I have written a lot of posts about blogging, including my Beginner Blogging series, which includes tips for setting goals for your blog, finding more readers, and making money blogging. I have not, however, written a step-by-step procedural for how to actually start a blog. Until now.
Welcome to part one of How to Start a Blog. This week you will learn how to start a blog using one of the most popular and free blogging tools available: Blogger. In week two I will do the same thing with WordPress.com, another free option. And finally, in week three, I will tell you out to start a self-hosted blog using WordPress.org.
How to Start a Blog, Part 1: Blogger
Blogger is a free, easy to understand and navigate, blogging platform. It is great for beginners because it is very user-friendly and gives you a lot of options for freedom of expression. It is owned by Google, so for most purposes you will log into your Google account before you start. If you don’t already have an account, you will have the option to create one on the Blogger homepage.
Let’s get started! Navigate over to the Blogger homepage. Sign in or create your Google account, then click “New Blog.”
The next screen will ask you to select a name and an address for your new blog. With the free version of Blogger, your website address will be yourblogname.blogspot.com. Enter the website address that you want and Blogger will check to see if it’s available. After you’ve started your blog, you can purchase your own domain name and use it for your free Blogger account. It costs about $10 a year and is well worth it. But in the meantime, go ahead and start with your Blogspot domain.
You will next choose a template for your blog. Don’t panic about this, you can change it later. Just scroll through the options and pick one that appeals to you.
Then click “Create Blog.”
The next screen will give you the option of finding (and purchasing) your own domain name. You can do this now or later. Here are the directions if you choose to do it later.
Your next click will take you to your Dashboard. It will give you an overview of your blog and links for everything that you need to start writing and publishing your own posts. Let’s start from the top, which is New Post.
When you open the New Post window, you will see that it looks like any document page. After you’ve entered your title, click down to the compose window and start writing. It works like a basic text editor, where you have options for font size and color, paragraph justification, list options, and spell checking.
You can also add photos, videos, or links to other websites.
Save your work as you go. You can preview your post by clicking the “preview” button. Then, when you’re happy with your post, click the “Publish” button. Don’t forget to proofread! In the sidebar, you will find options for how to treat comments (which will override your general comment preferences (see below)), scheduling your post to publish later, seeing or changing your permalink, which is the address for your post. You can also add labels (tags) to your post.
Now let’s go back to your dashboard and check out more options. First save any changes and click “Close.” Now when you see your dashboard you will see your first post!
Navigate to the left sidebar and click “Pages.” It will say, “there are no pages,” so let’s make one! Click “Create a New Page.”
Your Page screen will look much like your Post screen. Here you can make the permanent pages that can tell people about yourself and your blog. I’d suggest making an “About” page first. Here are some tips.
You can add photos, videos, links, and adjust comment preferences, just like you can on your “Posts” page. When you’re happy with your page, you can save, preview, and publish when you’re ready.
Go back to your dashboard and you will see your page. Now let’s look at some of the other options in the sidebar.
“Comments” will show the comments for your post and pages. “Google+” will give you options for connecting your new blog to your Google Plus account. “Stats” will show you pageviews and other data about your blog, including popular posts and where your readers came from.
We will not be addressing “Earnings” in this post, but it is a link to join Google Adsense, which is one way that you can make money with your blog. “Campaigns” gives you options for advertising with Google Adwords.
“Layout” will give you some options to change up the look of your blog and add “gadgets.” Use gadgets to add a variety of functional gizmos to your blog, like social media follow icons, recent posts lists, or a list of your static pages. You can also add your own html or text to gadgets to get even more creative with your sidebars and headers.
In the “Layout” screen, you can also move your gadgets, headers, and other items around the page by clicking and dragging to where you like them. You can preview the result and when you are satisfied, click “Save Arrangement.”
Selecting “Template” will give you the choice of a variety of different templates for your new blog. Play around until you find something that you like. You can also change color schemes and basic fonts for your theme. Each time you click one of the templates it will preview what your blog will look like, including both computer and mobile versions. You can click the “customize” button to make adjustments to your layout.
Hint: Please feel free to be creative, but remember that readers naturally prefer to read black (or dark) print on white (or light) background.
And finally, select “Settings” to select your preferences for privacy, posts, comments, email, language, and search. These settings will apply to all of your posts and pages, but they can be overridden by the settings within each post. For example, if you wanted to close comments on a particular post, you can do that for just the current post.
So, there you are. You’ve created your free Blogger blog! Take a little time to complete your Blogger profile (in the upper righthand corner, click the arrow and select “Blogger Profile,”) where you can add a photo and a little information about yourself.
Enjoy your new blog! Remember to check my Beginner Blogger Series for tips on where to go next! Next week we’ll discuss how to start a blog in WordPress.com.
Questions? Please ask them in the comments. I’d love it if you’d share your new blog in the comments too. Here’s mine: DebbieWoodruff.blogspot.com
My weekly linkups! Please stop by and check out all of the great recipes, workouts, and information that all these awesome bloggers share every week!
Sunday Blog Hop with Jenn
Meatless Monday with Sarah and Deborah
Meatless Monday with Annmarie
Inspire Me Monday with Janice
Anything Goes with Marilyn
Bonnie, the Pin Junkie
Tip Tuesday with Debbie in Shape
Wild Workout Wednesday with Annmarie, Michelle, Sarah, and Angelena Marie
Wednesday Wisdom with Nanna’s Wisdom
The Running Coaches’ Corner with Rachel, Suz, Lora Marie, and Me!
The Blogger’s Pit Stop with Kathleen
Let’s Get Real with Karen.
Friday Fitness with Jill
Fitness Friday with Miranda