Learning how to set up your blog is one of the most asked questions online and an area that sets back many new bloggers and work from home business owners.

They often feel like they are taking a step back as there is so much to do and learn.

I was one of those new bloggers once before. I was desperately trying to get my blog set up. It was not so easy to do back then, when I started, this was over 10 years ago.

I went round the houses before I found myself back at the start. Still no further along in having my blog ready and set up.

It was frustrating!

I made many mistakes trying to find my way in getting that first blog started.

I even wrote a post about it, so you can learn from my mistakes.

7 Blogging Mistakes I Made and How You Can Avoid Making Them Too

*This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information*

tips to avoid these common blog mistakes

If you are looking for a step-by-step guide to set up your blog the right way, then stay tuned.

I am going to walk you through the steps I used to set up this blog. These are the steps that you need to take to finally set up your very own website with a way to blog.

By the end of this post you will have learnt what you need to do to set up your blog and be ready to write your first post.

Let’ s get started.

Here’ s what we will cover in

How to set up your blog:-

  1. Domain Names — Finding your ideal domain name

  1. Hosting — Finding a home for your domain

  1. Installing WordPress — Creating the foundation for your website

  1. Installing a theme — Making Your Website look appealing

  1. Plugins and Tools – Create a secure but awesome website

  1. Writing Your first blog post

Ready to get started setting up your blog?

I feel you are still dithering?

If you still have some doubts.

Let me address them now.

If you’ re wondering whether it’ s too late to start your blog.

Wondering whether you have missed the blogging boat.

Maybe you even think that blogging is dead!!.

I hear you.

That’ s why I wrote a post about that very topic.

You can find it here:-

Is it too late to start a blog? 3 Reasons Why Today Is Still the Right Time to Start A Blog. Stop procrastinating & get started today!!

its not too late to start a blog

If you have a blog, your audience will be able to find your message.

If you have a blog, then you can share your message with them.

If you have a blog, then you can connect online with millions of people all over the world.

Let’ s get started with setting up your blog.

1.

Domain Names — Finding your ideal domain name

What is a domain name you may be asking?

Well simply it is the name of your website or blog. It is the address online where people will be able to find you.

Mine is called  The Digital Mum.

You cannot have a website without a domain name.

Many people get confused and think they own the domain name but it is actually just a registration rather than a purchase.

I hear people all the time asking ‘shall I buy my domain name’ .

Well no, what you actually do is you register your domain name.

Sounds technical I know but it’ s just words.

What you will need to do first is register your chosen domain name. This is usually for a set period of time, this might be for a year, two or more.

A domain name is a small investment in your business.

Domain names cost about $10 but, trust me when I tell you that this small investment will be your biggest asset in building your blog.

Choosing Your Domain Name

To be honest, I think this is the hardest part of the process.

Deciding what to call your new blog.

You will need to have decided on your niche beforehand so that you know exactly what type of blog you are creating.

For example, you could be blogging about Finance and Debt, Parenting, Fashion or Beauty.

Your niche will be a deciding factor.

Your niche will be one of the keys you need to have worked out when you are choosing your blog name.

I’ m assuming that you have already decided on your niche??

But if not then I’ ve got your covered go and have a read of my post,

How to Choose Your Niche — 3 Things You Should Know When Deciding on Your Blog Niche

 

find your blog niche

Here are a few important tips to help you decide when choosing your domain name:

Make it Unique and Memorable.

Mamasmiles

This blog is about parenting advice and solutions. Doesn’ t it make you want to go over and take a look?

– Make sure your domain name give visitors an idea of what your site is about. This could be by using keywords in your niche.

When you go to this site, Frugal and Debt Free, you know that it is going to be about saving money and paying off debt.

Or maybe you want your blog name to reflect the name of your market. For example  petsathome, dogwalking, parentingtips.

You get the picture? People will immediately know what your blog is going to be about.

-Make it Personal

Perhaps you are offering some personal services, like coaching, freelance writing, yoga instructor or a personal trainer. In that case you may want to use your own name to build your personal brand around the service that you will be offering.

You can use your own name like tonyrobbins.com who is a well known guru in the personal development world.

Or maybe even like neilpatel.com who is a top SEO strategist in the marketing world.

If your name is no longer available, then look at different variations.

For example, you can add your niche to your name.

“Your namewriter ” if you are a writer, or

“Your nameblogger ”, if you are a blogger or

“Your namecoaching ” if you are a coach

It would look something like this:-

“RubyWrites ”

“RubyBlogs ”

“RubyCoaches ”

I learnt this from one of my mentors, Jeff Goins, he did this as his own name was already taken. So he started Goinswriter

– Start a new Company Name

You can call yourself whatever you like.

Honestly.

You can just make it up.

Think along the lines of big names like Amazon, Nike, Instagram, Facebook.

You wouldn’ t know immediately what they did from their name, would you?

but they are now such well known names as they have build a huge company brand that everyone knows straightaway what their business is about.

Maybe you don’ t want to have a huge company brand, you are just looking to get started with your blog in your niche.

Here’ s an interesting one I came across about health and weightloss

It’ s called Avocadu.

No I haven’ t made a spelling mistake. They started their blog using a twist of the word avocado. It’ s actually done really well.

What I’ m trying to say is don’ t get too hung up on the name.

What you need to do is to jot down some ideas.

Have a play around with words in your niche.

Then make a decision on your domain name.

Still need some inspiration for your domain name?

Use a Blog Name Generator

Name generators are great !!

I have to confess that I can spend hours playing around with them.

I love putting together different combinations of names.

I will re-arrange the order of the words, this can totally change the look and feel of the domain name.

I just keep playing around with the names, keywords and different combinations until something inspires or catches my attention.

Here are a few name generators that you will find useful.

Domain Wheel

Business Name Generator

or have a look at Shopify  they have a cool name generator tool as well.

Just keep brainstorming ideas and then narrow down your shortlist.

Here are some final important tips when choosing your domain name:

  • Make sure your domain name is clear and concise
  • Long and confusing names are harder to remember and easier to mistype
  • Be creative but memorable and keep it clear
  • Make it easy to read and pronounce
  • Avoid numbers and special characters
  • Think about possible confusion with your name when written down
start a blog woman hands in air happy

Now we’ ve got that sorted, you will need to consider

What type of domain level should you choose?

Once you have settled on a domain name in your niche, you will need to decide if this will be a .com or if you will use your country specific code for your domain name.

In my opinion if the .com is available, then this is the way that I would go.

This gives your website more scope, to open your niche, and gives you more options later as you begin to build your brand.

There are less .com names available now so you may need to be creative to find a domain name that you love.

But

If you are sure that your business is going to be specific to your country then you can choose a country specific code like .uk, .ie.

My daughters did this with their Baby Hamper Gift business Showersandsprinkles.co.uk (I designed their website for them, kinda cool right, your mum helping you with this!!) Keep reading cos I will show you how you can get your own website set up too

They knew that they did not plan to target a worldwide market. This is fine too, it’ s cool to keep it local.

Just a reminder that .org is mainly used for charities so I would keep away from those unless of course you are thinking of setting up as a charity or not for profit.

I know that it can be a struggle to find your ideal  .com domain because they are becoming less available. When you do find a name you love, you may find that it costs a fortune.

In this case, you can also look at  .net and .website or .inc, these extensions are now being used more often.

However, I would only go for one of these if the .com version is not available.

Where to register your domain name?

Now that you have chosen your perfect blog name.

Chosen the extension.

You will want to get onto the next step.

You need to get your domain name registered.

There are many places where you can register your domain name, like GoDaddy or NameCheap but if this is your first domain name registration, then I suggest that you register this with the hosting company that will host your blog.

This will make it much easier to get started with your blog. The registration of one domain name is usually included in new hosting packages.

