Have you ever wanted to start a blog?
Maybe you enjoy writing and yearn for a creative way to express yourself. Maybe you’re looking for an inexpensive way to promote a product or service that you currently offer. Or, maybe you just want to share your thoughts and opinions with the world.
Creating your own website can help you do all of that and more. Even better, you don’t have to be a tech wizard to get started!
In fact, my husband Greg and I started this blog in 2012. We had zero tech skills, no real plan, and barely any idea of what a blog should be. Still, we built our own blog anyway and had a ton of fun doing it!
Since then, we’ve grown to love blogging and have even turned it into our family business. These days, we both blog full-time, working entirely from home and making multiple six-figure incomes!
Of course, not everybody wants to turn their blog into a business, and you certainly don’t have to do that either! Whether you want to blog for business or blog for fun, the most important thing is to get started.
Thankfully, getting your blog off the ground is actually quite easy! Just follow the simple six-step process we’ve outlined here to get your blog up and running in minutes.
And, if you want even more help starting a blog, don’t forget to check out our FREE blogging workshop by clicking the button below!
How to Start Your Blog in 6 Steps
Blogging is a fun and enjoyable hobby, but starting a blog can seem a bit daunting – especially if you’ve never done it before. With a little guidance, however, it isn’t that hard to get started.
That’s why we’ve created this guide to building your first blog. We’ll show you where to apply your focus and help you breeze through the technical elements so you can get your blog up and running in less than an hour.
Are you ready to get started? First things first – let’s choose a name!
Step 1: Name Your Blog
To start a blog, the first thing you need to do is choose a domain name for your site. It can be anything from your own name (like hollydjohnson.com) to something that is more “search engine friendly” (like makemoney.com). Seriously, it can be anything you want it to be…as long as it isn’t taken already.
When deciding on a name for our website, we really wanted to create our own brand. Although we came up with a bunch of crazy names, we eventually settled on the brand name of Club Thrifty. We think it was a pretty good choice, don’t you agree? 😉
As you can see, our brand name is relatively focused yet flexible. While our website was originally focused entirely on frugal living, our brand name was flexible enough that we could branch out into other areas of personal finance a few years later. Now, in addition to budgeting and money management, we also write about travel and lifestyle topics.
That’s not to say you have to brand your website just because we did. Whatever you do, just choose a name you like. Whether it’s eccentricartlover.com or marvelfansunite.com, pick a name you like and move on!
Step 2: Register Your Domain
Once you’ve batted around some names, make sure the domain names you selected are available. Better yet, check on those names WHILE you’re batting them around. Nothing sucks worse than spending four days coming up with the perfect domain name only to realize that it has already been purchased by someone else!
To check on the availability of your favorite domain names, simply type your domain name into the search bar at GoDaddy.com. They will search the web let you know if it is available within seconds.
Typically, domain name registrars (like GoDaddy) sell domains for as little as $12 a year. You can also find places that offer domain names for free. However, it may be something like clubthrifty.wordpress.com or ilovecookies.wordpress.com. Honestly, you know how cheap we can be, and even we think you should bite the bullet and buy your own domain name – especially if you want to make some money from your blog.
Better yet, here’s a hot deal for you:
Seriously y’all, even if you’re blogging as a hobby, make sure to get a custom domain name. It makes you look more professional, you’ll fare better in search results, and you’ll have a much better chance at growing your blog. Plus, you can get by for less than $20 a month – which is considerably less than most hobbies cost. The best part is that this hobby could actually make you money!
Here’s how to register your new domain name at Bluehost:
- Login to your Bluehost account Control Panel. (We’ll teach you how to create one in the next section.)
- Click the Addons tab.
- Choose Domain Registration.
- Enter your desired domain name.
- Choose your desired top level domain (ie: clubthrifty.com) from the drop down menu.
- Click the Check button.
- Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Next.
- Review the Registration Settings and click Add to Cart.
Boom. Easy. As. Pie.
Step 3: Find a Host
So, now that you have the world’s greatest domain name, you need to find a host for your blog.
There are several different companies that provide hosting services, but our favorite for beginners is Bluehost. Their customer service is good, and it is hard to beat their pricing. Furthermore, we love how Bluehost makes it super simple to integrate your website with WordPress, which we’ll talk about in a bit.
Hosting plans at Bluehost typically start at just $2.95/month. For reals, guys…that is dirt cheap. Here’s a nifty little image that compares their plans:
Of course, these prices are subject to change, but they are all very affordable. As the name suggests, the “Basic” plan is probably enough to get you started. However, I’d opt for the “Plus” plan. You get unlimited storage, unlimited domain names, and more for an extra three bucks a month. The best part about these plans is that they all include a free domain name, so make sure you take advantage of that!
Opening a Bluehost Account
Now that we know where to go for your hosting, let’s talk about how to start a blog with Bluehost:
1) Go to Bluehost.com and click on “Get Started Now.”
