Are you thinking about starting your own blog? Do you want to share your passion with the world and make some money? Read on to discover the 5 Easy steps that take you from daydreaming about your vision to planning your awesome website launch party! I mean Margaritas and piñatas kind of awesome. This article will give you all the tips and tools that you need to create the beautiful professional blog of your dreams without hiring a website designer. You are probably reading this and thinking I have never created a website before and the entire process seems a little intimidating. I felt the same way. Don’t worry, I will walk you through the process step by step. When I wanted to set up my blog, I had never before created a website. So, I did a ton of research and was able to create an awesome professional looking website. I have compiled all of my research into this article for you to get you started. Read on to discover how to choose the right platform and hosting company, how to design your blog, what pages you will want and need to be in compliance with law and finally how to launch.
This post has been updated in 2020!
This post may contain affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase using my link, I make a small commission –at no cost to you. Read the full disclosure here.
1. Choose Your Platform & Hosting
Your platform is your content management system. Back in the day you used to have to be or hire a programmer to design your site. This is because you used to have to understand HTML (code) in order to build them. This is no longer the case. Now content management systems like WordPress make it easy for anyone to build their own site. At the time I wrote this article statistics found on W3Techs show that WordPress is by far the most popular platform at 59.9%. This is followed by Joomla at 5.9% and Drupal at 3.9. From my research I have found that many of the other platforms such as Joomla and Drupal are great if you have web development or coding background. If you are a beginner I highly recommend you stick with WordPress. Not only is it easy to use but it is also free with hosting, (which is hard to beat). But wait.. don’t sign up through WordPress. You will want to sign up through your hosting company. This will save you both time and money.
A hosting company stores all of your files for your website and delivers them when someone goes to your site. It is important to have a quality hosting company so that your site is fast and reliable.
For my site I use Bluehost & that is what I recommend for you and here’s why:
- Right now with Bluehost you get a free domain for a year. That means they will register you blog name for you for free. They just saved you one step in the process and money too! No one else will be able to obtain this name once it is registered to you. You will be the owner of that site.
- They offer a free and simple (one click) installation of the WordPress Software for you.
- They have a helpful 24/7 customer service center by phone and online.
- They have a money back guarantee if you are unsatisfied.
- They will also give you several free email addresses that have [email protected]ite.com This looks a lot more professional then you using your personal address, butterflygirl99, (just saying)
- Right now they are offering a special rate (Over ½ OFF) of less than $4 per month. (I know super cheap right!) Click here to sign up with that rate.
When you go to Bluehost you will see several packages to choose from. Starting out I recommend the basic plan, which is less than $4/month. You can upgrade at a later date when your website becomes crazy popular and has over 1 million visits a day. But for now you can start with the basic plan.
2. Choose Your Domain Name
The next step is to choose the domain name or your website name. If you have a business name already then it is a great idea to make that your website name. If not, then choose a name that is descriptive of your blog or use your own name or try a combo of a description of your blog and your name. Bluehost will let you know if the domain name is available. If you are not ready to choose your domain name yet you can come back to this step later in the process. If you already have a website name then it will allow you to enter that during the process as well.
Then you will be prompted to fill in your information and choose your new email addresses. Finish the forms and you now have your domain name and hosting set up. You are on your way!
3. Install Word Press with the one click installation
Bluehost and many other hosting companies have the easy one click installation of WordPress. This simplifies the process a great deal. Simply Log in to your hosting account and in your control panel you will see Install WordPress with the WordPress icon. Click on that and it will prompt you through the process. Easy Peasy.
4. Design you Site
Now is the fun part you get to design your site and make it unique to you. You will want your website to look professional and visually appealing to your target audience. Think about your target audience and what you want your brand to portray as you are designing your site. Is your target modern? Would they like to see sleek lines with all neutrals and a pop of color? Let this be your inspiration for the next step.
Choose Your Theme
If you want your website to look awesome and you are not a programmer and don’t have the time to learn how to become one your best bet is to select from one of the Word Press Themes. The Themes are basically templates for your site that make your site look beautiful and still allow maintaining the functionality that your site needs. There are thousands to choose from so you should be able to find the perfect one for your site.
WordPress offers both free and premium themes. I recommend checking out the free ones first and if they don’t blow your socks off then check out the Premium ones. The Premium Themes range from $49-$200. To change your theme go to the Appearance section in your WordPress control panel. Here you can search and find the perfect theme. Choose one that says responsive. This means that it looks good on mobile devices too. This is crucial because today the majority of your readers will be accessing your site from their phone. When you have found the one you want you click install now.
Customize & Add Content
From the Dashboard you are able to add pages, posts, change you menu, allow comments and do further customization. You can also create categories for all of your posts. Some of the pages you will want to include are:
- An About Me Page– What makes you unique and why would your target audience want to read your posts. Be sure to show your personality and include pictures. It helps people connect with you if they see your face.
- Disclosure Policy Page. This is a must if you will be doing affiliate marketing. The FTC has very strict rules about disclosing compensation from brands. Read through the rules and then search online for templates and make sure you are meeting all of the requirements. Check the FTC regularly because the requirements may change.
As you work on your site you can save the drafts of all of your pages. Don’t worry the world won’t be able to see your work until you are ready.
5. Ready to Launch!
Your almost there!
- Go into the pages that you saved as drafts and hit publish.
- Change your privacy settings to public.
- Last but most important you will need to deactivate the Bluehost’s “A New WordPress Site is Coming Soon Page.” You can do this by either going to the Bluehost section of your site’s dashboard or to the general section of your site’s dashboard.
Refresh and you are Live. Congratulations, the internet just got a little bit better!
Resources Referenced in this Article
Leave a comment and let me know if you launched your site how it went or if you have any questions along the way.