Blog Create In 2021: The Ultimate Guide For Beginners
You made the decision to create your own blog.
But there are thousands of questions buzzing around in your head:
What blog platforms are there? Where can I blog for free? How do I find the right topic for my own blog? How do I get visitors? And how can I even earn money as a blogger?
Do not worry!
Because this is the tutorial I would have liked 8 years ago when I wanted to create a blog myself (and it was absolutely haphazard).
In this guide, I’ll show you step by step how to start a blog.
I’ll take you by the hand and answer all the important questions to reach your goal more easily and avoid typical beginner mistakes (if your questions are not answered in the article’s course, please write me a comment).
8 steps to create a blog
A quick overview of what to expect:
- Pick a blog platform.
- Choosing the right topic.
- Find blog names and domains.
- Find hosting.
- Install WordPress.
- Configure WordPress correctly.
- Find a WordPress theme.
- Create important pages.
Don’t worry, I’ll be with you every single step. As promised in the introduction above.
You will find answers to the most frequently asked questions at the end of this guide (point 9).
1. Choose a blog platform
You may be inclined to blog on services like Blogspot , WordPress.com , Tumblr , Wix, or Jimdo .
After all, it’s free. And you can just write straight away.
But, if you’re halfway serious about blogging, I strongly advise against these services.
I recommend running your blog on its web hosting package instead. With a self-installed, configured, and maintained WordPress installation and its domain.
Getting started with WordPress is a bit more difficult. But you are much more flexible and can design and expand your blog as you want.
Without annoying restrictions.
These may initially play a secondary role, but if at some point you want to offer your visitors more, you look into the tube. And later, switching to a self-hosted blog is always associated with a lot of work, stress, and loss of visitors.
With the GDPR, an important argument against free blog platforms has been added since May 25, 2018.
Many providers, including WordPress.com in the free version and Blogspot, can no longer be used in compliance with data protection regulations. This can result in expensive warnings.
What is WordPress?
WordPress (.org) is a free, open-source software that allows you to create a blog easily and quickly. Meanwhile, 38% of all websites worldwide are operated with WordPress, which makes it by far the most widely used platform. You can use themes and plugins to customize them to your liking.
The WordPress.com service is also based on WordPress, with the difference is that it is less flexible, offers fewer functions, and cannot intervene in the source code, which is why I advise against it.
2. Choose the right topic
The question is easy to answer.
Something you are passionate about. Something that you really and genuinely care about. Something you burn for.
- Can you imagine dealing with the topic every day?
- Can you imagine making videos on the subject or writing a book about it?
- Or give lectures about it?
- If you sit down with paper and pen for half an hour, do you come up with 20 ideas for potential articles?
- Do you tell your friends often and a lot about this topic?
If you can answer yes to all or most of the questions, then this is the right topic.
Making money on a topic is also an essential factor, especially if you want to become a full-time blogger.
However, this should always come second because you can earn money in many areas, even more so if you are an expert in your topic and can deliver brilliant content to your readers.
It is also beneficial to find a niche within your topic. You can then use them as a unique selling point for your blog.
Small website multiplication table
Here you can find the most important website terms and their meanings:
- Website: the entirety of all content on a domain
- Website: Subpage of a website
- Homepage: Homepage of a website
- Blog: Website with (mostly) chronological display of articles, often also part of a website
- URL: Complete Internet address that appears in the browser.
- Domain (part of the URL that is marked in red)
- Sub-domain (domain subordinate to a domain)
- Permalink (the part of the URL that comes after the domain)
- Host / Hoster: Service provider who provides the server on which the files and databases for your website are located.
3. Find the blog name and domain
If you want to create your blog, your blog needs a name.
And a domain with the same name. This is where your blog and its articles are later available in the browser (the pink part of the URL):
When choosing a blog name and domain, you should pay attention to the following:
- The shorter the name, the better (preferably under 16 characters).
- It is best to avoid umlauts (ä, ü, ö) or eszett (ß) because the rendering in the domain name is ugly.
- The spelling of the name should be clear to most people.
- The blog name should indicate what your blog is about.
- For a blog, a country’s domain is best (.com and .net are acceptable).
One more word of warning before you get started:
Please don’t make the mistake of spending too much time choosing a name.
Your blog name doesn’t have to be super creative and clever.
A clear and easy-to-remember blog name is preferable to a clever one 99% of the time.
If you find that you no longer like the name after a few weeks, you can always switch to another domain.
3.1 Your own name as a domain?
In some cases, it can make sense to choose your name as the domain for your blog or website.
Especially if you yourself stand in the foreground as an expert or person on your blog, e.g., as a coach, consultant, freelancer, artist, model, or author.
