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Blogging is a great way to make extra money on the side. In this beginner’s guide, I am going to show you how you can start a blog from scratch quickly and cheaply even if you are a total beginner.
To set up a brand new blog, it’s very easy.
All you need is to follow these simple three steps.
Step 1: Get A Domain Name
The very first thing you need to do is to think of a name for your blog.
That will become your brand later on.
So, how do you choose a domain name for your new blog?
Generally, there are two ways to do it.
Method #1: You can use your name as your domain name and then build a personal brand around it.
For example, Tony Robbins uses its own name as its website domain name, and has successfully branded himself as one of the top life and business coach in the world.
He has become so famous that his name is synonymous with happiness and success.
If you are going through a tough time in your life, whether it is your work or relationship, you might have your friends or other people recommending you Tony Robbins’ books or audio tapes.
After my good friend got divorced one year after giving birth to her baby girl, I could tell that she was in a lot of pain.
To help her get better, I told her about Tony Robbins and also shared with her how his books helped empower people and change their lives for better.
You see, that is how powerful personal branding can be.
So, if you want to use your blog to build a personal brand in the long term, then it’s an easy decision for your domain name.
Method #2: You choose a domain name that is related to the topics you are going to write about (i.e. your niche).
If you don’t want to use your personal name as your domain name, you can choose a domain name that is related to your niche.
Let me give you a few examples.
Domain Name Example #1
For example, my domain name is Earn More Live Freely.
The reason why I chose this domain name is that I want to write about how to make more money and achieve financial freedom.
I also made a business decision to include a niche-related keyword in my domain name.
This serves two purposes:
- It helps me rank better on Google for certain keywords that I am targeting (e.g earn more money)
- It allows the readers to know right away what my website is all about
Domain Name Example #2
You might have heard of this website called “LifeHacker”.
From its name, you could already tell that this website is all about life hacks and tips.
When you go to their website, you expect to get information that can be used to help you optimize all aspects of your life such as health, career, time, money and relationship.
Domain Name Example #3
If you are a parent, you probably have heard of this website called “The Bump”.
When I was pregnant with my boy, I would spend tons of time every day reading up on pregnancy on the website.
Personally, I love this website, and I also think its domain name is brilliant.
Just by looking at its domain name, you should be able to guess that it’s a website for expecting mothers.
Its domain is also pretty easy to remember.
So, when you are deciding on your domain name, it helps to ask yourself the following questions:
- Is it easy to remember?
- Is it easy to tell what the website is all about by simply looking at the domain name?
- Do I want to include any keywords that I want to target in my domain name?
- Do I want to build a strong brand around this domain name over the long term?
Generally, you want to use “.com” for your domain because it’s still the most powerful domain extension.
It not only lends credibility to your website, but it’s also favored by search engine (meaning you are more likely to get more organic traffic from Google if you use .com)
Step 2: Set Up Web hosting
Once you have chosen and purchased your domain name, your next step is to buy a web hosting for your domain name.
What’s web hosting?
Let me give you an analogy.
If your domain name was your home address, then your web hosting would be like your house built on the empty land at your home address.
Without web hosting, nothing will come out when you type your domain name in the address bar of your browser.
So, for your website to go online, you need to purchase web hosting.
How do you choose a good web hosting for your website?
If you are just starting out, I would recommend an affordable but reliable web hosting at first.
At the start, you won’t have a lot of traffic to your website, and won’t have a lot of content on your website.
Most importantly, you won’t be making money right from the start.
Because of these reasons, you don’t need to get the most expensive hosting plan in your first year of blogging.
An affordable yet good annual plan should suffice for your blogging needs at the beginning.
When you are choosing your web hosting, here are a few things you should consider:
- How good is their customer support? Is it fast and 24/7?
- What is the size of SSD storage being offered in their basic package? (50GB is good enough for a new blog)
- How easy is it to install WordPress theme?
- Do they offer free SSL (this is a security certificate that tells your web visitors that your website is secure) or you need to purchase it every year?
- Do they have money-back guarantee?
I recommend two web hosting plans that I have personally used:
Bluehost is slightly more expensive because it offers FREE domain name and also FREE SSL for your websites while NameCheap will charge you for both separately.
Now, how do set up your hosting account with Bluehost?
To get started, go to Bluehost’s home page. Under” Hosting” at the top menu, select the “Shared Hosting”.
Then, choose “Basic” annual plan which is only $3.95/month then click “Sign Up Now.”
Next, you need to choose a domain name for your site.
If you don’t have a domain name, you can get your domain name for FREE right there in the sign-up process.
Then, you’ll choose which hosting package you want.
Generally, shared hosting plans are priced at 12, 24 and 36-month terms.
The longer term you get, the cheaper your monthly rate will be.
But, I recommend that you go with the 36 month Basic plan because it gives you the cheapest rate. And later on, you have the option to upgrade to a better hosting plan if your blog takes off and receives tons of traffic.
For the package extras, they are completely optional. My website has worked pretty well without all these extras.
After you’ve chosen your hosting package, click the “Next” button to complete your purchase.
After that, you’ll be asked to create a password for your account.
Now that you are all signed up and are able to log into your account, you can get started installing WordPress.
Step 3: Install WordPress Theme
What’s a WordPress theme?
Now, back to our analogy earlier, if your domain name was your home address, your web hosting would be your house and your WordPress theme would be the interior design of your house.
Here are 6 simple steps you need to follow to install your WordPress:
- Log in to your Bluehost cPanel account.
- Find the Website section and select Install WordPress.
- Click the Install button.
- Choose the domain name to install it to
- Read through the license and service agreements and check the boxes.
- Select the Install Now button.
Once you are done, you will see that your website has a free wordpress theme already by typing your domain name in the address bar of your web browser.
If you don’t like it, you can always change it to another theme (either paid or free).
Here’s a step-by-step video to share with you how to log into WordPress dashboard to change your WordPress theme and publish blog posts.