I started in the online world way back in 2005 at the height of the Harry Potter craze with my own fan site. I had such a blast I’ve explored different types of websites over the years which have all led me to Sunday Smitten.
Starting a blog of any kind is a very daunting process. Especially if you’re brand new to the concept of domain names, hosting and WordPress.Luckily you can start a lifestyle, beauty or fashion blog in as little as 5 steps. And I’ll walk you through each step.
Before You Begin
Know what you want to blog about. You’re here reading this post so you are clearly interested in starting your own blog.Now you need to narrow down what you’d like to blog about. Whatever it is make sure you’re passionate about it. Blogging is constantly evolving and all bloggers, new or experienced, are always learning something new.
Step 1. Choosing your platform
There are 2 main platforms most bloggers choose from: Blogger or WordPress. As I personally use WordPress, and highly recommend it, for Sunday Smitten I’ll be focusing on how to set up your blog in this post using WordPress. The WordPress I’m referring to is WordPress.org which is a self-hosted version requiring your own domain name and hosting. Using WordPress over other platforms (such as Blogger) grants you many freedoms to customise your blog to your specific requirements. Plus it’s the best option long term if you have a desire to turn your blog into a business, sell products or make an income. It’s also seen as the more professional option by potential future clients/companies.
If your interest in running a blog is more for fun purposes or family & friends then I highly recommend Blogger. You don’t need a domain name or hosting and there are many great themes available to make your blog look stylish. A few I love are Blog Pixie, Georgia Lou Studios, Creative Market & pipdig.
Related Post: Top 10 Feminine Blogger Themes
Step 2. Domain name & hosting
To get your domain name you need to register it online. You need to register a domain name and buy hosting. You can register your domain name via a separate site than your hosting (such as Namecheap), just make sure you point the Nameservers to Bluehost:
The easier option is to register your domain name alongside your hosting (no Nameserver pointing required). To start, visit Bluehost, hover over ‘Hosting’ in the top navigation bar and click ‘Shared Hosting’. Choose a plan. I recommend Basic if you’re just starting out. Once you’ve decided on a plan select the corresponding green ‘Select’ button.
Enter your preferred URL into the ‘new domain’ box and click the blue ‘next’ button. You may have to get creative with your domain name in order to find one that isn’t already taken. This relates to your blog name if you haven’t decided on your blog name do that now. I highly recommend you go with .com
Fill out your Account Information (be sure to double check everything). Select your package information (I recommend 36 months billing cycle). Important: Deselect ‘Site Backup Pro’ and ‘SiteLock Security – Find’. You simply don’t need them. ‘Domain Privacy Protection’ is a personal preference, click the ‘More Information’ underneath it if you’d like to learn more about it.
Fill out your payment details, agree to the terms & conditions. Before you click submit scroll back up and double check everything. When you’re satisfied click ‘submit’. Ignore all offers on the next page and click ‘complete’. On the next page you’ll see your purchase confirmation, click on the blue ‘create a password’ button and create your new account password. Check your email (it can take up to 15 mins) for your account details.
It can take up to an hour or two for your hosting to be fully set up.
Step 3. Install WordPress
Installing WordPress is super easy and you should never pay for it. It only takes a couple mins to set up the install. Head back to Bluehost and login to your account. Locate the ‘Install WordPress’ link (circled below).
Select your domain and click ‘Next’. Leave the directory blank.
Enter your blog’s name, admin username (to log into WordPress on your blog), admin email and password. Select any check boxes and click ‘Next’.
WordPress will now be installed on your blog. All you need to do is wait. Check your email for your WordPress details. Depending on how long you waited after buying your hosting it can take anywhere from an hour to 24 for your blog to appear online. Patience is key. Don’t panic if your website isn’t live. When your website is live, go to the URL in the WordPress email you received from Bluehost and login. The address should be something like yourdomain.com/wp-admin.
Step 4. Purchase & upload a theme
Your theme is the ‘look’ of your blog. There are so many great websites out there with gorgeous WordPress themes. A few of my favourites are Georgia Lou Studios, Creative Market & pipdig. Personally, I’d recommend pipdig, they have amazing support alongside great tutorials if you ever get stuck.
Related Post: Top 10 Feminine WordPress Themes
Once you’ve decided on a theme and purchased it navigate to ‘Appearance’ > ‘Themes’ in your WordPress dashboard. Click ‘Add New’.
Click ‘Upload Theme’ on the next page and upload the theme’s zip file from your harddrive. Once it’s uploaded, activate it. Preview your blog and you should see your new gorgeous theme.
If you purchased a pipdig theme refer to the installation instructions via the link in your order’s email. It will tell you how to set up your widgets, link your social media, create your navigation bar and customise your theme’s styles and features.
Step 5. Important tips
This could really fall at any point in your blog setup but make sure you do it ASAP. You want to make sure your social media handles are the same and match your blog. It’s a crucial step to unify your brand across all platforms.
Affiliates are one way to monetize your blog. This tip is for bloggers who’ve already launched and have several posts on their blog. I personally use Amazon Affiliates, Google Adsense and Shop Style Collective. Take note that some affiliates (Adsense is one) will require your blog to already be launched with enough content to be approved before you can use their service.
I hope you find this helpful if you’re looking to start a blog. Feel free to leave any questions below.
This post contains referral links. Please read my disclaimer for more info.