start a personal blog
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There’s plenty of space on the internet for everybody. People love to share ideas, voice their thoughts, and maybe even try to reach a global audience. How do you set yourself up to achieve those goals? Well, one way to do it, is to start a personal blog. Blogs are super-effective for a couple of reasons. Chief among them, is that the incredibly large majority of internet users read blogs [1], so your potential audience is already out there. Moreover, creating a personal WordPress blog isn’t hard to do, so why not give it a shot?

In this tutorial, we will lead you through all the steps you need to take in order to start a personal blog. If you follow the instructions, you’ll end up with an affordable, effective, and good-looking blog that will set you up for future success. This is your ultimate guide to a personal WordPress blog – complete with all of the resources you need to make it happen.

📚 Table of contents:

How to start a personal blog 🏁

As mentioned, everybody reads blogs.

If we take a closer look at the statistics, people who blog usually do it by using WordPress. The data tells us that the WordPress platform runs more than 43.4% of the internet (as in the number of sites built with it).

However, if you’re new to blogging or web development, then you might not know that WordPress comes in two varieties: WordPress.org (aka the self-hosted one) and WordPress.com (which comes with hosting included, but not the same flexibility).

There are many other differences between the two platforms. I’ll summarize the major ones below to give you an overview.

WordPress.org WordPress.com
Doesn’t come with any hosting. However, you can get reliable hosting with a free domain included for only $2.75 a month if you use our referral link. You get free hosting, but WordPress.com limits you to 3GB of space unless you upgrade to a paid plan.
You need a custom subdomain, for which you have to pay an additional price. Gives you a free subdomain with the format yourblog.wordpress.com, but you need to upgrade to a paid plan if you want a custom domain.
When it comes to security, you need to take care of your site alone via plugins, but you’re in control of everything. Security is not up to you, and basic security and backup services are included.
You can install any plugins or tools you like, and design your site any way you want, with no limitations. You can’t install any third-party plugins whatsoever. The themes also come in a limited number, with limited customization options.
You have full control over every aspect of your site. You do not have any control over your site’s design, performance, or functionality. You can only use what’s provided by WordPress.com.

If you want to take an even heavier dive 🤿 into this topic, we do have a full comparison between WordPress.org and WordPress.com that we published previously.

But, in a nutshell, if you prefer to have full control over your website, and want to ensure that it stays with you long term, WordPress.org is the better choice here. With that said, you don’t actually need go to the WordPress.org website to get started with the platform. Keep reading to find out why.

The technical setup when starting a personal WordPress blog

Let’s talk about the actual process of building a personal blog. The very first step in creating a personal blog is signing up for hosting. Since there are loads of good hosting companies for personal websites out there, it can be challenging to pick one that will fit your blog the best.

We’ll give you our recommendation in just a moment, but before we get into the nitty-gritty of how to start a personal blog, let’s take a quick look at an overview of the process:

  1. Sign up for web hosting.
  2. Choose a hosting plan.
  3. Pick a domain name for your personal blog.
  4. Complete your hosting registration.
  5. Make sure WordPress was installed during the hosting account setup.
  6. Log in and write your first blog post.

As mentioned, the first step in starting a personal blog is registering with a reputable web hosting company, and as promised, we’d give you our recommendation, which is Bluehost.

We’ve actually partnered with them to secure a special discount for our readers, which means if you use our link, you’ll pay only $2.75 per month when you first sign up.

⚠️ You won’t get this discount if you visit the Bluehost site directly. ⚠️

It’s our token of gratitude to you, our readers, for choosing us as your go-to source for trusted WordPress-related information and news.

The other nice perk of using Bluehost is that they will install WordPress for you – or if you prefer, they’ll let you do it yourself via the user panel. That’s why there’s no need to go to the WordPress.org website. The installation happens directly through your hosting provider.

The only thing you need to do is choose who that hosting provider will be, click the sign-up button, and then follow the procedure. Almost all quality hosting companies have easy-to-follow instructions on how to install WordPress on your blog, and some – like Bluehost – will even pre-install it for you.

Bluehost - great hosting company to start a personal blog.

When you register and pay for a hosting package, the hosting company will typically also let you choose a domain name for your blog or site.

You can think of a domain name as a sort of “digital address” for your blog. It’s how visitors will identify and access your website. For example, our domain is themeisle.com.