But you can use whichever way you prefer to register your domain name, I’ m only suggesting what I would do.

If you’ ve already purchased a domain but this is not with the hosting company you plan to use, don’ t worry. All you would have to do is to change the name servers. It’ s not too difficult, your hosting company will usually have a video telling you how to do this.

So if you’ ve already registered a domain name elsewhere don’ t despair you can still get started with getting your blog set up.

start your blog at home woman typing on laptop

How do you Start Your Own Blog without spending a fortune?

2.Hosting — Finding a Home For Your Domain  

Great, I hope that you are following along, if so, you will soon be ready to get your blog visible to the world.

That is what is meant by hosting.

Sounds technical but let me break it down for you.

What hosting means is that when someone searches for you in a search engine like Google or Bing, they will be able to easily find your website or blog.

All this means is that the hosting company have massive computers.

They will keep all the web files associated with all the domains around the world hosted with them. When someone searches niche site keywords or your domain name, they will show them these webfiles.

And soon your domain name will be there as well (is that sending goose bumps down your spine. This is so exciting right?)

You are so so so close to getting visible online.

Let’ s think about what you need to know when choosing a hosting company

When you are deciding about hosting for your blog, from my experience self hosting is the best and only way to go.

Whilst it may seem easy to go with sites like Copyblogger, The Hub, Wix, Squarespace where everything is already set up. You just join and just start blogging.

Whilst this may seem easy, what you need to know is that this will give you very little control when you start to build traction with your blog.

The only way to have total control with your personally branded website is to use a hosting platform.

This will give you total control of your blog.

This will allow you to share your voice without worrying that it will be shut down by the hosting site. (remember sites like Copyblogger and the Hub effectively have the registration of their domain name, they make the rules and you are actually just a guest using their facilities).

I know that it seems like Setting up a self-hosted blog  sounds really technical right now.

Maybe you are even holding your head in your palms and saying, I thought you said this will be simple.

I hope that I haven’ t lost you already because I have to tell you that it isn’ t that hard once you’ ve done it the first time.

Yes, you may be slower the first time you set up your blog, but that’ s to be expected, you are learning new information and it takes time to make sure you get it correct.

Simple Steps to Have Your Very Own Self Hosted Blog Ready to Get Started Blogging.

I’ m going to show you exactly what you need to do to set up and host your very own blog.

Yes, you may have to invest a little bit of money but we are not talking hundreds here so relax.

I am going to show you just how easy it is to set up your very  own self hosted blog.

I will be sharing some of the tools that I use and some of these are affiliate links, this means that I recommend the company because I use them too.

If you click on the link and buy, then I get a commission and this does not cost you anything. This is called being an affiliate and it is something that you can do too in order to earn some extra cash.

I want to let you know that I only recommend products that I personally use and get value out of, so you will find I give good as well as bad reviews on products that I have come across.

 

How to start a blog woman and children and computer with blog

Questions to Ask ourself When Choosing Your Hosting Company

Are They Reliable?

This is a huge one. Just think about it.

When someone requests to view your website and it is not available due to your web host being down, this reflects onto you.

This means you have lost a potential customer.

Not only that but this can affect your search engine ranking as each time you are searched and can’ t be found, this can have a negative impact. ☹

Make sure that your web host is able to deliver your website 99% of the time.

Offer Excellent Customer Service?

If you are new to website set up, you may need someone to walk you through any technical issues if they arise.

You will need to know that they offer excellent customer service. Likely you will want this to be 24/7.

Afterall when you are trying to do this late at night when you finally have some time after the little one’ s have finally closed their eyes, you want someone to be there to help if something goes wrong. You will want to have the ability to contact support if you have any issues. Most of all you want them to respond quickly.

What will it Cost

I know that this is something that you will want to know.

I know as a mum running a business from home, sometimes you are on a tight budget.

But it is important not to scrimp.

It is important to get the best value but still have excellent hosting. (Yes, it’ s possible).

