So you wanna start a blog, eh? Eeeeeeexcellent! Today, we're going to get you up and running in ONE day. No more excuses. Time to GIT 'ER DONE! (That was spoken in a hick accent as I slapped my dirty jean covered knee, incase you couldn't tell.)
I may or may not have multiple personalities today.
Ehem!!! ANYWAY. Get ready to work with laser focus. You CAN get an awesome blog up in one day, and you will.The first 4 steps in this tutorial will get your blog up and running TODAY using Wordpress as your platform and should take an hour or less, while steps 5-7 will make your blog all purdy and customized. So grab your favorite beverage, get into some comfy clothes, have your favorite snack food near by and turn on some motivational music (or no music if that does it for you!) Let's do this.
Before we begin your one day blog launch, it's important that you have a little bit of pre-planning done first. You will already want to know your ideal reader, what main topics you want to cover, the type of content you will create, your blog's overall purpose (check out how to define your blog's purpose here), and a clear picture of your branding. (Check out 10 steps to create a kick-ass brand here!) After you have figured out all of the above, you will want to choose a blog name (and make sure that it's available!)
Here's a cute little cheat sheet to help you with your preplanning, because smiley faces make everything more fun right? (Hahaha!) Click here to download it!
Have you done all that yet? Good, NOW you're ready to begin!
1. Purchase your domain name.
Head on over to a site like GoDaddy (that's what I use), and purchase your domain name. Your domain name is your site's address (for example mine is www.wonderlass.com). Think of it as the street address for where your blog lives. ;) A lot of people recommend buying your domain name separate from your hosting because it provides an extra layer of security, so for hosting I like BlueHost, but we'll get to that in a minute!
2. Choose a host.
Once you'vepurchased your domain name it's time to get set up with your host! I like BlueHost because they have great customer support and an easy one click install for Wordpress. No matter who you go with, make sure to check out reviews! You want a host with great reviews, is super secure and has minimal downtime. (Crashed websites, lost files and website hacking are all things that will make you very sad.) BlueHost is also one of the least expensive options. Other options include SquareSpace (mid-range expensive) and WPEngine (most expensive.)
HOT TIP: Always have a system in place to get regular backups of your blog. Losing all your content from some horrible catastrophe would be a total disaster! ProPhoto (which is the template that I use for my blog which I'll cover in step 5) includes an awesome backup feature. BlueHost also offers a Site Backup Pro option for about $20/year. Don't skimp on this ... think of it as health insurance for your blog! Should your blog get into a horrific accident, you'll want it to be covered. :P
3. Change your nameservers.
If you purchased your domain name with GoDaddy and your hosting via BlueHost, then you'll need to edit your nameservers. (If you purchased both your domain name and hosting from the same place then you can skip this step!) This sounds way scarier than it actually is, but even I have done it many times before! When in doubt, you can always contact your host's customer support to help you! (I have also done this many times before. Ha!)
- When you sign up with BlueHost you'll get a nice little welcome e-mail with all your account information and helpful resources. Go on, go check your inbox! I'll wait. Do you see it? Good, now open it! On the righthand side you'll notice your account information, and underneath that you'll see 'nameserver 1' and 'nameserver 2.' See them? Great! We'll come back to those in a second ...
- Now log into your GoDaddy account and click on 'my account' and then 'launch.'
Now click on your domain name and you'll see all sorts of info including nameserver 1 and nameserver 2. Click on 'I have a specific nameservers for my domains.' Now, simply replace the text in 'nameserver 1' with the nameserver 1 text in your BlueHost welcome e-mail, and do the same thing for 'nameserver 2.' Then click okay.
BAM!!!! Done. That wasn't so scary right? Go on, take a sip of your favorite beverage or grab a handful of your favorite snack before continuing.
4. Install Wordpress.
Alright, you've officially got your domain name and hosting! Now the REAL fun can begin- getting your actual BLOG set up. Woo hoo!
- Using your login info found inside of the welcome e-mail from BlueHost, log into your BlueHost account. Click "hosting" from the top menu and then click the "Wordpress" icon found underneath the website area.
- Click the "install" button.
