A more appropriate title for this would be “creating a website on your lunch break,” because that is what I’m teaching you to do! Most people who hear the word “blog” automatically think of a website, and this post was originally marketed to people wanting to blog – but the instructions are good for setting up ANY website, blog or not 🙂
But really, I actually am going to talk about starting a blog/creating a website on your lunch break…literally. Because that’s exactly what I did. Yes, it’s that quick and easy to get started!
Let me start by saying, I had never done ANY website work before I started my website. I’m not an extremely techy person (although I did dabble in some coding back in my MySpace days) and I really didn’t know exactly where I wanted to go with it – but hey, why not.
*Some of the suggestions on this page may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase. I only promote things that I personally use (and LOVE)!*
Little did I know, that random decision on that random day would lead to a successful marketing business. My blog is my number one source of traffic to my website, and it’s how the majority of my clients and students find me! I always tell business owners that even if you aren’t a “blogger” or and “influencer,” your website should have a blog because it is a fantastic way to drive traffic to your website. Having a bunch of content written on a single subject makes search engines like Google see you an an authority on that topic and will rank you higher in search results. Not to mention that having a bunch of content written on a single subject makes your website an incredible resource for readers and potential customers! Having a blog is just a good idea – period.
I thought I was pretty smart when I first started, but looking back, I actually knew NOTHING about starting a blog. I have spent countless hours over the past few years researching, reading, improving and developing my blog + business, and luckily for you, my friend, I have put together a no BS guide to starting a blog/creating a website (on your lunch break).
Starting a Blog: The No BS Guide
1. Decide what your niche will be. If you don’t already have a business and you’re in the planning phase, the first thing you’ll want to do is narrow down your niche. If you aren’t a marketing nerd like me, this may not be a term that you frequently use, but it’s essential to understand when starting a blog/website. Your niche is simply the topic of your blog/website. For instance, maybe you’re really into sewing, so you want to create a sewing blog. Or maybe you’re awesome at training cats, so you want to blog about that. My business, for instance, is about marketing for small business owners, so everything on my website is relevant to that topic. I don’t post recipes or craft ideas because it has nothing to do with my niche – pick a topic and stick to it!
Once you have decided what you want to blog about in general, you will be able to start thinking of topics to write about and who you want your target audience to be. So before you do anything else, give this some thought.
Having trouble getting the creative juices flowing? Sign up for my FREE online course, the Where to Start Workshop! WTSWS is a free, 30-minute mini-course that is all about where to start with your business idea, and it comes with a free workbook, as well! Click the photo below to learn more!
2. Think of a kickass name. Again, this step is only necessary if you don’t already have a business name. This could be something catchy that goes along with your niche, something straightforward and no-frill, something unique that means something to you, or maybe just your name.
A word of advice – be sure to do a quick online search of any names you’re considering to make sure they aren’t A) already spoken for online or B) associated with something bad/nasty/mean. If someone is searching for your website online and something bad comes up in the search results, that can be a major turn-off.
Regardless of what name you decide to go with, if you’re writing amazing content and offering real value, your readers WILL remember!
3. Sign up for hosting. What exactly is hosting? Think of it as where your site lives on the internet. Just like you need a house to live in, your site needs somewhere to call home online.
There are a bunch of different hosting sites, and everyone has different opinions about each. I personally use Siteground, and have been extremely pleased with it. My site is faster than ever and their support is second to none. When I first started my blog, I used Bluehost for hosting because so many bloggers recommended it, but I found that the support was sub-par, my site was slow and that it just really wasn’t worth how cheap it is to get started with them, so I switched to Siteground and haven’t looked back. I also discovered, after a year of wasting time and $ with Bluehost, that it is so commonly recommended because it pays the highest commissions for sign-ups! So when you see dozens of bloggers recommending Bluehost, just know that it isn’t always because they wholeheartedly like the service. 🙂
Setting up hosting through Siteground is extremely simple – here are the basics!
Choose the plan that works best for you. If you are just starting out, the StartUp plan is really all you need. No need to spend a bunch of money right at the beginning…because who knows, you might end up hating blogging and wanting to set your computer on fire (we all have those days). As you add more content to your site and start getting more traffic, it’ll be time to move up to one of the other plans, but until then, save your cash flow for other things!
