Creating and developing your own blog can be a truly life-changing event.
The possibilities of what you can accomplish, are literally endless.
It can also be a way to supplement your income or even become a full time business.
If you have a particular hobby or topic that you absolutely love, then a blog or website, can be the perfect platform for you to develop that passion.
If you’re like me, frustratingly, you don’t have a burning passion for any one thing.
You may be quite interested in many different topics, subjects, events etc. but not enough to spend much of your waking days talking or writing about.
A lifestyle blog is the perfect solution for those of us who fit into this category.
See related article: Why You Should Start A Lifestyle Blog
Whether you have a specific topic in mind to blog about, (lucky you) or you intend to start a lifestyle blog, there are certain steps you need to take..
Steps for Creating Your Blog
First off, don’t be concerned about whether you call it a ‘blog’ or a ‘website’.
They are both essentially the same thing.
Step 1. Choose Your Blog Platform
In the early days of blogging and building websites, I used to create my sites using html.
It was a cumbersome and time consuming experience.
Luckily, we now have software that automatically builds great looking sites for you, allowing you to create your blog content, right out of the gate.
There are currently plenty of free and paid blogging platforms to choose from, including:
Free or Paid?
You need to decide on one of two choices:
- Create a FREE blog
- Create a blog that costs money
We all love ‘free’ right?
However, if you are even remotely serious about creating a blog you can be proud of, and/or one you want to make money from, you absolutely cannot go down the FREE channel.
- You will never ‘own’ your blog – It will belong to whatever free platform you are using. And if they decided to pull the plug, all your work could be lost. You wouldn’t build a house on land you don’t own. Just google Squidoo if you don’t believe it can happen.
- Many of the free platforms put their own ads on your site. Not what you want!
- You get an ugly URL that you don’t even own – such as www.yourblogname.blogger.com
Paying for your blog doesn’t have to cost much, and you have 100% control over it.
Trust me on this, it is a no-brainer.
Why You Should Choose WordPress For Your Blog Platform
Don’t even waste your time investigating other platforms.
- It is perfect for beginners – If you can use a basic word editing tool like Windows word or text-edit for Mac, then you will have no problem getting to grips with WordPress.
- Lots of free themes – WordPress allows you to alter the look of your blog with dozens of free themes.
- Easy to customize – you don’t need any coding knowledge to customize any aspect of your blog.
- Free plugins that make just about everything easier.
- WordPress accounts for around 1 in 4 websites on the entire web, and therefore there are tons of resources out there providing help, should you get stuck.
- It is free, and can be installed automatically when you subscribe to a hosting company.
Did I mention it was free?!
This blog is powered by WordPress, and I wouldn’t use anything else right now.
WordPress does have a free platform for you to use – wordpress.com.
However, if you’re serious about starting a blog, especially if you want to make money from it, use wordpress.org.
They are both free, but wordpress.org requires you to have a domain name and hosting provider – which is what you want.
Step 2. Choose Your Domain Name
To start your blog, you need to call it something (your domain name), and you need a hosting company to get it published on the internet.
It is very important to choose the right name at the beginning.
Once you start publishing content and getting visitors to your site, the last thing you want to do is change the name.
You could lose a lot of search engine traffic and put your blog back to the beginning.
How to Choose a Domain Name
- The shorter the better. It will be easier for people to remember and type into their search engine.
- Not always possible, but try to make it represent what your blog is about. While trying to keep it short, try to include something about yourself or your blog’s message in the URL.
- Don’t use registered or brand names in your URL.
If you’re not sure what name to use, try using your own name as a domain name – works for me!
Your own name is great for for self-branding and you have the flexibility to change topics later.
Depending on which hosting company you decide to use, you can buy your domain name through them, so don’t worry about buying one through a separate company.
Step 3. Choose Your Hosting Company
So now you come to the point where you have to make a financial investment into your blog.
For your blog to be live on the web, you need a hosting company to ‘host’ it for you.
The good news is that it will only cost you around ten bucks a month.
There are several big hosting companies in the market, all vying for your custom.
Over the past 14 years I have used three of the biggest companies, and one other.
The big three I have used are: Bluehost (in fact I still have some sites hosted with them), Hostgator and GoDaddy.
All three have their pros and cons.
