So you want to start a blog but don’t know how? That’s fantastic! Setting up a blog is REALLY easy to do, if you know where to go.
There are a couple of different ways to about doing it. But I’m going to share exactly how I setup up my first blog.
How To Start A Blog
You can do things manually one by one. Or you go do things the easy way and use a service that walks you through everything step by step with everything you already need. This is what I have done and recommend.
Here’s the process we’re going to walk through:
- Sign up for hosting.
- Choose a domain name.
- Install a theme.
- Setup your plugins.
- Start writing.
Don’t worry, I’ve done this twice before and it’s really not that complicated.
Sign Up For Hosting
The cheapest isn’t always the best. Yes, you can start blogging absolutely free. But I have a feeling you’re looking to actually make this worth the effort you put into it.
That’s why I recommend Wealthy Affiliate for hosting and setup. They take care of everything, and I mean everything. They are a one stop location for getting your blog completely setup.
Wealthy Affiliate is a membership site that teaches you how to start a blog from scratch and then implement all of the basic steps to grow your blog through creating content to affiliate marketing.
You don’t have to worry about marketing or monetizing your site at all. But if it’s something you want to learn, you’re in the right place. It’s free to sign up!
A lot of other bloggers will recommend that you use BlueHost because it’s very cheap on a monthly basis. But I have had many negative experiences shared with me about the lack of quality with BlueHost. So it’s up to you.
Here’s a great comparison chart about the similarities and differences between the two. And I’m on the inside of Wealthy Affiliate too and will be there to help you every step of the way if you ever need it!
Choose A Domain
This is the fun part! Wealthy Affiliate will also help you with this completely as you’re setting up your blog.
Depending on what you want you blog to be about determines what you should call it. Many blogs are titles after their topic, while others are simply the names of the people who run it. There are pros and cons to either scenario.
For blogs with custom names and titles:
- it’s usually very niche specific around a single topic
- people will more likely know what your blog is about right off the bat
- it will be more searchable in Google and on social platforms
For blogs with the owner’s specific name:
- it’s not usually as clear what the purpose for it is
- it doesn’t have to be niche specific because it’s all about you
- you can brand it however you like
I have two blogs, one in each of these categories. I run MyNaturalBabyBirth.com which is exactly as it’s name suggests, a mommy blog that teaches women how to prepare for natural births.
So think about what you specifically want to blog about, who you want to help, and how you want to do that, and you’ll be able to come up with some domain ideas.
Then use Wealthy Affiliate to search for an available domain. A couple tips:
- Make sure that you go from something with a .com suffix because they’re more recognized and indexed through Google and search platforms.
- Don’t select a domain with hyphens in it. They’re just harder to remember and share with people.
Here’s a screenshot I did of a simple search for a new blog domain for chocolate, just for fun. You can see what’s available and variations of what you’re looking for.
Install A Theme
A theme is how you’re website is going to be structured and decorated with your content. There are a lot of free themes out there that work great. But if you’re looking to make your blog a business with true dedication, I recommend buying a more professional theme from Studio Press. They vary in price but average around $97 depending on what option you go with.
Both of my blogs live on the Genesis framework and I highly recommend it completely. Genesis themes are just so much more seamless, clean, and adaptable to what you want to do with your website.
Don’t worry if what you choose ends up not being what you want. You can always install a new theme at any time.
Setup Your Plugins
Plugins are like little programs you can add into your site to help add more functionality to it. You don’t want to go overboard with plugins because they can be clunky and even make your site worse if you’re not careful.
But there are a few basic plugins you’ll absolutely want to make sure that your site is optimized to run as smooth as possible. Here are the plugins that I use on my blogs:
- All in One SEO Pack – this allows your blog to be optimized for search engines like Google, so that you rank higher in searches and are found better oganically
- Contact Form 7 – this plugin help you make a simple contact form so that people can get in touch with you through your blog
- Image Widget – when you want to add images as links in your sidebar, this plugin helps you do that so you don’t have to know how to code
- Pretty Link – this plugin is fantastic for making your links look better
For example, I have links to landing pages so moms can learn about a birthing course I teach, but their native links look like this: https://salespages.us/lp/8g/Confident-Birthing-Course-Sales-Page
Not very nice looking. And if I tried to just tell someone that link so they could go there, it would be impossible to spit it all out. So I made a pretty link for it that looks like this: https://mynaturalbabybirth.com/course
Much better, right? So be sure to get the Pretty Link plugin.
Other plugins I use are:
- Simple Social Icons – so that you can have links to your social profiles all accessible for people to visit, there are hundreds of plugins like this
- Signature Widget For Genesis – this is so that you can personalize the ending of your posts with whatever you want. **You do have to have a Genesis theme (like from Studio Press) for this widget to work though.
Right now my signature for this blog looks like this:
After all of my pins at the end of my posts, I have some text, my signature flourish, and even my social links. They show up automatically so that I don’t have to insert them into all my posts every single time.
You can even add ads, links, images, opt-in boxes or whatever you want to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your posts.
Now you have everything set up! The basic techy stuff is out of the way and now you can start personalizing, writing, and creating content for your blog. Easy peezy!
If you ever have questions about blogging, what matter and what doesn’t, I would love to answer your questions. 🙂
It can be confusing and frustrating when starting out because of the learning curve. But I suspect that you’re the type that picks things up really quickly!
You can write about:
- hot topics in your niche
- teaching others something that you know
- your favorites and family life
- things that inspire you
Your blog is your blog and you own it. Make it yours!
The possibilities are endless when it comes to blogging. And quite often the so-called “rules” can be broken. Your blog is your blog and you own it. Make it yours! Now you just need to get started. 🙂
Then come back and drop a link to your blog in the comments so that we can check it out! Tell us what you want to blog about and why you want to be blogging in the first place. You’re gonna be great!
It’s a fantastic world that we live in. Come join us. 🙂
What are you blogging about?