Since launching this blog in 2015 I’ve learned so much about the world of blogging and online business – way more than I ever even knew I would need to know!
One of the questions I get asked pretty frequently these days is how to actually set up a blog. There is so much information out there to sift through that it can be easy to get overwhelmed and feel like your head is spinning at the thought of starting a blog!
That is why I’ve put together this step-by-step guide to walk you through the process of starting your blog from beginning to end. It’s by no means inclusive (because that would require writing an entire book, like the one I read when I first started!)
But, it will walk you through the basics of:
- Determining a focus
- Picking a domain name
- Choosing a web host
- Setting up your web hosting
- Installing WordPress
- Choosing a theme (website design)
- Creating an ‘About’ page
- Creating content
Here is what you can expect before you dive in:
- I’m going to tell you exactly what I have done
- You’ll need to invest some money up front to do things the right way
- I will give you options and recommendations for saving time, money and hassle
So, are you ready? Let’s do this!
Step 1: Determine your focus
Before diving into the technical side of setting up your blog, you need to start by answering a few questions that will help you identify your niche.
- What are you good at? What do you have to offer?
- What do you enjoy writing or reading about?
- Who do want to write to? What do they want and need in their lives?
- What makes you unique? What sets you apart?
- What is your big picture with your blog? Will it be just a creative outlet, or would you like to make money with it eventually?
Your answers to these questions should help you get clear on what your big picture vision is for your blog, enabling you to move onto Step 2 with confidence!
Step 2: Pick a domain name
Now that you’ve identified who you’re writing to, what you’re writing about, and what exactly you’re trying to accomplish, it’s time to choose a name!
You want to try to choose something that not only reflects what you’re trying to do with your blog, but also appeals to who you’re trying to reach.
After you’ve come up with a few ideas, you’ll have to check to see if the name you’d like is actually available. Don’t get discouraged during this process – I had to filter through well over 50 names before settling on The Home Loving Wife because everything I wanted was taken (boo!)
Tip: Do some research to see if you’ll be able to get the social media handles associated with your desired blog name before settling on your domain name!
You can use the handy tool below to see if your desired domain name is available or not:
Step 3: Choose your web host
There are a few free options to choose from for hosting your website, like the popular Blogger, but if you have any long-term plans to grow your blog and possibly monetize one day, my recommendation is that you choose a self-hosted website platform like WordPress.
To self-host your website, you’ll need to choose a website hosting service. There are several out there to choose from, and I’m by no means an expert, but Bluehost is the only hosting service officially recommended by WordPress and has been the number-one recommended hosting service for their platform for almost 10 years.
Their prices are very affordable, they provide excellent customer service & tech support, if you purchase a 1 year of website hosting, you get your domain name for free and you they have an easy 1-click WordPress install that makes life so much easier!
Step 4: Set up your web hosting
To start, visit the Bluehost homepage and click SIGN UP NOW.
Now you will set up your domain name.
Next, you will fill in your personal information.
Now it’s time to choose your hosting package. Tip: the longer your package term, the cheaper your monthly rate! When starting out, the Basic Plan should be perfect for you.
**For the next 24 hours you can get the basic plan for only $2.95 per month!!
After entering your billing information, click SUBMIT to set your password and login to your new Bluehost account.
Step 5: Install WordPress
After setting up where your website will live, it’s time to set up the software system that you will use to write and publish posts, as well as customize the design and layout of your website. WordPress is where you will be logging in to handle most aspects of blogging, and you will rarely need to log into Bluehost now that your hosting is set up.
To begin the WordPress installation process, you’ll want to start by clicking the HOSTING tab at the top of your dashboard.
Then click the CPANEL tab before clicking the INSTALL WORDPRESS icon under the WEBSITE BUILDING section.
Click START to begin the installation.
From the dropdown menu choose the domain name you want associated with your WordPress installation.
Click ADVANCED OPTIONS to set your login information – it’s important to choose a unique username and strong password for maximum security.
Make sure the “Automatically create a new database for this installation” box is checked and agree to the terms and conditions before clicking “Install Now.”
Step 6: Choose a theme
Now that your website is all set up, it’s time to make it pretty! There are a ton of theme designs out there to choose from, both free and paid.
Start by clicking APPEARANCE and then THEMES in your dashboard toolbar to check out all of the free, pre-installed themes there are to choose from. If you don’t find one you like, you can click UPLOAD NEW to search a database of free WordPress themes for one that you love.
When you’ve found one you want to try, click INSTALL and then ACTIVATE.
If you’re just not finding what you’re looking for you can always opt to purchase a theme. My personal favorite place for finding gorgeous, feminine WordPress themes is Restored 316 (where I got my theme from) and Themeforest is another good resource.
Anytime you purchase a theme it will come with specific instructions for installing the theme into your WordPress dashboard.
Step 7: Create an about page
After getting your account set up, WordPress installed and your theme set up, the next thing I recommend doing on your new blog is creating an “About” page so that visitors will know who you are, what your blog is about and what they can expect from their visit.
To do this click the PAGES tab from your dashboard sidebar and select ADD NEW.
From here you’ll fill in your page title and content. You can keep this simple for just getting started, or totally go all out if you’re an overachiever. Just bear in mind that this will be your second first impression – your chance to make your readers fall in love with you and what you’re doing!
Step 8: Create content
The last step in getting your blog set up is to write and publish your content! In my opinion it’s best to write and publish a handful of blog posts before really sharing your site, that way people have a decent selection of material to read from you and they’ll have a better idea of what they can expect by following your blog.
To write your first post, click POSTS and then ADD new on your dashboard sidebar.
Fill in your title, write you first post in the content box, and you’re golden!
Step 9: Set up your social accounts
Now that your blog is up and running you are going to want to set up your affiliated social media accounts. I recommend securing your desired names on each social media platform, even if you don’t plan on using them much, so someone else doesn’t snatch them up and compromise your brand consistency.
As you publish blog posts be sure to promote, promote, PROMOTE everywhere you can! It will be the fastest way to get your new blog in front of tons of people. And don’t just promote one – keep sharing your content with the world!
Step 10: Get connected
Blogging, like most things, is so much more fun when you’re not doing it alone. If there is one thing I’ve learned since starting my blog it’s the power of building community, not just with your readers, but with other bloggers!
Here are some of my favorite Facebook groups for mommy bloggers to connect, engage and support each other.
I hope this step-by-step guide has been helpful in walking you through the process of starting a blog. There is so much more that goes into running a successful blog, but that is another story for another time.
Cheers to officially being a blogger, friend!
Once your site is up and running feel free to come back and leave your URL in the comments below so I can out your sweet new online real estate!