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 indeed a lot of hard work, but it happened because she decided to start a blog.
Another person that I'm sure you know was discovered because she was writing on her blog about her family and design. Her name is Joanna, and her original blog was called 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 on Gabrielle Blair's Design Mom blog from 2012 with Joanna about her beautiful home. This was Joanna's design philosophy in 2012, “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 choose to let go of some of the things I love as well as 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 that yours won't be popular. Mine started off as a little blog hosted on WordPress. Wait, here's a screen cap 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 truly own your digital website, and you 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 which are tools that you add to customize your site. For example, my social sharing buttons are a WordPress plugin called Social Warfare, and I can choose the style and customize the color as I wish.
With a WordPress.org hosted website, it's free, 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. I highly recommend a self-hosted website on Bluehost.
Before we get started on the fine details, you'll need to have an idea what you want your blog to be about and what the name will be. I choose my name, Peg Fitzpatrick, for my main blog because I'm a social media professional and I 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 the personality and shaped their world.
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 if you're 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!
First click here to get special pricing for your hosting.
You can choose the plan that looks best for you. I'm going to select the Pro plan because it has the SSL certification included. An SSL Certificate is responsible for creating secure communication between client and server. Bluehost provides a free shared SSL Certificate available to all accounts residing on a shared IP address.
Next, I'm going to get my domain name which will create the website address online. You want to choose something that fits your brand, is easy to spell, and remember.
It might take a few tries to find a domain name that isn't taken already. When Guy Kawasaki and I were looking for a domain name for our book The Art of Social Media, we ended up choosing Artof.Social because it was the closest to our book name.
For my demo website, I'm starting a blog called CreativeInspiration.Club and I'm going to use this as a lifestyle blog example.
Once you've got the domain name set, you can go to the next step. You'll be adding WordPress to your blog. WordPress is the software that your blog will use to run. There are thousands of plugins and 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 make sure that 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 that will be added to your website.
After you hit “next step,” you can add your theme by choosing a default theme, find one in BlueHost, or add one that 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 totally do this too! Get started here.
Some books you might enjoy about blogging:
Blog Inc., Blogging for Passion, Profit, and to Build Community by Joy Cho
ProBlogger: Secrets to Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income by Darren Rowse
Pin this infographic to help others start a blog too!