How To Start a Blog

Start a Blog

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4 years ago when we retired in our 30s to travel the world, we started blogging so friends and family could join the journey. Unexpectedly, that small group grew to tens of thousands of people. Even more unexpectedly, blogging income grew from zero to sufficiently large to pay all of our travel bills.

Is that intriguing? This detailed guide will help you get started with a shiny new blog of your own.

How to Start a Blog

Getting started is actually very quick and easy. You could have your new blog up and running today. Let’s get started.

1. Choose a Memorable Name

A memorable name is important. This is your brand. When people are looking through a list of blogs in your target niche, which one will they click on first…


My money blog
Another money blog
Go Curry Cracker!
Yet another money blog
My blog about money

2. Getting Your Blog On the Web

A new website needs a place to host all of the blog posts and photos so people around the world can see what you are sharing. Think of it as renting a room to store your stuff.

I’ve been using Bluehost since day 1 and couldn’t be happier. Even when this site was simultaneously on the front page of Forbes and Yahoo, Bluehost handled it like a champ.

Prices start at less than $4/month, less than a fancy beverage at Starbucks. And if you signup via links on this page, you get a free domain name (a $15 value.)

Step 1 – Get Started Now

Head over to the Bluehost page and click on that big green “get stared now >” button.

Step 2 – Pick a Plan

Go Curry Cracker! has been on the basic plan for 4 years and counting.

shared-hosting-plansStep 3 – Reserve Your Domain Name (Blog Name)

Enter your blog name in the “new domain” box on the left. If our blog name is unique and memorable, it should be available.

Start a BlogStep 4 – Register and Pay the Bill

Congratulations, you are a new business owner. Enter all of your ownership details now. The mailing address can be your Traveling Mailbox.

Start a Blog

Be sure to include Domain Privacy Protection. This prevents random people on the Internet from knowing your name, email address, and mailing address. (Well worth it!)

Be sure to use the best credit card for getting points for future free travel!

Start a Blog

Step 5 – Create a Bluehost Password

We’ll need a password for later if we need to change some stuff behind the scenes. Click on “create your password”

7-welcome

Create your Bluehost password now (they have very strict password requirements.) I use the free version of  LastPass to manage this. It generates secure passwords and is a real help for seldom used passwords like this one.

Start a Blog

Step 6 – Install WordPress

WordPress is the most popular tool for blogging and is what we use on Go Curry Cracker! It’s also Free. Because it is so popular, there is an army of WordPress experts on Fiverr who can help in the future for only $5.

But let’s do our own WordPress install for free.

First login to Bluehost with the username and password you just created at http://my.bluehost.com.

This brings you to the screen shown here, which has the fancy name of cpanel. It looks complicated, but don’t worry… all you need to do is find the Website Builders header and click on WordPress.

Start a Blog

From here, click the green “Start a brand new install” button.

Start a BlogChoose your blog name and then click the green Check Domain button.

Start a Blog
Click the “show advanced options” checkbox and enter an email address and password. This is the admin account for you blog, which is separate from the Bluehost account created above. You will use this email/password a lot.

Now click “Install Now
Start a Blog
The installation may take a few minutes.
Start a BlogInstall Complete!

16-install-completeYour site is now LIVE! Congratulations! How easy was that?

4. Site Design and Content Creation

We are now ready to make our new blog look nice and create our first post.

Step 1 – Login to your new site

Login to your new site at http://www.yourblog.com/wp-admin/
Use the admin username & password you just created during the install process. This will bring you to the control center of your new blog, called the Dashboard.
18-wordpress-login

This will bring you to the control center of your new blog, called the Dashboard.
Start a Blog

Step 2 – Pick a Theme

At present your new blog is very empty and basic. We make it look nice by adding a theme.

There are a ton of free themes available, or you can get something from a pro design company like Elegant Themes.

To choose a theme, select Appearance and Themes in the left side bar. Click Add New and find one that appeals to you, then click Activate.

You can try out at many as you like, and nothing is permanent. It is just like trying on a few pairs of clothes.

Start a Blog

Step 3 – Publish Your First Post!

Now we just need to publish our first post! On the left sidebar select Posts and Add New.

Enter a title (“Welcome to my new blog!”), add some content (“blah blah blah”) and then click Publish. That’s it. Congrats, you are a blogger!

When I wrote my first post I didn’t know anything. We all have to start somewhere. Try new things, make mistakes, get messy… it’s part of the fun!

Start a Blog

5. Plugins & Services

Now that your site is up and running, there are a few additional tools (Plugins) and Services that make blogger life easier. These are all tools that I use.

Plugins

To add a Plugin, in the Dashboard’s left sidebar select Plugins and Add New. Bluehost makes it easy to install as many plugins as we need.

This alphabetical list will get you started. All are free. Search for the plugin name on the plugin page of your Dashboard.

  • Akismet – Akismet protects your blog from spam. It is critical!
  • Link Within – provides recommendations for additional content to your readers
  • Pretty Link Lite – easy to use manager for affiliate links
  • Sociable – makes it easy for your readers to share your content
  • TablePress – tool for creating and managing tables.
  • Updraft Plus – regular backups are really important! We backup to the free version of Dropbox.
  • WP Super Cache – when your site hits the front page of Yahoo, this will help prevent your server from crashing.
  • Yoast SEO – this provides guidance for search engine optimization. This will increase traffic from Google, etc…

Services

We use all of these services. Some of them cost $ and only increase in price as your traffic increases.

6. Social Media

Create accounts for your blog on the most popular social media sites. This makes it easy for your readers to view and share your content.

We are presently on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram.

It is also important to start an email list, ideally from Day 1. A ton of people prefer to subscribe to blogs via email. We use ConvertKit to manage our email lists.

7. Start Blogging

You are now the proud owner of a shiny new blog.

When I wrote my first post I didn’t know anything. We all have to start somewhere. Try new things, make mistakes, get messy… it’s part of the fun!

Go get ’em tiger! And enjoy this special offer just for Team Curry Cracker.


Any questions? Ask in the comments. I’ll help if I can.

Fiverr is also a good place to get WordPress help.

1 Comment

  1. kind of lost ⚒ (@kindoflost)

    Hey I am finally getting started. This list is very helpful. What’s the plug in to enable comments from social media in this comment box?
    Thanks and happy new year!

    Reply

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