Updated on: 21th September 2017

how to start a blog in 15 minutes guide

shiv shenoy blog

Hello!

I’m Shiv Shenoy.

Thank you for stopping by. Hope you are having a great day. If not, I intend to make your day. πŸ™‚

I have been blogging since 2008, taking to blogging full-time since 2012. In my previous life, I was a Software Engineer, Systems Architect, and Program Manager working with startups and enterprise companies, building their software products.

I enjoyed my job to the hilt, but I didn’t have a life outside of my 24×7 work schedule. And it took a toll on my health, primarily.

Subsequently, owing to a moment of clarity during a sleepless night on a hospital bed, I quit the corporate rat race and became an Online Entrepreneur.

While the beginning was not great, now I earn much more than a top rated software professional’s salary, as passive income.

Currently, I manage two commercially successful blogs in two separate niches. I self-publish books and coach people on how to start a professional blog on the sides while working full-time. I enjoy helping people reach their goals and while doing so I immensely enjoy the freedom of time, location, and money – what I call as The Freedom Trinity.

I update this guide regularly to keep it up-to-date, so you get to see the latest approach to create your professional blog, in the simplest possible way.

What you will learn in this guide

β€œWhy do I need a blog?”
β€œIs it hard to start a blog?”
How does a blog work?
How to start a blog on WordPress in 5 simple steps
– Step 1: How to Choose a Perfect Blogging Software
– Step 2: How to Get Best Hosting plan and Free Domain
– Step 3: How to Install WordPress (for Free) and a Free Theme
– Step 4: How to Add Security, Social, and Marketing Elements
– Step 5: How to Get Your Own Domain-Based Email Address
The Video Guide
Special Bonus

Let me show you how to create a blog from the ground up, I invite you to follow along with me and by the time you are done with this guide, you will have your own, professional blog in place.

All in 15 minutes!

To show that this can indeed be done in 15 minutes, I have included a timed video at the end of this guide where I build a brand new blog from the ground up!

And for some reason, you feel you are stuck, or even hard-pressed for time, you can reach me here or hit me up on Skype (click on the icon below) and I’d be happy to help.

This is a step-by-step visual guide where I walk you through every necessary step required to build your professional blog from the ground up.

“WHY DO I NEED A BLOG?”

Let me guess. If you are on this page, you are looking to do one or more of the following –

  • Share your special knowledge with the world
  • As a business owner, share your message with your colleagues and employees
  • Build the brand of your business by publishing helpful content for your potential customers (leads), and convert them into paying customers
  • As an author, grow your tribe. (I’ve published 20+ books on Amazon and on my blogs, so if you need any help with authoring, publishing or marketing I would be happy to help)
  • Gain credibility and influence in your field. For instance, you may be a software developer working on a specific technology and want to build credibility by writing technical articles on your blog. A perfect point of influence on your resume!
  • Earn passive income from your blog (this guide gives you the BEST possible start)
  • You may even be looking to learn blogging so that you can teach it to your childrenbecause the process of blogging teaches essential skills required for students – researching information on the Internet, analyzing information collected from various sources, and then putting it together in their own words. This skill is priceless not only during their student life, but even beyond it.

Whatever is your reason, this reason is your blog’s objective.

Writtent reveals that 81% of U.S. online consumers trust information and advice from blogs.

To create a blog, it does not matter whether you have identified the objective or not. However, knowing it does help to grow the blog in a way to achieve it.

Hence, if for some reason your blog’s objective is not clear, take a moment and think about it now. It is okay to have multiple objectives too.

I’m not sure if you noticed, but just about everyone stands to gain by having their own blog, irrespective of what they do.

  • A dentist can build credibility and attract more patients locally by sharing oral hygiene tips on her blog.
  • A freelancer can get more projects by showcasing her work in her field through a blog.
  • A social worker can get more opportunities by educating people and philanthropists about her cause.
  • The owner of a roof repair business can attract more customers simply by writing about the long-term pains and associated costs of not maintaining roof of their homes.

Pretty much anyone can benefit by having their own blog.

According to NielsenSocial, 6.7 million people publish blogs on blogging websites, and another 12 million write blogs using their social networks.

