I never thought I’d be writing on how to start your own blog. But, I had a friend asking me how to get started doing this, and after I explained and showed her how to set up her own blog, I thought I could help others. It is easier than you think. In this post, I’ll show you exactly how to set up your own blog, and you’ll be surprised at how little tech you need to know. (Trust me because I am not good with tech, and I managed to do just fine!) Plus, I’m going to give you a step by step guide to starting your own blog.
How do you start a blog?
1. Decide what you want to blog about.
In the blogging world, they call it a “niche”. This can be difficult for many people. It was for me too, but I finally just picked what I loved, and went with it. I love talking about how to save money, knitting, entering sweepstakes, being a mom, and food. My everyday life! Blog your passion – blog what you can’t stop talking about!
It is recommended to have a core niche, and talk about one main topic. (As you can see, I’m a rebel, and didn’t really do that.) What is it that you are really good at? Do you have an interest in knitting only? Do you pride yourself in your ability to make one of a kind printables? Are you a home schooler? Think about what makes you unique, and what makes you an authority. (You don’t have to know everything about everything to be an authority, you only have to know more than your reader does.)
What if I can’t decide on what to write? Even if you aren’t sure what to write about, start writing anyway! You will find your voice, and you will evolve over time.
2. Pick a blogging platform.
There are so many different platforms – Square Space, WordPress, and Blogger to name a few. I use WordPress. It’s so user friendly! (And if you sign up with Bluehost, they actually use WordPress, and it’s integrated in a way that makes it SUPER easy!)
Now if you choose WordPress, you have the option of being self-hosted or hosted. If you choose to be hosted, it is totally free, but you won’t be able to monetize your site. If you choose to be self-hosted, it will cost a little, but you will be able to monetize your site and have much more control.
Why would I want to pay to be self-hosted when I can be hosted for free? Don’t be tempted to go for the free site. Not only is it harder (almost impossible) to monetize, but free blogging sites can DELETE your blog at any time for any reason!! You don’t want to put all this hard work in, only to find out it was deleted!!
3. Find a host.
In order for your blog to be read, you will need to have it hosted somewhere. This is kind of like renting an apartment for your website/blog. There are multiple hosts, but I highly recommend Bluehost. (I owned a blog once before in the past, and had a different host that had horrible customer service.) Bluehost has GREAT customer service that I can attest to because I’ve had to use it a few times! Each time, I’ve walked away satisfied and with a great answer.
Some other reasons you want to use Bluehost, apart from their great customer service includes:
- You get a FREE domain. (I don’t know of any other hosting sites that do this!)
- They have tech support — via phone OR online chat. (I actually used the online chat tech support twice, and it was amazing. They solved my problem each time in less than 5 minutes!)
- If you decide this isn’t for you and back out of the deal, you can get your money back with their 30 day money back guarantee.
- Bluehost is VERY EASY to use, and they use WordPress, so you can literally just start writing.
- You will be self-hosted. (You can utilize this to monetize later.) The self-hosting also makes you look more professional and serious about blogging.
(This will open up in a new window, so you can follow along here.)
Click on the GREEN Get Started Now button!
Select your plan.
Choose the plan you’d like to start with by clicking one of the green “select” buttons. I recommend Plus or Prime because you get more unlimited features. However, there is nothing wrong with starting with the Basic either! Domain privacy, which I highly recommend, comes included with Prime. If you choose Basic or Plus, you’ll have the option to add it later for about $1 a month. (I made the mistake of not getting the domain privacy, and ended up talking to a great Bluehost customer service rep who literally put it in my cart for me and all I had to do is check out!)
Pick a domain name.
On the next screen, you will enter your blog name/domain name. Don’t have one? That’s ok, you can go on without it. A domain name is basically your website address. (mandajayne.com is my domain name) This can be hard, especially if you find out what you want is taken. Just try out a few different ways or spellings. My name is Amanda Jane. My very closest loved ones call me Manda. Well, mandajane was taken – so I changed up the spelling in my middle name, and ta-da! my site was born. Just be creative! A side note: you can also get .net, or other endings, but try to stick with a .com, as those are the most popular.
Enter your account information. Skip the upgrades and special offers. You will not need any other extras, so uncheck any extras listed. You can get site security later with a free plugin. I will discuss that later, once we are set up.
Enter your billing information.
Choose a password. Once you choose your password, Bluehost will guide you through exactly what you need to do in order to start your blog.
Now, get started with WordPress!!!
Click on “Start Building“. Side note: Your site will be on a temporary domain at first. It can take up to 24 hours for your chosen domain to become fully registered. Go ahead and start working on your site. When the real domain is ready, Bluehost will switch it for your automatically.
The next screen will ask you to choose “business” or “personal”. You can also pick “I don’t need help”. I chose personal, as I am doing a lifestyle blog. This is truly your own choice. You can’t really mess it up…
Bluehost will ask you to pick a theme. Find one you like, and I would start with the free themes first. You can upgrade to a paid theme later. The free themes are nice and serve their function.
Some tips on navigating and using WordPress:
- I would start with creating your “About Me” page, so people know what to expect from you!
- If you want to create a new post, just hover over the “Posts” option on the left side of your page and click “New Post.”
- If you want to add an image, click on “Media” on the left-hand side.
- You can go to “Appearance,” then “Widgets” in order to add items to your sidebar and footer, among other things.
- Jetpack is a great plugin that will protect your site from hackers and spammers, optimizes the speed of your site, and you will be able to see your blog’s stats.
Now, you have your OWN blog! The key to a good blog is good content, so start writing meaningful pieces. Start writing awesome content, and good luck!!
I’d love to see your blog! Share your URL in the comments so I can visit you!