Updated March 21, 2019
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.
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!
Before we get into the technical details of starting a blog, let’s talk about what you need to be a blogger and answer some frequently asked questions.
Ready to get started? Skip to the step-by-step instructions to get your blog online.
What do you need to start a blog?
Not really sure what’s involved with starting a blog? Wondering what you need to start?
Look no further. This post details all the things you need to start a money making blog. First we’ll talk about the top four things, followed by other tangible and intangible things you need to start blogging.
note: as far as needs go, we are talking about money making blogs here. What you need for a hobby blog will be a bit different. If you’re serious about earning a profit from blogging then you need these four essentials.
Now that we have that out of the way,
What are the four most important things you need to start a blog?
- An idea or message
- An audience
- A platform
- A way to connect
Let’s break those four areas down so that you understand what your’e getting yourself into when starting a blog. When you start with these four core elements, you’ll be set up for success.
The first thing you need to be able to start a blog is an idea. A message you want to share with the world.
You need a solid idea for your blog’s content and topics.
Your idea is what you will write and talk about. It is what people will know you for.
While some people are successful just blogging about anything or life in general, the majority of successful bloggers have a more focused idea.
In the blogging world this is often referred to as a niche.
What is the message you want to share?
One more thing to consider about your idea – will anyone be interested in it? Which brings us to the second thing you need to start a blog.
Read this post if you need a little more help deciding what to blog about.
An ideal audience
Having an idea is the first step, but the second is – will anyone care about your blog?
Who is your message for? Why should someone care about your ideas and thought? How will your idea help them?
Since you haven’t started blogging yet you get to be the person to decide who your audience is! When you have an audience in mind, it will be easier for you to write content around yoru idea.
As a blogger your blog is not about you. It’s about the people that come to your blog.
The content on your blog should enrich your audience’s life in some way. Whether that be to inspire/motivate, teach, entertain, or
This is your blog. Your website. Your digital home base. You place on the www.
There are a few things that make up your blogging platform: the place it is hosted, how it looks (theme), and the domain name.
There are many different blogging platforms, with the most popular being
- Self-hosted WordPress
There are other options than those three, but save yourself the hassle and just don’t even go there.
Self-hosted WordPress is my personal favorite because of it’s endless options, flexibility and highest potential. If you’re serious about this blogging thing, you’ll probably want to start there too.
With self-hosted WordPress you’ll have the most control and options. There’s no limitations on how you can monetize or set it up. No need to be intimidated or discouraged with setting up a blog. Starting a blog on WordPress is simple. (hint: click that link for a step by step tutorial)
What role does WordPress play in the bigger scheme of things?
WordPress is a content management system. It’s where you’ll log in to create and publish your blog posts. You’ll have a back end version and your readers will see your pretty blog.
The domain name frequently comes free with your hosting. Or you an purchase it separately.
The last part of your platform is how it looks.
We will go over setting up your platform in detail in the step-by-step instructions below!
A way to connect
The last thing you need is a way to connect your audience and your blog. You might be thinking social media.
That’s not where I’m going.
Social media is great socializing and chit chatting with your people. But it’s not always the best at getting people off that social site to your blog. We want them to go to your blog.
Email is the best way to get people to your blog.
After you get your platform set up, you’ll need to get set up with an email service provider. Two popular options in the blogging world are MailChimp or Convertkit.
These services allow you to collect email addresses on your website and then mass send emails through their management system.
Here’s a quick rundown of how it works:
- When people visit your blog, you’ll encourage them to sign up for your email list (frequently referred to as a newsletter).
- Once they are on your list you’ll email them regularly (ex: once a week or every other week) to remind them you exist and to check out your blog.
In 2019, email and blogging go hand in hand.
Let’s recap what you need to start a blog.
If you’re ready to start a money making blog you need: an idea or message to share with the world, an idea on who your blog is for, a platform to host you blog, and a way to connect your readers to your blog.
Ready to get started now?
The 3 basic steps to starting a blog
- Pick a name for your blog
- Set up your blogging platform
- Make your blog look god
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.
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. 🙂
1. Pick 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.
2. Set up your blogging platform
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.
You’ll then be prompted to log in. This will take a few minutes to get everything configured for you and then, presto! You’ll land in your new dashboard.
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.
3. Make your blog look good
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!