In Part 1 of my series How I Started My Blog you figured out what you wanted to write about and what you were going to name it. Those of course are very important steps to take and it’s good to be sure of your name and subject matter. Then you checked to see if your domain name (Allthingspickle.com in our example) was available for purchase and it was. Now it time for Step 3.
Registering a domain and picking a hosting company can be quick and easy when you go with Blue Host.com where the domain registration is free. That is what I did. I use BlueHost for numerous reasons. It’s VERY easy to use, it was highly recommended by other bloggers and it has WordPress (blogging software) already installed on their servers. First you pick your domain name, register it (for free) and then install WordPress which is all part of Blue Host’s package. It’s very inexpensive for all that you get and you can always upgrade in the future. At this time I believe new customers get a price of $3.49/month which is an excellent price. Of course this is what I did but you can always find other places to host your site. Now on to Step 4.
Let’s back up a bit and talk about your blogging platforms. I use Word Press. It is the industry standard and has so much flexibility. Now don’t get confused with the free WordPress.net. You want Word Press.com (which is part of your Bluehost account if you went that route). Now let’s walk through the process on BlueHost.
- Login into BlueHost.com and scroll down to Software/Services
- Locate WordPress icon and click.
- Click on button “Install brand new version”
- Complete installation. BlueHost.com has many help options. You can chat, call or email if you have problems.
Now you are ready to use WordPress. It takes some time to learn how to use this software but it is very powerful. You download themes and plugins to help you design and run it efficiently. There are MANY free resources and articles on how to use WordPress.
- 25 WordPress Tips by The Flourishing Abode.com. They have many visual aids to help you understand the various menus and screens of WordPress.
- 10 Steps to getting Started on WordPress by White Lights on Wednesday.com
- This is a Pinterest Board of 30 short videos on WordPress by the The URL Dr.com. You can watch the videos right from Pinterest.
- This is my Pinterest Board of all the blogging articles I like. If you use Pinterest it might be a good idea to start your own board to gather information and even inspiration for your own blog.
- Holly Homer Blogging Videos on YouTube.com
Now that you have your site all ready to go, you will have to pick a theme for WordPress. There are hundreds of free themes available and you can look them up right in WordPress. I fooled around with a few at the beginning and then decided to buy one. It cost less around $99 and it was made for food blogs. (Actually it is called Foodie.) But for the first 6 months I used the free ones until I figured out just want I wanted out of a theme. There are lots and lots of articles about the best themes to use so I would suggest playing around with the free ones and if you aren’t getting everything you want out of that, move on to StudioPress Themes for WordPress and the Genesis Framework. Their prices are reasonable and they have some beautiful themes to pick from.
As you are building your WordPress site, you will come across plugins. Plugins help you do all sorts of things from SEO to database backup to adding social media buttons. Again most are free but you do have to pay for some. I haven’t yet.
One thing that I have done a lot was to keep track of my favorite looking blogs and then head to WP Theme Detector . Just put in the url of a blog you like and then you will see what theme and plugins they are using. This might help you even in the beginning when you are picking a theme so go check it out.
From here on in it’s all customization of your site and learning the tricks of the trade as far as posting, photography and social media is concerned. There are so many wonderful resources on the web that I think you will have no problem finding answers to your questions but feel free to ask me if you want. I’ll help you in any way I can.
Good luck and blog on!