If you're new to the world of blogging, setting up a blog from scratch might sound intimidating. In this post I'm going to break down the essentials so that you can start your own business blog by the end of today -- without learning to code, design, or re-invent the wheel.
Sound good? Keep reading!
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Here are the three easy steps I'm going to teach you today:
1. How to set up hosting with your own domain (in just a few clicks).
2. How to install WordPress on your site without batting an eye.
3. How to upload a gorgeous theme and get it customized to suit your tastes.
Let's do this!
(Quick note: The steps I'm running through today will teach you how to start self-hosted blog on Wordpress. In the future we'll share a post on setting up your Squarespace blog!)
1. Let's choose a domain name!
Most likely, if you're reading this post, you already have a business name in mind, which makes your URL (aka domain name) a bit of a given, but if not, just make sure you've chosen a business name/blog name that's clear, memorable, timeless, and speaks to your audience.
If you're just starting your business, or your online presence, use a site like namechk.com to scour the internet for the availability of whatever name you want to use. You want to make sure there's no trademark or known use of the name or phrase you want to use.
You can also use the widget below to search for your desired domain:
Once you have your domain name picked out, and you know it's available, it's time to set up your hosting.
If you're new to these terms, hosting is the space where your blog lives on the internet, which your domain is the address.
For WordPress hosting, our favourite choice is Bluehost. We use Bluehost for all of our own WordPress sites, as well as the WordPress sites we create for our clients.
With your domain name in mind, head to Bluehost to choose your hosting package. There are three different options to choose from (Basic, Plus, or Prime) and you are welcome to choose whichever suits you best. Since they are offering their Prime package at just $5.95/month (you'll pay in a lump sum for the year or more, if you choose to do so) it's the best bang for your buck. You'll also get domain privacy with this package which means that your personal address and phone number won't be shown to the public.
When you host with Bluehost, you also get your domain name for FREE, which is a pretty cool deal. If you purchase it outside Bluehost, you'll pay your yearly fees for that separately to the other company.
Next you'll choose the rest of your package options. You'll see that you can add more features to each package, include the domain privacy, if that is important to you, but you want to rock out with the Basic hosting packing to start.
You can choose whether you want to host for 1 year or more by clicking the dropdown menu next to Account Plan.
2. It's time to install WordPress!
After you fill in your billing information and complete the checkout process, you'll be ready to install WordPress on your site. If your domain is your address, and the hosting in the house where your blog lives, then WordPress makes up the walls and floors. It's the framework that you'll turn into something completely personalized and suited to your business.
So, let's install WordPress. (It's SO simple you might even roll your eyes.)
Bluehost, has implemented a super easy way to make this happen. Sign into your hosting account (they'll have emailed everything to you), click Hosting > Home in the menu, scroll down to the Website section and click Install WordPress.
You'll see this next:
Click Continue Installation and you'll see this:
Click where it says Domain and select your domain, leave Directory blank, and click next. Then follow the directions for creating your username and password so that you can login to WordPress.
Keep in mind that you Bluehost hosting login information and your Wordpress login information can be completely different if you want them to be. Just make note of your choices so you don't forget.
3. Upload a gorgeous theme and make it yours.
Now that you have WordPress installed on your site, it's time to make it look amazing. Bluehost connects with the Mojo Marketplace, which is a space where you can search for and purchase different WordPress themes that you can install to make your site look exactly how you want it to look. Think of the theme like the home decor of your blog, if we're sticking with our house analogy ;)
You can use the Mojo Marketplace or another service for choosing your theme. Our favourites include:
I will also mention that there are free themes that you can choose from inside WordPress. You can download as many as you like to test them out and play around with tweaking and customizing them to your own liking.
Need to install your own theme? Here's how.
If you're installing a theme purchased outside WordPress, they will generally come with handy instruction on how to upload it, but if you're feeling stuck, the basic installation process is as follows:
- Go to Appearance > Themes inside your WordPress site (login with the credentials you chose when you installed WordPress -- you'll be able to login at YOURURLHERE/login).
- Click Add New.
- Click Upload.
- Choose the .zip file that you downloaded when you purchased your new theme and upload it.
- If you get an error and it tells you that you're missing a certain file, try unzipping the .zip file and then uploading the .zip file that's INSIDE the folder you just opened.
- When you see a success message, you're ready to customize and blog away!
At this point, you officially have a blog and you can start adding your content. In the future, we'll be sharing more content about what to share on your blog -- whether you're blogging as a business or as a supplement to your brick and mortar or online business.
Welcome to the world of blogging. You can do this!
Not ready to dive in right this moment? Save this post to Pinterest and come back another day. We've got your back ;)