Once you complete the hosting plan registration, you may still need to set up WordPress. As mentioned, it will depend on the host you decide to go with. Similar to Bluehost, there are other hosting companies that also offer “WordPress installation included” packages, or they provide you with a one-click installation option during signup. The process is very simple. All you’ll need is to fill out some basic information, such as your site’s name, your admin username, and so on.

What if your host doesn't install WordPress for you?

If your host requires you to set up WordPress on your own, you’ll probably do so using the cPanel installer. First, you’ll need to access your panel using the login information you chose while signing up for your hosting plan. Once you’re in, you’ll probably see a page that looks similar to this one:

An example of a cPanel.

CPanel is packed with options, which can make it look intimidating. Fortunately, there are plenty of guides available on how to set up WordPress using cPanel. If you run into any difficulties along the way, you can always check out your hosting service’s knowledge base articles, FAQs, or contact their support team directly for assistance.

What elements make up an effective personal WordPress blog 🎯

If you’re the kind of person who likes to write, having your own blog can be a great outlet. You can create content about whatever you want, whenever you want, and share your thoughts with your friends, network, and complete strangers. If you’re feeling entrepreneurial, you can even use your personal blog to network in your field by writing about the latest developments and your own insights.

Once you start a personal blog, you will be able to include whatever features and information you think are necessary. However, there are a few elements all the best personal blogs have in common, such as:

  • A focus on blog posts. Unlike static WordPress websites, you want your blog posts to take center stage.
  • Some personal information about yourself, to connect with your audience on a more intimate level.
  • Links to your social media profiles and general contact information, for visitors who want to follow you or get in touch.
  • A carefully chosen blog post format, to make each entry highly readable and engaging.

Fortunately, all four of these elements are easy to incorporate into your blog. In practice, this means you probably won’t have to use a fancy premium theme or pay extra for all the bells-and-whistles. Instead, you can opt for free alternatives that are more budget-friendly.

Which theme should you install? 🖱️

We talked about how to make your personal blog run smoothly on the backend, but now let’s discuss a bit about its design, which is extremely important for the future readers of your personal blog. First of all, your site navigation should be intuitive. You need to make it easy for people to comb through your site by providing an organized navigation structure.

The same goes for your post layouts. It doesn’t matter how great your written work is, if the way you present it is hard to follow. Your visitors shouldn’t feel confused or annoyed when they land on your posts. Proper presentation is absolutely vital for blogging success.

One of the most important foundational elements of that presentation is the theme you choose for your blog. Luckily, adding an aesthetic, easy-to-navigate theme to your personal WordPress blog is actually very simple.

It only takes a few quick steps. ⚡

The more challenging part is deciding which theme to actually go with, because WordPress has a lot options – and that’s an understatement. Whatever personal criteria are important to you – whether it’s free, good-looking, feature-rich, responsive, minimalist, or something else – you’ll find multiple themes to fit your needs. So the answer to which theme you should install is quite simple – whichever one will suit you best.

How to install your WordPress theme

Upon entering your dashboard, look for the tab labeled Appearance. Click on it, and then choose the Themes option. This will show you the default theme that WordPress comes pre-installed with:

The default WordPress theme, which you can use to start a personal blog.

This theme is free, and makes a decent starter option for a personal WordPress blog. However, you’ll probably want to use a theme that’s a bit less basic and more customizable, such as our own Hestia:

Hestia material design theme - great for a personal WordPress blog.

This particular theme is based on material design guidelines, which give it a very modern look. Plus, it comes with all of those core elements we discussed earlier (such as contact information and a personal bio). To set it up, you just need to follow a few simple instructions. These instructions also apply to other WordPress themes.

Great tools to improve your personal blogging experience 💡

Aside from choosing a hosting provider and a WordPress theme, which are sort of the basic foundational requirements of starting a personal blog, you also have access to many additional tools that are designed to optimize your site.

Some can be used right through your internet browser, but others will require you to install them through the WordPress dashboard. Thankfully, most of them are very intuitive to use. It certainly helps make it easier for you to start a personal blog and maintain it.

Jetpack

Jetpack is a great, multifaceted plugin for anyone who wants to start a personal blog. It automates social media posting by sharing every new blog entry on your social channels. In addition, it creates eye-catching photo galleries that you can include in your posts. If that’s not enough, it also has an analytics component to it, which provides you with various site stats right in your admin dashboard.

