How to Start a Blog
How did I get started blogging?
Shortly after I got married in late 2015 Riley had a job working from home doing data entry, and I was working nearly full-time on campus at the college we both went to full-time.
We were super poor (I mean super poor) we couldn’t even afford to go on date nights, stop by Starbucks for coffee, and we didn’t get to go on a honeymoon.
However for some reason I had some grand plan that we were going to both be able to work from home post graduation so we could travel full-time to figure out where we want to live, and start our family.
So I began using Pinterest, and Google to try and find a way to make money from home so we could travel, and maybe also pay down our debt, save for a house, and save for a baby.
I came across people saying “Take Surveys” or “Transcribe Audio” or “Freelance Write” so I tried it all….
I kid you not when I say after working for a month on all the above things I had made like $9.
I mean great, that’s $9 extra dollars, but that would buy me like two Starbucks coffees, not allow me to live out my blogger dreams of working from home.
But while I was looking for ways to make money on Pinterest, I started to come across pins like '“How I Made $10,000 Last Month Blogging”, and then just like you now after seeing posts like that in May 2016, I decided to bite the bullet and invest the $70 into Bluehost to start my own blog.
I thought the day after I started my personal blog SmartAndSimplistic.com in 2016 I would make $300, and to my surprise, I couldn’t even figure out how to install a theme, get people to my website, or install plug-ins.
I got so frustrated that those bloggers who were like “I make $10k per month blogging, you should try it” didn’t actually help you at all.
So I promised myself that If I ever actually figured out how to have a profitable blog, I would help other people who wanted to find a way to make money from home.
By the 7th month of blogging I had more than replaced my income and quit my job, by the 14th month my husband and I both had quit our jobs to work on my blog.
And now in 2019 I make over $30,000 each month from that little blog I started in May 2016.
So now I have decided to keep my promise to myself and share my best blogging advice so I can help people like you build blogs that will change your life.
Trust me, there is no reason I’m special I had no clue what I was doing when I started, YOU’VE GOT THIS!
What do you need to start a blog?
Don’t get scared! Like I just said you don’t need any special knowledge to blog, you don’t even really need any special technology or a lot of money!
If you don’t know what any of the things on this list are I’ll explain them all don’t worry.
To start a blog you are going to need:
an internet connection.
an email address.
a domain name.
a Pinterest account.
A Computer: The reason I say you need a computer is because for one it is almost impossible to scroll through this guide, and sign up for a blog at the same time. If you are on your phone right now copy this link, and email it to yourself so you can follow along when you get to your computer.
Also you will need to be on a computer when you are working on your blog in general writing blog posts, or editing your theme, so if you can I suggest heading over to your computer before getting started.
Domain Name: a domain name is the .com or .net people type in to get to your website.
so my domain name for this website would be taylorstanford.com
Domain Hosting: domain hosting is the engines that keep your website online. This allows for your website to be seen from other people all over the world.
Domain hosting is something you have to get from a company, the company I suggest every new blogger use is Bluehost.com
Bluehost.com installs WordPress for you, gives you a free domain name, and signing up is easier than signing up for Facebook. Plus there customer service is honestly the best in the business (in my opinion)
WordPress Installed: WordPress.com and WordPress.org are both blogging platforms that make it super easy to be a blogger.
WordPress.org is self hosted, meaning it get’s installed to the website host you sign up for, and it has your domain attached to it.
WordPress.com is NOT self hosted, so even if you pay to use it they still are hosting your website, and own your content.
WordPress.com is a website that you go to post blog posts, and you can have your own .com, however the downside of using WordPress.com is that:
You don’t own your content.
Your extremely limited in how you can monetize.
You are limited in how you can track your website growth.
You are limited in how you can design your website.
WordPress.org is self hosted which means that you will own your content, have the ability to monetize, have the ability to design and track however you want to.
