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Thinking about learning how to start a blog?
I wasn’t. In fact, the idea had never occurred to me. But let me tell you, making the decision to start a blog was the best one I’ve ever made.
So how did I get here?
WARNING: some of this may sound eerily familiar to you.
I was a successful executive in my former life. I had been working in Residential Property Management and Real Estate for 18 years (yup, I just aged myself).
And on a daily basis I felt one or more of the following emotions:
- Short on time
Sounding familiar yet?
I knew I had to make a change but walking away from a successful career was terrifying, even if that career was basically joyless.
But what would I do??
Lucky for me the Universe has a way of intervening if you question it enough.
I drove to work one morning thinking about how much I disliked my job, and by the end of the day, I no longer had that job.
I was laid off unexpectedly from the start-up I’d been working for as a Regional Director.
Just like that, my world shifted. I was dumbfounded, angry, and… relieved.
Something in me knew this was my chance. I could shape my own destiny.
Then, just like you, I made the decision to learn how to start a blog and that one moment changed EVERYTHING.
So I created this simple guide to help beginners learn how very easy it is to start a blog and start working toward financial freedom.
Sound good? Thought so.
Let’s do this:
|TABLE OF CONTENTS|
|1. Choose your Blog Topic & Domain Name|
|2. Choose Platform & Web Hosting|
|3. Get acquainted with WordPress|
|4. Choose a stellar WordPress Blog Theme!|
|5. Join the Blogger Community!|
1. Choose your Blog Topic & Domain Name
Let me start off this easy ‘how to start a blog’ guide with some good news: almost any blog topic can make money.
BUT… You want to choose a niche that is as specific as possible and one that addresses a need of your audience.
For example, say you start a blog and select gardening as your niche.
You’ll want to get even more specific and focus on a particular gardening topic rather than posting about every single aspect of gardening.
Like, how to grow succulents in Southern California, for example.
Think of things you find yourself talking about often with friends and family or things you wonder about when you can’t sleep.
Once you’ve determined your topic, brainstorm a few domain name ideas. (your domain, by the way, is your website name/address)
For example, “frostedkale.com” is my domain name for this site.
Again, this shouldn’t be too complicated. Just make sure your domain name is related to your blog topic.
After you choose your domain, it’s time to register it. I highly recommend using NameCheap for this as they make it super simple to register and manage domains. They’re also the cheapest option. (Its in their name) Click the link below:
2. Choose Platform & Web Hosting Plan
Now that you’ve got your awesome topic and your website domain, you’re ready to start a blog!
To do so, you’ll need two things:
- Blogging Platform
Your Blogging Platform is the place where you’ll design the look & feel of your site and write and edit your blog posts.
Hosting is the service that brings your blog to the masses. (if you build it they will come… once you sign up for web hosting, that is)
They are the peas to a beginner’s carrots because:
- The setup process with Bluehost is SUPER easy and totally integrated with WordPress.
- WordPress is the platform used by 95% of all successful bloggers because it is awesome. And by that, I mean highly customizable, user-friendly, and really powerful.
- Bluehost is amazing for new users because they literally walk you through the setup process, step by step, and have 24/7 customer service available to assist you. (and, take it from me, their customer service guys and gals are top-notch)
This combo is what I use on this site when I was first starting out. It is incredibly easy to start a blog with Bluehost.
Let me walk you through starting a blog with Bluehost step-by-step:
Click here to go to Bluehost.com (the page will open in a new browser window so that you may follow along here while creating there – be sure to use the links on this page to ensure you receive all discounts!)
You’ll see this screen:
Click the green “Get Started” (or “Start Saving”) button.
Next, you’ll select your plan.
Select the option that works best for you. Don’t worry, the Basic Plan has everything you need.
Once you’ve selected your plan, you’ll enter the new domain name that you chose earlier:
Enter your desired name and click next to search for available names.
As mentioned earlier, this is where having a couple of favorites in mind may come in handy in case your first choice is already taken.
Haven’t landed on that perfect domain name yet? No worries! Simply click the link to create it later and continue with the setup process.
