I hope everyone had an amazing Thanksgiving and enjoyed food and fun with family! Are you a Black Friday shopper? The hubs and I both are former retail employees, so we boycott and stay home and decorate for Christmas instead! I would much rather shop online than deal with the crowds!
One thing I’m thankful for this year has been my blog and all of the wonderful people I’ve met through it! It has been such a rewarding experience. Have you ever thought of starting a blog? If you’ve ever imagined sharing something you’re passionate about, there is no better time than now, especially if you want to self-host (which is what I highly recommend!).
I’ll quickly walk you through how you can start a killer blog in no time, so you can get back to your holiday shopping. Make sure you check out the affiliate link included in this post though, there is an amazing sale from my preferred host and it won’t last too much longer!
1. Decide your Niche
Before you get too far down the path of creating your blog, you need to decide what you actually want to blog about. I highly recommend something that you’re both passionate and knowledgeable about. It makes the writing process so much easier! Plus, it helps to create a bond with your readers. If you’re a childless 30 something like me, starting a mommy blog is not what you want to do! So sit down and brainstorm your ideas.
2. Come up with a Blog Name
This is something that a lot of people struggle with. You want it to be something that will both resonate with your readers, and set you apart from other blogs. And when making sure it sets you apart – make sure it doesn’t already exist! You want to make sure the domain and all of the social media handles are available.
I often see people ask: “Xyz.com is taken. Should I start xyz.org? What about xyz.net?”. My answer is a resounding “No!”. You don’t want any confusion between your blog/brand and another. You want to be unique so no one is confused.
3. Choose between WordPress .org and .com
Before starting my blog, I researched what blogging platform would be best for me, and easiest to use as my blog grew. I landed conclusively on WordPress. There are so many themes to choose from (free and paid) so that you don’t have to pay anyone to build your site. Setting your blog up is fairly straightforward. Integrating email sign-ups, surveys and formatting are a breeze. You can do the research yourself of course if you want to shop around.
If you do decide that WordPress is the option for you, you must choose between the .org and the .com version. If you ever (and I mean ever) want to make money off of your blog, go ahead and start with the .org version.
Basically, the .com version of WordPress allows you to create a blog, with a limited amount of storage (you can always pay to upgrade). So, if you’re serious about possibly making your blog a source of income, you must choose .org, where you can fully advertise and customize your site in as many ways as you can imagine. You can even add an e-commerce functionality to your blog and sell your own products!
When you go through .org, you will need to find a host. Which leads us to our next step!
4. Choose a Web Host
Even if you chose a different blogging platform than WordPress if you want to monetize your blog, make sure you are self-hosting. The host I personally use is Bluehost. I really can’t say enough great things about going through Bluehost!
First of all, WordPress recommends using them, for their easy integration with their site. You can even directly create your blog on WordPress through Bluehost. Once you choose them and start the process of getting set up, you can continue on their site, and they’ll guide you through the process. Win, win!
Plus – if you go through my affiliate link, they are currently offering a Black Friday Sale (lasting past Black Friday, course!). If you go through my link now, you get self-hosting for $2.65 a month and a free domain! This is an amazing deal! Even if you miss out on the Thanksgiving sale, you can still click on my link and get self-hosting for $3.95/month. If you’re still unsure, they offer a 30-day money back guarantee!
5. Set up Your Domain
If you go through a self-host like Bluehost, you simply check the domain name you want during the process. They will let you know if it’s available, and set it up for you. If you have a domain you’ve purchased in the past, you can also host that domain on Bluehost, you’ll just complete a few more steps to point it to their servers.
At this point in the process, you’ll also select the plan you want (you can always upgrade from the basic plan).
6. Install WordPress
Next, Bluehost will guide you through installing the WordPress platform. Once you are set up in Bluehost, go to your “c-panel”, click “MOJO Marketplace” and then “One-click installs”. When it takes you to the page, click on the WordPress icon at the top, click “start” in the installation window, and follow all of the steps as they pop up.
7. Get started!
Now all that’s left to do is go to your new WordPress site, and start creating! Pick a theme and set it up to your liking. There are also tons of plugins to add to make your site look and operate how you prefer. Then get to posting! I know a lot of people scrutinize over what to post first. I actually wrote my first blog post on a whim, and even though there’s nothing super special about it, it’s special to me, because it’s my first post! So just go with your gut! The most important step is just starting!
I so wish that I originally started out with a self-hosted blog instead of the free version. Transferring your blog is a much bigger headache, and your content doesn’t always transfer over the way you want it. So if you think you want to give it a shot, I definitely recommend following these steps to save yourself some strife!
Have you ever thought about starting a blog? Or are you already a blogger? Let me know in the comments below (and if you’re already a blogger, let me know your site so I can check it out!).