I've been blogging for nearly 10 years now and the number one question that I get is… how do I start my own blog and is it expensive? Well, y'all – the awesome news is that starting a blog is so easy that you can do it in less than ten minutes AND it's less expensive then a new dress! And the even better news is that starting your own blog can be a life-changing thing. It was for me and I'm forever grateful for the day I started my own. Are you ready to find your little piece of the Internet? In this post, I am going to show you how to start a blog in four easy steps – get a domain name, get a host for your blog, install WordPress, and choose a theme. So let's get going and I'll show you how to start a blog in less than ten minutes!
Excited? Me, too! So, let's get right to it.
Choose a Domain Name
The very first thing that you need to do is choose your blog's domain name. Why? Because you literally cannot move on to another step unless you have a name purchased. Also, your name is EVERYTHING. A great name can make or break a blog (I get compliments on a weekly basis on my blog's name) and sometimes, it can be frustrating to “get” yours. I cannot tell you the number of names that I came up with – only to discover that they had already been purchased by someone else! If you are hooked on a name but it is already taken, then I encourage you to experiment with different ways to spell it or look for some synonyms. Use the tool below to see if your domain name is available!
Big Fat Tip: Buy the .com version of your domain name. Sure, there are many different extensions you can own (i.e. .net, .biz, .tv) but .com is considered the most authoritative and professional. And better yet, if you purchase 1 year of hosting in advance through Bluehost, you’ll actually get a one year domain name registration for FREE!
Get Hosting For Your Blog
The next step is to get hosting for your blog. Hosting a blog means that you will have a “place” for your blog and domain name on the Internet. Bluehost is a very easy to use and reliable host that I recommend my clients. The best part? You can get a FREE domain name when you purchase 1 year of hosting in advance (versus paying monthly). This is an AMAZING deal and Bluehost has three great hosting options for you to choose from:
- Starter Package is $3.95/per month (12 month option)
- Plus Package is $6.95/ per month (12 month option)
- Business Pro Package is $14.95 per month (12 month option)
If you are debating purchasing an annual hosting plan versus a monthly plan, remember that a yearly plan is a better deal in the long run and you'll have the reassurance of running your blog without an issue. Blogs thrive and grow on reliability so a monthly plan could lead to issues if you forget to make a payment (and you blog gets taken offline until you pay). I really do recommend just purchasing the annual plan so you can get going with your blog! Big Fat Tip: I always recommend to those just starting out to go with the basic package. You can then think about an upgrade down the road when you are starting to get good traffic, but until that happens, save some money and start with the cheapest option. Remember, you can always upgrade to the next level if you need to!
At this time, you'll also get the option to purchase some hosting add-ons which are nice but not required. Here's two that I recommend:
- Domain privacy: This add-on hides your personal information (name & address) and keeps your website and/or domain completely anonymous. Don't care? Untick that box and save $0.99/month.
- Site Backup Pro: WordPress is really secure; however, it’s good to have a back-up – just in case. Not interested right now? You can always sign up for it later for under $60/year.
Install the WordPress Blogging Platform
One of the best blogging platforms out there is WordPress and it's insanely easy to install it with Bluehost. In order to start blogging, you'll need to install WordPress. Just follow these steps:
- After you buy your Bluehost hosting plan, you'll get an email with a link to your CPANEL (the behind the scenes dashboard of your account). Just click the link to go to your WordPress CPANEL. Big Fat Tip: You can also log into Bluehost (my.bluehost.com) and be redirected to your control panel.
- Once logged into your CPANEL click on “Install WordPress”.
- You'll be redirected to the “Mojo Marketplace” – click the orange “Install” button.
- Next you will select the domain name you want associated with your WordPress installation. Click on the dropdown menu and select your newly purchased domain name. Go ahead and leave the white box after the forward-slash (‘/’) blank. That way, it will be installed straight to your root domain – i.e. http://www.yournewdomain.com and not as http://www.yournewdomain.com/wordpress (which is harder to remember and find on the Internet). Big Fat Tip: If you get a message that says, “Some files already exist that location“ – just ignore it. It’s a default index.html page and can be overwritten it by clicking “Continue”.
- Now, you'll have to wait a few moments for WordPress to install to your domain. You'll receive an email notification when it is done. Big Fat Tip: Didn't get the email? Just go to “Mojo Marketplace”, log in, and click on the notification icon. You can access your log-in URL, administrator username, and password from there.
- The last step is to click “Install”! Big Fat Tip: It can take upwards of 12 hours to start displaying your site. Try clearing your browser cache and/or cookies to help speed up the process.
Select a WordPress Theme
Now that you're done doing all the technical stuff, you can move on to selecting a theme and making your blog reflect your personality! One of the best things about WordPress is that there are thousands (no joke!) of free or premium themes that you can choose from to upload to your blog and make it look incredible. Big Fat Tip: I always recommend that new bloggers choose a free WordPress theme to get started. WordPress has several different WordPress themes already installed (which you can see by clicking on “Appearance -> Themes” while logged into your WordPress dashboard). Select one of those themes or upload a new theme by clicking on “Add New” right near Themes. This will show you all the available FREE themes. Use advanced search feature or keyword search to find a theme that fits your blog. You can also buy some really cool themes.
Once you have found a theme that you like, click “Install”. After the theme installs, click “Activate” to make it your main theme. Now you're ready to start blogging!
So remember, to start a blog in less than an hour, you'll need to:
Get started and remember to share your new blog in the comments!