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WHY START A BLOG?
I started blogging 2.5 months ago, and I can honestly say, I am loving the journey. I was completely new to blogging, I knew nothing at all, and I taught myself as I went, but the hard work has been so rewarding and so worth it.
Blogging has given me a true boost in confidence, it has allowed me to come out of my shell and let go of the fears I previously had. Blogging has also been a great form of self-development and personal growth for me. When I write a new post, it allows me to reflect on my life, my thoughts, and gives me an overall sense of self-awareness. Also, I have never come across a more supportive group of people than I have with the blogging community. Everyone is extremely helpful and I can happily say I have made some great friends throughout my blogging journey.
In just 2.5 month I have already started making an income with my blog. I plan on growing my blog, my community, and hopefully my side income over the next few months, but overall I blog because I enjoy it. I love receiving messages from my readers telling me how much they enjoy my blog, or that they can relate to a certain article or post.
So, that is what this guide is about. I want to show you how you can start your own blog. Whether it be for your own pleasure, to help others which a particular niche, or to eventually turn it into a profitable business, my step by step guide can help you.
Today I am going to get you started, and show you how to start a self-hosted wordpress blog using Blue Host.
WHY BLUE HOST?
Now, I recommend Blue Host because that is the host I use, and I have really enjoyed my experience to this point with them. Plus, you can grab a great price using my Blue Host Link, as I am part of the Blue Host affiliate Program, meaning anyone who I refer, will get their hosting for a discounted price.
Blue Host is one of the top web hosting companies of 2016, and if you’re looking to start your blog for cheap, but want to use a reputable company to do so, Blue Host is the way to go. Right now, you can sign up with Blue Host for as little as $3.49 / month, plus if you sign up using my Blue Host Link, you can also get your unique domain name FOR FREE when you sign up for 12 months or longer.
*side note: I recommend signing up for 12 months as you will save money by doing so, and if you for some reason are not happy with Blue Host, you can get a refund at anytime.
Now, you may be thinking that you can start a blog for free, or for cheaper, but I do not recommend going that route. You can use Blogger or Blog Spot, or one of the other free options, but I recommend Word Press. If you are planning on taking blogging seriously and growing your blog, community, and potentially your business, you will want to use Word Press, and you will want to be self hosted. It looks so much more professional when a website looks like this: www.adjustingtoadulthood.com rather than this: www.adjustingtoadulthood.example.co. That is why Blue Host is a must! You get your free domain name, and Blue Host sets up Word Press for you, so you do not have to worry about that crazy headache either! Easy peasy.
Also with Blue Host, you can run your own ads, affiliate links, direct ads, etc. which, if you plan on monetizing, is very important.
So just to summarize, this is why I chose the Blue Host + WordPress combination, and why I believe as a new blogger, you should as well:
- User Friendly & ease of getting started. Blue Host makes the whole set up process super easy + because I have gone through the set up process, I created a tutorial below that you can follow.
- Blue Host offers technical support – super important for new bloggers that have no idea what there doing (like me when I started)
- You will be self-hosted. Should you want to monetize your blog in the future, that will be helpful.
- Blue Host is an affordable option for web-hosting and you get a FREE domain & Word Press setup included.
Okay, so now that I explained why I chose Blue Host for my web hosting service, and also why I think you should to, let me give you a little tutorial how to start your very own blog! Yay!
HOW TO START A BLOG
STEP ONE: Registering Your Domain Name
The first step is to click the photo below to begin the process. Blue host will open in a separate tab, and all you have to do is follow my step by step guide.
First things first, think long and hard about your domain name. Once you decide on a domain name, your ready to follow these steps. So like I mentioned above, you will get a FREE domain name if you sign up with Blue Host for 12 months. By Purchasing for 12 months, you will get a cheaper monthly rate as well. If you want to go the free domain route then click the Green “Get Started Now” Button.
Once you hit the green button you will be brought to this page:
At this point, you will probably only need the “basic package” which is the $3.49/month option. That is what I chose, and I am pleased with the option. Once you become a more established blogger you may want to upgrade to plus or pro, but you can do that at anytime, and as a new blogger, you do not need those fancy features.
STEP TWO: Purchase Your Hosting
Okay, now that your on the pricing page, you will have to choose the best option for yourself.
So, click “select” under the Basic Plan, and then you will see this page:If you’re looking for the cheapest option (as a new blogger, that is what I was looking for), then, like I mentioned above, I recommend the “Basic” plan.
If you use my link, It’s only $3.49/month when you sign up for 36 months. If you do not want to commit to 36 months quite yet, then you have two other options, you can sign up for the 24 month plan at $3.95 per month Or, lastly, you can sign up for a 12 month plan, and get your hosting + domain name + Word Press installation for $4.95 per month.
