Start a Creative Blog in 5 Simple Steps. Want to get started with Blogging as a Creative Business? The first thing you need to do is set up a website and blog!
This post is Lesson One of my free Blogging as a Creative Business Course
For more lessons:
Start a Creative Blog in 5 Simple Steps
Because there are so many free detailed tutorials online for how to set up a blog, I’m not going to get super detailed here, but I would like to go over the basics steps with you and tell you about the services I use. Keep in mind, the goal here is blogging as a business so the services I use are chosen with that goal. And because I just got this second blog up and running, these are all steps I’ve gone through again over the past week!
Step One: Deciding On a Business Name
Deciding on a business name is arguably the hardest step. Be sure to do some research to make sure the name you chose isn’t already in use, trademarked, and that a domain name that makes sense is available. This step can take some time, and that’s ok. Your name choice is the basis of your brand and will likely be a part of your logo, so it’s a really important decision.
I ultimately went with my name for Dawn Nicole Designs, because every other name idea I came up with was already in use. For this site, I lucked out and the URL and social media handles for @dawnnicoleco were all available. It seemed like a sign, so I jumped on snagging them all up and starting this website.
Step Two: Purchase a Domain Name (URL)
For this site, I really wanted DawnNicole.com…until I saw that the owners of that domain are asking nearly $20,000 for it. Yikes. I saw DawnNicole.co was available for just $12. That I can handle. Sold.
Prior to actually buying the domain, I did a quick check on the main social media outlets and Pinterest to make sure I could get @dawnnicoleco for all of them. This is always a good thing to consider when deciding on a domain.
I have purchased all my domain names via Bluehost.com. I’ve actually read it’s best not to do your hosting and domain names through the same company, I still have all my domains via Bluehost
Step Three: Choose a Hosting Service
This is what enables your blog to show up on the Internet. When I first started out, I used Bluehost.com because it’s super affordable. They have very mixed reviews, but I think it’s a situation in which you get what you pay for. I have no complaints about them, but being that it’s a huge company, the customer service isn’t nearly as speedy and personalized at the hosting company I now use, OrangeGeek.
Their cheapest plan is around $50 a month and worth every penny. They fix issues before I even know I have them and have even helped me fix things on weekends, the middle of the night, etc. Their level of customer service is unparalleled.
If you can swing the $50 a month, go for OrangeGeek. If not start with Bluehost (or another cheap domain/hosting service), and move to OrangeGeek when your budget allows for it. That’s what I did!
Tip: Be sure to ask your host to set you up on HTTPS.
Long story short, this will appease Google and you really want to make Google happy!
Step Four: Choose a Blog Platform (WordPress)
Trust me when I say that you want to use WordPress if making money on your blog is your goal. WordPress.orgis what you’ll want for a self-hosted blog like what you see here on my site.
Step Five: Make it Pretty
There are plenty of free options you can start with for your WordPress Theme (site design). Most run on the Genesis Framework, which you can get here.
Both my site design templates were purchased from Lindsey at Pretty Darn Cute Designs. I always opt for the 24 Hour Install, which is handled by Susan. If you’re not super techy, you’ll definitely want to take advantage of this option.
After that’s set up, you just start customizing the theme with your own logo, photos, posts, etc.
You’re ready to blog!
This entire site took about 72 hours to get up and running with the above steps. When you get stuck, Google is your friend. And don’t be afraid to email your host and ask for help if you need it. I’m not super great with the backend of blogging, so if I can do it, you can too!
And that’s it! You’re ready to start blogging. You’ll still need to get set up as an official business, but the major parts of that are not usually necessary until you start bringing in enough income to be taxable. I’m not a lawyer, so it’s always best to consult with one (or even Google) for the details on how to get registered as a business in your state/county.
This post is part of my free Blogging as a Creative Business e-Course. For more lessons: