Starting a blog (or online store) is something that has probably come across most of our minds at least once-and for due reason. We’ve all heard about bloggers who make $10k a month (while sitting on the beach-course) and think, “Hey, I want to quit my day job too!” Though, with so many decisions to make regarding niche selection, blogging platform, web hosting, and everything in between, starting a blog can be very overwhelming to novice bloggers and writers.
So, novice bloggers, this one’s for you! We’ve put together a complete step-by-step blog setup guide that’ll help you get up and running online asap!
***Be sure to bookmark this page so that you can refer back to it as you set up your new blog!***
In this article we’ll cover the following:
- Picking The Right Topic/Niche
- Registering Your Domain Name
- Choosing A Dependable Web Host Provider
- Setting up WordPress In Less Than 5 Minutes!
- Choosing A Killer WordPress Theme
- Creating Your “About Me” Page
- Creating A Gravatar
- Writing Your First Post
1. Picking The Right Topic/Niche
Finding a topic for your blog is crucial for its success, as picking the wrong topic can mean creating a blog that never gets updated. Consider asking yourself the following: What do you love to talk about? What hobby can engage in for hours on in? Do you have an expertise in a particular subject or field? Consider the things that you care about, know a lot about, or are deeply interested in. Remember, if you don’t have an interest in the subject matter, it’s going to be challenging to find the motivation to write about it on a daily or weekly basis. Try making a list of 5 things that you’re interested in and use the process of elimination to find numero uno. Remember, you can always start another blog about other niches later, so table the rest of the list for possible future blogs.
2. Registering Your Domain Name
A domain is the actual name of your website (ex: ReadWriteWork.com).
We recommend Bluehost for purchasing your domain as they offer really great pricing AND they provide a FREE domain if you sign up for one of their 12-month hosting plans in the process. Getting your name and hosting from the same place makes this process much easier!
Coming up with a domain name is a breeze, just think about the subject matter of your blog find a simple name that speaks to it-try not to over-think this.
You can go to Bluehost to select your register your domain .
If you already have a domain name, you can simply transfer it over to Bluehost which is another reason why we love them-they make everything easy!
3. Choosing A Dependable Hosting Provider
What is web hosting exactly? Every single website on the web is hosted from somewhere.
Web hosting is the server (a “big computer”) or networks of servers that house all of the data on your website. Hosting can get pretty complicated and there are tons of hosting providers in the marketplace, but for a new blog it really boils down to Dependability, Security, and Support-again why we (and many of the biggest bloggers on the net) trust Bluehost with all of our blogs. Their awesome 24/7 customer support is an absolute must-have for blogging newbies.
They not only provide a an easy blog setup and installation process for WordPress blogs, but they also provide easy integration/setup of online storefronts, AND a 30-day risk-free guarantee if you find that the service isn’t right for you.
Below we’re going to take you through each step of setting up your web hosting and installing the WordPress platform on your website.
Open up a new browser tab and go to Bluehost.
From the homepage click on “Hosting”, and in the drop-down click “Shared Hosting“ (the ideal choice for low to medium traffic websites-and the most economical).
Next, select a hosting plan for your website. We recommend the Prime Plan as if offers “Unlimited” everything, which means you won’t have to worry about upgrading your bandwidth (how fast your site can transfer data) or data storage (aka “Webspace”) at a later time when your site grows. It also includes free Site Backup Pro which is a program that backs up all of the data and files on your site on a daily, weekly, monthly basis-or on-demand.
Having your website crash (for various reasons such as plugin installation or hacking) is one of worst things known to man, and not having it backed up is even worse because it means that all of your content, theme designs, and files are completely lost…and who wants all of their hard work going down the drain? Not a soul.
Also, the Prime Plan includes Domain Privacy which allows you to operate your website discretely without the public being able to access your site’s administrative contact information and other details on places like Whois.com.
Next, given that you’ve already chosen your domain name, enter it in the “New Domain” tab on the left of the screen as shown below.
Once you enter your domain name Bluehost will run a quick check to see if the domain is already registered with a domain registrar, and if not, your good to go!
Now, you’ll need to choose a hosting subscription for either 12, 24, 36, and 60 months. While the 36 and 90-month plans do offer cheaper monthly options that’ll save you in the long term, feel free to choose a more economical option such as 12-month plan just to get up and running. Either way, remember you’re backed by a 30-day guarantee if you change your mind, plus you can always change your subscription later.
*Note: Bluehost accepts both credit card as well as PayPal payments.
See, that wasn’t bad now was it? You’ve just set up your first website!
4. Setting Up WordPress On Your Site
WordPress is the most popular blogging platform-period. It’s easy setup, customizable themes, and monster integrability with other programs and apps make it the best blogging platform for anyone looking to start a blog. The WordPress platform accounts for 25% of the websites on the internet, and with their regular version updates they definitely stay ahead of the curve to offer users the most convenience.
To install WordPress on your site:
Login to your new hosting account and click on “Hosting” from the top menu bar. Scroll down a bit until you get the “Website tab”, then click “Install WordPress”.
Next a pop-up will appear like below, and on the left under “Select a Domain” click on the drop-down box and select your new domain name, then hit “Submit”! (Notice that Bluehost offers WordPress installation along with theme setup for $99 as an option as well.)
The installation process may take a few minutes so feel free to grab a snack or drink from the fridge while you’re waiting!
Once you see the screen below BE SURE to write down all of your site details down before clicking “configure your password”.
Lastly, set up your password and click “complete setup” as shown below.
Done! You’ve just set up your first WordPress blog!
Now, go to your WordPress login url (which was provided after installation) and login to ensure that your credentials are correct. **Note: Click the “Remember me” tab to avoid having to login every time you visit your page-granted you’re using the same computer.
5. Grabbing A Theme For Your Blog! (half the battle is here)
And now comes time to customize your blog’s design and make it BEAUTIFUL! Please note that while WordPress offers great click-and-go features, and takes you through all of the steps of setting things up in its admin area, becoming familiar with the platform (like with any new technology) can seem a bit trying at times, but you’ll soon get the flow of how things work and you’ll be good to go! Hey, if other bloggers can do it, so can you!
In the admin area, if you click on “Appearances”, and then “Themes” you’ll see the free themes that WordPress offers which are pretty basic and may offer a great economical option. You can also find free themes at Colorlib.
BUT, like most bloggers you may want to go with a more customizable theme that supports more tools, cool features, and will help your blog stand out.
The leading WordPress theme provider is the Genesis Framework by StudioPress. Genesis themes offer dynamic, powerful theme designs and customization-thus all the raves that you may read about ton the internet!
If you want a more customized theme than the basic, free ones offered on WordPress, but aren’t able to purchase a paid them from Genesis, then subscribing to a Theme Club may be another option for you to consider.
Think of Theme Clubs sort of as mutual funds. They consist of a group of them creators who’ve joined together to provide customizable themes in a more financially feasible way. Their monthly/yearly subscriptions include some free WordPress plugins, multiple site usage, and setup tutorials (and typically a 30-day guarantee if you change your mind of course).
*Take note that while Theme Clubs may be good option to get started with a new blog (as far as out-of-pocket expenses are concerned), they’ll cost you more in the long run if you continue your subscription-another reason we prefer to just go with Genesis themes for starting out.
Customizing your theme can be a headache, so our advice is to not shoot for the moon-at least right now. Find a decent theme that matches your site’s topic, without getting too caught up in every aspect of its detail (a really common pitfall for new bloggers).
Worry about the bells and whistles later-your main concern should be writing CONTENT. If you need some help getting started, Coursera offers a super-valuable (and affordable) crash course in creating content, “The Strategy of Content Marketing“. This interactive course provides a systematic framework and strategy that’ll help you quickly build your brand and authority, instead of spending weeks and months writing content that doesn’t resonate with your audience (another common pitfall for new bloggers).
6. Writing Your “About Me” Page (almost there!)
Your “About Me” page is what visitors will check out to see the face of the blog, and more importantly, the GOAL of the blog. Be sure to give readers an idea of what type of content is available on the blog, along with any other relevant details about the blog (or yourself) that you’d like to share.
7. Creating A Gravatar
No, not an Avatar (which was totally awesome of course). A Gravatar, which is your online image that’ll appear in your “About Me” area. Created via WordPress, your gravatar will also follow you on any other blogs that you create, forum postings, and comments that you write. It only takes a few minutes to set up-simply create an account on WordPress.com and upload your photo.
8. Writing Your First Post (and done!)
What’s a blog without CONTENT? The equivalent of a car with no engine that’s what. Kicking off your blog post can be one of those things that’s often made more complicated than it has to be. A good way to get some ideas is to check out other blogs of the same niche and take note of how they write about the topic. OR, you can make a list of specific things to talk about, create some bullet points for each post (to make it easier to lay things out), and simply tackle them one day/week at a time.
(**Note: You can always outsource tasks such as Freelance Ghost Writing, Graphic Design, WordPress Customization/Fix, and other services for your website by using Fiverr-services start at just $5!)
Lots of people stray away from blogging thinking, “I’m just not a writer”, but the truth is that writing is like any other craft-it has to be honed.
The more you write, the better you’ll become. There is a writer in ALL of us, why not share your interests with the world?
Visit Bluehost to set up your new blog today!