How to Start a Blog in 4 Easy Steps

In this short video, I tell you my four simple steps to starting a blog. It may sounds basic, but creating quality content and getting it into the hands of your readers is the foundation for building a successful platform. If you don’t have this, nothing else matters.

Whether you are starting your first blog, or have been at it for a while, here are four essential steps you can’t afford to miss:

  1. Select a Theme for Your Content
  2. Select a Blog Platform
  3. Write Your First Post
  4. Establish a Blogging Frequency

In the video, I explain each step in more detail and give you simple, easy-to-follow action items to get started (or refine your approach) today. So what are you waiting for?

Coming Up This Month at Platform University

At the end of this video, Megan Hyatt Miller gives you a preview of the practical and inspiring content we have coming up at Platform University in August.

  • In our Master Class, I interview my personal WordPress developer and partner in the Get Noticed theme, Andrew Buckman, about the Ten Mistakes You Are Making with Your Website and How to Fix Them. You won’t believe how easy it is to take your home base to the next level with Andrew’s simple suggestions.
  • In our Backstage Pass, I take you on the road with me and reveal my time-tested packing secrets that keep me organized and prepared to speak when I travel, including all of my favorite products, tools and tips.
  • In our Member Makeover, Megan Hyatt Miller, Dean of Platform University and I review the platform of one of our members. We share with him our top ten recommendations for improving his platform and extending his reach.
  • Finally, I will host our members-only Live Q&A Conference Call at the end of the month. This month’s theme is “How to Build a Home Base that Gets You Noticed.” Here, our members are invited to ask me their most important home base questions and hear my personal, one-on-one answers.
  • If you’re not a member of Platform University yet, and would like access to content like this, check us out.

    If you are frustrated that your platform isn’t growing fast enough or are overwhelmed by the options with social media, monetization, etc., I created Platform University just for you. I will personally show you how to cut through the clutter and implement the strategies that really work so you can go further, faster.

    Question: To those who have already started a blog—if you had it to do all over again, what would you do differently? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Get My New, 3-Part Video Series—FREE! Ready to accomplish more of what matters? 2015 can be your best year ever. In my new video series, I show you exactly how to set goals that work. Click here to get started. It’s free—but only until Monday, December 8th.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • http://jonstolpe.com/ Jon Stolpe

    I would jump into a self-hosted blog much sooner.

    • http://JonDHarrison.com/ Jon D Harrison

      I’m with you here Jon – it was an exercise in frustration to move from the free wordpress to selfhosted – subscribers, comments, content – all could have been avoided if I just went with selfhosted to start.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Absolutely agree. I’m so glad someone advised me to do that at the very beginning, in 2008 when I started my blog.

    • Stephanie Hughes

      I was going to say the same thing. It was several months before I started hosting the blog myself, so now the first part of it is split away from what I am currently doing. But at the time, I didn’t know any better.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Guess I did one thing right when I started my blog. I skipped the WordPress.com and went straight for self-hosted.

  • http://www.alexbarker.org/ Alex Barker

    I would create more content beforehand and add more plugin’s before going “live”

    • Jenny Butler MD

      Alex, what plungins would you recommend?

      • http://www.alexbarker.org/ Alex Barker

        Hi Jenny,
        Disqus, Google Analytics BluBerry Powerpress (for podcasters), Speakpipe (for voicemessages)

        How do I find out more about you? It’s great to connect with other healthcare professionals (PharmD here).

        • Jenny Butler MD

          Thanks Alex. I’m just starting my website, so there is not much on it now. That is why I was so interested in the post. I’m in Anamosa, Iowa. Where are you?

          • http://www.alexbarker.org/ Alex Barker

            I’m in Norway MI, It’s in the upper pennisula of Michigan…inthe middle of no where :) I’d love to help you out with your website. Send me an email alexmichaelbarker@gmail.com and we’ll chat about creating a site :D

        • Jenny Butler MD

          I love your tagline. “Your Prescription for Life Success.” Eventually my website will be jennybutlermd.com. Right now it is bare. I’m hoping to change that with your suggestions! ;)

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Having the content to back up a newly released site is a great way to start out. This way you know you can create the content and you can have a stream to release from the get-go.

    • http://justincarper.com/ Justin Carper

      I do wish I had created some content ahead of time. The blank white screen was a bit intimidating when I started.

  • Nurya Love Parish

    I would write five posts FIRST, before I launched, and have them in the bag as back-up for the weeks when I couldn’t create anything new.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Great advice. I’d write even more than five, keep at least two months worth in escrow.

  • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

    If I could go back, I’d spend less time worrying about design and more time wrestling with my brand and unique offering. A big part of a blog’s success is knowing exactly what you’re delivering and how it addresses a market need.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      This is so true, Michele. I made the same mistake.

    • Eric Leszkowicz

      I agree…..that is what I have loved about Platform, it has forced me to really consider WHAT my heart and soul of my topic should be.

      It seems it needs to be “narrowly broad.”

    • http://storiesmadepowerful.com/ Arlen Miller

      Thanks, Michele, for offering such simple solutions from your own experience. I’m thinking the most powerful solutions come right out of the trenches. It’s so wonderful to learn from you and others in this community who have gone before. I’ve started a new site and I’m gobbling up any tips like this.

      • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

        True. I constantly remind myself to spend more time listening to what I’m hearing from others in their trenches. Thanks, Arlen.

  • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

    I went straight to self-hosted by chance because I had no clue that I could start a free blog and I wanted my own domain name, but I’d have created a niche from the very start. I went a year without one. I’ve gone another year zeroing in on my niche. It’s getting there. http://www.danerickson.net

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      That’s a great observation Dan. Being all over the place in a blog can be detrimental to it’s health.

      • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

        I’m moving more toward the “writing as a form of therapy” theme that I wrote in my mission statement over a year ago.

  • Erich Robinson

    I read through Michael’s posts on starting a blog a few weeks ago when I started my blog. For now, I’ve decided to go with the free (not self-hosted) WordPress and I’m loving it so far. Sounds like it is something I might regret in the future if I decide to move to self-hosted one. Thanks for your comments on this topic.

    The focus of my blog is to share 3 Resources on 1 topic/theme about 3 times a week: http://resourcesforus.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/3-books-that-will-inspire-you-to-truly-live/

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Erich, congrats on starting your blog! That’s a great first step in building your platform and sharing your message.

      • Erich Robinson

        Joe, thanks for taking the time to reply. I’ve been learning a great deal from Michael’s book, Platform, and from his other resources. I’ve mentioned him a few times already in my different posts and I’ve only been posting since June 20. I’ll feature Platform as a resource people should check out in an upcoming post.

        http://resourcesforus.wordpress.com/2013/06/26/three-leadership-podcasts-you-should-listen-to/

        http://resourcesforus.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/three-apps-everyone-should-use/

        Take care!

        • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

          Michael’s blog and book are great tools in building a platform. It’s what I’ve used as I’ve gotten serious in building mine.

          I’m sure Michael is honored to have been mentioned in your posts as recommended material to check out.

          BTW, your list of podcasts that leaders should listen to is great. All of those are fantastic leaders and produce killer content.

  • http://personalsuccesstoday.com/ John Richardson

    I might go with a different strategy now than I did in 2005 when I started blogging. Google has made it much harder to rank for keywords now with blogs. Personally, in 2013, I’d probably just put up a self hosted WordPress website with some basic articles and personal contact information, and then publish my longer articles as Kindle Ebooks. That way I would have a presence in both areas. Blogging has become very frustrating for me this year. I’m blogging more often, yet I’m getting half the return I did just last year. Even my blogging guru, Chris Brogan, has pretty much given up on it.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I’m curious that you say Chris has pretty much given up on blogging. He still appears to be blogging twice a week. What makes you think he has given up? I’m genuinely interested.

      • http://personalsuccesstoday.com/ John Richardson

        Chris put out a few articles earlier this year where he announced a new strategy for 2013, where he would blog only once or twice a week and focus instead on a weekly newsletter delivered on Sunday. I looked at his search traffic via SEMrush and found that his search ratings dropped from 29,836/month (search results from his top 20 keywords) in Dec of 2012 to 7067/month in June of 2013. His newsletter seems to be his main focus, but I’ve noticed his strategy seems to change month to month. While his blog is still a large part of his platform, it seems to have taken a backseat to other forms of marketing.

  • http://www.julieswihart.com/ Julie Swihart

    I would back up all my content files and database files to my hard drive! When I switched hosts, I didn’t know enough to realize I needed to transfer these files to my new host (meaning I needed saved copies). Thankfully my former host was able to provide access to these files after I had made the switch, and I transferred everything smoothly. I was relieved!

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Wow! Scary moments. Good advice, Julie!

    • http://blog.skillfulshepherds.org/ Timothy P

      I agree with you… I made the same mistake just last month, and now scrambling to restore my old blog posts from the past 2 years from my old blogs. the best move though, was to move to a free self-hosted blog, with a registered domain. Gives you more flexibility and control for your blog publishing, however needs a certain amount of know-how, patience, and self-technical support.