Don’t worry, it isn’t hard to have a self hosted website. If you sign up through Bluehost.com they install WordPress.org for you so there is nothing you have to worry about just create an account, login and it’s installed!
side note: DON'T LET YOUR MIND GET THE BEST OF YOU
I taylorstanford.com was hesitant to put the $71.40 for Bluehost on my credit card to create this blog, because that Is a lot of money (especially for a poor newlywed like I was) and I had no idea If I would ever get it back. My blog hasn't failed it has become a full-time job.
And just like I didn't fail I know you won't fail! just to make sure:
I MADE YOU SOMETHING: I created a FREE ( did I mention it’s free?) 6 Day email course which will teach you step-by-step how to set up a blog, install your theme, make a logo, and create monetized content. It will completely kick-start your blogging success.
It is much like this blog post, but it gets sent straight to your email so you won’t lose it, and you can come back to it anytime.
So, if you want to start a blog right now follow this very blog post you are reading! However, if you want to start a blog maybe tomorrow, or this weekend follow the email course here is what it goes over:
Day 1: How to choose a name, and blog topics.
Day 2: How to start a blog & install the design of your choice.
Day 3: Planning out your content.
Day 4: Monetizing your website as a beginner.
Day 5: Increasing your website's traffic to make more money.
Day 6: Wrap up & Guide to follow for the future to maximize profit.
How do you start a blog?
The way I tell people to start blogs is a little different than most people because I don’t tell people “choose a topic” or “choose a niche” over and over again is because truthfully I don’t think it matters.
I started blogging talking about how to make amazing food on a budget then I started talking about my favorite designer dupes, then I started talking about money saving tips, and being married in college and during each of those times I made money.
I truly think you can make money blogging about anything if you are determined to do so, so if you want to talk about fitness, and parenting you can do that!
So the way I am going to walk you through blogging doesn’t have you start by picking a topic, instead I am going to start by talking about choosing a name, then I will walk you through each thing you need to do step-by-step in this order:
Naming your blog.
Sign up for hosting for your blog.
Installing a theme.
Creating a header for your blog.
Creating an about page for your blog.
Starting to create content.
Drive traffic to your blog through Pinterest.
1. Naming your blog.
Picking a domain name can be confusing, and hard because the internet has been around a while and it seems like EVERYTHING is taken.
the key to picking a domain name is to try everything that comes to mind.
I always recommend trying to use your first and last name, or something that incorporates everything you want to talk about like “greensforchange.com” if you wanted to talk about a plant based diet.
If you are still struggling to come up with a domain name, don’t hesitate to click the contact button and reach out to us!
Tips for coming up with a domain name:
use a .com people are used to .com’s
don’t misspell words if you can help it, because if you tell someone you run into my website is “candy cane dot com” they won’t think to type in “kandeekayne.com” when they get home.
use something simple that covers everything, I started with smartandsimplistic.com because that name can cover anything I want to talk about.
You can try out and see if names your thinking of are available here:
Can’t come up with a domain name?
Don’t worry about it, you can set up your blog without a domain name and still claim your free domain later. Not having a name for your blog is no reason not to get started, because like I said you can always claim your free domain name later!
Or like I said before if you are still struggling to come up with a domain name don’t hesitate to click the contact button at the top of the page and reach out to me and we can talk about it!
2. Sign up for Website Hosting
This will be the most intensive part of this guide but don’t worry, it’s super simple! so don’t stress it.
First you are going to want to click here to open Bluehost in a new window, while leaving this post open.
Then you can follow the steps below to set up your blog!
Those of you using this post (or my email course) to create a blog, are going to get a special discount for my audience only from Bluehost!
It normally starts at $7.99 a month, now for you guys it’s only $2.95!
Bluehost has been great every step of the way. Every time I have contacted their customer service they have been so helpful, and that is the number one reason I continue to recommend them.
What you get with bluehost: 1 free domain, hosting, free WordPress.org installation and more than 50% off.
Let’s get started!