Choosing your name as a domain helps you build a personal brand and has the advantage that you are not restricted to thematically.
However, it is better to choose a fantasy name if:
- You run your blog as a team.
- You want to keep the option open to sell your blog or for online business later.
3.2 Is your domain still available?
You can check very well whether domains are still free for a name or whether you may be infringing trademark rights as a result:
4. Find hosting
Did you find a suitable domain?
Now it’s time to find the right hosting provider.
You can choose two different providers for domains and hosts. The easiest way, however, is to purchase both from a single source.
But be careful:
Don’t make the mistake of going to one of the big mass hosts like IONOS, DomainFactory, Strato, or One.com!
Bulky hosts offer low prices, but in the end, you pay for it. For example, through high downtimes and slow loading times, as my web hosting comparison has shown. Or because customer service lets you down when you need it most.
I’ve been a customer of the hoster webgo since 2016 and couldn’t be happier.
The prices are fair, and the hosting packages are well equipped. The customer service is friendly, competent and answers lightning fast (via live chat within a few minutes).
And so far, I haven’t had a single server failure.
For beginners, I can recommend the CMS Pro web hosting package.
This is a special tariff with a very good price-performance ratio.
It offers 40 GB of storage, an unlimited number of SSD databases, free SSL certificates (an absolute must for your blog!) And an inclusive domain. So everything you need as a beginner to start building a WordPress blog!
As a new customer, you get the first six months free of charge.
5. Install WordPress
Once you have booked your hosting package, you can start installing and setting up WordPress.
The installation should take about half an hour.
The following steps are necessary for this:
- Set up an SSL certificate.
- Create a database.
- Download and unzip WordPress files as a ZIP file.
- wp-config-sample.phpwp-config.phprename to and enter the access data for the database (database name, database user and password).
- Transfer all files to your FTP server with the FileZilla program (in the directory assigned to your domain).
- Go to your blog url and follow the installation instructions.
Here you will find instructions in which I explain all the steps simply and understandably: How to install WordPress in 6 simple steps (including troubleshooting!).
With many screenshots described in the smallest detail for beginners.
At the end of the manual, you will also find a troubleshooting section with common problems and solutions.
6. Configure WordPress correctly
Do you have WordPress installed?
Then it’s now time to design your WordPress blog and configure it correctly.
First, you should do these four things to be able to work optimally with WordPress and not to get into trouble with it later:
6.1. Delete standard plugins (Hello Dolly and Akismet)
WordPress delivered with two pre-installed plugins:
- Akismet (an anti-spam plugin).
- Helly Dolly (a pointless plugin that displays quotes in WordPress).
You should delete them. The former is not in compliance with data protection regulations. The latter is absolutely useless.
To do this, go to Plugins in the sidebar on the left, check the checkbox in front of both plugins and select Delete above:
6.2 Delete sample page and post
In order for content to be displayed on your new website at all, WordPress creates an example page and an example post during installation.
You should delete this demo content (or optionally fill the relevant page or post with reasonable content).
You can find the example post (with the title “Hello World”) under Posts> All Posts :
You can find the example page under Pages> All Pages :
6.3. Set permalinks to post name
The permalinks determine what the URLs of your blog posts look like.
This is problematic for a number of reasons. For one thing, it makes your URLs longer, making them harder to remember. On the other hand, the URL of your post will change every time you change the publication date.
We want to avoid that, so we change the permalink structure under Settings> Permalinks to post name:
Looks nicer doesn’t it?
6.4 Install WordPress plugins
WordPress plugins are used to supplement or change the functions of WordPress.
Plugins are one of the many reasons I love WordPress!
And there are plenty of plugins.
The WordPress repository alone contains over 54,000 free plugins. There are also tens of thousands of free and paid plugins that are offered outside of the repository.
Of course, you don’t need most of them. However, some are required to get the most out of your blog:
- Yoast SEO (to optimize your blog for Google, e.g., meta settings and sitemaps).
- Antispam Bee (for automatic detection of spam comments).
- Shariff Wrapper (for displaying data protection compliant social sharing buttons).
- Updraft Plus (to set up automatic backups).
- Cache Enabler (for caching your website, improves the loading time by up to 10 times!).
Depending on what you intend to do with your blog, you may need additional plugins. You can find a good selection in my article The Best WordPress Plugins.
7. Find a WordPress theme
Once you have made the basic settings for WordPress and installed the most important plugins, the next step is design.
First of all, you should choose a nice theme that you like and that fits your blog topic.
The three themes Twenty Nineteen, Twenty Seventeen, and Twenty Sixteen, are installed by default.
