The Easiest Way to Start a Blog in Under 24 Hours (and under $100)
This guide is meant to teach you why, how, and when to start a blog of your very own for less than $100 and also in less than 24 hours. I read a statistic one time that said 70% of people procrastinate just because they think the project they're working on will longer than it actually will. So if you're waiting to start your own blog, hopefully this guide kickstarts your motivation to get it done quickly!
If you're ready to start a blog for under $100, scroll down to "Getting Started with Bluehost" and I'll give you the exact step-by-step guide to create your blog in under 24 hours. I've also included images and examples to try to make the process easier.
Why should I start a blog?
For most people, a blog is a vehicle to earn money in their free time writing about their passion. They earn money through many different monetization methods, but generally they're an expert on a topic and have enough knowledge to write 30+ articles and help other people who find their pages on Google.
You should start a blog if you want to grow an audience, create opportunities for yourself and ultimately make money helping people find answers they are searching for. Blogs can create passive income for years to come, but do require a lot of upfront work and patience. The feeling of having thousands of readers viewing your pages each month is addicting and provides enough motivation to most bloggers to keep growing until they can turn it into a full time job!
A few other people turn a blog into a journal. They will write out their feelings, their experiences, their own personal stories and use the blog as an online journal to keep track of everything. Due to the growth of WordPress themes and plugins, customization is nearly limitless and you can make a blog look however you want.
What should I blog about?
Honestly, most bloggers already know what to blog about before answering the question of whether or not to start a blog, so this question is relatively easy for most people. However, you might want to start a blog but have no idea of what to write about.
Well, for beginning bloggers, I 100% suggest writing about something you know a lot about. If you enjoy racing RC cars on the weekend, you can create review posts about all the RC cars you own and maybe even make money from affiliate sales.
If you absolutely love reading books, then turn each blog post into a beautifully formatted book summary page. Searchers of "The 4 Hour Work Week" will find your website on page 1 of Google and be delighted to find your summary.
And if for some reason you're infatuated with life hacks for moms... you can really niche down and make a whole website for moms who want to make life easier. It's been done before. And again. And again. A bunch of blogs on the same topic means there's a lot of competition, but it also usually means it's profitable!
What blogging platform should I use?
So, there's a few different blogging platforms, but WordPress is by far the most popular and probably most customizable. However, I'll list some pros and cons so you can decide for yourself.
Remember, the blogging platform is the decorations on the cake... it changes what your website looks like and allows you to decorate it however you want.
Tumblr is super easy to set up, but isn't really designed for a blogger who wants full customability. Tumblr is technically owned by Yahoo, so you get a small boost in SEO apparently. After a few years of messing around with it, I've found the platform has it's own unique culture and a majority of the content is "reblogged" instead of originally posted.
Medium is owned by Twitter and it's the "tweet version of the blogging world". It's for long-form posts by writers who want to share their opinions, research and ideas. Medium has grown quite a bit in the past few years and up until the last couple month I was oblivious to it. I don't recommend using Medium as a "blog", but it can definitely provide the community to help you improve and get feedback on your writing.
Blogger was technically the very first blogging platform I used because of how early it entered the market. It's super easy to create content and grow, but if you're looking for the ability to make your website look beautiful, you might want to look elsewhere. There is usually HTML and CSS knowledge required when editing the theme and widgets, so read up if you're planning on using Blogger. It's also owned by Google, so it's super easy to ad Google Adsense advertisements and get paid early.
Joomla is a platform I've never actually used, but I have friends who have tried it. It's the "old soul" of blogging platforms... it's not very user friendly to beginners but you'll love it if you know how to write code. Joomla also comes with a price, but it's a great Content Management System (CMS) which means if you own a TON of content, Joomla is perfect for you.
Squarespace is a great platform for a variety of people. Squarespace is a paid service that allows you to build a website in a matter of minutes using their custom website-builder technology. It's a lot like Weebly (which isn't on this list because it's more for websites and not just blogs). At this time, the themes and plugins for Squarespace aren't the best and need some work. However, they're shelling out tons of money for sponsorships all over Youtube, so maybe as their customer base grows, so will their complexity to customize.
