So, you want to start a blog. I can't blame you!
After all, you can make some big bucks blogging for a living.
You know, the most difficult part about starting a blog is – you guessed it – knowing where to start!
Don't worry friends. Your buddy Jeff has you covered.
Today I'm going to show you four steps that will get your blog off the ground. Ready? Set? Blog!
The Four Easy Steps to Start a Blog
Let's summarize these steps here:
- Pick a domain.
- Grab some hosting.
- Install WordPress.
- Pick a WordPress theme.
If you're saying, “Jeff, I don't know what some of those words mean,” please don't worry. I'll give you the scoop. Press on soldier!
Step 1: Pick a Domain
It's time to grab your domain. A domain is something like this: https://www.goodfinancialcents.com (sorry, that one is taken).
A domain is the address of your website. Come up with yours and make sure you like it – it's no easy task to change all the branding of your blog once you've started one.
2. Enter a domain name in the left box under “new domain.” Make sure “.com” is selected from the drop down menu beside it. Click the “next” button.
3. Enter your account information. Make sure that you have a valid email address because this is where they will send your login information.
Step 2: Grab Some Hosting
Alright, now it's time to grab some hosting. Think of this as the land on which your blog sits. It's like virtual real estate.
The good news is that this real estate doesn't cost much thanks to the awesome link you previously clicked. It's only $3.95 per month.
4. Under the “Package Information” tab you will need to choose your “Account Plan.” Click on the dropdown menu and choose the plan that you want. I like to make sure that no other boxes are checked except the “Domain Whois Privacy” box which will keep your personal information private (that's a good thing for when you grow your fan base). Note: This option is available when you're registering a new domain, but if you have an existing domain it won’t show up.
5. Fill out the billing information and click “next.”
On the next page you will be asked if you want to add on any upgrades. I recommend you skip them all. You can continue on to complete your purchase.
Important: You will receive a confirmation email from Bluehost that will contain your cPanel login information. Think of the cPanel as your underground battle station with all kinds of cool levers, buttons, and more!
Step 3: Install WordPress
What's WordPress? WordPress is web software you can use to create a website or blog. It's the backbone of your blog!
I'm going to show you how to upload WordPress to the server (Bluehost). It might sound daunting, but don't worry, it's actually quite easy. Really, I mean it!
6. Log in to your Bluehost account (you should have received an email with your login information after purchasing your hosting package). Click “Control Panel Login” and enter your login information.
7. Once you're logged in, click the “Install WordPress” icon under “website builders.”
8. You will get a window that looks like the one below . . . just click the green “Start” button.
9. Leave this section as is, with your domain showing in the dropdown menu. Click the green “Check Domain” button.
10. Check the box next to “Show advanced options.” Then enter your “Site Name or Title,” choose an “Admin Username,” “Admin Password,” and “Admin Email Address.” Make sure you check the box next to “I have read the terms and conditions of the GPLv2.” Click the green “Install Now” button and watch the magic happen!
Boom. You're done with the most difficult part! Easy, right?
Make sure you remember the information you created to access your blog. Your blog will look very basic right now. You created the blog, but you do not have a design yet. Speaking of design, read on for my favorite WordPress themes.
Step 4: Pick a WordPress Theme
WordPress themes are what give your blog personality. Some people like simple themes, others like more complicated ones. It's entirely up to you!
If you want to save the most money, choose a free theme (you can do this right from within WordPress). However, if you want to highly customize the look of your blog, I recommend choosing a paid theme.
If you're going to choose a paid theme, I recommend you choose one of these two: Thesis or Genesis. GoodFinancialCents.com runs on Genesis. If you decide to choose one of these paid themes, refer to their instructions for theme installation (many themes can be installed right from within WordPress once you've downloaded the theme files).
Believe it or not, it's as easy as that. You're done!
You can log into your new blog by going here: http://yourdomain.com/wp-admin. Obviously, just replace “yourdomain.com” with your actual domain name. Like this: https://www.goodfinancialcents.com/wp-admin.
