start a wordpress blog

How To Start A Successful Blog In 2018: A Complete Step-by-Step Beginners Guide

Ready to start your first blog? Follow along in our step-by-step tutorial.


In this guide, I’m going to show you how to start a money-making blog with just a few dollars a month. Blogging is what allowed me to quit my job and work full-time from home working on projects I’m passionate about. It’s truly passive income, meaning it makes money 365 days of the year, without requiring me to be there all the time. It’s allowed me to make a lot of great connections with other bloggers, and professionals in the industry. And it all started with putting up my first blog. And you can do the same by following along in this step-by-step guide.

Click here to get started, then follow along the steps below.

Why start a blog?

Growing a blog takes a lot of time and hard work. Why would you want to invest hours and hours of your time to starting a new blog from scratch, then growing it? What’s the point? What’s the end goal?

In 2014, I quit my job as an SEO specialist at a local marketing agency in my city to pursue blogging full-time. I had been there exactly 12 months. The ENTIRE time I was there, I was just dreaming of the day I got to quit my job and work for myself full time.

However, I wanted to work for myself in a specific way. I didn’t want to start a brick and mortar business. That sounded awful from what I heard from other people in those businesses. They require you to show up to work for more than 8 hours per day, you’re unprofitable for the first few years in business, and you’ll literally have no free time to do anything else but work on your business.

For me, that sounded like a nightmare. Worse than being at a comfortable day job where I got to learn SEO everyday.

Instead, I dreamed of a true lifestyle business. One where I could work when and where I wanted to. One that didn’t require me to trade my hours for dollars. And one that could be grown into a large 6 or 7 figure business.

And the best form of that and meets every criteria by building a business around blogging.

I’ve now been blogging full-time for 5 consecutive years. 4/5 of those years, my blogs surpassed $100,000 in earnings.

And because of it, I’m able to work when and where I want. The business makes money whether I’m present or not. And, I’m able to choose projects that I actually want to work on. It’s the ideal business and lifestyle for me.

If you want to build a similar business for yourself, then I put together this step-by-step guide for you on how to get started.

Follow along, and let’s begin your blogging journey!

Step 0: Getting Started

To start a blog, there are 2 things you need:

1. A domain name.
2. Website hosting.

If you’re just starting out and want to put up a blog for cheap, then you’ll want to use Bluehost hosting. They offer the cheapest plan, while still offering reliable, fast web hosting. In fact, it’s the hosting company that I used when I built my first few blogs.

It’s easy to use, they offer great technical support, WordPress is free to install, AND you get a free domain name.

Click here to start a blog on WordPress then use the steps below to follow along the next few steps.

First, click on the big “Get Started Now” button

Then, choose the Basic Plan.

Step 1: Choose Your Domain Name

The next step is to decide what you want your domain name to be. Your domain name is your web address (ex. RANKXL.COM is my domain name).

When you setup your blog with Bluehost, they give you a free domain. That’s awesome because then you won’t have to go out and purchase it separately, which costs about $10 to $15/year.

Enter it in, and hit “Next”.

Quick tips on selecting a domain name:

  • Use .com when possible. It’s more commonly used. If it’s taken, .net and .org are fine as well.
  • Make your domain catchy, memorable, and most importantly easy to share.
  • I like to avoid hyphens or numbers, as it’s difficult to remember or share.

Step 2: Enter Your Account Details And Select Your Plan

Finally, on the next screen, enter in your account details. Make sure you use a valid email address since this is where your login information will be sent.

Next, choose your plan

Under Package Information, select your Account Plan based on how far in advance you want to pay for. The best value is if you pay for 36 months in advance.

I don’t suggest going with the monthly plan because it’s more expensive, and it’s just a hassle to have to remind yourself to pay your hosting bill every single month.

You don’t need the Site Backup or SiteLock Security features.

After that, just enter in your payment details and click Submit at the bottom of the page.

Your domain and hosting are now registered 🙂

Skip the upgrades & special offers
Once you hit submit, you’ll be asked if you want to add any upgrades or special offers. You can just skip them by clicking “no thanks” at the bottom of the screen.

Confirmation emails
Once you complete the setup process, you will be sent multiple emails. If you don’t see them in your inbox, check your spam folder. It’s important to locate them because your login information is included.

Activate your domain
In one of the welcome emails, you need to activate your domain (if you chose a new one). Simply open the email and click the button inside to complete the activation process.

Choose a password
At the end of your purchase, you’ll be welcomed and asked to choose a password. Just click the “Create your password” button to choose a secure password.

Step 3: Install WordPress On Bluehost

The next step is to install WordPress on your blog. Bluehost makes this step extremely simple and quick.

In the past, you had to go through something called a cpanel in order to install WordPress. It was a little technical, and it confused a lot of people.

So Bluehost just made it a lot easier and got rid of a bunch of steps

It’s not easier than ever.

Once you setup your password, you’ll be taken to a screen that looks like this:

You can choose a theme depending on what you want your site to look like. You can always change themes later so no need to spend days pondering over what’s the best one!

Once you do, you’ll be shown this screen:

Choose “Business”.

And then finally you’ll be taken to this page:

After that, you’re done!

Go to your blog and you’ll see that WordPress has been installed, and you’re ready to go.

You can log into the admin area of your blog anytime using the URL:

From here, you can start writing your first blog post.

But before we do that, we want to do one more thing first.

Step 4: Choosing a WordPress theme

Some people say design doesn’t matter, but I think design matters A LOT.

People will make a first impression of your blog as soon as they land on it, before they even read a single word.

With WordPress, you have two options:
1. Stay with a free WordPress theme.
2. Buy a premium theme.

If you don’t feel like investing any money into a premium theme, it’s not the end of the world to use a free theme. However, if at all possible, I recommend getting a premium theme.

Premium themes have better design, cleaner code, more features, and helps you stand out from the sea of other blogs on the internet.

Keep in mind that 90% of successful blogs use a premium theme. It will cost you about $50, but it’s an investment worth making.

On RankXL, I use a custom designed theme to stand out even more. That’s because RankXL is a profitable business that I want to invest more money into. Although I coded it myself, to hire a developer to do it for me, it would have cost me over 5 grand.

What’s the best premium WordPress theme?

I used to have a lot of themes here from a lot of different companies. But after trying out a bunch of themes, I now only recommend MyThemeShop. Their themes are by far the best in the industry for building a clean, professional looking blog.

Click here to view themes from MyThemeShop

Choose the one that you want your blog to look like. There is no “best” theme. All of them are great, the one you choose depends on your preference in design and layout.

What’s Next?

Congratulations! You now have a live WordPress blog up and running.

Now, it’s time to get started building it up, growing it out, and turning it into a business.

Let’s learn how to build content, traffic, and make your first $1000.

Check out my 3-part series on how to build a powerful authority blog in any industry.