This pandemic had a lot of us bored out of our minds trying to find things to do at home. Trust me, I’ve seen ALL the TikTok videos (haha). But I’ve also noticed many of my friends asking about how to start a blog or online business. In the last few months, we’ve all been forced to get online to either work, stream, learn, or play. So, why not jump in and snag a piece of the ‘net.
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Also, if you haven’t heard – blogging is one of the best ways to get yourself or your brand visible online. So, whether you do it in the form of written posts, video, or audio posts (podcasts), you should definitely have all of that repurposed or hosted on your own website.
I watched so many people freak out when Facebook & Instagram went down for hours. OMG! People acted like their life was OVER!
Listen… I get it.
That’s why I firmly believe that nothing beats having your own website. In my opinion, purchasing a bit of online real estate in the form of your website is one of the first steps to being your own boss.
No, blogging isn’t dead. No, the internet isn’t too saturated with bloggers and influencers. There is room for you to start. There is enough internet out here for us all. And there are so many ways to get started blogging.
So, what are you waiting for? Grab your notes and follow along as I walk you through setting up your first blog site! Here’s 5 easy steps to start your own blog:
A Little Clarity
You want a website to display your business? Choose WordPress. You want a blog to display your posts & thoughts? Choose WordPress. My favorite way to set up a website, and what I recommend to my freelance clients, is on WordPress. WordPress is basically software that makes your blog readable.
Note that there is a difference between a wordpress.com blog and a wordpress.org site. One is a free platform and one is self-hosted on your paid hosting platform (which allows for many more customization options and the option to use plugins). They both can be used to manage the content on your blog but, in my opinion, self-hosted is the way to go. With that being said, let me walk you through (yes, with screenshots) how to set up your own self-hosted website on WordPress.
- It’s FREE, it’s easy to learn and it’s the MOST popular website-building platform!
- It’s SEO friendly, meaning search engines love it!
- And it’s flexible – there are free and premium tools to add any feature or functionality you can think of to your website!
How to Get Started
1. Choose a domain name.
The domain name is the main URL for your blog (i.e., amazon.com or xochantelmarie.com). It’s what people type in to visit your site. When deciding on a domain name, you’ll want to try and keep it as simple as possible. I chose to use my personal name, because this is my brand. But you can also use something like “TashasCookingTips.com” if you’ll be sharing recipes and food blogs. That also helps with SEO.
Registering your domain name is pretty easy. You search for the name that you want and the domain registrar tells you if it’s available or not. I use Namecheap to purchase all of my domains. Try out their search option below.
Find a domain starting at $8.88
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2. Purchase a hosting plan.
Web hosting is what powers your WordPress blog, and makes it available online for anyone to visit. For your self-hosted blog site, I recommend choosing a Managed WordPress Hosting plan. A managed host handles many of the technical tasks for you, such as performing updates and monitoring for attacks, so you can just focus on your blog’s content.
Some of the most popular and reliable Managed WordPress Hosting providers are:
For this example, in the screenshot below, I am using BlueHost to register my sample site. Choose whichever plan suits you.
3. Setup a theme.
If you used one of the above hosting providers, then you’ll have access to their one-click installation options, which makes the process simple. Once you’ve installed WordPress you’ll be taken to the admin dashboard. It’s where you’ll customize your design, publish pages & posts and manage all aspects of your blog.
Then the fun stuff happens. You get to choose a theme!
Did you know that you can get a beautiful theme already designed for the type of blog you want? Here are a few of my favorite resources to find premium pre-designed blog themes:
Once you’ve selected a theme you like, you’ll add it by going to Appearance > Themes in the left sidebar and then select “Upload Theme.”
Tip: The point of choosing a pre-designed theme is so you don’t spend too much time tweaking your blog’s design at this stage. You should be focusing on content so Google can start seeing your blog. No one else is coming to your site yet, you can perfect it later.
4. Write an about me.
Don’t worry about writing your first blog post just yet. For now, you need to set up your “About Me” page and make sure your contact information is updated for inquiries. It doesn’t have to be a resume or a 3-page bio on what college you attended – but your about page should be your story. It explains who you are and how you can help your audience.
There are over 1.5 billion websites out there, but your story is what’s going to separate this blog from the rest.
Be clear, be confident and don’t overthink it.
To create a new page in WordPress, hit +New at the top of the screen. Select Page from the dropdown. Or, click Page > Add New in the left sidebar.
5. Start blogging & stay consistent.
Last but not least – start blogging! There is no right or wrong way to write your first blog post. Worried about what to write about? If you post on social media daily, then you can definitely write a few words for a blog.
The steps to publish a post in WordPress are similar to publishing a Page. Open a new post, hit +New at the top of the screen. Select Post from the dropdown.
And remember to ALWAYS share your blog posts to social media. The old “if you build it, they will come” saying does not apply to blogging. There are many social sharing plugins that you can use to integrate your WordPress blog with your social media accounts. The more you share your posts and your readers share it, the more your audience will grow.
Bonus: How to Get Traffic
Contrary to the fact that I have the most followers on my Instagram, I’ve received the most traffic from my Pinterest. I also share to other social networks via Buffer. My secret tip: I automate my content sharing by using Tailwind to add my blog posts to Pinterest and tribes with mutual interests. It has been a total game changer for me.
Let me know in the comments below, if this guide helped you or if you need any help with setting up your first blog site.