How to Start a Self-Hosted Blog Using BlueHost

How to Start a Self-Hosted Blog Using BlueHost

Before I get into the nitty gritty of How to Start a Blog, let me share some facts about me: I have run A Well Crafted Party for the better part of six years. In that time I’ve also began, designed, set-up, assisted with, and coached bloggers on starting and maintaining blogs. I run a local meet-up group and resource for bloggers where we have successfully hosted several different workshops for blogging skills. I have a free blog planner that I giveaway to help bloggers get to where they want to go. I’ve blogged and freelanced as a full-time gig and I’ve worked in Social Media and Marketing for a corporation that has eighteen sites in the United States in which I’m responsible for their social media platforms. I’ve spoken on panels and at state-wide conferences on Blogging and Social Media. I say all this not to brag. If I wanted to brag I’d share a whole different set of stats.

I say all this to explain why the question I receive most often is, “How do I start a blog?”

I also share it to say why I feel I am qualified to share the following steps. There are many, many ways to start a blog and while I’d love to go into them all, today I’ll share my favorite tips for new bloggers.

This post does contain affiliate links marked with an *. I receive a portion of my affiliate sales at no extra cost to my readers. For more information on my affiliate programs and posting guidelines please visit my policies page.

 

How to Start a Self-hosted blog

 

 

The only absolute, you-can’t-start-a-blog-without tip that I have is simple…

1. START

I can’t stress this one enough. Planning the blog is great. Prepping content is awesome. But, at some point, you have to move from the planning and prepping to the actual doing. So, if you plan on starting a blog then make an investment upfront— whether that be purchasing hosting, buying your URL, or simply putting a big fat launch date out into the world so you have to stick with it— and get blogging! There are about a million ways to start a blog, but today I’m sharing how to start a self-hosted blog using BlueHost.com*.

 

2. Decide on a name — Pro Tip: Search for and purchase URL as soon as possible

Deciding on a name can be the hardest part of creating a blog! There are so many times when myself or someone I am working with have figured out an awesome name and finally went around to buy the URL and found that not only was the name taken, but there were several others using similar names.

 

Tips for creating a good blog name:

  1. Think about your topic and what you’d like to blog about and search for name that fits that topic. Try to come up with a name that speaks to that topic. Search Engines love names that make sense. The easiest way to get a successful URL is to find a name that might be an exact match for your ideal reader. When creating this blog I started out blogging about crafting for parties and designing thoughtful parties that didn’t break a budget—A Well Crafted Party felt like a perfect fit! I was happy to find that it was available and no one really had someone similar.
  2. Stick with .Coms. This is a slightly controversial suggestion because there are so many different top level domains out there (i.e. .com, .net, .org) but the most common of those, .com, is the one most people will default to when trying to remember your blog URL. Government entities have .gov and non-profits do well with .org. Personally, I stick with .com for all of my URLs (and, yes, I own several).
    • For instance, when wanting to create a website for Portland Bloggers to discover or for people searching for Portland Bloggers to discover we instantly wanted… well, you guessed it, www.PortlandBloggers.com. We were sad to find out someone out there is sitting on that URL and hoping to sell it some day. I had to keep searching and finally landed on www.PDXbloggers.com.
  3. Make sure there isn’t competition out there with your chosen name. There is nothing worse than getting an idea in your head for a name and finding out that there are other sites/businesses out there using the same or awfully similar name. A couple of internet searches can easily tell you if there is competition out there utilizing your name. Stay away from super common names/phrases that other businesses use. You don’t want to finally hit it big to just have to change your name because another company has rights to it.

Check your domain name here:

 

You can absolutely purchase your domain name now… or you can hop to the next step because you get a free domain name while signing up for hosting with Bluehost.

 

How to Start a Self-Hosted Blog

3. Purchase Hosting

There are a ton of hosting options out there and different blogging platforms to boot. Today I’m sharing the hosting platform I use for the majority of my websites, BlueHost.com. Signing up is easy. You simply need to select the big green button that says “get started now.”

 

SALE: On September 15th and 16th, your visitors will be able to grab web hosting at the discounted rate* of $2.95/mo (for 12, 24, or 36 months).* This discount is only good September 15th and 16th!

