I’ve made the decision to start a blog many times. I started my first blog back in 2001 on LiveJournal.com. Isn’t that crazy? I’ve had Blogspot blogs (still do), WordPress blogs, and obscure blogs in places no one cares about.
The point that I want to get across is: I have a ton of blog experience, I want to help you start a blog, and I know you can build a great one!
LET’S DO THIS!!!
Step 1. Decide what your blog will be about.
Let’s cut to the chase…I’m not going to waste your time on why you should start a blog and a bunch of other mumbo gumbo. Obviously, if you clicked on “Start a blog”, that’s what you want to do!
What are you going to blog about? I blog about making money online here and then I blog about writing over at ProWebWriter.com.
You can blog about anything under the sun. Some people blog about being parents, others blog about travel and adventure.
Whatever you decide to blog about, it should be your passion even if a million other people are blogging about the same thing.
This is a topic you are going to be spending a crazy amount of time with, so you should LOVE it.
Got it? Let’s put this thing in motion.
Step 2. Buy a domain.
Your domain is just that, your domain online. It’s the dot com your blog will call home.
I was horrible at choosing domains when I first started out. My first website was WeblogBlender.com. That was followed by a few humdingers which obviously didn’t get very far.
I suggest you sit down and brainstorm this. Make a list, and have at least three when you get ready to buy because your first choice may not even be available.
I also recommend that you stick to dot com. It’s the most professional in my humble opinion.
A few more tips:
- Make it easy to type
- Short, but I will tell you most domains that are 6 letters or less are already taken
- Consider using keywords. If you’re going for a travel blog, than “travel” is a keyword
- Avoid hyphens, numbers, and stop words like the, and, of, etc.
I highly recommend buying your domain at Namecheap.com. I use them for all of my domains, and they just make it super easy.
Create a free account, and run the domain ideas you brainstormed through their search feature. Once you find the domain you want that is available, buy it. It will only set you back about 11 bucks, give or take, for a dot com. That corner of the web is yours for a full year. Then you renew for around the same price.
Step 3. Secure hosting.
You need a place to store your website files, and that’s what hosting is. Sounds expensive, huh? Don’t worry it’s not. Running a blog is actually very affordable.
StackingBenjis.com currently costs me about $130 per year. Not bad, eh?
As is tradition, I will recommend my host. I don’t use a well-known host like GoDaddy or BlueHost. I use a host I found on a webmaster forum back in 2010 when I started ProWebWriter.
My host is Hetrixbyte.com where you will find some great options that I’m confident will fit your budget.
I love Hetrixbyte because:
- No lag
- Responsive support
- All the big boy promises without the price
I have clients on other bigger hosts, and their sites are slow. I don’t have that with Hetrixbyte.
Step 4. Connect your domain to your hosting.
This can sound a little complicated, but it’s as simple as plugging in the DNS information of your webhost into Namecheap.com under your domain.
For example, let’s say we wanted to do this for StackingBenjis.com.
Log into Namecheap, and navigate to your Dashboard.
Click Domain List in the left navigation.
Find your domain in the list and click the Manage button to the right. The domain you want to work with will open.
Click onto the Advanced DNS tab.
Click + Nameserver. A small window will pop open. Add in the Nameservers provided by your hosting company. If you have more than one, repeat the process.
Stuck? Here’s the article directly from Namecheap to help you out. Don’t hesitate to contact support. They are waiting to help you.
NOTE: It could take up to 48 hours for your domain to propagate so that it works correctly with your hosting, but it usually only takes a few minutes in my experience. Just be prepared.
Step 5. Install WordPress.
Now, this is actually the easy part because it only takes a few clicks to get it done. I’m going to walk you through using my host, but pretty much every cPanel host is the same.
Log into your hosting account using the information provided by your host. Usually, this is something like: yourdomain.com/cpanel
cPanel will load in your browser. Under the Software heading, select Softaculous Apps Installer.
NOTE: Your host may use a different app installer like Fantastico. If you have trouble finding either of these, contact support at your host.
Inside Softaculous, you may see WordPress right away. If not, use the left navigation to find it by clicking Blogs>WordPress.
The WordPress installer will open. Click the blue Install Now button.
Run through the prompts and fill in the information as follows:
- Choose Protocol – http://
- Choose Domain – choose your domain
- In Directory – leave blank, this will install WordPress on yourdomain.com instead of a subdomain like yourdomain.com/blog/
- Site Name – Usually your domain. You can change this later in WordPress Settings
- Site Description – Optional. Again, you can change this later
- Enable Multisite (WPMU) – Do not check
- Admin Username – the username you want to use to log into WordPress
- Admin Password – the password you want to use to log into WordPress
- Admin Email – your email address
Click Install, and that’s it. Wait for the confirmation as the page reloads. You should also receive an email if you included your email address in the Admin Email field.
Navigate to yourdomain.com, and you should see “Hello World”. That is your new blog!
To log in to your new WordPress Dashboard and have a look around, navigate to: yourdomain.com/wp-admin/
Well, there’s still a lot to do. You’ll want to customize the look of your blog with a theme, add some pages, and start posting.
I plan to do an in-depth video series on WordPress soon, but in the meantime, here’s what I’ve got for now: http://prowebwriter.com/wordpress-how-tos/
Scroll down through all of the topics and you’ll see the basic Dashboard is pretty well covered.
Here are a few more topics:
Need more help? Contact me! I’d be honored to find the answers you need.