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A blog is a great way to economically start your freelance business. Having a blog gives you an opportunity to showcase your knowledge about a topic near and dear to your heart, build a community of others who share your interests, and even make money. It’s your very own corner of the online world, and the only regret I have is not starting my blog sooner!
I love blogging, and being able to do all of the things I mentioned above brings me great joy. Even better, I can work from home (or anywhere else my laptop and an Internet connection take me). Freedom + income + happiness = sweetness!
The best news is that you can get started right now . . . today. By the end of this article you can have your site up and running, and be on your way to blog greatness! Ready? Let’s go!
You’ll need four things to start your blog. Those are . . .
Step 1 – Get Your Domain
Before you do anything, you’ll need your own domain. Your domain is very important and if you haven’t thought of what you’d like your site to be called, I’d encourage you to spend some time on this. (But, don’t overthink it.) I really agonized about whether to use my name as my domain, or to call my blog something else. This is a totally personal choice, and there are pros and cons either way. For me, I decided to call my blog “The Learning Chick” because I felt it best represents the focus and spirit of my site and business model.
Once you’ve settled on a name, you can purchase a domain a couple of different ways. You can purchase your domain from a domain registrar, which is what I do. I use Namecheap for my domains. Namecheap has reasonable prices, great service and they now offer free WhoisGuard Privacy Protection for all domains, which helps to protect some of your contact information when people do a Whois search on your domain.
The only potential drawback for a new blogger using this method is having to set up your domain in your hosting account. This isn’t difficult, but is a step that you can typically skip if you purchase your domain through a hosting service like Bluehost for your hosting. Bluehost gives you a free domain for one year with your hosting purchase. (More on hosting later!)
For this tutorial, let’s assume you’ve purchased your hosting through Bluehost and have your free domain. And, this brings us to step 2!
Step 2 – Choose a Hosting Plan
There are many hosting services out there, so take time to look around and check them out to find the one that works best for you. One popular hosting service is Bluehost.
With Bluehost, there are three different plans to choose from – Basic, Plus, and Choice Plus (Prime).
For most new bloggers, the Basic plan is fine for just getting started. (You can always upgrade your plan when needed!)
Once you choose your plan, it’s time to register your domain.
Then, complete your account registration by following the prompts. Once you complete this step, you’ll have a year of hosting and domain all set up, and you’ll be ready to install WordPress!
Step 3 – Install WordPress
Bluehost makes it super-easy to install WordPress! After you’ve signed up for hosting, Bluehost will walk you through the WordPress install process, step by step.
During the WordPress installation process, you’ll be asked to choose and install a theme, which brings us to step 4.
Step 4 – Choose and Install a Theme
Choosing a theme for your site is a lot of fun, but can be a little stressful. There are lots of choices out there, and how will you know if you’ve chosen the right one for your site? I went through a little trial-and-error until I found the theme that worked best, and that I use for my site.
First, I’ll say that WordPress offers some nice free themes that you can download and use. However, after trying those, I started thinking about the features and functionality that I wanted for my blog. Not just right now, but down the road a little.
After some searching, I found the theme that I use for this site. Bluchic offers a fabulous selection of beautiful, easy-to-customize themes.
I am not a web designer/ developer, and I completely customized this site myself. For just $79, you get a gorgeous, responsive theme, a whole library of video tutorials, support and updates. It’s a phenomenal deal!
And, the themes are so easy to customize. If I can do it, you can, too! 🙂
Once you purchase your theme, you’ll need to install it. To do this, log into your WordPress dashboard and click “Appearance“, then “Themes“. Then, click “Add New“.
Next, click “Upload Theme“.
When you purchased your theme, you should have downloaded a .zip file. Browse to locate the .zip file that contains your theme, then click “Install Now“.
Finally, you should see a button that says “Activate” after your theme file has successfully uploaded. Click on “Activate“, and your theme will be activated and ready for you to customize!Now your blog is set up and ready for customization, content and other blogging goodness! Why not get started on your Resources page for your new site? Sign up for my Ultimate Resources Page Checklist, and I’ll send you an easy-to-use checklist to create a beautiful Resources page for your site – absolutely free!
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