“SHIV, IS IT HARD TO START A BLOG?”

A blog can be created in a few minutes. I will show how in a bit.

But what you must know is that there is more to it than just creating the blog. Although this is easy, most people completely miss it and put their blog to risk.

Let us look at these crucial areas first,

Your blog needs to be secured, or ‘hardened’

The last thing you want is for an automated script, or some hacker to take control of your blog and/or simply deface it.

There are several ways of compromising a blog using techniques such as denial of service and brute force attack. Your blog needs to be set up in a way that it will push back any such attempts, keeping your blog safe.

Your blog needs to have the right marketing elements

…right from the beginning.

Your blog is one among millions of blogs out there, and you need to give it a chance to get itself in front of your audience.

You need to include ways for people to share your blog pages and posts on social networks or with their friends directly.

You need to provide ways for them to reach you.

And most importantly, you need to let them know about you – the face behind the blog. The more they know you and WHY you started the blog, more engagement you can expect them with the blog and yourself.

Your blog needs to help you understand your reader better

  • Which pages are visited more by your reader?
  • Which keywords are they using to search in the Google and landing on your blog posts?
  • Where are your readers from?
  • Which pages are they liking the least?

Questions like these help you understand more about your reader so that you can create content that helps them solve their problem, or help them reach a goal.

And you need a way to find answers to these questions built right into your blog.

Right from the beginning.

These elements, along with a good hosting platform are what make your blog a professional blog.

Let me tell you that it is very simple to set your blog up in a way that it addresses all the above points. And I am going to teach you how to do it in this guide.

What’s more, if you cannot do it for some reason, I will be happy to do it for you – at my cost. More on this in a bit.

If you are curious of sorts, you’d want to know…

HOW DOES A BLOG WORK?

If you don’t want to know this, simply skip to the next section. πŸ™‚

Very briefly, this is how it works.

You have a physical server that takes care of hosting your blogging software. Some call this blogging software as Content Management System, or CMS.The company that ‘hosts’ these servers on their infrastructure is called as ‘hosting provider’.

It is like building a strong and safe house.

Consider the hosting server as the foundation of a house, and the blogging software as the structure that holds the house together and gives it the much-needed stability.

On top of the blogging software sits another piece of software called a ‘theme’. A theme is what decides the look and feel of your blog – the color, the font, the menus, and so on. Yes, more like the walls in the house, and their texture and color.

Then come the blog posts and pages you write (Contact page, About-Me page, Disclaimer page, Product review page and so on). These are like the furniture, lighting fixtures, bath fittings and so on – those things that make your house livable. That turns your house into a cozy home.

Ah, an important thing we missed. Your home needs an address, right? That would be your domain name. Something like www.yourblogname.com

Here’s a simple diagram that explains the ‘stack’.

If you took time to read, great, you now know what you need to build your blog –

  • a hosting provider,
  • a blogging software,
  • a blog theme,
  • and a domain name!

Well, you can get most of these for FREE!. I will help you figure these out in a bit. And they are quite easy to set up as well.

HOW TO START A BLOG ON WORDPRESS IN 5 SIMPLE STEPS

It takes just 5 simple steps to set up your professional blog. Let us look at them.

Step 1: Choose a Blogging Software

This is also called Content Management System. A software that can do the complex behind-the-scenes work of all that happens when you publish a blog post, or when people start navigating through your blog.

There are many blogging software available and I highly recommend WordPress.

I recommend WordPress for 3 reasons.

Reason 1: WordPress is one of the easiest and well-written blogging software out there.

WordPress, being an open source project, is supported by several hundreds of software developers around the world. Google (the search engine) loves the way it is coded, which in turn helps your blog posts get into higher search rankings. There are of course other factors that influence search rankings and the well-written code is one of them.

Reason 2: WordPress powers 28% of the Internet!

New York Observer, New York Post, TED, Thought Catalog, Williams, USA Today, CNN, Fortune.com, TIME.com, National Post, Spotify, TechCrunch, CBS Local, NBC all use WordPress.

As a CMS (content management system), WordPress trumps all the rest (image courtesy: inheritx.com) –

Reason 3: WordPress is open-source and FREE!

