Welcome, so you are ready to start a blog!
Maybe you have been stewing on the idea, learned it was great for drawing in business, or want to start earning extra income from home (good for you!). If you have been scratching your head on how to start, we have you covered. This guide is going to walk you step-by-step through the process of setting up your blog: choosing a domain, setting up the hosting, designing the blog and linking your social media.
Why A Blog? Blogs are a fun way to express your personality and individuality. They’re also a great way to bring in additional income, increase publicity to your existing business, share favorite recipes or hobbies, and an awesome way to personally connect with followers.
I have found blogging to not just be beneficial, but crucial, to running my business profitably. I utilized a blog in my 6 figure handmade business, and to share tips and advice here on how to grow your own business or blog. Not only am I able to connect with visitors on a deeper level than a social media post, I’m able to monetize my blog and create additional streams of income (more posts on that in the works!).
By the time we are finished, you will have your own self-hosted WordPress site + blog. Woohoo! 🙂
Let’s Get Started.
WordPress.org is one of the popular platforms currently used by many bloggers and creative business owners, and I highly recommend it to all of my clients.
(While there are many opinions thrown around between different platforms, WordPress.org is globally the most used content-management system and always the number one choice for serious bloggers, which is why I stand behind it 100%).
Here is a quick overview for the steps to create your blog:
- Choose and purchase hosting.
(Hosting is a web server that makes your content searchable on the Internet and easy to find. I use Bluehost and pay once a year.)
- Choose and purchase your site domain name (example: www.mariebranding.com)
- Install WordPress (Bluehost makes this part easy, with a ONE click option!)
- WordPress is ready to go! Easy peasy. (Now you can move forward to designing, linking social media, and writing your first post!)
Step 1: Choose your hosting.
Find a scalable and affordable hosting service such as Bluehost. A host can be thought of as a web server which makes your content searchable on the Internet, thus, existing and potential readers, customers or clients will be able to find your blog/site via public server.
There are free hosting services available, however, because they have limited capacity for which to host your services, I highly discourage the use of free hosting services. You don’t want to find yourself running out of space after uploading a few images and switching in two weeks. I’ve been a Bluehost customer for years, and personally recommend them to all my design clients for optimal server uptime consistency and helpful 24/7 customer service. (Aka they’re pretty great).
Click my personal link provided or the banner below to be directed to the best current rate for Bluehost.
Once you have clicked the Bluehost link you should land on the homepage.
Next, click the green button that says Get Started Now.
Step 2: Choose your plan.
The basic plan is great for starting out. You might find yourself needing to upgrade down the road, and
the plus or pro plans give you unlimited resources as your blog grows.
Step 3: Choose your domain.
Time for you to name your blog! You can choose a new domain if you do not already have one. A domain is the name of your website such as www.mariebranding.com. If you already have a domain you can enter it on the right (this will not cause any errors).
Some tips for naming your blog or site and choosing a domain:
– consider your target audience
– choose something easy to remember and pronounce
– make sure it relates to you or your core topic
– choose a domain that is simple to spell
– be creative!
– avoid using special characters like hyphens, numbers, ambiguous terms or strings of words which don’t make sense
– if you’re not sure what to use, take some time and do a little research. Grab some coffee and play around with different combinations to see what you can come up with
– if you are an existing business, choose your business name for the domain. If the domain is taken, try out similar alternatives to keep your brand consistent
Still need help? Test out your ideas with a few friends or drop a line in the comments below!
Step 4: Enter your account information.
For this step you will need a working email address as this is where your login information will be sent to.
Step 5: Choose your hosting package.
Select your account plan from the dropdown list. Billing is done on an annual basis but the monthly amount is very reasonable. (Our Bluehost plan is less than a caramel latte each month. Awesome, right? )
Notice here that I have checked the box for the Domain Privacy Protection. This is optional, however, I highly recommend this option because doing so will keep your information private (I’m not a fan of my mailing address out in the open).
Step 6: Enter your billing information.
Enter your billing information and read all the fine print, then click Submit.
Step 7: Skip the upgrades.
Following the last step you’ll be prompted for selecting upgrade options. Feel free to review the add-ons if you’d like, I chose to skip this step at the time. Continue to finish your purchase.
Next, check your email account. You should receive a welcome letter from Bluehost along with your control panel login (cpanel) information. Take care to keep this information in a secure place as you’ll need it for future reference.
It’s now time to install WordPress on your new site!
Step 8: Login to your cpanel.
Return to Bluehost and click the login button in the upper right corner of your screen. Another option is to just click on the link to your cpanel which came in the welcome email.
Enter your cpanel login information from the welcome email.
Step 9: Install WordPress.
Once you get logged in, click the WordPress icon under Website Builders. (You may also receive a pop-up after logging in asking if you would like to install WordPress in one click, choose Yes).
Step 10: Begin the WordPress installation.
You should be looking at a new window that looks like this. Click the Start or Install button to begin the WordPress installation.
Step 11: Choose where to install WordPress.
From the drop down menu, select your domain name and then click Check Domain.
Step 12: Enter your WordPress user information.
Check the check box next to show advanced options. Enter your website name or the title (i.e. Marie Branding Co, Food Blogging Gal, The Creative Workshop, etc.)
Next, choose an Admin username and make sure you do not use “admin” as your username or password. Change it to something that is easy for you to remember and unique to you. To further increase the security of your site make use of a mix of capital and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols when creating your username and password. This information is what you will use every time you log into WordPress once it’s installed.
Next, enter your email address for which all site information will be sent to. Read and agree to the terms of service. Click the Install Now button.
Step 13: Check your WordPress login credentials.
Once WordPress has been installed, you should see the status indicator displaying success (Status: success).
Browse over the information to access your new WordPress site. This information will also be sent to your email address. Please be sure to keep it in a safe place as you might need it for future reference.
If you chose to register a new domain back in Step 2, clicking on the Site URL link will take you to your new site. Clicking on the login link will take you to the WordPress admin login page where you can enter your username and password.
(Your login page should be www.yourdomainname.com/wp-admin)
Once logged in to the admin panel, you can make admin changes as needed to your website.
That’s it! Now you or anyone else can type your domain into a web browser and your WordPress site will appear.
Step 14: Celebrate with confetti and brownies!
You just started your own blog. The fun has only begun! For my favorite blogging tools and design sites visit here.