Are you ready to get your blog set up, but you have no idea where to start? Don't think you're “techy” enough? I hear ya. It took me over two years to finally get my website and blog set up and I wish I would have started sooner. For me, I would always look at the BIG picture and everything I thought I HAD to do instead of just taking it one step at a time.
Below I show you how to get your blog set up in 4 simple steps, plus click here to download my blogging toolkit with more tools to get your blog started.
**Some of the links in this post are ‘affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.
Step 1 – Choose Your Blogging Platform
The two platforms I recommend are self-hosted WordPress and SquareSpace. For my sites, I use self-hosted WordPress. Here's how they differ:
- Self-hosted WordPress (WordPress.org) – gives you the ability to have a more personalized look. There are a lot of easy builder themes, plus a lot of YouTube tutorials to help you if you need it. You can even use a theme that doesn't require any customization.
- SquareSpace – simple to use and you won't have to code at all. One downside is you may have a website or blog that looks very similar to a lot of other sites.
If you don't have money to invest or are just looking for a place to document your journey, you can create a free blog on blogger.com or WordPress.com. You won't have very much flexibility, but it's a good place to start. Tip – Make your blog a reflection of you and your personal brand because you'll be more likely to keep up with it. Figure out your budget and go from there.
Step 2 – Choose Your Domain & Hosting
What is a domain? It's simply what your blog is called and what your visitors will type into their browsers. Mine is www.joanlizrichardson.com. You'll choose what comes in between the www. and .com. I like using .com because it's easy to remember, but it may not be available. You may need to get creative. It's up to you if you want to choose .com, .co, .net, .org, etc. I like using a variation of my name and recommend it if you are in network marketing so you can brand yourself. I also recommend creating a domain that is short and easy to remember. For my new blog, I chose heyjoan.com. You can also choose a name that tells what your blog is about. Something like Cooking With JoAn – www.cookingwithJoAn.com.
Tip – When choosing a domain name, check if the name available on the different social media platforms before you make a decision. This makes it easier when you are setting up accounts for your social media.
Hosting is where your blog lives. You'll be paying for digital storage so your readers can visit your site whenever they want. If you are using Squarespace, you'll set up everything through squarespace.com. You will find a walkthrough for it from one of the resources I mention on my blog & website toolkit. Click here to download it. Here's what you'll do for WordPress: Once you've chosen your domain name, go to Bluehost and check to make sure it is available. Bluehost is where I host my sites and you can get started at a low price.
UPDATE: Since creating this post, I've transferred all of my sites to Siteground. I've heard great things about their customer service so decided to make the switch when my account with Bluehost was up for renewal. I've never had an issue with Bluehost and I think they are still great when you are first starting out. You can check out Siteground here and the setup is basically the same except they don't offer a free domain when you sign up. If you want to transfer your hosting to Siteground at any time, they'll do the transfer for you. Bonus!
Click get started now.
Choose your hosting level. Bluehost has deals periodically and right now it is $2.95 per month.
Type in your domain name and click next. As I mentioned above, you may need to get creative if your name is already in use. My first and last name weren't available for my business blog and that is why I chose joanlizrichardson and heyjoan.
You'll enter in your billing information and then choose your package. I recommend adding the Domain Privacy Protection because it blocks your address and phone number so random people can't look you up.
Step 4 – Install WordPress
The next step is to install WordPress. When you are logged into Bluehost. Click on “hosting” and under Website, click Install WordPress.
Select the domain name you want to install. It should be the same one you entered earlier. Click Next.
Choose and enter a username. Check that you've read the Terms of Service and click Next.
WordPress is now installed and you have a blog. Woohoo!
To access your site, you'll type in your blog address plus add /wp-admin to the end. For example, www.yoursite.com/wp-admin. You should also receive an email with a link to your admin panel.
To log in, enter your username and password.
Step 4 – Choose a theme
The theme is the design of your site. It's what makes it look good. When you are logged in, click on Appearance and Themes. Here you will find some free options.
Tip – Make sure the theme you choose is responsive because a lot of people will read your blog or website using a mobile device.
Once you get your blog set up, post your link in the comments below or share it in the Facebook group. I can't wait to see what you've come up with!