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A year from now you will wish that you had started today. If you are thinking that you want to start your very own blog, do it. Ask yourself: Why am I starting a blog to start with? Asking yourself this question is very important. Starting this blog was something that I did so that I would connect with other like minded people. I want to help people while still pursuing my passion of entrepreneurship.
Blogging can be a great way to make money. There are many areas and topics that you can write about. Producing content is all about providing value to your readers. You can write about the best vegan recipes, travel destinations, fashion trends, money, etc.
Write about things you actually care about and enjoy talking about. Writing about things that don’t interest you is a great way to quit down the road. Your blog will be journey, make sure that it is one that you want to take. Start for the right reasons. Do not do it for the fame or money. If you wouldn’t do it for free, do not start this blogging thing!
Focus is very important when starting a blog.
I often times felt very lost and I failed so many times before starting this blog. I had one blog, an eCommerce website and was selling on Etsy! My focus was nonexistent because I was doing too much. Failing as a blogger taught me that it is important to focus on one thing. Focus on doing one thing really well. Do this before you take on more tasks and projects.
Find Reliable Hosting With BlueHost
It is better to setup your blog correctly from the very start. I am speaking from experience. Setting up your site properly is important. The first hosting company I started with was Hostgator. My website has been experiencing some downtime (I am not impressed with Hostgator). My plan within the next few weeks is to move my blog over to Bluehost. This is a more reliable hosting company and many bloggers that I admire highly recommend it.
Please note: If you want to make some serious money with your blog down the road, sign up for a self-hosted blog. Making money on free blogging platforms like Blogger, Wix, etc. is hard. Most advertisers and web visitors look at a self hosted blog as being more professional than a free blog. This is a good reason to get your own web hosting.
Reasons why you need a self-hosted blog:
- Find yourself some reliable hosting.
- If you want to turn your blog into a serious business, a free blog on blogger, Wix, Typepad etc. just won’t cut it.
- A blog on Blogspot, WordPress.com, Wix is not the best idea. PAID hosting is a must.
- “I can start with a free blog then move to a paid web host…” NOPE. This is not a good idea.
- If you want people to take you seriously, having a self hosted blog is highly recommended.
- Building your own brand works better when you have paid hosting.
- Reliable hosting is not free but it is affordable.
STEP 1: NAME YOUR BLOG
The first thing you need to do is to come up with a name for your blog. This is something that should be easy to remember. Choose a name that fits with what you will be blogging about. Avoid naming your blog DreamingLucidMeg.com if you are going to also want to talk about fitness, fashion etc. A name that is more flexible will allow you to write about other things in addition to lucid dreaming.
Ok moving on.
STEP TWO: REGISTER YOUR DOMAIN NAME
Choosing the right domain name for your website is very important. Selecting a short and simple name is key. Branding will be easier if people can pronounce and spell your domain name! Think short ans sweet when you register your domain name. Do not over complicate things for yourself.
You can get your domain name directly from Bluehost. I do this and it makes the entire process easier. If you want a free domain name, you will need to sign up with Bluehost for 12 months. If you sign up for the 12 month hosting plan you will be able to save some money.
The great thing about Bluehost is that they will refund you back your money if you are not happy with their web hosting services. You can cancel and get a refund even after 10-11 months if you are not satisfied.
STEP 3: SETUP YOUR WEB HOSTING
Setting up your blog with Bluehost is actually very simple. Paid web hosting has many positive benefits. You can get a free domain name from Bluehost plus their web hosting packages are also affordable.
This particular blog is hosted with Hostgator. I am in the process of moving from Hostgator since I have been having some issues with them. I do not really recommend Hostgator. There have been times when my blog has been down and I find that very annoying. Moving to Bluehost is something I will be doing in the upcoming month.
The Bluehost Basic Plan starts at $2.75/month. It is more affordable than the Plus and Premium plans. Changing your plan later on is also something that you can do if you want.
Buying 12 months of web hosting is something I would recommend. Why?
- It will save you money in the long run.
- Paying for your hosting month-to-month can be a hassle.
- You can forget to pay for your hosting if you are paying on a monthly hosting plan.
- Forgetting to pay for your monthly hosting can result in your blog going offline. This will affect your traffic and growth.
Setting up with Bluehost is easy. Take a look below to see how you can do this.
If you just want to develop one domain name. All you need is the ”Basic” package.
STEP 4: CONNECT YOUR WEB HOST TO YOUR DOMAIN NAME
*Skip this step if you already bought your domain name with your hosting account.
Follow this step if you have registered your domain name with Namecheap, Godaddy etc. Your domain name needs to be connected to your web hosting so that your website can work. Domain Nameservers (DNS) is what you will need to change for this to happen.
This is how you can change your domain nameservers to your web host’s:
The information you need can be found in the welcome email from your hosting company. Changing the DNS is not hard. Changes can be made through your web hosting c-panel.