Bonus: Next Steps
By now, you will have a working website. But while it's working, that doesn't do you any good if you don't have any content up and running! And what about the theme? You might have a basic one installed . . . what is the process to install a new theme?
Let's tackle some of these questions by looking at some next steps.
Install a Theme
As I mentioned previously, you can install a paid theme or choose a free one. But how exactly do you install a theme? Let's take a look.
1. Select “Appearance” from the left-hand side menu in WordPress and then select “Themes.”
Here, you'll find all the WordPress themes you currently have installed. You'll find that there are ones that are included by default, and you could certainly select one of these themes if you like one.
When you hover your mouse over one of these themes, there will be an “Activate” button that will appear. You simply click this button to activate your chosen theme.
But how to you install a new theme? Here's what you need to do . . . .
2. Click the “Add New” button to add a new theme (it's a little button with big results).
Once you click that button, you'll get a menu of a whole bunch of new themes you can install. Many of these themes look pretty nice, and you really don't have to buy a paid theme to start out – although paid themes can certainly give you an edge. Take a look below to see what this page looks like.
Similar to the “Activate” button in the previous step, you can hover your mouse over one of these new themes and click “Install” to install it. Then, it will be added to your collection under “Appearance” and “Themes” so then you can go and activate that theme at anytime. Fun stuff!
But what if you want to upload your own theme? Here's what you need to do next . . . .
3. Click the “Upload Theme” button on the “Add Themes” page.
Doing this will provide you with a window where you can choose a file from your computer. If you have a theme that you purchased on your own outside of WordPress, you should have received a file that represents your new theme.
When you select this file and upload it, it may take a long time depending on the speed of your internet connection and how large in file size the theme actually is. Just let WordPress do its thing, and soon you'll have another theme to activate from under “Appearance” and “Themes.”
Update Your Website Name
You can update your website site name by going in the Dashboard to “Settings” then “General” then filling out the name of your website. Make sure to click “Save Changes” at the bottom of the screen!
Write Your First Post or Page
Okay, now that you have your theme installed and your website name, let's get some content on the website!
First, I'm going to have to explain the difference between a post and a page. Think of a post as a normal blog article. Blog articles typically show up in reverse chronological order in a list on your website – either on the homepage or on a dedicated blog page. Example blog posts would include “How to Make a Million Bucks in Five Minutes” or “10 Ways to Get More Done Without Any Effort Whatsoever.” I'm joking on those titles, by the way. 😉
A blog page, on the other hand, is more of a static webpage that shouldn't get buried like blog articles do. Instead, blog pages are usually accessible from the navigation bar at the top of the website. Example blog pages would include an “About” page, “Contact Us” page, or a “Hire Me” page.
See below for an example of the editor I work in as I write blog pages. The two arrows point to the two sections of WordPress for posts and pages.
You'll also notice that at the top of the screen on the right there's also a “Publish” window. Here, you can save your draft. Trust me, that's important – you might lose your work if you don't (even though WordPress tries to autosave your work, it might not always work that way).
You can also click “Preview” in this window which will show you what your page or post will look like before you publish it. Before you publish, it's always a good idea to hit this button to ensure that it will look exactly as you like it.
Additionally, there are buttons to see the status of a post or page (draft or pending review), the visibility of a post or page (public, password protected, or private), and an option to publish immediately or to schedule the post or page for a later time.
Once you're done writing your very first post or page, you can hit the “Publish” button and view it on your live website. It's that easy!There are many more things you can learn along the way, but these are the basic things you need to know to get everything off the ground.
By the way, I have a whole bunch more blogging resources for you here. Go grab them!
Have any questions regarding these steps? Let me know! Leave a comment!
Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links. I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links. All of the affiliate links mentioned are products or services that I am recommending because I believe in them and think they are helpful not because I may earn a commission.