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If you’re here, you must be searching for a guide to starting a blog. It’s also possible that you started sometime ago and now feel stuck.
Either way, I’m glad you’re here, because I have a passion for blogging.
My blog started as a hobby in 2015, and when health issues caused me to take a break from graduate school, I began blogging seriously.
I enrolled in some online courses, read more blog posts than my brain could process, and have ultimately watched my space on the web grow into something bigger than a hobby.
Blogging is now a passion.
The most important part of starting a blog comes before the writing, the design, and the promotion. Before you get to any of the nitty-gritty blog building, it’s essential that you nail down your purpose.
If you are blogging to get rich, choose a different career.
Blogging to become an author? Know that it will be a long road.
And if you are blogging because it’s a “thing” these days, well, there are many things.
Your purpose will drive you, so your purpose must hold weight. It has to be rooted in something greater than money, fame, or book deals.
It must be rooted in your passion.
So, without further ado, here is your guide to starting a blog:
*these are the steps to set up a self-hosted WordPress site, a very highly recommended platform for bloggers these days.
1. Nail down your purpose.
Ask yourself these questions.
Spend time writing long before you ever hit the publish button.
Choose a niche based on what you love, not what will make you rich.
Only then should you move onto the next step.
2. Choose a domain name.
The domain name is the URL – the address of your blog. Mine is www.alisontiemeyer.com. You could use your name, a variation of your name, a nickname, or something else entirely.
Hint: discover your purpose long before you choose your domain name. Otherwise you’ll want to swap down the road (like I did) and it involves hours of work.
Here are some free tools you can use when deciding on a domain name:
To help you brainstorm possible domain names, click here.
To help you know whether your desired domain name is available, click here.
Note: Do not actually purchase a domain name yet. That will happen in the next step.
3. Sign up for hosting.
Hosting is exactly as it sounds – your host will ‘hold’ your site and will make your blog available online.
I have used HostGator from the very beginning and have never had a problem. Their customer service is awesome, everything is well-organized, and my tech guy – er, my husband – is able to make any customizations and updates within HostGator quickly and easily.
The cheapest plan – Hatchling – is perfect for beginners. Click the ‘Sign Up Now‘ button.
You will then register the domain name you chose in the previous step and pay for your hosting.
#1 on the image below is the option you’ll choose if you have not purchased a domain name from anywhere else. If you’ve followed the steps in this tutorial, choose this option.
#2 below is the way to go it you already own a domain name, or if you purchased a domain name before coming to this tutorial.
4. Install WordPress.
Log into your new HostGator account and click on the ‘Hosting’ tab, then ‘Get Started with WordPress Today’ (shown below).
It will take you to a page that looks like the image below. Click ‘Install WordPress.’
…and it will open a page that looks like this:
Now you will fill in the blanks using your information and click the green ‘Install WordPress’ button.
Next, you will receive an email providing you a username and password to log into your WordPress site. (While you wait, do a little dance! You’re on your way!)
Note: Make sure you jot down the information to access your new WordPress account – username and password specifically.
Note #2: Use a unique, strong password. Consider using the one WordPress provides for you. You do not want hackers to be able to get into your site.
5. Log in & play around.
Woohoo! You made it to the fun part (in my opinion). You now own a WordPress blog and can design, post, and share starting anytime.
First, log in to your WordPress site by typing your URL followed by /wp-admin into your browser.
This will bring up a screen that allows you to enter your username and password.
Log in, and then spend some time getting to know WordPress and intentionally creating a brand with colors, fun fonts, images, and an organized blog layout.
There are many free WordPress themes that you can customize with your colors and fonts. If you want a more professional looking blog, I suggest purchasing a theme. Angie Makes is my favorite theme designer. My blog is built with an Angie Makes theme. They are cheap, easy to use, and beautiful!
6. Get Writing…and everything else.
You’ve made it to the part most people think about when they think of blogging – the writing.
If you love to write, you will quickly find yourself crazy about blogging. Writing is a huge part of the deal, yes. But as a friend, I’d like to warn you about the ‘thing’ that is blogging.
Blogging is writing, designing, promoting, constant learning, organizing, networking, scheduling, and So. Much. More.
Is it fun? Yes! …if you are passionate.
Take some time to sift through step one of this process before jumping in and buying a domain name. What are you passionate about & how will you share that with others?
After you’ve discovered your passions, jump in with two feet!
Grab the 5-day mini series for free!