- Log into your hosting account’s cPanel. You will see something that look kind of like this: NS1.UPHOST.NET and NS1.UPHOST.NET (it will not say uphost.com this is just a made up company!)
- Copy the domain nameservers from step 1
- Sign into your Namecheap or Godaddy account
- Choose the ‘Manage Domains‘ option and pick your domain name.
- Select the ‘Manage‘ option from the the Nameservers menu.
- Inside the Setup Type pick ‘Custom‘
- Click to ‘Edit Nameservers’ and paste the Nameservers you copied in step #1. Hit ‘Save‘
In the end things should look like this.
STEP 5: INSTALL YOUR WORDPRESS BLOG
Creating your blog with WordPress is not as complicated as you might think. This step will show you exactly how you can setup your website.
I use the fast quick install to setup my website. Setting up with the Install WordPress offered by Bluehost is very easy. It only takes 5 minutes to do!
How to Install WordPress on Bluehost. Here is all that you need to do:
1. Use the URL for your cPanel to log into your account (should be in the first e-mail from your web host).
2. After you login to your cPanel, click on the ‘Install WordPress’ option.
3. Pick the domain name you want to install the website on.
4. Read through the service agreement and check the boxes.
5. Click on the ‘Install Now‘ button.
Give yourself a pat on the shoulder or back. You have just installed your site! Use your login information to login to the WP dashboard. If you are comfortable enough you can start customizing your site right away.
STEP 6: CHANGE YOUR PERMALINKS
Changing your permalinks is something you must do. The default permalinks that WordPress has in place are very ugly. The URLs look like this yourdomain.com/?p=123. Google does not like ugly URLs and it’s time to change that.
1. Go into your WordPress.com/wp-admin and login to your WP Dashboard
2. Scroll down over to Settings and click on the Permalinks options.
3. Choose the ‘Post name‘ option and hit Save
Taking a URL from ugly and messy to clean and pretty only takes a few clicks.
Ok onto the next one.
STEP 7: BUILD YOUR PAGES
It’s time to build some pages!
There are a few essential pages you will need for your blog if you want to setup a professional looking site. You do not need many pages on your site.
1. About Me page – People are curious. Add some spice to your blog by letting people know what your blog is about.
2. Contact page – Having a contact page is important. You want people to be able to reach you if they have any questions. Sponsors and advertisers need a way that they can reach you. Make sure that your contact page filters spam. I use the Fast Secure Contact Form.
3. Disclaimer – Transparency is a good thing to have online. It’s important to have a disclaimer page on your site. Having a disclaimer page lets your readers know if your post contains affiliate products, sponsorship or ads.
STEP 8: GET A CLEAN WORDPRESS THEME
Having a clean WordPress theme will help your content to stand out. Get yourself a theme that you like. Remember, this is your website and you get to choose the right look and feel for it. Premium themes are my personal preference.
I like the way premium themes look. Paid themes are better quality and have more options than most free themes.
My favorite places to buy WordPress theme are :
Install your theme easily through your WordPress dashboard.
- Go to Appearance -> Themes -> Upload your theme!
STEP 9: INSTALL YOUR PLUGINS
Installing plugins is not difficult. You can do this this through the dashboard. I am working on a post of the best plugins for your blog (stay tuned). Your site will work better if you add a few plugins to it. Plugins can really slow down your website. I would highly recommend adding only a few plugins to your WordPress blog.
A FEW GENERAL TIPS ON NAVIGATING WORDPRESS
As a content management system WordPress is simple to use. Is it not that difficult to work inside WordPress. Take your time and get a feel of how things work.
- Dashboard – The dashboard is the hub of your WordPress site. You will see this every time you sign in to your site.
- Posts – This is where you will create and edit most of your blog content.
- Media – Find uploaded pictures and videos here.
- Pages – Add your contact page, about me page, sitemap etc. in this area.
- Appearance – Switch up the look and feel of your website by using menus, custom widgets etc.
- Plugins – Add/Remove plugins and make your site more functional by adding the necessary plugins.
- Tools – Import/Export your blog content. You will rarely need to use this option.
- Comments – Anytime people comment on your blog posts, you will be able to see the comments here.
- Users – Change your blog password through this option.
- Settings – Inside this area you can change the settings for your: reading, permalinks, writing etc.
Creating your blog will be much easier after you get to know the ins and outs of the WordPress dashboard.
CONGRATULATIONS YOU HAVE JUST CREATED YOUR VERY OWN BLOG!
Taking your blog seriously is the only way you will succeed. Giving your readers useful content is key. Treat your blog as a business and not a hobby. If you want to make money with your blog you will need to take this seriously. Treat it like a hobby and it will pay like a hobby.
Take a look at this list of super successful bloggers if you want more motivation to start a blog today.
Better believe the haters will hate!