Firstly, I would like to say that some links on this page are “affiliate links”. If you click these links and proceed to make a purchase on the linked website, I will get a small amount of cash. Using the links will be no more expensive to you (and in some cases will be cheaper for you!). These are all services I personally use and recommend if you want to start a blog website. If you would prefer that I didn’t get any money, then you can use google to find the websites instead and make your purchases as normal.
So I have been asked by a few people how to start a blog? Was it easy? Do I need to know how to program? So I decided I could answer all these questions and make a little money on the side for my efforts! It is super easy to start and you do not need to touch a single piece of code!
Step 1 – Choose Domain Hosting
First you need domain hosting. A domain is just a fancy way of referring to where your website is stored. It is a powerful server (computer) that can handle thousands of visitors and is turned on all of the time, so your website is accessible 24 hours a day to thousands of visitors at a time.
I use Bluehost for my domain hosting and encourage you to do so as well! They are super cheap, charging as low as USD$3.95 per month. You will land at a page like this
All well and good just click on the ‘get started now’ button and it will bring you to a page like the following.
I picked the cheapest plan available. It is currently giving me completely unproblematic performance. Admittedly, my website is small fry at the time of writing this with only about 7,000 page views a month, but I have read and heard of websites with much much more traffic that experience silky smooth performance with Bluehost on their most basic plan.
Step 2 – Choose a website name
After choosing that, the fun begins. You get to choose a website name! 🙂
You can enter a website name in the field above and as long as it isn’t already taken, it should proceed without any problem. I personally chose something a little left field for the FIRE blogging scene. I wanted to avoid ANOTHERFIREPUN.com like the plague. Choose something cool and interesting to make yourself stand out. It is also worth pointing out that .com.au domains are not available for purchase from Bluehost. If you want a “.com.au” website, you can purchase the domain name elsewhere and use with Bluehost. Otherwise you need to look at another hosting provider. Personally I don’t mind having a “.com” for now. If this website ever explodes in popularity, I may register a bunch of domains and redirect them back to my main website.
Step 3 – Enter in some boring detail
Now you have to enter in some boring details.
Blaze through that and you will get to the next bit.
Most of the stuff on this page seems highly unnecessary to be honest. There are free backup programs and great free security options I will talk about a little later. Search engine optimisation is a deep rabbit hole that I am shying away from at the moment. However, the domain privacy protection is a good idea unless you want all your private details being freely available online.
Step 4 – Pay
Unfortunately this is also the page where you have to cough up your credit card details to get the whole thing rolling.
It is worth noting this is in USD, so the amount will be different in AUD. It will help to use an exchange-friendly debit or credit card like the Citibank Everyday Account debit card or the 28 Degrees Freedom Mastercard.
Step 5 – You can technically also do this
You can choose to add some domain names as well if you like. I didn’t, but the option is there if you like.
Step 6 – Choose and set your password for Bluehost, then login
Nothing too fancy here, choose a password for logging into Bluehost to manage your website.
Once your password is set you will need to login to your domain.
Step 7 – Choose to do it yourself
You can do it yourself, trust me. No need to be getting people to do this stuff for you.
Step 8 – Your website control panel and installing WordPress
Remember how I said that domain hosting was just another computer that would hold your website? Well this is the interface with which you manage that space on that computer.
The first thing you want to do is install WordPress on your domain. WordPress is the world’s most premier blogging and website building software. WordPress makes the whole thing super easy and removes any need for you to ever touch a piece of actual computer code.
Hit the start button shown in red below.
Then select your website domain to install to. There will most likely only be one, unless you have registered several domains.
You will the see this.
Now you can choose some login details for your WordPress site. These will be the details you predominantly login with. This is also the username you will be know by. This is where I chose my alias “Pat the Shuffler”. Also note that your website readers will be able to see this when you include a visible author with each post, as well as when you write comments.
Once all that is done and you hit “Install Now”, if everything goes well you should get a success screen like the below.
Step 9 – Your login instructions!
Pay attention to the next page. These are your websites WordPress login instructions.
You log in to WordPress completely separately to Bluehost. Now that WordPress is installed, that is where you will be spending the vast majority of your time logged into.
Go to “yourwebsite.com/wp-admin and log in as per the screen below to reach the WordPress dashboard.
Step 10 – Personalise your website
Now the really fun stuff – personalise how your website looks. From modern and flashy to old and rustic. There are literally thousands of themes, most of which are completely free to choose from. Find the theme you like by hovering over “appearance” the clicking “themes”.
Once on the themes page either use the default or click the “add new” button and search the thousands of themes out there.
After this point, the options you can choose become dependent on the theme you choose. Spend some time playing with the customisation options and make your website really stand out!
Step 11 – Start blogging!
Hover over the posts button shown below and then click the “Add New” option.
Now it is time to start writing! Be inspiring and creative, hook your audience and show the world what you think.
Anyone who reads this website knows I consider every single purchase I make very carefully in terms of the happiness it will bring me. I can say that even if I quit tomorrow, this was a purchase that I am very happy I made.
Blogging has been such a big part of my life for the last 5 months and I have learnt so much and become closer with my girlfriend who has edited every single post along the way. I found a place to create that is truly anything I want it to be and put work into something that is mine forever, instead of putting work into something that someone else owns.
For the price I paid, the pay off so far has been great. On top of that, I may one day actually earn a small income off of this little adventure I have taken, so it could end up being a very profitable hobby.
If you have any questions let me know in the comments.
Shuffling work and life
Pat the Shuffler