This tutorial contains an affiliate link for Bluehost, the hosting service we used to start our first websites.
Now that you’ve decided you want to start a blog, let's walk through the eight steps to getting your own blog up and running.
What do you want your blog to be about? There is a blog for almost every single topic on the internet. The more niche of a subject, the higher likelihood that you can develop a following for your blog (if that’s your goal).
For example, our blog is all about working and traveling America in an RV. While there are a lot of people who aspire to travel the country in an RV, there are fewer people who want to work while on the road. We write blog content and record podcasts specifically for people who want to create an income while they travel.
So we went from the wide niche of travel, scaled down to RV travel, scaled down to RV travel while running a business. The smaller and more specific the topic of your website, the easier it will be for people to find and follow you.
A few pieces of advice before picking your niche:
What's a domain?
Your domain or URL is your website's address. i.e. www.heathandalyssa.com
When Heath and I were dating, he had more than FIVE blogs. theimportantblog, wordswithheath, happiness4sale, and plenty of others that had all been started and abandoned.
Now, we've combined our efforts into HeathandAlyssa.com. It's simple, easy to remember (though not easy to spell!), and straight to the point. You instantly know this is a website by Heath and Alyssa.
Now that you know what subject you’re going to be blogging about, you need to decide on a name for your blog.
The name of your blog is a BIG deal! And no pressure, but it is NOT easy to change and migrate your site to a new URL after you get started. We went through this headache when we combined our separate HeathPadgett.com and AlyssaPadgett.com websites into just HeathandAlyssa. Starting with a good domain will save you future headaches!
We really struggled to decide on HeathandAlyssa.com. Most RV bloggers use some kind of cutesy travel name, but we knew that we wanted to keep blogging after our stint in the RV life. This was the reason we chose our name as our blog. This way, if we decide to give up the RV life at some point, we can continue blogging on our site without needing to switch.
Bonus: Now we will for sure stay married forever because divorcing our two websites would be a nightmare. Plus we love each other.
If possible, pick a domain name that is relevant to your subject. Here are a couple blogs I follow and whose names I really like. It’s witty and descriptive of who they are and what their blog is about.
Here’s a few tips on choosing a domain name:
We chose our names because our goals with blogging involve publishing books and public speaking. If you plan on publishing books especially, you may consider choosing your name (or pen name) as your domain.
Where to buy domains:
After buying your domain, you have to buy hosting through a provider, such as Bluehost. We’ve used Bluehost to set up our blogs. You can also register your domain directly through Bluehost, which makes life a lot easier.
What is hosting?
For every website you go to, there is a hosting provider that allows that website to be online. Somewhere, there is a warehouse of physical "servers" that power various websites. In order to launch any website, you need to "host" it on a server. I like to think of hosting fees to be like the property taxes you pay to own your property space online.
Bluehost is a trusted company myself and many others have used for hosting.
This can be the most confusing part of setting up of blog, so here's some screenshots to walk you through the process!
First, go to Bluehost.com and click “Get Started”
Then, you will select your plan.
Basic should be good enough to get you started. You can always upgrade later if you need to! However, the “plus” plan will give you quite a bit more storage on your site if you’re planning on uploading a lot of photos and videos.
Next (if you haven’t already done so), you’ll want to register domain. (Note: When you sign up for Bluehost hosting you’ll receive a free domain with your hosting plan).
While on the check out page you can select any extras you’d like to include with your hosting. I typically only include the domain privacy protection so as to keep my information private, which is only $.99/month.
You can skip to step 5 if you set up your domain through Bluehost.
If you bought your domain through a site like Godaddy, you’ll need to switch your DNS servers to point over at Bluehost. Here’s how to do that.
Next, you’ll need to add the domain you bought through Godaddy as an add-on domain within your Bluehost Account. To do this you’ll log into your Bluehost Account, click on “Domains” and then click “Assign”.
Now that you’ve bought your domain and hosting, you can get to the fun stuff… launching a WordPress site! WordPress is by far the most popular blogging and content management system in the world. I’ve used it on every site I’ve ever built and it makes it super easy to launch your site.
Now hold onto your hats, because there are a lot of steps here! But don’t worry, Bluehost makes this very, very easy for you!
Woohoo! You’ve got a WordPress site!
It’s time to get started on building your site!
First login to your WordPress account. It will automatically take you to your “Dashboard” or the back-end of your website. Only you will ever see this. Here you’ll see a left-hand menu guiding you to where you can add posts, pages, media, plugins, etc.
Now, you’ll want to install a theme to get up and running on your site.
Once you’re inside your WordPress account, you can go to Appearance (you should see it on that left-hand menu) and click on Themes to install your first WordPress theme. WordPress comes with many free themes out of the box, but you can also Google search “free WordPress blog themes” and find a plethora of themes to choose from.
Before you get too lost in the theme wormhole, let’s get content on your website! Go to Posts > Add New to start your first blog. Your page should look something like this:
Go ahead and write your first blog to test everything out. A good first topic is an introduction to the blog explaining why you’re starting it and what you plan on blogging about. This would also be a great place to add a call to action for people to join your email list to receive your blogs every time you post. I'll talk more about setting up your email list in the next lesson.
After you hit publish on your first post, let’s see how your blog looks! There will be a “View Post” button at the top of your page after you hit publish.
If you haven’t added a theme yet, your site will look very basic. But hey, it’s up, it’s live, and you already have one post! That’s awesome!
If you struggle to learn Wordpress starting out, don't worry! There is a learning curve, but it's easy to figure it out! You can use Youtube tutorials or sites like Lynda.com to find answers to any questions you may have on how to use Wordpress.
I’ve learned that with blogging, the hardest part is consistently posting content for your readers. It’s not difficult to start a blog or pick a subject to talk about. You can work through the above tutorial in an hour! It is difficult to write new posts every day or every week, especially when you have little to no readership. But don’t get discouraged, this is all part of the process! Every blogger starts at zero.
Use this tutorial to start your first blog!
Do you have any questions about setting up your blog or are you getting stuck? Drop a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer all of them.
Or if you used this tutorial to create your first blog, drop a link to your URL in the comments so we can check it out! 🙂