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Blogging 101: How to Set up a WordPress Blog

Do you want to start a blog but are unsure how to begin? Perhaps you know so little that you are afraid you will pick the wrong platform or do something incorrectly? Maybe you just need someone to go through the steps with you? Maybe you would like to hear someone’s story to give you confidence? Regardless of your reason or question, I am here to help.

For all my soon to be blogging friends, please know that I am cheering you on. To help in your journey I am writing a new series which will cover topics for the beginner blogger, titled Blogging 101.

SIX STEPS TO STARTING A WORDPRESS BLOG:

THE FIRST STEP in starting a blog is deciding what to NAME YOUR BLOG. Lets face it, there are so many blogs and websites out there that many are already taken. This is where a little creativity and a friend or two can come in handy. I find that the easiest way to find out if a dot-com is available is to see if you can buy the domain. I mean, that is the point, isn’t it? I bought my domain name HERE. You can do a search to see if the name you like is available. If it is, this will also show you how much it will be to purchase that URL. I recommend buying it per year, but they will offer several options. When I first bought my URL I bought it for five years because I knew I wasn’t ready to develop it yet. Now that I have developed it and am using it all of the time I just renewed it for one year.

THE SECOND STEP is to GET HOSTING FOR YOUR BLOG. There are several options for this, you can host directly with Word Press or with Blue Host, however, I purchased my hosting with Blue Host. It was fairly inexpensive and pretty straight forward, again, I purchased my hosting plan for one year. I have been told that it is better to not put your eggs all in one basket, and that it is better for the business to get a different host, rather than going with the same as your platform.

You may be wondering why you need hosting? Well, a host is a company who has a computer running around the clock and keeps your site up and running 24/7. Basically, your host will put your content out into the world for you. Everyone needs a Host!

THE THIRD STEP is to GET WORDPRESS FOR YOUR BLOG. WordPress.org has a free platform for bloggers you can get that HERE. After you have gone through the steps you just need to activate it on your host. This is easily done by whomever you purchased your hosting services through. If that is with Go Daddy, you simply call them and their customer service does it for you right there on the spot. Easy Peasy!

THE FOURTH STEP is to PICK A THEME. A theme is basically a template that organizes all of your posts. Themes come in all different types and designs. Your WordPress dashboard will have free themes, which is a great starting point. There may come a time when you would like to get more of a custom theme. Finding the perfect theme is quite personal, because you will have different taste than I, and will want your website to be organized and look different from mine.

However, that being said, I wanted a shop built into my website, so I purchased my theme HERE for $49. It was a great price and did not break the bank, while giving me a professional looking site. Most professionals use Studio Press for their themes, which is the industry standard, however prices start at $99.

THE FIFTH STEP is to DESIGN YOUR SITE & CREATE A LOGO. This is the fun part! You can customize your theme with colors of your choice. Your logo can be a picture, or something as simple as script lettering, really, the sky is the limit. I hired a friend to give me professional help, however, there is a great free website HERE that many use to make their own logos. I just used it today for a little project and it was very user-friendly.

My best advice is that if you are setting your blog up to earn an income to not be afraid to hire professional help. WordPress has a monthly plan where you can call and get technical support, however it is $90 a month. Instead, I used Sarah over at SpunMonkey. Since I had seven years of posts on blogger and two different blogspots she did all of the transferring and setting up for me. She was quick, professional, and I loved her so much that I still keep her on retainer for any questions I have. Just having someone to go to has been such a life-saver and I feel that I have a safety net in place in case something goes wrong. 

THE SIXTH STEP is to WRITE & DESIGN AWAY. Now that your site is all set up let the writing and posting begin! It is fun to create graphics and actually write on your photos. There are many apps to use on your iPad or iPhone. My favorite app is Rhonna Designs because she has that crafty flair and many of my posts are DIY’s. Canva is a great one to use on a desk top computer. But I have to say that my favorite of all is PicMonkey. PicMonkey is not only easy to use but they have blank templates available to easily build any graphic. This includes long Pin’s for Pinterest as well as square templates for Instagram.

For extra help I am linking a YouTube tutorial that shows step by step how to set up a WordPress.org blog, which is what you will want to do. This is a great video for those of you who are more visual learners. I can’t wait to see your blog, please leave your new URL in the comments so I can check it out.

*The links provided in this article are for your convenience and some may be affiliate. For my full disclosure click HERE.

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