5 Steps on How to Start a Blog in 2018

It’s a new year! With the new year comes new goals each of us want to do.

I am excited you have found this article. That means you want to start a blog this year! You have been researching for a while. But you haven’t quite found the right resource(s) to motivate you during that process. If you are looking for a comprehensive guide to starting a blog. I GOT YOU!

Before I give you the goodies, let me introduce myself. Terri K is the moniker but online you will see me as @terri2kool.

I am the founder and Editor-In-Chief here at DCF. I began my blogging journey in 2012 as a hobby and now six (6) years later, I’ve decided to get serious as a part-time entrepreneur. Over the years I have created six (6) blogs/websites on my own. I enjoy going through the preparation process. I love to see the finalised website in the end. If you’re like me, then this article is definitely for you.

I understand that not everyone has the time or patience to build a website from scratch. I have reached out to two (2) of my web development and design friends. Each of them offer services to build websites from the ground up. Check out their details under the Recommended Resources section and be sure to let them know Terri sent you.

By the end of this blog post you will learn how to:

    1. Prepare for the process of creating a website on your own
    2. Buy your very own domain name
    3. Get web hosting for your site
    4. Complete the WordPress installation process
    5. Pick a layout/theme for your site

Recommended Resources

Throughout this blog post, I will be referring to resources that I am using to run my websites. Some of these resources will contain affiliate links. They will have an asterisk symbol, *, next to them. If you do buy using my affiliate link, I will receive a commission from your sale. This, in turn, will help me to provide more valuable pieces of content such as this one in the future!

    1. Namecheap (Domain Registration)
    2. Hostgator* (Web Hosting)
    3. Theme Forest* (Site Theme/Layout)
    4. 3 Day Website (Web Development and Design. Let them know Terri referred you!)
    5. Narsha Design Co (Web Development and Design. Let them know Terri referred you!)

5 Steps on How to Start a Blog in 2018

STEP 1: The Preparation Process

Before you get into the “fun” part of starting your blog. You need to decide if you are going to be a hobby blogger or if you want to earn income from it. Your income goal can be side hustle, part-time, or full-time. If you ONLY want to be a hobby blogger all you need to do is:

    • Determine your blog’s name
    • Have your method of payment (PayPal, debit or credit card)
    • Set aside 30 minutes to set up your blog

If you DO want to earn income from your blog then you’ll want to approach it like you would a new business. By that I mean, you need to think about defining your brand. That will include outlining your brand’s:

    • Vision
    • Mission
    • Core Values
    • Assets
    • Strategic Plan
    • Design
    • Target Audience Persona

Need a little help? Click here to view and download my FREE brand outline Google Doc. Save the document to your Google Drive so that you can edit it on your own.

No matter which decision you make, get a pencil, paper or your computer to write out your thoughts. I recommend you spend at least 15 minutes coming up with your blog’s name. Your brand outline will take a little longer and you may want to break it up so that you don’t get overwhelmed and lose your momentum.

STEP 2: Buy Your Domain

After you have decided on your blog’s name, head over to Namecheap to see if it is available for registration. The most popular TLD (top-level domain) is [dot]com. If you do not see you blog name with the .COM available, check out the other options.

Think about your LONG-TERM goals. If you plan to make money from your blog. What other TLDs are relevant to that end goal and would support your growth over time?

Once you have found the domain name you would like to buy, DO IT!

The smallest term you can choose with Namecheap is one (1) year, while ten (10) years is the largest. Make your decision based on your current financial situation. Choose the best option for your current budget. You can always add more years at a later date if you finances allow for that in the future.

Jot down any login credentials you create and note the date you created it.

Need extra savings? Sign up for Honey* and add the Google Chrome Extension to your web browser. Before you checkout, Honey will scan for coupons that can be applied and will ONLY add the one that saves you the most money. PS. I saved 20% on my domain renewal last year!

Reminder: Affiliate links have an asterisk symbol, * next to them. If you buy using the code, you will be supporting the DCF website.