 

Setting Up Hosting from A Well Crafted Party

 

Selecting a hosting plan

This is where I feel like a lot of people get stumped. When you are just starting out then it is pretty easy to know that you don’t want to put in a huge investment upfront. That is when the basic plan fits best. It starts to get confusing (and important) when you blog begins to grow. The majority of my websites run all on one plan— the plus plan. When I was blogging full-time I had increased my plan to the prime plan. I easily changed my plan when I needed less. I also know that if/when my blog becomes more of a full-time gig again I also have the option to upgrade my hosting to pro with even more performance increases.

Setting up your blog

The coolest thing that I’ve found with BlueHost is that setting up WordPress was seriously ONE CLICK. That is all! I was able to have my site up and running in just a few minutes.

 

What made you think of making the move to self-hosting? Are you self-hosted already? Why did you go that direction? Comment Below!

Blog Brainstorming – Creating Blog Post Ideas in One Easy Session

Blog Brainstorming – Creating Blog Post Ideas in One Easy Session

Planning out your blog post ideas is one of the biggest parts of creating regular, consistent content and utilizing your content calendar. This post is part of a blogging series utilizing the pages of the 2016 Free Printable Blog Planner. Check out all my posts on blogging in my archives!

I went to college to be a writer. It was the PLAN. At some point in my journey an advisor asked me, “How do you plan to make money?” I said, “Writing.”

I thought he was completely forgetting the conversation we just had about me wanting to be a writer. GEEZ, man.

But, alas, he had not, “Well, that is fine and good, but how do you plan to MAKE MONEY.” He made it very clear that writing for a living was, well, hard. He also made it clear that it wasn’t impossible and that I simply needed a good plan.

That was when I decided to become a journalist. Working towards my journalism degree was fairly easy for me because one of my strengths was the ability to quickly think of story ideas. I have a LOT of weaknesses in writing which is why I find it challenging and fun, but my greatest strength has always been in my ability to come up with endless ideas for stories.

Blogging for me has been the most fun due to the fact that I get to develop my own ideas based on my readers and my whims to create stories.

Create a year of blog post ideas in one easy session

Three Tips for creating full year worth of blog post ideas

Putting in the work for blog post ideas is key to creating content that is unique to your blog, but I promise, if you utilize a few of the following tips, the ideas will flow easily!

  1. Use Holidays and days of special recognition to inspire your posts.— Going month by month pick out the holidays and days of special recognition and think about the ways that those days may inspire your posts. Try thinking about the holidays in different ways than what you always see. When you plan a full year of ideas out you can then working on getting your content out early enough that readers can use your tips, DIY posts and personal stories in their own expression of those holidays. This works for a variety of blog styles from lifestyle to DIY , food, budgeting and beyond. While these posts aren’t exactly “evergreen” if you don’t make it too specific to the current year, you can promote these posts year after year.
  2. Use the old classic, the 5 Ws & H.— The 5 Ws are Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. Answer a question for your readers and use the 5Ws to come up with a couple of posts. For example, if you write about meal planning for a family you could say write a post on:
    1. (Who) Top Bloggers for Meal Planning Tips
    2. (What) Stock your pantry with these items to make meal planning easier!
    3. (When) When to buy in bulk, and when to skip the “sale”
    4. (Where) My favorite stores to shop at when planning my weekly meals.
    5. (Why) Why I meal plan— Saving $300 each month makes meal planning worth it.
    6. (How) How I make my weekly meal plan + free meal planning printables!
  3. Recycle your best posts. — There is no sense letting your best posts just sit in your archives! Take your most popular posts and spin them off to create more content. Utilize the 5Ws and H to come up with additional ideas.

Now… get planning!

 

A Year of Ideas

Use the Blog Post Ideas pages from the 2016 Free Printable Blog Planner to help you layout your blog ideas. The Year of Ideas page has planning space for each month of the year.  The Blog Post brainstorming pages let you flesh out your ideas! Sign up for my newsletter to access your free printable blog planner including the blogging planning pages as well as access to all of the subscriber only printables and posts.

Now that you have your ideas all planned out… make the move to really get your blog going with these steps on how to start a self-hosted blog!

Blogging Goals – Make & Achieve Your Goals!

Blogging Goals – Make & Achieve Your Goals!

The freshness of the new year is starting to wear off now that I seem to be able to remember to put 2016 on all my paperwork. While I am still feeling good about my resolutions and blogging goals for the new year, I’m not feeling the fire to accomplish my goals quite as intensely as I was around the 1st.

I often see bloggers (including myself) starting strong in the new year and then petering out as the year gets going. It is natural after all, but I am trying my best to not let that happen again this year by setting achievable focused goals.