  • http://kimanziconstable.com/ kimanzi constable

    The main thing I would do differently is focus on building my email list. I started my blog to sell my first self-published book and the book was the first thing you would see when you clicked on my site, it really turned people away. I would focus on adding value and ask people to stay up to date on the email list.

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      That’s a good word, Kimanzi! Focusing on adding value has to go before selling product.

  • http://justincarper.com/ Justin Carper

    Thanks for everything you do Michael. Two months ago I used your video about how to set up a blog and I haven’t been able to put my laptop away since. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Sadé Jasmín Jackson

    Michael, I have a question for you. I am starting a new, self-hosted blog and I’ve decided on a theme, posting frequency, etc. I’ve decided to go with the WordPress/BlueHost option as you have recommended, but the one thing I am trying to figure out is how I can estimate my monthly expenses for maintaining the blog. In addition to BlueHost’s monthly hosting fee, what other costs do you think I should anticipate?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Those are really the only regular expenses. As you grow, you might have mailing list expenses, for example, with MailChimp, but that will only be after you have a few thousand subscribers. Thanks.

      • Sadé Jasmín Jackson

        Oh, wow! That’s better than I expected. Thank you! -sj

  • Eric Leszkowicz

    As someone who is just planning out a platform, I am not sure that I have ever seen the topic addressed completely on the following:

    “When selecting a place to put your platform, should it be a very well thought out name or your own name, such as http://www.michaelhyatt.com?

    Of course in considering this, you can see my own name and it is not quite as easy to spell as others.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      The advantage of a difficult name is that once learned, it’s not easily forgotten. Take Gary Vaynerchuk, for example. He’s a rock star in the online world.

      • Eric Leszkowicz

        Very true. I had not thought of that. I was only thinking of the easy to remember names Seth Godin, etc.

        I am sure that Gary has spelled his last name at least as many times as I have – ordering pizza is an ordeal :-)

        • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

          I used to have a business partner named “Robert Wolgemuth.” We named our company, “Wolgemuth & Hyatt.” I initially protested it, because I thought his name was too hard to pronounce. I convinced me it should go first. A few years later, we had one of our sales people call a customer. The receptionist covered the phone, and hollered to the owner, “It’s for you! Some guy from Wolgemuth & something-or-other.”

  • http://sparkvoice.wordpress.com/ DS

    I’m in the group of folks who started with a free blog – mainly because I wanted to make sure I was serious. Any tips for those moving over from a free blog to a self hosted one?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      What platform are you on now?

      • http://sparkvoice.wordpress.com/ DS

        I’m currently on WordPress.com.

  • Jenny Butler MD

    What is the best WordPress theme to use? I don’t mind spending a little bit of money, but don’t want to spend too much since I’m just starting out.

    • Eric Leszkowicz

      Michael is currently working on making this theme available to install. I have to say as someone who has installed a LOT of wordpress sites (even though I don’t do it professionally), this is a very good layout for a platform that is going to have blog posts.

      I think it is in beta testing right now.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I don’t really have an answer for you. That’s a little bit like telling someone the best car to buy. It all depends on your needs, your resources, etc. I am also a little biased, since my company is developing a new theme called Get Noticed! Theme. We have just begun the initial marketing, which you can read about here.

  • dan

    I would have written down where the blog was and how to get into it so when I had my stroke it would not be left out in web space to ever float.

  • David Gerber

    Michael, in your book you mention that your comments are a different color than others so people can see yours easily. Have you changed that since you wrote your book and if so, why? Thanks!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I use the Disqus commenting system. It used to be that you could style the Moderator comments differently than the rest. (They allowed you to use your own custom CSS to override the default.) However, they no longer allows this. Instead, the most you can do is attached a moderator “based” to the name of moderators. That’s what I do here. Thanks.

      • David Gerber

        Thanks!

  • http://www.boneheadbusiness.com/ Ryan Yamane

    Michael – I used a previous post of yours to launch my wordpress blog a few months back. Your step-by-step instructions were both detailed and right on target. Thanks for providing both the inspiration and instruction to join the blogosphere!

  • -Tim

    Michael – I’m a newbie to blogging and just beginning to put together ideas for my first web site. I’m interested in your thoughts on a domain name. Should I go with my own name or a “catchy” descriptive phrase based on my content as I begin this journey. Thanks.
    -Tim in Atlanta, GA

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I’m actually writing a post on this. It’s a common question. Stay tuned.

      • Tim

        Thanks. I look forward to your insight.

  • wajid

    I think people really get stuck on first 2 of your steps. Crazy I know. But people just don’t know what topics to pick for their blog.

    Nice outline you hit all the big points.. http://top7lists.net

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I agree with you. Thanks!