One of the issues I have with them is that because they are so popular, you share your little blog on the same server as thousands of others.
Without getting too boring or technical – bigger is often not best, and it is very true with these companies.
My recommendation for your hosting company, and the one I use for this site, is SiteGround.
Since I signed up with them over a year ago, they have been brilliant.
My site loads very quickly, they have excellent security, and their customer service team are second to none.
Their pricing is also very similar to the others.
They just seem to care more about what they do, and provide a great service.
Other hosting providers may be slightly cheaper, but through (often painful) experience, SiteGround is an all-round, much better option.
Once you sign up, they have very easy instructions to show you how to set up your domain name, (or transfer it, if you have it somewhere else).
They have an excellent Getting Started Tutorial that takes you by the hand through each step, just in case you get a little lost or stuck.
Failing that, they have 24 hour customer support to help you.
Choose Your SiteGround Hosting Plan
- The StartUp plan is perfect for people with one website that are starting now
- The GrowBig plan is a great value for money offer, including the option for multiple websites and the SuperCacher that greatly improves a WordPress website speed
- The GoGeek plan is perfect for people with e-commerce and larger sites, or more geeky development needs like staging and GIT integration
I recommend their GrowBig hosting plan, as it allows you to host more than one blog or website, and gives you the option to expand as your blog grows, and more people visit it.
Step 4. Installing WordPress
This is the easy part.
Once you have chosen your domain name and hosting plan, all you need to do now is use SiteGround’s 1-Click Installer.
Simply add a few details such as your name, blog name, password etc and your WordPress platform is instantly installed.
There’s nothing more..it’s that quick!
Your blog is now set up and ready to use.
For around a hundred bucks a year, you can have a fully functioning blog to do with (within reason) whatever you like.
Let the fun begin! 🙂
Step 5. Installing a Theme That Makes Your Blog Standout
From this point onward, how you create the look of your blog is down to you.
You can quite happily use one of the free themes available to you in your WordPress dashboard.
Using a free theme is fine to start out with, but as you grow your blog you will undoubtedly want to give it a lot more individuality.
After all there will be millions of other bloggers using the exact same, free theme as yours.
Ideally you want your blog to stand out and look great.
I recommend jumping right in with a premium theme.
Most often, premium themes are more secure, functional, user friendly and SEO friendly.
I use the Genesis theme by StudioPress because of the functionality, moderate price and ease of use.
The company have been around a long time, and they know what they are doing.
A Genesis theme enables you to make changes and tweaks to your blog without needing to know about coding, or paying a developer 50 dollars a time.
All but one of my sites (including petertremayne.com) run on Genesis.
I am constantly tweaking my blog to make it look better and more appealing to my visitors.
How the Genesis Theme Works
There’s two parts installing the Genesis theme onto your blog.
First of all you need to download the Genesis Framework and then download the theme of your choice.
The theme you choose, sits on top of the Genesis framework.
It’s probably easiest to think of:
WordPress as the engine of your car, Genesis as the frame and body, StudioPress theme as the paint job.
It might sound a little confusing, but it really isn’t.
Check out some of their themes.
They look great and there’s bound to be one you like the look of for your blog.
If you intend to start a lifestyle blog, they have some great looking lifestyle themes.
And they’ve just released a new one – Mai Lifestyle – Pro.
I use the Beautiful Pro Theme for this blog.
Step 6. Publish Your First Post
With your shinny new blog format in place, you’re ready to start writing amazing content!
Hover over the ‘Posts’ option in your WordPress menu and click ‘Add New’.
The world of blogging is now open to you.
- Decide what subject or topic you want to write about (or choose a lifestyle blog)
- Decide on a domain name for your blog (it could be your own name)
- Sign up to a hosting plan at SiteGround.com (you can buy your domain name at the same time)
- Once you have signed up, you can install WordPress from inside your SiteGround control panel
- Go to your website via your WordPress Login Details – www.yoursite.com/wp-admin
Now you can make your blog look great with a premium theme:
- Choose a Genesis theme from StudioPress and download it (along with the Genesis framework) to your computer or laptop
- Install and activate the Genesis framework and theme to your WordPress blog
- Start blogging!
If you have any questions regarding starting a blog (lifestyle or otherwise) drop them below.