Interested in becoming a blogger but have no idea where to start? I get it. I’ve been there. The beginning of so many good things can involve a lot of hard work. I’m here to hand over the blueprint of blogging. Here you’ll find a simple, step-by-step outline of how to get your blog setup from hosting to domain and on to the design. Follow these steps and by the end, you’ll have your own beautiful blog, with style and stories to share with the rest of the world.
#1. Think long and hard about why you are starting your blog. What’s your vision? Fashion? Food? Beauty? Lifestyle?
#2. Check out other blogs in your niche. Get a good feel of what’s already out there. Bloglovin‘ is a great website to help you discover new blogs.
#3. Think of a domain name. Make sure you pick something that is so totally you. Whether you go with your name, something clever, something basic, remember that your domain name will help you stand out from the crowd.
#4. Find a great host. This is very important. There’s free hosts available, such as Blogger, WordPress.com and Weebly, and while free blogging platforms may look tempting, in my opinion, paid hosting is so much better and offers so much more. If you decide to go with paid hosting, I recommend Stablehost. I’ve been with them for several years and am nothing but satisfied!
(Quick Tip: Visit stablehost.com and click on Web Hosting → Starter Package → Register New Domain → Check Out and you’re done!)
#5. Set up an email account for your blog. For example, my email is “hello[AT]ollieandkay[DOT]com” You can use whatever you want, but keep in mind that a lot of people are going to see this email address and will associate it with your character. An email like “firstname.lastname@example.org” doesn’t look very professional. You can do this via your cPanel account → Email Accounts.
#6. Login to your cPanel, scroll down to the softaculous app installer, and follow the easy steps to install WordPress. Once you’ve reached the point of accessing your WordPress dashboard, leave it alone.
#7. Write two “about me” paragraphs. One paragraph will be short and sweet and written in the third person. This will be seen everywhere on your website, for example, on your sidebar. The other paragraph you’ll write in the first person. Your readers will want to know who they are connecting with and who’s behind the blog. A good head-shot will add a very nice personal touch.
#8. Terms and Conditions. This is basically an online contract that will help deter people from stealing your content, as well as giving you leverage should someone decide to use your property without consent. Also, if you plan to use affiliate links or sponsors, you’ll want to disclose this as well. There’s many online resources to help you with this if you’ve never written one before.
#9. Choose your website design. There are many free templates included in your WordPress account. Keep in mind that these templates are very basic. I recommend browsing Etsy for some beautiful, custom made, WordPress themes. If you find yourself having trouble with setup and customization, many designers will set their theme up for you for a small fee.
#10. Design a logo, or have someone design one for you. Once again, I recommend Etsy if you decide to hire a designer.
#11. Create a subscription list. This is very important. Subscription lists help keep you engaged with your readers, and in turn, keeps them coming back. There’s many plugins available for a basic newsletter. MailChimp is free and easy to use.
#12. Create a blog menu. This will basically make your blog super simple to navigation. For example, my website has Home (the first page that readers see when they visit my site), about (remember that blurb I had you write earlier? Put that here with a nice self portrait), web design (this is basically a portfolio), contact (you’ll want to add your contact information and perhaps even a contact form to this page so your readers can get in touch with you if necessary) and finally terms of service.
#13. Make use of the sidebar. Common widgets include that short and sweet blurb I had you write about yourself, a search bar, subscription form, a list of your recent posts, archives or categories, and perhaps even a few photos from your Instagram account or social media icons.
#14. Install plugins. There are hundreds of great plugins you can install on your blog that will help in so many ways. I recommend making use of the following: Jetpack by WordPress, Genesis Enews Extended, Simple Social Icons, Instagram Feed and jQuery Pin It Button for Images.
#15. Get on Social Media! This can be time consuming so it’s best to develop a system for yourself to stay organized. I recommend using the following websites: Pinterest (the best traffic generating website!), Twitter (great for connecting and conversing with other bloggers out in the webosphere), Instagram and Facebook (so all of your readers can like your page and come back for more!)
And there you have it. A simple yet ultimate guide to starting your own WordPress blog from scratch. I hope this list helps you. Feel free to leave me a comment letting me know how you did and leave your blog links for me to check out!