Remember what your mama probably told you

You get what you pay for’ .

You could go for a budget hosting company. (you can expect budget hosting service).

Now I don’ t want you to splash out your cash on more than you can afford, but I want you to make a choice that is right for you and your budget.

Please feel free to do your own searches for hosting companies but the place I use and recommend for hosting is Siteground, not only are they reliable, they have fantastic discounts in that crucial first year when you are getting started.

Room to grow your website

As your blog grows you will probably need more bandwith for your site.

You will want your blog to still load quickly and easily when you start to add more content to it.

Will your webhost be able to manage this growth?

Will your webhost be able to keep your site loading fast?

Ability to host more than one domain

Right now, you just want to get started with your first blog, but who knows where this will lead you down the line.

Maybe you will find you love blogging and you will want to set up another blog and another.

Will your hosting company enable you to have this room to grow your online blogging business?

Will your hosting company let you host more than one domain under your plan?

Does it offer security for your blog

Now for the lesser known stuff.

You may have heard of an SSL. Sounds really technical right.

SSL stands for Secure Socket Layers.

What this means is when you have an SSL certificate your website starts off with https:// rather than http://.

You will also see a grey padlock in the browser toolbar.

This will tell people visiting your site that all the information coming from your website to the server is encrypted.

It gives it a layer of security. It protects you from attacks malware.

But SSL certificates are also becoming more important for your search engine rankings.

Afterall why would google want to show a site if it not that sure how secure it is?

Some hosts will charge you to add an SSL certificate.

This can all add up, especially if you are on a tight budget to get started.

But I’ ve got a few secrets for you.

Some hosts will now provide a Let’ s Encrypt SSL certificate which you can install for FREE. Read on and I will spill the beans on this.

Specialised WordPress Hosting

Does the hosting provider specialise in WordPress hosting?

WordPress is what you will be using.

You will want to know that their servers (huge computers) will be able to manage WordPress.

You want to know whether they will be able to serve the wordpress pages faster.

Also, if they specialise in wordpress, they will also know any WordPress related issues which may arise.

They will be able to help you much quicker with any issues. That’ s why Siteground is one the hosting companies recommended by WordPress

Now, you’ ve had all these questions to think about  

Which Hosting Platform Should You Choose?

There are lots of hosting providers out there, and many of them do a really great job.

I choose to use   Siteground for all my sites.

Siteground ticks all the above boxes. They have all the above features that I look for in a hosting provider.

And they offer 3 Fabulous hosting plans.

This means that there isomething that is sure to fit most needs.
That said, don’ t get too confused as to which plan is best for you.

Here’ s a breakdown of their plans to help you choose.

 

If you’ re just starting out, there’ s the Start Up Plan:

StartUp  Plan

You can host one website.

It can handle up to 10,000 unique visits per month.

24/7 client support.

Let’ s Encrypt SSL.

Unlimited Emails

Free daily backup

Need a bit more, then look at GrowBig

GrowBig

You can host multiple websites.

It can handle up to 25,000 visits per month.

30 backup copies and free restore.

Technical support with priority.

If you are a bit more experienced, you may want to look at the GoGeek:-

GoGeek  

Can host multiple websites and offers even more space.

Can handle up to 100,000 visits per month.

Includes all features of the other two plans.

Free backup on demand.

 

When you visit Siteground, click on the

option to “Get Started ”

on either Webhosting or WordPress Hosting

(they will each take you to the same information about hosting plans)

siteground hosting plans

This will take you to a page with 3 options.

siteground hosting plans

For most new bloggers or online businesses, the StartUp Plan will meet their needs.

You can get started here with Siteground Start Up Plan.

(you can upgrade later if you find that you need to host more sites or need more space.)

When I started, I knew that I planned to grow more blogs in the future, so I started on the GrowBig. But you need to do what is right for you.

