over just how easy it is to write a blog post on your new website.
When you first log in to your blog’s WordPress dashboard, you should see a screen like this:
To write a blog post:
- Hover over Posts
- Click Add New
This will launch the WordPress Editor. If you feel comfortable using Microsoft Word or Google Docs, you should feel at home in this interface.
We encourage you to explore and get a feel for how to use this interface. But here are some basic things you can do:
- Add a title at the top
- Type your blog post text in the main editing box
- Add formatting to your blog post using the toolbar
- Insert images using the Add Media button
- Add a category using the right sidebar
- Make your blog post public by clicking Publish
Step 4: Here’s how to change how your blog looks
When you create a WordPress blog, one of the major benefits that you get is access to WordPress’ huge collection of themes and plugins. Here’s a quick overview of the two:
We’ll cover the former in this section.
As soon as you create a WordPress blog, you already have a theme active. This is either the default WordPress theme or the theme that you chose during the SiteGround Setup Wizard.
But there are actually thousands of themes available for WordPress, so you’re by no means limited to that small selection.
Where to find WordPress themes for your blog
When you go to choose a WordPress theme, you’ll need to pick between free and premium themes. There’s no inherent difference between the two, but premium themes often have more detailed designs and features.
To find premium themes, you’ll need a broader approach. Some good options are:
ThemeForest – a big directory of premium themes.
ThemeIsle – we think our themes are pretty swell.
StudioPress – these themes use a popular “framework” called Genesis.
How to install a WordPress theme
Once you’ve found a theme that you love, WordPress makes it easy to add that theme to your site.
- Hover over Appearance
- Select Themes
- Click the Add New button
- If you chose a free theme at WordPress.org, search for the theme by name and click Install.
- If you purchased a premium theme, click the Upload Theme button and upload the ZIP file you should have received when you purchased the theme
After installing your theme, make sure to click the Activate button to make it active on your site.
How to further customize your WordPress theme
To further customize your theme, you can use something called the WordPress Customizer. This interface lets you make certain tweaks to your theme without needing to know code.
You can access it by going to Appearance → Customize:
Depending on the theme that you chose, you may have a different set of options in the left sidebar. But in general, you can:
- Make changes by using the options on the left
- See a real-time preview on the website preview on the right
- Make your changes live by clicking Save & Publish
For a more detailed guide, we have a full post on how to use the WordPress Customizer.
Step 5: Here’s how to add functionality to your blog
While themes are mostly about appearances, plugins are more focused on helping you add functionality to your blog.
When you first create a WordPress blog, you pretty much only have the ability to write blog posts and create pages.
Plugins are what allow you to add more advanced functionality like:
If you can think of a feature, there’s probably a plugin for it. That’s because the WordPress community offers over 50,000 free plugins, plus there are thousands of premium plugins.
Where to find WordPress plugins for your blog
Like themes, you can find both free and premium plugins.
Keeping the similarities rolling, the best place to look for free plugins is at the official WordPress.org plugin directory.
For premium plugins, the best method is usually to search Google for something like “best X plugin” and buy from a well-known developer.
Many free plugins listed at WordPress.org also offer premium versions with more features.
Must-have WordPress plugins for all sites
While there are plenty of niche plugins that are only good for specific uses, there are some must-have WordPress plugins that all sites, including blogs, can benefit from. Here are some of our suggestions:
How to install WordPress plugins
We already wrote a detailed guide on how to install WordPress plugins. But here’s the quick version:
- Go to Plugins → Add New
- If you chose a free plugin at WordPress.org, search for the plugin by name and click Install Now.
- If you purchased a premium plugin, click the Upload Plugin button and upload the ZIP file you should have received when you purchased the plugin.
Make sure to Activate the plugin after installing it.
You can always manage your existing plugins by going to the Plugins tab:
What to do after you create a WordPress blog
Ok, so you managed to create a WordPress blog, install your own theme, and add some functionality with plugins.
Well, the world is your oyster! But if you’re like most people, you’ll probably want to look for ways to:
And if you’re a blogging beginner, you might be interested in the 44 things our team of bloggers wish they knew before starting a blog. You can read all of these blogging tips here.
And if you’re looking for everything in one place, we wrote a whole guide on how to grow a personal blog.
Now get out there and make your brand new WordPress blog a success!
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