Ever thought of starting your own blog but not sure where to start?
Whether you’ve always dreamed of blogging or just decided to try it out on a whim, these 4 steps will get your blog up and running so you can get to the fun stuff!
(This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase through one of the product links, I’ll receive some pennies. Shiny, shiny pennies. Thanks for supporting Lazy Sundays!)
1. Decide on a topic.
Obviously, right? But really give this some thought because the majority of your posts will based on this.
It needs to be a topic that you really enjoy researching and writing about or your passion for it will dwindle quickly.
Your love of all things polka dot or bird watching in the fall may not be quite as strong in six months or a year.
It also helps to have a niche so that you have a target market, aka an audience in mind for you to think about when writing.
But don’t limit yourself too much when/if you choose a niche. Sure, there is a market for stuffed animal collectors but going as far as stuffed animal collectors that live in Arkansas doesn’t leave you with a lot of potential readers.
2. Make a list of potential domain names.
Before registering with a host, you’ll want to narrow down which domain names you’d like to use. Have options so that if you’re favorite isn’t available, you already have other ideas waiting.
You can either go the practical route and name your website something related to your topic, ex. Allrecipes.com.
Also try Googling your desired name to see how many search results come up.
(I personally wish I would’ve thought more about that when I named Lazy Sundays. I’m working my butt off to get Lazy Sundays to show up high in Google rankings but it’s going to be tough because it’s such a common phrase. But there’s no turning back now! And I love it so I’m sticking with it and making it work for me.)
Having a more unique name gives you a better chance to rank on the first page of Google results. (That’s a great thing, especially if you’re hoping to monetize your new blog, aka make money with your blog.)
A unique name also works toward your advantage later when you SEO (search engine optimize) your blog. More on that in posts to come!
For now, focus on a name you love and can’t wait to write for and promote.
Have an idea for a domain name in mind? Enter it here and see if it’s available today:
3. Sign up with a host.
There are free web hosting sites out there but if you want to make money from your blog (either starting right away or down the road) or really want to have control over your site, I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend that you pay the small monthly fee to own your domain name.
“If I can start a site for free, why would I want to pay for it?”
- It is much more professional than adding your blog name to example.wordpress.com. If you want to be taken seriously as a professional blogger, you need to own your site.
- Free sites typically don’t let you work with affiliates to advertise. Want to give yourself the best shot at making money? Own your site.
- Free sites can shut down your site whenever they want! It’s happened to some now famous blogs before they went self-hosted.
- You will be able to customize all parts of your blog. Free blogs can require their own ads to be displayed, have rules about what you can and can’t do and aren’t known for the greatest customer support.
So what host should you use?
Bluehost.com has been one of the top hosting companies since 2003. The monthly fee is very low, there are lots of free themes to choose from to create the look you want (or you can buy fancier ones too) and there is great customer support.
Bonus! If you sign up using this link, you’ll get your domain name for FREE if you purchase a 12 month or longer blog hosting plan. (I signed up for 3 years right away so I knew I’d be committing to making this successful long term!)
Don’t know HTML, CSS, or any of that techy stuff? Me neither!!
WordPress to the rescue! It’s a user friendly platform to build your blog on and there are tons of widgets and online help to get you the results you want.
Once you sign up with Bluehost, you simply use the “1-Click WordPress Installation” button and you’re off to the races! WPBeginner is a great resource when you start learning all about building your new blog on WordPress.
Bluehost is so sure you’ll be a happy customer, if you decide it’s not right for you, you can cancel in 30 days with no strings attached. You’ve really got nothing to lose.
**Update October 2017** Still not sure about going with Bluehost? They’re always working on bettering the customer’s experience! I just received this email from them, reassuring me that I made the right choice for my host.
“We have improved our product:
- Upgraded servers that allow for better uptime and improved customer load times
- Simplified onboarding to make creating a website fast and simple
- Updated our dashboard tools to make designing and managing websites easier
- Integrated closer with WordPress which allows Bluehost customers to Single Sign On (SSO) to WP-Admin from their hosting dashboard”
I’m learning this whole blogging thing as I go too so if you have any questions, please let me know!
I’ve been Googling and researching all kinds of WordPress solutions so I may have already an answer for you.
4. Launch your blog!
Now that you have a domain all registered and ready to rock, launch your blog!
It’s your chance to grace the internet with your presence. Write what you know, write what you love and put your personal spin on it.
The internet is full of millions of things but you’re the only you.
Your perspective and voice are different than anyone else’s so let your blog be as unique as you are!
Questions, comments, need help? Please let me know! I’d love to help or check out your new blog in action.
BONUS: I want to promote your new blog!
If you purchase your hosting through one of my Bluehost links above, forward proof of your new website (an email confirmation from Bluehost) along with your new blog’s website address to email@example.com. If you want to include a summary of what your blog is about, that would be great too.
I will share your blog on my Facebook page, on Twitter and will stumble your homepage on StumbleUpon.
I know how hard it is to get your new blog in front of readers and I want to help!
Check out my Affiliate Disclosure & Resources page to see what affiliates I’ve been approved for (before my blog was even 2 months old!) and resources I use to manage and run Lazy Sundays.
******Important Note: If you want to use Pinterest to promote your new blog (which you definitely should!!), I highly, recommend Pinteresting Strategies by Carly Campbell from Mommy on Purpose. (Read all about it here. Amazing success stories!)
She personally tested tons of strategies and through trial and error, put together a plan that gains her more and more page views to her blog everyday (100-200,000 page views per month!!). This plan was just implemented on Lazy Sundays’ Pinterest page and I can already tell it will make a huge difference. Read this post about how I had a pin go viral using this strategy. Definitely worth the very small investment if you want to gain visitors to your blog from Pinterest!******