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There are sooo many options to starting a blog it can be a bit overwhelming. Which is why I’ve decided to put together a simple, useful tutorial for beginners. I can’t even tell you how many tutorials I read before starting a blog and every time the lingo threw me off. I even re-started my blog all over again because I thought I had done it incorrectly. Nope, I had done it correctly to begin with. The process can be so frustrating and intimidating, My goal is to simplify the process for all of the beginners that don’t understand the lingo (just like me.)
So where do you start?
I suggest starting on wordpress.org
If you want to monetize your blog it makes the most sense. It has an endless number of options available to personalize your blog. It also allows for self hosting, which is important if you plan to make money from your blog. You need to be self hosted in order to place ads and attract affiliates to your blog. WordPress.com will run ads on your blog, but you won’t receive any income for them. You will also end up paying for a domain name if you don’t want to be www.joeblow.wordpress.com. And you don’t want to be joeblow.wordpess.com because people can’t remember all of that and you won’t seem professional to affiliate networks or brands that you may want to work with in the future. WordPress.org is so well known just about everything is compatible with it, it is super easy to find just about any plug-in you could need, not to mention the number of tutorials out there for wordpress.org. If you already have a wordpress.com site don’t worry, it is easy to switch, I did it! And I didn’t have to start all over again because I followed this amazing tutorial.
Find a Hosting Company
Once you create your wordpress site or make the switch to wordpress.org what should you do?
You should find a great hosting company!
I use bluehost myself and have been very happy with them.
It is SO darn affordable and simple to use. Not to mention that Bluehost has been one of WordPress’ top recommended hosts since 2005. You know you are in good hands when WordPress gives the referral.
You can start your own blog with Bluehost for only $3.95 a month.
They are also having a black Friday sale, so now is the time to buy!
It is only $2.65/month for hosting
60% off themes (take advantage of this)
You will get a free domain name ($15 value) when you sign up for a years worth of hosting (due up front in full)
Something else people rarely mention is that you get e-mail addresses as well with this plan. I was so excited to find that out! I didn’t want to be replying to e-mails with my personal e-mail address. And besides, this is a business. I want to be able to set it aside when I’m on vacation, which is hard when your e-mails are coming through constantly.
Getting set up with bluehost is so easy, if I could do it, you can do it!
Once you click GET STARTED you will be prompted to choose a domain name.
Step One: Choose your domain name and click next
What do you want your domain name to be?
Think long and hard about this, it will become your online identity. Your followers will know you by it, they will type it in (hopefully) a million times, it will represent you and your brand. It should be catchy, but easy to make sense of, remember and find.
Step Two: Set up Your Account and Choose a Hosting Package
Enter your personal information into each field to get your account all set up. Then scroll down to the package choices. You will want to choose a package that suits your budget and your service needs. I use the basic package and I recommend starting with it. The basic package should cover all of your needs.
Step Three: Install WordPress Software
Once you have created your account you will be logged in and taken directly to your control panel. Scroll down until you see the section labeled Website. Click on the WordPress icon to install the wordpress software. You may be prompted to purchase installation help, but that is not necessary. You can dismiss those. Enter the information required when prompted and click “Install now.” This can take awhile, I know most say “a few minutes” but if it takes longer don’t panic. You may just have a slow computer like I do because let me tell ya, mine took an eternity! Be sure to view your credentials and make note of your admin username and password to keep in a safe place. You will get an e-mail with this information as well.
Step Four: Log In To WordPress
Click on the admin URL link to access your new WordPress control panel! Once you are logged in you will have the option to connect Jetpack. Now that you are fully installed you will find yourself in the back end of your website, the dashboard and area where you control everything that your site visitors will see.
Now for the fun part…
Step Five: CUSTOMIZE!
Once set up with bluehost you can choose a theme either a free one on wordpress or one available through bluehost. They have several options and they are very affordable. Your theme will visually brand your entire blog. I don’t know about you, but I LOVE clean, simple blogs. I definitely recommend visiting some blogs, taking note of their layouts, pages, color schemes, etc.
I bought my theme on bluehost and I absolutely love it. I am not creative enough to have developed a color scheme and everything myself. My theme has done all of that for me, it changes the linked text to the pretty color you see on my blog. It has different sidebar options. A sidebar is the vertical section on the side of my blog that has other posts, a subscription box (enter e-mail address there!), etc. See, there is that lingo thing I was talking about that bloggers have!
Choose your niche
I decided to be a lifestyle blogger because there are so many topics I wanted to cover on here from dating, to finance, to hobbies. Many bloggers will recommend finding a topic you really want to focus on and branding yourself around that. You need to focus on solving a problem for people. What are things you can help people with? Is it making extra money, getting out of debt, learning a new hobby, cooking, crafting? Whatever it is that you can help people with and that you feel passionately about, focus your blog around that! Blog about something you love because it will take up a good deal of your time. Especially if you want this to be a profitable blog. I definitely underestimated how much time and dedication growing a blog takes. It is no simple task. After working a 9-5 who wants to come home and make themselves work more? That is exactly why it is important to blog about something that gets you excited! But let me also note there are blogs on everything you can think of from sewing, to dog training, blog creating, shopping and ALL of these niches can be and are very profitable for bloggers.
Once you choose your niche you can get started on your very first blog post!
Feel free to send me your blogging questions.
I myself am a newbie to blogging, but I have always wanted to be as transparent and as helpful as possible!
Good luck on all of your blogging adventures and PLEASE share them with me! I would love to hear all about it!
Til next time my friends