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And now that you’ve decided that you are going to BOSS TF UP in 2018 (you did decide that right?), it’s time for you to stop standing in the way of your own dream and start your blog!
Some people have asked whether technology has advanced to the point where blogging is now out-of-date.
Luckily for you, you haven’t missed your chance. The blogging ship has NOT sailed, and there’s still plenty of room on board.
Don’t get me wrong. If you want to use blogging as an outlet, go for it!
Having a mental outlet is one of the top reasons why millennials are starting blogs.
But I want you to know that you can also do much more with a blog:
- Legitimize your side-hustle.
- Promote your freelancing services.
- Attract new clients by showing off your work.
- Build a professional online presence that employers will see when they Google you (an online presence that YOU own, as opposed to one that LinkedIn owns).
You need to cut it.
(I mean if you really want to spend a lot of money and take a lot of time, you can do that too. That’s your choice. Just know that you don’t have to.)
So that blog you’ve been thinking about…?
It’s time to start it, and I’m going to teach you how…(in language that non-techy, normal people can understand)!
Step 1: Choose a domain name, host, and platform. (In other words, decide where you want your blog to live.)
If you’re new to the website-building world, you may be wondering what the heck I’m talking about.
Shoutout to Suzi from Start a Mom Blog for explaining it all in a way that I could understand within 30 seconds max.
The easiest way to understand all this is to think of your blog as an apartment. Lemme break it down:
The Internet is massive, right? Your website is just one of millions?… billions?… of other sites, so yours needs an address so that people will know exactly how to find it.
Your blog address is your URL, which contains your domain name. Your domain name is like the number plate on your door that tells people that this apartment is yours.
For example, my site’s URL is https://www.lazimillennial.com, so my site’s domain name is lazimillennial.com.
Now, it’s time for YOU to choose a really cool domain name that you love – one that fits your brand and the vibe you want to create with your soon-to-be bangin’ blog!
Choose 2 hella backup domain names too, just in case you’re not as original as you thought you were, haha! Joking…No but seriously, have backups.
Once you begin registration, you’ll be able to see if the domain name you want is available. (BUT if you just can’t wait and you want to know in advance, you can use this handy website to find out whether your domain name is available.)
You can write down your domain name options in the FREE Start a Blog Checklist below. Then head over to SiteGround to register your domain and choose a hosting plan.
Think of your website host like your landlord. The host allows you to live in that apartment and provides support for your apartment (website).
The host keeps your website and your files secure. (Every month after SiteGround performs a routine maintenance sweep of my website, I get a report letting me know my site has a clean bill of health.)
SiteGround’s customer service is on point, especially for people like me who have no technical website expertise. Plus, they’re fast AF.
I don’t have to lift a finger to do anything complicated.
But being completely honest, their prices are what attracted me to them to begin with.
I wasn’t (and am still not) in a position to spend an arm and a leg on website hosting. But with SiteGround, you can host your website for only $3.95 per month.
Okay, so now it’s time to sign up for SiteGround hosting. For just one website, the StartUp plan, starting at $3.95/month will probably be all you need.
Select the StartUp plan and then click “Register a New Domain.” (If you already have your own domain, you’ll click that button instead.)
- Domain Privacy masks your personal information (name, address, etc.) so that if someone looks up your domain information through Whois, they won’t see all your business. Otherwise, they’ll be all up in your ish and know exactly where to find you.
- SG Site Scanner is a maintenance service where SiteGround does a DAILY sweep of your website to make sure nothing funky is going on.
I have both of these services installed on my websites, but it’s totally up to you.
You can think of your platform as the physical apartment itself – the walls, floor, ceiling, etc. The bare bones.
It’s where you display and keep your actual content, graphics, and other files.
WordPress is widely accepted as the most popular and the most professional platform out there.
Some people prefer to use Wix, Weebly, Blogspot, and others, but WordPress sites make up almost 30 percent of the entire Internet.
To avoid any confusion, you should know upfront that there are two options: WordPress.COM and WordPress.ORG.
- With WordPress.COM, WordPress is not only your platform but also your host.
- With WordPress.ORG, you find your own website host (SiteGround).
It may sound easier to let WordPress be your platform AND your host, but there are 3 big problems with that:
- Less professional domain name – Instead of www.lazimillennial.com, it would be a subdomain of wordpress.com. As in: www.lazimillennial.wordpress.com. Boooooooo.
- Custom designs aren’t allowed – Because WordPress is hosting your site, your design and customization options are limited.
- You can’t easily make money from your website – Because WordPress is hosting your site, making money from your site is difficult, if not impossible.
Basically, when you use WordPress.COM, you don’t own your website. WordPress does.
With WordPress.ORG, YOU are the owner of your website and what you say goes.
These reasons explain why I recommend going with WordPress.ORG as your platform and SiteGround as your gracious, helpful host.
Fortunately, SiteGround makes this process super easy.
Once you register your domain name with SiteGround, you can install WordPress (for FREE) with the click of a button, which brings us to step 2!
Step 2: Install WordPress with the click of a button.
Sign into your brand new SiteGround account, and follow this trail: My Accounts –> Manage Account –> Go to CPanel (yes, it’s okay).
Look under “Autoinstallers.” See the WordPress button?
Did you click the WordPress button? Did you click install?
Then WordPress is installed. You’ve got a website! Yay!!
There will be some settings for you to customize:
- For most people, http://www. will be fine for your “protocol,” but you can also choose https://. The “s” stands for “secure.”
- Fill in your site name and site description. These will help people find your website in the great big Internet.
- Change your username and password to something you will remember! This is the username and password you’ll use to log into WordPress directly. Use the Frustration-Free Start a Blog Checklist at the bottom of this post to keep track of your usernames & passwords and make sure you haven’t skipped any steps.
The next screen will show you your new domain AND your “admin URL.” The admin URL is what you’ll use to log into WordPress directly and make all kinds of fun changes to your website! (Your admin URL is just the domain name you chose, plus /wp-admin/.)
Step 3: Make your website look pretty. (Choose your theme.)
Choosing your theme is the fun step, but it’s also the step that scares a lot of people away.
People always say to me: “I love your website! I’m thinking of making one but I don’t know how to code.”
Y’all think I know how to code? Ha, I do NOT!
Paid themes are my preference though. I prefer to customize my site so it doesn’t look like everyone else’s.
If you want, you can customize your site easily too.
There are also lots of affordable paid themes that won’t break the bank, but that will give you that extra customizability to help your website stand out from the crowd.
If you don’t mind a one-time investment for a high-quality theme, the Divi theme from Elegant Themes is one of the best out there. My freelancing website is built using the Divi theme, and LaziMILLENNIAL is built with the Extra theme, also from Elegant Themes.
The best part is that you can see what the website looks like while you’re making the changes.
This is where the tough part begins.
Wait, what Meg???? I thought you said blogging was easy and quick.
In most cases, setting up a blog is easy, but the actually process of blogging is… NOT.
At least not at first.
Learn more about starting a blog from my blogging coach, Scrivs.