So you want to start a blog?
Yay! Welcome to the wonderful world of blogging! We are quite a friendly community if I do say so myself.
Before we get into the step-by-step process of how to start a blog, if you actually want people to read your blog, you’ll need to think through a few other very important things.
Like, what’s your blog about?
And who are you writing to?
And oh…what are you going to call your blog?!
You’ll also want to download this worksheet to help you think through these things and get started. Just drop your email and you’ll be taken to our printables library where you can print the worksheet.
Good to Go!
Step-By-Step Process to Start a Blog
Alright! Now that you’ve got an idea of what you are going to write about, who you’ll be writing to, and what you’re going to call your blog, you’re ready to go!
You’ll need 3 things:
Also called a URL, this is the web address people use to reach your site. For example, gathering-joy.com. This is like the address to your new blogging home.
A Web Host
This is the service that connects your website to the internet. A good web host is essential! You want the best value, security, service, and speed. (More on this later.) Think of this as the plot of land you’re going to build your house on.
WordPress and a WordPress Theme
This is the house! WordPress is the program that allows you to publish posts. It will hold your posts, photos, pages, links and more. You will download the WordPress.org (NOT WordPress.com) version of this after you get your domain and hosting set up.
(WordPress.com is almost the same, but it has limited capabilities if you want to make money from your blog. You ABSOLUTELY can make money from your blog. I can teach you that part too! For now, just know you’re going to pay for hosting so you can earn money later!)
The Theme is the different designs and pretty things that make your blog unique!
Let’s get Started!
First things first, your awesome domain name.
What’s the URL/address you’re going to send to me so I can see your awesome blog?
A note on domain names. The .com you want may be taken while the .net or other extension is available. In these days, .com is still the standard and the thing most people will automatically type when coming to find you. If your .com is taken, try to be creative in coming up with a different name or different way of writing it. You may add dashes or “blog” into your domain name.
A lot of bloggers recommend Bluehost for starting up because of their great prices. Check them out here:
I used them for a year and never had any trouble, but I have heard from successful bloggers that they are not as good for large blogs. You could start with BlueHost now and switch to another host when your blog grows large, or you can save yourself the hassel of switching and start with another highly recommended host: SiteGround.
I’ve been with SiteGround for about 6 months, and I’m in love. Their support staff is amazing. I’ve had numerous questions answer rapidly by chat or support ticket. I don’t know anything about the underbelly of my website, but SiteGround takes care of it for me! Kind of like having a great mechanic.
Remember what I said earlier? Value, Security, Service, and Speed! These guys have it all. Check out SiteGround‘s service here:
SiteGround has three plans and they all include a FREE DOMAIN and discounts for your first year!
- The StartUp plan is perfect for people with one website that are starting now
- The GrowBig plan is a great value for money offer, including the option for multiple websites and the SuperCacher that greatly improves a WordPress and Joomla website speed
- The GoGeek plan is perfect for people with e-commerce and larger sites, or more geeky development needs like staging and GIT integration
SiteGround will provide a FREE DOMAIN name with your hosting plan. This is where you’ll pick the name for you website and get it FREE.
Ok…now, let’s make it pretty!
After you get your site hosting account set up, your host will probably walk you through installing WordPress. It will look different depending on what host you’re using, so I can’t give details, but you’ll probably find a link that says Install WordPress or something like that in your CPanel. If you have any issues, contact your support team.
You’ll need a THEME!
You can search online for free WordPress themes, or pick one from the catalog in your WordPress Dashboard.
I’m going to be real honest with you. If you really want to blog full time, you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches by investing in good web design. Hiring a web designer can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. As a start up blogger, there’s no way you should do that. You can get the next best thing by getting the best WordPress themes available.
Over the years, I’ve used free themes, cheap themes, and premium themes and I can tell you, there IS a difference.
Hands down, you’ll get the best support and some of the most beautiful themes available from Restored 316
These are Genesis Child themes–which sounds crazy, but it’s not.
Genesis is a bare-bones work horse of a theme. You’ll have to purchase it seperately from Studio Press, and yes, it’s an investment, but it’s so worth it. It make the whole process of customizing your blog self-explanatory.
You know the ads and links in the sidebar, the Instagram photos at the bottom of the post, the menus at the top?? All that is part of your theme.
Restored316 is fantastic for 3 reasons:
- Their themes are THE PRETTIEST!
- Their support people are the nicest!
- They have tons of super specific, easy-to-follow tutorials to help you set up your theme and even customize it.
When I started my blog Martha, Martha, I set it up with a Restored316 theme. Last fall, I did a redesign with a theme from a different company. When I relaunched as Gathering Joy, I bought another theme from Restored316. Here’s the difference. Even though I knew my way around WordPress, it took me 2 weeks to set up the theme from the other company and I realized it still didn’t have the things I needed!
When I rebranded this month…2 days. That’s it! And that included taking out all the old information and changing it to new.
You can get your beautiful site up tomorrow if you purchase a theme tonight!
Pop over to Restored316 now to take a look at their different options. I’ll have a post soon to help you select a theme, but they also have a great guide you can download to help you make sense of it!
Get Support and Guidance!
If all this seems a little overwhelming, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
The start up phase is a big learning curve. With the right guidance and friendly advice, you’ll be on your way in no time! I would love to invite you to this special FREE training that will help you make sense of it all.
Launch Your Site! ….and a BONUS
When your site is up, shout it out to all your friends and make the big announcement! Then send me an email at christina @ gathering-joy.com to let me know you’re up and running. As a thank you for using my affiliate links, and just cause I love supporting people in their new careers, I’ll feature your new site here at Gathering Joy!