“How do you create a blog?” While there is a lot to running a successful blogging business, the first thing you need to do is have a blog. That means hosting and a good solid platform.
Blogging can be a great way to bring in additional money to your household. Of course, not every person who starts a blog will make enough to replace a full time income. So, if you start one for that reason, you may be setting yourself up for failure (so please, don’t start one if you think you’ll become rich and famous because of it).
I honestly never anticipated making money at all. That was not why I started. In fact, it still shocks me to this day that I am actually making money doing this!!! When I started, I did not know the first thing about it how to set it up, let along make money at it.
I still remember that my very first check was $70. That was after 6 months of blogging. See! Even I was clueless!!! The one thing that is very scary for many, is the part you do to actually create your site. Where do you go? What is hosting? How do I set it up? Lucky for you – I’m here to help!
First off, what does self-hosted even mean? Well, it basically means that you own your site. It is not on another platform like Blogger or WordPress. Those sites may have terms that state what you can and can not do.
For instance, WordPress.com will not allow you to make any money. None. That is why people need to move over to self-hosted and use WordPress.org.
The best way to really turn a blog into a business is to own it – completely. If you host using another platform, they own your site. Even though you might have your own site name, the platform itself is theirs. They can shut you down without notice.
The best reason to become self-hosted though, is because it makes you look more professional. This is true for readers and companies alike. When you see a site such as www.bestsiteintheworld.com vs. www.bestsiteintheworld.blogger.com, it stands out. Seeing blogger, make someone think “it’s just a blog” whereas the first one exudes much more professionalism.
I am going to make this process very simple for you. Because you are just starting out, you need to keep expenses as low as possible. Since you have to pay for hosting, it is important that you not only find a reliable company, but that you don’t overspend either.
The one I’d recommend to get started is Bluehost. They are ranked as one of the top ten hosting companies of 2016. I’ve got a UNIQUE offer for you! You can get hosting for as little as $3.49 per month! That is insanely low. The only way to get this deal though, is to click HERE (if you just go to Bluehost directly, you won’t see this same promotion).
Here are just some of the reasons why I would recommend this hosting company:
- Simple to use. It is so easy to set up your site (see below).
- Technical support. You are not alone. If you need help, there is someone at the helm, ready to help answer your questions.
- Affordable. At just $3.49 a month, it is an amount that you can afford to spend while you work on building your site and your audience.
- Free Domain. When you sign up for hosting, they add in your domain name for free!
- Free WordPress. You can access the wordpress platform for free (this is the one that I use.)
- Professional. By owning your own domain, you instantly appear more professional to brands and other companies.
Are you ready to get started? Great! Follow these STEP BY STEP instructions to help you get your site up and running in no time at all!
1. DETERMINE YOUR DOMAIN NAME.
This is the first thing you need to do. As I mentioned in the How to Start a Blog post, you need to make sure that it is a name that works and is possibly not under trademark nor too similar to another site name.
If you go through BlueHost, you will get a FREE domain name when you sign up for 12 months of Bluehost web hosting. That just makes sense for someone getting started as it helps keep your costs as low as possible. Not only that, but they offer a discount when you pay for 12 months of hosting up front vs. paying for it on a month-to-month basis.
We will actually get the domain name in the next step!!
2. PURCHASE HOSTING
Now you are ready to make your purchase. You will see that they offer a basic, plus and pro plan. Since you are just getting started, there is no need to go with any plan larger than basic. Bluehost will allow you to upgrade your plan later, should you need additional storage or more than one website, etc.
When you sign up, I would go ahead and pay for 12 months in advance. While you can get a better rate while doing that, you also do not have to worry about your domain expiring every.single.month. Sure, you will have it set up for auto-pay, but what happens if your card expires? Well, your domain will not be available. It will go away in an instant. Yes, you can get it back again, but it is a hassle. Worst of all, readers will get that horrid 404 error when they visit your site.
There is really no risk as you can receive a refund at any time. So, if you run a site for 6 months and then determine it is just not your cup of tea, you can absolutely cancel and get a refund of the amount remaining in the term. The refund will happen 30 days after you terminate the contract and then, they will give you back any amounts not used. So, if you cancel in May, the contract will end in June. That means you get 6 months of your fee returned to you. There is no risk to you at all!!
Now, the only other thing I would highly recommend you add to your order is domain privacy. That keeps all of your personal information hidden from people trying to see who owns the domain. You don’t need people to know that data. This runs $0.99 per month (which takes your hosting cost up to $4.39 – which is still extremely affordable).
What does this all mean on an annual cost basis? Well, around $60 per year. That is so affordable when it comes to hosting!
Here is how to start:
1. Go to Bluehost and click the GREEN “Get Started Now” button.
2. Click on the package you would like.
3. Enter your domain name you registered with earlier, or sign up for a new domain name here.
4. Enter your information as requested.
5. Determine which package you would like to use (the more you pre-pay, the less the per month cost).
3. CONNECT YOUR DOMAIN (only if purchased domain through another site)
If you just purchased your domain in Step 2 above, please skip this step and move ahead to Step 4. However, if you previously purchased your domain through another site, like GoDaddy, you need to redirect your domain to be hosted at BlueHost.
What you need to do is redirect your DNS name servers to Bluehost. This may sound very scary, but doing it is really very easy. Your current hosting site should have instructions to help you accomplish this. If you are unsure, you will need to contact their tech support to help you walk through the process.
4. INSTALL WORDPRESS.
Congrats! You have hosting and a domain, but you don’t quite yet have a site. You need to install WordPress so that you can set up your header, menu and content — which is what the world will actually see!
This is very simple to do on Bluehost:
1. Log into your cPanel (log in details will be sent to you via e-mail).
2. Click on the Install WordPress link you see.
3. Click on the Install WordPress button to start the process.
4. Select the domain you want where you want to use WordPress.
5. Create your wordpress site login credentials. Make sure you use a very secure password (and write this down).
6. WordPress will then be added to your domain.
7. You are done! You can now go to http://www.yourdomain/wp-admin and enter your login details and you are ready to start creating and personalizing your website!
Congrats! You now have a self-hosted WordPress site that is ready for you to use! Now you can actually sign into your website and have some fun!
- To log into your account, you will need to look for the email that was sent to you with your login credentials. That will include a link for you to access your account. It should have your domain name and then include something along the lines of edit or admin towards the end of the address.
- Now you will want to change the look or layout of the site. Just click on Appearance. You can look at some of the themes that are preinstalled. That will be what gives you the general look and layout of your site. You will be able to customize the colors of each theme once installed. I honestly would recommend that you check out Genesis for yours. It is very user friendly and the options are endless in making your site have the look and layout you desire (I personally use this theme for my site).
- Once your theme is installed and customized, you can do your first post! Just click on Posts and Add New. Now, start creating your content! You can add images, change the color of the fonts etc. To link to any content you just will highlight the word and then click on the little chain link button and a new window pops up. You will put the address of where you want that word linked right there and hit save. When you are done, you hit publish and your first post is on your site!
There is a lot to learn about running your site, but you have tackled the biggest obstacle – setting up your domain and hosting!