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I started my first “serious” blog in 2017.
I was a stay-at-home mom who was determined to figure out how to make an income while I was at home with my kids.
And that blog has evolved into a niche site that still makes me passive income today.
If this is a side gig you’ve been thinking about pursuing, consider this the push you’ve been waiting for.
The technical stuff is actually pretty simple!
Step 1: Choose a domain name
Ideally, you’ll want to choose a name that is broad enough to cover your chosen topics and allow for pivoting.
If you’re feeling stuck on this step, keep in mind that it’s not impossible to change your name later on if your blog takes a total 180.
Plus, your domain name doesn’t matter as much as it may seem. Your readers will show up for your content, not your blog name.
Give yourself a day or so to think it over if you need to, and move on. Don’t get stuck! Getting stuck prevents you from taking action.
How to choose a blog name:
- Make a list of the topics you plan to write about
- Brainstorm the type of person your content will most likely appeal to
- Write down any words that are either related to your topics, your target audience (that ideal person your stuff will appeal to), and even words that have meaning to you.
Try mixing and matching and see what you come up with! You can also type all this info into ChatGPT and see what you get.
Step 2: Starting your blog with Siteground
If you’d like a more in-depth explanation as to why you need a host and what exactly a host is to start with, I’ve gone into more detail below.
Siteground is my go-to hosting choice for brand new blogs. It’s hard to beat their first-year hosting packages. And my sites never have any down time with them either.
Next, choose your hosting package. For most beginners, the StartUp package is fine. You can always upgrade later.
If you happen to already have a domain name, go ahead and type it in. If not, here is where you’ll create a new one.
Also, I recommend just sticking with the .com extension. You want to make things as simple as possible for your future readers.
Next, you will fill out the required info, and select whether or not you want any of the extra services. I always get the privacy feature, because it keeps your personal info private in the WHOIS database (this is where the contact info is stored for everyone that has a registered domain name).
Totally up to you.
Step 3: Install WordPress
Now that you have your domain name and new hosting plan, the only thing left to do now is install WordPress, which Siteground makes very simple.
You will select start new website. And the application is WordPress.
Set up your WordPress login info. Make sure you select a very strong password!
Then, click Finish.
This finalization will take a minute or two and then you’re all done!
From here, you can log into your new WordPress blog and start learning your way around. There are plenty of YouTube tutorials you can follow to learn the basics.
Your next steps
WordPress does offer free themes, but those will only take you so far.
The next step I would recommend is finding a premium theme. I’m really loving the Kadence child themes at the moment.
My favorite place to find Kadence child themes is Restored 316. She has a really handy quiz you can take if you aren’t sure which type of theme to pick.
For this site, I’m using the Create theme.
Beyond learning your way around WordPress, your next task should be creating content and then driving traffic to that content.
One of my favorite beginner courses is called Pinteresting Strategies. The author of the course, Carly, teaches you how to drive traffic to your new blog using Pinterest.
I like her teaching style because she just gives you the facts and doesn’t include a lot of fluff.
What is the best blogging platform?
The platform I use and recommend is WordPress (self-hosted).
You may have heard other bloggers talk about their preferences for other platforms because they don’t know how to code, they’re not very tech-savvy, etc.
You do not have to be very tech-savvy in order for WordPress to work for you. You just have to be willing to learn the platform, then it becomes cake!
Now, some people confuse self-hosted WordPress with a free WordPress(.com) blog.
They are not the same.
What is the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org (self-hosted)?
WordPress.com is free, but it’s not really any better than the other guys out there.
You still have limitations, and you don’t have full control over your site. So from here onwards, when I say WordPress, just know that I’m referring to the self-hosted version.
It’s what I personally use and recommend that you use too. (More on what a host is below.)
There is a slight learning curve like anything else, but the internet is full of tutorials that will help you.
Other reasons to choose WordPress as your platform:
- You make the rules. You are free to add whatever you like to your site. If you want to display ads, you can. If you wish to incorporate affiliate marketing, as long as you follow the FTC’s guidelines), you’re free to do that as well.
- If you wanted to get techie and customize some of your site beyond what comes out of the box, no problem!
- It is the most popular platform among bloggers that make full-time incomes. Need I say more?
Assuming you trust my judgment on starting a self-hosted WordPress site, now you need to decide on a host.
What is a website host and why do I need one?
In order to start a blog that uses WordPress, you will need a host.
What does that mean?
Let’s say you’re planning on building a house. Before you start building, you need to find the perfect lot to build on so that you absolutely love the full package when your new home is built.
You want the view to be gorgeous with no annoying neighbors, etc.
Think of your host as that perfect plot of land and your WordPress site is that gorgeous new home that goes on top.
Your home could be beautiful, but if you choose a crappy location, you’re not going to have the best experience, right?
So, in a host, there are certain things we want to look for so that we’re happy with every aspect of our “home” once it’s built online.
We want great customer service, simplicity to get everything set up like it needs to be, and affordability (because no beginner wants to overpay, right?).
I’ve finally found this with Siteground. I looked around before deciding on the host for my own first blog, and this is the company I started with.
I highly recommend them.