Revive Old Post

With Revive Old Post, you can automate your social media posting process so you don’t have to manually share every entry.

Once you configure the plugin, it does everything on your behalf. Unless you turn it off, it will continuously share your posts. It saves a lot of time, which you can use for writing.

ChatGPT

ChatGPT homepage.

ChatGPT doesn’t need much of an introduction. Unless you’ve been living off the grid recently, then you’ve undoubtedly heard of what is arguably the most famous generative AI tool on the internet.

When it first came out, some people – and even large corporations – jumped on the chance to use ChatGPT to write entire blog posts. We highly, highly, highly discourage you from doing that and that’s not why we’re recommending it here. There are a whole host of reasons for why it’s a bad idea, but we’re not going to focus on those. The reason why we included ChatGPT on this list is because it can help you do the following (among other things):

👉 Check out our full guide on how to use ChatGPT for blogging to dive into this subtopic in more detail.

BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo.

Another great free tool that tells you which topics are popular. Enter a topic you’re considering writing about, and BuzzSumo will analyze what content works best for that given topic. This tool will also tell you the most successful pieces of content published by a specific blog. Just enter the blog’s URL and you’ll get a list of its most shared posts.

Grammarly

Grammarly.

Install the Grammarly extension in your web browser and then start writing your post in WordPress. The tool will mark nearly every mistake in your work. So make sure you check your grammar before you hit Publish. A great helper tool for anyone who’s planning to start a personal blog.

MyStock.Photos

MyStockPhotos.

For every blog post, you need pictures. While you can certainly use some of your own pictures, a lot of the time you will end up using free images from the internet. MyStock.Photos is our very own photo collection and it provides some awesome, high-quality images that you can use anywhere you want. All of them are free, so please, help yourself!

SEO for your personal blog 🔎

One of the most overlooked aspects of starting a personal blog that beginners make, is ignoring SEO (search engine optimization). In simple terms, SEO is how a new blogger like you gets more readers to visit their site, by improving how posts show up in search engine results.

For example, let’s say you’re a dog lover and you start a personal blog about your life with dogs. You write some posts about various subtopics related to taking care of dogs – but then what?

Who’s going to read them, outside of people in your own social network? 🤳

To expand your audience, you’ll need your posts about those topics to show up in search results when people search for them in Google (or other search engines). That’s what SEO is for. Another way to put it is:

If getting more readers to your personal blog is the end goal, then SEO is a means to that end.

If all this SEO talk is new to you or only vaguely familiar, then make sure to check out our beginner’s primer on getting started with WordPress SEO.

Choosing a good SEO tool

Once you realize how important SEO is, then you’ll naturally want a reliable SEO tool to help you with it.

These days there are many options on the market, but one of the ones we love to recommend the most is SEO Power Suite.

SEO Power Suite Homepage.

It’s a comprehensive tool kit that gives you access to keyword research tools, backlink checkers, PPC optimization suggestions, competitor rank tracking, social media stats tracking, and more.

When you first start a personal blog, you might not know what any of those terms mean – except perhaps “social media stats”. However, as you spend more time developing your blog, you will quickly become familiar with them. Not only will you become familiar with them, but you’ll likely use at least some of them in an effort to grow your audience and expand your personal blog’s influence.

At a minimum, you’ll need to use some sort of SEO site auditing tool to check on your own site, and that is another one of the features that is included with SEO Power Suite. All you need to do is register an account with them, and you can start using their collection of tools for website audits in a matter of minutes.

Did we mention they have a free-mium version? ⚙️

Time to write your first post 1️⃣

Once you’ve chosen your WordPress theme and possibly added some plugins, all that’s left to do, is to begin writing your first blog post. To get started, look for the Posts → Add New option in your dashboard. This will bring you to the WordPress Block Editor:

Writing your first blog post inside the WordPress Block Editor

Here, you can set a title for your post, write about whatever you want, and insert images and other media. When you’re done, you can save your work as a draft or publish it right away – it’s all up to you! 😎

Is a personal WordPress blog a big commitment? How often should you post? 👨‍💻

There’s no hard and fast rule here. After all, that’s why it’s called a “personal blog”.

You don’t have to follow any rules or adhere to tight deadlines, but you should still try to post at least once a week if possible (you’ll find plenty of counter-opinions to this, though).

