Do you want to start a blog but you don't know where or how to get started? I was in that same place a few years ago, and I'm going to share the step-by-step way for you to start a blog in less than an hour!
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Maybe like me you're a little scared and worried that it would be too hard or too expensive. Guess what; it's not! I'm going to share the step-by-step way that you can start a blog, and I promise it won't be too hard!
Before I had my blog, I followed Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, and her fantastic blog. At the time, she was a mom who liked to cook and take photos. She wasn't famous or on the Food Network yet. What changed that? Her blog. She shared her passion for cooking, her family, and photography – who knew this would become a product line in Walmart? And she writes wonderful cookbooks too! It didn't happen overnight, and it was a lot of hard work, but it happened because she decided to start a blog.
Another person I'm sure you know was discovered because she was writing about her family and design on her blog. Her name is Joanna, and her original blog was The Magnolia Mom. [Note: All her posts are gone on her blog site.] You, of course, know Joanna Gaines from her HGTV show Fixer Upper. I'm such a massive fan of Fixer Upper. Are you? Back in 2011, she was a mom writing on a blog when HGTV found it and contacted her. Can you imagine?
Here's a great interview with Joanna on Gabrielle Blair's Design Mom blog from 2012 about her beautiful home. Joanna's design philosophy in 2012 was: “My philosophy is to embrace where you are, and the season you are in. If you have children, create child-proof, inspiring spaces where they will thrive. It took this recent move to help me realize that I have to be intentional with whatever space I am given. Creating an environment of fun, creativity, and order does not just come naturally. I had to work at it and become a student of my children. I had to get into their minds and figure out what they loved and what inspired them. I had to let go of some of the things I love and my expectations of what a pretty home should be.”
These two women created entire careers [honestly, online empires] from their passions on their blogs. While I can't promise you fame, fortune, and a network TV show, you can get started and design your beautiful online spot to share your ideas and photos or start an online business with an Etsy shop. Your creativity is the limit to your blog – it's endless.
For me, I was worried that it was too late to start a blog or that no one would read it. This was in 2011, and now there are even more blogs, but that doesn't mean yours won't be popular. Mine started as a little blog hosted on WordPress. Here's a screencap from my blog back in the day.
My blog grew from a little personal blog to being my online website where people come to learn about how to use social media, find information about hiring me to speak at an event, and it's even won awards! Twice my blog has been voted as Best Social Media Blog by Social Media Examiner.
I started off with a straightforward blog theme that was a free template. One mistake I made was not creating a self-hosted blog from the start. With a self-hosted blog, you own your digital website and pay for the web hosting. It's honestly not as confusing as it seems to get started, and you have more control over what you can do on your website. I quickly found that WordPress websites work best with plugins and tools you add to customize your site.
It's free with a WordPress.org-hosted website, but they own it, and you can't customize it. You'll want to design your website to suit your theme and topic and make it your own.
Before we get started on the fine details, you'll need to know what you want your blog to be about and the name. I chose Peg Fitzpatrick for my main blog because I'm a social media professional and wanted people to find me by name. It was an excellent choice I made from the start. You can use your name if you're writing a professional blog to build a personal brand or choose a name like The Pioneer Woman or Joanna chose The Magnolia Mom. You can see years later that these names helped make their personality and shaped their world.
Here are a few questions to think about:
- Do I want to use your name for your blog?
- What type of content do you want to share? Cooking? Design? Lifestyle?
- Is it easy to spell and remember?
- How will you feel introducing yourself to someone with this name?
I'm going to walk you through the steps of starting a new blog, and I'm going to pick a new domain to show all the steps.
How to Start a Blog
Let's get into the step-by-step part of starting a blog!
You can choose the plan that looks best for you. I will select the Pro plan because it includes the SSL certification. An SSL Certificate creates secure communication between the client and server.
Next, I will get my domain name to create the website address online. You want to choose something that fits your brand, is easy to spell, and remember.
Finding a domain name that isn't taken already might take a few tries.
For my demo website, I'm starting a blog called CreativeInspiration.Club, and I will use this as a lifestyle blog example.
You can go to the next step once you've set the domain name. You'll be adding WordPress to your blog. WordPress is the software that your blog will use to run. There are thousands of plugins, widgets, and themes; WordPress is limited only by your imagination.
With a self-hosted blog on WordPress, you can change the theme, which updates the design of your blog.
To start, you can find a free WordPress theme. You'll want to ensure it's mobile responsive so people can see everything correctly on their smartphones or devices. You can find a wide variety of WordPress themes on Creative Market. They're affordable, too, starting at $8 and up.
I liked one of the mobile responsive themes on Creative Market called Vinyl, so I'm going to purchase that and use it on this website. When you buy a WordPress theme, you'll receive a .ZIP file to be added to your website.
After you hit “next step,” you can add your theme by choosing a default theme or adding one you see on Creative Market that you love. I'm adding the Vinyl theme that I purchased.
Find the Appearance tab on the left and tap that to add your theme.
Once you upload your theme, the real fun begins! You can preview your new website and then customize to your heart's content. This is the backend while I'm still on WordPress.
And here's what it looks like immediately without any other steps other than what I showed you! And this took less than an hour to do. You can see what it looks like now here: Creative Inspiration Club.
You can do this too! Get started here.
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