How To Start Your Own Blog In Less Than An Hour
Back in 2008, when I published my very first post here on Mom Spark, blogging looked a lot more different than it does now. In some ways, I think it’s easier now, more accessible, and probably more fun — but sometimes I think that’s just because I’ve been doing it for so long! Over the years, I’ve had a lot of people ask my advice on how to become a blogger, how to get started, and even how to set up their first blog — so I’m finally taking the plunge to share a super quick way that YOU can start your very own blog, on whatever topic you LOVE and can’t wait to tell the world about!
By the end of this simple tutorial (I promise you, you can do it — even if you’re not tech-savvy at all!) you’ll have a blog up and running with your chosen URL, layout, and more. So what are you waiting for? Let’s dive right in and turn all those ideas in your head and heart into a blog that you can share with friends, family, and the world!
Note: Some of the links to products and services below are affiliate links, which means I’ll earn a bit of money if you’re to make a purchase. In this post you’ll ONLY find products which I’ve used, tested, trust, and enjoy!
There are really only three steps to take when you’re starting your first blog, in order to get it up and running to your liking:
- Setting up your hosting (where you blog “lives” online)
- Installing WordPress (one of the most popular blogging platforms!)
- Making it beautiful (let’s find a theme that’s right for YOU!)
After these simple steps, you’ll be well on your way to publishing that very first post — and I hope that when you do, you’ll tweet @MomSpark or send us a Facebook message so we can come and take a peek!
Now let’s get down to business — you’ll need less than an hour to get things up and running, so grab that cup of coffee and hang on tight!
How To Start Your Own Blog In Less Than An Hour
STEP ONE: HOSTING
There are many different ways to host your blog online, but the company that I’ve found to be the most SIMPLE to use and navigate, is Bluehost. Head to the Bluehost site, then follow the instructions as follows!
When you visit Bluehost, you’ll click “get started now” which will lead you to this page:
I’d definitely recommend going with the first column — it’s less expensive and there’s no need for all those extras as you’re just getting started.
Enjoy the free URL that comes with your hosting by typing in the URL you’d like to see if it’s available. You may have to repeat this process a few times to get one that’s both available and that you LOVE. Make sure you’re using Google to search out any names that may already be out there in the blogging world. You want to be an original, my friend!
Next up, you’ll be taken to the account and checkout page where you’ll fill out your personal info, your hosting package info, as well as your payment details. Once you’ve filled in all your personal details, scroll down until you see this:
Now choose your hosting package (of either 12, 24, or 36 months) and if you want to protect your personal info from the internet, check the privacy box too. Next you’ll fill out your payment info and you’re done!
STEP NO. 2: INSTALL WORDPRESS
Bluehost makes installing WordPress REALLY simple. First head to your inbox to find your Bluehost confirmation message, then head back into Bluehost, sign in, and click where it says Install WordPress under the website section. It’ll look like this:
Click Install under the free DIY section — easy peasy!
Next you’ll see your URL in a little dropdown menu — click Check Domain.
Tick the terms and conditions box, then Install Now.
(Note: You can check the Show advanced options box here and you’ll be taken to a screen to input just that. But you can always change these options later, so it’s not necessary to do it right here if you don’t want to.)
Click Install Now just the same and you’re all done! A progress bar across will show up at the top of your page to tell you what’s happening with your install. When it’s all done, you’ll be able to click the View Credentials button to see your new login information.
You will want to record this info for later reference:
- URL: This is your blog’s web address!
- Admin URL: This is the URL you’ll need to pop in your address bar for when you login to WordPress!
- Username: Needed to login to WordPress!
- Password: I have a feeling you know what this is!
Copy and paste your Admin URL, put it in your address bar, and hit enter. You’ll see a screen something like this:
Now login with your above details and you’ve done it! Your blog is up and ready for our final step!
STEP THREE: MAKE IT BEAUTIFUL
Now we’re into the fun part of getting your new blog ready for the world to see! You want this blog to look like you — to resemble the themes you’re working with, the ideas you want to share, and the tone of your writing. Many bloggers, myself included, will go through a ton of different themes and designs before deciding on their fave. Plus, over the coming weeks, months, and years, you may change your mind — and that’s ok too! But let’s get working on choosing that first LOOK for your blog!
There are lots of FREE (yay!) themes that you can use right from within WordPress itself. Just click Appearance > Themes > Add New from your WordPress dashboard menu (left side) and search around for a design that you like. There are some great styles available here, but you’ll be a bit more limited in your customization.
To take things a notch higher, I’d recommend using the Genesis framework, which is one of the most versatile and simple to use frameworks. Genesis is called a “parent theme” which you can think of as the foundation for your blog. To make it beautiful, you’ll add a “child theme” which you can purchase from a site like StudioPress — who also provide the Genesis framework.
You can buy Genesis on its own, or with a theme. If you happen to find a free child theme via Google (just search “best free Genesis child themes” or something like that), then you can just purchase Genesis and go from there!
This may start to sound a bit technical, but I promise you can handle it! Between my instructions and the guidelines you’ll get when you purchase Genesis and any of their themes.
Here’s how to install your Genesis framework and child theme:
- Purchase Genesis, download the file to your computer (it’ll be a zip file), then upload the zip to WordPress by click Appearance > Themes > Add New, and browsing your computer for the correct file. It’s usually called “genesis.zip” or something similar.
- Choose your child theme, purchased or otherwise, download it to your computer (again, a zip), then upload it in the exact same was as you did the framework in the previous step.
- Once it has finished uploading, click “activate” and you’ll be ready to begin writing, customizing your site, and enjoying your new blog!