I get tonnes of emails asking me for my blogging tips and how to start a blog. I have been blogging at Love Swah for nearly 6 years and was blogging on Blogspot and Live Journal before that. In addition to having blogged for years, I am also a web designer which made setting up my domain and hosting and installing WordPress a breeze. But I realise it’s not that easy for everyone.
I thought the best way to help would be to collate all my information into a big post which can be the ultimate resource for anyone looking to start a blog. Let’s go!
1. Select a name and register its domain (and all social media platforms while you’re at it!)
Settling on a name for your blog is one of the hardest parts of starting (no, really!) Not only does that name need to represent you and what your blog is all about, it needs to be available. Which is easier said than done. Just say you want to start a blog called Sarah’s Cookies. Well, a quick domain query at Bluehost would reveal unfortunately someone already has secured the domain sarahscookies.com. Which is when you need to get a little creative. For example, sarahscookieblog.com is available. Or how about sarahlovescookies.com.
Once your domain is purchased, you really should secure your social media accounts of the same name. I use Name Check to check all instances of my chosen name is available on all social media platforms. Even if you think you’ll NEVER be on Snapchat, still reserve your name so someone else doesn’t nick it.
2. Choose your hosting
Next you need to select your hosting package. Bluehost offers an array of different plans suited to your needs and budget. If you’re just starting out the “basic” plan will suit you just fine. If your traffic steadily increases and you require for bandwidth, you can easily upgrade your plan.
- Fill your account and contact information.
- Select your package information – if you commit to the 36 month plan it works out cheapest.
- Enter your billing information, agree to the service agreements, and then click “next.”
- Congratulations! You’re officially the proud owner of a Bluehost account.
- Next, create your password.
- Login to your cpanel using your domain/username and newly created password.
3. Install WordPress
Click the “Install WordPress” orange button at the bottom of the screen.
- On the WordPress Installation page, click “Start.”
- Select your domain
- Click “show advanced options” and enter the name of your site (ie Sarah’s Cookies) – note you can change this anytime!
- WordPress has been successfully installed.
- Now check your email, and you should have received something from Mojo Marketplace which has your URL, username, password etc.
- Click on the “Admin URL” and you will arrive at this page. Enter your username and password from the email.
- And finally you have arrived at your WordPress dashboard!
4. Choose your blog theme
Studiopress is usually my first port of call when I need a new theme for a client. All their products are based on the Genesis Framework, meaning each theme is built on a secure and search-engine-optimized platform with heaps of built-in features. My favourite themes from there are Modern Studio Pro, Daily Dish Pro and of course, the ever-popular (and possibly overused) Foodie Pro theme.
The current theme I am using is Florence by Solo Pine and I can’t recommend it enough. I’m also a big fan of Angie Makes themes too. Since there are so many WordPress themes out there of variable quality, so I’ve compiled the 5 Places to Find the Best WordPress Themes.
5. Start writing!
Now that you’ve set up the technical aspect of your blog, it’s time to get those creative juices flowing and start producing content.
Need more help?
Some products I promote include Secret Bloggers Business, a great course I did when I was new to blogging. I also endorse The Food Photography Book by Recipe Tin Eats, an ebook I regularly reference.
Want to find gorgeous imagery for your blog? Here’s my roundup of the Best Styled Stock Photography.
If you’re in the market for some plugins to help your site, I’ve summarised 6 of the Best WordPress Plugins for Your Blog.
I hope this step-by-step guide has made the process of setting up a blog a little less daunting. And stay tuned for my guide on how to make money blogging!
Hi Swah, and thanks for this very generous sharing of your tips.
I have a movie review blog that I’ve been running for years, and have spent many hours customising numerous free themes without ever managing to create a look and layout that I’m 100% happy with. I’m not a coder, so have had to fall back on the WP Support Forums for advice. Adds a lot of time to the customising process! That said, I’m grateful to the savvy folks who have assisted me.
I love the layout and look of your blog, and am seriously thinking of shelling out for Florence by Solo Pine. Would like to know, if you don’t mind telling me, is your current grid layout easily customisable using this theme, or did you do considerable tinkering with it yourself?
Ross (aka rolanstein)
Hi Ross, I highly recommend Florence by Solo Pine. It was easily customisable and to be honest I loved the original design so much I haven’t had to tinker with it much myself! Paid themes really make a difference to your site and I 100% think they are worth shelling out money for :) Good luck!!
I like to switch to a web host and I’m currently confused with where to register my chosen name. Do I do this seperately on a page like namecheap.com or I just state my idea at the web host (e.g. Bluehost)? If you choose the first, then where would I enter my new domain name (after registering it on namecheap) and where would I shift the content of my old wordpress site? That seems to confuse me a bit…
Thanks for your help.