How to Start A Blog: 8 Tested Steps to Success

This post is my exact blueprint explaining how I run my blogs, websites, and businesses, which essentially begins with how to start a blog. Please do not overlook the value provided in this article. The information provided has taken several years of testing countless software, hosting providers, blogging platforms and website templates, and much more before being confident to pass along this information.

The following questions about how to start a blog will be answered in the article:

  1. What is the best blogging platform to use?
  2. What is the best hosting company for your blog?
  3. What is the best way to choose a domain?
  4. What are the steps to creating a legal entity for your new blog and business?
  5. What is a blog and what website template should you select?
  6. What are some tips for writing like a professional?
  7. What can you do to keep your content protected?
  8. What is the best browser to use and why?

Step 1: Choosing the Best Blogging Platform

blogging platform

WordPress in the chosen and best blogging platform I use. The reason I use WordPress is simple; I am not a computer coder nor a graphic designer. There certainly are other blogging platforms that will accommodate you if you are like me and don’t have these two skills, but in my career, I’ve learned WordPress is the most flexible for what I want to accomplish.

Before we get too far, the most important advice I can stress is not to overcomplicate this process of starting and setting up your blog. The information I am about to share with you provides companies I work with that have incredible customer service to help ease your learning curve so you can be on the fastest path possible to a successful blogging lifestyle.

For a complete rundown of what we believe are the best blogging platforms in 2018, check out:
Guide To Choosing Your Blogging Platform in 2018

Step 2: WP Engine Managed Hosting

WP Engine Managed Hosting

Before even getting into your domain, using WordPress, what template to use, etc., I want to explain the importance of WP Engine, how great they are.

But first, let’s answer the question: what is hosting?

Hosting, and more specifically, WordPress Hosting, is what powers your website. The analogy I like using is the electricity to make an electronic to work. It’s not the same but gives a similar idea. The hosting company is made up of “servers” that store your website files, or all your website contents.

There are more hosting companies available to use than I can count, and I have used more in my past than I can list. Until I found WP Engine, I honestly was not a fan of a single hosting company.

Here is why. My ultimate goal when making a blog is for my target audience to see the content I am creating. In today’s digital world, there is lots of competition, or similar blogs, regardless of the niche. One of the primary ways of separating yourself apart from the crowd is by having a blog that loads fast for your readers. The first step to having a fast loading blog is having the best hosting possible, within reason, for your blog.

Here is where WP Engine comes in. They are by no means the cheapest on the block. Actually, they will be far more expensive than most other hosting companies, which deters many people from their company, initially.

Let me explain why the price should NOT be a deterrent.

WP Engine is a MANAGED hosting company.

What is a managed hosting company?

Managed WordPress hosting is a concierge service where the host manages all technical aspects of running WordPress. Managed hosting includes site speed, security, daily backups, WordPress updates, website uptime, and scalability.

The last sentence is critical and has not only saved me lots of money but even more importantly headaches. WP Engine has fantastic hosting, truly the best I’ve found so far. That’s not to say there might be better performing hosts that exist, but their product alone suits my needs.

Consequently, I am always telling ALL of their support techs how incredible they are. I sincerely think that I would have an account with WP Engine even if their products weren’t as good, just to have access to their support teams.

Here is why: You are most likely not a coder. If you are not an expert in something, it is tough to hire an expert and know they are fixing what you need, correctly and efficiently. For all you non-mechanics like me, think about how you cringe when you have to bring your car to the repair shop and are entirely trusting them to fix what needs fixing, ethically, and with nothing extra. This same philosophy applies when building blogs and websites.

I’ve hired many techs in my career, some are fantastic, and some have completely crashed my site. 100% of the time I depended on the person or company to not take advantage of me.

WP Engine took this element out of this. If you are their customer, they are incentivized to help in any way, and that is what they do. Whether it’s setting up your website or blog from the very start, migrating an old blog from a former host, installing an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) which is free with WP Engine including the install, keeping your blog secure from being hacked, (which is incredibly essential) knowing which plugins are safe and which are not, how to keep your blog and website optimized so it performed the fastest, and so much more.

On top of this, its a managed service, so if you ask them to help or do it for you, they will.

Don’t miss our complete WP Engine review that covers the Pros and Cons involved with their services.
WP Engine Review: Everything You Need To Know

Step 3: Choosing your Domain Name Registrar

how to choose a domain name registrar

A domain is the URL or website name you select. Like hosting there are several places to purchase your domain.  You purchase your domain from a Domain Name Registrar. I personally use GoDaddy because I am familiar with their platform. I use GoDaddy simply for buying domains and using their email platform. I am not impressed with their tech support or hosting platform.

Side note – use this link to purchase a .com domain through GoDaddy for $9.99.

