Ready to be the proud new owner of a blog?
You’re in the right place.
If you asked me a couple of years ago what I would be doing with my life, blogging wouldn’t even be close to what my answer would have been.
But I am so happy that’s where life took me.
Blogging has brought me a sense of purpose, a drive that I have never felt for anything else, and an undeniable passion for business.
But I think the most inspiring aspect of owning a blog is having the ability to freely express yourself creatively every single day.
So, whether you’re interested in starting a blog as a hobby or making a business out of it, blogging is sure to make a positive impact on you one way or another.
Plus, it’ll only cost you about the price of a cup of coffee every month.
All you have to do is click here to get started, then use the tutorial below for easy step-by-step instructions!
* Disclosure: This blog post contains affiliate links. This means that if you purchase an item or items through one of those links, you won’t pay a penny more, but we’ll earn a commission for the influence of the sale. For more information, please read our disclaimer.
WHY SHOULD YOU START A BLOG?
– You can earn thousands of dollars a month while you sleep.
– You’ll be free to work when and how you want to.
– You can build and connect with like-minded people from all over the world.
– You’ll have a creative outlet to share your story and encourage others.
– You’ll improve your writing and organization skills.
– You’ll learn something new everyday.
WHAT BLOGGING VOCAB SHOULD I KNOW BEFORE GETTING STARTED?
– “Self-hosted” means that you don’t use a free service to run your blog. You have complete free reign over everything.
– “Bluehost” is a hosting company (and how you’ll be able to become self-hosted). They are the ones who will give you your space on the internet.
– “WordPress.org” is a website creation tool. This is where you’ll be able to customize your website’s appearance, add different capabilities, and publish blog posts.
WHY CAN’T I JUST MAKE A BLOG ON A FREE PLATFORM?
I know the word “free” may be intriguing, but free is never actually free. Running a free website over a self-hosted wordpress.org website has quite a few disadvantages.
Firstly, when using a free blogging platform, you have no other option but to use their sub-domain (e.g. www.example.wordpress.com). This results in an unprofessional appearance because visitors will see that you weren’t willing to invest in your blog. (And if they can’t tell by your URL, they’ll definitely be able to tell by the footer’s credits!)
Secondly, you won’t have much control over your blog because your website’s capabilities will be very limited. You won’t be able to download plugins, theme options are generic and narrow, and to top it all off, many free blogging platforms don’t allow the implementation of third party advertising and other forms of monetization. This means that you can miss out on a lot of money making!
Oh, and the worst of it all? With a free blogging platform, you don’t actually own your own content. They do.
To avoid all of these limitations (and future headaches!), treat yourself to a self-hosted blog. It’ll be worth it!
WHY SHOULD I START A BLOG WITH BLUEHOST?
– It’s so affordable! If you use the method below, starting a blog will only cost you few bucks a month. With so much potential and opportunity that can come with blogging, this small investment can certainly pay off in the long run.
– Their customer service team is available 24/7.
– Bluehost’s WordPress installation is super simple and straightforward to set up.
> HOW TO START A BLOG: STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE
STEP 1: DECIDE ON A DOMAIN NAME
Here are some guidelines to consider while brainstorming for your blog’s name:
– Make sure it’s user friendly. Although princessconsuelabananahammockhasablog.net may seem like a good (or funny) idea, it’ll take your readers some considerable attention to make sure it’s typed in correctly. Try to make it short and sweet so all of your readers can return to your blog over and over again. Remember — if it’s easy to type, it’ll be easy to remember.
– Think long-term. Many bloggers and YouTubers have expressed their regret with their chosen username, as they picked it prior to thinking they would make a business out of their pastime. Even if you’re not in it for the business, you never know what the future will hold. Better safe than sorry!
– Jot down a handful of different names you’d consider. Sometimes the one you really want has already been taken, so it’s a good idea to have some other options or variations you like.
– Use the appropriate domain name extension for your business. Usually ‘.com’ looks the most professional and works best for bloggers, however, use what feels right to you.
– Keep it unique to avoid issues like trademark infringement.
STEP 2: SIGN UP FOR YOUR DOMAIN + HOSTING
This link will open in a new window so you can follow along as you create your new account.
Select the big green “Get Started Now” button.
You will be led to a page of the different plans Bluehost offers. I recommend registering for the Basic plan if you’re just looking to test out the waters or use your blog for hobby purposes. However, if you’re planning on getting serious about blogging, you’ll need more web space, thus the Plus or Prime plans would be a better option.
After selecting your plan of choice, you’ll then be brought to a page which asks you to enter in the domain name you’d like. If the domain name isn’t available, simply pick a different one from the list of name ideas you created earlier.
