The Best Way to Start an Online Blog – A Comprehensive Guide

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If you are like me and you love reading other people’s blogs and wonder if you too could be putting yourself out there, I have some good news. It is really very very easy to set up and create your own online blog.

If setting up your own website and creating a logo is beyond you, I am happy to help! Please email me for my rates hello {at} piwakawakavalley.com


Developing a successful blog is also the beginning of being able to make money from home by writing a blog for money.

To get your blog to produce an income you first need to have a productive and popular blog, with real, engaging content. Below I will show you the best way to start a successful blog.

Why You Should Set Up a Blog

There are many reasons why people set up their own online blogs, these include:
– Publishing stories or recipes.
– Simply using it to document your progress like we do here.
– Blogging online for money – rumor has it you can make a lot of money from blogging if you do it right.
– Selling products through blogs
– Sharing information or product reviews
– To practice and hone your writing skills.

Learn how to make money blogging even if you only have 1,000 monthly page views! Get real actionable tips to start earning an income blogging, and learn how to make a living as a blogger!

Have I convinced you that you should join the blogging community? Here is how you can start:

Five Easy Steps to Setting Up an Online Blog

1) Choose your preferred blog platform
2) Choose web hosting for your blog
3) Setting up a blog on your own domain
4) Design your blog
5) Add content

Step 1 – Choose your Preferred Blogging Platform

Here at Piwakawaka Valley we use WordPress. There are two types of WordPress – WordPress.com is all hosted on their server and there are some limitations about what you can and can’t do. But it is very simple to use and would be great if you want to make a simple family journal blog as it’s a nice choice for hobby bloggers who don’t want to invest money. It’s also a good option for people who plan to upgrade to a self-hosted WordPress blog in the future.

What we use is WordPress.org – this you have to host yourself somewhere (ie pay for the storing the information) BUT in doing that there are very few limitations to what you can do, and it is still very easy to use. We use and LOVE Black Chicken Host.

You can install plugins, edit your HTML/CSS code, giving you full control over your website while making it look more professional. A self-hosted WordPress blog is usually the best way to go for anyone willing to invest a couple of dollars per month.

It’s ideal for business owners, professional brand builders, and any blogger looking to expand their site’s functionality and professional appearance.

There are other options too, some would argue that Blogger is a great competitor for wordpress.org now that it is owned by Google, but I have found wordpress more user-friendly and I like the themes on it better. Sorry Blogger. In saying that though, if it is what you prefer, many successful blogs run on Blogger.

Tumblr is another valid option for blogging. It is kind of half social network, half blog. Helpful for staying in contact with your readers, or sharing your travel blog with family and friends.

Step 2 – Paid or Free Hosting?

Free things are awesome. Right? Usually, I love free stuff, but free hosting kinds sucks. Why? You won’t be able to get your OWN domain name. You won’t even own your own blog, they can, and sometimes do delete them.

Also, there are some limits to free blogs. You can’t fully monetize it, and you can’t have endless bandwidth – ie limits on the amount of photos and videos you upload. If you are happy with these limitations, that is all good. You can sign up to Blogger, Tumblr or WordPress.com and simply sign up and you are away laughing.

However, if you aren’t happy with those limits and want more from your blog a self-hosted blog on your own domain name – you are the REAL owner of your own online blog. You can name your blog whatever you want. Then you can also pay for unlimited bandwidth for videos, images and content plus the free themes and the ability to edit them as much as you like.

Hosting and domain names are not as expensive as you think and I suggest you use WordPress for your actual website.

Step 3 – Start WordPress on Your Own Domain

You’ll need to come up with a domain name you like and also choose a hosting company that can host your online blog. Your domain name is the address you type into the address bar to get to your website – ours is www.piwakawakavalley.com. Choose a simple and catchy domain name, use Google to see if it already exists somewhere.

Most companies these days will both host and sell/give you a domain name (and let you know if they are available to buy). It is often worth hunting around a bit, as there are often deals to be had. In saying that you will want to stick to a company that is reliable and doesn’t have website outages.

In order of preference I suggest you try:

Black Chicken Host – We are with BCH and they are absolutely fantastic. They are not the cheapest, but they are competitive in their pricing. Their customer service is like nothing I have ever experienced before! They have a cutting edge, super fast solution for hosting WordPress blogs specifically (they do normal hosting too). Contact them today to find out more!

DreamHost. DreamHost is a premium hosting company for WordPress, along with many other supported platforms like Drupal and Joomla.  Plans start for just $7.95USD a month. DreamHost offers one free domain when you purchase any hosting package with them.

Domains.com also do hosting these days, and their plans start at $3.95USD for a small simple blog – some limits apply but would be great to get you started with.

So there you go, have a shop around and choose a domain name and host plan. I will just wait while you get that set up if you like. I suggest you then follow their simple instructions to install WordPresss on to your new site. Wahoo look at you go!

Step 4 – Designing your WordPress blog

This is my favourite bit! Log in to your WordPress Dashboard – go to www.[yourdomainnamehere].com/wp-admin and log in.
Once you are in on the left hand side select Appearance > Themes.

Here you can search for different aspects – eg ‘Woocommerce compatible’ if you want to sell things online or ‘Travel’ if you like lots of photos etc. Fiddle around here and find what you like and what works for you. Once you have chosen one Activate it and then select Appearance > Customize. Here you can upload banners, change colors and do all sorts of things.

Divi by elegant themes is a very popular, easy to use theme. It does have a yearly cost to using it.

If you want to tweak any of the coding I recommend you get the plugin “Child themes”. It will automatically create you a child theme so you can edit the source code and not loose your changes when they update WordPress.

I suggest you add a few pages before you get to carried away. Start with pages labeled: Home, About Me, Blog (and Store if you need one).
Once you have these pages created, you can select Appearance > Menus and add them to the header menu.

If you want your new blog to rank in Google, you will need to do a LOT of research into SEO (Search Engine Optimization) but a really good place to start is to install the YOAST plugin.

Now you can start adding your blog posts by going to Posts > Add New. Remember to add tags and categories on the right hand side of the posts page and to filling the YOAST information at the bottom of the posts page.

I suggest if you need help with anything that you simply Google your question. There are so many great answers on so many support forums I am not even going to bother trying to tell you where to look.

Once you start uploading images to your blog, please try and keep each image under 50Kb. If you have already filled your blog up with large images (like most of us do when we start!) then I have a sneaky trick to resize all your images for free here.

Do you want to look into making money by blogging? I recommend you do Blogger Blueprint by Jill Winger from Prairie Homestead from A Modern Homestead – She makes a six figure income from her blog and has over 80,000 subscribers to her email list! Her course is incredibly cheap and covers everything you need to know to get started with making money on your blog, right from the start.

 

Are you looking to starting your own blog from scratch? Here are all the steps you need to take in my blogger quickstart guide to setting up a blog.

The best way to start a blog. A comprehensive guide to setting up your own online blog.


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