This is the an age old question I get SO often… and honestly I’m so happy to answer every time.
I think everyone should follow their dreams and their passion, so if that’s blogging then stay a while. Let me help you out! But hey… before we get started, you’re going to need a couple things.
- An extra 30 minutes of your time to get everything set up
- Basic computer knowledge (you’re navigating that computer right now… that’s all you need!)
- A credit card. Ooo kill joy. But listen, starting a blog is an investment but it’s SO worth it in the end, I promise
Now that we’ve got out bases covered, let’s do this thing!
Step 1 – Self Hosting
To start earning money through Google Adsense, install plugins, change your themes, etc. you’ve got to be self hosted. Meaning, you need to first of all register for a WordPress.org account. After that… be prepared to look at endless lists of hosting services. Trust me… I had to wade through all of them to find the best fit for me.
And that turned out to be HostGator! I decided to go with them because they have incredible customer service, 24/7 online AND phone support (yes… I had to call phone support twice, oops) and they also have unlimited bandwidth. And that’s a BIG plus, because the only time my website was ever down was when I was transferring it, no unplanned outages for me!
So the first thing you’re going to do is head on over to the HostGator website. This is your first step to bringing your vision to life! You should find a button that says “Get Started” and it will take you to the plans. Now, I know there’s tons of different plans… but for me, and my blog, I’ve never had to go above the basic plan. If that sounds like you, Hatchling is probably the best way to go!
Step Two – Register Your Domain
Chances are you’ve probably thought of a sweet name for you blog, congrats friends! Now we’re going to register it so you can own your own little corner of the Internet. You can do this straight through HostGator as you’re paying for use of the single domain.
Don’t Have A Brand Name Picked Out?
If you haven’t decided fully on your brand name I would either..
- Wait until you’ve locked down your brand name
- Use your first and last name
That way you’re not stuck with something you absolutely hate. Remember that we’re building a blog around a brand and not the other way around. Make sure the name and the brand resonate with you and who you are!
Step Two A – Complete The Process
After you’ve got your woman registered then you’re good to go. Just complete the rest of the promoted steps! When it comes to the length of the plan I personally recommend doing it for as long as possible. The first time I decided the self host I only chose a year and it was SO expensive for me to upgrade after that. The introductory rates are always the best, so take advantage of them!
On the other hand, if you’re still hesitant if blogging is truly for you – stick to the 1 year option! You might have to upgrade in the end… but if after the one year is done and you’re not a fan anymore, then you don’t have four more years to ride it out.
PS – There’s tons of Add-Ons on Hostgator. I personally haven’t bought any of them, but it’s entirely up to you!
Step Three – Choose Your Theme
This is my favourite part in all of blog creating. Having an amazing cohesive theme is probably the biggest thing that sets me apart as a blogger, and I absolutely love it. While you do have to buy most themes I always find the absolute best deals on Etsy!
Every single theme you’ve ever seen (including my current one) was bought on Etsy. There are so many amazing designers with ever more amazing design just waiting for you to buy their products. And they’re only about $50 on average! SCORE!
The #1 thing I would recommend looking for when shopping for a theme however, is responsiveness. You want to make sure your website looks good across all platforms. A cell phone, computer, tablet, etc. If it doesn’t look good on mobile, chances are people aren’t going to stick around. Here is a list of my absolute favourite WordPress theme designers:
Every single theme you download will have step by step install instructions. But if you’re trying to figure out how hard switching your theme really is… it just follows these steps.
Appearance > Themes > Add New > Upload the ZIP file > Activate
Ta-Da! You new theme is uploaded and ready to go!
Step Four – Navigating WordPress
Now that you’ve got everything installed, chances are your backend looks a lot different than a WordPress.com backend. There are SO many more options, and honestly it can be a little confusing. But here are the options you absolutely need to know.
Posts: This is where you’ll add new posts to your blog. You can write and publish the same day or your can schedule right within the post. You can also do things like make the post password protected or change the viability to private.
Pages: This is the different points on your site. This could be your home page, your about me page, all your categories etc. When you’re first starting out I would recommend setting up a Home, About Me, Blog, and Contact page. It keeps everything clean and organized.
Media: This is where you upload all of your content! I store all the photos and PDF’s I use on K Is For Karly in the media section. WordPress has an awesome drag and drop for file uploads which makes everything a lot faster when editing. One thing I would recommend though is never uploading video into your media section. It eats up the storage and makes your website extra slow. Instead, upload a video and enlist it on YouTube, then embed it into your website.
Plugins: Arguably my favourite part of the blog next to themes. If you’re not a strong website coder then plugins are your new best friend. You can do everything from shortcodes to countdown timers!
Appearance: This is where you’ll find your theme info as well as your customization bar so you can change the colours and wording of your website. It’s also here where you’ll find your menu settings.
Settings: This is the home to things like general settings, reading, writing, if you want Google to index your website, etc. All the technical side of your blog is within here.
Step Five – Email Capture
A huge mistake that I made when first starting a blog was not capturing emails sooner. As you grow your blog you’ll quickly learnt that your email list is your BEST asset.
I wrote a blog covering this topic and you can find it here…
There You Have It
You’ve created your blog – Woohoo! You’re officially a blogger friend. Now it’s up to you! Make sure you’re posting consistently, creating amazing graphics (I’d suggest Canva), and network with other bloggers and brands.
If you have any questions at all feel free to send me an email, I’d love to help! Also, when you complete your blog leave a comment down below so I can check it out!