Updated for 2018 as I’ve just come across a great deal for a domain name and hosting – read on….
Do you want to start a blog of your own?
I have a rule here on my blog that I don’t blog about blogging but seeing as rules are meant to be broken, I’m breaking it today. I’m breaking it to share some advice on how to make a website/blog because two lovely ladies have emailed me this week to ask me how they would set up a blog of their own.
It’s actually a question I get asked quite often so I thought I’d share my top tips to help you set up a blog of your own on here so I can (a) go into more detail than I would in an email and (b) have somewhere to direct people to when they ask me in future.
What I would say before I start though is that although I’ve been blogging for six years myself, I am by no means an expert. Honestly, I think it’s actually quite hard to be a blogging expert because things change so quickly but I do know a few things that will help you set up a blog of your very own….
Step One – Before you set up a blog think about what it’s going to be about.
My biggest piece of advice here would be to choose something you’re going to enjoy writing about and not something you think will make you money or get you the most reviews. I’ve seen blogs set up that seem to focus on that before they have the readers or the content and it’s usually so obvious that it puts me off as a reader. My blog was set up because of a few things that happened in my life that made me want to record all of our memories but it was also at a time when we were trying to save money so I could reduce my hours at work. The Diary of a Frugal Family is a combination of family life and money saving ideas – both of which I love writing about which I hope comes across when people read.
A good old brainstorming session will help you here if you don’t have a clear idea – get out your notepad and a pen and just write everything that comes in to your head that you would like to blog about.
Step Two – Blogger or WordPress?
Next you need to decide whether you’re going to use Blogger or WordPress as your blogging platform (there are others but these are the two main ones. I started on Blogger but ended up changing to WordPress because there’s so much more you can do to customise the look and feel of your blog. It was a massive hassle changing from Blogger to WordPress so personally, I’d recommend you start with WordPress to save yourself the almost inevitable hassle in future.
Step Three – Choose your hosting provider
When I decided to set up a blog of my own, I chose to go self hosted straight away because I know that I wanted maximum control and the ability to monetize it in future if I wanted to. I’m really pleased I did because again, doing something at the start when you’re setting up your blog makes life so much easier. Bluehost have a deal on at the moment which is just $2.95 a month to get set up INCLUDING your domain name so if you do fancy giving it a go then this is the time to do it! If you miss the $2.95 deal then the price goes up to $3.95 which is still amazing!
Step Four – Choose and buy your domain name
Now you know what your blog is going to be about and who your host is going to be, you can start searching for your domain name. I always buy my domain name from my host as it’s easier to set up in my opinion if it’s all through the same company as it’s definitely easier that way. I’m pretty sue I look like some sort of crazy domain name collector as I have a fair few that I’ve bought when I’ve had a good idea and they’re just sitting there waiting for some attention! My one piece of advice here would be to choose a domain name that describes your blog and also one that will grow with you. Have a look and see what’s available….
Step Five – Install WordPress
I’m not sure about all hosting providers but I know that both BlueHost and TSOHost give you the option to install WordPress on to your newly bought domain with just one or two clicks. If I remember rightly it was super easy to do (it must have been if I did it) and it took no time at all to do.
Here’s a great video on how to install WordPress using BlueHost:
(This isn’t sponsored but the lovely people at websitesetup.org have made the video exclusively for you guys)
Step Six – Make your blog look nice and pretty
When you set up a blog, the way it looks is probably very important to you and to your readers so this bit will probably take up more of your time than any other thing you do. You can customise your blog’s appearance by going to the appearance section in WordPress. There are lots of themes to choose from for free and you can customise each one in different ways. This is a bit of a suck it and see kind of exercise as you’ll probably change your mind about ten times and you won’t know exactly what you want until you’ve created it! You can buy themes to install too and there are free ones available online (google free wordpress themes). I’ve recently installed a PipDig theme on Meal Planning made Easy and it literally took two minutes.
Step Seven – Think Social Media!
Social Media is a great way to get your blog out there for people to see and even if you’re not ready to dive right in to them all right away then it’s a great idea to set up an account for you and your blog on all of the main networks. I did this when I started out to make sure that I had a streamlined social media presence using the same names. I have an account on Twitter, Facebook, a Facebook page, Pinterest, G+, YouTube, Tumblr, Snapchat, Stumble Upon and Instagram although I rarely use any other than Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.
To be honest, Pinterest is my big traffic driver and I’ve written my lovely e-course ‘Pinterest Made Easy‘ which will definitely help if you want to try and mirror that success.
Once you’ve done all this then you’re ready to start filling your lovely blog with great content which is the key to running a successful blog
I’ve shared a post here about how to make money blogging so once you’re up and running, have a read here.
If you’re a blogger, what’s your top piece of advice for someone who’s just about to set up a blog of their own?
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