GoDaddy .COM Domain Special

When you purchase your domain from GoDaddy, they will attempt to upsell you on all kinds of different products and services. The only upsell I ever buy is to make the registration of my domain private. I do not purchase the SEO, hosting, or any other products they attempt to sell.

We use GoDaddy simply because we have our domains stored there and WP Engine is not a domain registrar.  However, we negotiated some special rates for our readers for domains from Namecheap as well, another domain registrar we are familiar with and have used frequently over the years.

Namecheap Domain Promos

We will continue to add educational content and training videos around each tool and product we recommend.  If there is anything you need clarity with or want to be added to the list, shoot us a message and we will do our best to fit it in.

For a more thorough understanding of domains and selecting your domain name registrar, please check out:
The Best Domain Registrar Guide (and the worst)

Step 4: Rocket Lawyer

online legal services

When you start a blog remember you are starting a business, which means you have tax incentives you can take advantage of. I am by no means a lawyer or tax expert, so I turn to the fastest and easiest tools I can find. I set up my LLC with Rocket Lawyer, create all the contracts I need in their dashboard system, and if I need legal advice, which happens in business, they are just a click away.

Legal service is an area that is genuinely easy to overlook. It is not expensive to create a legal entity for your business, and the benefits far out weight the expenses, which are minimal depending on your state or country.

It’s vital to start your blog with the mindset that you are going to succeed and make an income, which means you need to pay yourself. To do that correctly, you need to follow the simple tax laws that apply.

As I said, I use Rocket Lawyer because they understand this and are more importantly qualified to handle this, so I do not have too.

However, there are many online legal services outside of Rocket Lawyer to consider.  To better understand which online legal service is appropriate for you and your business, our expert blog writing team crafted this guide to help identify and guide your options and provide simple, clear advice on where to find the resources you need.

The Best Online Legal Services Guide

Step 5: Stack WordPress Theme

Stack WordPress Theme

The WordPress Theme I use is called Stack. I use this only because it was easy to learn and comes with Variant Page Builder and Visual Composer. Remember when I said I wasn’t a graphic designer? This is the first step in creating a blog or website that looks nice, without being an expert designer.

I also use ShutterStock for images. ShutterStock comes with a stock image editor so you can create custom images for your brand as you purchase them. Creating custom images might sound like you need design experience, and it takes a little practice like anything to get better, but believe me, if I can do it so can you.

Step 6: Grammarly Grammar Check

grammar check

What is Grammarly?

Another must-have tool. Grammarly is a software that is only getting better with time through the power of machine learning. Let’s be honest, the majority of us are not grammar experts, and even if we were at one point, we probably only remember a fraction of what we knew at one point.free grammar and punctuation checker and corrector

As you type, Grammarly checks your writing for hundreds of basic and advanced writing mistakes. The checks include common grammatical errors, such as article use, subject-verb agreement, and modifier placement, in addition to phonetic spelling mistakes, contextual spelling mistakes, and irregular verb conjugations. Grammarly also provides synonym suggestions to make your writing more precise and readable. With Grammarly, you can write online with certainty.

Take a look at our complete Grammarly review:
Our Grammarly Review: The Pros, Cons, and Final Verdict.

Step 7: DMCA

DMCA

What is DMCA?

The last thing you want is to work your butt off creating the best content possible just to have someone else steal it and post it on their website or blog.

What is DMCA

This is where DMCA comes in. DMCA stands for Digital Millennium Copyright Act. DMCA not only lets you put their badge on your site, but they also will protect you from the theft of your work.

For a complete overview of DMCA, take a look at our complete DMCA Protection Guide:
Everything You Need to Know About DMCA Protection

Step 8: Ghost Browser

Ghost Browser

What is Ghost Browser?

Ghost Browser works with Google Chrome, but is an added level of security as well as helps with distractions from common deterrents like social media.

Isolate Your Identities

Color-coded sessions have separate cookie jars, so you can log into multiple accounts at once. Meaning if you have numerous YouTube or Facebook accounts that you need to be signed into, Ghost Browser makes this possible.

Powerful Proxy Options

Assign a different proxy to each tab or groups of tabs flexibly and compellingly.

Chrome Extensions

Built on Chromium so you can import your Chrome extensions in under 30 seconds.

Fight Tab Bloat

Save your tabs into groups and pull up only the ones you are using right now! More importantly, hide the ones you aren’t using so you aren’t distracted.

Instant productivity!

Ok, so there it is. There are definitely more tools and products I use today, but this is what I highly recommend to get started.

Please continue to follow our posts to learn more, and don’t be shy to engage with us if you are stuck. We are here to help and want you to be successful.

Once you had the chance to digest all the information in this post and want to actually start your blog, check out:
The Beginners Guide to Starting a Blog