When you click on ‘Get Plan’ under your chosen plan, you’ ll have an option to purchase a domain name, or specify the one that you have already registered.

siteground choose domain

If you already have a domain name registered somewhere else,

click the ‘I already have a domain name’ option,

and specify the one which you are going to use as your primary web address.

Click ‘Proceed’ .

If you need a domain name too, choose the

‘Register a New Domain’ option, enter your chosen domain name and click ‘Proceed’ .

Choose ‘I don’ t need help’ from the next screen.

Fill in the client information and your payment information on the next screen to create your account.

siteground hosting plan

Under the ‘purchase information’ , if you can stretch to include SG Site Scanner, it’ s a very worthwhile service, as it scans your website for malicious activity and helps protect you from hackers.

If it’ s too much of a stretch financially, you will be fine without it — it’ s just a great safety net to have in place.

Agree to the Terms & Conditions, and complete the purchase.

Your hosting plan is now in place.

You will receive a couple of emails from Siteground confirming your account details. Don’ t forget to keep them safe!

Now you have your hosting plan ready, and your domain name, we’ re going to connect the two of them.

start a blog

 3.  Installing WordPress — Creating the foundation for your website

Stay with me, it’ s not as complicated as it sounds.

If I can do it then anyone can. In order to  set up your blog  you will need the right software.

The best one to use is called WordPress.

(Just a little hint that wordpress.org is very different from wordpress.com and gives a different level of access and usability.   You want to use wordpress.org as this allows you to host your own site.)

It is easy, quick and best of all WordPress is free.

You can set up WordPress through your hosting company.

Siteground has a new easy set up wizard which will walk you through setting up your very own website and installing WordPress.

Use the Siteground Setup Wizard to Install WordPress

To install WordPress using the Website Setup Wizard, first access your Client Area.

You will find this after you sign up for your  Hosting Package.

You will receive all the necessary information you need to log in there.

Once you log in for the first time, you will see a notice asking you if you want to Set Up a new website or to migrate it on your account.

Click on  Set Up Site.

set up siteground site

A new section will appear where you should select to Start a New Website or to Migrate an existing one.

Click on  Select  under Start New Website.

siteground set up website

Choose WordPress and enter the preferred login details for your new WordPress application.

chooose wordpress on siteground

Once you are ready, click on  Continue.

That’ s it! You can now go to the front page of your site and check your the newly installed WordPress blog.

siteground youre all set with website

Can you believe that you got this far!!

Next we want to make your site look real pretty and appealing.

start a successful blog

4. Installing a theme — Making Your Website look Appealing

In order to change the look and feel of your blog, you will need a theme.

The theme is just your blog design.

It sets out the look of your website, think of it like the décor of your home.

It is how many columns you want, where you place the header and add pretty images. You can adjust and play around with these features as you get the hang of it more.

There are lots of Free wordpress themes, that you can choose from.

WordPress comes with thousands of themes. It can be overwhelming trying to choose!!

One of the most well known themes is Twenty Twenty One, it’ s a simple easy to use theme when you are  first starting to set up a blog.

I started off using one of the Twenty Themes but I found that I needed to have more flexibility with my website.

OceanWP  is also a popular free WordPress theme. It includes lots of features that you normally only see in premium themes.  OceanWP  can be used for any kind of website, including blogs, magazines, business websites, or eCommerce stores. (I’ ve not really used it, but have heard good stuff about it).

It can be overwhelming to know where to start, when choosing your theme. Your budget will also be a huge factor.

I have since been using the Divi theme.

It is a premium theme and it does cost.

But Divi is what has made the most difference to my blogging toolkit and made blogging so much easier.

If you can stretch to it, I recommend Divi from the outset.

divi theme on wordpress

When I sharing some of the tools that I use, some of these are affiliate links, this means that I recommend the company because I use them too.

If you click on the link and buy, then I get a commission and this does not cost you anything. This is called being an affiliate and it is something that you can do too in order to earn some extra cash.

