I’ve been blogging for awhile now and it’s been a pretty fun experience for me so far. This hobby has allowed me to meet interesting people online which have continued into real friendships offline and encourage me to research all kinds of interesting financial topics that I would have otherwise not learn about. It also helps me flush out my ideas and shower-thoughts further by spelling them out into words. Some people have asked me how to go about creating their own piece of real estate on the internet so today I thought I’d share how to start a blog.
Reasons you may want to start a blog:
- To keep yourself accountable
- To write and learn about something you feel passionate about because you enjoy it
- To keep a record of your goals and accomplishment
- To compliment your career or other aspects of life
- To earn some side income
- To express yourself online using words, pictures, or video (ie: vlog)
My reasons for blogging today are the same as when I started 5 years ago; to track my progress to become financially independent and share my journey for anyone who wants to read it. So far it’s been a pretty enjoyable experience. 🙂
There are many ways to start a blog. If you just want to blog about your cat for your family and friends to see then you can use a service such as tumblr.com, weebly.com, blogspot.com, or wordpress.com. You’ve probably seen some of these sites around online. 🙂 These kinds of blogs take a few minutes to set up and are pretty straight forward. But if you want your blog to have a wider appeal, own your domain name, and have more customization options then you probably want to create a self hosted blog. This means it won’t be free, but you get to have complete control and ownership of the files on your blog, and instead of having a website like www.YourBlogName.blogspot.com, you will actually have www.YourBlogName.com, or whatever name you choose. This can be a little tricky to set up so let’s go over some key details.
Creating a Self Hosted Blog
Step 1: Register your domain name. There are many registrars out there, but hosting companies like bluehost.com will allow you to register a website as well as host all your site’s contents with them. I’m going to use Bluehost as an example. My blog is being hosted on their servers. There are a few different pricing options but it appears they currently have a deal going on right now.
After signing up for an account at Bluehost it’s time to register a domain name, which is your website’s url. You can either choose a new domain name, or transfer over an existing one if you already have one registered elsewhere. When creating your domain name I would try to keep it easy to remember, and not too long, and don’t add dashes “-” or other weird symbols. Also try to keep the name relevant to your blog’s purpose. For example if you enjoy blogging about vegan recipes or writing restaurant reviews you could try to register the domain: myveganfoodblog.com. After this step you will be taken to your site’s cpanel page.
Step 2: Install a website builder. This allows you to manage your blog in a user friendly environment where the interface is easy to understand and you don’t have to know any HTML or CSS to make your blog look appealing. 🙂 I recommend WordPress just because it seems like everyone and their dog are using this platform. On your cpanel, click on Install WordPress. Then click the “Start” button for a brand new installation.
Make sure to manually fill in the spaces to configure your WordPress install. Create an easy to remember “Admin Username” for yourself. It doesn’t have to be an email address. But don’t use “Admin” or “Administrator.” And make up a strong “Admin Password,” including both letters and numbers for extra security.
Then click on “Install Now” and wait for WordPress to install about 50 megabytes of data. It shouldn’t take long.
Step 3: Once WordPress is installed you can go to your website and log in through the back end. To do this, start off by typing in your blog or site’s domain/url into your browser, and add /wp-admin at the end, eg: www.yourblogname.com/wp-admin. Enter the username and password you created in the previous step. Once logged in you will be taken to the WordPress dashboard.
Step 4: You are now ready to start blogging away. 😀 To create new posts just go to “New” and then “Post” on the top menu.
To change your blog’s theme to something more to your liking you can go to “Appearance” and then “Themes” to choose from many different free layouts or premium ones. By playing around with the settings in the Dashboard and third party plugins that can be installed, you can make your blog look and feel as unique as you want.
Blogs can be serious business or just for fun. They can be private where only a select number of people can visit, or public to the entire world. You can blog using your real identity or write anonymously like me. There’s no special requirement to becoming a blogger, other than you enjoy doing it. 🙂
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