Next, you’ll create your account. If you’re a Google user and have a Google account you’d like to use for your new business, go ahead and log in using Google.
Otherwise, enter all of your information as seen below:
Next, scroll down to the package section of the page.
First, select your Account Plan (aka length of term).
I recommend the 36-Month Plan because it is the best value. I’m a numbers gal and it just makes sense.
But choose the option that works best for you. A few things to consider while thinking over your blog hosting plan decision:
- Yes, a 36-Month Plan is a longer commitment. BUT, you’re making this commitment to YOURSELF and YOUR GOALS. Idk about you, but I can’t think of anything I’d rather commit to long-term.
- The 36-Month Plan is more money upfront, I get it. But you’re committing to your future success and it will actually save you money during the first 3 years of running your business (which is critical).
- Bluehost offers a guarantee so the first 30 days are RISK-FREE. Cancel any time within that window for a full refund.
Next scroll to the package extras.
Now, this is important: unselect ALL the boxes EXCEPT Domain Privacy + Protection as shown here:
Why is this important?
Adding Domain Privacy + Protection ensures that your personal information remains confidential by hiding your personal details.
Personally, I’m not a fan of spammers and potential criminals gathering my personal deets so I highly recommend you check this box!
(note: if you opted to choose your domain name at a later time you won’t see this option, but you can add it on once you complete your domain registration)
All that’s left to do is enter your payment information and hit SUBMIT!
You now own your blog and your hosting plan!
Are you excited??! I am.
3. Get acquainted with WordPress
Once you follow the prompts following the payment screen to create a password (make sure it’s a secure one!), click the Login button to enter WordPress.
First, you’ll be prompted to pick a theme. Don’t spend too much time on this.
Choose a free theme that looks appealing to you and move on. (don’t worry, you can change your theme at any time – more on this in a minute)
Once you’ve got your theme, you’ll spend a minute setting up your WordPress dashboard. Click “Start Building” and select “Business” as the type of site you’re creating.
Then follow the prompts to set up your site title and description, homepage layout, and contact information. Once you’re finished, click “Connect to WordPress.com.“
Lastly, you’ll be asked to verify your email address, which you should do as soon as possible.
You’re all set to start customizing your WordPress site!!
There is a lot of customization available in WordPress and starting a blog can be a bit daunting at first. This is where my next recommendation comes in.
4. Choose a Stellar WordPress Blog theme!
A blog theme is the software and coding package that determines how your site looks and how it functions.
I will tell you from personal experience that the first few weeks of designing your blog are the most frustrating and confusing, so don’t beat yourself up if you get a little lost from time to time.
After you start a blog, it will take time to get comfortable with WordPress but you will get there!
One thing I wish I’d done differently?
Bought a dynamic theme right from the start.
I spent about 2 months clumsily editing a free theme and growing more and more frustrated with how difficult it was to customize and how limited it was.
Note: I have ZERO web design or coding experience and had no idea how to start a blog, so I was a newbie by every definition.
I finally decided it was time to heed the advice of others and get the absolute best theme around:
The Divi Theme is the #1 most beginner-friendly and customizable theme on the market.
Plus, Elegant Themes is so confident in their products, they’ll let you try them RISK-FREE!
They offer a no-questions-asked, 30-Day Money Back Guarantee. So you have nothing to lose!
You’re sure to find one you love.
5. Join the Blogger Community!
The biggest mistake I see from bloggers who set out to start a blog, other than wasting too much time trying a bunch of themes like I did, is not reaching out to other bloggers for help.
We are all in this together!
When you start a blog, it is totally natural to doubt yourself in the beginning, and talking to others who have been in your shoes can provide the encouragement you need to keep going!
Check out my article on Tailwind Communities here.
I have made great friends and learned A TON from fellow bloggers. This made a huge difference for me in the beginning and I highly recommend you reach out to folks to connect.
Now that you’ve learned how to start a blog, check out these 10 Highly-Effective Blogging Tips For Beginners!