5. Plugins and Tools – Create a secure but awesome website

I don’ t want to overwhelm you because you have managed to do so well so far and I want you to get started with your site and blogging.

But before you do, just a few more essentials called plugins which will help the functioning of your site.

Here are the few that I install on each site.

You can always come back to add plugins later, and they are not totally going to stop you getting started, if you want to skip this step for now.

Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO will help you to get your website more visible.

SEO sounds complex and it is.

But with this plugin you will have a simple way to boost your SEO for your site.

Askismet Anti-Spam

We all hate spam.

When your wordpress site goes live, you can be sure that you will get comments.

Some of these will be genuine and complimentary.

Others will be generated by bots and will ruin your readers experiences.

Askismet will help you to keep in control of spam and keep your site clean.

WP Super Cache

A slow site speed will cause your reader to leave whilst your site is slowly opening.

It’ s painful!!

I am sure that you have had this happen to you.

Did you stick around whilst it was slowly loading, or did you click off and look elsewhere?

Don’ t let this happen to you.

Google XML Sitemaps

If you plan to grow your blog, then you will want to start ranking in the search engines.

A sitemap will help search engines to crawl and index your site.

How to Install a Plugin

Go to your WordPress “Dashboard ” for your newly set up site.

Scroll down till you find “Plugins ”.

Click “Add New ”

Then Search for the plugin you wish to install

Click ‘Install Now ”

Go back to your wordpress dashboard to “Plugins ”.

Activate the plugin that you have just installed.

I will be posting an in depth post on plugins, soon but for now, this will be enough to get you started.

A few things to know about plugins

The more plugins you add to your website the slower it will run.

Some plugins can break your website. Therefore when choosing a plugin make sure that it is compatible with your wordpress, check how many installations have been downloaded, how many reviews the plugin has and when it was last updated before installing it.

You will also need to update your plugins in your wordpress dashboard on a regular basis. You will get a reminder when you login to do this.

Also, if you are not using a plugin, then delete them.

successful blog set up

We are almost there, let’ s get ready to write that all important first blog post.

6.  Writing Your First Blog Post

You’ ve done it well done.

You’ re all ready to get started.

You need to Log in and Start Blogging

If you have followed all the steps above to host your new blog website, you will want to add that all important first post.

Just in case you get lost or if you’ ve not been directed back to your dashboard. Or maybe you have logged out then you will want to know how to log back in again.

Many new website owners get very confused and think that they have lost their site and panic.

I don’ t want you to be one.

Don’ t worry if you ever want to log back into your wordpress site that you’ ve set up,

Just type the following into your browser bar the url of your chosen domain name:-

“yourwebsitename.com/wp-admin ”

You will need to enter the username and password that you chose when you first installed WordPress on your hosting plan.

If you find yourself getting confused about passwords, here’ s what I use to keep mine in one handy safe place.

Once you are logged in to your wordpress site,

Go to “Post ” on the left hand side of the menu bar.

Then select “Add New ”.

Write a title for your post.

Then start creating some awesome content for your blog post.

Hit save and publish — your message is out there for the world to see.

That’ s it you’ re done. 😊

 

start a blog woman hands in air happy

You’ ve just Created Your First Website, with your First Blog Post now Go Start Blogging.

 Here’ s what we covered in this post

Here’ s what we covered in How to Step Up Your Blog:-

  1. Domain Names — Finding your ideal domain name
  1. Hosting — Finding a home for your domain
  1. Installing WordPress — Creating the foundation for your website
  1. Installing a theme — Making Your Website look appealing
  1. Plugins and Tools – Create a secure but awesome website
  1. Writing Your first blog post

Wondering what to write for that first blog post?

Take a look at this post Write Your First Blog Post

Happy blogging

If you want to take your blog and online business to the next level and create a life working from home that you truly love, you will want to take a look at this.

 

Free Video workshop to gain control and create a life you love

Here’ s to living your digital life

Because there is another way!

The Digital Mum

 

 

*This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information*

 

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