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Well readers, are you ready to learn the first steps to starting a blog? I say first steps because there’s about eight million things you need to do to make one that’s worth your time and effort. I’ve been doing this over a year now, and I feel comfortable saying the only way to know what to do is to start. I’m sure you’ve heard stories about bloggers making tons of money, but cool your jets. Unless you have all the time in the world to research every single thing and then get a website up and running with lots of great content right off the bat, this is not a get rich quick scheme. Or a get rich at all scheme, if you aren’t willing to work har. You should probably check out these time commitments you’ll have to make as a beginning blogger first. Look doable? Okay, let’s get started.
The First Steps to Starting a Blog
1. Set a Budget
What? You’ve read 42 other how to start a blog posts and haven’t seen this come up as the first step a single time? Fair enough. You don’t technically need a budget to set up your blog. But, I recommend it. Blogging can get pricey, and if you’re going to monetize it, you will have to invest in some things. If you aren’t going to monetize it, go away. 🙂 You can get yourself a free WordPress or Blogger site and write whatever you what whenever you want and not worry about this. If you are monetizing, there’s a lot of things you can for free, but not everything. You really only need to pay for the hosting service and domain to start, and if you buy every shiny new blogging tool you see you might regret it. Plan on making nothing for a while and set your budget accordingly.
2. Pick a Domain Name
Ah ha, we’ve reached the more traditional first steps to starting a blog. You may notice that I don’t mention anything about picking a niche. I mean, niches are whatever. I read up so much on them and whether or not I really needed one before I started, and then you know what I did? Changed my whole plan a year later. Whatever. The Frenzied Hostess still works since I’ve only expanded my hosting posts to add why I’m so frenzied. You might want to think about that when you pick your name – can it only be one thing? You should also look at it written down. At first I really loved The Hectic Hostess, but you know what that looks like in a URL? hectichostess.com. It looks like some kind of halitosis cousin. Scratch that.
Once you come up with a good name, one that isn’t too long or funny looking, you should make sure it’s available. BlueHost has an awesome Domain Name Checker so I’m adding it here for you. Hope yours is available! Now, after you find one that’s perfect for you, you have to register it. I wouldn’t wait on that part. It’s pretty cheap, around $10-$20 a year. You can do this with your hosting provider for simplicity or separately for security. I use Hover, and I haven’t had to interact with them a single time since I registered, which is basically best case scenario for a busy person like myself.
3. Choose Your Host
If you’ve never had a blog before, you might not know what I’m talking about. The host basically just stores all your info on their server for you. When you have a free blog, you don’t have to go through all of this, but you also get really limited space so you won’t be able to do all the cool stuff that comes after the first steps to starting a blog, like monetizing and using fun widgets. Anyway, there’s a ton of hosts out there, but if you’re just starting out, do what I did and pick Blue Host. I’m showing you the steps below to make your sign-up easier.
Boom! You’re done with your hosting service.
4. Set Up WordPress
There are other ways to blog, but I can’t give you honest advice about them, so WordPress it is. One of the first steps to starting a blog should be researching this, but if you haven’t, there’s plenty of reasons to go this route. You own all your own content with WordPress (.org, not .com – that’s the free version), plus you can add a whole bunch of functions to enhance your blog. Other options are more limited. Once you’re ready to see all the cool stuff that comes with WordPress, go ahead and log in to your new Blue Host account and install it. You will have to pick a name and password here too. May I suggest you find a way to keep track now? I use both LastPass and Dashlane because my clients are a hassle. Anyway, get to downloading.
5. Pick a theme.
Hey! It’s one of the most fun first steps to starting a blog. Choosing what you get to look like. So, WordPress has a gazillion options and you’re going to love at least a few of them. Don’t get too stuck on making this decision though. If you set a tight budget, you’ll want to stick with a free theme, but if not go ahead and get a premium. You can make all of them your own. I’m actually about to switch themes – since I’m making a switch in what I write about, I thought it’d be a good time to get fancier – so I will say from personal experience you don’t have to feel stuck with one forever. However, you do want to pick one you’ll be comfortable with for a while as there will be so much more to learn first.
6. Write some posts and launch your site!
You’ve completed the first steps to starting a blog! Now you can get started writing. I read the advice to write a bunch of posts before you launch your site, and I think it’s a good idea. The number will depend on how hard you want to hit the ground running, but I did ten just to have a couple of things to flip through. There’s so much to learn with blogging, but honestly, you have to start it to know if you like it. I do plan on adding some more blogging posts (or writing a book), but I am the Frenzied Hostess, not the Tons of Time to Spare Hostess, so I only post twice a week. Feel free to sign up for my newsletter below to get updates, and post any questions you might have in the comments. Welcome to blogging!