You can find a huge selection of free themes in the WordPress theme directory.
You can do this by going to Design> Themes in the WordPress admin area and clicking on the small Add button above the theme selection or the large plus button. Add new theme in the theme selection:
Then available themes will be displayed directly in WordPress:
To make it easier for you to find the right theme, I have put together a practical preselection for you in my article ingenious WordPress themes for your blog.
8. Create important pages
There are certain pages that every website and blog should have.
- Create an “About Me” page to show your readers who you are and what you can offer them.
- An imprint (legally required provider identification).
- A contact page with a contact form (optional).
- A “Work with me” page (optional if you offer services through your website).
You can create a page by clicking on Pages in the right sidebar in the WordPress admin area.
Then click on Create in the sidebar or on the Create button next to the title of the page overview:
9. Frequently asked questions
Here I have put together the answers to the most frequently asked questions:
9.1 Why WordPress as blog software?
There are a variety of reasons why you should choose WordPress as your blog platform.
Here are the eight most important:
- It’s easy to install.
- The software is completely free to use.
- WordPress hosting is available for a few dollars per month.
- WordPress is extremely well documented. There are thousands of guides on the various WordPress features.
- With 38% of all websites worldwide running on WordPress, there is a huge community of like-minded people. You have a question? No problem. in 99.9% of all cases somebody already had it in front of you and you can simply google the answer.
- WordPress can be changed as desired in the design with ready-made themes and expanded with any conceivable function with plugins.
- It is constantly evolving.
- WordPress is suitable as a CMS (content management system) not only as a basis for a blog, but also as a business website, forum, member area, directory, portfolio and much more.
9.2 is it possible to create a private blog?
Yes, it is possible to create a private and non-public blog that is only accessible to a certain group of people (e.g., family or friends).
For example, this makes sense for a blog about the year abroad, a private travel blog, or an online diary that you want to keep secret from others.
In this case, I recommend creating a blog on WordPress.com (i.e., not hosting it yourself) and then setting it to secret under the privacy settings.
9.3 How much does a blog cost?
If you follow my instructions, you can get by with 5 to 10 € per month for a long time.
In the beginning, you only have costs for domain and hosting.
If you want your blog to grow faster, you can, of course, always invest more money (e.g., for tools, certain WordPress plugins, a premium theme, or online courses).
But that’s not a must.
9.4 Can I also create a blog for free?
Yes, there are ways to blog for free.
But that’s not a good idea.
Especially if you want to earn money with your blog and it is not just for private pleasure.
Why? Here are eight reasons to decide against a free blog platform:
- Nobody provides you with a free blog out of pure charity. Every provider wants to earn money with their platform somehow. Be it through advertisements on your blog, advertising emails, selling user data, or annoying requests to become a premium member.
- Free platforms only offer basic features. This may not be a problem at first. But if your blog grows and you want to expand it or adapt it for yourself, then you’re at a disadvantage.
- Since you are not a paying customer, you will get little to no support.
- We appreciate something more when we pay for it. You are more motivated to achieve your blog goals if you spend a few dollars a month on it.
- If a blog platform goes bankrupt, you may no longer be able to access your data.
- Many free blog platforms, including the largest providers, Blogger.com and WordPress.com, can not be used in compliance with data protection regulations. This means that you can possibly be warned about using such a platform.
- If you blog for a while, you will seek inspiration from other bloggers. You will often see cool functions or designs that you want to have for your blog. The problem? You cannot implement them on your free blog platform.
- Moving to a self-hosted WordPress blog later is very time consuming and annoying. And if you hire someone to move your blog, you are sure to get rid of a few hundred dollars.
These eight reasons couldn’t convince you? Can’t afford $ 5 a month? Or do you know for sure that your blog will remain purely private?
Then take WordPress.com. This is where it’s easiest to move to a self-hosted blog later:
But don’t say I didn’t warn you.
9.5 Why create a blog?
- Make money from home: As a blogger, you can make money from home (or anywhere in the world). I’ve been a full-time blogger for seven years and now have months of five-figure sales. While blogging is time-consuming and hard work, it involves little risk and little up-front cost.
- Become a writer: A blog is a good place to start if you want to become an author. A novel or non-fiction book sells significantly better if you already have an audience.
- Acquiring customers for your company: A blog is a great tool to attract customers to your company (e.g., a coach, consultant, or freelancer). Or to increase the (brand) awareness of your company.
- Selling online courses: A blog is a great way to establish yourself as an expert in a niche and sell online courses to your readers.
- Just write: Even if you want to write, share your life with others, inspire others, or build a community, a blog is an ideal tool.
