One of the cheapest ways to start a business is blogging. With your blog, you can develop an authority that can create freedom. It is a fantastic platform for anyone who owns a business, wants to make extra money, meet like minded people, or step away from their 9-5.
Blogging can equal freedom.
Once you start a blog, you can run it from anywhere that has an internet connection. It is the epitome of flexibility when it comes to managing the day to day.
I am going to show you how easy it is to start a blog. In under an hour you can have your site up and running, ready for your first post.
Let’s dig in, shall we!?
HOW TO START A BLOG With BlueHost
Click here to start a blog on WordPress, then use the tutorial below for easy directions.
1. Find A Domain Name That Sticks
Click here to register your domain name. Then follow the steps below!
Bluehost provides you with a free domain name when you sign up. This can be a tough decision. I wrote out a list with over 25 domain names before I narrowed it down to DollarAfterDollar.com. At times, I think my domain is a little too long. Here are a few tricks to selecting a domain name that sticks:
A. Choose a name that is fun, easy to remember, and unique.
B. Make sure your domain name is a .com (it provides more credibility), .org and .net come secondary.
C. Choose a name that is shorter such as Amazon.com vs. doesyourmotherliketosew.com
D. If you don’t like anything out there, use a play on words like Houzz.com
E. Choose a name that is a common keyword such as financialadvice.com
Registering your domain name through Bluehost is by far the easiest option. Your domain is FREE as long as you buy 12 months of Bluehost web hosting. You get a much cheaper monthly price when signing up for a full year.
You may find the first few domain names are already taken. That’s ok, Bluehost will give you a number of suggestions that are related to the domain you were looking for. Keep plugging away and you will find that diamond in the rough.
2. Sign Up for Web Hosting
The ‘Basic’ package is most likely all you need.
When you are starting out, get the cheapest option possible. There is no need to get fancy add on’s until you start generating traffic to your site. You may want to keep the ‘domain privacy’ checked, which is an additional $0.99 per month. It keeps your contact information safe.
You really should purchase the 12 month plan. It is much more cost effective in the long run. You get the free domain, lower monthly rate, and you won’t have to worry about your website expiring each month. If for some reason you choose month-to-month and forget to renew your hosting, your site will be down and you can lose business (visitors). This is not a risk that a serious blogger wants to take. For $59, you can have the whole year covered. It’s an amazing deal.
When you are ready to create your blog, follow these steps:
1. Go to Bluehost and click the “Get Started Now” button (It’s the big green one).
2. Click on the package you are interested in (I would choose the cheapest when starting out).
3. Enter the domain you registered with earlier, or register for one now.
4. Enter your personal and payment information.
5. Enter your password. Make sure it is extremely secure. You do not want anyone having access to your hosting.
BOOM! You now own your very own website. High-5 your grandma, fist bump the mailman, or wave your hands in the air like you just don’t care. Next we are going to customize your site.
3. Install WordPress
Now the fun begins. WordPress is by far the easiest publishing platform on the web. There are countless themes that sync seamlessly to various plug-ins on your site.
If you have already registered your domain and hosting, go back to Bluehost and click login at the top right of your screen. You will arrive at what is called your c-panel. This is where you will find the icon that says install WordPress:
Then, click on the WordPress icon on the next page located under “Website.” Click on the “Start” button. This will begin the installation.
Once in the installation process, you will have to decide which domain you will want to install WordPress on. Click the drop down menu and find the domain you plan on using.
Now, you will see “Advanced Options.” This is where you choose your username and password for your WordPress website. Try to make this as secure as possible. If your dog’s name is waffles, don’t create a password that is something like “Wafflesisagoodboy.” Hackers try to gain access to every website out there no matter how small. I would use a wacky combination of letters, numbers, and symbols, that is extremely difficult to figure out.
Next, Click “Install Now.” and save your username and password in a safe and secure location.
You now have a shiny new WordPress blog. It’s up to you to turn that little blog that could into a success! If you focus on great content, consistency, and your readership, you will be well on your way!
4. Choose a WordPress Theme
There are literally thousands of themes out there. Many of them look amazing in their demos and the options can be overwhelming. When you are just getting started, I would stick to a free theme. There is no point in paying for a theme only to find out that it does not fit your style or is difficult to navigate. I started off with the ‘Customizr’ theme. It is easy to navigate and free. It was also “idiot proof” so as a website beginner, I couldn’t destroy my hard work by messing up coding or HTML.
The Genesis theme is what many people use and love. For a one time fee of $59.95 through Studiopress Genesis will provide you a simple, sleek layout that you can customize yourself. The theme is also Search Engine Optimization friendly and loads faster than other designs. This is extremely important for a blog. People are impatient and even an extra few seconds of load time can set them off, causing visitors to click away from your site. You want to make sure your theme is streamline.
