*This post contains affiliate links, noted by asterisks. For more information, see my disclosures here.*
A few years ago, I knew absolutely nothing about blogging or creating a website. I was searching for a creative outlet and a place to funnel my brain power on ways to make money online, but I had no idea where to start. It would have been so nice to have someone come alongside me and say, “Here it is. This is how you start a blog. Here is everything you need to know.” Although it didn’t happen like that, I’ve discovered a few great people along the way.
To name a few, people like Eddy Solomon, blogger at WorkAtHomeNoScams.com, Anna, blogger at RealWaysToEarnMoneyOnline.com, Lisa Irby, blogger at 2createawebsite.com, John Chow, blogger at JohnChow.com, Amy Lynn Andrews, blogger at amylynnandrews.com and Zac Johnson, blogger at zacjohnson.com have inspired and helped me to create my own website. If you’ve ever wanted to start a blog but haven’t taken the plunge yet, no more excuses! Today is your day! I’m going to walk you through it step-by-step– let’s do this!
Starting a Blog: A Step-by-Step Guide
I recommend starting with a self-hosted site using WordPress.org. Why? This type of site will give you the most freedom and the most control over your blog. There is a small cost involved, but it will be worth in in the long run to have total control over your own site. The first thing you’ll need to do to set up your self-hosted blog on WordPress.org is select your domain name and hosting package.
1) Select a domain name and get it registered.
You’ll want to do some research before you choose a name for your blog. You want something that fits you, your blog, and is unique and will help you stand out in a positive way. If you need a little help in this area, check out Bust a Name. It allows you to type in some key words you want to use in your domain name and suggests available combinations.
Since you have the perfect name, you now need to register it so no one else steals it. You could choose to register it where you purchase your hosting package. We’ll talk about setting up hosting in a minute and give you an example of registering both parts together. Another option would be to purchase your domain name separately from your hosting package, which some would say adds an extra layer of security but can also complicate things a little. We started out with both our domain name and our hosting package at the same host, and then switched hosting to Synthesis a few months ago while our domain name stayed at our original host, so we’ve done it both ways. If you want to register your domain separately from your hosting, we recommend using Namecheap* for your domain. Their site is super user-friendly, and the prices are really affordable. If you’re just starting out, I recommend you keep things as simple as possible and take advantage of the free domain name with Bluehost*.
2) Decide which hosting provider to use.
You want to pick a trustworthy host because if they have problems, you have problems. Your host is where your blog “lives,” so it affects your site speed and accessibility. Support is also an important factor to consider when choosing a host. You want to be able to call when an issue arises and have it fixed right away to avoid blog downtime as much as possible. Currently, I’m using Host Gator for web hosting because that was the only one that I knew of when I created my blog.
You may want to consider starting out with our “beginner” option, Bluehost*. This is the option we most often recommend for someone who is starting a blog for the first time. They have really good service and customer support. Site speed with Bluehost is also good. When you start to get more than 3,000 or so visitors per day, you may start to notice your site slowing down with the Bluehost plan, and you’ll probably want to start looking into faster hosting at that point. Bluehost offers hosting for an incredibly reasonable $3.49 per month through my discounted link, http://www.bluehost.com/track/influencemoney/ , when you sign up for 36 months. (You pre-pay for all 36 months up front, but if you decide to cancel at any time, they offer a money-back guarantee. So if you had Bluehost for 6 months and decided to switch, they would refund the remaining 30 months.) You really can’t beat the value for your money and the excellent service with Bluehost*.
If the difference between $3.49/month and $20/month is a big deal, definitely go with Bluehost. In fact, for the large majority of new bloggers, Bluehost is the perfect place to start! Check out our hosting setup example.
How to Start a Blog and Install WordPress
Setting up Hosting at Bluehost
We’re going to walk you through the steps of getting started with Bluehost. Don’t be intimidated by the fact that there are 20 steps– that just means we’ve broken it down to make it really easy for you! Here we go!
1) Navigate to http://www.bluehost.com/track/influencemoney/.* You’ll be re-directed to Bluehost through my affiliate link and you may get a few additional perks for signing up through my code. (Thank you for your support!) Click the big green “Get Started Now” button.
2) You’ve already decided on a domain name at this point. To register your domain name with Bluehost, enter it under the “new domain” box and click “next.”
3) Enter all of your account and contact information.
