Hey friends! A lot of people want to blog, and just don’t know how to start.
Well here’s how I started my blog- follow these steps for a super easy way to start your blog (and a professional one at that)!
Here are the methods used by a ton of pro-bloggers out there:
1. Get web hosting
What does that even mean? It basically means that you pay someone to store your website on a computer connected to the internet that is on 24/7, 365. If you hosted your website on your home PC, every time you turned off your computer, no one could get on your website! Pretty crazy, right? The inner workings of the internet. Amazing.
When I first started blogging, I used BlueHost to host my website, and I still use it to host other things.
Because my traffic has increased and I have photos with large file sizes, I now use WP Engine to host jasminealley.com.
Its starter package of $30/month is more expensive than Bluehost’s starter package.
But WP Engine’s customer service is excellent and their hosting is optimized for WordPress websites.
Plus, if you use my link, you’ll receive three months of web hosting for free!
That said, if $30/month is outside of your price range, Bluehost is still a great option.
It’s inexpensive, easy to use, and if you use my link to buy it (here!) you can get 50% off for a year (disclosure: both my bluehost and WP Engine links are affiliate links, which means I receive compensation if you make a purchase using either of these links- but I wouldn’t advertise it if I didn’t use them myself!! They are both excellent web hosts! Plus, you get a discount.). It’s a monthly subscription of $7.99 that you can get for $3.95 with this link. My link will take you to this screen:
- Click “Get Started Now”
- Choose whichever plan you’d like (the basic plan is just fine if you’re starting off- you can upgrade at any point)
- Choose your domain.
2. Get your domain (website URL)
You can get your domain through BlueHost, which is the easiest thing to do if you are planning on using BlueHost for web hosting.
- Enter in the domain name that you want and hit “next” to see if it is available.
- If it has already been taken, you will see an error message letting you know it is unavailable.
- You’ll need to pay at this point
- And create your login password
3. Choose your theme
What’s a theme? Its the overall layout of your site.
WordPress comes with some default themes that you can use, but there are SO MANY themes out there! It’s pretty easy to google WordPress themes to then find one that you like.
You can get free themes, but paid themes often have more features, and come with better customer support.
For example, my site randomly had an issue where on mobile devices my menu wasn’t opening. The creator of my theme, AJ, almost immediately responded to my request for help, and fixed the issue on the SAME DAY, even though it was Saturday!! Talk about amazing tech support!
And you can easily switch between most themes.
4. Your BlueHost screen
Now you’ll see your BlueHost screen welcoming you to WordPress:
- Here you can start building your website through WordPress
- Use the tools on the left hand side to navigate through WordPress & BlueHost
- In the BlueHost section, you can go ahead and launch your new site when you’re ready!
5. WordPress.org vs WordPress.com
If you followed the steps above, you have a wordpress.org blog.
Though wordpress.org and wordpress.com are both made by WordPress (if you couldn’t tell!), there are major differences between the two!
WordPress.com is much more limited. While your blog will be entirely free, your URL will always have wordpress in the name (i.e. jasminealley.wordpress.com). WordPress.com is simply not nearly as professional and doesn’t allow for customization.
Another pro is that you can create a “child-theme” which derives key functionality from the parent theme, which means that even when your parent theme updates, the customization you have done won’t be affected. (This can be confusing… see Step 8 for more info).
Basically every pro-blogger out there that uses WordPress uses wordpress.org.
6. Other website & blog making sites
There are a lot of website developing tools out there. I actually started with Wix.com, because I didn’t know any better. I had my whole site ready to launch, when my husband informed me that WordPress is where it’s at.
It is the platform of choice for nearly every professional website out there (including big sites like Huffingtonpost.com)
7. Edit your theme
Now for the fun part! You can easily customize your theme by changing fonts, colors, positioning, widgets, etc. as your theme allows. This part is what makes your website truly your website! This screenshot was from my old blog format- it was really easy to switch to my current format. Within WordPress your content basically exists as text and photos that get imported into your blog theme.
- If you look at the previous image, you can see on the left hand side bar where you can click “Appearance.” From there, you’ll hit “Customize.”
- That will take you to this screen (above). Using the different sections in the left hand side bar, you can make all sorts of changes!
- Note that to log into your site, the easiest thing to do is access it using your URL with “/wp-admin” attached to the end of it.
- You’ll be prompted to log in to WordPress, and voila! You’re ready to make all sorts of changes.
Once you’re done with these steps, it’s time to add posts and go live! You’re now free to blog away!
8. Create a child theme
Back to the concept of child-themes. I am currently using a child-theme that I customized from my parent theme.
This is the step you want to take once you’ve established your blog, as it keeps your personalized theme safe from updates that could alter it. Read here for more information on child themes, but don’t feel like you need to do this immediately.
It’s definitely something you’re going to want to do a bit further down the road, though (and definitely before you run updates on your theme)!
And you can always access your BlueHost account. It’ll look like this:
Don’t stress and have fun. Easier said than done, but it’s true. Blogging should be fun, not a chore! So forget about the nitty gritty and comment any questions below! I’d be happy to help you work out any kinks you’re having!