Blogging Basics- Starting From Scratch

Blogging has gone from a hobby, to a 6-figure income for me, in less than a year.  It has allowed me to pay off student loans, pay down our mortgage (and hopefully pay off!), travel with my family, quit a miserable job, and be my own boss.  It has far surpassed my wildest imagination, and because  of that, I want to share what I have learned.

When I started, I was at the very bottom.  I had no knowledge about how to do this and I was starting from scratch.  I would say that one of my strengths is that I have persevered and spent hours and hours researching, testing and learning new things.  This is the reason that I have been successful.  I literally googled “What is hosting” when I wanted to start a blog.  The reason I tell you this, is to give you the hope you need to get started.  I am no genius.  I do not have a background in web development and I am not a web coder or master marketer.  Everything I have learned, I have googled, researched, tested, tried, read and learned on my own.  So, if I can do it, you can do it.

Let’s start at the beginning.

You want to start a blog.  You have no idea where to start.  You have read blogs and you enjoy blogs, but you don’t know how to start a blog.  Let’s start with some simple vocabulary.

You need a domain name.  This is what your website is called, or your URL.  Mine, is FlippingPennies.com.  When choosing a domain name, pick something easy to remember.  Avoid hyphens, misspellings and anything that is hard to tell people.  You will be hopefully saying it often, and telling your friends, so make sure you like it:)

Bluehost is giving my readers a FREE domain right now, if you sign up for hosting!  This is at least a $15 value, and they have been soooo easy to work with.  If you are considering starting a blog, this is a great deal!  You can also read more about starting a blog and walking through the process step-by-step on my previous post, How to Start a Blog.

First, if you ever want to make money on your blog, you need to be self-hosted.  This means, that you must purchase a hosting package.  PLEASE resist the urge to use free platforms, such as Blogger.  Every blogger I know that started there, has had to go through the laborious process of switching to a self-hosted WordPress blog.  You do not have the freedom with advertisements on a free blog that you do on a self-hosted blog.

Hosting: This is a little piece of the internet.  You are literally buying space on a server to store the data from your site, so that your website can be accessible via the internet.  Your hosting service stores a database with your website files and keeps it online at all times, so that your website is accessible online.  These plans start out at anywhere on the low end ($7-$8 a month) but right now, Bluehost is giving my readers a special price of $3.49 a month and a FREE domain.  This is only available through my link so act now if you are interested.  This is a super low price and probably won’t last for very long.

Next, you need to install WordPress.  There is a reason that most bloggers use WordPress.  It is the most user-friendly platform out there.  It is free to download through your Bluehost hosting plan.

What is WordPress?

This is the platform in which you will make your posts, add the pictures to your site, etc.  It is the software you use for your blog.  As I mentioned before, it is free and very user-friendly.

Once you have your domain registered and hosting package, you can download WordPress.  It is super easy to do and I walk you through it step by step in my post, How to Start a Blog.

Once you login to your website through WordPress, you are ready to start blogging!  First things first, I would choose a theme.  “What is a theme?” you ask?  It is a template that determines what your site looks like and how it is laid out.  Do you have a sidebar on the right?  on the left?  both?  How are your menus set up?  Is there a large slider at the top?  What does it look like?  Now, keep in mind, that even when you choose a theme, there are still quite a few options within each theme that will help you organize your blog the way you want to.

WordPress offers many themes for free.  There are a lot of other paid themes as well.  Genesis Theme is a pretty popular theme and it has a lot of options.  I have also used free themes and have been very happy with them.

Next, on the right side of your WordPress interface, you will see “Posts.”  This is where you will write and publish your blog posts.  It is very intuitive and easy to figure out.  There are options such as bold, italics, bullets, etc., just as you would see in a Microsoft Word document.  You can add links by highlighting words in your post and clicking on the link on the menu above and pasting the URL in which you want to link to.  You can choose headings, numbered lists and so much more.  I would recommend getting familiar with this page and all of your options.

When you are ready to publish your post, you can find the “publish” button on the right of the screen.  Be sure that as you write your post, you “update” or “save” it all along the way.  I have had plenty of situations where I am halfway done with the post and the power goes out or a toddler turns off the computer.  NO!!  So, now I am trained to save them as I go.  There is a backup save on WordPress, but it is easier to just be sure that your post is saved as you go along.

Now that you know a few basics, you are ready to go!  If you are interested in starting from scratch and want to start blogging, get step-by-step instructions on my post How to Start a Blog!  I hope this changes your life like it has changed mine.  Also, if you have any questions along the way, feel free to contact me or email me and I will help in any way that I can.

What other “Starting From Scratch” questions do you have?  Fee free to post them and I will do an update and answer all of your blogging questions!

To learn more about How to Start a Blog, read my step by step tutorial to get you started.

Here are a few other good reads to help in your blogging adventures:

How to Make Money Blogging

8 Legit Ways to Make Money From Home

10 Ways to Earn a Living on the Internet

How to Get Freelance Writing Gigs

7 Easy Ways to Make Money Blogging