SINCE starting this blog in 2010 and my business blog a year later, I’ve been asked quite a few times how you start a blog and does it cost a lot.
The answer is: no, it doesn’t cost a lot. While it cost me about $110, you can actually start a blog with Blogspot or WordPress.org for free. However, the advice I received early on was to fork out the money for a self-hosted site if you’re serious about blogging. It’ll save you a mountain of work later on – especially if you’re looking to turn it into a business blog later on.
Here’s how I created my mummy blog:
- Buy a domain. I went through Hostgator* to get my domain name for this site for $US15 and CrazyDomains* to get my business site, due to wanting the .com.au.
- Buy a hosting package. We did so with Hostgator* and bought the Baby Plan. Cost: about $100/year (there is a discount on the price at the time of writing this). The reason for choosing Hostgator came down to the fact it had some of the best reviews on the net. Every host had negatives!
- Once you’re in your cPanel, click on WordPress and download.
- In WordPress, click on “appearance’’ and “themes’’ and start clicking through to find the theme that best suits what you’re hoping to achieve. This blog uses Pagelines and my business blog uses Genesis. But if I was starting out again and didn’t have funds for a designer, I’d opt for the Divi* theme from Elegant Themes. It’s divine – and super easy to use.
- Download plug-ins from the WordPress.org site to make your blog more user friendly. I suggest: Akismet (to help prevent spam), All In One SEO Pack (makes all that SEO stuff simply), Fast Secure Contact Form (to put on your Contact Me page), ReplyMe (when you reply to a comment on your blog, it is automatically sent to their email), Social Media Widget (this helps apply all your social media links to your sidebar to make connecting with you easier),
- Consider using Feedburner. This allows people to view your content via RSS or email subscription. However, I do want to add that since writing this post, most people now use an email marketing system for greater flexibility in building an email list and marketing. When you’re starting out, I highly recommend Mailchimp*. As your email list grow, other options include Infusionsoft* – which I now use.
- Join Google Analytics. This will give you a daily, weekly, monthly and annual look at your traffic stats – how many visitors, what pages they’re looking at, how they came to find your site. Invaluable information.
- Create some pages within your blog – preferable an About Me page, a Contact page and Advertise page. You can do this under “Pages’’ and “Add New’’.
- If you’re looking to use advertising on your site, sign up with Nuffnang.
- Through your HostGator cPanel create an email address. For eg, mine is kellie (at) threelilprincesses (dot) com A word of warning, always obfuscate your email address as I’ve shown it here, otherwise the spam bots will pick it up.
- Click “Posts’’ and “Add New’’ in WordPress and start typing away. To learn more about content, visit my blogging series.
- Once you’re done, add a photo using Picmonkey* to create it, fill in your SEO fields, add some tags and categories, proof read your post once more, then press “Publish’’.
- For more information on blogging, sign up to the 7 Days To Making Money With Blogging Mini Course!
- Then you need traffic. Right? Look at creating a Facebook fan page and Twitter account, email signature with your URL, submit articles to bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon and join Facebook groups. Other traffic strategies include public relations.
- Lastly, respond to comments on your own blog and get offsite and comment on other bloggers’ posts. It’s the best way to start making new friends. And remember, have fun!
If you have trouble with any of the above, don’t hesitate to leave a comment and I’ll help walk you through it. Also, if you’ve noticed something on my blog that you’d like to know more about, feel free to ask. I’m more than happy to share my experiences.
Photo credit: here.
If you’re a blogger, share some of your favourite plug-ins or steps you took to create your blog? If you’re not a blogger, have you ever considered starting your own blog?
If you’d like more, you can also go through the entire free 30-day blogging challenge here which will help you set up your blog, Facebook and Twitter accounts for business.
As a disclaimer, the * links is a referral link. So if you decide to work with the company in the future, I may receive a commission. However, it doesn’t mean you will be charged any extra for using their services.