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Starting a blog is easy. Maintaining a blog and making it look like the amazing blogs you read all the time takes more work. I have started more than five blogs over the last ten years, but Rose Colored Water is the only one I’ve followed through with. This is because I finally found something to write about.
Rose Colored Water is considered a lifestyle blog, but I write mainly about managing personal finances and being in the Air Force. A majority of my traffic comes from women looking for answers about enlisting in the military. We need more females out there documenting their experiences!
When you start your first blog, you don’t need to have a focus. Top bloggers will tell you that you must have a focus and niche, plus loads of content before starting, but for a newbie, I believe you must simply begin.
If you want to start blogging but have no idea where to begin, use this simple, five-step guide to get started.
1. Purchase hosting and a domain name.
This is the most important part of starting a real blog. There’s nothing worse than stumbling upon a blog with awesome content, only to see that it’s called – moneyisawesome.wordpress.com. Having a “free” blog is a great place to start, but if you want to be taken seriously and have a blog worth looking at, you need to purchase hosting.
There are a lot of options out there for blog hosting, but I use Bluehost. Many bloggers use Bluehost and have no issues. I have never had any problems and their customer service has always been on point. It is very reasonable for startup costs, especially for newbie bloggers. I highly recommend them!
Click on my ad below or any of the links above so you can have site hosting for just $3.45/month! It’s a great deal and you’re set for the next 3 years!
Once you get started, you’ll be asked to pick a package and domain name. I use the BASIC PACKAGE. You shouldn’t need any more than that as a new blogger, and you can always upgrade later as your blog grows. I’ve been blogging for three years and the BASIC PACKAGE is still giving me more than I need.
After you’ve selected your package, you’ll be taken to the next screen showing you how to choose a domain name. Search for the domain you want, but be intentional about what you name it.
I chose Rose Colored Water because my middle name is Rose, and I liked how it gave the idea that these were my thoughts. For a lifestyle blog, it works. NOTE: You want your domain name to be short, simple, and easy to remember. You should try to make it relevant to the kind of content you’ll be posting too.
Many people use their names, or a play of words with their name, and it works well for them. Lifestyle blogs have more flexibility than niche specific blogs. Don’t let choosing a name stop you from going through with starting a blog. Many people become paralyzed by this. You can always transfer it later, though it will require more work. Getting started is what counts.
Now that you have a domain name and some decent hosting, you’ll finish creating your account. Bluehost will offer some additional services, but you can add those all later if you need to. Just buy the basic hosting.
Once you’ve finished creating your account and purchasing your subscription, Bluehost will send you a WELCOME! email with a link to your home dashboard called the cPanel. You will complete your next step – downloading WordPress – there.
2. Download WordPress.
Many bloggers use WordPress as the backbone of their site. If you buy hosting through Bluehost, this is the easiest way to go. WordPress allows for easy customization, and gives you everything necessary to start blogging today. Plus, IT’S FREE!
- Go to your cPanel.
- A link will be sent with your welcome email from Bluehost taking you to your home dashboard.
- Under the cPanel, scroll to the WEBSITE section.
- Click “Install WordPress.“
3. The next page will walk you through the steps of installing WordPress on your site. This is fairly simple, and if you have any issues, you can always email or tweet me, and I’ll try my best to help you through it.
3. Find a theme.
This is the most exciting part of starting your blogging journey. During your WordPress install, they might advertise themes, but I recommend waiting until you have installed WordPress and look through their free themes. I started out with free themes, but around two years in, I went to Etsy and bought the theme you see now, for about $17.
Your blog dashboard will look something like this:
- Go down to Appearance > Themes.
- Click on Popular for the most common free themes you’ll see.
- Click on the theme you want and Install. You will be able to customize it a little more after installation.
- Check out Etsy for responsive WordPress themes like mine.
4. Get familiar with how WordPress works.
You will be forever frustrated with blogging if you don’t learn how to manage the back end of your site. Take some time to play around with things before announcing your blog to the world. As I’ve told many friends who’ve started blogging, you will want to change things numerous times before you finally settle on a single layout.
Take some time to learn how to format posts and upload blog images. Decide what you want in your top menu and sidebars.
5. Write three posts.
After you feel comfortable with WordPress, START WRITING! My first posts don’t exist on this blog anymore, but you can bet I wrote a big hello to the world and shared it all over my social media accounts.
If you want to stay in a niche, do some research and write three article-style posts. Once you’ve written a post, click publish.
Now you have a real blog with a real name with real content! There will be a learning curve, but over time, you will absolutely get the hang of it. It’s a new year, and there is no better time than the present to START YOUR OWN BLOG.
Don’t let fear stop you! Blogging can change your life! Good luck, and hit me up if you have any questions!