How to Start a Blog From Scratch Course Day One
Welcome to DAY ONE.
Today you start a blog. We are super excited you are joining us! We are here to show you what it takes to get started building a blog, from scratch. No experience is necessary. We’ve written about starting a blog before, but this 6-day course gets you the details and can help move you forward faster. And if doubt is creeping in, know that ANYONE can do this. If you’ve been drawn to this 6-day course it’s probably because you’re ready to make a change. You’re ready to share something. You’re ready to do what it takes to be financially independent, make your own schedule, travel more- whatever your dreams. Now is the time to start.
What Do You Need to Start a Blog?
Don’t make this hard on yourself. Starting a Blog is actually very easy. If fear is crowding your mind a bit, then consider this a quick to-do action list. No emotions are needed. Just action. Grab a cup of tea or coffee and your computer. Set aside about 20-30 minutes.
Here’s the outline.
- Choose a name for your blog
- Create your blog email address
- Set up your hosting
If this just sounds like a series of forms you need to fill out, that’s because it is.
Let’s Get Your Blog Started!
- First, you will have to pick a domain name.
- Second, you will set up your blog with the steps in this post.
- Third, you’ll get a preview of what tomorrow looks like.
A Few Words About Using WordPress.com for FREE
Okay, before we dive into the magical world of web hosting, let us just touch on the wordpress.com option here. WordPress.com is a blog provider and can get you a few things to get started. That said if you want to make money…you will have to have a wordpress.org site instead. As income options on wordpress.com are limited and sometimes nonexistent. BUT, everyone starts for free on wordpress.com to test the waters, so to speak, especially if you’re not sure blogging is right for you. So, this is the breakdown.
WordPress.com gets you a place on the internet to write and share your thoughts. You can buy a domain name from them if you want the “wordpress.com” tail removed from your website name. The FREE plan means you won’t be able to upload plugins, make money, or remove their ads. This isn’t great. But an excellent option if you’re wavering. That said, everything in this course is only possible with a self-hosted website, i.e. wordpress.org.
Starting a Blog | Choose a Domain Name
If you’ve always wanted your name in lights, here is your chance. What’s a domain name? It’s just the website name that everyone (EVERYONE) will know your blog by. If you’re focused on fashion or lifestyle where your personal brand is important then your domain could be your first and last name, or your name and the word fashion, lifestyle, home, style, etc.
OR you don’t have to use your name at all and instead use a topic as the main word in your website name. It’s important to match your domain name to what your content topics will be. If you plan to write about DIY, recipes, beauty products, and décor then your website could use the word lifestyle as part of the name. However, if you’re only focused on travel that includes waterfalls, then your blog name should include the word waterfalls.
- It doesn’t have to be difficult, but it does have to be something you LOVE.
- Pick a name that you feel good about sharing with others.
- And that at first glance will tell the blog visitor what they can expect to find.
- That people may naturally type in when looking for what you offer.
- Make sure to choose a .com.
A Pro Tip Detour: While you’re considering names for your domain, check out online to see if anyone already has something similar. Use namecheckr to get a glimpse at which name is available across all your preferred platforms. Check out Instagram, Facebook pages, Pinterest, Twitter, and any other social accounts that may use the name you’re thinking about. Your goal here is to have the same brand recognition across all platforms- this includes your website, your email name, and all your social accounts. You can pretend to be signing up on any of these platforms or check your domain name availability on godaddy.com before diving in.
Starting a Blog| Where Your Blog Lives
Ok, so in real life, your blog doesn’t live anywhere, but in internet life, your blog lives on a server somewhere. This server, hosts (like a digital guest) your site. It’s important to choose the right host. Just like you’re picky about your Airbnb hosts, be picky about your blog host.
The blog host you choose should have Amazing customer service. AMAZING. Because let’s face it, if you wanted an IT job, you wouldn’t necessarily be looking to start a blog. You’re gonna need someone to walk you through setting up your theme, tackling .htaccess folders, and when things go wrong and you suddenly can’t find any of your photos. Your blog host should be Easy to set up, up because you don’t want the confusing world of hosting to be the reason you don’t reach your dreams.
A good blog host will be able to grow your blog by providing fast loading times, SSL certificates, a cdn plan, and tons of other things YOU shouldn’t have to know these things inside out. This is where Bluehost comes in. Just go there. It’s by far the BEST and most Budget Friendly hosting service you will find, ever. Having a hosting company means you can have access to a variety of themes, plugins, and other things needed to make your blog look gorgeous. In the following steps, we’re going to teach you how to set up hosting. So get ready. Because in about 15 minutes you will Officially have a Blog! To get started Click here to open Bluehost in a new tab. This is where you will sign up for a blog hosting account.
Set Up Your Blog Hosting
Okay. With Bluehost ready in the next tab this is what you should see. Something to note here is that shared hosting simply means that you “share” your server space with other websites. This isn’t a bad thing. If at one point your website becomes huge, then you can upgrade to a dedicated server for your site. But first things first.
Click the Get Started button.
Select Your Hosting Plan
Okay- we’ll be honest, we are cheap… like really cheap. We will never pay for something that we could get just as good for free. (Probably not the best life motto, but how else can we can afford those 7 vacations to Walt Disney World every year?) We will always take savings where we can get them. And Bluehost is all about savings. And it is ESSENTIAL for you to Start a Blog. Here are the big differences in plans.
