If you’re reading this then you’re probably like me a few years ago, sat wondering how to start blogging at home. In this section we're looking at how to set up a blog to get started blogging in your spare time.
Before we start I wanted to make one point clear. Blogging doesn't have to be difficult or expensive. You don't need to know the first thing about blogging, computers or even how to write any code, to start your blog.
What To Blog About
The first decision you do need to make is what you're going to be blogging about. Personally I think it's important you blog about something you're passionate about.
If you're passionate, there's a good chance you'll never get bored of writing content for your readers. What are you passionate about? Can you show people how to do something?
I blog because I am passionate about providing career advice to my students. More specifically, trying to help them find the career of their dreams. That all said, I know plenty of people that blog because of the income that it generates.
Blogging Idea's That Make Money
How To Choose A Domain
Once you've decided what you want to blog about, your next job is to think about the name of your blog and in-turn the domain name that you're going to use.
Choosing a domain name is probably the most difficult part. Your domain name is going to be associated with your blog, your email and potentially your brand for the foreseeable future.
On a personal note, I found choosing a domain name very time consuming. Over the last few months, I've bought a few domains that I thought were great names before settling on The Career Advice Guy.
Choosing A Domain Name
Pre-2000 if you wanted to create your own blog, you had use your coding skills to tell your browser what you wanted to display and how you wanted it to be displayed. This was very complicated process that involved a lot coding knowledge and programming skills that many people simply did not have.
More recently WordPress was brought onto the market and allowed users to skip the coding and head directly into creating a website that showed off their style and fantastic user content for your readers.
Today WordPress is the number one blogging platform in world. It's been downloaded over 80 million times. Bloggers use WordPress because it's free, very easy to use and requires no technical coding experience to change themes to suit your individual taste, whilst easily allowing you to write blog posts, add images or video to you blog.
WordPress.com Vs. WordPress.org
Let's Buy A Server and Domain
Once you have decided upon your domain name, you’re then going to need to buy your domain and somewhere to host your website (somewhere to keep all the files needed to run your website).
I would really suggest that you buy your domain and hosting package together in the same place as you will save money, time and it's much easier to set up and manage over the longer term.
There are lots of companies on the internet, however I would recommend that you use iPage.com. I have used iPage to host my websites over the last six years and there has never been a problem.
Their service is cheap, super fast and most important their customer service is fantastic with support via email, phone and an online chat system. They also offer a 30 day money-back guarantee and will give you a domain name for free when you register.
iPage use wordpress as one of their major website builders. They not only offer support for any problems that you may encounter, but also offer a “one click blog installation” to make the whole process easier and very fast.
The whole process of getting your website up and running, literally takes 10 minutes.
Domain Name, Hosting, Servers
Lets Get Started With iPage
Firstly you need to head over to iPage.com and click on the "get started now" button in Red as shown below.
Choose Your Domain Name
The next screen is where you're allowed to choose your domain name. You have two choices, either iPage will find and manage a domain name or if you've already bought a domain name, enter it here and iPage will associate it into your account.
If you're buying a new domain name and the name is already taken, this page will let you know and you'll need to think of an alternative.
As you can see below, I've tried to buy NickJones, however nickjones.com is already taken. I therefore have a choice, either I take nickjones.info or search for another domain.
Once you've chosen your domain name, the next screen allows you to choose the length of your plan. Remember, it's $1,99 if you choose the three year account and will remain $1,99 for the three years.
Again as mentioned above, the domain name is free, so you can have you domain and website up and running for three years for $71.64.
Customize Your Plan
The customize section is where you get to add different optional products to your server. Some are very useful, whilst others, rather expensive and totally pointless.
Below, I've provided you with a list of these products, what they actually do and made recommendations to which I think are useful, and which are totally pointless.
Domain Privacy Protection – Very simple, any information that is associated with your domain (apart from your credit card details) will be available on the internet for the world to see. If you choose privacy protection, this information will be protected. Personally I have this with my account, however its really up to you.
SiteBackUp Pro – Backing up your hard work is very important as the last thing that you want to happen is for all you hard work to be lost due to something out of your control. It's a little expensive, but the time and effort saved its well worth it. If you cannot afford the extra $36 per year, don't worry there are other ways to backup your wordpress website.
Website Security – Simply means that your Domain is secure meaning that no one will be able to take your domain a-way from you. Personally, this is not important unless you get to the stage where you have an international brand worth thousand and then hackers will likely try there best to steal your domain name to make money.
All-In-One-Bundle - This is another cracking add-on, but its very expensive for what it actually provides. Across the internet there are a selection of free wordpress themes, useful plugins and expert help is readily available. Personally I don't think its worth it.
SSL Certificate - This is something you will need if you're planning to make a full income from your blog. I'm not going into the details, but basically it's a digital certificate that authenticates the identity of a website. If you want to read more on SSL certificates, there is a great video here from Network Solutions here. Personally I think this is worth it.
G-Suite - This is the same as Gmail, but allows you to use your domain name as an email address. If you're looking for a new job and sending out your CV to hiring managers, a professional email will help. Again, I would highly recommend it.
