Are you starting a blog? I am here to help.
When I first decided to blog, I did it all wrong. I spent weeks trying to figure the what, where, and how to blogging, only to create a blog I didn’t want. It took days of searching to learn the best way to start a blog and get it up and running so the world can see.
I created this “how to start a blog” as a gift to you, so you won’t end up doing what I did. And the best part, you can have it all up and running in a day (actually in a few hours!)
Here are the 10 Step Check list:
What is a Blog?
When I first started my online business in 2008, blogs were just getting popular. For me, having a blog was an add-on to my website. Whereas my website was a static page of products, promotions, policies, shopping cart, shipping info, and ordering, the blog was like a newsletter of what was going on with the business. It included places I went to promote the business, new products, ideas, promoting a sale and more.
Now, blogs are everywhere. They haven’t replaced websites, but there is a new wave of popularity. Although there are product sales on blogs, most blogs provide unlimited information. I absolutely love all the information I learn from blogs. If I need decluttering ideas, organizing, recipes, fitness, home decor, entertaining, photography, and even blogs about blogging. Whereas we used to turn to news media for information, we now get first hand information from moms, dads, college students and people who are experts in their field of influence.
In its essence, a blog is a place where the owner puts updates, information, ideas, encouragement, journal and so much more. I think everyone should have a blog. For a family blog, it’s like a scrapbook for relatives and friends to touch base with what is going on. For others, a blog is a place to share vital information that can help or encourage others. Some blogs are just crazy, and that’s fun too! Skies the limit on what a blog can be and do for others.
So, it you are ready to create a blog, I have 10 steps you need to get your blog started. After that, I will help you get your blog ready to show to the world. First, you need to understand why you need a self-hosting blog. Today, 95% of bloggers use a self-hosted blog. You should too!
Why self-hosting a blog is a MUST
When you self-host a blog, you own it. With wordpress.org (not WordPress.com), it’s yours. You have complete control of it. A free blog doesn’t give you the control most bloggers want. They start out with the idea of having a free blog, but end up realizing they don’t have the flexibility and freedom they want. It does cost money to self-host a blog, but most of the costs are one time fees. I help moms start blogs for under $129.00, but you can do it less than that. A typical self-hosted blog is:
- $ 8.99 – Domain Name – $8.99 (yearly fee)
- $ 72.00 – Hosting – BlueHost lowest plan (5.99 per month)- don’t pay for upgrades
- $ 49 or more – Blog Theme (with Genesis platform)
Imagine only spending $129 ($11 per month – cost of one lunch) to have your own piece of the pie on the Internet. Not bad!!
WordPress is the leading blogging platform. You may hear of other blog platforms, but I highly advise you not to pursue, even if they sell you on it being free. It is not uncommon for me to get a coaching call with a frustrated mom who went the free blogger or WordPress.com path and ended up completely frustrated. Save yourself time and go with what is working for other mom bloggers.
Step ONE: Choosing a Name for your Blog
First you need to choose a name for your new blog? Read the following tips on creating a perfect blog name and avoiding the mistakes people make in creating a blog name.
You can purchase a blog name (domain name or URL) without a hosting site. Many do this until they are ready to find a hosting home. I usually buy my URL’s at GoDaddy.com
Yet, if you plan on choosing a name at the same time of picking a hosting home, the price of the domain is usually included in the hosting plan (I will show you this in Step Two)
Once you choose a name for your blog, you need to find it a home. Just like a website, a blog needs a place for people to find you. I highly recommend a self-hosting WordPress.org friendly hosting company.
Step TWO: Choose a Hosting Home
What is a Hosting Home?
Think of a hosting site as the home you will live in. Your domain name is the address of your home. Once your blog is birthed, it needs a place to reside so people can come an visit – hopefully often.
Which Hosting Homes are Best?
There are many hosting companies, but I have one favorite – Blue Host. It is routinely in the top three (mostly the favorite) of popular hosting homes. The reasons most bloggers love BlueHost is how easy it is to navigate, 24/7 assistance, low plan fees and flexibility in making changes.
Here is a step-by-step plan to getting your blog launched and ready to share with the world.
Step THREE: Choose your hosting plan
Hosting Plans are a monthly cost, but they require a one-year financial commitment.
