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So, you want to start a blog?! Wonderful! Blogging has become a wonderful resource for individuals to connect, inspire, and even bring in some extra cash. Stay-at-Home Moms are making a living with their blogs; allowing them to be home with their children, spend more time as a family, and save serious dough on childcare. It really has become an amazing phenomena and I am so happy you are ready to start your blogging-venture!
If you are new to blogging, there may be some terms you find confusing and need some clarification on. One of the biggest questions is whether to go with the Free WordPress.com Hosting Service or with a Self-Hosted WordPress.org site. Web hosting, although often overlooked, is a huge factor in your website’s success. There is a huge difference between the two, and I want you to be completely clear on the differences. I had no idea how much the two differed when I started and I really wish I had!
With the Free WordPress.com Hosting Service your site will be totally maintained for you. You will not have to worry about coding and maintenance and will have access to great support once you sign up for a custom domain. The custom domain is only about $23/yr so it is totally worth it. On the flip-side, you will have limited theme design options, no access to plug-ins, and very limited monetization. Monetization is how you are going to bring in income from your blog, so it is a pretty important feature to have. And, with limited theme design options, you may end up with a site that looks the same as another; it happened to me and I was very discouraged.
With a Self-Hosted site you will have freedom to control your blog how you wish. Granted, you have to pay for it, but you have the ability to monetize however you please, full access to plug-ins, and can pick from thousands of themes. Some are free, some are not; but either way you will be able to really make your brand stand out. Since the Self-Hosted WordPress is not part of a network, like the Free-Hosted version, you will also be responsible for creating your own traffic.
As you can see, the two are very, very different. And, if you are serious about your blog and want to see where it can take you financially, you need to sign up for the Self-Hosted WordPress. It may seem scary, the concept of controlling your own website, but there are so many online tutorials (including this one); if I can do it you can do it!
Unless you are a professional web developer and coder, you will need a hosting provider for your WordPress site. I absolutely recommend Bluehost; they are my favorite hosting company! They are the official “WordPress” recommended provider and know WordPress like no other. You will have access to amazing 24/7 customer support and will never worry about your site running slow. Their hosting service starts as low as $3.49/mo; that is an amazing deal! My package came with a free domain and SSL Certificate as well; normally a $49.99 value. No one powers WordPress better than Bluehost.
Bluehost makes installation and set-up so easy, it can literally be done in 5 minutes. Although they will guide you through the process, I wanted to provide you with guidance as well. You can never have too many resources. So, let’s get you started on building your website and the first step towards blogging success!
First, go to the Bluehost Homepage at www.bluehost.com. Click on “get started now” to start the sign-up process.
Next, you will be presented with the “Plans and Pricing” option. I did the Plus Plan, it came with the free domain and the SSL Certificate. The Prime Plan is a great value as well.
After selecting your plan, you will have the option of choosing your own domain name or registering one you already have. Since I started out on WordPress.com, I already had a domain name. If you already have a domain name you will need to change the name servers on your account. This is very simple and Bluehost and your hosting site can show you exactly how to do t. I would recommend taking the time beforehand to think of a domain name that really stands out to you. I would also suggest keeping your blog site and domain name the same; this makes is easier for people to find you.
Once you have your domain name, fill out your account information.
After your account information is entered, select your package information. You have the option to pay for one, two, or three years of service in advance. The only add-on I opted for was the Domain Privacy Protection. You do not need the SiteLock Security if you are not selling anything directly from your site. If you do not have the extra cash to throw down on the three year plan; just go for the one year price. That’s what I did.
Once you have selected your package plan and add-ons, enter in your payment information to finish the process. Check that you agree to the Bluehost terms and click “submit”.
Once your payment has gone through, you will receive an email with your log-in and account information. Log in to your account and go to your cpanel (control panel).
After you select “Install WordPress” you will be prompted to choose the domain you want to use. Select your domain and click “next” to continue.
Once the installation finishes, follow the steps to finish the process and receive your log-in info. Once it completes, you will be asked if you want to “Select Your Theme”. If you click the link, you will be brought to the Mojo Marketplace where you can navigate through design themes. You can choose your theme right away or later. If you choose to do it immediately, you can navigate through the different types of themes based on niche, styles, and price.
I selected the Daisy Theme; I absolutely love it! It is simple, clean, and if you have questions you can ask the developer and they will respond ASAP. It also gives you the option to add your own logo at the top of your site, which I really loved.
*Once you select your theme, you will be asked if you want any add-ons (see picture above). I did not opt for any; it was very easy to just upload my theme to WordPress.
That’s it! All done! To visit your site you will head to Yourdomainname.com/wp-admin. Use your log-in details you received after WordPress finished installing to access the dashboard so you can start customizing and setting up your site.
You have just completed the first step in making your blog a successful business! Do you feel amazing?! I hope so!! Good Luck! And, please reach out to me if you have any questions at all; I love helping out. You can reach me at Nicole@Livelovedrinkwine.com. Thank you!!
Nicole lives with her husband and son in North Carolina. They have another bundle of joy on the way as well! Nicole enjoys cooking, traveling, spending time as a family, and working with animals. She also loves dance parties, red wine, Disney movies, and dolphins.