Starting a blog is NO JOKE! There are a lot of steps to take from design to naming to choosing a host, picking a theme, learning WordPress, backing up….and the list goes on an on and that’s all before we even get to any writing!
I recently wrote a post about the 5 lessons I learned my first year blogging and I got a ton of great feedback. So! I wanted to boil it down for anyone who is just staring out. Hopefully this will help get you up and running in no time stress-free.
In a nutshell this is all it takes:
- Pick a host and name your blog
- Install WordPress
I mean when you put it like that, it’s pretty simple! Let me walk you through it!
1. Pick A Host for Your Website and Name Your Website
Hosting was a new concept for me but it is basically paying a company to display your blog. And it’s not optional. It’s basically like paying someone to rent some space on the internet.
I use Bluehost and have for the past year. They make getting your blog up and running really easy and have been available for all my calls and questions. Above all their customer service has been priceless – especially for someone like me who had no idea what I was doing. They offer FREE domain name registration and have plans for less than $5/mo if you are willing to pay upfront. I would recommend them to anyone starting a blog. Like don’t waste your time shopping around, this one is good.
Next you have to pick a name for your blog which took me forever. But I’ve gotta say, I’m so glad I put the time into it because you never know, it could be around for a while! Okay so here’s a step by step to sign up for Bluehost.
So when you get to Bluehost’s homepage; click “Get Started Now” (you can’t miss it).
Then I recommend the “Basic” plan to start, you can always upgrade later if your site blows up.
And after that a window will pop up where you can enter possible domain names to see if they are available (see below). If the specific name you are thinking of is not available, Bluehost will give you some ideas for alternative names or you can just try to pick a new name.
After you’ve picked a name, you select the package you want. These are the options I went with:
And you are half way there!
2. Install WordPress.org
After signing on with Bluehost you will need to install WordPress. WordPress is the software that bloggers use to display their content. I had no idea what this was or how to use it a year ago but I did it and you can too! Here’s how:
Login to Bluehost. find the “Website Builders” section and click on the WordPress logo. Then follow the steps for “Do it yourself FREE.” If you get stuck you can always call Bluehost customer service for help. They are awesome. Just a note that there are two versions of WordPress: .com and .org. You will be installing .org.
Make sure you write down your Admin URL (how you get to the backend of your website) and your user name and password. You will need these to login to your website for the first time.
So believe it or not you are actually up and running! Now comes the fun part of making it look good. First you will need to pick a theme. A theme is basically the layout that someone will see when they come to your site. WordPress has tons of free themes. And there are also a ton of premium themes that are available for purchase. You will find free and premium themes under “Appearance” and then “Themes” on the backend of your website when you log into your site. It will look like this:
Then you can browse and pick out either a free theme or a paid one. You can also browse themes here on WordPress.org. If you buy a premium theme it is a one-time purchase. I suggest looking at these carefully to make sure you get the functionality you want. They will have demos for each of their features. The worst would be to set your site up only to realize it doesn’t work for you. Select with care!
I ended up overpaying for my whole stetup. I bought the Sculpture Quode Simplice theme through Mojo Marketplace. You will see Mojo Marketplace come up when you click your “Themes” tab. I paid Mojo Marketplace to set up my theme to look like the Simplice demo which was helpful for me. I also bought a 1 hour tutorial from Mojo Marketplace to get me going because I had no idea what I was doing and was so overwhelmed. That was super helpful too. I could have done it without this help but I was glad to have it at the time.
If I had to do it again I would buy the Sculpture Quode theme and then take a free class (free with their 10 day trial) on Lynda.com about how to use WordPress. This would have saved me a bunch of money plus I would have been more versed in WordPress and would have had more control over my site right off the bat. But if you don’t want to self-teach, the demo option is there to give you a jump.
This is the theme you see on This Organic Girl: Simplice by Sculpture Quode.
Sculpture Quode comes with a Ticket Help Desk so if you get stuck on customizing or a post is not posting or you want to know if you can upload and use your own fonts or WHATEVER you can put in a ticket with them and they will get back to you within 24 hours – they have been so so so helpful to me. They even helped me create a custom pink “Buy Button” which is above and beyond. Totally recommend their themes for the support alone. Not all themes offer support.
And that’s it! After this you will be well on your way to blogging. GOOD LUCK!