The 5 Sure Fire Ways To Grow Your Site
As bloggers, we want to grow our site as quickly as possible. That being said, we must be careful what type of readership enters our domain. We want true fans. People who actually enjoy our content and what we stand for. If you have 1,000 true fans, you will never have to work another day in your life.
Additionally, we want to make sure we grow our traffic organically. If we want to treat our site as a business, there is no point in going into the red by paying for ads. Keeping costs low is the name of the game for a new site.
So, when you are just starting out, how do you bring in traffic? Here are 5 surefire ways to grow your site in an organic way.
1. Consistency Is Key
Maintaining a consistent writing schedule is imperative. I learned this the hard way. I would post for a few months consistently, then when a big life change happened, I fell behind on my posting schedule. I did not have any content go up for a month! It resulted in my traffic dropping over 50%. You may think that it’s not a big deal, but trust me, it’s a huge deal. Post at a minimum of once per week and your readers will become loyal and appreciative.
2. Write Fantastic Content
The oldest internet adage is that content is King. As of late, people have come out of the woodwork and said that content does not matter. Do NOT listen to these people. Content is what will get you to where you will stand out from the crowd. Develop a no fluff policy. Why? Because with fluff you will be competing with national publications who pump out 100 posts a day. You will never win that battle. Your posts must be carefully curated and researched. The last thing we need is another morning routine article that says we should all meditate for 45 minutes.
3. Guest Post On Other Blogs
Begin by developing relationships with blogs a little bigger than you are. If you are just starting out, look for a blog that is young and established in your niche. Before you guest post, try to get to know the blogger. Share some of their content on social, comment on their blog posts, and develop a rapport. A pet peeve of mine is when I am pitched by others who want to guest post and I have never communicated with them before.
4. Comment On The Larger Blogs In Your Niche
Develop well thought out comments that bring value to the conversation. you will begin to see people trickling back to your site. This is old school, and requires some effort. I like to call it “roll up your sleeves blogging”. You may only get one or two visitors per comment, but you can really see your readership develop over time. They key is consistency, if you do this for two weeks and quit, then you won’t see the results you hoped for. An added bonus is that every comment will leave a link back to your site, which is internet gold.
5. Build Your Brand
Make sure you begin to develop a brand from day one. Let your readers know who you are. Your distinct voice is what will create a community (tribe) around your blog. Make sure your site, and all of your social platforms display your brand. This will help legitimize your site and open up opportunities such as:
- Selling Products
- Writing Books
- Finding consulting clients
- Creating a community
- Finding a new job
Develop your brand and you will be ahead of most sites out there.
There is Never a Perfect Time to Launch Your Blog
I see many people waiting for the perfect moment to launch their blog. They say things like:
“I need X amount of posts before I start.”
“I can’t jump into it right now, I have not learned enough yet.”
“Once I do this, that, and the other thing, then I will start.”
“I need to find a long term strategy first.”
Or the big one..
“I am waiting for the perfect moment.”
If you have said any of these things then I have news for you.
There is no perfect time to start. You have to just jump in!
Your blog is going to change over time and that is NORMAL. Heck, it will probably change 10 times. That’s just the way online business works.
Like I always say, done is better than perfect.
That means you don’t need to have everything figured out on day one. It’s a process that evolves over time. If you are a Type A personality, you may be covering your ears (or in this case your eyeballs), because you want to plan. You must plan! But it just does not work that way.
Waiting will actually hurt your blogs performance.
You read that right! The longer you wait, the more valuable information you miss out on.
1.) You Miss Out on Reader Feedback
Your readers are a fantastic way to get feedback on your blogging. To be successful, you must put your readership first. Before you start, you may think you know who your audience is. But, odds are, a good portion of your audience will be people you never expected to read your content. Catering to your audience with creative, thoughtful, and original content will drive your blog forward. Delaying this can only hurt your acceleration to success!
As you progress through your content, you will get a ton of feedback in the comments, via email, and through your social media. This will help you grow as a content creator.
You can avoid wasting time and energy right off the bat. Just put yourself out there!
2.) You Miss Out On Learning New Tricks
I don’t know about you, but I learn by doing. Just getting started right away helped me so much in the long run. There are so many facets to blogging that others just don’t understand. You have to work on mastering each skill so you can grow your blog and audience.
Growing your site can seem like you are running on a hamster wheel at first. Take the small wins (a new email subscriber or 100 new twitter followers) in stride and keep pushing. With consistency your site will begin to see the growth it deserves.