This last screen is where you need to enter your billing information. You have a choice to either pay your credit car or by Paypal. As discussed above, I would highly recommend that you choose the Domain Privacy, the SSL Certificate and the G-Suite meaning that you'll pay $106.62 plus $5 per month for the email.
Remember, there is a 30 day Money Back Guarantee meaning that at any time during the first 30 days iPage will instantly return all your money back should you not be happy with the service.
Once you have finished entering your details, click the "Purchase Now" button on the right side to create your account.
After you have clicked the next button, you will then be asked whether you would like to have series of following options such as Quick start Coaching or Additional Domains. You can simply ignore these.
IMPORTANT - Your username and password will be emailed to you, however remember, these are too your iPage Account and not any websites that you create.
How To Setup Your WordPress Website
We're nearly there - So far, we have chosen our domain name, bought our hosting and now have our account username to your ipage account, but NO password. iPage will email you two email providing you with everything you need to set up your account.
- The two emails you'll get include an email to "Validate the Ownership of Your Domain" which you simply need to open and confirm.
- The second email you'll get is an "Order Confirmation and Login Info" that walks you through the process to set up your password.
To login, simply head over to iPage.com, head to the right, top corner and click on "login".
Now that you have both your Username and password, you can simply log in to your account and view your Cpanel.
Note - you also have the chance to sign in with your Google Account if it's linked to your iPage account.
The screen below shows my iPage Control Panel which provides a lot of information to control your server. We're not going to go through this today, but we're going to install wordpress on the server and get our website up and running.
To do this, head down the left side of the screen until you find the blue title called "Wordpress" as show in the image above.
Click on this - The next screen allows you select the domain you want to upload wordpress onto and how you want people to you see it. You're two choices are either;
- https://www.YourDomainName (Recommend Format)
If you have multiple domains attached to your account, you'll be able to see all your domain in this view. For the directory, leave this blank.
The last screen you need to fill in is your "admin information". From the image below, most if it will be filled in already, however you're welcome to change it if it doesn't suit your needs.
- Site Name or Title - What are you going to call your blog?
- Admin Email - Use the same email that you signed up to bluehost
- Admin User - This will be the username that you use to login to your website. My advice, choose a username that has no association to your blog and that way you're not giving and easy chance to any hackers that want to attack your blog.
- Admin Password - This is the password to log into your wordpress website.
Click Next. The process takes a few minutes depending on the speed of your internet. Remember, all the admin information will be sent to you via email. Make sure the email address that you add to your Admin Email Address works and you can receive emails.
Congrats You're All Done
Congratulations, you're all done. Your WordPress install is complete and you can now start designing your website and writing blog posts. Any problems, contact iPage directly and they will fix any problems you have quickly.
NOTE - We did not choose a password for your website. This is because iPage automatically does this for you which will be both emailed to you, and shown to you by hitting the "View Credentials" button as show in the above image.
Log Into WordPress
By this stage, you should have bought your domain, set up your server, set up wordpress on your server and be ready to start customizing your blog to make it exactly how you want it.
To find your blog, open a web browser and enter your domain name followed by /wp-login/.
The first time that you log into your wordpress website, it's going to look really confusing with lot's of options, buttons to press and customization settings that you need to choose.
The dashboard has been split into two distinctive areas that will be our control panel. On the left side we have the “Control Panel" that gives us the majority of options to customize our website and on the right side we have the "Dashboard" that generally provides quick links and information about our website.
Remember, this might look really complicated at first, however really its very easy and you will quickly become accustomed to what the dashboard does and where you need to go to customize your website.
There is a more advanced demonstration of the wordpress dashboard, it's features and workings located here, however below we are going to do two quick things to get you started and blogging.
Choosing A Theme
First up we're going to pick a theme that suits your style and what you want to the blog to look like. Themes can either be free or paid, however whilst we're just getting started let's add a free theme to our blog.
Adding a theme is very easy and from the control panel on the left hand side we need to press "Appearance" and then "Themes". to bring up the themes page. To add a new theme, simply press "new theme" and choose the theme that you like the look of the most from the thousands on offer as shown below.
Adding A Blog Post To Your Blog
The second thing we're going to do is to add a first blog post. To create a blog post, again head over the control panel on the left-hand side and hit "Posts" followed by "Add New" to bring up a page similar to the image below.
The above image is very simple and show's you were to put your title, how to add media such as pictures to your website, where your content needs to go and how to publish your first blog post.
A picture is worth a thousand words, but honest a video is worth a million words and you can head directly over to video instructions from Bluehost on every aspect of this set up and use.
Once you have got this far, read our next post for a more in-depth discussion on how to use WordPress and all it's features.
Frequently Asked Questions About Blogging
How Much Does It Cost To Start Blogging?
Is It Not Possible to Start Blogging For Free?
How Often Should You Be Publishing New Blog Posts?
How Long Should Your Blog Post Be?
What Pages and Post's Should My Blog Have?
What Types of Blog Posts Should You Be Writing?
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