I ended up choosing the 12 month plan at $4.95 because I still found it extremely affordable and it had all the features I was looking for. As a new blogger who is a bit unsure where your blogging journey may lead, I recommend the 12 month plan. It is still a great deal and very affordable for one year of blogging. If you purchase a 12 month plan, your total annual price is only $59.40 per year. Remember, you will also receive the free domain name, which is a cost savings as well, and Blue Host Installs Word Press for you, another cost savings (and one less head ache).
Now,under the monthly length options, there are a few boxes you can choose to check. Right now the only one I would recommend is the Domain Privacy Protection. This increases privacy and security around your contact information and website information. it is only an extra dollar (less than) per month, and I believe it is worth it. The rest of the options I would probably pass on for now.
Remember, if you went through my link, next to the “Set Up Fee” and “Domain Registration” it should say Free.
When you click next you will be asked to create a password.
Okay so let’s re-cap quickly, at this point you should have:
- Gone to Blue Host and clicked the green “Get Started” Button
- Chosen the package you were interested in (most likely Basic)
- Picked and registered your domain name
- Entered all of your information & payment details
- Created a password
STEP THREE: Installing WordPress
Luckily, Blue Host makes this SUPER easy, one of the many reasons I love Blue Host, also Word Press is Free because you are using Blue Host, yet another bonus!
Okay so once you create a password, you will be sent an email with a link to login to Blue Host you will be brought to a page that looks similar to this:
Your going to want to click “cpanel” (See Read Box Above). Find the box that says “Install WordPress” and click it.
Once the installation process begins you will have to decide which domain name you want to install WordPress on. It will give you a drop down box, and your recently registered domain name should be listed in there.
Once you complete that, you will see an option for “Advanced Options.” This is where you will choose your username and password for your new WordPress website. Also, you will want to check “Automatically create a new database for this installation” , unless you already have a different database (if you’re a brand new blogger, or you are not sure, than chances are you do not have a different database).
Now… Click “Install Now”.
and BOOM you officially have your own BLOG!!!!! Congratulations!
So what now? … Now you have to get your blog started, choose a theme, start creating content… don’t worry, I have some quick tips to help you get started:
First things first, you will want to login to your Word Press Site. You should receive your WordPress login information in a separate email after you complete all of the steps above. This email will include your unique WordPress login URL, your username, and your password.
Once logged in I suggest exploring the left-hand side, and all of the different features. WordPress can seem confusing, but it just takes time to get use to what is where, and what does what.
Some basics on the left hand side are:
- Your dashboard – Gives you an overview of your blog
- Posts – Click this is add a new post
- Pages – Click this is add a new page (different from posts – think “About Me Page” or a “Contact Me” page).
- Appearance – This is where you can pick a theme, Customize your blog, add widgets, add menus, etc.
- Plugins – You can add plugin’s to help you and your blog success (some I recommend would be Google Analytics, Sumo Me, SEO, Jet Pack, and Some form of Social Sharing Buttons.)
MAKING YOUR BLOG PRETTY
If you do not want to use one of the free themes that Word Press Offers I recommend installing the Genesis Framework. It seems to be the most popular option in the blogging world. I have blogged both with it & without it, and I highly recommend it. Since I have installed Genesis I find it SO much easier to customize my blog and make it my own. You can also install adorable “child themes” that are only compatible with the Genesis Framework. My favorite places to browse themes are: Restored 316 Designs & Studio Press
For more information on the Genesis Framework check out this PDF Beginners Guide.
One last thing, starting your blog can be overwhelming and confusing if you have no idea what you’re doing. Something that helped me SO much on my journey is Abby Lawsons e-book: Building A Frame Work. Abby compiles everything you need to know as a new blogger into one amazing e-book. It literally takes you through the whole installation process, goes over how to build your blog and community, goes through Social Media strategies, building your email list, and also talks all about monetizing your blog. Abby has 3 different packages you can purchase, all with certain perks, but the lowest one is only $25.00 and you get 35 chapters of solid and extremely informative information and tips. It takes the overwhelm out of the blogging journey, because everything you need to know is compiled into one, easy to read, book. I cannot recommend it enough it has made my life so much easier.
Grab Building a Framework: The Ultimate Blogging Handbook by Abby Lawson Below:
Well, there you have it! I hope your blogging journey is as amazing and rewarding as mine as been so far. If you have any questions about anything I talked about today please email me and I would be more than happy to help you out!
Once you get started, I also suggest you take a peek at my post: 8 Must Haves for New Bloggers.