I started blogging 3 years ago knowing nothing about it. Now, my blog brings in $4k/month, while I work full time.
I have updated this post for how to start a blog in 2018, so you have the most up to date information on how to start a blog.
Okay, now here’s what you need to do to start a blog…
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.
Finally, come up with a blog name. You want to make your name creative, unique, but memorable. It’s said that having your topic in the name is a good idea so people know immediately what your blog is about. Research names before you decide on your blog name. I made the mistake of not doing this! I love my name, but there are a lot of similar names out there, which isn’t great. Analyze how other bloggers are naming their blogs to see if there’s a pattern that you could follow. Another resource to use is Bust A Name, which can help you come up with name combinations if you’re stuck. You’ll have to see if it already exists, which you can do in step two when you go to register it.
2. Register your domain name
Once you have your name picked out, you have to register it. You can register your name (so no one else can uses it!) through a number of websites. I happened to use GoDaddy because I randomly Googled how to register a domain name and that’s what popped up. It’s sufficient, but when it comes to having your domain registered in one place and a host in another place, it gets tricky. That’s why I recommend getting your domain name through Bluehost (if that’s where you choose to host). Not only that, but you can actually register your domain name for Free with Bluehost if you also sign up for hosting. (I made the mistake of paying for both registering and hosting because I registered at a different company than I bought hosting from). So, to make your life easier, consider registering your domain name through Bluehost.
After you register your domain name, you’ll have to sign up for hosting. Then, you’ll have to sign up for WordPress. I like to use the analogy of building a house: your domain is the land, your host is the house, and WordPress is the inside decor. You need all three to run a blog successfully.
3. Register with a host
There are several good hosting companies that you can use. Aside from price, you should consider the credibility and reliability of the hosting company.
I’m going to walk you through signing up through Bluehost. With Bluehost, you get an affordable hosting plan and excellent customer service. Once you’ve been blogging for a long time and have pageviews exceeding 3,000-4,000 per month, you may need to upgrade and pay more for your hosting service, but until then, starting with a Bluehost plan is an excellent way to go for a beginner amount of traffic. This is what I did, and I was very happy with it.
You can get Bluehost using my discounted link for $2.95 / month. For this discounted price, you pay for 36 months upfront and have 30 days to cancel your account for a full refund.
To setup your Bluehost account, click on this Discount Link and click the “get started now” / “start your website” green button.
Next, you’ll have the option to select one of three plans, based on price and specific features. Decide what’s best for you. Then enter your domain name that you registered in step two in the box provided that says “I have a domain name”.
Follow the steps to enter your account information.
Next, decide which package you want to select. You get the least expensive rate if you signup for 36 months. And remember that if you cancel, you’ll get a refund for the prorated amount. This means you don’t risk losing your money up front (so why not?). You’ll also have options here that you can “add on”, including Site Backup Pro, SiteLock Domain Security, Search Engine Jumpstart, and Google Apps for Work. If I were you, I would wait to add these until you’re all signed up, unless you know for sure that you need them.
You’ll then be prompted to enter your billing information and agree to the terms and conditions. You’ll be prompted to add other addons, but you don’t need to add them now. You can add them later if you want them.
Once processed, you should see a welcome message, like the one below.
After you are signed up, you’ll be asked to create a password and login.
One you have your password set, you can log in to your account (yay!).
4. Install WordPress
Then, you’ll be able to automatically install WordPress on your site.
Next, you’ll select your domain to log into WordPress for the first time.
Then, you’re all done install WordPress. You should now get an email from “Mojo Marketplace” with important information about your account in it, just like the one below. This is an email that you should keep!
Using your Mojo email, click on the WordPress link. You’ll see the screen below. Enter your login information.
You’re now in your WordPress dashboard. This is where you’ll design your website.
5. Design your site
The fifth step is to design your site. There are many ways for you to design your site.
- Choose any free theme to design your site (keep in mind you’ll be limited in capabilities and in updates, so proceed with caution).
- Another alternative is to use Divi Theme, which is a theme that allows you to create your own blog design. This theme has become super duper popular lately, which is why I’m bringing it up here. Despite costing money, people are loving it.
- Finally, you can use the Genesis Framework and StudioPress.com. I mention this because it’s what I use, but I want to warn you that this can be kind of advanced. I love it because it’s very customizable and professional, but I also use a designer to help me.
You can use whichever theme you want. You just need to make sure your blog looks professional from the beginning.
After you have your site designed how you want it to look, you are ready to start blogging. (Eeek!)
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…
First: I recommend drafting several posts so you have a “bank” of posts you can schedule out consistently.
Second: Sign up for 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. This is why I use Haute Chocolate, and I’m obsessed!
Third: Join Facebook groups that help you learn how to blog. You can join mine, called The Blogging Mastermind Community.
Fourth: Join my email list for bloggers (add your name and email address to the form below).
Fifth: 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!
Sixth: 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.
Finally: 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.
For all of my blogging posts, visit my Blogging Page. Happy blogging!