Starting a blog was absolutely one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It’s provided me with countless opportunities, from working with big brands to meeting some incredible people, and has recently become a great source of money to put into savings while I focus on my studies. I honestly never thought blogging would become such a huge part of my life, but over the past year and two months, I’ve grown my blog from a 5 views a day personal journal to a 70k+ views a month hub of tips and resources for young people looking for college and blogging advice.
It takes a lot of time and work to grow a blog, but even if you’re just considering starting one, now is the time. I put off starting my blog for years, and man do I wish I would’ve started earlier; think of all that extra time that could’ve been spent growing this place even more! So if today’s your day, here’s a super simple tutorial for starting a blog on Blogger, the platform I recommend for new and old bloggers alike!
First Things First, What’s Blogger?
Blogger is a free blogging platform made by Google, and is one of the most popular platforms available. While my blog is on WordPress now, I started it on Blogger and had no complaints! It’s easy to use, offers great design flexibility, and of course, it’s free. In fact, the only money I ever spent on my blog prior to switching platforms was on a domain name, which was only $10 a year. So step one, head over to Blogger!
Related: Choosing A Blogging Platform
Setting Up Your Account
If you already have a Google account, you’re one step ahead! If not, you’ll need to create one by clicking the “Sign Up” button. After that, log in and you should see a page similar to this (I have a lot of test blogs, oops):
Creating Your Blog
Click “New Blog” and fill in your blog’s title and address. To keep things simple, these names should match, unless an address is taken or your title is extremely long and needs to be shortened for the url. If the address you want is taken, that’s a good sign you should expand a bit and come up with something more unique! I was super annoyed when I found out my own name was taken by a blog whose last update was in 2010, but some things aren’t meant to be!
You’ll also be asked to choose a template. These are usually treated as frameworks for you to build on or replace with purchased templates, although if you find one you like, that’s perfect! If you’re planning on editing the template yourself (which will require some CSS knowledge), I would go with the Simple template. Like its name states, there’s not much to it, so it’s a great template to start from. You can also purchase templates from websites like Etsy, or hire a designer to create a custom design for you.
Related: Getting A Beautiful Blog Design
Once you click “Create blog!”, all the set up is done. Seriously, that was it. Now you can start adding your own elements (like a logo and your picture) and start posting!
Getting To Know Your Blog
After creating your blog, you’ll be taken to a main dashboard. On the side, there are several links that allow you to control every part of your blog, from the comments to the design. The pages you should really get familiar with are layout, template, and settings.
The layout page gives you a skeleton view of your blog and allows you to edit your widgets. A widget is like an extra function box for your blog; there are text box widgets, picture widgets, and even HTML widgets that give you tons of freedom for placing cool stuff on your blog.
This is also where you can add a logo! If you have a picture you want to use as your logo, click the “Edit” button on the Header widget. Then, upload your picture and select “Instead of title and description” so you don’t get an odd outcome.
If there are extra widgets there that you don’t want to see, just click “Edit” and then “Remove”. To create a new widget, click “Add A Gadget” (I know, they’re really called gadgets but I can’t break my habit of saying widget) and select what you want from the menu. Play around with these and customize your blog a bit, especially in your sidebar which is where the majority of your widgets will end up!
Related: Making The Most Of Your Sidebar
This page allows you to change templates, edit your current one, and change your mobile theme options. By clicking “Edit HTML”, you’ll be taken to a page with the design code of your blog. If you know CSS, this is where you can edit everything from your font sizes to your navigation bar. If you haven’t used CSS before, be careful with this page, because any edits might be hard to undo!
Going back to the template page, you’ll see a little widget button beneath Mobile Template. This will give you two options; using the mobile template or your desktop template. Using a mobile template means you’ll have a completely different template that only applies to your blog when shown on a mobile device. If you’re using a free template or purchased one that’s not responsive, I would suggest choosing the mobile template. If you have a custom blog design that is responsive (meaning your blog will size down, move elements around, and adjust overall depending on the screen size it’s viewed on), then the desktop option is for you!
Clicking the “Customize” button will take you to a view of your blog that allows you to edit everything from the colors to the fonts in your posts. You’ll have the most fun here, so get creative!
Clicking the settings button will open up another menu of links, and here you’ll find tons of options and things to change about your blog, like the number of posts that show on the page and the description you want your blog to have. Go through each of these pages until you have everything set up the way you want it!
Making A Post
Now that your blog is all set up, you can start posting! Just click “New Post” to begin. You’ll be taken to a draft page where you can write up your post, add any colors/underlining/fanciness you want, and even schedule it to be published at a certain time. Once you have your post the way you want it, click “Publish” and you’re done! You can now see what posts look like on your blog, and edit any settings to get the look you want.
If you still have questions, feel free to ask in the comments below! Here are some extra links that you might find helpful:
You can find more tutorials and helpful tips in my blogging archives!