- Select your domain name and click the "check domain" button.
- Check the "I have read the terms ..." blah blah blah option and then click "install now."
- Wait until the process is done, usually about 2-5 minutes. Feel free to use this time to get up, do a nice stretch and to go kiss your pet (if you have one!)
- Once it's finished, click the "view processes" link from the top menu and click "view credentials." See that admin URL? That's where you will log into your brand new, shiny Wordpress blog!!!! Yeeeee haw! I bookmark this URL on my computer for super easy access. Also be sure to save your username and password!
5. Install a theme to make your blog purdy.
Now for some FUN! It's time to do the "interior decorating" of your blog to make it all spiffy. When it comes to blog design, you've got lots of lovely options! You can hire some one to do all the design work for you, you can use a free theme OR you can purchase a template to customize yourself. For mine, I purchased an awesome template from ProPhoto and then customized every nook and cranny myself to fit with my brand. ProPhoto is awesome because their templates look amazing all on their own, and making customizations to them is very easy (no scary coding nonsense is required!) Their templates are a bit of an investment but worth it. If you DO go that route, they provide detailed instructions on how to install their themes and customize them, so I won't do that here.
Wordpress also offers lots of themes for free. To use one of their free themes simply log into your Wordpress dashboard and go to Appearance > Themes > Install themes and search through all your options until you find one that you like!
You can also check out this list of 42 of the best (and free!) themes for Wordpress!
Regardless of what design route you choose, take the time to customize your chosen template or theme to fit with your brand! I recommend creating a style guide for your blog where you keep track of the colors, fonts and all design elements that you'll be using for brand consistency. You'll want to use these design elements not just on your blog, but across all your branding materials!
HOP TIP: Check out these 10 Blog Design Do's and Don'ts by Amy Lynn Andrews
6. Get some fabulous images for your blog!
The photos you use on your blog (in your posts, your side bar, your bio photo etc) are IMPORTANT ya'll. And I'm not just saying that because I'm a photographer! Awesome eye candy photos will increase the shareability of your blog online and keep people coming back for more. You can take them yourself, hire a photographer, illustrate your own elements, hire an illustrator or use stock photography + graphic elements. If you are capable of taking your own kick-ass photos I recommend that route because that way they are customized to suit your brand and no one else will have them! If you aren't feeling the camera love, you could also hire a photographer to take some sweet photos for you!
Speaking of stock photos, you can grab 15 stock photos for FREE that I shot with my own two hands by clicking on the pink button below! (Fact; I LOVE taking stock photos!)
If you'd like to use some stock photography, here's a few different options:
MORE FREE OPTIONS ...
- PicJumbo - Pixabay
- Death to the Stock Photo
- Life of Pix
- Kaboom Pics
- Fancy Crave
- Skitter Photo
- Flickr Creative Commons
INEXPENSIVE STOCK PHOTOS
HIGH-END (MEGA EYE CANDY) STOCK PHOTOS
HOT TIP: Pay attention to what images you love (and what are popular) on other blogs and sites like Pinterest!
7. Customize your blog by adding plugins!
Plugins are like special features for your blog- they're little goodies that will make your blog extra custom and functional! For example, when you see me add a tweetable within a blog post that's a plugin called 'Click to Tweet.' As you browse through other blogs on the internet you might notice nifty little features that you want to include on your own! Some examples of common uses for plugins are:
- A way to sell products and services on your site
- Adding custom fonts to your blog's theme- Social media integration in your sidebar
- Integrating Google Analytics and SEO
- A rollover "pin it' button to encourage people to pin your images to Pinterest
ISN'T THIS SO MUCH FUN?!
Okay, you've completed all these steps (right?!) CONGRATULATIONS! That means you've got a brand spank'in new blog up on the internet! Now it's time to start writing, yo.
Also, if your goal is to turn your blog into a profitable online business then you're definitely gonna want to check out my FREE e-mail mini course! Get your blog started with a strong foundation, grow your traffic and get engaged subscribers on your e-mail list, baby.
Got any questions related to getting your blog up and running? Ask away, my friends! Have any helpful resources that you love? Share away!
And now ... time for some chocolate.