4) Continue down to the “package information” section. You get the cheapest monthly rate by selecting 36 months. It’s important to note that Bluehost charges you for the full the 36 months upfront. You are prepaying for the hosting. That’s one of the reasons they are able to offer great hosting at such a small price. They always have that money-back guarantee, though, so you won’t risk losing your money. If the upfront cost is too much, you could always consider pre-paying 12 months. If that’s still too much and you’re just not sure, go with Media Temple. It’s $20/month, but you don’t have to pay for more than a month at a time.
5) Enter your billing information, agree to the service agreements, and then click “next.”
6) Again, there are some additional options you can purchase here, but I wouldn’t. These could be added later if you need them. Click “complete.”
7) Congratulations! You officially have a Bluehost account. Next you need to create your password.
8) On this screen, you’ll create your Bluehost account password. Don’t forget it! (And of course make it a strong password so no one can hack your site!)
9) Now that your password has been created, you can log into your account for the first time! Make sure you’re logging into “hosting” and not “webmail.”
10) When your account opens for the first time, you’ll see a helpful little welcome message. Fortunately I’m walking you through the process, so select the “close this welcome message and don’t show it again” button.
11) Once you close that window, you’ll be in your account dashboard. You will get very familiar with this page. First things first– you need to install WordPress. Click the “install WordPress” button at the bottom of the screen.
12) On the WordPress Installation screen, click “Install.”
13) Click “show advanced options.”
14) Name your site (you can always change it later), create a username for the WordPress install, and create a WordPress login password. You’ll want to make sure that “Automatically create a new database for this installation” and “I have read the terms and conditions of the GPLv2” are checked as well. Click “Install Now.”
15) Watch the little bar at the top of the next screen turn green. That means WordPress has been successfully installed.
16) Now check your email, and you should have something from Mojo Marketplace. This email is important, so make sure you save it! It includes your website URL, your WordPress admin login URL, and your WordPress login username.
17) From the email in the previous step, click the Admin URL. It will take you to a site that looks like the one below. Enter your username.
18) To retrieve your password, navigate back to your Bluehost* tab and click the very bottom “view” to see your WordPress password. Remember, this alert expires after 12 hours, so make sure you get the password within that time period.
19) This page shows everything you need to start using WordPress. I like to take a screenshot of this page and save it somewhere that I’ll be able to access easily if I forget my info. (Not that I’m forgetful or anything…. okay, just don’t ask my husband about that. )
20) Now that you have your password, you can log into WordPress and you’ll be presented with your WordPress dashboard. You will learn to love this. Spend some time going through the various settings. It may be confusing at first, but in no time it will all be second nature.
Make It Pretty: Choose Your Theme
You did it! Yay!!! Now you want to make your blog pretty, right? In order to do that, you will need to choose a theme. Your theme will determine many of the visual aspects of my blog– my background, colors, fonts, navigation bar, and the social media buttons in my header are all part of my theme.
Because I’m not a web designer and I don’t know much about coding, I chose to go with the InfoWay theme by Ink Themes Designs, which gave me awesome visual elements of my blog.
And that’s how to start a blog! You can totally handle the technical side of blogging– don’t let it intimidate you! Sure, you will do a lot of learning as you go along, but once you have the basic building blocks in place, you are a lot closer to getting to do the fun stuff: creating amazing content!!
If you ever have any questions about the technical side of setting up a blog, please ask away in the comments, and we’ll try to help as best we can. Now go out there and rock the blogging world!!
Now that you’ve started your own blog, you need a logo and banners to promote your business! A logo alone can get quite expensive if you seek graphic designers who are known for excellent work. But I know a little secret! FIVERR! Fiverr is an online gig and micro job service that allows people to work for themselves and sell their creative services for $5 or more! You can order a logo and banners by Joining Fiverr!
I ordered by logo below from Fiverr for $5! And designed my website on my own.
How to Monetize Your Blog!
Having your own blog or website gives you the opportunity to earn residual income online! As you can see, this website teaches people free ways to make money online, on mobile apps and on social networks. With this concept, we are able to earn from referral sign ups, as well as completing tasks on our own. There are 10+ ways to make money online:
- Make Money taking surveys or answering polls
- Make money doing micro jobs
- Make money using mobile apps
- Make money on Twitter
- Make money blogging
- Make money clicking on ads (PTC)
- Make money completing offers (GPT)
- Make money using search engines
- Make money watching videos
- Make money with affiliate marketing
- Make money listening to the radio (We do not have a guide on this opportunity yet. Please stay tuned.)
- Make money on Youtube (We do not have a guide on this opportunity yet. Please stay tuned.)