Welcome to the world of blogging. I hope you’ve landed here safely and are ready to work. Like for realz work. Together – we will walk through a step-by-step tutorial on how to get your ideas, thoughts, and life musings online.
If you’re anything like me when I started this yoga + travel blog, then major kudos to you! I knew zero about anything online related. I have zero experience in graphic design or photography. I have zero experience in SEO, affiliate marketing, or sponsored posts. And I had zero knowledge of domain names, hosting services, and all the other techy stuff that’s behind the scenes in blogging.
If I can do it.
So can you.
Before we dive into the madness of blogging, let’s prepare ourselves:
- Set up time to do this tutorial distraction free (unless you’re a techy badass).
- Document everything you do – usernames, passwords, login pages, receipts, etc.
- Make a huge pot of coffee and put your I can do anything face on.
And now we can begin.
*Disclaimer – Please note that some of the links below are affiliates links and I will earn commission if your purchase through these links. I have either personally used or know someone who has used the products below. I absolutely recommend them!
1. Domain Name and Hosting Setup
First before anything else – what the hell are you going to name the blog? This can be a tough step to conquer (it took me months) so here’s a few tips:
- Keep it simple.
- Keep it memorable and descriptive.
- Have a few different variations of the same name, just in case your first choice isn’t available.
- Write it down, say it out loud, pass it by family and friends, and then….
Register Your Domain!
As you can see in the photo above, it mentions the word FREE with every hosting account. This means you want to register and purchase your domain name with the same host company. Simple as that.
Now that you’ve chosen a blog name, the next step in our blog tutorial setup is…
Choose a hosting service!
The word hosting – what does that even mean? In a very basic nutshell, hosting is like renting space on the Internet.
I host The Journey Junkie through SiteGround so for this tutorial, I will use screenshots from their site. All hosting sites have similar setup processes so don’t fret it you choose another host (but you really shouldn’t)!
The two arrows in the above picture show the packages that I would recommend. If you’re brand new, which I assume you are, go with the StartUp plan – it’s affordable, not a huge commitment, and a great deal! If you plan on running multiple sites, make sure to choose the GrowBig option plan instead.
- Brainstorm and choose domain name.
- Decide which hosting service you will use (Siteground is #thebomb).
- Register your domain & sign up for a hosting package.
Are you ready to do this?
2. WordPress Installation + Setup
Ok we are almost done with the techy to-dos… just hang on for a bit longer.
WordPress is a necessity and one that’s used and loved by loads of bloggers. It’s a free blog software program that has a great user interface, easy to learn tools, and it’s FREE! This is the place where you’ll spend most of your time, if not all of your time.
SiteGround will upload and install all necessary WordPress ish for you. And they do it for FREE – free is me friends. Below are a few screenshots to help get you started.
3. Make it Your Own
We are on step 3 and should now be logged into our WordPress admin site and ready to start blogging! If you’re not logged into WordPress – let’s get there please. Time’s a ticking.
*Tip – your unique WordPress login is whatever domain you’ve chosen + /wp-admin. You can always access the backend of your site by plugging that url into a browser.
You are now logged into your blog – congrats!
Now let’s beautify that online space of yours.
Blog Theme Options:
- Free theme through WordPress.
- Purchase a pre-designed theme ranging from $29 – $200.
- Hire a graphic designer to build a personal design – the most expensive option!
The second option is the best choice for a newcomer or a seasoned blogger. A pre-designed theme is a template that allows you to retro fit the blog appearance to your style and taste. Some themes are easy to manipulate while other’s take some coding knowledge. Below are popular theme options:
- StudioPress Themes are highly loved and recommended by many BIG bloggers out there. The price includes the Genesis Framework + whatever theme you choose!
- Themeforest has loads of options when it comes to themes. It can be a bit overwhelming but the price point is worth the browsing. Prices range from $28 – $63.
- Etsy has themes too – who knew!
If you purchase a theme, the zip file will need to be uploaded into WordPress. To do this – click on themes, add new, and upload theme. The screen will look like this:
4. Install Must-Have Plugins
A plugin – another weird word, I know.
A plugin is similar to an app that would be used on a phone/ tablet. It adds features to the site such as social media, security, advertisements, recent blog posts, etc.
Just like the mobile app store, the plugin store is VERY robust and the options are endless. To narrow down the craziness, here’s my must-have plugin list (these are all free):
- Askimet – protects your site from comment and trackback spam. So necessary!
- Anti-Malware and Brute Force Security – searches your site for malware/ virus threats and helps remove them.
- Wordfence Security – anti-virus, firewall, and high-speed cache features.
- Jetpack – this comes with WordPress and enables loads of features.
- WP Super Cache – helps speed up your site’s load time.
- Yoast SEO – an SEO tool that can help anyone, even the extreme non-savvy tech person.
- Social media plugins – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest (there’s a few different ones so research and choose what you like best).
We are almost there blogger friends! I promise, like pinky promise…
Before you begin blogging your hearts out, first set up the necessary pages to make your blog look legit.
- About Me – a brief explanation of who you are, what the blog will focus on, and a photo of you (preferably a super cute one).
- Contact Me – you can use a contact form here, your e-mail address, or a mixture of both. Check out my version here.
- Set up your menu or navigation bar – this is where your different categories will live. If unsure of what categories you want, no worries. This can always be done at a later date.
Your blog is officially ready to go! Huge pat on the back, I know that took a lot of effort and maybe some hair pulling (it did for me). Now the fun really begins…
After many tutorials like this one, I taught myself how to blog. It didn’t come easy and this site didn’t blossom over night. And yours won’t either – there’s no two ways around it.
Here’s the deal with blogging – imagine your dream home is built from bricks, thousands of bricks laid upon one another. Each brick symbolizes a published blog post – a high quality, amazing content blog post. With each blog post that’s published, just like with each brick that’s laid, you are one step closer to building a blog empire or that dream home.
Don’t be discouraged. Don’t focus on the end result. Keep your thoughts on the present moment and the immediate future. Stay incredibly focused and driven on what you want to achieve from this online slice of yours. Opportunities will come. Connections will be made. And YOU will be so incredibly proud of what you’ve created.
You got this… Now get to blogging!