how to start and set up a blog from the ground up
Ever had the desire to start your own blog? It’s quite easy and affordable to get started.
At this point, you already have a clear idea of what you will be blogging about. For whatever reason, if you still have doubts if starting a blog is for you, then let me give you 9 reasons why this is the best time to start a blog.
Which blogging platform best suits you?
First things first. What is a blogging platform and why do you need one?
A blogging platform is a software that you use to create and publish content on the Internet.There are a lot of options to choose from, the most popular choice among most being WordPress, and for good reason.
Before I start rambling on and on, why WordPress is the go-to blogging platform for most people, you should make a definitive choice based on:
Ease of use – It does not require any technical skills and is easy to install and setup.
Scalable – Allows you to grow.
Flexible – Allows you to add/ remove or modify functionality without crashing your current system
Adequate support – Has a support system that will help you if you encounter any bottlenecks.
The reason why WordPress is favored by most is that, in addition to meeting the above requirements, WordPress is easily customizable and has a very well-connected community and a vast vault of resources you can rely on. It also comes in two versions:
wordpress.com – This is the free version where your blog is hosted by WordPress.
wordpress.org – This is a self-hosted solution that allows you to build your blog on your own. It requires you to sign up with a WordPress hosting provider like Bluehost or Siteground.
Other popular blogging platforms you should look into are:
All the above platforms with the exception of Squarespace come with a free version.
Choosing a web host
Your blog will be stored or hosted on special computers called servers. These servers are owned by web hosting companies, that are responsible for serving your site to anyone who types in your domain name.
Choosing the right web host is very important because if you choose the wrong one, then that can have a negative impact on your blog such as poor SEO ranking, insecurity and downtime which may lead to loss of revenue and readers. Start by understanding the needs of your blog and use that to make a definitive choice.
There are various web hosts you can choose from like:
To get a clear idea on which web host to choose, some factors that you should consider include pricing (to see a price comparison among the three, find it here), AddOn features, a reliable dashboard, set limitations, adequate support, customer reviews and blogging platform friendly (Some web hosts are built specifically for WordPress).
Without any bias, Bluehost is a good choice if you are looking to build a small blog. It does not offer a monthly payment plan like Hostgator does but it comes packed with features for both beginners and experts.
Registering a new domain name
A domain name is the address of your website that people type into the browser, to visit your blog. For instance, my domain name is theknowblog.com. Choosing a domain name is crucial. A good domain name should be:
- Short and easy to remember.
- Have a .com extension.
- Easy to spell
- Reflect what your blog is about. (You could use your name as a domain. There’s no better branding than that.)
- Should not contain hyphens and numbers.
To register a domain name on Bluehost, visit their official website here and click on get started now.
Next, select on a plan of choice.
Then, register a new domain name if you do not have one.
Once you decide on a domain name and find that it is available, then go ahead and register it immediately.
I stress on this because, some sites may have packet analyzers (a piece of software or hardware designed to intercept data as it is transmitted over a network and decode the data into a format that is readable for humans) used by individuals to acquire your new found domain name.
If you wait for a long period of time, then you may find that your once available domain name is no longer available for purchase. Rather, its up for sale by another site that requires you to purchase it at a higher price.
Don’t be caught unawares.
Next, enter you details and package information.
Finally provide your credit card details and submit. Just like that, you now have your own custom domain name and web hosting and are on your way to launching your blog.
Once you have registered a domain name and have purchased hosting for your blog, then you can proceed with installing WordPress.
Follow the instructions provided by your web host to ensure you do it correctly. For Bluehost, this is the step right after you have submitted your payment.
Click on Create your password.
Next, choose a strong password that you do not use on your other accounts for security purposes. You can choose to have a password generated for you. Once you are happy with the password, then read and accept the term and click Next.
On the congratulations page, click on log in.
Once you get to the pick a theme page, select on a theme (you can change the theme later in your WordPress dashboard)
Finally click on start building and you will be redirected to your WordPress dashboard.
Your dashboard URL will contain your new domain name and a “/wp-admin” at the end like this www.yourdomainname/wp-admin
Finally, this is how your dashboard will look like.
Selecting the ideal theme for your blog.
There are thousands of themes you can choose from, both free and premium. Despite the price stamp on it, there are important things to look out for when choosing a theme:
- It is readily optimized for speed
- SEO friendly
- Highly responsive
- Browser compatibility
- A WordPress recommended theme (Avoid installing third party themes that are not part of the WordPress repository. They may present you with issues.)
To select a theme, go to Appearance –> Themes and click on add new. Choose a them of your choice then install and activate it.
Start designing and building your blog.
Finally, to the fun stuff. But before jumping into design, ensure you setup your WordPress settings correctly for the first time. Now, to the fun part.Start customizing and designing your blog.
When people talk about web design, the first thing that comes to mind is colors, fonts, images and logos. These four design concepts will speak volumes of what your blog is about. They will be the basis of your branding. Here is a good place to start with choosing the right colors for your blog.
For great logo types for your brand, check out this Typographer’s Dream box with 200+logos