9.6 What is the best thing to write about?
The success of your blog always depends on your readers:
The more you understand your readers, the more you can offer them.
And the more likely you are to share your blog articles, subscribe to your newsletter, or become customers.
So get to know your readers better.
Find out what problems, fears, worries, and goals they have. Find out what their most burning questions are. Find out what keeps her up at 2 am.
You can do this, for example:
- Read other successful blogs on your topic (including the blog comments).
- Join Facebook groups and forums on your topic.
- See what your readers are looking for on Google (e.g., with the KWFinder or Google Trends).
- Use tools like BuzzSumo or Alltop to find blog articles that are very popular and often shared.
9.7 How do I get visitors?
There are many sources of visitors to your blog, such as:
- Google (and other search engines)
- Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social networks
- Other bloggers and influencers
- References from other websites (e.g., from forums, other blogs, or online magazines)
- Offline marketing (newspaper, television, merchandising, etc.)
For beginners, I recommend Facebook groups or Pinterest. Networking with other bloggers is also extremely important.
You can find more ways to get visitors in my detailed guide, tips, and ideas on how to get your blog known.
9.8 How can I earn money as a blogger?
As a blogger, there are many different ways you can make money, such as:
- Banner advertising (integration of an advertising banner in your own blog. Payment is either a fixed price or per click on the advertising banner)
- Affiliate marketing (integration of so-called affiliate links in the blog, which leads to an online shop. If someone clicks on the link and buys something in the online shop, you receive a commission on the sale).
- Cooperations / sponsored posts (you get paid for publishing an advertising blog or social media post, usually about a specific product or service).
- Selling links to another (as a one-time payment or rental).
- Offer your products (e.g., e-books or online courses).
- VG Wort (something like GEMA for publishers and writers).
- Give lectures or organize conferences.
- Advice, coaching, or other services (a blog is a great way to get customers).
- Collect donations (e.g., via a PayPal donation button).
What opportunities still exist to earn money blogging?
9.9 How much money can I earn as a blogger?
You can make a lot of money with blogging.
We earn five-digit monthly income with our blogs. And we don’t even have to leave the house.
Some bloggers earn even more!
As with any other business, however:
You have to work hard for it. Especially in the early stages, you have to invest a lot of time in your blog and make sacrifices.
Because as a blogger, you won’t be successful overnight.
9.10 Can I blog anonymously?
The imprint requirement, also known as the provider identification requirement, applies.
This means that you have to disclose your name, address, and contact details on your blog.
This also applies if your blog is just a hobby and you don’t make any money from it. The BMJV (Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection) writes in its guideline on the imprint obligation:
Practically everyone who has an online offer must comply with the provider identification requirement. Something different only applies to offers that serve exclusively private or family purposes and that have no effect on the market. If in doubt, you should assume that the provider identification requirement exists.
Unfortunately, this cannot be avoided.
However, you can blog fairly anonymously if you:
- Not mentioning your full name anywhere else on the website.
This will at least prevent someone from finding your blog when they are googling your name.
9.11 What if I want to start two or three blogs?
With the webgo CMS Pro hosting package I recommend, you can easily host two or more WordPress blogs simultaneously.
With 40GB, it offers enough storage space, and you can create as many databases, domains, and email addresses as you want.
However, I recommend that you focus on one blog at a time and don’t start a new one until the first one goes well.
9.12 Am I then directly online with my blog?
Yes, when you create a WordPress blog, you are directly online.
But to calm you down:
That doesn’t mean that hundreds or thousands of visitors will come to your blog. Being online does not automatically mean being visible.
Nobody will come to your blog at first as long as nobody knows your website address/domain and enters it directly into the address line in the browser.
You can also set in WordPress under Settings> Reading that your blog should not be included in search engines.
So you can z. For example, prevent someone from finding your blog for the time being when they enter your name on Google (if you mention it on your blog).
By the way, you can also set the checkmark during the installation process:
One more way:
With the Under Construction plugin, you can display a construction site page. This is only displayed to normal visitors, while you, as the admin, can work on your blog in peace. And when your design is ready, you can simply switch off the construction site page.
9.13 Should I offer my blog in multiple languages?
It makes perfect sense to have a blog in multiple languages because this can make your target group significantly larger.
I recommend that you start with a language and concentrate on it. Because you have to remember that if you have two or three languages, you have to invest two or three times as much time in getting your blog known. Apart from the translation work.
A rule of thumb:
Do not add a language until you are already successful with a language.
What you should also consider with a multilingual blog:
The location of the host and the setup.
If you are addressing Americans with your blog, then ideally, your server should also be in the USA. An alternative is to use a CDN (Content Delivery Network) with servers worldwide, such as Cloudflare or KeyCDN. With that, you could also take a host.