If you only plan to have one blog to start, you should go with the least expensive plan, usually about $5.00 per month (cost of one coffee drink). If you plan to create more blogs or think you will have a lot of visitors, you will most likely need to go to the next level, or choose their premium plan. I mostly advise my clients to go with the plus or prime plan on BlueHost.
Step FOUR: Sign up using a new domain name
or add the domain name you have already registered.
Step FIVE: Fill in Account Information and Plan Choice.
Tip: You do not have to pay for all the upgrades. Only add the upgrades if you think you need them. I never do.
Note: The credit card information you give today will also auto renew in 12 months. If you want to cancel the renewal, you will need to go to your BlueHost account settings and cancel. Also, if you choose the introductory price, the following year you will be charged the standard price.
TIP: Print your BlueHost receipt as this is a tax write-off if you claim your blog as a business or service.
Confirm BlueHost and Create Account. In a few minutes, you should receive an email verification to authenticate your plan and create password for your account.
Create an Account Password:
Tip: Write down the username and password of your new hosting site. You will need this in the future.
Step SEVEN: Connect to CPanel
This next step can be the tricky part for new bloggers. Just follow the directions and you will be fine.
Click LOG IN – You will see your new Control Panel (Aka: CPanel)
A CPanel is where you can create email accounts, transfers and getting help. Most importantly it is where you will install WordPress to your Domain Name.
In the cPanel, you will see dozens of small icons for different services and features. This can be a bit overwhelming, so ignore 95% of them because you will never need to use them.
Scroll down to the website section and click on the WordPress icon (it has a blue “W”)
Step EIGHT: Get Installed
You will be redirected to the BlueHost Marketplace Quick Install screen for WordPress. Click on the Continue Installation button.
Next screen, click Get Started
On the next screen, you will be asked to select your domain name. Choose the domain from the drop down and then click Next. You will only need to add a directory if you have a specific directory to your blog (most people don’t)
Step NINE: Add Username and Password for Your Blog
You will be asked to add four entries:
- Your site Name (name of blog):
- Your email you set your BlueHost account (to get information)
- Admin Username – make it something you remember
- Admin Password – make it something you remember
TIP: Write down your Username and Password and don’t lose it!!! You will use this username and password when logging into your blog.
YOU HAVE your OWN Blog!!!
If your domain name was purchased from another site (ex: GoDaddy.com) you now need to transfer the name to your Blue Host account.
Step TEN(a): Transfer you URL Domain Name to BlueHost
If your domain name is registered with Blue Host. you are ready to Go to Step 10(b).
I register most of my domains (I have many) with GoDaddy.com. If I choose to use a different hosting plan than GoDaddy, I need to tell GoDaddy to connect my domain name to the new hosting site.
You will have to change the domain nameserver to BlueHost. Go to your domain account (mine is GoDaddy.com) and go to my Manage domains. Find the domain name and change the nameservers to custom name server.
Once this is complete, it can take some time (a few hours to a day) to complete.
Go to BlueHost CPanel (your bluehost account) and click on domains. Click on Transfer.
Find your domain name and click – Transfer. If it says your domain is locked, you will need to go back to your domain company and go to Manage domain, click OFF on your locked domain.
Step TEN(b): See your New Blog
Once installation is complete and your Domain Name is connected, you have access to your WordPress blog by typing: http://www.yourdomainname.com/wp-admin
You will be directed to type your Admin Username and Password.
Your WordPress blog will look very generic. It’s now time to select a Theme.
What is a Blog Theme? I think of a theme as how you will decorate your home. Look at it this way;
- Your blog name is the address of your Home
- Your Hosting is your actual Home.
- Your Blog Theme is how your home is decorated.
Do you have blogs that you love to look at. Usually you can scroll down to the footer of a blog and see which theme they use. You can also message the owner of the blog and ask them. Some bloggers do have a web designer customize their blog, but the majority of bloggers use themes.
Now Choose a Blog Theme
Now you need to choose a WordPress Theme. Some themes are free, and some cost quite a bit. My word of advice is to pay for a theme, but don’t go over your budget. I encourage my coaching clients to choose a blog theme they love, but in the $40 – $100 range. It is a one-time fee and you will have access to it forever, along with using it for other blogs you may want to begin.
Click Here for Choosing a Perfect Blog Theme for your New Home
Thanks for joining me in my 10 Step Start a Blog. If you have any questions, just comment below or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you need someone to help your through the process, click on ABOUT and then Coaching. I will be happy to walk you through for a minimal cost.
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