Hey everyone! Laura here, per usual. If you’re a regular reader, you might be wondering why I am introducing myself when I am the only writer at cleanchefmessymom! Well, that’s because today I am super lucky to have an amazing guest post on my site… and now you’re wondering who it is. It’s the one and the only love of my life, amazing husband, and father to my baby. And why am I having him write? Well, over the last few weeks I have had dozens of you reach out to me asking how I turned my blog into a full time business. I know you really want the nitty-gritty monetization tips, but in order to even work with those tips, you need to know how to set up a blog. Daniel will discuss this, but one thing people often misunderstand is how blogging as a business works. If you really want to make money, there’s only so much you can do with “blogging” platforms such as blogspot, wordpress.com, and Wix. If you really want to build your blog into a business, you need to learn how to build it and host it yourself! And that’s where my knowledge ends, so without wasting any more time, here is my husband and tech expert.
Hi everyone! Daniel here. I’m Laura’s behind-the-scenes technical guy–and also husband. If you ask Laura, she’ll say I am her partner in crime! Over the years quite a few people have asked Laura how to start their own website and blog. So I thought I’d give a quick overview of how to get up and running.
Starting a blog is easier today than ever before. And although I know code and have made some significant modifications to cleanchefmessymom, a huge amount can be accomplished without knowing any code at all. So if that’s you and you don’t know what HTML/CSS is, rest assured–you can still build an amazing blog!
In this article I’ve broken down the get-started-blogging process into six easy steps. The process is pretty straight forward, especially if you already know what you want for your site.
1. Choose a Blogging Platform (WordPress)
There are a lot of blogging platforms out there, but the choice is very simple. If you want to create a blog focused on creating killer content, WordPress is the best way to go. (Note: I’m referring to the WordPress software on a self-hosted server, not the free wordpress.com blog you may or may not be familiar with).
WordPress powers over 25% of the entire internet, and up to 60% of all “Content Management Systems” (CMS). There are also well over 10,000 themes available for WordPress to style your blog, and over 44,000 plugins to customize how it works.
The options are nearly endless!
Not only that, but WordPress has been around as far back as 2003 and is extremely reliable.
2. Find a Host (Bluehost)
Now that we’ve decided to use WordPress, it’s time to decide where to host it. It’s true that you can host WordPress for free at wordpress.com but we do not recommend that route. You will not have full functionality or the ability to fully customize your blog. And it will also have an unfriendly domain name of www.yourdomain.wordpress.com.
The way to go is what is called a “self-hosted” blog.
The “host” is the company with dedicated computers that provide your WordPress blog to the internet. Our recommended provider is Bluehost. We’ve used them for years for various websites including cleanchefmessymom.com and my business website leansmarts.com.
Bluehost has even been recommended by WordPress.org (the WordPress Foundation website) since 2005! The installation process is super easy, with a 1-click easy WordPress installation, and hosting prices can be as low as $2.95 a month!
Click here to check out what they have to offer.
Bluehost Pricing Options
3. Pick a Domain Name
Your domain name is the name of your website. For example, Laura’s domain is “cleanchefmessymom.com”.
There are other domain extensions than “.com” like .us, .org, .co, and others. Many of these other extensions are picking up in popularity. However, we are still partial to “.com” websites for our businesses. We prefer not to have a domain name that is unconventional to our readers, and .com continues to be the most widely-recognized extension.
Your domain name has to be one-of-a-kind. This means that if someone else has already registered it, you will have to search for another name.
You can search for available domain names during the Bluehost checkout process. Or you can do your research in advance using a website like https://instantdomainsearch.com/.
Bluehost Domain Search
Here’s a few tips for choosing your domain name:
- The shorter the better
- Make it easy to type
- Avoid numbers and hyphens
- Make it memorable
4. Install WordPress
Installing WordPress with Bluehost is very simple… as simple as one click! Once you’ve signed up with Bluehost you will have a login to your Bluehost server. This is like the behind-the-scenes area of your website. There’s a lot of buttons and options inside Bluehost, so to make it simple just follow the steps in this video.
Install WordPress on Bluehost
If you’ve just followed those steps, congratulations! You’ve successfully installed WordPress.
You can login to your WordPress dashboard by going to www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin/. This is where you will customize your WordPress installation, create awesome content, and much more!
5. Choose a Theme
Your new WordPress installation is very basic, but now is the fun part: making it look awesome! To do this there are thousands of themes to choose from. If you’re on a budget, you can use many of the free themes available through the WordPress search engine.
WordPress Theme Search Engine
If you’re looking for a theme design that is more specific you will likely have to purchase a paid theme. Laura and I are both fans of themes that run on the “Genesis Framework” provided by StudioPress. I use the Aspire theme for leansmarts if you want to see what that looks like! (**Note that you cannot use many themes without a framework, so you will need both. We recommend this route).
What’s great about Genesis themes is that they are built from the ground-up to be robust and SEO (search engine optimization) friendly.
If you fall in love with one of the themes created by StudioPress please note that you will need to purchase both the Genesis Framework and the theme you’ve fallen in love with. They work together to create the beautiful results you see at Lean Smarts or Clean Chef Messy Mom.
6. Add Content and Customize Your Theme
Adding content to your blog is very easy. There are “posts” and “pages.” A post is what comes up in your blogroll. For example, Laura’s posts contain recipes and lifestyle articles. A page is typically something like an About or Contact page.
The menu on the left inside your WordPress admin dashboard will take you to your Posts or Pages. Creating new content is very simple. Knowledge of coding is not required. You can add images, format text, include bullet lists, and more. If you do know code, you can, of course, use that as well to make changes that aren’t supported by your theme. Learning those tricks over time will help you customize your blog to do exactly what you want it to!
Creating A Post In WordPress
Customizing your theme can be done from the “Appearance” menu inside the WordPress dashboard. Depending on the theme that you are using, many design elements of your blog can be customized from the “Customize” submenu. You can change colors, fonts, images, and more all to your liking.
Also, since you did get a self-hosted blog with Bluehost, you will also have the capability to edit the design code if you ever need to–something that cannot be done with a free blog at wordpress.com.