How To Build a Blog from Scratch

Over the next few weeks I’m going to spend time documenting the entire process that I take to build a blog from scratch.

What’s nice is that this blog will evolve as I walk through the process myself (and with you hopefully).

Sure, some of the elements are already in place, but a number of them (like design) are obviously not complete.

I’ve already drafted a few posts already but I thought it would be worthwhile to ask the small (but growing) community here what they would like to see in terms of blog topics.

Here are a few posts already in the queue and/or brainstormed (in no particular order):

  1. Picking a Domain Name
  2. Choosing the Right Hosting Provider
  3. Basics of DNS, Domains
  4. Google Apps, Setting Up Mail
  5. Blogging Platforms and WordPress
  6. Setting Up WordPress
  7. Strategic Static Pages
  8. Analytics, Metrics, Google
  9. Setting Goals
  10. Feedburner, RSS Management
  11. Twitter and Other Social Media
  12. Strategies of Research, Content Creation
  13. Categories, Tags, and More
  14. Focusing Your Content, Niche
  15. Sitemaps, XML
  16. Robots
  17. Advertising
  18. Blog Design, Themes
  19. Plugins, Widgets, 3rd Party Services
  20. And More…

What would you like to see? Tell me in the comments and perhaps I’ll cover it!

  • Brian Notess

    Hmm, I’d like to see a post on building your personal brand vs. branding your blog.

    TechCrunch is an interesting study in that IE Michael Arrington is TechCrunch… but also not.

    • John Saddington

      i think you’re name is “notess” not “notss”, right?


      I’ll edit that…

      • Brian Notess

        It’s part of my new personal brand.

        No vowels in my last name.

        • John Saddington


    • John Saddington

      good idea. i’ll have to add that.

    • Andrew

      I think the personal branding vs. blog branding is a big one. Although depending upon the type of blog you are trying to achieve they may end up being hand-in-hand.

      • John Saddington

        we can definitely discuss this one.

  • Jeff Luce

    I’d love to see some case studies of people who have done this already. I’ve got a couple of things I’m super passionate about that I’m going to begin working on!

    • John Saddington

      jeff, good idea. jotting this one down.

  • David Summers

    Number 12: “Strategies of Research, Content Creation” sounds really interesting to me. I’m looking forward to just about the entire list though.

    Congrats on becoming a “Professional Blogger”!

    • John Saddington

      thanks david!

    • Brian Notess

      My research strategy is:

      Read other people’s blogs and copy and paste their content into mine.

      It seems to work out pretty well. ;-)

      • John Saddington

        that’s epic.

  • jonmanna

    Proud of your work and your boldness for trying new things! My Suggestion for a post:

    church website service (i.e. cloversites) VS church wordpress site. I don’t know if it’s been covered before but i think it’s worth some blogging consideration.

    • John Saddington

      sweet! thanks jon!

  • jason allen

    John, love the artwork…who did that for you? So, will you no longer be updating your @human3rror on Twitter? Congrats on the new venture.

    • John Saddington

      no, i’ll be managing both! :)

  • Dewitt Robinson

    Good list John. My suggestion: When is it time to start a new blog?

    • John Saddington

      great idea. will do it!

  • Don

    This probably more for post-setup, but how about some discussion on content creation and blog promotion?

    Perhaps you’ll cover content creation in #14, but I’m thinking more along the lines of how do you come up with ideas and then fully develop the content?

    As far as blog promotion goes, what are the strategies that you use (or will use) to drive content back to the blog?

    Looking forward to the series.

    • John Saddington

      sweet. great idea. !

  • Adam

    I would like to see something on creative process and how your posts go from a thought on a sheet of paper to the finished product.
    Also, maybe something on what needs to go on your blogs “About” page.
    Congrats on the new move and hope you are continually blessed.

    • John Saddington

      definitely! i’ll be adding to the “about” page in one of the posts. just threw something up there to get started!

    • JC

      I agree. I have been looking at sermon notes and homiletics over the past few days trying to tweak my process. Would love to know people’s process from brainstorming to publish.

      Creative Process to Creation #FTW!!!!

      • John Saddington


    • Brett

      Another great post on the About page is one that Michael Hyatt did. You may want to check it out as well.

      • John Saddington


        • Brett

          Another reference for About pages. This one by Seth Godin.

          • John Saddington

            yes. saw this. awesome, will definitely reference it in the future!

  • Brett

    I need a good WordPress plugin for an image gallery for putting multiple images in blog posts. I’m not too gifted in CSS or html code. It is easy to put one image in there and I like my FancyBox for WordPress plugin for one image, but what about putting in several images and you want a grid of thumbnails or something?

    I guess this would go under your “Plugins, Widgets, 3rd Party Services” category.

    • John Saddington

      cool. i’ll have to add that.

  • James Brooks

    John, I think that the biggest question that comes to mind when I think of you is “HOW DO YOU FIT IT ALL IN?!”.

    I’d really like to know how you managed your time when you were working a 9-5, having a family, and churning out countless quality blog posts every day.

    • John Saddington

      scheduling. ;) but i can talk about that too.

      • Blane Young

        I would love to hear about this too!

  • Skip Hire

    As long as you know the process where to start like building an informative site and sharing it online. It doesn’t matter how you do it and it won’t sound like a nuissance to other online users.

  • Andrew

    Getting the word out, especially when new to the blogging scene, and how to get interactivity between yourself, your readers, and readers with each other.

