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So you want to start a blog. That’s great! What took you so long? Some people look at blogging and think, “I don’t have the time,” or “I don’t have the content to sustain a blog.” While the ins and outs of a self hosted website can be very technical and scary to some, there are various sites like Tumblr, WordPress, and Blogspot to help you create your site. And the content? That’s your job!
For us, blogging is one of our main hobbies. It’s always been full of learning, allows us to be expressive, creative, and we get to spend time together making awesome meals.
I get to have fun taking photos, experimenting with lighting, Photoshop, and flex the skills I developed working in television production. I’ve also learned a lot about basic coding needed for our site. Fatima loves to style our photos. She is THE best and continues to elevate our brand. She loves to tell stories around cooking and this is the perfect avenue for her. Our blog has become our main side hustle and we love putting the work into it.
But where do you start?!
Pick a Niche
Are you sharing cooking, fashion, or business experiences? Will it be about your adventures in your hometown or your travels from around the world? It can be anything you want, it’s your blog! Once you identify the space that will inspire your content creation, it’s time to start gathering all the pieces to build your blog.
Buy Your Domain Name
What’s in a [domain] name? Now that you’ve identified your niche, you need a name. Naming a blog can be the task that holds you back from completing this guide in 15 minutes. I thin You want to try to find a name that’s not already taken so your domain name can be as clean as possible.
There are many places to buy a domain name. You should check out Bluehost, they’ve been fantastic. We’ve been a customer for many years.
Finding a domain name is simple. Bluehost makes it easy to combine the domain you want and their hosting services into one package.
We spent at least a week trying to come up with a name. The name had to be unique to us and could evolve as we grew older. We eventually came up with Lilies and Loafers = Fatima’s love of lilies and my desire to always wear boat shoes 24/7, 365 days a year.
Once you pick a name, then you can get started on the framework for your site (*cough* WordPress *cough*).
Build a Blog
This is fun part. It’s sort of like Build-A-Bear. You get to customize pretty much everything and you’ll end up putting your whole heart into it. Like domain and hosting packages, there are many platforms to choose from. We’ve loved WordPress ever since we switched. In the beginning, we were on Blogger. It was a little clunky for us when it came to customization and formatting. We experimented being on Tumblr, but it was WordPress that stole our hearts.
Before you build, you need choose your hosting package. If you took our advice and went with Bluehost, then take a minute to look at their plans.
When you’re starting out, a basic plan is always the best way to go. With hosting, you pay in advance for a specific amount of time. The more time you select the better deal you get. Pick a plan that’s right for you and your budget. You can always upgrade when your blog takes off!
If you went with Bluehost, great! Then your WordPress install will be super easy. We’ll break it down for you:
Login to your Bluehost cPanel. This is your blog’s back-end command center.
Once you’re logged in, go click on “One-Click Installs” in the Website section (pictured below). This will take you to the Mojo Marketplace.
When the marketplace loads, you’ll notice a menu at the top. One of those items is called “One-Click Installs.” A menu will drop down and you’ll see “WordPress.” Click on that.
The rest is as easy as pie. Click “Get Started” and you’ll begin the WordPress installation process!
You made it! Now it’s time to pick your site’s theme. This is my favorite part about setting up a blog.
There are a million themes out there; both paid and free. WordPress offers free themes to get you started. Load one of those and play around with it. A paid theme will give you more of the customization you might be looking for down the line.
Once you’ve picked a theme, it’s time to set up your site. You’ll want to add pages, categories, plugins, and logo. Your first few pages will include: About Me and Contact. As your blog grows, add more pages: Advertising, FAQ, Shop, etc.
Write Your First Post
How exciting!? What will you write about? Whatever it is, make sure you are aware of a few things:
- Write a catchy title.
- Include a cover photo.
- Additional pictures, infographics, and videos are great to include in your post.
- Let your personality shine.
- Reread the post.
- Reread the post, again.
- Spell check, spell check, spell check!
- Tag your post with appropriate tags.
- Double check you have your post in the right categories.
- Post immediately or schedule for later!
YOU DID IT! Congratulations on launching your blog! That wasn’t so hard, was it?
Next Action Steps
- If you’re not using your personal social profile for your blog, go out and secure all the social handles for your blog name.
- Curate and grow two of these social sites into rock stars.
- Find a writing/posting schedule that works for you and post consistently. This will help grow your readership.
- Find a bunch of useful plugins to keep your site running smoothly and to help customize your site.
We hope you enjoyed this tutorial. If you just started a blog and published your first post, please comment below!