I published the 2016 Free Printable Blog Planner earlier this month and have just now started working out exactly how I want to put MY personal blog planner together using the sheets. In putting my book together I’ve decided to take some of the sheets that I use often and explain how I use them here on the blog.

Tips for Creating and Keeping your 2016 Blogging Goals

How to make achievable blogging goals:

 

Do I want 100,000 page views this month? Yes, of course. Is it really feasible when I’m currently averaging around 20,000 in a month? No, probably not. I am pretty sure the biggest downfall of New Year’s Resolutions is that often we set unachievable dreams as our goals for a year. Then, when things don’t really start to pan out as quickly as they need to so that we hit that dream, well, we give up. Do I want to be debt free? YES, that is the dream. Is it possible this year? Not unless I won the lottery, and well, that didn’t happen. Is it possible that I pay off a few credit cards so that I am well on my way to living the dream? Absolutely. When taking the time to sit down and write out my goals I do the following steps to help make sure that they are achievable:

  1. Write down the dream: Where do I want my goals to eventually lead? I want those 100,000 page views in a month. I want to be debt free. I want to lose 50 pounds. Whatever your dream is, write it down and get that out of the way.
  2. Go through the steps (goals) that need to happen in order to achieve that dream: I then think about the steps that need to happen in order for me to achieve that dream. For my page views it may be writing regular content and becoming more consistent with my postings. Steps may include guest posting or being featured on blogs that I admire. Whatever those steps are, I write them down in detail and in order in which they need to happen. Those steps then become my goals.
  3. Prioritize the steps. In writing out the steps I try to write them down in the order that they need to happen in order for me to reach my goal. However, sometimes, a lot of items could help me reach my goal and there is no discernible order so I need to prioritize those steps. In prioritizing the steps I think about which items are easiest to achieve and which will garner the best outcome. 
  4. Plan my course of action: Finally, I make my plans. What do I need to do in order to have consistent blog posts that will eventually help me reach the dream of 100,000 page views? I need to have a content calendar that I can follow and post on planned days. I then need to schedule out those posts on my calendar and get working on writing. Setting small, manageable goals such as a workable content calendar with weekly deadlines will go a long way in helping me achieve the steps that lead to me realizing my dream.

 

Creating and Keeping Blogging Goals - A Well Crafted Party

Ways to KEEP your blogging goals:

 

What is the use of setting blogging goals and spending time assessing and planning out your dreams if you aren’t going to work at achieving them? Sure, blogging can be a lot like dieting and while you know what is good for you it is easy sometimes to let things go at times. Heck, life can simply get in the way (see my entire last year with the pregnancy and birth of my second child). A few ways I help myself KEEP my goals throughout the year:

  1. Make small, manageable goals: As I said above, I like to take my dreams and really break them down into small steps that lead me to where I want to eventually end up. These smaller steps help make big dreams seem doable. When I achieve each of those smaller steps I have reason to celebrate and faith that I will eventually hit that goal. If I were to simply say, “I will hit 100,000 page views in a month this year” then each month that I don’t hit that goal would knock me further down in my faith in reaching that goal. However, if I say that I am going to consistently post two days a week for three months and then hit that goal I will see progress and feel more confident that I will eventually get to those 100,000 page views.
  2. Set deadlines: Maybe it is because I was trained as a journalist, but deadlines motivate me like nothing else. I set deadlines to reach certain goals in my calendar with reminders that email me at certain intervals before the deadline so that I don’t forget. I will also put up checklists on the wall (washi tape is an awesome way to post goal sheets for a reminder until a goal is hit!)

Blogging Resolutions

One of my favorite pages from the 2016 Free Printable Blog Planner is the Blogging Resolutions page. It has area for 5 big goals or “dreams” that you have for your blog, space to break those dreams into steps, and a place to mark a deadline for the goal. There is also a short description of how to make a S.M.A.R.T goal. Sign up for my newsletter to access your free printable blog planner including the blogging resolutions page as well as access to all of the subscriber only printables and posts.

 

Is starting a blog on your resolution list? Or perhaps moving to self-hosting is? Check out my post about starting a self-hosted blog for tips on how to move from planning to starting!

What are your blogging goals for 2016? Comment below!

Get Social
Check This Awesomeness Out
Free Printable Blog Planner





Past Posts
Follow Along


Follow on Bloglovin

Super Sponsors
Sign up for the Well Crafted Newsletter!