Blogging is hard, right?
At first, motivation courses through your veins and the idea of building a successful blog that earns big money gets you up early in the morning with excitement.
Words flow easily, images get designed quickly and you smash that publish button almost daily for the first few weeks. Unfortunately, by the time you hit month 3 and all the motivation you once had disappears, the worst feeling sets into your body – BOREDOM.
At this point, self-deprecating thoughts set in and you start to doubt whether or not your blog will ever grow. The fact that Google won’t give you many rankings doesn’t help your case either. In the end, just like we did, you quit that blog and either jump to the next shiny idea or quit altogether (sigh).
I really wish I had stuck with it 3 years ago. I blame it on a lack of knowledge, motivation, and determination. Also, I never believed it was possible.
It wasn’t an easy ride though because I tried, failed, implemented new strategies, failed again and so on. After studying how everything worked, other peoples’ success and their tips, I finally found a way to make it all work.
And that is?
If you are passionate about any topic, don’t be afraid to go ahead and express it to the world. If you’re looking to hopefully earn some extra cash or turn your blog into a full-time job, it’s possible!
Just take the living proof of blogging success from Chasing Foxes, Making Sense of Cents, Busy Budgeter, Sarah Titus, Pinch of Yum and so many more.
Each and every one of them started from zero. Let that sink in for a bit.
With this guide, we aim to show you a detailed step by step process on how to go about setting everything up, getting your money’s worth, what to do after setting up your blog and most importantly, the Pinterest Strategy that took my blog from 3071 pageviews to 74 437 pageviews in just 2 months.
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1. GET A DOMAIN NAME
You may not realize this at first but the name of your domain essentially becomes the name of your entire business. Not only is it important for branding but Google gets behind a solid domain..
Here’s the thing, you have one of two choices:
1. Buy A New Domain
2. Buy A Pre-Used Domain
There’s a huge difference between the two.
A new domain that has no history is like a newborn baby. Google views it as an infant without any track record. If you put in great work, build quality links to the domain and publish regularly, after a few months, Google will send it some love.
More so than that, when registering your business, you completely avoid unnecessary infringement issues and so forth.
When registering a site, we spent a week trying to come up with a domain name that is catchy, brand new and relatable to the topic we were going to focus on.
In the end, it worked out. We’ve started to build an entire brand around this name! You can do the same for yourself.
Alternately, you could buy a domain name that has already been in use. Allow me to explain how this could work to your benefit. Domains accrue backlinks, right? These backlinks increase the authority of your domain.
What this means is that the more quality backlinks a domain has, the more likely it is to receive attention from Google.
So, when you write articles targeting a specific topic or keyword, Google will be more inclined to giving you a better ranking on its search engine because you have a strong domain.
Awesome right? I know!
So, if you’re planning to focus more of your attention on SEO and attracting traffic from Google, this may be a better and quicker approach in contrast to buying a brand new domain.
The downside to this approach is that pre-existing domains can be expensive to buy, have a bad link profile or not match your niche topic at all.
In such cases, you’re better off buying a brand new domain. If, however, you can find a good pre-existing domain that has good backlinks and is perfect for your niche, grab it!
With that being said, get a domain name that stands out, is memorable and a good representation of your blog!
2. CHOOSE A PLATFORM
When starting out, we decided to opt for Blogger because it was a free platform that is easy to use. It’s great to start off with but if you’re truly going to take your business seriously, it’s best to opt for WordPress.
As a content management system (CMS), Wordpress is fantastic. We’ve used it plenty of times in the past and are currently working on migrating all our sites onto WordPress.
The reason WordPress is the best blogging platform online is because of its flexibility and the extremely massive pool of plugins. You can literally build a fully-fledged online business on WordPress whereas the restrictions on Blogger are far too many to mention.
What we like is the ability to use charts, tables, completely customizable subscription forms, beautifully designed templates/themes and an overall more stable system to blog on.
It has an array of tools that will blow your mind and is particularly easy to use once you spend some time on it.
Before you can actually use WordPress, you need web hosting. Let’s talk about that next.
3. SIGN UP FOR HOSTING – BLUEHOST
A webhosting provider is a business that provides all the necessary resources and storage space to host a website online.
For instance, every time you upload a picture or a new plugin, it saves onto the web hosting package you purchased. Furthermore, your website is stored on something known as servers which are special computers dedicated to hosting websites.
It can sound complicated but you don’t have to bust your head trying to figure it out too much.
So, when purchasing a hosting package, you are essentially paying rental fees to store your website data and operate your website on the net through a company’s server. In order to run a blog on WordPress, you NEED web hosting. It’s essential!
After trying and testing half a dozen web hosting companies, the one company that offers the most reliable and trustworthy service on the net happens to be Bluehost.
They’ve been around for a heck of a long time and almost everyone recommends using them.
Now you can also start a blog for as little as $3.95 a month (was $7.99) and get a FREE domain name, FREE SSL, and a 1-click WordPress install (you save $15-$17!) when you sign up with Bluehost. It doesn’t get better than that. See our full step-by-step guide here.
– HEAD OVER TO BLUEHOST.COM –
Simply click “Get Started Now” and you will be redirected to the next page.
– SELECT A PACKAGE –
Although they have 3 awesome packages, I highly recommend you start with the basic package because it literally has everything you need for starting a new blog. 50GB website space is MORE than enough for now! Since the bandwidth is ‘unmetered’ it means that you can get an unlimited amount of visitors to your site without any issue.
It’s the perfect package for any new blog. In the future, you could upgrade if need be.
– ENTER A NEW DOMAIN OR ADD AN EXISTING ONE YOU OWN –
If you don’t have a domain name and want to start fresh, simple type in the domain name that you wish to register in the “New Domain” tab and hit next. If the domain name is available, it will go through smoothly. If it isn’t, you will be notified that it is taken and you’ll have to choose a different domain.
Try to have 3 domain names on hand! Alternately, if you already have a domain name, just type it into the “I Have A Domain Name” tab and click Next.
– FILL IN YOUR DETAILS AND SUBMIT –
You can sign in with Google and Bluehost will autofill your Gmail details! Or, simply fill in your details in the account information tab as requested.
I suggest unticking them all if you don’t have the budget because they aren’t necessary right now and I don’t want you to waste money!
When you’ve entered your account and payment information, tick the agreement box and click Submit. You will be redirected to a page either requesting payment or authorizing payment. Follow the necessary steps and once payment is complete, your work is done!
You’ll get an email from Bluehostnotifying you that the transaction has been completed and your account is set up. In the email, you’ll receive all the information required to access your account as well as additional information for recording purposes.
That’s it! The hard parts Done and Dusted!
4. INSTALL WORDPRESS
Now let’s cover the last step of this setup phase. If you’ve purchased a hosting package with Bluehost through our discount link, this step requires nothing more than a click of your mouse.
First, log into you cPanel, and search for the WordPress Icon at the bottom. Click “Install WordPress.” On the next page, hit Install again and when asked which domain to be linked onto WordPress, select the domain name which you registered.
Set your login details and when WordPress successfully installs, login to your dashboard and get started!
P.S. Your email will also have login details to access your domains WordPress dashboard.
You’re finally done!
Your blog is set up and all you need to do is get people visiting your blog immediately. Check out the next and final section below for epic tips on how to use Pinterest!