WordPress.com is the ugly sister of the platform so many bloggers actually use. The ".com" version is a free version that allows you to set up a blog and get writing - no complicated coding, design, or technical stuff. With WordPress.com you'll need to buy a domain to host it on to have your own URL.
WordPress.org is the actual platform most bloggers use for their setups. They give you the .zip file that contains the most recent version of WordPress so you can install it to your web host and get going on your own.
WordPress.com is like a cheap cup of coffee at the gas station, and WordPress.org is buying a coffee maker for your home.
What Webhost should I use?
So if the blogging platform is the icing on the cake... then the webhost is the flavor of the cake. The platform allows you to change what it looks like and how users interact with your content. The hosting service and domain registration company you use is the cake itself.
You don't want great looking cake that tastes like cardboard. That's why choosing a great webhost is very important. It can affect your load times, how many errors your visitors see, and under heavy traffic (like if you're selling something), completely shut down.
Personally I have used 1and1 and Godaddy, but I really prefer Bluehost and that's what this blog is hosted on. (By the way, if you click on any bluehost links here, I get compensated for being an affiliate and you help this blog grow to the two comma achievement!).
HostGator is the cheapest option to get started with a domain and a year's worth of blogging hosting. This is the reason I first tested it out, but you get what you pay for. The service was really slow, the dashboard was a little glitchy and I don't ever remember getting ahold of support. This was 4-5 years ago though, so maybe they've stepped it up.
GoDaddy was my first ever web hosting service. I created a "spud gun" tutorial website because I was into potato launchers. I earned a bit, and GoDaddy was an okayish service, but I'm glad I'm with Bluehost now. You can go with GoDaddy as your web hosting provider and still have a great experience. Back in the day they spent a ton on advertisements, you probably even remember some of them!
1and1 is quite user-friendly, but when I was with them, it was quite hard to contact support. Also, my site started loading slower than I wanted to (even 5+ seconds is a huge difference to search engines) and I had trouble changing it.
Bluehost is my favorite web hosting service. All but 1 of my blogs are on Bluehost and due to them, I've had great support, I've had the ability to upgrade my service when traffic increases, free HTTPS/SSL and a ton of other awesome stuff that others didn't have or would upsell. Don't take my word for it though, there are tons of other reviews for blog hosting providers out there, so look around if you're cynical.
How should I name my blog?
I actually have an entire guide with 9 steps to name your blog, but I'll give you some simple tips here too.
#1 Use your name. It's simple and super easy to brand in the future!
#2 Mix and Match Associated words. Like Digital Velocity, Funnel Overload, or Practical Psychology.
#3 Use a blog name generator. There are a ton out there and I list a bunch on the guide I mentioned earlier. Type in your niche or relative word and the generator pops out a bunch of ideas.
#4 Use Acronyms, Alliterations and Mispellings. Making Sense of Cents is a blog that has done amazingly well in the finance niche and earns over $200,000 a month.
#5 Give it time. Sometimes the best names come to you while you're taking a shower. For example, my friend created Entivate.com by combining Inspiration and Motivate.
Getting started with Bluehost
You can start your own blog in literally 20 minutes with under $120. Remember when I said Bluehost is my favorite hosting service? I'm going to walk you through, step-by-step of how to set up your own blog using them (and how to do it for under $100).
First, sign up to their basic plan. You can always upgrade later, but basic is the best option for beginning bloggers.
Second, choose your domain name. Make sure it's not taken!
Third, type in your personal information, and choose the settings I've picked. Domain Privacy Protection is important because it ensures your name, phone number and address aren't listed when someone is doing some research on your domain.
After that, Bluehost sets you up an account and you just have to click one button to install WordPress. You just have to choose a theme.
Then choose business or personal. I chose "Business", and you can too even if you don't have a business yet.
The awesome thing is that most hosting providers make you wait a few hours for the domain propagation to take place... but Bluehost gives you a temporary domain so you can start installing your theme, picking your plugins and adding posts.
I highly suggest watching WordPress tutorials, or clicking around on this blog to learn the ins-and-outs of WordPress. When you make it second-hand to learn how to edit widgets and add posts, it becomes much easier to add content.