Blogging

A step-by-step guide to starting your own blog

12 September 2017 | By

When I started the Life With Isabelle blog, I had no idea what would become of it – whether I’d give up on it after a couple of months, or if it’d become something with a lifespan longer than a year.

I actually began blogging during my third trimester of pregnancy while I was expecting baby Charles, mostly as part of a sudden pregnancy-sense-of-urgency-to-be-extra-busy. Yeah, I don’t know where that came from. But here it is! In many ways, it’s my other baby

And now I’m sure that it’s here to stay!

Why should you start a blog?

  • Get exposure for your business – if you have your own business, or want to start one up, a blog/website is the perfect starting point. It’s a fantastic way to build up exposure.
  • To share your story – basically like an online diary/journal! It’s an easy way of keeping people up to date with your life, in a more aesthetic and personalised form than just using social media.
  • If you love to write – it’s a platform of personal expression, where you can express your thoughts and ideas to a whole range of people (and maybe even build up an audience of fans while you’re at it)
  • It’s super easy to get started – just follow this guide! But in all honesty, there’s such a low barrier to entry, you might as well give it a shot and see how things turn out.
  • You can make money from it – the possibilities are endless!

Read on for the 5 simple steps to start your own blog or website.

5 easy steps to starting your own blog or website

Follow this step-by-step guide to set up and get started with a blog or website – and make a little corner of the internet your own!

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase a service through one of these links I may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. It helps keep Life With Isabelle running!

1. Choose a blogging platform

There’s are lots of different options out there, with some of the main ones including WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, Wix, etc.

However, I definitely recommend going with WordPress. It’s one of the biggest blogging platforms in the world, powering almost 75 million websites across the globe. It’s extremely well supported with a massive community, and a huge number of plugins, add-ons and themes.

It’s no surprise it’s so popular – WordPress is versatile and super easy to navigate and use, even for non-technical folk!

2. Decide whether you want to be self-hosted or not

While there are completely free options if you’re not going down the self-hosted route, I wouldn’t recommend this. Even if you’re just planning on becoming a hobby blogger.

Here are the main reasons why self-hosting is better:

  • Little to no limitations – the free options have heaps of limitations like restricting your ability to monetise, less themes and plugins, restricted space, etc. Self-hosting allows you to be free from all of these restrictions.
  • Custom domain name – you’re not tied down to unattractive subdomains like having blogname.tumblr.com or blogname.wordpress.com or blogname.blogspot.com (they’re unprofessional looking and aren’t your own)
  • You’re not the real owner – if you’re getting one of these free services to host for you, technically they own your site. If they decide to shut down, there goes your blog.

3. Choose your domain name

A domain name is your web address. For example, lifewithisabelle.com is the domain name of this site.

Start by checking whether the domain name you want is available using this domain name search. Once you’ve found one that’s available, you’ll need to go ahead and claim it.

One option is to buy your web address from a domain registrar – my favourites are Crazy Domains (I’ve used them for other websites) and GoDaddy (I use them for Life With Isabelle). Currently you can get over 35% off a Crazy Domains domain name using this link!

Alternatively, you can get a domain free for the first year when you sign up through BlueHost. That’ll also make the following steps even easier. If you want this free domain, go straight on to the next section.

4. Set up your web host

A host provides the server space for your site. In other words, it’s where your site “lives” – so that it can be accessible by people all over the internet, even when your computer is off.

Start by clicking here to go to BlueHost (a discounted price of $3.95 per month instead of $7.99 will automatically apply). The reason I use BlueHost to host my blogs and websites is because they’re reliable, well supported and definitely of the most popular web hosting choices, powering over 2 million websites worldwide!

You should see a screen like this (possibly with a different background image).

Click the big green “get started now” button to begin.

Select your plan from the available options. I normally go with prime (recommended) because it has the best inclusions and is still really affordable. Click the green “select” button of the plan that’s best suited for you to continue.

If you already have a domain name, enter it into the panel on the right then click “next”.

If you a free domain name for the first year, enter your chosen name in the lefthand panel.

Enter your account information and select an account plan from the available options. If you pay further in advance (e.g. the 3 year package), you’ll get a cheaper rate and it locks in a better price. So for the best price, choose the 36 month option.

I don’t normally include any of the extras. You can add these on later if you want anyway.

Enter your payment information, then submit!

After your purchase, you’ll be required to create a password for your account.

Make sure you use a secure password!

Then you’re done.

5. Install WordPress

Log in to the Bluehost cpanel and select the “One-Click Installs” option.

Choose the WordPress installer and continue through the following prompts until your site is ready to go!

You’re ready to start blogging!

Now the fun begins – pick a theme, customise your website and start creating content!

Had any problems along the way? Get in touch and I’ll do my best to help.

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