Bluehost Basic Plan: Super cheap this plan will get you started. Be prepared to get a free email or Gmail account because this plan doesn’t have a domain email included. Where that can hurt you is in things like a newsletter setup. A newsletter, like Mailchimp or Mailerlite will always want your newsletter with a domain email because it has more credentials, than a random email. But, if you’re taking it slow, this plan is just fine to start
Bluehost Plus Plan: The plus plan comes with an email address, so it’s nice to get that taken care of and as part of your hosting. Because who loves hundreds of passwords for all those different services you need? No one. We also like that you get spam protection here. You will get this also with the jetpack plugin on your wordpress.org site once you set that up. But it’s nice to have nonetheless.
Bluehost Choice Plus Plan: The Choice Plus Plan is basically the same cost, during promo times, as the Plus Plan. This is our Recommended Plan on Bluehost. So that you don’t hit some host barriers (like domain protection, privacy or site backup) early in your blogging career that causes unnecessary frustration and workarounds.
The Pro Plan: As mentioned the pro plan is not a place to start unless you have about a year of content you’ve been storing in word documents and now plan to upload and take online. Bluehost Pro Plan gets you everything the other plans do, plus a dedicated IP. Remember that point about having to share your server space with other blogs…well in the pro plan, you get your own room.
How to Start a Blog | Enter Your Domain Name
We highly, HIGHLY, recommend getting your domain name as part of your hosting. Why? While places like GoDaddy and others have cheap prices on domains you usually get 1 free domain name in your hosting package. So why pay for it somewhere else? Also, remember all those passwords. How many accounts do you really need? That said, having your domain and hosting in the same place will help when renewal time comes which is usually annually or bi-annually.
On this page in the spot that says “New Domain”, enter the domain name you’ve chosen.
Unfortunately, if someone already owns your domain name, then take a pause here and think of others that may also be good for your blog. Then move to the next screen where you can fill out all the information that is associated with your account. It’s important to write down the email you use on this page. This should be your main email. It will be the one you use on customer service calls to Bluehost for verifying your identity. And how they will get in contact with you when renewal time comes.
Remember we are only in the first step so far. So no need to think about creating a new email for your website, or social account setup yet. Getting your Blog Started on Bluehost is the most important step. After you fill out your account information, you are almost there…
How to Start a Blog | Choosing your Plan
On this page, you can sign up for any option that works for you. But, we recommend signing up for the 36-month account plan, for a few reasons.
- Because it saves you the most money
- You won’t have to worry about renewing in a year
- The 36-month payout will you mentally and monetarily to commit to this new path
We don’t know about you, but we can usually ignore a small investment wasted if we see things get too difficult and we don’t want to do them anymore. If you’re worried about your ability to follow through on blogging as a life goal, hold yourself responsible by committing to 2 years or more. Give yourself the space to succeed.
After choosing your plan period you have the option for package extras. Frankly, these are just “extra” and not required. We do like the domain Siteguard protection, mainly because sharing personal information that other people can see is scary. But, the main thing that happens without it is just a bunch of phone calls. Which can easily be ignored or blocked. So it’s up to you.
We are finally here! It’s now time to pay for your new hosting service. After you pay you will see a confirmation screen. As long as everything went through ok. On this page, you should see the “Create Account” button.
Choose a hard-to-guess password. Write it down in a business notebook or you can print off our business info printable here to track all your accounts.
Once your account is created you will be taken to a page where you log in for the blog that you now own. Got that, OWN. It’s all yours. Your whole new blogging life begins now.
After you click “Go to Login” you will see a login page where you can type in all the account info you just picked out.
Once logged in you will choose:
- A website title: This is the name of your blog
- A website tagline: This is what your blog is about
Both of these can be changed at any time so don’t get stuck on this step. Just fill in and move on. You will be given the choice of a blog or website. Choose Blog. There will also be a prompt that asks if you want your blog posts displayed on your blog or displayed on a different page. We recommend your blog post be displayed on your blog. After this step you are almost there!!! Fill out the Bluehost survey page. Now comes our favorite part of the process. Picking out what your blog will look like.
How to Start a Blog | Picking your Theme
All themes that pop up on this page are free. FREE. So just pick one. Even if you’re not totally sure yet how you want your site to look. Again, we can change this later and we’ll show you how.
- After you pick a theme you will return to the Bluehost home screen.
- At this point, you should still be logged in.
- Click Get Started.
- On the next page, you will see a checklist of everything you need to do before you make your blog visible to the public, or live.
- Complete the checklist
- In the checklist, you will notice when you hover over certain tasks a blue button pops up that takes you to the place on your site where you can do that task.
If you get stuck, Bluehost has amazing customer service, and a chat button in the bottom right-hand corner is always available. You can also google exact questions that can get you the answers you need.
Click “Launch My Site”
It’s ok. We know you don’t have anything on this blog yet. No one will be able to randomly find it because of this. So just launch it. As a new blogger with this setup, you are using wordpress.org (not to be confused with wordpress.com). Your wordpress.org site will have a login that gets you access to the WordPress admin screens. This is the place where you create posts, adjust themes, add photos, etc. Play around with it! Push all the buttons and learn where everything is. This is your space. Learn it.
Did you Start a Blog Today?
Congratulations. If so, you can cross Start a Blog off your list! Because it’s done. It’s started. We’ll get into the super fun world of theme and branding so that your site can look amazing, get seen and you can start making money. This may seem a bit scary, but don’t worry you’ll have months, and years ahead to learn and get comfortable with it.
Hopefully, this guide has helped you take the next step in your new life as a blogger. Getting this BIG first step out of the way is necessary. Everything on the other side of this task is all about fun. All about who you are and what you’re sharing and how you’re going to use your blog to do that. Yay, you!
Congrats again. Tomorrow we’re sharing The Secret to Getting Noticed. It’s All About Blog Branding and Theme