Whether you have a passion you want to share, simply love to write, or want a way to document your travels, lifestyle or business related events. Maybe you’re just starting out looking for a way to earn an income online? Creating a blog and blogging could be exactly what you are looking for. It could simply be used as a virtual dairy or the hub of your online ventures.
Setting up a Blog is Easier than you Think..
Over the years blogs have started popping up everywhere. You no longer need to be a coder or prolific writer to create and maintain a good looking blog, smooth running blog. Still, I’m here saying this because I have been through the process of setting one up. There are still people who have no idea where to start so I am here to show you how.
Trust me if I can do it, anyone can.
I personally use WordPress because of its simplicity. Also the availability of training you can find on YouTube or Google if you have any technical difficulties is so handy. They have definitely helped me a few times. The majority of bloggers use WordPress including the worlds top ranked blogging professionals.
wordpress.com or wordpress.org?
Now do not get confused:
- Use wordpress.com if you’re just wanting a blog to share with your family and friends the domain name will look something like ‘example.wordpress.com’.
- Use wordpress.org if you desire to have a blog that gives you flexibility, customisation abilities and looking to earn from in the future. My training will be using wordpress.org.
Step 1: Choosing your Brand/Domain name
Before you begin the process of creating your blog, you need to think of a brand name. This ideally should represent you as a person, the image you are going to portray or simply just the main theme of the blog. To me this is one of the most important steps in setting up your blog.
Your brand/domain name will be the first point of connection with your audience, a glimpse at this and someone should be able to have an instant insight into your blog.
Make sure you are smart about it, think long term. You do not want to ‘box’ yourself in for future ventures.
I think we all made that email address in high school that we wouldn’t want to put on our resume. Its easy to make a new email address but changing a domain name can be a costly and unnecessary procedure.
Step 2: Set Up your Hosting and your Domain
Once you have chosen your domain name, the next step is to find a hosting partner.
Think of hosting (in this case Bluehost) as a computer where you can install WordPress, a data base to ‘host’ your website. You don’t need to install it on your own computer.
After a lot of research, I recommend and personally use Bluehost as a hosting provider because:
- Large and widely used/known
- 24/7 helpful customer service
- Affordable, you here can get hosting + a free domain from $3.95/month
- IT’S EASY TO USE
- One click install for WordPress
So here we go, follow me as I take you through the steps of setting up a blog through Bluehost.
a) Choose your plan
b) Select Your Domain
c) Account Information & Packages
Step 3: Installing WordPress
Now that you have logged into Bluehost, you will be directed to your personal back office or commonly know as the C-Panel. Bluehost has made it extremely easy to install WordPress with a simple ‘one click’ install process.
a) WordPress Install
b) When it asks, Select the Domain you Chose
c) Show Advance Options & Install
Step 4: Log Into WordPress
Your login page can be found by adding /wp-admin to the end of your blog domain.
Step 5: Themes
Once you are you have set up your Bluehost and WordPress accounts, it is now time to choose a theme.
A theme is basically the layout of your website. There are thousands to choose from, they can be found on your dashboard. The most common place to download would be the MOJO market place. Again choose wisely as they are sometimes costly, once installed either by yourself or by a professional (dependent on the theme) you will be able to start customizing the colors and layout of your content.
Step 6: Plugins
Plugins allow you to be more personable and creative with your site and its design. Here are a few of the plugins I use on my site and ones I recommend for you to install on your blog:
- Akismet: Protects your blog from spam. Trust me, you will need this!
- Contact Form 7: So readers can easily contact you via your site – The form is connected to your email account.
- Digg Digg: Floating social media buttons on the side of the page. It makes it easy for your readers to share and like your content on social media.
- Dynamic Widgets: So you can choose which pages your widgets will appear.
- Facebook All: Perfect if you have a Facebook fanpage. It shows your page as a widget and people can easily view and like your page and posts while still on your blog.
- Google Analytics Dashboard for WP: View your site analytics easily when in your dashboard. You can see the amount of visitors you have, where they come from, how long they stay etc.
- Google XML Sitemaps: Helps search engines rank your blog better.
- Image Banner Widget: Add banners and images to the sidebars of your site
- Instagram Feed: To have your Instagram as a widget. Readers can see your Instagram photos and easily follow you without having to leave your website.
- Related Posts by Zemanta: Helps with readers’ engagement by including various related posts and the end of a post.
- Sumo Me: For growing your email list (more about that in step 7).
- WP Canvas- Widgets: More options for widgets including an ‘About Me’ section.
- WPtouch Mobile Plugin: For a mobile friendly version of your site.
Step 7: Build Your Following and Email List
Now that you have a blog set up with your brand name its time to create some social media accounts to increase your audience and overall engagement. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube are among the most common.
Share your content and drive the traffic from each platform to another platform.
Building Your Email List
Building your email list is a great way to keep connected with your audience. You can keep them up to date with your latest travels, give them exclusive content and freebies here and there.
It is also key to creating income from your blog.
The best program that I have come across to build and keep in contact with that list is Get Response. Here you can schedule thousands of emails to send out at specific times all on auto pilot, manage your contacts and even create forms for landing pages and capture pages.