So you’ve heard about this whole blogging thing and you think you want in. There are tons of resources on starting a blog but you just aren’t sure where to start. It’s really easy to do, you just have be willing to learn as you go. Here are my top recommendations for what do to when you want to start a blog from scratch.
1. Evaluate Your “Flaky” Factor
Let’s be honest people- many of us with entrepreneurial spirits have a tendency to jump from idea to idea simply because we get bored or one idea doesn’t work out. If you are going to make blogging into a business, it takes consistency, commitment and patience.
Say it with me, “consistency, commitment and patience.” If you don’t think you can do those three things, find something else to do. On the other hand if you can handle that, read on.
2. Decide if You Want to Jump In or Start in the Kiddie Pool
When you start a blog there are two ways to go about it.
1- Jump In The Deep End
Set up a hosting service like Bluehost, get a domain name, use a website creation tool like WordPress.org and get going. Bluehost starts at around $3.95 per month, you can pick your .com domain name and start creating your website using WordPress.org right from the Bluehost dashboard. It’s only about the price of a fancy coffee each month to host your own site!
So what’s the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com? It’s sort of like a house. Wordpress.org means you are essentially buying a piece of land that you own and building your house on it. Wordpress.com means you are essentially living rent free on someone else’s land and if they decide to let’s say evict you, go out of business or shut down the free property- there goes all your hard work. So, it’s easier to fork out the few bucks a month in the beginning than to have to move everything or run the risk of loosing everything on a free blogging site like WordPress.com or Blogger if you plan to make your site a business now or in the future.
2- Start in the Kiddie Pool
When I decided to try blogging, I was a super flaky person and I knew it. So I made a deal with my husband that I would start with a free Blogger account and once I wrote 30 posts I would switch to a self hosted account. This insured that we didn’t waste any money on another one of my “brilliant” ideas.
30 posts later, we switched it all over. It was kind of a pain because I used Blogger and we had to follow a bunch of tutorials so knowing what I know now I would just start with a cheap self-hosted account and move on from there. I use Bluehost and it starts around $3.95 per month. That’s cheaper than a latte.
To get started for free, I would probably go with WordPress.com if I did it all over again.
When you get ready to move your free account to a self hosted account, WordPress has step by step instructions on their support site here.
3. Pick A Domain Name
Can I be frank here? When you are thinking up your domain name for your blog try to think ahead. Run the name by a few people you know and trust and see what they say.
When I started my first blog I called it Little Mommy Secrets and I didn’t run it by anyone. I thought it was cute! But anytime I tried to tell someone else my blog name I felt embarrassed. Something wasn’t sitting right. Then I realized it was that my site name sounded more like an “adult” website (if you know what I mean) and I certainly wasn’t going for that!
So after a little pow wow with some good friends, we came up with Thrifty Little Mom and that’s the name it is today. Pick a domain name that represents you, what you are writing about and that is easy to remember/spell. You can check your domain name availability from my affiliate widget for Bluehost, right from my blog. Simply type in the name you think you want and see if it’s free to use or if someone has already purchased it.
If you are using a Free website building service you’ll need to check the availability of your domain name on those sites and they typically add a .blogspot.com or a .wordpress.com to the end of your name. In some cases you can pay a fee every year to get rid of the .wordpress.com and just have a .com. Read more about that on the WordPress.com site.
4. Design It
With free website builder tools like Blogger or WordPress.com you get lots of fun website design options and you don’t need to know coding to have something that looks nice.
If you are using WordPress.org you’ll need to search for a template that has the features you are looking for and then activate it. Once you activate you can take some time and explore all the options and do lots of fun customization. You don’t really need to know any coding for these themes. It’s really simple and just requires that you spend a few hours playing around with the design and before you know it, you’ve got a site up and ready to go.
5. Start Writing
No matter what website creation tool you use, creating a blog post is as simple as using a word processing program. You just click “Add New”, create a title and start typing. Most programs allow you to simply click a button to upload images straight from your computer. Blogging has a come a really long way. There are lots of computer science guys out there doing the hard work, so you don’t have to. When you’re ready, just hit publish.
You’ve officially started a blog.
I really hope this post has provided you with simple insight on how to start a blog from scratch in just a few steps and brought a little clarity to the process.
What website creation tool (example WordPress.org, WordPress.com, Blogger) are you using or planning to use and why?