Once your domain name has been approved, you’ll then be redirected to the “Create Your Account” section. This page is where you’ll fill out your personal, package, and payment information.
Underneath the ‘package information’ section, you’ll see that it asks you to select an account plan. Make sure to register for the 36 or 60 month plan if you’re looking to blog long-term, as you’ll be able to save some money that way.
Also, in the same section, I highly recommend registering for Domain Privacy Protection. This feature will replace your own personal information with the hosting companys on “WhoIs”. (WhoIs is a worldwide database that allows anyone on the internet to search up a domain name and receive access to a website owner’s full legal name, address, and more; so please do not overlook this!)
Once your personal, package, and payment information has been filled out, ensure that you have clicked the box to agree to the terms of service and then hit “Submit”.
You will now be asked to create a password for your account. Make sure that it’s fairly difficult and secure to avoid any future issues.
Once you have created your password, log in.
STEP 3: SET UP WORDPRESS
You’ll then be redirected to choose a theme for your blog. Pick any theme for now because in the next step, I’ll show you how you can change it to something more suitable to your personality or business.
Click “Start Building”.
You will then be redirected to the WordPress dashboard. This is where you’ll spend most of your time posting, organizing, and customizing your blog’s content.
* Keep in mind that the next time you need to log in to your WordPress account, simply add /wp-admin after your url. It will look like this: yourdomainname.com/wp-admin
STEP 4: INSTALL A WORDPRESS THEME
Now it’s time to get to the fun part — Making your site look the way you want!
A theme is important because it determines all of the visual aspects of your website. It’ll help you customize your website’s design by allowing you to change elements like fonts, colours, and backgrounds to your liking. Think of it as your interior designer.
You can either install a free theme through your dashboard via “appearance” > “themes” or purchase a premium theme from an external provider.
The most important features to look for in a theme are that it’s mobile responsive (meaning it will fit all screen sizes), it’s SEO optimized (to help you rank higher in search engine results), it’s easy to customize, and comes with documentation and support.
I always recommend the Genesis Framework by StudioPress because it helps you rank well in search engine results and the team of developers are always committed to excellent coding practices and compatibility with the latest version of WordPress. This means that you’ll never have to worry about your site breaking after an update. Some great child themes to purchase alongside the Genesis Framework include the Captivating Theme, the Simply Pro Theme, and the Foodie Pro Theme. Make sure to check out the live demos to see them in action and keep in mind that you can customize these almost any way you want, so focus more on what type of layout you like most, rather than basing your decision off of something like colours.
Also, keep in mind that there are many different designers offering Genesis themes on the internet, but that doesn’t mean that they are necessarily good. It’s always best to purchase themes from a well-known and reputable source to avoid poor code and no theme support. (Trust me, I’ve gone through this before and it’s so frustrating to have spent hard-earned money on a poorly coded template. Learn from my mistakes!)
HOW TO INSTALL THE GENESIS FRAMEWORK + CHILD THEME TO YOUR BLOG:
1. Installing these is super easy! Once you purchase the Genesis Framework and your child theme, you will receive a zip file for each item.
2. To start, Genesis must be activated first.
3. Simply go to your WordPress dashboard and select “Appearance” > “Themes”.
4. Click the “add new” button at the top of the page, then “upload theme”.
5. Click the “choose file” button and locate the file on your computer. The file name will end with .zip.
6. Click “install now” then “activate”.
7. Once Genesis has been installed, follow the same steps for your child theme.
8. Go to your homepage and click “customize” in the top left hand corner to begin tweaking your theme to your liking.
STEP 5: START BLOGGING
The moment of truth — Your first piece of content!
To write a blog post, simply select “Posts” > “Add New” from your dashboard.
Take a look around and familiarize yourself with the the visual editor. At the top, you’ll find many of the same settings that other word processing softwares have such as bold, italics, headings, and numbered lists. You’ll also find the “Add Media” button, which is how you’ll be able to input different images within your blog post.
On the right hand side, you’ll find a section called “Featured Image”. The featured image will be the thumbnail for your blog post and will also help set the mood and theme for your blog post and/or blog.
Start typing away! Make sure to use headings and great formatting to make your content easy to digest for your audience. Once you’ve typed out your post and added a featured image, hit the big blue “Publish” button on the right hand side. Your blog post will now be live!
Congrats on starting your very own blog! Blogging is a fantastic way to enrich your life both creatively and financially, so kudos to you for taking that jump! If you have any questions at all about this tutorial, leave them down in the comment section below and I’ll get back to you.
Also, if you’re looking to learn more about blogging, feel free to check out my blogging tips to help you optimize your new blog for success.
Once again, congratulations and I wish you all the best in your newfound blogging journey!