Why Start a Blog?
Are you passionate about a subject? Are you an expert in something? Do you enjoy being involved in a community? Blogging can satisfy the desire to be heard and the urge to expand knowledge. Running a blog can range between a fun hobby you do on the side to a full-fledged business. You can talk about your hobbies and passions while connecting with people around the globe. It can change your perspective, change your work ethic, and change your career path. Here I will show you how to easily set up your site on Dreamhost, my favorite hosting provider.
I think blogging is especially important for the creatives out there. No longer do we have to choose between being a full-time creator or a profitless creator. With a blog, you can share your voice with a community of like-minded people and make a little bit of cash on the side without quitting your job and moving to Paris. It’s a win-win!
I started my blog earlier this year just because it sounded like fun. I had a blog go bust last year, so I almost didn’t do it out of fear of failure. Now, I can say without a doubt that it is the best thing that’s ever happened to me (except my husband, of course!). I have quit my part-time job to pursue this full-time and I am even altering my career plans to accommodate for my Internet family. It has absolutely changed my life. And I think it can for you too.
My Blogging Experience
I have been extremely blessed with my success. A lot of it has been due to hard work, but mostly, it was just luck. I fell into the right place at the right time. I started the first edition of my blog in May of 2015 and worked really hard for about six months before I finally fizzled out due to lack of audience engagement. Between my husband and I, we have had six websites eventually go belly up. Before my hosting plan came to an end in May of 2016, I decided to refocus and give it one more shot before I gave up for good. That led to the blog you see today. Seventh time’s the charm, right?
So many lovely, people have been reaching out to me in this last month with questions about how they might get started with blogging. I figured that I should just put as much information into one post as possible to help you curious souls out there who have been playing with the idea. I mean, if I can do it, then literally anyone can. All you need is to know where to start!
I started my new edition of Little Coffee Fox in late March of 2016, and it has been crazy. I’m 2018, this site received nearly 5 million page views!
In the last month, I switched my hosting site over to Dreamhost, so I’d like to walk you through the sign up processes of both services to demystify the whole thing. Starting a blog can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be!
If you are serious about blogging or hoping to make your blog your business, I would recommend Dreamhost. While it might be easier to get started on a drag and drop website building, you really need to be self-hosted if you want to grow as a blog. It is absolutely horrible to transfer your site when it is mature and ready for a service like Dreamhost. By that, I mean that I never want to transfer again, and if I must, I will hire someone to do it for me. It’s that bad. So I would suggest you start with the hosting service you want to eventually end up on. Plus, if you click through my link and sign up for a year-long shared plan, you get my exclusive Dreamhost discount of $50 off your purchase. With the discount, a year-long plan is only $5.78/month, and comes with a free domain and Wordpress already installed. If that doesn’t make it easier to jump in, I don’t know what will!
I would also recommend that you start as soon as possible. Don’t wait until the timing is just right, because it never will be. Jump in with both feet! Also, you should know that the longer a domain has existed, the higher it will rank in Google search results. So starting now can actively help you in the long run.
How to Start a Blog on Dreamhost
This brings me to Dreamhost, my current hosting service. If you have been with me since the beginning, I’m sure you have noticed a few significant differences after I moved services. I feel like Dreamhost is a sea of possibility! There are so many ways I can customize my site to fit every need, and I have a lot more control over my content. Let’s go over how to get started with Dreamhost, shall we?
Setting Up Your Profile
- Go to Dreamhost.com and there should be a big, bold button in the middle of the page. Click it.
- The next page has a bit more information about Dreamhost’s features and credentials. Click the button in the middle of the page again to move onward. Remember to click here to get my exclusive $50 Dreamhost discount when you purchase a year long shared plan! The discount makes it only $5.78 a month for the first year!
- This page will prompt you to create an account. There are five clearly stated steps that you can see at the top of your screen, so you know this is a streamlined process.
- After that, you can choose your domain. Or, if you want to think about it a bit, you can! There is the option to wait until later. If you are still waffling over a few options, this is wonderful. You don’t have to hold up your process while you are waiting on the perfect domain to come to you. Sweet! It’s also worth noting that a domain is a part of most of the Dreamhost packages.
- When you have selected your domain or opted to figure it out later, you can click on to the next page. Here are the available plans. Any of these would be great plans, but if you are hesitant, perhaps the monthly plan is for you. Remember that Dreamhost has a great refund policy. If you decide that you don’t like this service or blogging just ain’t for you, you have 97 days to get a full refund. So don’t sweat it!
- When you have selected the plan that is right for you, you can continue on to “The money part”. You know what to do here!
- Thankfully, Dreamhost comes with a 1-click installation of WordPress to your site. After you purchase your Dreamhost plan, you will receive an email with instructions on how to install WordPress. Don’t fret, it’s super quick and easy, and customer service will walk you through any issues. After that, you have yourself a website that’s all yours!
Picking a Kickass Theme
- One downside to Dreamhost is that it is harder to design your site. You have more control, but you have more responsibility. This is where Themes come in. It’s the same concept as a drag and drop templates, but these are far more intricate designs and you have much more customization opportunities. If you know how to code or want to play with building your website from scratch, be my guest! But for the code-illiterate (that’s me!), I would suggest you hop on over to Studio Press and buy yourself a theme. These are not yearly fees – once you buy it, it’s yours.
- When you go to StudioPress.com, here is the page you will find. Click “Shop for Themes” to see what cool templates they have just for you. If you like the look of my website and want to figure out what makes my blog tick, I’d be happy to share! I use a Genesis Framework and a Restored 316 Child Theme.
- The button will take you to this page, which has these big tiles with the front page of each template website. Scroll through and drink in all the gorgeousness. Of course, you can filter the themes and narrow your search a bit. Click on a theme to learn more about it and navigate around the theme’s dummy site.
- You can see here that I clicked the Simply Pro Theme. From here, you can click “Live Demo” and see the whole site. Navigate from page to page to see how the theme is applied across many different applications. That way you know exactly what you are getting. Neat!
- Once you purchase a theme, you will receive instructions for setting it up on your site. You can take it from there as you set up your amazing creative blog. Nice job!
Start an Email List Right Away
Small confession, I didn’t start building an email list until I had been blogging for 3 months. 3 whole months and over 150k people had come to my site, and I had no way to contact them. I am not going to spend much time talking about how to build an email list or why you should do it in this post, but I will say it is the single most important thing for a blogger. Nothing is more important than having a solid email list so you need to start building it right away.
I highly suggest Convertkit. I started with Mailchimp and I don’t recommend it if you are serious about blogging. Mailchimp is great (and cheap) when you first start, but it severely limited me after only a few months, and moving my entire list to a new service was an experience I would not wish on anyone. Convertkit is slightly more expensive than Mailchimp in the beginning, but it is about the same price in the long run and is a much more professional platform.
Get Your Blog Running Today!
So there you have it! You now know everything you need to know to take the plunge and start a blog. Remember that your blog doesn’t have to make lots of money to be fun. You can enjoy the simple pleasure of being a part of a community and finding other enthusiastic people out there.
Get out there with your amazing blog and promote your ideas, projects, and opinions – and who knows? You may find yourself in a situation where you can finally fulfill the dream of pursuing your pipe dream. And if you are feeling hesitant, remember to consider that fantastic Dreamhost discount AND the fact that you have more than three months to get a full refund on Dreamhost. There are safety nets all around you! The internet is an amazing place, so why not give it a chance?
Head over to my Blogging Resources Page if you want to see what other tools and services I use on my blogging adventure!
Bloggers Who Took the Leap: