So, you want to blog. That’s awesome, I think blogging is a fantastic idea! The problem is, you don’t have any idea where to start. You’re a little confused at how this whole thing works, huh?
For me, I started way back before most of the world even knew what a blog was so my growth to where I am now was painstakingly gradual. You don’t want to move at the speed of a handicapped snail, though. You’ve got a great idea, lots of ideas running through your head, and you’re ready to move.
Let’s do it.
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I’ve been blogging since forever and I’ve been asked a lot about how to do it. After a friend asked me for instructions and I could not find a good, basic guide, I figured I better write one. There is lots of info out there about blogging – LOTS – but I’m going to try and take you from the veeeerrrry beginning, slowly and carefully.
STEP ONE: Name Your Blog
Your blog name is called a domain. How do you decide what your blog name will be? Well, it really boils down to what your blog is going to be about and then choosing an easy to remember, easy to spell, name. You want readers to know what they’re going to hear from you when they visit your site.
If you haven’t quite decided what to call it, here is a great article with a planning worksheet to help you brain storm.
STEP TWO: Set Up Hosting
Being self-hosted is critical to your success if you want to earn money blogging. One way you’ll earn money on your blog is through affiliate links and ads. You’ll need to be able to place the affiliate links in your blog for products you trust and believe in. Being self-hosted will make that a snap.
When you’re self-hosted you’ll also be able to dress up your blog any way you want. There are thousands of themes available, which are like clothes for your blog. (We cover that in the next part of this series, link below.)
It’s not free to be self-hosted, but it’s super inexpensive if you use Bluehost.
Bluehost is, in my opinion, the best hosting platform for new bloggers.
Why? Well, I love that they will refund your money if you decide blogging is not for you. You aren’t “locked” into anything. Within the first 30 days they’ll refund the entire amount and after that they’ll pro-rate your refund for the months you’ve used.
It’s also super easy to set up your blog using Bluehost. Trust me, you want to be able to set it up yourself so that you don’t have to pay someone else to do it for you. It might seem a little complicated, but I promise if you just follow my steps it will be a breeze.
You have three options when choosing your Bluehost plan.
You can pay $13.95 a month, which totals $167.40 for the year. I personally don’t recommend this plan. First of all, it’s too expensive. Second, I wouldn’t want to risk my website being “turned off” each month if I forget to make the payment.
You can pay $5.95 a month if you pay for 12 months up front, which totals $71.40 for the year. It’s a great plan and you’re only signed up for a year. Plenty of new bloggers choose this plan.
The plan I suggest is $3.49 a month for 36 months, paid up front. It drops the price of your hosting per year to just $41.88 a year!
Go to Bluehost now and click on the “Get Started” button. You’ll be asked to enter your domain name and then click “Next.”
Sometimes you’ll choose a blog domain only to find out it’s already taken. It’s frustrating for sure, but it’s not the end of the world. Think of lots of variations to try and just keep trying until you find something you love that’s available.
When you’re making your purchase through Bluehost you’ll be offered lots of services to buy that are extra and that you don’t need right now. Just choose not to select those boxes. The box you SHOULD check however is Domain Privacy Protection and it’s just .99. This will make sure your contact information isn’t made publicly available as the owner of the site.
STEP THREE: Set Up Your Blog
Now that you’ve chosen your hosting package, log into your new Bluehost account.
Click on “C Panel” in the menu.
Click on “One-Click Installs.”
You’ll be taken to a page that says “Blogs and Website Builders” and you’ll choose WordPress. Bluehost has got your back from this point and will walk you through any remaining steps.
Super easy, right? You’re a blogger! Way to go!
When you log into your new WordPress site you’ll want to put some clothes (aka a “theme”) on your new blog! Once you’re logged into your new WordPress site, just click on the word “Appearance” in the left sidebar and then click on “Themes.” You’ll see lots of free themes there that you can use. I’m covering themes in the next part of the series here…
Here is part two on making your blog pretty.
Here is part three – resources for everything. (here are the tips for monetizing your new blog!)
Looking for more? Check out Building A Framework, 35 chapters of immediately actionable strategies and techniques to help you grow your following, work with brands, and make money from your blog.