By now in another tab you should have a page that looks like this open:
you are going to go ahead and click “get started” which will take you to a page where you can chose a hosting plan. I recommend getting the “basic” plan because it really comes with everything you need to start a profitable blog. It is what I used for my blog.
After you click “select” on the plan you want you are going to be taken to a screen like the one below:
If you know the domain name you want to use you can enter it in “new domain” if you already bought a domain name before enter it in “i have a domain name” if you don’t know what you want to name your blog but you are ready to get started go ahead and click “Choose Later!” which is in blue under the two boxes in the middle. Then you can claim your free domain name later when you decide what you want to call your blog.
After you fill out any of the options I mentioned above you should be taken to this screen:
Here is where you will fill out the information for your account, this is the info you need to access your account, or you would give if you ever had to talk to Bluehost’s tech support team so remember the email you use.
Also don’t worry about creating a new email for your website before you sign up for Bluehost, no one is going to see this email but you and you shouldn’t get a bunch of spam emails from Bluehost so you don’t have to worry about that either.
After you fill out your account information and scroll down you will see this:
I recommend signing up for 36 month “account plan”, because it saves you the most money however, you can only sign up for 12 months that is totally fine too!
The only “package extra” I recommend adding is “Domain Privacy Protection” this makes it so that no one can access your personal information, if you decline this the first few days after starting your blog you may get a lot of phone calls, if you can’t afford Domain Privacy (I couldn’t when I started) just block the calls as they come in so those people cannot call you from that number anymore.
After you choose your plan, and package extras it’s time to pay (yes, it is really just that easy)
After you pay you will be brought to a screen to create a password for a Bluehost account, this is the password you will use to log into Bluehost to access your blog so make sure you remember it!
Woohoo! we almost have a blog. How exciting? Super exciting.
You are going to be living your dreams in no time flat after this.
This is a pretty simple step so I am going to just drop the pictures of the steps below, but make sure to write down your password, or save it somewhere.
After you click “Login” you will be taken to a page to pick a theme, all the themes on that page are totally FREE so pick any of them. I will show you how to edit, change or buy a theme in a little while so don’t stress about the choice just pick whatever your first instinct is.
The page that comes up should look like this:
Can you believe that you are already almost done? it's crazy how simple it is to build a blog, yet some people think that they will never be able to do it because they don't know how to code.
Now you can go ahead and click start building:
Then go ahead and pick Business however, if you accidentally choose the wrong one your choice DOES NOT MATTER so you can choose either! They are basically interchangeable
After you choose business or personal you will be prompted to choose a site title and tagline, you can always choose this later if you aren’t ready but just fill it in with anything for now!
The site title for this website is “Taylor Stanford” the description is “Helping Women Build Successful Lives” hopefully that gives you an idea of how to fill that out. Start with your domain name spelled out with spaces as the title, and a short statement that says what you do as the description.
After you fill out your title and description you will be brought to a screen that asks you if you want to launch your blog, you are going to go ahead and click “nope”
after you click “nope” you will be asked what type of homepage you want to have, I recommend a “static” page because then you get to choose everything that’s on it instead of just showing people your latest blog posts.
After that you will click the “connect to WordPress” button, which will bring you to create a Jetpack account, this is an awesome plugin that does so many things!
Jetpack will in the future give you the ability to put social links places on your website, put images in your sidebar, and access to a ton more easy to use things for your website design.
I just signed up with my Google account, if you don’t have a google account you can easily fill out the form.
After you fill out the JetPack form you will be sent back to WordPress which will show you a screen that looks something like this:
When you get to that screen it means you are ready to move on to the next section of this post!
That’s it! You created your blog. Can you believe it was really that easy?
How to Write a Blog Post:
Just an extra side note: here is how to write a blog post quickly! Click “Login to WordPress”, then on the left hand side menu that runs along the page click > New > Post then you can begin writing your first blog post!
THE OTHER PARTS OF THE SERIES!
You are ready for part two; which you can get by clicking here. We will be talking about how to pick and install a theme!
Here are the links for all of the series: