Hosting Tutorial & Guide

How to Start Your Own Blog in an Hour – Detailed Guidance and Tips

updated on Jan 08, 2015
How to Start Your Own Blog in an Hour – Detailed Guidance and Tips Having a blog brings many benefits. You can attract a large group of people with the same interest as you, make money by advertising, and build your online reputation. That is why blogging is still in fashion.

We have introduced a lot of blogging tips, and now, we would like to go back to the most essential part – how to start your blog. Getting a blog up and running is the task that is put ahead of all other deeds, and proper pre-settings will save you much time and effort in managing the blog.

Therefore, we will guide you through the whole process of installing, configuring and managing a self-hosted blog with detailed descriptions and screenshots. Before anything else, selecting the proper blog software is the first task you should pay attention to.

Select the Proper Blog Software

There are dozens of blog software in the market, each of which has different highlights and disparate requirements on technical skills. Choosing the right one can suit your online needs better, and make you feel comfortable when managing your blog. The most widely used blog software is WordPress, followed by b2evolution and Textpattern.

WordPress, used to power more than 60 million blogs, is suitable for all skill levels. The built-in features make it quite a quick and simple process to publish and organize contents. Besides, the great extensibility allows you to enrich your blog with other contents like forum and store. WordPress is recommended to all people with the desire to share things online.

Choose Blog Software b2evolution provides an easy way to build and maintain multiple blogs within a single admin interface. It runs well on all hosting platforms with recent versions of PHP and MySQL database.

Textpattern allows bloggers to focus on blogging only without integrating other components like forum on the site. The built-in simplicity and mature features have attracted million of users. However, the application takes a back seat to WordPress in terms of templates and plugins.

You may have made your own decision, but our suggestion is to use WordPress as it is backed by the largest community and the best extensibility which can help you expand your blog. Considering this fact, we will take WordPress as the example when bringing out the detailed steps and settings below.

Now let's begin to start a blog by utilizing the power of WordPress. Of course, you have to prepare a domain name and a blog hosting package at first. If you have no idea about the domain of your blog, this tutorial on choosing domain name can help.

For this guide, we use as the domain name of the new blog and a shared web hosting package from BlueHost.

Install WordPress

WordPress installation is easy, requiring little time and no professional knowledge at all. Firstly, login to cPanel and find WordPress under Website Builders.

WordPress in Website Builders

You are now directed to a new page in Mojo Marketplace which includes a short description about WordPress. Click on the green button saying "Install".

Install WordPress

On the detailed installation page, select the domain that you want to install WordPress on, and click to Check. When the domain is checked successfully, check the box next to "Show advanced options" and fill in the required information like the following screenshot. Then hit the button of Install Now.

Configure WordPress Installation

Now the system will start checking WordPress, downloading it and installing it to the required place. You need to do nothing but record the admin URL, admin username and password when the installation is completed. Visiting your domain now, you will find a default WordPress blog running Twenty Thirteen theme.

WordPress Default Blog

Clicking on the admin URL or paste it in another window, you can get to the login page. If you've forgot the URL, that's OK because you can also simply place "/wp-admin" after your domain name. Filling in the username and password you got before and clicking to Log In, you are located to the admin area, which is called the dashboard of WordPress.

WordPress Login

This is what the dashboard looks like.

WordPress Dashboard

Understand the Dashboard

When you enter the WordPress dashboard for the first time, you may feel bewildered because you nearly know nothing about it. Don't worry. We are here guiding you through.

The area placed at the top of the dashboard screen is toolbar. Clicking on the WordPress logo will present you a drop-down menu with links to, WordPress documentation and more. And if you click on the link of your site name, you are taken to the front-end of you WordPress site. Some other features included in the toolbar are the available updates, the number of comments pending moderation and an "Add New" button.

Dashboard Toolbar

In the left sidebar of the dashboard are the core features of WordPress allowing you to manage posts, categories, pages, comments, website appearance, users and tools. Clicking on any one leads you to the admin area of certain features and contents.

On the main screen is a collection of links that helps you get started. You can follow the links to do basic customization, start posting, and know about some main features of WordPress. If you want to customize the default theme of your blog, click on the button of "Customize You Site" to load a customizer.

On the customization page, you can change the site title and tagline displayed in the header, change the colors of the text, customize the header image, and so on. When things are done, click on "Save & Publish" to make them alive.

Customize WordPress Blog

Write Your First Post

Now we'd like to discuss the creation of posts. First of all, move your mouse to "Posts" in the left sidebar of dashboard and click on "Add New". A new screen appears, which is the editing page. To create a post successfully, you have the following things to do.

