Blogging is not a new concept, but it is still a highly profitable and fulfilling past time or career for many people. There are lots of reasons why people start a blog, they want to supplement their income, they want are passionate about something and want to share it with the world, or they want to work from home or be a stay-at-home parent.
There are also a lot of reasons why people don’t start a blog. They think it’s too late and there is no room for their voice, it’s too expensive to get started or they don’t have any idea where to begin. The first two are simply not true and the last is going to be solved right now. No more excuses, it’s time to start your blog right now!
Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links, but all opinions are genuine and have helped grow Career Latitude to where we are today and everything we promote, we truly believe in
Here are a few things you need to know before you get started. Becoming a successful blogger does not happen overnight, there is a set up process, a growing phase, and a little bit of money needed to get started. This article will give you the “quick and dirty” version of how to get started. For a more comprehensive version with links to all kinds of free resources join our FREE Build a Blog in 5-Days email course.
STEP 1: BRAINSTORM YOUR VISION, LAYOUT, COLORS, NAME, AND OVERALL BRAND
What is it that you can actually see yourself wanting to write about on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis? Choose something that you feel you can create a lot of content for, maybe something you’ve studied or an industry you’ve worked in for many years. Although you should select a niche, don’t be too narrow either because you want to be able to market to a large audience. If possible, select a topic that you can expand on in the future.
For your vision, layout, and color scheme I recommend looking through some of your favorite blogs to gather some inspiration. Consider the user who lands on your site, what is the first thing you want them to see? Where do you want them to click? What overall feel should they get when they visit your page?
Finally, consider your name and overall brand. You want people to easily remember your blog, share it with friends, and return. Will your blog present as more of a business or as an individual (being you, the blog creator)? If your blog will be more business-based, you may want to consider creating a business name and logo and use that as your domain. If your blog will be more individual based, about you and your family, consider using your own name as your domain.
STEP 2: PURCHASE YOUR DOMAIN AND REGISTER YOUR HOST
Now that you have your vision, you’re ready to start building your blog. To get started, you will need a domain, a host, and a platform to build it on. If you’re not familiar with these terms, here is a great way to think about it. Pretend as if you are building a house:
- Your domain is your land
- Your host is the frame
- WordPress is the materials and decorations
There are lots of different hosting options and platforms but we recommend either GoDaddy or BlueHost. There are also tons of different platforms that you have probably seen advertised like Wix, Squarespace, etc… WordPress is by far the best. Why? Because it is an open source platform that is most widely used which means there are so many resources and free plugins and templates that can help you make an outstanding site easily and cost efficiently.
Bluehost is the #1 recommended web hosting by WordPress.org and powers over 2 million websites worldwide. Every account from the most basic and beyond offers easy 1-click WordPress installation, which makes it simple, easy, and affordable.
STEP 3: REGISTER YOUR DOMAIN NAME
Use the box below, to find an available domain name. You can change the domain to .net or .info or .us, etc. but .com is the most widely used and preferred.
You can always change your domain name later, so don’t spend too much time on this step now if you aren’t completely sure what you want your site to be called.
If you already have a domain name, you’ll input it in the “I have a domain name” step. Bluehost gives you a FREE domain name for every new hosting account created.
Once you fill in the account information, you’ll get to the “Package Extras” section where we recommend you select the “Domain Privacy Protection”. Privacy protection is extremely important for you and your users so information isn’t public and hackers can’t get to it. You can skip the rest and always add them on later if you want.
Next, review your package information. Bluehost charges for the entire year up front, which is how you are able to get such a good deal.
Finally, insert payment information and accept the terms.
Congratulations, your hosting account has been created! Bluehost will send you a welcome email confirming account and FTP information.
Create your password using the requirements provided (if you need help you can always click the “Suggest Password” option). Don’t forget to write down the password as you’ll need it later.
Now you will want to login and start getting familiar with your Bluehost account.
If you already had a domain name, you may need to change your domain servers. If your domain is through GoDaddy, here are step-by-step instructions:
- Log into your GoDaddy.com account and click on the My Products Tab.
- Click the green Manage button, located on the right of the Domains area.
- Click the Settings gear symbol in the upper right-hand corner of the domain you wish to host on Bluehost.
- Click Manage DNS, then click Settings.
- Find the nameservers section and click Manage.
- Edit the nameservers to NS1.BLUEHOST.COM and NS2.BLUEHOST.COM.
- Click Save.
- Log into your Bluehost.com account.
- Click Domains, then click Assign a Domain to Your cPanel Account (found under the Shortcuts box).
- Follow those instructions to assign your domain – see screenshots of the process here.
STEP 4: INSTALL WORDPRESS
Bluehost makes this step super easy. After your hosting account has been created WordPress will automatically install. Your next step is to pick from one of the free themes. Don’t worry, you can always update your theme and change it at any time. Now that you have your theme, you are going to “start building” your site. This will take you to your WordPress dashboard where you can manage plugins, blog posts, and everything else.
Going forward, you can login directly to your WordPress dashboard by going to: yoursitename.com/wp-admin
The first thing it will ask you to do is create a site title and description, which is kind of like a tagline. These too can always be changed later.
STEP 5: DESIGN YOUR NEW WEBSITE
Now it’s time for the fun part, designing your new website. The easiest way to do this is use one of the thousands of customizable themes offered by WordPress. Find themes here. Most theme’s offer a free version with limited features and then once you become more advanced, you can consider purchasing their pro version.
One of the best and most widely recommended themes out there is Divi Theme. It is extremely easy to customize, looks great, is user friendly for your readers, and affordable. They also offer a 30-day money back guarantee for new subscribers.
Once you select a theme, if it doesn’t already come with one, there are tons of “builder” plugins to help you easily create the layouts for each page with simple drag and drop features.
There are also lots of places to find and create free images for your website as well. Our FREE Build a Blog in 5 Days email course goes into a lot more detail about designing and building your website and where to find all of these free images or create your own. We also show you where to get ideas and how to start integrating subscriber forms and marketing through emails.
Feel overwhelmed and just want someone to build your site for you? We can do that!
STEP 6: START BLOGGING!
Now that your website is up and running, you can start blogging. That means set a realistic schedule for yourself on how often you want to post a new blog, whether that be every day (ambitious) a few times a week (awesome) once a week (a great starting point) or once a month (will take you a long time to ramp up).
Once you have a good amount of content with related images, you can start looking at monetizing your website. In the “Build a Blog” course, we will teach you exactly how to turn this side project into a full-time job. The course will show you step-by-step from the beginning in much more detail how to set up your blog (with great examples), where to find and create free images, develop engaging blog titles and content, drive traffic and build your email list, integrate email marketing, and best of all how to monetize your site with affiliate marketing. There is nothing holding you back from making your blog a full-time job.