Updated December 29, 2017
Today is the day! The day you start a blog. A blog is an online place where you can share content that inspires, educates, or entertains an audience of your very own. Blogging can be a hobby, part time or full-time gig.
This post is going to show you how to set up a professional blog from the start. When you go live, no one is going to know you’re a newbie, because you’ll have a remarkable setup!
Disclosure: Some of the links below are my referral links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you make a purchase. I only recommend products I’ve used and trust. 🙂
4 basic steps to start a blog
- An idea for blog topics
- A name for your blog
- A place online. This includes buying a web host and installing WordPress
- A theme or template to make it look good.
Starting a blog is easy and probably one the most affordable personal businesses to start. And today I’m going to show you how. Whether you’re starting a blog to make money or as a fun hobby, you are going to have an amazing blog set up and ready for visitors.
Let’s get your blog started.
1. Decide on a topic for your blog.
A lot of bloggers start out blogging about everything. That’s not a bad route to start out with – until you discover what it is you really want to focus on. Deciding what to blog about was one of the hardest parts of starting a blog for me. I’ve tried my fair share of blog topics, and I now blog about what interests me and what I can teach the best. Read this post if you need a little more help deciding what to blog about.
2. Determine a name for your blog
The name for your blog will become your brand. It is how people will recognize you. It sets expectations and the mood for your blog. Jot down a few names that could work for your blog.
3. Set up your site
I use WordPress to create my blog/site. There are a lot blogging platforms but WordPress is the one I know and use. I find that it has the most flexibility and options. WordPress requires a host. For new bloggers, I recommend hosting your blog with BlueHost. They have affordable hosting for WordPress bloggers and make it super easy to install WordPress. Get up to a 40% discount when signing up for hosting by using the links on this page.
Head over there and let’s start setting up your new blog! <– Click this link in a new tab or window so you can follow along.
Select your hosting plan
The starter plan is usually sufficient hosting for new blogs. If your blog grows quickly (hopefully!) and you get mounds of traffic you can upgrade at any time. Of course, you could also start with the plus plan, if that is what you prefer.
Select a domain for your blog
The domain for your blog is what you will name your blog. You can either sign up for the free domain that is included in your hosting package or if you already own your domain name you can transfer it to BlueHost.
Continue on with setting up your site:
Fill in all of your information
This part is pretty self-explanatory. Make sure all of your information is accurate and then head on to the next step.
Go over the package information and fill out the billing section
As for the extras, it’s up to you to decide what you want to spend your money on. I love the security of the site backup because I am frequently tinkering (and breaking) my blog code. The backups save me all the time.
I don’t feel like the search engine jump start is necessary – especially since I’m going to show you how to submit your site to Google.
The domain privacy protection replaces all of your personal contact information with BlueHost’s contact information.
Confirm your account and set up a password.
If you used my links for Bluehost, then WordPress is going to be automatically set up for you. YESSS. Makes your life so much easier. First, you’ll need to set up a password for your account.
Login to your WordPress dashboard for the first time!
In the future, you can log in to your WordPress account, go to yourdomain.com/wp-admin and enter your username and password.
4. Upload a theme to your new WordPress Blog
There are a lot of things you can do next, but my favorite is to install a theme. A WordPress theme adds structures, functions, and visual displays to your WordPress Blog. The appearance is the first impression readers have of your blog. I know your mom always said, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” but I think we all have a hard time with that.
There are a lot of free themes for WordPress if you are not ready to spend money on premium options. To find a free theme that fits your needs and desires log into your WordPress dashboard and navigate to Appearance > Themes and start your search.
If it’s in your budget, I highly recommend purchasing a premium theme for your blog. I love and use Genesis themes because they are beautiful, responsive, HTLM 5 current, and SEO enhanced. If you need help choosing a theme, read my tips for picking out the ideal theme for your blog or, check out my top 10 favorite Genesis Child themes for bloggers.
How to Install a Premium Theme for WordPress
Once you have purchased your theme and downloaded the .zip file, it is time to upload it to your WordPress account. Head over to your WordPress dashboard at yourdomain.com/wp-admin On the left-hand side, navigate to Appearance > Themes > Add New
Next to Add Themes, click Upload Theme Click Choose File and then browse your computer to find the .ZIP file you downloaded when you purchased your theme and then click Install Now.
Once the upload is complete, hit activate and your theme is live. Follow your theme setup instructions to get everything looking the way you want it. Have fun with this part!
What should you do next with your new blog?
Your blog is all set up and ready for you, but there’s a lot more to get ready before you share it with anyone. I’d be happy to guide you through the process! Get my start a blog checklist in the box below.
Now that you’ve got your site started, make sure your blog is set up like a pro with the Start a blog Checklist and regular email tips to be a successful blogger!