HOW TO START A BLOG
THE most asked question of the month is “I want to start a blog…..I have some ideas…..how do I make it happen?” First, I LOVE that you are ready to get started. And, it’s not as daunting as you might think. I thought it might be helpful to break it down into some actionable steps…..here we go!
STEP ONE: THE IDEA OR THEME
At this point, you most likely have a name picked out, but take it a step further and create a plan. What are your top-level categories, lower-level categories, target audience, etc. No rush here….take your time and jot it down on a legal pad for clarity. Do a little research – how many other bloggers are doing what you are considering? Is there another way you can present your concept?
Nailing down these details with a small business plan will help you get an idea of how you want your blog to look, what you will be blogging about, and your specific audience. Remember, you cannot be everything to everyone. Focus on your demographic.
STEP TWO: WORDPRESS.COM VS WORDPRESS.ORG
First of all, let’s chat about WordPress. WordPress is your CMS ( content management system ). It’s where you will go to write posts and manage your content.
There are many content management systems out there (Blogger, Squarespace, WIX, etc.), but I like WordPress for those wanting to blog professionally.
There are two different WordPress sites to choose from: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. We strongly recommend .org as it gives you more control over your site and has great features to give you the ability to grow and change in the future.
WordPress.org seems scary to some because you need to do some tech stuff yourself, but honestly, once it’s broken down for you, it will be a snap.
STEP THREE: DOMAIN AND HOSTING
1. Domain name: If you’re just starting out, we recommend you keep things as simple as possible and take advantage of the FREE domain name with Bluehost ( this is where you will be setting up your hosting ). First, be sure to check if your domain name is available. If it’s not, try adding “blog” to the end, or go back to the drawing board. This is CRUCIAL. If you select a name without checking and gain traction, you don’t want to be forced into changing your entire identity.
2. Choose hosting: If you think of it like a building, your domain name is the land you are on, the hosting is the structure of the building, and WordPress the furnishings. For the structure, you want something reliable and trustworthy. If your site goes down, you want a hosting company who can be on call at all hours to help diagnose the issue. We like to recommend Bluehost as they offer a combo of great pricing, speed, and jaw-dropping support. You can start today for as low as $2.95/mo for 36 months. I am loving this hosting program!
STEP FOUR: SETTING UP HOSTING AND WORDPRESS
1. Go to Bluehost when you get to the site, hit that big green “GET STARTED” button. Easy peasy, right?
2. Next, you will come to a page that asks you to select your package. You’ll see three options – if you’re a beginner blogger, the ‘PLUS’ package is perfect. Hit select.
3. Sign up now! You will see two options: a “new domain” box and a “I already have a domain”box. If you bought your domain elsewhere, you would use the latter option.
4. Ok, now you will go through the typical checkout information. First, it will ask for your account info, then it will ask you for your package info, which is where you will choose your account plan and add-ons (check the ones you want – we recommend domain privacy!). This option helps keep you safe from “fishing” or having someone unauthorized using you account. Then, it will ask you for your billing info. Ta Daaaa!
5. You’re almost done! Set up your password and log in to your new hosting account. Look at you!
6. Once you are logged in, you can see your dashboard. The first thing we are going to do is get WordPress installed! This is where things get a little intimidating but, if you follow these steps and photos and you’ll see, it’s very straightforward:
» in the dashboard, locate the icon that says “install wordpress”…. click on that.
» next, it will take you to an install page where you will simply click the big green ‘start’ button.
» the next window will provide you with a drop down to choose the domain you are working with. If you only have one domain, you will only have one easy choice to make!
» lastly, you will be asked to name your blog and set up your login information.
7. OK, you are now officially signed up! Now, go over to your email inbox and find a welcome letter that includes your login and a link to your WordPress dashboard ( www.yourname.com/wp-admin). Click this URL to be taken to your WordPress login page ( bookmark this link for easy access – you will be here every.single.day. ). Log in and create…..you are ready for your “world takeover”!
PART FIVE: CREATE YOUR DESIGN
Well, there you are…..the bare bones of the blog set up, and you can start blogging ( get several blogs written and fine-tuned before you launch), but you will need to come up with a design.
HERE ARE A FEW OPTIONS FOR YOU:
You can find a theme you like and buy it – there are lots of themes on Etsy and you can also search for themes on Pinterest. These themes are templates that you can customize with your logo and colors. This works for some people when they start out, but if you are looking for a more original design…. you need a blog design company that can assist in putting it together.
This may not be something you want to do right away as you are just figuring this “blogging” thing out but down the road, a professional and original blog design is the way to go.
So….there ya go! Get out there and blog away my friends. Please feel free to leave a question in the comment box below if I can help with anything.