How to Start a Blog
Welcome to the world of blogging.
I hope you’ve landed here safely and are ready to work.
Like for realz work.
Together – we will walk through a quick tutorial on how to get your ideas, thoughts, and life musings online. Once we’ve got you up and running, you’re free to create the most badass, epic blog + inspire people as you do it.
How does that sound? Like you’re ready to get started?
Ok then – let’s do this friends!
If you’re anything like me when I started this blog, then major kudos to you!
I knew zero about anything online related. I had zero experience in graphic design or photography. I had zero experience in SEO, affiliate marketing, or sponsored posts. And I had zero knowledge of domain names, hosting services, and all the other techy stuff that’s behind the scenes in blogging.
If I can do it. So can you.
Before we dive into the madness of blogging, let’s prepare ourselves:
- Set up time to do this tutorial distraction free (unless you’re a techy badass).
- Document everything you do – usernames, passwords, login pages, receipts, etc.
- Make a huge pot of coffee and put your I can do anything face on.
And now we can begin.
*Disclaimer – Please note that some of the links below are affiliates links and I will earn commission if your purchase through these links. I have either personally used or know someone who has used the products below. I absolutely recommend them!
Choose Your Domain Name
First before anything else – what the hell are you going to name the blog? This can be a tough step to conquer (it took me months) so here’s a few tips:
- Keep it simple.
- Keep it memorable and descriptive.
- Create a few variations of the same name, just in case your first choice isn’t available.
- Write it down, say it out loud, pass it by family and friends, and then….
Register Your Domain!
As you can see in the photo above, it mentions the word FREE with every hosting account. This means you want to register and purchase your domain name with the same host company.
Simple as that.
Except I’m guessing you have one small problem, what the hell is a hosting service?
Allow me to explain (or attempt to explain)….
In a very basic nutshell, hosting is like renting space on the Internet. Companies, like SiteGround/Blue Host/Go Daddy, etc. – have created MASSIVE storage and server capabilities around the globe to host websites (like this one). Your monthly or yearly rate is a rental fee for using their servers, storage, and customer service.
Does that make sense?
I host The Journey Junkie through SiteGround and am incredibly pleased with their services. I can’t recommend them enough, especially when it comes to customer service and user interface with their site.
When you visit SiteGround, or any hosting service, you’ll notice the different plans offered. Feel free to go with the StartUp plan or if you’re feeling uber confident – test out the GrowBig plan.
Do know this – if you’re serious about blogging & making any income from it, you must invest in yourself! I recently had to upgrade to the GoGeek plan, and instead of being upset by the price increase, I’m thankful for my monthly traffic & badass readers!
How’s that for a change in perspective 🙂
Brainstorm and choose a domain name.
Decide which hosting service you will use —–> Siteground is #thebomb.
Register your domain & sign up for a hosting package.
WordPress Installation + Setup
We’re almost done with the techy to-dos… hang in there babes!
WordPress is a necessary tool and one that’s used and loved by loads of bloggers and business owners. Again, if new the blogger world, you’re thinking – what the hell is WordPress?
In another basic nutshell….. WordPress is:
- The site that houses all of your content – posts, pages, and photos.
- It supports your theme design and makes the site look pretty.
- It supports all plugins, like social media sites, comment programs, and newsletter subscriptions.
- And so much more…. it’s simply too much to list.
WordPress + blogger babe = best friends forever.
When working with SiteGround, they will upload and install all necessary WordPress ish for you. And they do it for FREE! Below are a few screenshots to help get started with the installation process.
Make it Your Own
We’re on step 3 and you should now be logged into your WordPress admin site and ready to start blogging! If you’re not logged into WordPress – let’s get there please. Time’s a ticking.
*Tip – your unique WordPress login is whatever domain you’ve chosen + /wp-admin. So for my site it would be: http://thejourneyjunkie.com/wp-admin. You can always access the backend of your site by plugging that url into a browser.
You are now logged into your blog – congrats!
Now let’s beautify that online space of yours. When it comes to site design, there are LOADS of options, please don’t feel intimidated if you’re not a graphic designer, don’t have thousands of dollars to spend, or have zero clue how to edit code.
It’s all good – the blogger world’s got you covered!
Blog Theme Options:
- Free theme through WordPress.
- Purchase a pre-designed theme ranging from $29 – $200.
- Hire a graphic designer to build a personal design – the most expensive option!
The second option is the best choice for a newcomer or a seasoned blogger. A pre-designed theme is a template that allows you to retro fit the blog appearance to your style and taste. Some themes are easy to manipulate while other’s take some coding knowledge. Below are popular theme options:
- StudioPress Themes are highly loved and recommended by many BIG bloggers out there. The price includes the Genesis Framework + whatever theme you choose!
- Pretty Darn Cute Designs is an awesome theme company & the one I use! I use this theme in conjunction with the Genesis Framework.
- Themeforest has loads of options when it comes to themes. It can be a bit overwhelming but the price point is worth the browsing. Prices range from $28 – $63.
- Etsy has themes too – who knew!
If you purchase a theme, the zip file will need to be uploaded into WordPress. To do this – click on themes, add new, and upload theme. The screen will look like this:
We are almost there blogger friends! I promise, like pinky promise…
Before you begin blogging your hearts out, first set up the necessary pages to make your blog look legit.
- About Me – a brief explanation of who you are, what the blog will focus on, and a photo of you (preferably a super cute one).
- Contact Me – you can use a contact form here, your e-mail address, or a mixture of both. Check out my version here.
- Set up your menu or navigation bar – this is where your different categories will live. If unsure of what categories you want, no worries. This can always be done at a later date.
- Set your front page to either a static page (like mine) or your blog feed (showing current posts).
To help you get started, below are a few tutorials I’ve written:
- How to Brainstorm a Blog + Worksheet
- How to Setup Your Blog: A Step-by-Step Tutorial
- 10 Must-Have Plugins
- How to Write a Badass Blog Post
Your blog is now officially ready to go! Huge pat on the back, I know that took a lot of effort and maybe some hair pulling (it did for me).
Now the fun really begins…
After many tutorials like this one, I taught myself how to blog. It didn’t come easy and this site didn’t blossom over night. And yours won’t either – there’s no two ways around it.
Here’s the deal with blogging – imagine your dream home is built from bricks, thousands of bricks laid upon one another. Each brick symbolizes a published blog post – a high quality, amazing content blog post. With each blog post that’s published, just like with each brick that’s laid, you are one step closer to building a blog empire or that dream home.
Don’t be discouraged. Don’t focus on the end result. Keep your thoughts on the present moment and the immediate future. Stay incredibly focused and driven on what you want to achieve from this online slice of yours. Opportunities will come. Connections will be made. And YOU will be so incredibly proud of what you’ve created.