How to Start a Blog

We’ve seen a lot of people in both the Bullet Journal Community and Organizing Community we are members of expressing an interest in starting a blog — and we think you should! Don’t let the process intimidate you. We’ve put together a step-by-step tutorial to support you in the journey.

How to Start a Blog

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Before we get started, I want to clarity a question I get asked a lot. There are two things you purchase when you are buying a website:

  • A domain name (i.e., the name — in our case, productiveandpretty.com)
  • A hosting plan (i.e., where your site lives — the parking space on the internet so-to-speak)

You can certainly use a free option like WordPress.com or Blogger.com, but there are drawbacks to doing so, especially if there is any chance you want to make money blogging. For how affordable owning your own site is (as low as $3.49 a month), I see no reason in going with one of the limited free options.

How to Start a Blog: Getting Started

It’s easier than you think! You can get started in just a few simple steps, without being a pro!

1. SELECT A DOMAIN NAME.
The first thing you will need to do starting a blog is to think about what you want your website’s name to be. For some, this can be tough and can often take some time! Others know exactly what they want and are fortunate enough to find it available. Don’t let the fear of picking the ‘wrong’ name stop you from getting started, but do give yourself some time to ensure you are fully satisfied with your choice. Once you’ve made up your mind, it’s time to purchase/register it so no one steals it out from under you!

2. DECIDE WHERE TO REGISTER THE NAME.
Registering the name, simply put, is purchasing the name. I use GoDaddy for this step, but I know a lot of people who use and promote Bluehost. You do not have to purchase the domain from the same place you decide to have host, but I personally prefer the same provider, just because it’s one less thing for me to manage.

3. DECIDE WHICH HOSTING PROVIDER TO USE.
I would say this decision means a lot more than where to register the name. You want to pick a host you can trust, because if they have problems, your blog has problems. Support is also an important factor to consider when choosing a host; I look for hosts that have strong customer service so I know I can call and get ahold of someone quickly if/when I have a problem.

There are two hosts I would recommend for a new blogger: GoDaddy and BlueHost. If I had to pick one or the other, I would go with GoDaddy because its less expensive. However, I do know if your site gets insane amounts of traffic you’ll likely need to upgrade down the road.

Once you’ve gotten through steps 1-3 and you know your domain name, where you plan to register it, and who you will host it with, now it’s time to take action! If you’ve decided to go with BlueHost, I’ve provided additional support below. If you’ve decided to host elsewhere, you can skip that part to get to more information about setting up WordPress and designing your site.

* Please note, if you decided to purchase your domain name from someone other than the host you chose, you will need to complete a nameserver change to essentially ‘link’ the two. You’ll have to read the directions from where you purchased your domain name.

How to Start a Blog: Installing WordPress

Good news: there is no cost for WordPress. Many hosts have a 1-click WordPress install, which is fantastic! If your host does not offer this, please visit WordPress.org for installation tutorials, which will likely include needing an FTP program (yet another reason why picking the right host matters).

GoDaddy Directions

If you’ve purchased through GoDaddy, I can help you walk through the process as they make installing wordpress really easy!

  1. Log in to your GoDaddy account.
  2. Click Web Hosting.
  3. Next to the hosting account you want to use, click Manage.
  4. In the Popular Apps section, click WordPress.
  5. Click Install Now.
  6. Complete the on-screen fields, and then click OK

All done! You’ll get an email from GoDaddy with your login link, which you should promptly bookmark!

Bluehost Directions

If you’ve purchased through Bluehost, I can help you walk through the process as they make installing WordPress really easy:

  1. Open your account dashboard, you’ll see the WordPress Icon with the words “Install WordPress”. Click on this.
  2. Click the “One Click Install” button.
  3. Click on the WordPress icon on the next page located under “Blogs.”
  4. Click on the “Start” button to begin installation.
  5. Click the dropdown menu to select your domain.
  6. Click show Advanced Options and choose your username and password for your WordPress website. You should choose something secure. Don’t use “Admin” as your username as it opens you up to hackers.
  7. Check “Automatically create a new database for this installation” as well.
  8. Click “Install Now.”

All done! You’ll get an email from Bluehost with your login link, which you should promptly bookmark!

How to Start a Blog: Now What

You own the name, you got a host, you installed WordPress, you’ve logged in… and now what?!

1. GET TO KNOW WORDPRESS
Now you need to spend some time learning how to use WordPress. The basic features are pretty explanatory but there are plenty of great tutorials out there to learn the in’s and outs of the platform.

2. PICK A THEME FOR YOUR SITE
prettylogoA Theme is what your site will look like. You can make your own, hire someone to make one, find a free one (search themes under appearance) or purchase a theme. I tend to purchase a theme as I don’t want to pay hundreds to thousands on a designer, but I want a high quality, feature rich, theme. I personally recommend The Genesis Framework (a premium and optimized framework) along with a child theme from a quality designer like Pretty Darn Cute Designs (this site currently runs on both Genesis and a PDC theme).

3. CUSTOMIZE
Most themes come with directions for getting set up. Premium themes tend to come with Forums and support as well which is nice if you find yourself in a jam. Regardless of what path you chose, make any necessary changes to your theme until you are happy with how it looks.

4. CONSIDER A COURSE
building-a-frameworkAs someone who has a career focused on development, I have to say I am a big advocate for making personal investments in your own development. One investment I made this year was on Building a Framework, an amazing (and affordable) ebook from Abby at JustAGirlandHerBlog.com. This course will really walk you through what it takes to build a successful and profitable blog, and how to market it past your current personal network.

Another great course is 31 Days to Build a Better Blog by Darren Rowse. This was one of the first courses I ever paid for as a blogger, and it really can get you started in terms of getting your initial content going.

Lastly, Becky and Paula have amazing resources, both in their ebooks and on their blog!

5. GO LIVE
Write your first post, and let the world know. Start by telling people you know and leveraging your social networks!

How to Start a Blog: Bullet Journal Community

How to Start a Bullet Journal Blog

A few tips specifically for our Bullet Journal Community friends..

  • Share pics of your personal bullet journal – flaws and all! No one’s BuJo is without a mistake, we are all human after all. You’ll turn readers off if you’re not being authentic.
  • Share practices from others and promote others in the community (but if you include someone else’s image, always link back to him/her and give him/her credit).
  • Get creative – don’t just replicate what everyone else is doing. Try new spreads and share what worked for you, and even more importantly, what didn’t work. People look to these blogs for new ideas – not the same old spreads!

Best of luck, and if you need any help, don’t hesitate to email: contact {at} productiveandpretty {dot} com.

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4 Comments

  • Hello,
    I just found your blog this morning and I have fallen in-love! I have my own blog, using word-press for now but this post is making me want to switch. I have a quick question for you girls. What do you use to make your featured photos? I have yet to discover how so many blogger make these amazing feature photos with designs and texts overlapping their own photos. Thank you!

    xx Aleysha

    • Hi Aleysha! I use Photoshop for our images, but i’ve seen people have success with Canva and PicMonkey as well which I think are cheaper/free alternatives. Photoshop is a little advanced if you haven’t done it before,so I would suggest starting with something like PicMonkey and working your way up!

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