If you're ready to set up shop in your own little corner of the Internet, you'll need to rent a spot, decorate it, and invite your friends. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how you to pick the right landlord (HostGator), the perfect apartment (WordPress), and the home decor (theme) that’ll make it look like you hired a professional. Then, all that’s left is for you to invite your guests.
Let's get started setting up your blog with my step-by-step screenshots.
Step 1: Choose a name for your blog.
This will be your blog's address. Ours is thekrazycouponlady.com. I suggest having a few options on hand because it might take a minute to find one you love that's also available. Believe it or not, this might be the hardest part about setting up a blog!
Either select a name for your blog that says the blog topic (ie: treasurevalleycouponing.com) or use your name if you're not ready to commit to a topic for your blog (ie: firstlastname.com). When in doubt, use your name.
Tip: Choose a .com extension. It's the most widely used, and people won't have trouble remembering your Web address.
Step 2: Visit HostGator for a domain and hosting service.
Remember how I said “rent” a spot a minute ago? You’re going to pay a bit for this. It's tempting to sign up for a free blog, but it's really not the best way to start a blog that will last and (hopefully!) grow in years to come. Trust me, eventually you'll get tired of having no control over the layout of your blog, and you'll get tired of that little “.wordpress.com” or “.blogspot.com” addition to your Web address. Free blogs are nothing but limits, limits, limits. Let's take the limits off and see what you can do with your blog.
Choose your domain. Pull out that list you made in Step 1 and see what’s available. I chose treasurevalleycouponing.com.
Lucky me! It’s available. Here’s what it looks like when your site is available:
And here’s what it looks like when it’s not:
Notice what a great deal you’re getting because you’re part of the KCL community (58% off 36 months!) I recommend selecting the 36-month plan, because you’ll get 58% savings instead of 50% savings.
Enter your billing information.
Select any additional services you want.
Use coupon code KCL to save 58% on hosting.
Wait a few minutes for your account to be set up.
And you’re in!
Step 3: Install your theme.
Your theme is your blog's “decor.” It can be as classic or as modern as you like. It should definitely reflect your style and what you’re writing about. Start from your WordPress Dashboard.
Hover over “Appearance” and click on “Themes.”
Leave this window open in your browser. We’re coming right back to this after we choose a theme. This is what your Dashboard should look like:
Pick a theme! Pop over to ThemeForest and choose a theme you love. There are tons of themes you can choose from, but in the unlikely scenario that you don’t find one you love, try StudioPress or Template Monster. I am using ThemeForest this time.
Click “WordPress” on the gray bar to narrow theme options.
Shop ’til you drop. Click on themes to see the “Live Preview” and decide on one you like.
Tip: If you’re overwhelmed by the many options, filter by “tags” on the left side. I selected “clean” as a keyword, because I love me a simple, uncluttered blog.
Purchase your theme.
Download your theme.
Tip: If you don’t want to do this part yourself, you can pay an additional fee ($50) and ThemeForest will install your theme to your blog for you. It’s really not that hard, though, so I suggest you soldier on with me!
Go back to your WordPress Dashboard, scroll down, and click “Add New Theme.”
Click “Upload Theme” at the top next to “Add Themes.”
Unzip your theme file and upload. Find the file download in your computer, and extract the zip files before you install. You’ll only need one of the files (and don’t be confused, it’s also a zip file. A zip within a zip. Super meta). Once you’ve done that, select the file with yourthemename.zip. Mine is soigne.zip. Click “Install Now.”
Your theme is installed! This should be what your screen looks like. Click “Activate.”
Now, customize your blog to look just the way you like it. And pat yourself on the back because you can no longer say “I’m not techy.”
Step 4: Write your first blog post!
You did it. Stretch out your legs and relax in your own little Web space. Pull out your laptop and write your first blog post!
Tip: Before you invite the world over by launching your blog (AKA announcing it on social media), write at least 3-5 blog posts. Your visitors will have some good content to read on their first visit. It's just good blogging manners.
Happy blogging, neighbor!
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