Since this is free, most of the hosting providers have a way for you to install WordPress (most of them have a one-click script to do this) as soon as you buy hosting plan.

There are two options you need to know about WordPress hosted blogs.

Option 1. You can get your blog on WordPress hosted server.

The upside of this option is that your blog is free.

The downside (and a huge one) is that your blog name is always a sub-domain of WordPress, and this pretty much takes away your control over the blog. Not to mention, this is a not-so-positive signal as far as your blog/online reputation is concerned.

You do this on wordpress.com site. And the site you created will have a domain name (the thing your readers type into the browser to reach your blog) as yourblogname.wordpress.com – not very authentic is it?

Option 2. You can self-host your blog (don’t let the word ‘self-host’ scare you, it is very simple!)

The upside is that you get your OWN domain name and this screams your credibility and authority in your niche.

Plus, you have 100% control over how you want to build your blog. This is an essential part of growing your blog to achieve your blog’s objectives.

The downside is that this is a paid option. In reality, you have everything to gain by self-hosting your blog. Also, since you are using this guide, pretty much everything else required for building your professional blog comes at no cost to you. πŸ™‚

This guide focuses on setting up a professional blog on the self-hosted, WordPress based platform.

Step 2: Get a Hosting plan and Domain

There are many hosting providers in the market. Which one do you choose to go with?

That depends on some research. Here are 3 criteria I used to do my research –

  1. Credibility in the market
  2. Customer support
  3. Quality of service and Up-time (the duration your blog is up and running over a given period of time)

In the all these parameters the company Bluehost hit the top of the list.

I have been with Bluehost right from my very first blog. All my business blogs, blogs of my family, clients and coaching students are all hosted on Bluehost.

Last time I checked it hosts over 2 million websites on the Internet.

I encourage you to do your own research, and if you need my recommendation – I highly recommend Bluehost.

Disclosure: I’m very happy with Bluehost service and support. The good people on Bluehost Customer Support team have helped me and my clients innumerable times with our sites. The link I provide on this page is an affiliate link. This means that when you purchase your hosting plan by clicking on my link below, Bluehost pays me a small commission – at no additional cost to you.Β In fact, Bluehost has been kind enough to offer you a special discount when you buy hosting plan through my affiliate link. What’s more, you get your domain name for free as well! Moreover, this allows me to support you and even lend my team to you incase you need me to set up your blog.

Let’s do this now.

1. Click here to go to discounted hosting plan pricing table (opens in a new browser window)Β 

Select hosting plan2. Choose the plan you need.

It is perfectly okay to choose the Basic plan – this allows you to host one blog, and gives you 50GB of server space – which is more than enough. You can always upgrade once your blog grows and if it is your aim, earns you loads of passive income.

3. Enter your domain name.

The domain name is what your readers type into the browser to find your blog. The domain name of this site is www.mypassiveincomeeducation.com, and that of my personal site is www.shivshenoy.com

There are two broad schools of thought when it comes to choosing a domain name for your blog.

First one is to choose your domain name based on your niche (or blog topic).

For instance, the name of this blog is mypassiveincomeeducation.com – so the idea for this blog was always to share educational information related to earning passive income online.

This is usually an approach taken by bloggers once they have established themselves, I’ll tell you the reason in a second.

The second option is to choose your domain name based on YOUR name.

If this is your very first blog, I highly recommend you go with this option.

There are two strong reasons for this –

1. Build your brand.

Your blog’s objective is directly related to you. If your blog’s objective is to earn passive income, or to build credibility, or to increase your sphere of influence, or to gain more projects as a freelancer, or to spread your message to the world – these are all about YOU.

When your blog has your name and face on it, your readers identify much better with it and engage more quickly. This builds your credibility and your brand. And this helps achieve your blog’s objective.

2. Claim your piece of Internet real estate.

Take a moment and Google your name in the format – firstnamelastname.com – chances are it is available. If it is, you are lucky! Chances are, there are hundreds if not more, people with the same name as you. But only one person can own the domain on your name, right? That is your real estate on the Internet.

Here are few points to consider while deciding your domain name –

  • Get only .com extension. Simply run a google search for any phrase and look at the domain extension of results on the first page. Chances are, all of them end with .com – this should be a convincing proof!
  • Avoid adding a dash (or hyphen) in the domain name. Again, googling and looking at results should show that majority of domains do not have dashes in them. Also, it makes it easy to remember.
  • If your named domain is already taken, try a variation. Some people get it on thie given-name. For instance, a domain on my complete name is hard to remember (shivshankershenoy.com), hence I opted for a domain name based on the name I’m addressed by – shivshenoy.com
  • And of course, keep your domain name easy to remember.

Now it is time to choose your domain name, and get it for FREE!

Enter your domain name into the ‘new domain’ field. Do not enter .com, as you can see it is already selected in the drop-down, as shown in the image below –

Enter domain name

4. Enter your information, choose a hosting package

You can choose the hosting plan for 1 year, 3 year, or 5 years and more. Keep in mind that you will get the discounted price for whichever duration you choose now.

Enter account info

Should I choose extras under ‘Package information’?

You don’t need to. I would choose just the privacy protection if I don’t want my contact details to be posted on hosting directory. If you choose to opt for privacy protection you won’t expect marketing calls and messages from companies offering you their website services.

Simple enough.

Go ahead and enter the payment information, click on the terms and conditions check-box, and Submit the page.

Congratulations, you now have your hosting plan and domain name in place!

You will receive emails from Bluehost with login details as soon as you are through with your purchase flow.

Step 3: Install WordPress and a Theme

Things are pretty simple from here onwards, and even a newbie or someone with absolutely no technical knowledge can do.

However, if you are hard-pressed for time, just reach out to me and I’ll get my team to set this up for you (at my cost). You can either write to me or Skype me from the bottom of this guide.

WordPress software is a single click installation job and Bluehost has refined their registration steps to do this for you automatically!

However, you need to choose a theme and set it up.

Let’s do this now.

As soon as you are done with payment step, you will get to log into your hosting account dashboard.

So, continuing from the previous steps..

5. Create your secure password.

You need a secure password to log into your Bluehost dashboard (this is also called as ‘cPanel login’).

Choose Password

Ideally, keep the password over 10 characters – include at least one uppercase letter, one numeric digit, and one special character like ! or % or * or )

Enter Password

Enter your password, and make a note of it somewhere safe.

You will see the login screen once you click on Next button.

6. Now it is time to choose a theme!

This is exciting, the options you have are unlimited. While there are a zillion free themes and a zillion paid themes, I would suggest starting off with a free theme. The pages and posts you create will be available even if you change the theme.

Once you grow familiarity of working with WordPress dashboard (from where you will create blog posts) you can choose to go for a paid theme.

Once you clicked on the Login button in the previous flow, you land on the WordPress dashboard (no worries, you would receive an email from Bluehost with details of this. You simply hit www.yourdomanname.com/wp-admin/ to log in again to your WordPress dashboard in future).

Pick a Theme

Spend some time looking at the themes and once you decide on the one you like, hover the mouse on it, click on Install button, followed by the Activate button.

Simply go through the flow and complete it.

You have your blog up and running!

Step 4: Add Security, Social, and Marketing Elements

You can enhance the functionality of your blog by using ‘plugins’. A Plugin is a piece of tested code that adds a particular functionality to your blog by seamlessly integrating with blog’s code.

Note – To use a plugin you do NOT need to know anything about coding. No technical knowledge is needed. All you do is choose the right plugin, install it and configure it. It is very intuitive. Plugins are one of the reasons why WordPress is so widely accepted CMS in the world today.

Let us do this now.

1. First, secure your blog against hackers

Just as a newborn child is most vulnerable, similarly as soon as it is created your blog has the highest risk of being attacked by script-kiddies, automated hacking scripts, or even some hackers practicing their ‘skill’.

So the first thing you do is to ‘harden’ your blog.

I recommend two best plugins to install on your blog for this.

  • iThemes Security
  • Wordfence Security

Both the plugins are available for FREE. They add a complementary set of security features to your blog and they can be configured with ease.

You go to your WordPress dashboard, click on Plugins > Add New side menu option, type in the plugin name, click Install button and then click Activate button. You do this for one plugin at a time.

