I started blogging a few years ago knowing nothing about it. And now I’m a full time blogger.
I never thought this would be possible, and would’ve never believed you if you told me I could blog full time as a job.
So, I’m breaking down the steps you can take to get your blog up and running in detail below.
There are 3 main parts to start a blog that I want you to keep in mind. I like to use the house analogy for understanding it.
Think of your blog as a house.
- The land is the domain.
- The house frame is the host.
- The decorations are WordPress.
You need all 3 components, and I’ll show you how to get started with each below.
- Side note: Download the 2018 Blogging Trends eBook before you get started for good tips for this year.
Here are the steps you need to take to start a blog…
Step 1: Brainstorm your vision, structure, name, colors, and brand
The first step is to brainstorm what you want to blog about (aka the vision for your blog). You need to decide what you want to blog about.
Once you decide on a topic, you need to set the structure for your blog, which means knowing what subtopics you’ll cover and write about. Download the Blog Structure Blueprint to do this. This is the format you should use to organize your blog. It gives you a template to categorize your blog sections.
Next, think about how you want to portray your topic through your brand. For example, I have a personal finance blog, but because I’m very feminine and I write for women, I chose soft colors and a fresh clean look. You should have a general idea of what you want your brand to be like.
If you’re having trouble deciding what you want your brand to be like, look at other blogs and analyze their branding. This will help you get an idea of what’s already out there in your niche and where you can fit in.
Next, download the Goal Setting Workbook For Bloggers. This workbook will give you the format for setting blog goals. It’s important to use this along with the way when you’re making decisions about what to publish, what photos to use, etc.
Step 2: Register Your Host
Once you are done brainstorming, you are ready to start your blog!
Head on over to Bluehost (using this special discounted link that is just for my readers).
Bluehost is the #1 recommended web hosting by WordPress.org, Every account features 1-click WordPress installation. Powering over 2 million websites worldwide these guys are one of the most popular and affordable options. Bluehost is perfect if you’re a new blogger.
Click the green “get started now” button and let’s get started (see above)!
Select a hosting plan that fits your needs. (Normally, if you are just starting out I recommend the basic plan but, if you are really serious about this and want more resources & power go with their Prime or Pro plan).
Keep in mind, you can always upgrade your plan as you grow.
Step 3: Register Your Domain Name
Type your domain name in this nifty Domain Name Checker below.
Don’t spend a ton of time on this step, you can always change the domain name later.
If you already have a domain name, type it in the “I have a domain name” step. Bluehost is generous enough to throw in a FREE domain name for every new hosting account created. Super awesome!
The next step is to fill out your account and billing information.
Review the package information below and decide what term/add-ons are desired. The biggest bang for your buck is on the 60 month term, but you can choose 36 months, 24 months or 12 months. *Note, Bluehost will charge you upfront for the entire term.
Insert payment information and accept the terms.
Congrats, your hosting account has been created! Bluehost will send you a welcome email confirming account and FTP information.
Create your password. Make sure to review the requirements for creating the password. If you need help you can always click the “Suggest Password” option. Regardless, I recommend notating it just to be safe. You’ll end up needing it later on.
Go ahead and login and start getting familiar with your new Bluehost account.
Step 4: Install WordPress
Thanks to Bluehost, after your hosting account has been created WordPress will automatically install. Start off by picking a free theme (I’ll discuss changing this below). You can update your theme and change it at any time.
Now that you’ve picked your theme, jump into WordPress.
Decide whether this site will be for business or personal use (presumably biz if you’re starting a blog to make money).
On this step, you’ll see an overview of Bluehost and WordPress integration.
You can manage WordPress plugins and blog posts or pages here.
Decide on a site title and description.
That is it! You’re good to go in WordPress.
You can also see a revamped dashboard of the Bluehost control panel (below).
Now, I want to make a few points about designing your site…
Step 5: Design your site
There are sooo many ways for you to design your site.
Here is a look at some of your options…
- Choose any free theme to design your site (keep in mind you’ll be limited in capabilities and in updates, so proceed with caution).
- Divi Theme, which is a theme that allows you to create your own custom blog design. This theme has become super duper popular lately, which is why I’m bringing it up here. People are loving it.
- Finally, you can use the Genesis Framework and StudioPress.com. This is what I use, but it’s a bit more advanced.
You can use whichever theme you want. You just need to make sure your blog looks at least decent from the beginning if you want to make money blogging.
Your design won’t make or break your success, so don’t stress too much about it.
People ask me all the time what theme I use. Here’s what I use to design my site:
- I use the Genesis Framework (think of this as the parent theme).
- I use Paralax Pro (think of this as the child theme), which is one of many StudioPress themes. I played around a lot with the css coding, which I learned myself through trial and error. I’m not sure I recommend this, but it worked for me. 🙂
- I also hire iMark Interactive here and there for all the things I can’t figure out how to do with my design.
After you have your site designed how you want it to look, you are ready to start blogging. (Yay!)
Step 6: Start blogging!
Finally, once you have created your blog, you are ready to move on to the next stages, which are growing and monetizing your blog.
Here’s what I recommend to start actually blogging…
1. Draft several posts so you have a “bank” of posts you can schedule out consistently.
2. Use Haute Stock or iStock Photo for images to use in your blog posts. You cannot use photos you find online for your posts because of licensing restrictions (unless you’re 100% positive you have permission to use them).
3. Join Facebook groups that help you learn how to blog. You can join Natalie Bacon Facebook Community here.
4. If you have any tech issues with your blog setup, use iMark Interactive. Grayson Bell runs iMark and it’s the only company I trust with helping me setup my blog and fix any problems I have!
5. Drive traffic to your blog. I recommend doing this with Pinterest (that’s what I do). You can learn the Pinterest strategy I use from Pinterest Traffic Avalanche.
6. Monetize your blog. This is the best and most rewarding part, but you need to wait to do it until you’ve taken the other steps. Then, you need to learn how to monetize. I highly recommend taking Make Money Blogging For Beginners to get started making money blogging. If you’re more intermediate, take Six Figure Blogger. I’ve taken both of these courses, and they’re both phenomenal. They taught me everything I needed to create a plan and feel confident going forward monetizing my blog.
You can also check out How I Made $45K Blogging In 1 Year While Working Full Time (my blogging eBook). You can get started with a free PDF here.
P.s. – here are my favorite free blogging resources:
- Blogging Quick Start Guide – this is my blogging eBook
- 5 Day Blogging Bootcamp – this is my 5 day blogging course
- 7 Surefire Ways To Boost Your Blog Income Overnight – this download has really applicable tips for taking your blog income up a notch asap
- 120 Awesome Blog Post Ideas – this gives you soooo many blog post ideas
- The New Blogger’s Guide To Guest Posting – this is a download that shows you how to get started guest posting on other blogs
- 10 Steps To Take When A Post Goes Viral – this is a download that gives you specific tips for what to do when a blog post goes viral