How do I start a blog? People ask me this question all the time. I remember starting my first blog and how confusing it felt. The most important question for me was, “Where the heck do I begin?”
So what did I do? I read blogging articles until my eyes hurt, and through that process of trial and error, I learned to hold my own. Of course, I made plenty of mistakes along the way, but I learned something from each and every one of them. Looking back, it was so worth it. I’ve settled into a blog which feels like me, one that I enjoy working on, and plan to grow for a long time to come. So now I’m ready to start sharing what I’ve learned with you.
Creating a blog is not as hard as you may think. Sometimes it just needs to be broken down into baby steps. Don’t worry, I got you! So pull up a virtual chair and your beverage of choice. I’ll be having coffee of course. Secretly, I hope you will too.
I’m going to show YOU how to start a blog.
Before we begin, let’s get something out of the way. Consider what you want to write about and write down a few words that come to mind. Having trouble? Focus on the stuff you’re good at, the stuff you get all excited about, that thing you feel like you could do all day.
What knowledge do you possess that could solve a problem for someone else? Choose words that conjure up a visual picture or stir up the emotions you would like your readers to feel. Who’s your ideal reader? Where do they live? What do they like? What would they want to know when searching the internet? Use this information to narrow down your topic(s).
Got it? Okay, let’s begin.
IMPORTANT: There are many services out there for starting a blog. Try your best to use a paid blogging platform. The cost is minimal and you will be free from the restrictions and limitations of a free service. If you want to fully control your blog and have future potential for monetization (aka make money), I strongly recommend a self-hosted site using wordpress.org. However, if you are strapped for cash, blogging solely as a hobby, and/or aren’t interested in monetizing your blog, you can use wordpress.com to create a free hosted blog.
1. SELECT A DOMAIN NAME:
What is a domain name you ask? A domain name is the web address to a site. When the domain name is entered into a web browser, the reader will be taken to your blog. This is a pretty important step in the blog creation process. Make sure your domain name reflects your niche or brand and if it’s a personal blog, make sure it reflects YOU. Use the keywords from the previous exercise to find the perfect name.
Once you decide on a domain name, you will register it so that no one else can use it. It’s much easier, in my opinion, to search for and register your domain name with the same provider you will use to host your site. They also have a neat Domain Name Checker which you can use to check the availability of the domain name you have chosen. As an added bonus, Bluehost offers a free domain name when you purchase a hosting package. I will go over hosting in Step 2. Trust me, you’ve accomplished a lot already.
2. FIND YOUR HOSTING SERVICE:
What is a hosting provider? Basically, a host gets your blog out to the world through a server designed specifically for housing websites. Initially, I used Go Daddy for hosting my blog, but after a few ups and downs, I switched over to Bluehost and I couldn’t be happier. My site hasn’t experienced unnecessary downtime and when needed, customer service has been extremely helpful.
In the previous step, I mentioned that Bluehost offers a free domain name with the purchase of a hosting package. The great thing about doing it this way is that you start off with everything under one provider. If you are new to blogging, keeping it simple is always the way to go. There are other hosting providers out there, but for this guide, I recommend Bluehost. Here’s how you get started. I told you this would be step by step. I’m hanging in there with you.
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Note: Keep this page open so that you can continue to follow along.
Click the green “Get Started Now” button.
3. SELECT A PLAN:
I chose the PLUS plan because it provides a bit more wiggle room but if your budget is already stretched thin, by all means, go with the BASIC plan. You can always upgrade later.
4. REGISTER YOUR DOMAIN NAME:
Go ahead and register the NEW domain name you just created on the left, OR enter in a domain name you already registered somewhere else on the right. Be sure to check off the extension you want from the tiny box on the right side of the domain name entry field. (.net .com. org etc.) Don’t forget, each hosting plan comes with one free domain name. Gotta love freebies!
5. ENTER YOUR ACCOUNT INFORMATION:
Enter your account details. Make sure your email is accurate. This is important for receiving your confirmation email.
6. SELECT PACKAGE DETAILS:
Bluehost hosting plans are sold on an annual basis with terms of one, two, and three years. The already low prices become cheaper with the length of the plan. Trust me, it’s cheaper than paying monthly with most other hosting providers. I was paying $9.99 per month with my previous service. For the ownership of your site and deep savings to boot, the annual plan cost is definitely worth it. You probably don’t need the add-ons at this point. You can always add them later. Proceed through to the billing screen.
7. ENTER YOUR BILLING INFO:
Enter your billing details, confirm that you understand the terms of service and click submit.
8. FINALIZE YOUR PURCHASE
You will see an upgrade section at this point, but once again, I would skip that section. You can always upgrade later. Click COMPLETE You now have a Bluehost account. Just create your password and check your email inbox for the confirmation email from Bluehost.
9. LOG INTO YOUR C-PANEL:
Click on the link within the confirmation email to log in to your CPanel. The login tab is located in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. You will be directed here. Enter your login information from the welcome email. Make sure the hosting login tab is highlighted.
10. INSTALL WORDPRESS
You are now logged into your CPanel. Click the Install WordPress icon.
11. WHERE TO INSTALL YOUR WORDPRESS INSTALLATION:
Once the install process begins, you will be asked to select where you want to install the WordPress installation. Select your domain name from the drop-down menu. You will most likely leave the directory field blank. Click Check Domain.
12. ENTER YOUR WORDPRESS USER INFORMATION:
Make sure you check the box next to “Show advanced options.” Enter a name for your site and create a username and password for your WordPress account.
Note: Make sure you have also checked “Automatically create a new database for this installation” and “I have read the terms and conditions of the GPLv2”. Click Install Now.
13. THE INSTALL PROCESS CONTINUES:
14. COMPLETE INSTALLATION:
15: ALMOST THERE
You will receive an email from Mojo Marketplace with your site URL, your WordPress admin login URL, and your WordPress username. I would probably save this email for future reference.
16. LOGIN TO YOUR WORDPRESS ADMIN:
When you receive the welcome email from Mojo Marketplace, click on the admin URL. You will be directed to your WordPress admin sign-in page. Enter your username.
17. DESIGN AND SET UP YOUR NEW WORDPRESS SITE:
Congratulations! You now have a self-hosted WordPress site. Now that you have logged in, you are officially in your WordPress dashboard. I recommend you take a look at each tab and play around with the settings. It truly doesn’t take long to master this platform and submit your first blog post.
18: MAKE YOUR BLOG STAND OUT:
You will want to install a nice theme. I recommend Pipdig Themes, which has beautifully crisp and clean designs. There are tons of theme sites on the web, just make sure you choose one with lots of functionality.
You did it! You have a blog! Now get busy tweaking, designing, and prettying up your masterpiece. I’d love to see a screenshot of your finished product.
Until next time, Happy blogging 🙂
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