When you do this you will notice additional menus on the left sidebar. ‘Security’ for iThemes plugin and ‘Wordfence’ for Wordfence security (as shown in the image below). Simply click on each and go through the setup options.

 

security plugins

2. Add marketing and analytical features to your blog

As you might have guessed, this too is done using a plugin. The plugin I’ll suggest is going to help you do much more than just social sharing.

The plugin we need is called Sumo Me.

You need to create a free account with them for this to work. Once you install the plugin (same way as you installed the security plugins) you will see a registration dialog on the WordPress dashboard homepage. Just follow the instructions.

Once the registration is complete, you will see a vertical menu on the right edge of your blog.

From this menu you will have access to multiple apps in Sumo Me. I will recommend enabling just 4 of them.

  • SOCIAL > Share
  • ANALYTICS > Google Analytics, Heat Maps, Content Analytics

The image below shows Sumo Me dashboard that allows you to choose and install available apps –

sumo apps

Now let us see what each one of them do –

  • The Social app enables social share buttons on each blog post and page of your blog. You can configure which social network specific buttons you want to enable. Don’t go overboard. Buttons for Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and Pinterest are most commonly used.
  • Heat Maps app shows you which parts of the post or page are clicked by your readers. This is useful if you want to track whether your readers are clicking on a button or advertising banner on your page. Keep in mind that you need to enable this feature on a page that you want to track user clicks.
  • Content Analytics app shows how far down the page have your readers scrolled. This is useful for you to validate whether your writing is engaging enough for the reader to go all the way to the end of the page. Again, you need to enable this feature on a page you want to track.
  • Google Analytics app helps you see how your readers behave on your blog. Things such as which of your pages are most popular, which are least popular, which keywords or phrases people search in Google and land on your blog, and so on. To enable this you have to create a free Google Analytics account and enter your Google Analytics Id into this app.

Well, some of these are advanced features of a professional blog, but by setting them upfront on your blog you get a distinct advantage to learn more about your readers and their behavior. This, in turn, helps you achieve your blog objectives sooner!

Step 5: Get Your Own Domain-Based Email Address

People tend to spend money with someone that they trust. And trust comes from credibility.

Having your own domain-based email is the first step to building your brand. A domain-based email address not only establishes your credibility, it also brings in new readers to your blog.

I mean, if you received an email from [email protected], chances are you will want to see what is there on tomhanks.com and hit up the website.

Best thing is that you get your domain based email for FREE.

Let’s do this now.

Log into your bluehost.com dashboard (remember, we also refer to this as ‘cPanel login’).

Click on Email option on the left side menu and enter your email address. The extension will always be your domain name. I have mine as [email protected] (where shivshenoy.com is my domain). You can have [email protected] or [email protected] or something else that you would like.

If you chose the Basic hosting package, you can create up to 5 email addresses, and more if you chose higher packages.

create domain email

That’s it my friend, your professional blog is ready!

THE VIDEO GUIDE

As promised in the beginning, here’s the video guide of the whole flow. You can follow the steps by pausing whenever you need.

Click the link to start the flow >> http://www.mypassiveincomeeducation.com/bluehost-discount

SPECIAL BONUS

I want to help you further to build your passive income from your blog. Here is what you need to do.

1. Join my free passive income facebook page.

2. As soon as you create your blog from this guide, please reach out to me to get a chance to get free access to my upcoming course about earning money by publishing non-fiction books on Amazon. 3 randomly selected people every month will get access to this course.

Earning passive income by publishing non-fiction books on Amazon is easier than you think.

I have published 17 books on Amazon (few more on my blogs), some of which have hit Best Seller #1 position.

With this I have devised a simple formula to earn passive income from non-fiction books on Amazon. In the course I will also teach my method to write a non-fiction book in just one weekend AND how to get it to Best Seller #1 position!

Help Me Improve This Guide

I hope you find this step-by-step guide to create the blog useful. You can help me improve this further by taking this 2 minutes (just 3 questions) survey.

Thank you!

Click to take the survey (opens in a new browser window).

Thank you!

shiv shenoy blogAgain, if you need any help with implementing the steps in this guide, reach out to me here or click the Skype button below and send me your message.

To your success,

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