Once you’ve chosen your plan, the next step is to claim your domain name. Type in your fabulously crafted website name, and Siteground will either bless you by saying it’s available, or crush your soul and make you start from square one…but it will kindly offer you some similar names as suggestions.
Okay, here’s an example of what you’ll get if the domain name you wanted is NOT available. I searched “edenstancill.com” which I know is not available (because I already own it), and it gave me some alternative options for similar URLs.
Sign up for Siteground hosting here!
Once you have decided on an available URL, you can then proceed to the next step where you’ll enter your account and payment information, and then choose any add-ons that you want to include with your hosting. One tip I like to give is when you’re given promotional pricing when you first sign up (in this case, $3.95/month for hosing as opposed to the $11.95/month regular price), take full advantage of it and sign up for a longer period of time. It is more money up front, but if you choose to only sign up for 12 month hosting at the beginning, you’re missing out on a savings of almost $200 in the next two years. If your website is one that you know you’re going to want to keep around, I recommend taking full advantage of the promotional price!
4. Install WordPress. WordPress is a fantastic platform for building a website. While it can seem overwhelming at first, it’s actually pretty user-friendly…and there are thousands of tutorials online to help you with anything and everything. WordPress can be installed directly through Siteground, and you will be automatically walked through that process after paying for your hosting!
5. Select a Theme. Now for the fun stuff. The theme is what gives your site its overall look – and there are thousands and thousands of different options out there if you do a quick search of “WordPress.org themes.” This is another reason why you need to decide on your niche, because different themes are more geared towards different purposes. For instance, if you want to ultimately sell products from your site, you probably want to select a theme that has eCommerce functionality already built-in.
When I first started my website, I chose a cutesy theme because I liked the way it looked. Well, imagine my disappointment when I realized that I couldn’t do anything with it. There were hardly any options for customization and honestly it just looked awful. So awful, in fact, that I bought a whole new theme before I even launched my site. The other day I thought to myself “I really wish I had a screenshot of how my website first looked.” But then I quickly reminded myself that it looked horrible and some things are better left in the past.
The new theme was better. It had better functionality and was a little easier to customize, but it wasn’t very easy to navigate, and I partly blame that for why my website wasn’t performing in the beginning. I talk about all of this in more detail in Making Money Blogging: What the Hell Was I Doing Wrong?
Fast forward, and I have FINALLY found a theme that I absolutely love. Bluechic themes are feminine, professional themes that are highly customizable, and they have themes for all different purposes. I am not a techy person by any stretch, but it has been so incredibly easy to customize my theme, and the pricing is in line with the others that I have purchased in the past. In my opinion, it’s an amazing value and the support is top-notch! Click this link to view all of the themes available through Bluechic!
If you’re interested in the theme I have, you can access it here!
Bluechic will walk you through the install process AND the setup process. Each theme has a set of videos and tutorials for setting up your theme. Once you are comfortable with the setup, you can start to really make it your own. YAY! And don’t worry about getting it looking perfect just yet. Your site isn’t automatically live for the world to see as soon as you get it set up. There is a big button that says PUBLISH SITE and until you push that, it is seen by your eyes only! Maybe you’ll click it by accident one day like I did and be thrust out into the world for judgment before you’re ready…I felt like I had been pushed into a pool before learning how to swim. I’m not saying it was graceful, but I managed to doggy paddle my way to stable blogging ground, and well, here we are.
These are the basics to starting a blog/website. Once this is done, you can delve into making it your own and building your brand! Starting a blog may seem like a seriously daunting task, but it’s really pretty simple to do. The hard work starts after the setup is done. 😉
Making Money Blogging: What the Hell was I Doing Wrong? My First Income Report
What Should I Post on my Business Website?
Starting your website is the first step, but knowing what to post on your site is the key to getting the most out of it! Download my FREE Content Cheatsheet below!
What to have on your website:
Use this cheat sheet when building your business website! This is a list of things that you should include on your website in order to get the most out of it. Download it now, refer to it later!