In 2013, I quit my full-time job to work for myself and it was one of the best things that I ever did. Having a blog that was making money was a key component to letting me quit my day job.
Although it took me several years, I now make a full-time living from blogging. It has been a great income stream to help us achieve our financial goals.
Understanding the Different Blogging Platforms
While there are many free blogging platforms out there like Blogger and Tumblr, they have restrictions that you need to be aware of. One of the main challenges on these platforms is a that you select a sub-domain, so you don’t even have your own domain name.
For instance, mine would be wellkeptwallet.tumblr.com.
For those of you that have no idea what this means, that is OK. In a nutshell, you are building up Tumblr’s brand instead of your own. You really want to have your own Domain name so that you can build your own brand moving forward. I will talk more about domain names in step 2.
The other major drawback is that you have limitations of how you can make money from your blog. Because of this, we will steer away from the free blogging platforms for purposes of this article.
WordPress is the Way to Go
I recommend using WordPress as the platform for your blog, simply because it’s one of the most widely-used, easy-to-operate and reliable blogging platforms available.
It also has a ton of plugins that you can use that will allow you to do almost anything with your blog. I personally use WordPress and love it.
I also use Bluehost as my hosting provider and I have had a great experience with them. They are one of the cheapest hosts around (less than $3/month) and they have an easy-to-use control panel to get your WordPress blog site up and running as soon as possible.
3 Simple Steps to Starting a Blog
Getting a blog up and running in minutes is extremely doable. To walk you through the process, here are three very simple steps to take to get your blog started in no time at all.
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1. Determine a Brand for Your Blog
The first and most important step in starting a blog is to determine what you want the purpose of your blog to be. It’s vital when determining your blog’s purpose or brand that you pick a focus that fills a need in the eyes of readers and shares valuable information with them.
Too wide a focus, such as a blog that focuses on finance, home decor, and sixteen other things all at once will give readers the impression that you are a “jack of all trades, master of none”, so to speak. Readers, in general, go to blogs that have more central focuses based on what they want to learn about.
Some ideas of more central-focused blogs are blogs that teach readers how to make money online, blogs that share gluten-free recipes, blogs that share do-it-yourself instructions, or blogs like Well Kept Wallet, that teach people how to eliminate debt and to grow your wealth.
So, when you’re deciding on what you want your blog to be about, be sure to pick a subject or brand that fills a need and doesn’t have too wide a focus.
2. Decide on and Register Your Domain
Step number two, which is equally important, is to pick and register a domain. Your domain is your web address, such as wellkeptwallet.com.
When deciding on a domain for your blog, Bluehost is awesome because they will give you the domain for FREE when you purchase hosting through them. On top of that, by using Bluehost for both your domain registration and your website hosting, you have the ability to manage everything in one convenient place.
How to Choose Your Domain
When deciding on a domain, choose a domain that is easy to remember and that gives an immediate overview of what your blog is about. If you decide to blog about healthy home-cooked meals, for example, make sure your name reflect’s the blog’s purpose. Don’t simply call it, “www.marysblog.com”.
A domain such as that will go nowhere in search engines and will give your readers no idea of what your blog is about. Instead, consider a name that states your blog’s purpose, such as www.healthyhomecookedmeals.com.
How to Get Your Domain Name for Free
Once you’ve decided on your domain name, go to Bluehost and click on the green “Get Started” button. From there you’ll have the option of picking one of three programs for your hosting plan. Again, if you buy your hosting through Bluehost, you’ll get your domain name for free!
The Basic Plan is around $3 a month and offers hosting for one website. You’ll get the best deal if you pay for an entire year up front as opposed to going on a month-by-month basis. So, if you’re truly committed to starting and running a blog, this is the most cost-effective way to go.
Next, type the domain name you want into the box on the left labeled “new domain”. This will help you check to see if it’s available or if someone else is already using it.
3. Pay for Your Plan
After you’ve entered your domain name and made sure it’s available, you’ll need to pay for your hosting plan.
Make sure to review all of the plan information before putting in your payment info. The longer-term plan you choose, the cheaper it will be per month.
4. Choose a Password
Make sure you choose a strong password for your account. It should be different than anything else you use on other sites. This is especially important if you turn your blog into a business. As it grows, security will be more important as your website may be your family’s source of income.
5. Install WordPress
One of the things I love about Bluehost is that they make WordPress installation and starting a blog super easy, even for those who aren’t familiar with starting and running a blog. The instructions below are easy-to-follow, I assure you.
How to install WordPress using Bluehost:
- From your cPanel (look at the toolbar near the top of your screen to find it)
- Scroll down and find the section called “MOJO Marketplace”
- Then click the “One Click Install” button
- Click on the WordPress icon on the next page located under “Blogs”
- Next click on the “Start” button. This will begin the installation. After you’re in the installation process area, you will have to decide which domain you will want to install WordPress on.
- Click the drop-down menu to pick the domain you plan on using for your site. If this is your first time using Bluehost, you’ll only have one option.
- You’ll see a tab titled “Advanced Options.” This is where you choose your username and password for your WordPress blog. Choose something secure, making sure not to use a fallback username such as “admin”. Hackers usually try “admin” first when trying to hack a site, so avoid this headache of a mistake and pick a username that is hard to hack, using a combination of different letters, numbers and symbols
- Also, remember to check “automatically create a new database for this installation” as well, which is a must for a brand new blogger. Next, click “Install Now.”, and be sure to remember to save your username and password. That’s it! You officially own a blog.
Now that you have installed WordPress it is time to choose your theme. Your theme will determine the look and feel of your website.
6. Choosing a Theme
There are plenty of free themes to choose from and these are a good place to start when you first begin your blog. Until it starts to generate some income, you can use a free theme to keep your costs down.
7. Start Writing
Now it’s time to get writing your first blog post! This is one of the first steps to getting your message out there as well as it is a great way to make some extra money online.
Have you ever considered starting a blog? If you currently blog, what was the most difficult part of learning to run a blog?