    • John Saddington

      great idea.

  • djchuang

    Amazing to see how this new season has blossomed your way, all in part from a speculative “what if” there was a full-time professional Christian blogger. The money part of tentblogging is perhaps a bit more elusive than the content part, so it’ll be intriguing to watch how that unfolds for ya.

    • John Saddington

      we’ll definitely be talking about that and how that “works”.

  • Phillip Gibb

    great stuff :)
    something that always interests me – is video. In particular, sharing videos that I have created. Which platform is best? Is it important to stick to one? Does it matter? I have kind of migrated to a point where YouTube is my personal platform and Vimeo my creative and filmmaking one. But, I find that Vimeo gets me hamstrung because my video can get stuck in the queue for hours before even getting encoded; so I switched to ExposureRoom.

    • John Saddington

      interesting. you don’t have a pro account on vimeo, do you?

      i’ll add video as a thing to potentially cover!

      • Phillip Gibb

        no, no pro account. Still wondering about that. Also wander about reading a Book called Get Seen by Steve Garfield – ever heard of it?

        • John Saddington

          never heard of it…..! looking at it now.

          • Greg Simas

            John, what software app would you recommend I use to do a vblog post using a Macbook Pro?

            iMovie? or something else?

            • John Saddington

              i actually just use quicktime for a lot of those.

      • Rodlie Ortiz

        John, Have you noticed a delay in how long it takes for the mobile version of your uploaded vimeo video to appear? Or when you upload your video to your pro account, is the mobile one automatically accessible? Just wondering cause I upgraded this morning to a pro account and I uploaded a video (which is on my blog), but I can’t access it from my iPhone. Have you noticed any of those kinds of issues?

        • John Saddington

          there is a slight delay i believe. but not much.

  • James Brooks

    how about a post about how to encourage people to comment on posts?

    • John Saddington

      sweet! thanks. will make a note.

  • Daniel Mosley

    Very simple topic/idea here; one that I’ve been curious about for a while.

    When are the peak days and times for posts to go live?

    From my own observations I’ve noticed that there are certainly prime times. I’d like to hear how others define these.

    • John Saddington

      great question. i’ll definitely talk about this.

  • Kim Sernel

    Any plans to provide information on what types of photos you can and cannot use on your blog? It seems like there are so many limitations due to copyright laws, but then when I see other blogs using so many graphics, I can’t help but think I’m missing something. They can’t all be getting additional approvals to use those pictures, can they? Or maybe they are creating them themselves, which is even more daunting to me if true. Bottom line, how do I find great, relevant pictures to insert into my blog legally?

    • John Saddington

      YES! I have a great post in mind and I’ve written about it before. we shall do it here again. thanks for the great idea. i’ll cover it!

  • tcjsaunders

    Your blog topics are very helpful… but for someone not massively technological starting to start from scratch… more info! I love this list… but can’t click on the topics for more info (any chance of more info for each point to help get set up?)…

    And as a visual person, one of the things I like best about your blog are your awesome avatars! I’d love to get a funky avatar (with a few variations) to use on the blog I’m planning… can you provide any pointers to get started on that?

    • John Saddington


      this was just a list of things that I thought about covering. i’ll do a post on the avatars… but it’ll be a while I believe!

      this blog just got started, so there’s a lot to cover!

  • Adam

    Just out of curiosity…do you use desktop blogging software?

    A post on those that are worth using would be pretty cool.

    • John Saddington

      no. but i use evernote.

    • John Saddington

      i might do a post on this… btw. thanks!

  • DMosley


    I’m looking for an appropriate place to post my question, similar to the “Ask 8bit” on your other properties. Couldn’t find that so decided to ask for a post on the subject instead.

    I’m curious about key word and key phrase research – I understand the need and why it should be done, but have no idea on how, where to start or any useful tools.

    Some Googling landed me on a tool from Heard anything about this?

    I’d love to see a post on this and specifically how to research key words/phrases.

    • Adam

      Good question. I would like to know more about this as well. Right now all I use is the Google keyword search.

      • John Saddington

        adam, and how do you like it? works for you?

        • Adam

          I like it. Seems to do pretty well. Would like to know how to focus the key words and how many you should add to post etc. Just really to know how to be as efficient as possible with them and still get the desired results.

          Make sense?

          • John Saddington

            yup. will definitely share my strategy1!

    • John Saddington

      using the keyword search tool by google is a great start bro. i’ll have definitely more than few posts on this.

      • DMosley

        thanks man. sadly, I’ll have to google how to use google’s keyword tool till you post some more info on it.

        preciate what you’re doing here. Im taking this content and applying it to our ministry (@ChapelHill) ministry application.

        • John Saddington

          cool man! thanks for sharing it!

  • Adam

    Did not know where to post this question…I figured here would do.

    What are some security measures you take from getting your blogs maliciously hacked?


    • John Saddington

      keep updated to the most recent wordpress installation… and a good backup. i also used dedicated hosting… which is important.

      i don’t use any plugins explicitly to stop “hacking”.

      • Bev

        How do you setup the facebook badge for your new social plugin to go directly to a fanpage I created? I been searching the web for answers but the info I’m finding are all out dated and I’m not able to find the links they tell you to click on within facebook.

  • Trung Nguyen

    This is a short introducing on building a blog from scratch – just follow this list we can build a blog today :)

    • John Saddington

      ;) it is!