How to Set Up a Website For Your Blog in Just 5 Steps
How to Set Up a Website For Your Blog
Whether you already have a blog and want to move it over to your own domain or want to get started with your own website, this article will walk you through the process of getting started with your own blog on your website. We will cover the basic steps to set up a website for your blog, starting with deciding if a blog is right for you. In most cases, you can plan and make simple decisions in advance to ensure that your time and your money are well spent so that you can get the most out of both.
Let’s get started.
Step 1: Is a Website Right for You?
Do you have the money? A website is an investment. You can expect to spend money on it no matter what. Most domain names run at about $10 per year, although you can get cheaper or more expensive domains depending on your personal preference. You’ll also have to expect to pay a starting rate of about $100 per year for web hosting. This will go up as your website demands increase. Make sure to create a budget before you get started so that you know what you need to stick to as you get setup.
Not Sure? Start your blog on a free hosting plan that allows you to upgrade later as you get more traffic. Some sites will allow you to start for free using a their domain, such as a wix.com or wordpress.com domain, and then let you upgrade later to your own domain without losing any of your content.
Step 2: Planning Your Site
It is important that you take the time to decide what you want to achieve, define your target audience, decide which pages you want on your site, decide how you are going to market your blog, and brand it.
Choose a Domain Name – Naming your blog is more complex than you might think, simply because you want something descriptive, memorable, and something that isn’t already taken. If you are serious about growing your blog, you should consider investing in your domain name right away, simply because someone else will buy it if you don’t. You should spend some time here to think of a name that you will be happy with, that will represent you, and that will work as a website domain. You can also think of unique names that represent you without
GoDaddy.com and Namecheap.com are two of the largest domain name retailers. They each allow you to easily transfer the domain you purchase wherever you would like. If you choose an integrated web hosting and design platform, you should be able to get your web domain from there.
Content – You probably already have some idea of what you want to blog about, but it’s a smart idea to plan out some of your content, and maybe even write up a few posts in advance. If you can define what you want to achieve with your blog, you are much better off when you go to start it. If you’re not a professional writer, consider using tools like Grammarly or Whitesmoke to ensure that your content looks professional.
What Do You Want to Achieve – What is the goal of this blog? Do you have one? Remember to set reasonable goals and then plan out how you intend to get there. If your goal is to eventually have a high traffic blog you can make money off of, you need to set your sights lower. For example, you want to start out by hitting 100 visitors per day, which you will achieve by sharing your content on social media, optimization for search engines (SEO), and writing content for a larger blog with a link to your own. Creating small goals that lead up to your big goals will give you small steps to achieve, which will also keep you motivated.
Your Audience – Most non-professional bloggers fail to define their audience, which makes it more difficult to create content that appeals to them. However, if you’re writing for middle aged moms looking for beauty tips that they can use quickly, then you know that your audience doesn’t have much time, they are probably busy, and they want quick, easy solutions. That information can help you to make the right decisions for content, web design, marketing, and later, affiliates and ads. For example, if you know that your audience is short on time, you can create content that appeals to them with short blog posts, video, and at a glance cheat sheets. Define who you want to write for so that you can decide what they want, and create something that they love.
Pages – There are two ways to look at site pages. One is from a web design perspective, but you should also consider them from a planning perspective. What pages do you need on your blog? For most, you need your blog feed an About page, and a Contact page to get you started. If you’re selling things, then you should have a shop page up as well. What else? Unless you have specific needs outside of a normal blog, you probably don’t need anything else right away.
Marketing – Marketing is important to plan because you have to define what you want to achieve and how you are going to get there. This requires research.
- SEO – Search engine optimization is the process of ensuring that your blog posts and your blog will come up in search. For example, if you were to type in “How do I start a blog” in Google, you would find posts that have been optimized to come up for that search. Optimization is complex, and you can read more about it on websites like SEOMoz and CMS Critic’s Wix SEO Review. Search includes pictures, videos, and web content, so you can try to come up with any type of media that you post on your blog. Tip: Don’t forget to source your images ethically. Take your own, or use free-to-use images in Community Commons. Websites like Pixabay and Flickr are great resources.
- Social Media – Creating content that is shareable, that looks good on social media, and offers something of value to people on their phones will get you traffic through social media.
- Networking – If you can get your name out there, then you can get more traffic. Some of the most common ways to do this incldue building relationships with other bloggers, guest blogging on other blogs, and working as a writer for more popular blogs.