Of course, it depends on what you use the blog for. If you just use it to put your thoughts on paper (screen), then you should write every time a great topic comes to mind. If you use it for talking about hobbies and want to grow a community around it, then you should try to post frequently and on a somewhat reliable schedule – weekly at a minimum.

Even in the WordPress space, which is our niche, you can find a variety of posting schedules from personal bloggers who focus heavily on WordPress topics.

On the one end, you have somebody like Tom McFarlin who, at one point, used to post every single day. Although he no longer maintains that type of intense publishing pace, he still posts quite frequently:

Tom McFarlin's personal blog

While on the other end, you have someone like Chris Lema, who has absolutely no rhyme or reason to his publishing schedule and just posts sporadically. Sometimes he’ll publish two articles on back-to-back days in one month, and then he’ll go silent for more than a month before publishing another one:

Chris Lema personal blog

Ultimately, your level of commitment is going to be determined by you and what your goals are with your blog. However, there is one thing that’s true above all: some commitment is better than no commitment. Even if you have periods of time where you’re not able to devote as much time as you’d like to your personal blog, over time your efforts will have a cumulative beneficial effect. To borrow a term from the finance world, you can call it the “compounding interest” effect of personal blogging.

A personal blog can help you professionally 🤔

Like was said before, even if you start a personal blog about your hobbies, for instance, this can help you shape your thoughts and connect with other people who love the same things you do.

But another important reason why you should have a personal WordPress blog is professional exposure. You might not create your blog solely for that purpose, but it can be a nice, unintended side benefit.

For example, if you’re sending a resume to a company, including a link to some relevant content you’ve researched and written yourself can score you some brownie points with the HR person, hiring manager, or whoever will be interviewing you. You may even be approached about job offers if the right person stumbles upon your site and your content somehow resonates with them.

A personal WordPress blog can sometimes help you in your career too, because it helps you build your personal brand.

According to a survey by Domain.me [2]:

61% of the survey respondents admitted that they have received a job offer because of their blog.

79% said their blog is either very important or important for their personal brand.

When you have accounts on various online platforms and social media channels, it can be challenging to create a clean division between the “personal you” and the “professional you”. Nowadays, companies tend to do thorough checks of a potential candidate’s online presence before inviting them to an interview or hiring them.

According to another study done by CareerBuilder, 60% of hiring managers use social media to analyze and get an overall opinion about potential employees [3]. Although that study was done some years ago, there’s little to suggest that the landscape has changed in 2024. And one thing is clear: if they’re searching for you that thoroughly, there’s a good chance they’ll find your personal blog.

In short, a good personal blog can help you make a great first impression and boost your chances of landing new opportunities. Potential employers are likely to find your personal blog, making it a solid tool to stand out in a competitive job market. While you might not be starting a personal blog with that intention in mind, it certainly is a positive benefit.

Wrapping up 🧐

In closing, while it’s nice to read other people’s opinions and stories, there’s something very rewarding about creating your own content and sharing it with the world. All your discoveries, your thoughts, your stories … all of them can lead to something great.

Aside from allowing you to connect with likeminded people who share the same hobbies and interests as you, a personal blog can also open the door to new professional opportunities.

📌 So, how do you start a personal blog? Here’s a recap:

  1. Pick a platform between WordPress.org and WordPress.com. We recommend the first one because you will have full control over your site.
  2. Choose the right WordPress hosting. For a personal blog, you don’t need the biggest fish out here. Cheap WordPress hosting is fine.
  3. Select a beautiful theme. There are some nice, free personal blogging themes that you can choose from. Install, try, and customize different ones. You can play with their design, and find one that’s an ideal fit for your site.
  4. Install some free tools and plugins that will make blogging easier and more efficient.
  5. Write your first blog post.
  6. Think about the range of topics you would like to tackle. If you don’t know yet and just want to write about random things, that’s also a start. Remember – a blog is a way to express yourself.
  7. Try to create a personal calendar or a notebook to hold yourself accountable to a posting schedule. You don’t have to post daily. Once a week is enough. The key is to be consistent.

We hope this has been helpful! Do you have any questions about how to start a personal blog on WordPress? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below!

Yay! πŸŽ‰ You made it to the end of the article!

2 Comments
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David Myth
January 25, 2024 3:38 pm

Excellent article! Was great to learn about starting personal blogs.

Firman Rizal
June 18, 2018 2:46 am

It was helpful.Thanks

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