Technically, you can use multilingualism, e.g., implement with a multisite installation in combination with the paid plugin WPML:
As a beginner, however, I would advise against this rather complex undertaking for the time being.
9.14 What do I have to consider with regard to the GDPR for my blog?
The GDPR is not as bad as it sounds!
When creating a new WordPress blog, here’s what you should do:
- Prevent IP addresses from being saved by commentators (just install the Remove IP plugin).
- Install an SSL certificate (how to do this is already included in my installation instructions for WordPress).
- Conclude an AV contract with your hosting provider ( e.g., with a few clicks in the customer area on webgo).
- Create a page with a data protection declaration (you can create it for free with the data protection generator from Dr. Schwenke)
- Remove Gravate with the WP User Avatar plugin and replace it with your own picture.
- Remove the externally loaded emoji script (just install the Disable Emojis plugin).
- You can integrate GDPR-compliant sharing buttons with the Shariff Wrapper plug-in.
- You can fight spam comments with Antispam Bee without personal data being processed by commentators.
- In this guide, you will find out how to integrate YouTube videos as data-sparingly as possible.
- Avoid embeds and embed blocks in the new Gutenberg editor (i.e., the automatic insertion of external content by WordPress, e.g., by entering a URL).
This does not offer you one hundred percent legal security (and is also difficult due to the still uncertain legal situation). But, If you implemented these measures, you are probably better positioned with your new blog in terms of data protection.
You can find more information about the GDPR in my GDPR checklist, in my overview of WordPress plugins & GDPR, and the category GDPR & data protection here on the blog.
9.15 How long should a blog article be on average?
The general rule:
Usually, longer is better.
However, it always depends on the type, topic, and purpose of the blog article.
If you write advice articles like me, I recommend writing at least 1,000 words and giving as many details and tips as possible. This will make it easier to find on Google (this guide has over 4,000 words).
Articles that should be well received on Facebook, Twitter, and Co., on the other hand, can be a bit shorter and should not exceed 1,500 words.
And never forget:
There’s no point when quantity comes at the expense of quality. Don’t stretch your blog articles just to get a certain number of words.
10. 7 tips for blogging successfully
Have you successfully set up your blog?
Here are some useful tips to get you started:
Tip # 1: Don’t just rely on one source of income or visitors!
The internet is fast moving. If you want to be sustainably successful as a blogger, you first have to diversify and second, go with the flow.
A channel that has brought a lot of visitors to your site today can wane again tomorrow. Google and Facebook e.g. like to change their algorithms.
What applies to visitors also applies to sources of income. Google AdSense e.g. does not bring the same income today as it did 3 years ago, because many more users have installed AdBlocker and generally do not click on banner advertisements as often.
Native advertising, e.g. in the form of sponsored posts are currently popular with companies as advertising, but sooner or later prices will fall and the hype will be over.
Tip # 2: don’t install too many plugins!
It’s great to be able to add numerous WordPress plugins to your blog.
But the excessive use of plugins creates incompatibilities and makes WordPress slower and more unstable.
So think about which plugins you really need for blogging!
Tip # 3: Create an editorial plan for blogging
It saves you a lot of work to create an editorial plan in which you record ideas in advance and plan your posts.
This way you can make sure that you publish new blog articles regularly, that you avoid long blog breaks, and that you always know what to write about (and that you don’t have to brainstorm every time you want to write a blog article).
A tool that can be used for this is e.g. Trello.
Tip # 4: time is money!
If you’re just starting, you’ll be happy about every little collaboration request, and you’re ready to write about anything, even if you only get one product for free.
Over time, however, you will find that this is no longer enough and that your time is worth more than a free product sample.
Do not sell yourself undervalue, and do not let yourself be taken advantage of by brazen companies!
Tip # 5: Be yourself and stay tuned!
Always be true to yourself and stick to your spelling.
There is no point in emulating someone because nobody would read blogs anymore if they were all the same.
Even if you are not initially convinced of your blog articles:
Your writing style will improve. And the more you write, the more likely it is to improve.
Tip # 6: Start keyword research early
Keyword research is very important, so don’t start after 40 blog articles!
In this way, you ensure that you get more visitors via Google and do not write articles that nobody is interested in or look at as soon as they land on the second page of your blog, but are still read regularly months after publication.
A good place to start is with my ultimate keyword research guide.
Tip # 7: Build an email list early on
Start building an email list and think about what you can offer people as a freebie for subscribing to your newsletter (it also helps if you position yourself and don’t write about many different topics).
An email list makes your readers more attached to your blog than if they are fans or followers of your social media channels.