Okay mom-friends, it’s been a long time since I’ve written a blogging tutorial here on the blog, but so many of you mention that you’d like to know how to start a blog, that I had to write this post. It’s a bit frustrating for me when I visit a blog for moms and find a ton of posts on blogging, but I’m making an exception in this case because I think blogging is a great outlet for moms. It’s also a great way to make some extra money, and you know I love to help you do that. So, here we go.
This blog is hosted on inMotion Hosting & this post contains affiliate links. Thanks for using my links to purchase your hosting plan.
Preparing to Start a Blog
I just finished my 8th year here on the blog and I remember my first day like it was yesterday. I’ve learned a lot (mostly by trial and error) and I enjoy passing on what I’ve learned. Enough about me, though. Take a quick look at the basic steps involved in starting your first blog.
- Determine your why and what.
- Decide on a name.
- Pick your platform.
- Search for your domain name (the web address people will use to find your blog i.e., TheMamaZone.com).
- Purchase hosting, if necessary.
- Get started on WordPress.
Determine why you want to start a blog and what you’ll blog about.
You have no idea how often I hear bloggers say they need to start over because they don’t like what they originally chose to blog about. You can likely avoid that by planning ahead. Decide why you want to blog and choose a topic you’re knowledgeable about. My “why” was to help other moms and since I’m pretty good at making things easier that was my angle.
I’ll note here that you do not have to be an expert writer to start a blog, but you do need a basic understanding of grammar (and a good grammar checker). Images are also increasingly important on blogs these days, so it helps if you can take a decent picture, but again, not a requirement.
Decide on a blog name.
Once you know why you want to blog and what you want to blog about, spend some time brainstorming a unique blog name. Be sure to run a Google search to make sure it’s not already taken–you don’t want to get in trouble because of that later on. This might take some time, so be patient. Choose something that clearly and simply conveys what your blog is about.
Choose the best blogging platform for your goals.
A blogging platform is, simply put, where you’ll do your blogging. There are platforms you can use without spending any money and others that require an initial investment or monthly subscription.
If you aren’t ready to put your cash on the line, go ahead and set up an account with WordPress.com or Blogger. Both are free to use and easy to set up (I started out on Blogger).
If you know for sure you’re committed to blogging and especially if you’ve decided you want to make money blogging, keep following the instructions below. I’ll help you set up a self-hosted blog on WordPress.org (and explain what that is).
Purchase your domain name and a hosting plan.
A “host” is where your blog lives. When you opt for self-hosted, you pay a small fee for a company to host your site, but you own it, you’re in control and you have the freedom to design, monetize and grow your blog as you wish. I use inMotion as my host and highly recommend it. To use self-hosting, you’ll also need a domain name. inMotion offers a FREE domain and makes it easy to do this all at once. Here’s how:
- Click to visit inMotionHosting.com and select Business Hosting.
- On the next page, select the LAUNCH plan by hovering your mouse over “ORDER NOW” and then clicking the 1 Year option.
- On the Domain page, select the option to purchase a new domain (unless you already have a domain).
- Enter your desired domain name in the box and click the SEARCH button. inMotion will tell you whether that web address is available and offer alternatives for you to purchase as well.
**Here are few things to consider before you commit to a domain name: First, look for a name that has the .com available since it’s the most common. Make sure it’s not too long, it’s easy to spell, easy to say and easy to remember. You might also want to check to see if that same name is available on other social networks, like Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. It will help maintain continuity as you grow your blog.
- Once you’ve found an available domain name, click CONTINUE. You’ll be given the option to upgrade, but you don’t need the Power plan right now.
- On the Configure Your Server page, choose either the East Coast or West Coast Data Center (I’m not sure this matters for shared hosting plans, but I chose the one closest to me).
- On that same page, choose Install WordPress.
- You’ll see your new domain registration and 1 year of Domain Privacy added to your cart. If you’re not sure whether you need it, read about Domain Privacy in the inMotion support section. Click CONTINUE.
- You’re almost there! Double check your order details, then choose “Creating a new website” at the bottom of the page. You’ll then have the option to continue the process on your own, using the great support articles inMotion offers or you can set up a call so they can help you get started. If you’re not comfortable with technical stuff, I say click “CALL ME,” although those support articles are extremely helpful.
You’ll receive a receipt and a welcome email with next steps. Since you pre-installed WordPress and purchased your domain from inMotion, the hosting setup work is pretty much done. If you registered your domain name somewhere else, follow these instructions to continue.
There might be a delay before you can access your site. Newly registered domain names could require up to 24 hours before things are completely up and running. Now, the final step…
- Login to your WordPress dashboard and dive in. Your screen will look similar to the image below. inMotion has an instructions to walk you through getting started on WordPress and the WordPress.org site is quite helpful too. Visit those links for help on choosing a theme (the look of your blog) and navigating WordPress.
Start to get familiar with the platform and then begin writing! It may be a bit overwhelming at first because there is a lot to learn, but you can do it!
When you’re ready to dig in deeper, check out the posts where I share what’s in my blogging toolbox and how I make money blogging. Once you start your blog, pop by and leave a link to it in the comments. I’d love to check it out!