STEP 3: Get Web Hosting

Congratulations on purchasing your domain! You are 25% done to starting your own blog. Next, you need to get your site hosted online. PRO TIP: Do not buy your web hosting from the same place you registered your domain name. Why? I have had colleagues who have had their sites held hostage by their service provider.

Head over to Hostgator* to compare their hosting plans. Here are my recommendations for the various types of blogger you may see yourself as:

    • Hobbyist = Hatchling Plan
    • Part-Time = Baby Plan
    • Full-Time = Business Plan

I have the Baby Plan and I am going into my third year with Hostgator. The one thing I love about this company is their customer support. They are very helpful. Even when I have what seems like a bunch of “silly questions” to ask. The connected team member works to resolve the issue during my initial, first contact.

If you are not savvy with web development, the support team at Hostgator will put you at ease! Click To Tweet

When you are ready to make your hosting plan selection. Keep your budget in mind! Choose the payment option that works best for your current financial situation. Allowing for future growth and savings.

AGAIN: Jot down any login credentials you create and note the date you created it.

Reminder: Affiliate links have an asterisk symbol, * next to them. If you buy using the code, you will be supporting the DCF website.

STEP 4: Website Installation

Before you start building pages for your website. PAUSE! You need to ensure that your website actually shows up. Here’s what you need to do to make that happen:

    • Take the Nameservers provided to you by Hostgator
    • Enter them into the Customer DNS section of your domain’s settings on Namecheap

If you chose to use alternative companies other than Hostgator and Namecheap, they should provide you with help articles on how to set custom nameservers on your domain registrar’s website. Contact their support team if you get stuck.

Once you have done that it is time to install your website content management system (CMS). Hostgator has quick installation options for WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and other CMS platforms. My recommendation is WordPress. It is what I use to run my blogs and websites. I have used it for over six (6) years.

Before you being your installation process. You will need to enter the following details:

    • Website URL
    • Admin Email Address
    • Your Blog’s Title/Name
    • Admin Username
    • Your First Name
    • Your Last Name

This process can take up to fifteen (15) minutes for the installation to complete. Keep in mind this is dependent on your internet connection. Once finished, confirm that you are able to log in to your blog’s back end. Be sure to update and change your password from the auto-generated one.

PRO TIP: A strong password includes a combination of:

    • Uppercase Letters
    • Lowercase Letters
    • Numbers
    • Special Characters

Need help creating one? Shoot me an email terrik[at]dearcurlfriend[dot]com. I can help you with that!

STEP 5: Pick a Theme for Your Site

NOW, THIS IS MY FAVOURITE PART! If you are a bit overwhelmed after the first four (4) steps, I get it! Take a break. Bookmark this post and come back after you rest and reset.

When you are ready to start designing your website. Let’s get to it! You have plenty of options that are either free or paid.

If you are looking to start out with a free theme, I recommend you browse the WordPress.org directory. If you would like to invest in a theme that comes with dedicated support and is fully customisable. I recommend you browse the Themeforest directory*.

Once you have decided on a theme, head back to the back end of your site’s WordPress dashboard. Under the Appearance > Themes section you can upload your new theme.

  • If you decided on a WordPress.org theme you can search for it under the Themes section.
  • If you purchased a theme you can upload the .ZIP file to your site.

What’s Next?

Launch your website! Get your content out there. Start sharing your gift with the world!

If you realise after reading this post, that this process is not something you want to do by yourself or on your own. Reach out to one of my friends at 3 Day Website or Narsha Design Co for professional help. Remember to let them know Terri sent you!

If you know someone who would enjoy this post, please share it on Pinterest and other networks using our share icons. I thank you in advance for your support!

Terri K

Founder

Terri K is a budding natural hair vlogger. She launched her YouTube Channel in 2013 under the moniker, misstkms. Terri K serves as the host of the Dear Curl Friend podcast, The Secrets to Great Hair. Find out more at http://www.terri2kool.com

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