Hey there! I heard you want to start a blog. Congratulations on your new adventure! If you’re not sure where to start, you’re in the right place. This post is here to make it easy for you to get set up, self-hosted, and posting within a 24-48 hour period. If you need help, pop into the BloggyPedia Facebook Group, hit that contact button above and send me your question, or you can Schedule-A-Sesh for advice tailored to your specific needs.
If you’re ready to get started, then grab your cuppa whatever you love. You’ll also want a notebook to keep track, and a reliable pen(cil) to write things down. Ready? Let’s do this.
***If you’re not starting from scratch, and you’ve been blogging on WordPress.com, Wix, TypePad, Tumblr, SquareSpace, and the like, Click Here to learn how to migrate your site to a self-hosted account***
Step 1: decide if you’re doing this for a hobby or a business?
You need to consider whether you’re writing for fun and because you love it, and if you’re going to try to make a business out of it. Hopefully, your answer is both, but you lean more towards the hobby. Blogging is not for the faint of heart, and if you’re only blogging for the money, not only will it show, you will burn out in very little time. And yes, ideally, we want to make a living while we make a life.
Being constantly creative is simultaneously exhilarating and exhausting. Be absolutely sure – if you’re in it for the money – that you’re in this because you love it with all your heart and mind. If you’re not sure where you want to go with it, I suggest trying out a free blogging platform first, to see how it goes. You can always migrate to self-hosted later.
Step 2: Pick A Name
You need to choose a name that describes something perfectly: who you are, what you’re writing about, or what your vision is. I chose A Spork in the Road because when I started out, I intended to travel the country and write about the food I found along the way. The Pioneer Woman writes about her life in the country, mom-lifestyle deliciousness abounds on Cup of Jo, and The Bloggess chats about her health, family, and crazy stuff in her world.
There are a lot of ways to decide what your name is, and it’s a really personal decision. I’m a huge believer of the fact that it needs to be a statement about you or your company.
Step 3: Buy Hosting
There are many levels of hosting available for every type of website. There’s even dedicated WordPress hosting with many hosts. That’s a great fit, if you want little to do with your own tech support. I love having a complete hands-on experience, and I realize that’s not for everyone. Right now, my personal choice for website hosting is GreenGeeks. I picked them because my carbon footprint is occasionally important to me, and they run a carbon-neutral company. If that’s not important, you can also host through HostGator, TuCows, 1&1, GoDaddy, Network Solutions, SiteGround, BlueHost, and probably a few more. How do you know what you’re looking for?
You won’t be able to monetize until you’re self-hosted, but at least you can start building your online blogging presence.
Step 4: Purchase A URL
You can buy a URL and Hosting together. There’s nothing wrong with doing that. Whatever you do, though, don’t pay for the upgraded WordPress plan with the intention of having a lot of control and being able to monetize. You won’t be able to.
I buy most of my URLs from NameCheap; you can also buy your domain from GoDaddy, SiteGround, BlueHost, and Network Solutions. Most of them offer hosting, too, and they’re all comparable in price. It’s often true that the initial cost is less-expensive somewhere other than GoDaddy, but GoDaddy has the best renewal rates, so I’ll often transfer my sites to GoDaddy for ease of renewal.
You’ll want to keep your URL as short as possible. It’s okay if it has dashes in it, because that doesn’t seem to affect SEO as much as it used to.
Consider also buying a short URL, so that you can customize your URL shortener. For example, the shortened URL for A Spork in the Road is spork.fun, and the one for BloggyPedia is blgy.pro. Having a shortened URL isn’t necessary. I just think it looks cleaner when links get shared.
***NOTE*** You will get an email verifying your domain purchase. You must complete this step in order to proceed.
Don’t forget to edit your DNS so that your URL points to the correct host.
Step 5: Install WordPress
You should now have access to your CPanel (control panel), and be able to install WordPress to your website. If you’re migrating your blog from another place, you’ll want to ask your host’s tech support to move it for you, so that everything gets mapped properly. These instructions are for if you’re starting completely from scratch. Yours might not look exactly like mine, so don’t get frustrated. Just look around a little bit. If you still can’t find things, press CTRL+F and type WordPress into the blank at the top right of your browser. You’ll find it easily.
- Log in to your hosting account
- Locate your CPanel
- Scroll until you find “Softaculous App Installer”
- Click on WordPress
- Click Install Now
- Choose your protocol. It will probably be without “www”. Only pick https if you have a SSL Installed.
- Follow the form down, and fill it out to the best of your ability. Much of this can be changed from the WordPress dashboard after installation.
- Press Install and wait. Don’t forget to email yourself the installation information.
- You’ll get an email with the info on this installation.
- Continue on
Step 6: Create A Proprietary Email
Locate your Email section, and click on Email Accounts.
Choose your user name and password. Make your quota unlimited. Click Create Account. Do this for as many email addresses as you want for your website. I wouldn’t make more than 3 per person.
Step 7: Install A Theme & Set Up Your Site
I have a list of places I recommend getting themes from on my Blogging Resources page. Once you’ve picked a theme, head back to your WordPress Dashboard.
- Click on Appearance. Click on Add New.
- Click on Upload Theme
- Click on Choose File
- Pick your theme from your downloads area
- Click Install Now
- Click on Activate
You are officially set up as a blogger. Head over and begin installing plugins, then start writing. Welcome to the world wide web of bloggers! I’m glad you could make it, and Happy you’re joining us.
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Need extra help? Schedule a Sesh.