So you want to start a DIY blog? Congratulations! Blogging is the wave of the future, a way to make money online while having fun and enjoying your life. If you love DIY, chances are there are thousands of readers who love it too. Unfortunately, the technical side of starting a blog often frightens away prospective bloggers. I am here today to help ease your fear and help you get started on the path to bloggerdom!
First things first, we are talking here about creating a website with WordPress. WordPress is what we use at KnockoffDecor.com, and it is hands-down the most professional free blogging software out there. WordPress websites are more impressive visually, which lends well toward making money from advertisements down the line. So here are our steps to starting a beautiful, self-hosted WordPress blog.
Step 1: Name Your Blog
Start off by doing some research. Write down a few names that you really like and search for them online. Do they already exist in the blogosphere? You don’t want to be competing with an already-established blog with the same name. If you are feeling stuck, plug some keywords into a Blog Name Generator to get a few ideas.
Once you have established the name you want, there are a few options to actually purchase the domain name. You can buy it from GoDaddy or Hover, but you will have to go through a few extra steps to ensure the name gets added to your new blog account. To keep things simple for your very first blog, I recommend going through an all-in-one service like HostGator or Bluehost where you can buy your domain name and hosting all in the same place.
In this post we are going to focus on HostGator.
Step 2: Set Up Hosting
This is the part of the process that turns away so many aspiring bloggers as it can seem so confusing at first! However, setting up hosting through HostGator is actually surprisingly simple, and we are here to walk you through the first steps. As soon as you get to their website, click “Choose a Plan.”
This will take you to a page that lays out all of their available plans. For your first blog, you won’t need anything more than the “hatchling” plan (It’s only $3.95 per month through my link). You can always upgrade to the larger accounts as your blog grows!
After you have selected your plan, the website will take you to an “Order Wizard.” Here you can input your domain name that you have chosen.
You will also confirm your package type and your billing cycle. The 36 month plan (paid in advance) is the best deal, but if you don’t want to make that kind of commitment just yet there are a variety of other plan options. Here you will also create a username and PIN number. Be sure to write those down!
After this, enter your billing information and payment information.
As you continue to scroll down you will see an option for “additional services.” For a fledgling site, you will not need the kind of protection and backup that a larger site will need. You can uncheck all of these boxes. You can always get them later if you feel like you need them. If you want an email address registered to your domain, you can leave that box checked. Be aware that it will be an additional monthly fee.
Review your order and checkout! Congratulations you are now the proud owner of a self-hosted blog.
Step 3: Make It Yours
Head over to your email and look for an incoming message from HostGator.com, which will have your account information including your username, password, and a link to your control panel (or cPanel).
Click on the control panel link and enter your login information.
This will take you to your HostGator site and your personal control panel, which should look like this.
In the first section, “Special Offers.” You should see an option to “Get Started with WordPress Today.”
If you click on the icon, it will give you an option to install WordPress onto your site.
This install process will give you a chance to create an account to login to your WordPress site, make sure your username and password are strong and memorable!
After you create your login information, you should be given a link to the admin area of your site. Make sure you bookmark this link so it is always easily accessible. (It should be www.yoursitename.com/wp-admin/) Enter your login credentials here.
The WordPress dashboard is what you will see when you sign in from your admin link. This is where you can customize your site, write posts, and manage comments. To write a new post, click on “posts” on the left sidebar. From that same sidebar you can also create pages, upload images, and change the blog’s appearance.
To change your appearance, go to “appearance” on the left sidebar and select “Themes.” This will give you a few options that WordPress offers. If you want a more customizeable option, you can purchase a custom theme from sites like Studiopress or ThemeForest. These run from about $30 to upwards of $200. While it may seem like a pricey commitment, having a blog theme that you love can really help you to stay on track and keep up with writing your blog posts. When you download a theme from one of these sites, they will come with a set of detailed instructions on how to upload the theme to your WordPress site, as well as hands-on assistance if you run into trouble.
Step 4: Write!
If you are starting your own DIY blog, chances are you are already an avid DIYer. Share DIYs you have already completed, write tutorials, and take amazing photographs of your projects. Develop your own voice, your own humor, and your blog will start to attract readers and visitors. Someday you may even make this a full-time job!
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