Quite a few people have approached me asking for blogging advice or more specifically, how to start a blog. So I’ve decided to write an in-depth step-by-step guide on how to start a blog (in 30 minutes or less)!
You see so many other people who have made careers out of blogging. You think of the possibilities and what you have to offer amongst the blogging community. The itch to blog is SO real; you’re ready to start a blog and take on the world of writing. Blogging is a great way to make a side income that could turn into your full-time income. And if you’re a mom: stay home with your kids.
The problem? You think to yourself, I don’t have the slightest clue on where to begin.
Your blog will be your online journal, a way to express yourself and offer your expertise to others, whether that be products and services or expertise and advice within a certain category. Starting a blog is WAY easier than you may think. The hard part tends to be creating a posting routine and generating traffic (but, we can talk about that later on down the road in another post.)
I don’t doubt one bit that you have what it takes to start a blog.
Here’s how you can start a blog, the quick and easy way in 30 minutes or less!
Starting a Blog in 30 Minutes or Less
Step 1: Define Your Niche
This is soooo important. I can’t emphasize enough how crucial this first step is. What is your blog about? What will your writing be centered around? Is the main topic of your blog cooking? Organization? Home Décor? Motherhood? Beauty & Style? Your niche is what your blog is all about, so make sure that you choose a topic you’re passionate about. (Your readers will sense this from the get-go)
The sky is the limit when it comes to a blogging niche. You just have to define it. It can be as broad or as narrow as you please, however, be sure the niche somewhat follows your lifestyle. Do you have an eye for unique design? Can you cook delicious meals that are super easy and convenient? What are you interested in?
The possibilities are endless. This first step takes a little bit of brainstorming, though.
Step 2: Choose a Domain Name
Your domain name is the title of your blog, your website URL and your brand. This is what your readers will recognize before clicking-through on an image leading to an article and before even seeing the design of your website.
Think of something unique and catchy. Again, these first two steps are extremely important. Once you determine and create your domain, it’s incredibly difficult to change it later on down the road. So, make sure it’s something you really really like, something that fits your writing AND your brand. If you have absolutely no clue right now, that’s OK! That’s why I like to think of these first two steps as “brainstorming activities.” Write your thoughts and ideas down, so you can get a sense of what you want.
Tips for choosing a domain name
Believe it or not, picking a domain name is easier said than done. (Your domain is www.YOURBLOGNAME.com) This is why choosing a niche first is a crucial step. Now that you’re ready to choose a domain name, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Keep it short and sweet. Shorter domain names are less clutter for your readers. They are easier for them to remember and essentially, type into their search bar. It’s all about your audience.
- Do not steal or copy someone else’s domain name. Although you can’t actually take someone’s established domain by law, just make sure you’re being authentic. You want to set yourself apart from the rest.
- Make sure you domain conveys the brand image you’re looking to create. Your niche, brand, domain, and content should all be consistent with one another.
I initially created my domain through GoDaddy.com, but I would suggest starting with BlueHost. It skips a few steps along the way and makes life all the more simple. You can see which domains are available and which are not. You can then pick a domain AND pay for hosting through BlueHost. It’s an all-in-one kind of deal.
When I started my blog, I started with GoDaddy. After about 10 months, I realized having everything in one place, through one host company would save myself some headache. So, this is one thing I would have definitely done differently, if I had to do it all over again.
Type in your chosen domain in the “new domain” space and click next.
I told you I would be giving you alllll the details, peeps. So, just between you and I – most of the time, right after you plug in a domain name, you are redirected to a special offer from BlueHost. Basically this offer gives you an additional discount if you sign-up. SCORE!!
It looks a little something like this.
And seriously, can I just point out hosting is as little as $2.95 per month?! This also includes 24/7 tech support! You seriously can’t beat that.
The next step is to create your account by filling out the information required (as shown below).
Step 3: Pick Your Plan
BlueHost has three plans to choose from – basic, plus and prime. So what is the difference?
Basic is $3.95 per month, which means you are limited on most things you do. You’re able to create one website, have limited website space, standard performance, and limited email storage.
Plus is $5.95 per month, but you have unlimited website space, unlimited websites, unlimited email storage, lots of bandwidth space, and more. If you’re wondering what bandwidth space is – it’s the range of frequencies within a given band. A.K.A. how fast your site performs. Bandwidth is important for having a quick website for your readers to access. Let’s be completely honest here… nobody wants to navigate a super slow website. Ya feel? Me too.
Prime is the most advanced plan. Basically, with Prime, you’d get everything you get with Plus, except more goodies for just a wee bit more. These extras include help from spam experts, domain privacy, and SiteBackup pro (helpful if you ever have problems logging into or gaining access through your website). The best part? It’s the SAME price as Plus, with those extras, of course. 🙂
Select the package plan that works best for you. What I love about BlueHost is they give you an even bigger discount if you pay for 2 or 3 years at a time. Soooo much cheaper than paying year to year. If you’re in for the long haul, choose the 36 month pay period.
Enter your payment information to complete the next step to your new blog!
Step 4: Choose a Blogging Platform
The next step is deciding which plan works best for you. There are tons of platforms to choose from, but I would highly recommend WordPress. Whether you’re blogging to express yourself or blogging in hopes of creating a career and earning an income, WordPress is the way to go. WordPress gives you the most “bang for your buck” while also giving you the most freedom. And by freedom, I mean the pretty website themes, fonts, applications, post layouts, colors, photography positioning, branding, menu layout, etc.
Why is WordPress the best platform?
- Great for blogging beginners
- LOTS of free themes & plugins available
- Customizing your website is simple and easy
- Extremely accessible for beginners
- Countless resources providing valuable help, since WordPress is the most commonly used platform
- FREE tutorials for creating and designing your website
- FREE assistance with malfunctions or website problems
Step 5: Install WordPress
In order for your site to function with WordPress, you need to download it. Click on the “Install WordPress” icon to configure WordPress to BlueHost. Select your domain in the drop-down menu, then click submit.
You’ll then come across a screen that looks like this:
You’ll need to click “start” to begin your WordPress installation to your website.
BlueHost will do the rest, so they’ll handle the installation process. You’ll receive an email notification of your login URL information when the installation process is complete. THIS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. DO NOT delete this information. It has your initial username and password for getting started on your website!
Step 6: Design Your Website
Alright, friends – the moment you’ve all been waiting for… YAY for The FUN PART! Let’s design your blog! (Cue your happy dance). Click on the link provided in the email BlueHost sent to you (this is the REALLY important email I told you about in the previous step). It should be something like http://www.YOURDOMAINNAME.com//wp-admin.
Login to your account.
Navigate down the dashboard menu to “Appearance” hover your curser over it. Click on “Themes.” Scroll through the given themes until you find something that catches your eye and is consistent with your brand.
Click “Activate” when you’ve chosen your theme. Follow the instructions given to you after. Click “Customize” when you are ready to design that theme. You will then be redirected to your new website. Yay! Navigate through the customization menu on the lefthand side and discover the (again) endless possibilities.
THAT’S IT, FRIENDS!! You’re officially welcomed into the Blogging Community!
If you have any questions, comments or concerns, feel free to email me directly at: email@example.com. I will gladly help you with anything you need.
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