The toughest part of blogging so far for myself was taking the initial plunge into blogging and just doing it. I had dreams of being a blogger, and many post ideas, but not knowing how or where to begin was my biggest challenge. If you are thinking of creating a blog, and have decided that it is a world that you would like to be a part of, DO IT! First you’ll need a domain and hosting. You could go for a free option like blogger, but if you ever want to monetize your blog, you’ll need a self-hosted one. Self-hosted means that you own the domain that you use, and pay for a hosting plan to keep your blog on the internet. Here’s how to get started with a self-hosted blog:
Domain, Hosting, and WordPress–Oh my!
I personally use Bluehost, and I absolutely would recommend them to anyone looking for a domain and hosting, as it’s all-inclusive and very simple to navigate. There are 3 plans that Bluehost offers: Basic, Plus, and Prime. Which plan do you need, you ask? Well, the basic plan has everything that I need for blogging. I may upgrade my hosting plan later if I find that I need the extra storage space, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.
Next, you’ll need to think of a domain name. What are you going to call your blog? Your domain name should be easy to remember, and should be related to your vision for the blog. I took an embarrassingly long time to decide on my blog/domain name, but I wanted to make sure that:
- My domain was available.
- I could create a page on Facebook for my blog that had a unique name.
- The twitter handle was available.
- The domain name resembled my vision for the blog.
The next page you come to will ask for your information. Keep in mind that to get the best price on your desired hosting plan, you will have to pay for 36 months up front. You’ll also have some other options such as privacy protection, site backup pro, and search engine jumpstart. When you’re finished here, click submit and move on to the next step.
Congrats! You’ve just purchased a domain and hosting plan! What’s great about Bluehost is that your next step is made extremely easy: installing WordPress. There is an option for 1-click installation from your Bluehost dashboard, that’s the one you want.
Installing a Blog Theme
You may think that after you purchase a domain, hosting plan, and install WordPress on your new blog, you’re nearly done. Nope! You need to install a theme for your blog. A theme will dictate how your blog’s layout appears and which features are compatible. There are plenty of free themes available from WordPress, but I would suggest a premium theme if you plan on monetizing your blog. Premium themes come with awesome pre-installed features like widgets and are able to be customized to make them perfect for whatever it is that you are blogging for. I highly recommend purchasing Genesis Framework a premium theme to make customizing your blog simple and painless.
If you’re absolutely new to the Genesis Framework, I’d recommend reading this simple tutorial: Click here to download The Genesis Guide for Absolute Beginners (PDF – 1.4 MB)
Genesis Framework allows you to customize your theme without having to know how to code. Imagine your new blog or website is a person, Genesis Framework would be the bones and your theme would be the skin. Genesis Framework is definitely worth the price, especially for those who are like me and don’t know too much about programming and coding.
Some of my favorite premium themes that are also available from StudioPress include:
Foodie Pro Theme
Pretty Chic Theme
Glam Pro Theme
And for e-commerce I really like Jessica Theme
I currently use a premium theme made by Pretty Darn Cute Design. Pretty Darn Cute Design has some of my favorite premium themes because they are all aesthetically pleasing and built on the Genesis Framework. You have to purchase the Genesis Framework separately, but it is SO worth it to have a professional-looking web site in just a few minutes. The Fun theme and the Happy theme, pictured below, are two of my personal favorites.
Once you’ve purchased and installed your theme, you can activate it by clicking ‘activate’ in the theme section of the WordPress dashboard. That’s it, you are now ready to start adding content to your new blog/web site! Be sure to e-mail me with your URL for your new blog, I’d love to see what you’ve created!