Branding – Branding is the concept of creating a personality for your blog and then sticking to it. You can usually create the personality based on your own, or on your target audience. Most of us fit quite well into our own target demographic, so you should be able to use yourself as your brand template. You can choose to blog as You, a person, or as We a company. The difference is a big one. Branding also includes colors, style, font, word usage, language, pictures, and web design, because they are all part of your blog’s personality.
Step 3: Web Hosting
What is Web Hosting? – All content on the web is hosted on a server. A server is a computer that does nothing but store data and make it available to the web. So, when you access a website, you’re actually making a connection with a computer that hosts that website. Hosting can be affordable to very expensive depending on what type of hosting you choose.
Once you’ve put some planning into your website, you can begin to get started with the ore technical aspects of creating a website for your blog. While there are several hosting options, for our example we are going to use Wix.com, a free drag and drop website builder, as an example so that we can walk you through the process of setting up hosting easily (we’ve used it before). We often recommend Wix to beginners because it’s so easy, everything is integrated and you won’t have to learn things like Cpanel, FTP, or other technologies.
Example of How to Set up a Blog with a Website Builder:
Again, in this case we’re going to use Wix to show you how easy it is to get started. So, to do this go to the Wix.com website and follow these steps (you can set up a free account and delete it later if you choose to do your blog in another way):
- Sign up or sign in (you can use Facebook) at Wix.com
- Click “blog” on the list of options OR go here to immediately create a blog
- Select, Get Started
- Choose a Template (this integrates with the next step, web design)
- Wix offers free and paid templates. Try starting out with a free template so you can get a feel for your options and what you like before you invest.
- Click “edit this site” to get started
- Add, edit, and change the background, text, modules, and other elements as desired.
- Click ‘Publish’. You’re automatically using Wix’s free hosting.
You can upgrade your hosting to allow you to use your own domain. You can purchase your domain with Wix or you can buy it elsewhere, but if you buy it with Wix, it is automatically integrated into their servers and you won’t have to transfer it from anywhere else.
- Click “Upgrade” to do so.
- Choose a plan
- If you choose a Combo or Unlimited plan, you actually get a free domain name with it. If you already purchased your domain name elsewhere, you can add it to your Wix account. Transfer it to your Wix account from the account you purchased it from, and then connect it via nameservers (Wix has tutorials to help)
- Pay for your plan
- Wix sets everything up for you.
- Want to know more? Learn how to start a blog on Wix with this step by step guide.
Setting Up With Another Host
You can of course choose hosting at other sites like GoDaddy, BlueHost, HostGator, and many more. Each of these will allow you to purchase hosting, typically starting at around $5 per month for basic hosting, with quality plans starting between $100 and $200 a year. Just be mindful that building a site on your own without a website builder (some of these hosts have a type of builder) is considerably more complex and you won’t be able to retain your existing web content from a free web host.
Step 4: Website Design
Website design is the process of designing an interface for your website. You can choose a number of options including paying for custom web design, using a theme, or using a drag and drop builder. Each of these has their own pros and cons, but you do have to keep a few things in mind.
- Usability – Your web design must be easy to use from every type of device. This means that you should check your design from phones, tablets, and computers, check to ensure that text is legible, buttons can be easily pushed, and that the site is easy to navigate.
- Responsive Design – Your web design should resize based on the device that is viewing it. Some web design will do this automatically, but if you’re paying for a custom design, you will have to pay for this as well.
- Aesthetic – Does the web design fit into your blog personality? Does it look good?
- Readability – Your blog’s primary purpose is allowing people to read things, make sure that they can.
- Features and Functions – The web design you choose should be able to support the features that you want to offer.
Web Design Options
You can choose a number of different web design options.
Drag And Drop Builder – A drag and drop builder offers a number of advantages. You can easily customize and create a unique website with no knowledge of code and very little frustration. This is one of the best options if you don’t know code.
Templates – You can use pre-designed templates with no customization in many CMS systems. These are easy to use, allow quick setup, and often come with their own features. However, your blog may look the same as several or even thousands of other websites.
Custom Design – Custom design is not typically a good choice for starting out unless you are investing in a business blog. Here, you pay a web design team to create a custom design for your blog. This can cost into the thousands of dollars and may take months to complete, but does ensure that you have a completely unique website.
Step 5: Get Started with Blogging
You are now ready to get your blog going because that’s all there is to it. Now all you have to do is write and post blogs on your new website. To help you get started we even have a series about blogging on our site. Check out this first one on Evergreen content to get going in the right direction.
Hopefully this guide to setting up a website for your blog has given you enough information to get started.