2) Select your hosting plan.
3) Enter your existing domain name or claim your FREE one.
4) Enter your contact and billing info.
5) Create a login and password.
6) Voila! You’re done!
Editor’s Note: When it comes to addons, typically we don’t pay for most of the extras. Generally, the only extras we consider are private domain registration and a dedicated IP address. As the name implies, the private registration is a nice privacy feature so people can’t just look up your address. Since this is a shared hosting account, the dedicated IP address helps keep your domain safe from any Google penalties that may be caused by some goonball who sharing your hosting account. Register for your Bluehost account now by clicking here!
Step 4: Connect Your Domain and Host
Now that you have a domain name and a host, we need to get them talking to each other.
If you’re using Bluehost for both your domain registration and hosting services, you’re good to go. You can skip to the next section. If you’ve decided to buy your domain name from a different registrar, you’ll need to read on.
To connect your registered domain name and your hosting account, we’ll have to use domain name servers, or DNS for short. I don’t want to bog you down with all of the technical names and details, but it is easier than it sounds.
Think of creating your website in terms of building a new house. The DNS is like a zip code and your domain name is your actual address. Essentially, you’ll need to change your DNS in your domain registrar account so that your address gets put in the right zip code.
When you open a new hosting account, you’ll get a welcome email providing you with your new DNS info. It will read something like this: “Nameserver1: ns1.bluehost.com, Nameserver2: ns2.bluehost.com.
If you bought your domain name at a registrar like GoDaddy, simply add these addresses to your registrar account. Since each registrar is different, you’ll need to look the specific directions for changing nameservers on each particular site, but they typically make it super duper easy for you.
Step 5: Build Your Site
Booyah! You’ve got an “address” and a “zip code” that are communicating. Now all you need is a “lot” to build upon. For this, I suggest that you use WordPress.
Again, Bluehost makes creating a WordPress site super easy. Here’s how to do it:
How to Create a WordPress Website with Bluehost
1) Login to your Bluehost account.
2) Click on the “My Sites” (sidebar) or “Create New Site” (footer).
3) Create a site name and tagline.
4) Choose your domain name from the dropdown and install.
5) You’re done!
Step 6: Designing Your Website
When it comes to the design of your new website, WordPress provides a ton of options for customizing the look and feel of your site. There are hundreds of templates that allow you to design the site that you want. Many of them are even free through WordPress itself. (Bluehost also has some themes available.)
To browse free themes, simply click on “Appearance” and “Themes” in the sidebar of your WordPress dashboard.
Now, if you really want to make your website look slick, you definitely want to buy a custom site template.
Honestly, this is something we wish we would have done WAAAAAAY sooner. The look, feel, and speed of our site became much more professional when we made the switch to the Genesis framework from Studiopress.
Genesis is not a template in and of itself. It is a framework upon which you can build something uber cool using a “Child Theme.” Again, think of WordPress as the lot, Genesis as the brick and mortar of the house, and your child theme as the paint and decoration of your site.
For a one time fee of about $85, we were able to get a professional framework and custom theme…and it was WELL worth it. Had we started on the Genesis framework right away, it would have saved us oodles of hours. Instead, we had to build the site twice. Plus, the website was much nicer to look at and way easier to navigate – which translated into a lot more visitors coming and staying at the website.
Since our first experience with Genesis, Greg has built several different websites, and he has used the Genesis framework on almost every one of them. In fact, several of my best blogging friends still run their websites on Genesis…and some of them are making millions a year! So yeah, Genesis is definitely a great program.
Now the Fun Part: Write Stuff
If you stick with it and write engaging content, you will start to attract visitors. People will come to your website to read the words that you are writing! How cool is that?
Keep plugging away, and you may even be able to make a little dough and quit your day job! We certainly did. Pretty good for a couple of nerds who knew nothing about blogging when we started, right?!?
Wrapping Up: It’s Time to Take Action
So, there it is – everything you need to get your blog up and running in less than an hour!
Of course, there are tons of things you’ll need to learn along the way – especially if you want to make money blogging. Thankfully, we have an entire course to help you out. It’s called Earn More Blogging, and it’s a great way to speed up the process and avoid many of the mistakes we’ve made over the years.
Again, none of this matters unless you take action. Dreaming about your own blog isn’t going to cut it. If you’re ready to start a blog, you need to dive in and just get started!
We hope this piece has been helpful for you. If it has, we’d greatly appreciate it if you’d support us by clicking on our affiliate links when you sign up. Oh, and don’t forget to check out our free blogging workshop by clicking below!
Good luck with your new website and happy blogging!
- Free Workshop: 6 Secrets to Blogging Success
- Get a FREE Domain Name and Cheap Hosting at Bluehost
- Click Here to Design Your Website on the Genesis Framework