When I finally decided to start my blog, I had zero knowledge of what goes into the start-up. I spend so many hours researching and reading e-books so that I could walk myself through the process. I only wish that I had an easy blog set-up guide to help me. If I had known what I know today, I would have been done in a matter of a couple hours. Unfortunately, I spent a few days at least just setting up my website and figuring out the ins-and-outs of WordPress and everything else that goes into it.
Lucky for you, I love to help people. I’m going to walk you through the initial steps of setting up your blog website. If you are blogging for a hobby, this process is going to be different. This guide is designed for bloggers who want to eventually make money from their website. The thought of setting up a website can be daunting, but that is why I created this easy blog set-up guide. It will save you countless hours. Hours that you’ll be able to spend on more important tasks like content creation. If you’re still unsure about starting a blog, you should read my 5 Reasons You Should Start a Blog Today.
The Easy Blog Set-Up Guide
1. Buying Your Domain Name & Hosting
The very first step to your blog set-up is to have an idea of what content you want to create and the name you’d like for your website. Your best chance at getting a domain name that you want will be to come up with 5-7 names that you’d like for your blog. My hope for you is that you’ll be able to land your top choice, but that doesn’t always happen. There are a few things I’ll be including for you in my easy blog set-up guide workbook. One of those will be a worksheet for you to fill in that will help you come up with a few names. You’ll also get a checklist you can print out to guide you through the steps in this post.
Once you have your list of blog name possibilities, it’s time to purchase your domain name. I chose Namecheap to buy my domain name because they have excellent pricing.
2. Installing WordPress
I only use WordPress because they have beautiful themes and so many options for plug-ins. It’s hard to go wrong with WordPress. With the user-friendly interface and the so many options to customize (without spending a dime), I don’t think I’d ever use anything else.
Once you have your domain name and hosting purchased (this should cost no more than $30 if you’ve used the coupon code and chose a 1-year payment for your domain name) you’re going to go to your Namecheap dashboard. You’ll see recently active. This lists your domain and hosting. Click on Manage next to your hosting plan.
This part is important! Log into your email, the one you used to sign up for Namecheap, they sent you an email with the information you’ll need when you log into Cpanel. You’re going to scroll down to where it says Software, and click on Log Into CPanel.
From here, you’re going to scroll all the way to the bottom. There is a section titled Softaculous Apps Installer. Click on the WordPress Icon and follow the installation instructions. Once you’ve done this, return to this page. Don’t forget, don’t close it so you can keep your place.
While Namecheap does have the EasyWP hosting option, I would recommend the professional hosting plan instead because you do get faster speeds and more space. Plus you have the option to add more domains to your hosting.
Once you’re up and running…
3. Sign Up for Mailerlite
When I started my blog, everyone told me to use MailChimp for my email subscription list. I just wasn’t satisfied with the options available to me. I switched to Mailerlite and I love it. They have plenty of designs for different forms, landing pages, and buttons. Plus, if you want a hellobar (that cute little sign-up bar at the top of my page) you can get it free with MailMunch and it’ll integrate into your Mailerlite subscriber service.
Mailerlite will walk you through the process of getting a free email address for your domain name through Zoho Mail. Also, Mailerlite is free for your first 1,000 subscribers so you have time to decide on what plan you’d like in the future. Talk about easy blog set-up.
Once you have Mailerlite set-up, you should also download the Mailerlite plug-in for your WordPress site. This will allow you to easily insert your sign-up forms directly into your posts. No coding knowledge necessary. So that you have everything you need from day 1, I’m also including a list of plugins for you to download in my easy blog set-up guide.
4. Download the Plugins Listed in the Easy Blog Set-Up Guide
This one is simple enough. On your WordPress dashboard, you’ll see menu options on the left. When you click on plugins you’ll be able to search for the plugin you need to download. Just install and activate each of the plugins from the list in the easy blog set-up guide and you’ll be good to go. Some of them you may have to sign-up for, but don’t worry they’re all safe.
5. Choose and Install a WordPress Theme
There are hundreds of free WordPress themes you can choose from. This part can actually be a bit overwhelming to a new blogger. Trust me, I just finally fell in love with a theme not too long ago. But I’m glad I kept searching for one I loved. There are also paid themes available all over the place. If you go to Etsy and search WordPress theme you’ll find a ton.
These are ones that I truly like. Anissa by AlienWP is a great choice. It’s the theme I use here on Lessons From A Student Mom. Whitish Lite is also a clean and customizable theme that I would suggest. You can search for more themes through your WordPress dashboard. The themes tab on your left-hand side of the screen will give you plenty of options. If you’re looking for even more options, you can go to Themezy to find more free WordPress themes.
From here, you’ll be able to continue customizing your website how you see fit. My recommendation to you is to decide on a color scheme of 2-3 colors for your blog. Stick with those colors. Also, you’re going to want to stick with about 2 fonts to use throughout all of your images and your website. This will keep your brand flowing. On that handy plugin list in your easy blog set-up guide, you’ll find a plugin that will allow you to upload your fonts. Using this plugin will allow you to use your chosen fonts within your blog posts.
If you subscribe to my email tribe, I’m going to be sending out weekly font finds that you can use for your website! Don’t worry they’re all free and for use commercially. You won’t have to worry about copyrighting or licensing for using them. Plus, you’ll be able to connect with me personally if you ever need help in the future. I welcome requests for posts and how-to’s, or just general feedback.