If you’ve considered starting a blog but don’t know exactly how to go about it, this is the guide for you! Stop considering and just do it. Starting a blog can be a great new hobby or even used as a way to expand your business presence online. It’s not expensive and quite easy for anybody (even those without much computer knowledge!) to set up.
This beginner’s guide will walk you through the basic setup of a blog quickly and easily so you can jump right into creating posts. Let’s get started…
Before you begin
Decide on your overall theme
Staring a “lifestyle” blog doesn’t mean that you have to share every detail of your life. In most cases, lifestyle bloggers will choose a particular theme or topic to concentrate the majority of their posts on. This helps visitors distinguish the overall content of your blog and will help you stay focused as you create content. Come up with some ideas that interest you the most. Some examples could be beauty, fashion, art, tech, family life, or cooking. It’s not absolutely necessary to come up with a blog theme, but it will definitely help to attract like-minded people!
Create your blog name
Once you’ve come up with your blog theme, it’s time to think of a name. This is the part that a lot of people struggle with the most. Luckily, I wrote an article a while back which shares my own formula for coming up with names for my projects, blogs, and businesses. You can view that here. Your blog name should be easy for others to remember and spell, and have some sort of connection either to you or the topics you write about.
Choose a blogging platform
There are a variety of blogging platforms to choose from, and the decision is totally up to you. Blogger is free to use and allows you to set up a custom domain name while managing your content on the Google servers through the Blogger dashboard.
WordPress is one of the world’s most recognized blogging platforms and offers a ton of features and plugins that Blogger doesn’t. It comes in two versions: the free online .com version, or the self-hosted .org version. This can be confusing to newbies, but all you really need to know is that the free version is pretty limited in its capabilities and does not allow advertising or custom themes. If either of those things are important to you, now or down the line, then you should consider the self-hosted version. With the free online version, you will access your blog through wordpress.com and all files are stored on their servers. If you’re going to go the WordPress route, I highly recommend doing it the right way with the full self-hosted version, since you’d probably want to upgrade to it anyways in the future. The entire blog will be kept on your own server and accessed through your own domain’s dashboard, not the WordPress site. I will show you how to easily and cheaply set this up below.
Register a domain name
If you’re serious about starting up a blog, getting your own domain name to match the name of your blog is the way to go. This means that instead of your website address being something like myawesomeblog.blogspot.com, it could simply be myawesomeblog.com.
If you chose to go with Blogger, you can read my step-by-step tutorial for registering and setting up a custom domain name on your Blogger account right here.
If you chose to go with WordPress, you will set up your domain name when you set up the rest of your blog, as shown below.
Set up hosting and install WordPress * (WordPress only)
The self-hosted version of WordPress means what you will need your own hosting account. A hosting account is your own reserved space on the web that houses your website and all of its files. Think of it like your computer’s hard drive where you store all of your files and photos, except it’s an online space entirely dedicated to your website.
Since you’ll be “renting” space on the internet from a hosting company, there are fees involved with this. Lucky for you though, I have a special hosting rate from Bluehost that I am able to offer to you. It only costs $3.49/month for unlimited bandwidth, up to 100 custom email accounts, a free domain name, and a super easy and free 1 click WordPress install.
Let’s get to it…
To get started with WordPress, sign up for your hosting account and get the special rate by clicking here:
(this post contains a Bluehost affiliate link so I am able to offer you these special rates)
Click on the Get Started button on their site to choose your hosting package. After choosing your hosting package, you will see this screen:
To get your totally free domain name, just enter it in the New Domain field and continue through the registration process. They will check to see that it’s available, and if not you’ll have to choose another.
Immediately after signing up, your account should be instantly created. You will receive an email from Bluehost to confirm and you are now able to access your account where we will set up WordPress in a snap!
When you have your Bluehost sign-in info, login to the control panel and find the Install WordPress button on the home page.
On the next page, choose Install:
Select the domain you want to install WordPress to. This should by default be your domain name you registered during signup. You can leave the “directory” box blank to install into the root of the site, or enter a folder name, like “blog” to install into a “blog” directory. That means that your blog would be accessed through www.yourdomainname.com/blog instead of just www.yourdomainname.com.
Select “Show Advanced” and enter a blog name and your admin login credentials. You will use these to login to WordPress to post. Choose something other than “admin” for security purposes.
Click Install Now and WordPress will install to your site.
After it’s done, you can click View Credentials to write down all of your important login information.
Now all you have to do is login to your WordPress dashboard for the first time! Your login page would be www.yourdomainname.com/wp-admin, using the username and password you chose during install.
Make it your own
Design your blog
Now that your blog is set up, it’s ready to be made over! The default themes that come with your blog can either be tailored to your own taste, or you can install a totally fresh and unique design. If you are looking for an easy premade template experience, check out my design shop, Envye, where I sell premade Blogger and WordPress themes!
Create your first post
The hard part is over. You can now relax and let your fingers do the talking. Creating your first post is exciting! There are really are no rules for this, so jump right in.
The editing pages in Blogger and WordPress are pretty easy to grasp and if you like, you can play around with the buttons and settings to familiarize yourself with everything. You can schedule your posts, safe as a draft, or publish posts pretty much the same way on both platforms.
Try adding photos to your posts and playing around with the formatting options. The best way to learn these editors is to simply mess around with them and figure out what everything does. They are set up similar to programs like Microsoft Word, so it shouldn’t be hard to get the hang of quickly.
If you need some help or want to learn some tricks, try visiting my other blog, I Can Build A Blog, where I post Blogger and WordPress tutorials and lots more!
Welcome to the club!
Scheduling and making time
Now that you’re a lifestyle blogger, you need to make sure you have the time to post and update your site. The easiest way to do this is to get yourself a planner and schedule certain topics on certain days. It’s totally up to you to decide how much you post. It could be a few times a week, every day, or a few times a month. Find what fits within your schedule and work with it!
Coming up with topic ideas
Notebooks are essential for me! I jot down ideas whenever they strike me. Try to come up with a list of 10-20 blog topic ideas on your own that relate to the theme of your new blog. You can also grab a copy of my book, 365 Blog Topic Ideas (For The Lifestyle Blogger Who Has Nothing To Write About) to get your juices flowing!
Taking photographs or using stock photos
Blog posts just aren’t the same without a graphic element. Taking photos is something you’ll probably want to get into the habit of doing. If you don’t have a fancy camera, make sure to make the most of what you do have. Use bright natural light when possible and play around with different styles of compositions. If taking photos isn’t your thing, check out this article I recently posted for 30 Free Stock Photo Resources for Bloggers.
Join the community
The blogging community is huge and varies so much. Different genres, different genders, and different goals. Sign up on social media if you haven’t already and get yourself out there! Chat with other bloggers, join groups or twitter chats, and just have fun promoting yourself (without being spammy). This whole blogging thing is more of a lifestyle in itself than a task, so enjoy it and decide how you want your journey to go.
I truly hope that this lengthy guide was a great help to you and gave you the kick start you needed to start your blog. If you have any questions, feel free to ask below, and also be sure to check the Blog Tips section in my sidebar for even more. I also publish videos over at The Blog Beautician YouTube channel where I share tips and tutorials for bloggers as well.