Create a New Post

Create the content
Firstly, you need to fill in the post title in the "Enter title here" box, and type or paste the blog content in the content area. For the text, you may choose between "Visual" and "Text" formats. Visual comes with a WYSIWYG editor to assist beginners in formatting their contents, images and links easily, while Text is widely used by experienced bloggers who want an easier way for customizing and formatting.

Choose the category
All posts on your WordPress blog should be organized with the right categories. Just check the box before the name of the category that you want to put the blog post in. If there is no ideal category available, you need to create a new category, which will be discussed later.

Choose Category

Add a featured image
A good featured image (post thumbnail) helps people understand your post idea better with a glimpse, and also, it beautifies and enriches your site content. Assumed that you have prepared the right image, click on the "Set featured image" link, choose "Upload Files", drop the image to the screen, and hit the "Set featured image" button on the left bottom of the screen when the image loads properly.

Set Featured Image
Upload Featured Image

Upload the images in your content
Images cannot be simply copied and pasted into the content, so you should follow the rules to upload it to the Media Library first. Clicking on the "Add Media" button on the editing page, you can get to the following screen. Just drag the images that are needed, and WordPress uploads them immediately.

Upload Image

If you are using the Visual format, choose an image and click "Insert into post" to add it to the post. For Text, copy the image URL and put a simple line of code in the place where you want the image to be. The code should be like this:

<img src="/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/wordpress-blog.jpg" alt="WordPress Blog" />
Left/Right Aligned (n refers to a digit):
<img src="/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/wordpress-blog.jpg" alt="WordPress Blog" 

Change the permalink
A clear URL structure not only contributes to search engine friendliness, but also helps readers read and remember the post more easily. Fortunately, WordPress comes with the support to custom URL by default. Click to "Edit" the permalink, remove the unnecessary words and then click on "OK" to save the link. When the post is published, it can be accessed through the URL.

Change Permalink

Save and publish the post
As soon as you have dealt with all contents and images properly, click the "Preview" button to view the post in the front-end style. If nothing is wrong, choose to "Save Draft" to save the post for future publishing, or click on "Publish" to make the post visible online immediately. In the case that you want to abandon the draft, moving it to trash is OK.

Publish Post

Schedule the post
Sometimes you may need to schedule a post to be published at a particular time to keep the information accurate or reach some other goals. You don't need to be bothered by the trouble that you may forget to publish the post on time, because WordPress will remember it.

By default, WordPress sets all posts to be published immediately when you hit the button to publish them, which can be seen in the screenshot above. To schedule a post, you should click on the "Edit" link next to "immediately", select the time and date that you plan to make the post alive, and then click on the "Schedule" button.

Schedule Post

Below is the comparison of the backend and front-end of a post.

Post Backend

Post Frontend

Create a Category

With categories, your visitors can search for all posts with the same topic or similar content quickly and easily, which brings a better browsing experience. Besides, categories also allow you to manage groups of posts with less effort. That is why you need categories.

To create a new category, locate Posts in the dashboard and choose "Categories" in the sub-menu. The new page displays all the current categories, and allows you to create new ones. It is easy to add a new category as you only need to fill in the required category Name, Slug and Description. Choose the proper Parent if the new category is a sub-category to a larger group, or just leave it to the default value.

Create Category

Generate a Page

Different from posts, pages are designed for non-blog contents like the "About Us" page. They are usually displayed within the sidebar, header or footer of your site directing visitors to some certain information. If you need in-depth understanding about pages, read this official tutorial on

Creating a regular page is as simple as having a new post. Find Pages in the dashboard and click on "Add New", fill in the page title and page content, change the permalink in the same way as posts, set featured image, adjust its order in the list of pages, and then publish. If the new page is a sub-page, you should choose the parent.

Generate a Page

WordPress Page

Enable and Manage Blog Comments

Allowing comments increases the interaction between you and your visitors, but improper settings and management could bring much spam that harms your reputation and turns your blog to be an annoying place.

For the general settings of comments, go to Settings > Discussion. In the "Default article settings", check the box for "Allow people to post comments", or uncheck the box if you do not want people to comment on your posts and pages. For other settings on the page, deal with them as you want. And for the maximum of security, you can choose to approve each comment manually before it appears on your blog.

WordPress Comment Settings

For the management of each comment, the Comments section is the right place which lists all comments clearly. You can also browse comments according to their status – pending, approved, spam or trash. For each comment, the displayed information includes the author's email, IP address, comment content, and submission time.

You can approve the comment if it's valuable, reply to it to increase interaction, mark it as spam, or trash it if it is nonsense.

WordPress Comment Management

Add and Manage Users

Do you want a friend or another team member to help add posts on the blog or even manage it? If the answer is yes, you need to have a basic understanding about WordPress user roles. By default, WordPress has 6 user roles including subscriber, contributor, author, editor, administrator and super admin which come with ascending access to the site. Super admin has full right to the administration of the whole site network and all other features, while subscribers can only subscribe to the updates of the site and make changes to their own profile. For all capabilities of these roles, read this tutorial on

Add a new user
WordPress provides a simple way for creating users. You only need to go to Users > Add New, and fill in all the information required. Choosing to send password will automatically send the password to the new user. For the role, you can pick any one according to your willingness. However, there are 2 things that need attention, among which the first is to set a strong and complicated password for the sake of security, and the other is not to give too many rights to a person who is not familiar enough to WordPress management.

Add a New User

Change your profile
There is some time when you need to make changes to your own information such as the contact information, the biographical information, the admin password, or the admin color scheme. All the information can be managed through Users > Your Profile. Visiting the profile, you can customize it, and most importantly, you are able to change the admin password by entering a new password simply. Once you click on "Update Profile", all the updates come into effect immediately.

Change Profile

Manage all users
The "All Users" page allows you to browse a full list of all the users of your blog, know about their contribution of posts, edit their profiles and delete the ones that are no longer in use. Also, there are bulk actions to delete some users and change user roles. The page is quite easy to handle.

Manage All Users

Change a Theme

As is mentioned before, the limitless possibilities are the most valuable part of WordPress. Due to the nature of being open source, thousands of designers have worked out numerous free and paid WordPress themes that are elegant and functional. No matter you run a traditional blog or use the blog to build online store, forum or online magazine, you can find premium themes perfect for you. Choosing the right theme is important because it professionalizes your online business.

The default theme of WordPress 4.1 is Twenty Thirteen. If you want to abandon this theme and use another one, go to Appearance > Themes to make a change. On the Themes page, you can see all the installed themes and make a switch between them by activating any one. To install new themes, click on the "Add New Theme" box, browse the collection of themes, and hit the "Install" button to install the ones you like. If you have bought some premium themes in third-party marketplaces, refer to the manual WordPress theme installation guide to get them uploaded to your blog.

Change Blog Theme

Install Plugins to Improve Blogging Experience

The proper use of WordPress plugins is also an important component to the success of your blog. You can bring all your thoughts into effect by installing the right plugins, such as starting a poll, stopping comment spam, adding a contact form and creating RSS feeds. Plugins do extend the functionality of your blog, but you should restrict the number strictly as too many plugins can harm your website speed.

To improve your blog, you are suggested to install one plugin in each of the following categories. Deciding which plugin to use is your freedom, while we still advise you to have a test and read reviews first to avoid bad ones.
  • Security plugin, which defends the site against spam and attacks.
  • Cache plugin, which speeds up a site by serving visitors with static files.
  • SEO plugin, which helps improve websites' positions in the organic search results.

Security Plugin

Activate Akismet
For security reason, WordPress installation package includes Akismet, one of the most popular WordPress security plugins with nearly 26.8 million downloads. Since the plugin is not activated by default, you can go to Plugins > Installed Plugins to give an activation if you would like to use it to protect your blog. In the list of plugins, you can find three links under the plugin name which include Activate, Edit and Delete. Clicking on the link of Activate will get Akismet activated.

Actvate Akismet

Install new plugins
The easiest way to have this task done is to use the "Add New" button on the Plugins page. The button directs you to an "Add Plugins" page on which you can search among thousands of plugins in the WordPress plugin directory and install them with one click on mouse. For example, when we search "wp super cache", WordPress displays the related results with an "Install Now" button. Read more detailed steps in the guide for how to install WordPress plugins.

Install Plugins

Best Web Hosts for Hosting Blog

Nearly all web hosting packages in the current market have met the basic standards to run personal blogs, but with the same price level, good ones come with better security, higher uptime, faster speed, more tools and better technical support. Based on our experience in using and reviewing hundreds of web hosting for blog, the web hosts listed below are among the most outstanding ones.

Note that these three web hosts are great for you if your target market is in US or Europe. However, if you are aiming at Asian clients, should be a good option. This company offers the first-class hosting packages with 1-click installer, PHP 5.2/5.3/5.4 and MySQL5. Besides, it utilizes a world-class datacenter with 100% DELL servers to guarantee a reliable hosting environment.