When my sister and I started blogging for Dames in Debt, we had no idea where it would take us. As it turns out, it took us straight to being uber-focused on our financial goals, and hey – that is definitely not a bad thing! We also gained a new hobby out of it, and it’s been especially fun working on the website aspects of Dames in Debt.
With a year under our belts, we decided we’d share with you all what we did behind the scenes to start blogging.
How to Start A Blog (just like us!)
1. Get creative!
If you want to start a blog, then you need to decide what you want to blog about: finances, your pets, knitting, creative writing, etc. The possibilities are practically endless. It helps if you think about what you want the blog to do for you – a side-hustle that you’re hoping will make money one day is different from a writing outlet to relieve stress. Once you decide on a topic, think about how you want to portray your topic through your brand. Don’t forget to choose a name & make sure it hasn’t been taken yet!
2. Register your domain name
Once you have your name picked out, you have to register it – this keeps anyone else from using it. There a ton of ways to do this, but I chose the easy way and got it through my hosting site, BlueHost. Plus, this way it’s free.
After you register your domain name, you’ll have to sign up for hosting. Then, you’ll have to sign up for WordPress. I like to use the analogy of building a house: your domain is the land, your host is the house, and WordPress is the inside decor. You need all three to run a blog successfully.
3. Register with a host
There are several good hosting companies that you can use. Aside from price, you should consider the credibility and reliability of the hosting company. You also need to consider customer service and traffic. You want to be able to call someone if you’re having problems with your site. You also want to make sure your host can handle your traffic.
An excellent host to begin blogging with is Bluehost (again – which we use here – there are others!). With Bluehost, you get an affordable hosting plan and excellent customer service. Once you’ve been blogging for a long time and have pageviews exceeding 3,000-4,000, you may need to upgrade and pay more for your hosting service, but until then, starting with a Bluehost plan is an excellent way to go for a beginner amount of traffic.
Next, you’ll have the option to select one of three plans, based on price and specific features. Decide what’s best for you. Then enter your domain name that you registered in step two in the box provided that says “I have a domain name”.
Follow the steps to enter your account information.
Next, decide which package you want to select. You get the least expensive rate if you signup for 36 months. And remember that if you cancel, you’ll get a refund for the prorated amount. This means you don’t risk losing your money up front (so why not?). You’ll also have options here that you can add-on; I would wait to add these unless you know for sure that you need them (exception being domain privacy if you don’t want people to know your name).
You’ll then be prompted to enter your billing information and agree to the terms and conditions. You’ll be prompted to add other add-ons, but you don’t need to add them either. You can always add them later if you want them.
Once processed, you should see a welcome message, like the one below.
After you are signed up, you’ll be asked to create a password and login.
One you have your password set, you can log in to your account! You’ll see a welcome message that you can click “I can do it” (since I’m walking you through the process!).
After you’ve logged in, you’ll be on your Bluehost dashboard, which looks like this:
You’re all done! Well, at least with signing up for your hosting plan. 🙂 Now, it’s time to install WordPress (the real blogging machine).
4. Install WordPress
On your Bluehost dashboard, click on the “Install WordPress” button. You’ll see the following screen, and on it you should click “start.”
Select the domain that you are signing up with (this should be the only domain that you’ve registered).
WordPress will begin to install. Click on “show advanced options” in the screen that comes up, and enter in the name of your site (anything you want) and your username and password.
There will be a green bar at the top of your screen that moves as your install progresses. When it’s finished the bar will have become full and you’ll see this screen.
You should now get an email from “Mojo Marketplace” with important information about your account in it (i.e. password), just like the one below. You should keep this e-mail somewhere safe!
Using your Mojo email, click on the WordPress link. You’ll see the screen below. Enter your login information.
You’re now in your WordPress dashboard! This is where you’ll design your website and write posts…where the magic happens so to speak. If you’ve ever used a free WordPress blog before, then this will seem at least a little familiar.
5. Use WordPress’ Guided Set-up
We are not web design geniuses over here, and we believe in NOT reinventing the wheel unless it’s necessary. Therefore, we recommend playing around with the guided set-up on WordPress. For one thing, it’s easy. For another, it’s hard to break something the owner invented.
You can use whichever theme you want and customize it yourself. We made changes to our theme by just playing around with the options until we liked the way it looked, but you can always learn code (CSS works on most themes). Google is a miracle worker for helping solve any issues you encounter, and if you think of something you want to add to your site, Google can help you there too.
With experience, you’ll start picking up on tips and tricks other bloggers use to make their blogs prettier or more interesting. The basic set-up will help you get started with something that’s nice to look at, but you’ll probably want to customize more things later on. It’s fine if your “look” is a work in progress!
After you have your site designed how you want it to look, you are ready to start blogging.
6. Start blogging!
It’s time to express your creative side. Whether it’s pictures, poems, posts, a GIF journey, or emojis. we’re excited you’re joining the blogosphere.
If you want more information on how to start a blog, then join our mailing list to get our latest posts. We’d love to have you!
Hit us up with a comment here so we can follow you after you’ve got everything set up and start blogging!