Have you ever thought about starting a blog? Have you seen those travellers who blog about their adventures and get paid? Have you wondered how they do it? Lots of people love the idea of blogging but don’t know where to begin. Well it’s surprisingly easy. Keep reading and I’ll show you how to get started.

Why have your own blog?

A blog is an online journal where you share your experiences and opinions.

There are many reasons why you might want to start your own blog. Here are some of the most common.

1.You love to write

2. You are passionate about a hobby and you love to think and talk about it.

3.You know a lot about something and you want to share what you know

4.You have a business and you want to gain more exposure, promote your products, draw traffic to your website & increase sales.

5.You want to create a community of people who are interested in the things you are

6.You want to earn some money.

Some people start a blog simply to share their stories and keep in touch with family and friends while they are travelling. Writing a blog post is easy and you can include lots of pictures, even a video if you want to keep people updated on your latest adventure. Blogging is a fantastic way to document your activities and collect all your material in one place that’s easy to access by anyone, anywhere.

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Think carefully about why you want to start a blog!

You need to find a reason that motivates you because you will be investing a lot of time & energy in your blog. There are thousands of blogs on the internet so you might also consider how you can make your blog stand out? Having said that I would enourage you to follow your dream. Many people give up before they’ve even begun because they think that it’s too hard, too time consuming or too expensive when actually it’s not.

I’ve created this guide to show you how easy it is to get started.  Just follow these 5 steps and you could have your blog up and running in around 15 minutes.

1.Choose your topic. Decide what you will write about.

2.Choose a website builder (I recommend WordPress)

3.Choose Self hosting or free hosting?

4.Choose a web host provider (I recommend Bluehost & so does WordPress)

5.Build & launch your website

Step 1: Choose your topic

The first step is to decide what your blog is going to be about. If you have a business then your blog should be relevant to your business and the products you sell or the services you provide.

If you don’t have a business then you need to find a topic that you are passionate about. Are you always talking about food, fashion or cars? It could really be any topic at all, but it needs to be something that really interests you because you will be spending a lot of time writing and researching your topic.

Creat a niche for yourself amongst the competition by becoming an expert in your field so that readers will come to you for information. There are thousands of blogs on the internet. Think about how you can make yours standout?

Step 2: Choose a website builder

A website builder is a software tool that helps you to build your website.

There are many to choose from such as Shopify, Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, Go Daddy but the most popular is WordPress.

 I use WordPress for my blog and recommend it because:

It’s free & easy to use

You don’t need any special knowledge of coding or web design

It’s popular – 35% of the web is built on WordPress

There are hundreds of free WordPress Themes to choose from

3. Choose self hosting or free?

Your website also needs to have a host or a home on the internet. A website host is rented space on a server and every website on the internet has a host (I recommend Bluehost & so does WordPress).

Free hosting or paid?

WordPress.org provides a free blog host service that may interest you. With the free option your internet address would look like myblog@wordpress.org If you’re a hobby blogger or on a budget this may be fine for you, but keep in mind that you will not own your website or have full control over the name, the aesthetics or the way your site is organised. It is more difficult to monetize your site and you will be advertising for WordPress every time you give out your web address!

The other option is to pay for a hosting service. If you want to monetize your site then self-hosting is the way to go. I decided on self-hosting because I wanted to own my own domain muylindatravels.com and was willing to invest a small amount of money. I didn’t want to have to start my blog all over again further down the track and I wasn’t willing to risk losing all my work on a free server.

Step 4: Choose a web host provider

If like me, you decide to self host, then you will need a web host provider. There are many to choose from but I’ve tested the reliability and performance of Bluehost and recommend it because it’s affordable, efficient and easy to use. WordPress also recommends Bluehost.

Bluehost offers great customer service with 24/7 support. You can choose a no frills plan to keep costs down or opt in for all the bells and whistles. It’s really up to you.

With Bluehost you can launch your website for US$3.95 per month (paid yearly) with free domain registration and free SSL security. That’s about the price of a coffee so it really is very affordable.

Click Here to go to Bluehost and start setting up your blog. (A new screen will open and you can refer back to this article while I talk you through the setup process)

Step 5: Build and launch your website

Choose a Domain name for your website

One of the first things you will have to do is decide on a name for your blog. Bluehost will set up your domain for you but first fill in the details to check if the name you want is available and create your website address. It will look something like this:  myamazingblog.com

If you can’t decide on a name you can bypass this step & come back to it later. If you already have a domain it’s no problem. You can set up your site using the domain you already have.

Choose a plan

There are several plan options available with Bluehost, from a basic service to premium versions. I chose a basic version and decided to take advantage of the special offer. There are limitations with the basic plan but I can upgrade later if I want to.

Next you need to decide what package extras you want with your plan.  I recommend investing in security & anti spam to keep your site and your personal information safe but the rest is up to you.

Create an account with a login and password for both Bluehost and WordPress. *Take note of your login information and keep it in a safe place.

After you have read the terms and conditions and paid you will need to validate your login details.

Choose a Theme

Once you have a Bluehost account, the next step is to choose a Theme for your website. A Theme is a software program that controls the way your website looks. There are a huge number of Themes available. Some are free and others you have to pay to use. I chose a free theme and so far it’s working well, however there are some limitations in aesthetics and functionality. But I can easily upgrade to the paid version of my Theme and get even more control over the way my website looks whenever I want.

How to Choose a theme: Be clear on the purpose of your website. Is it a blog? Is it a business?

1.What kind of layout do you want? Choose a theme that is designed for your purpose.

2.What functions are important to you?  Do you want to connect your website to your social media page? Will you have a photo gallery? Do you want to include video? Not every Theme supports every function.

3.Make sure your theme is responsive & will adapt to different screen sizes. Your website may look great on your computer screen but may not work on a mobile phone or tablet. Bear in mind most people will access your website from a mobile device & not all Themes are responsive.

Some free blog Theme’s that I like are Gucherry Blog, Galore, The Minimal, Kale, Neve, Writee but there are hundreds to choose from. Don’t worry too much about this because you can change your Theme later.

So now you’ve chosen your Theme, you’re well on the way to getting your website online.

Write your first post & build your website.

Your site will stay offline while you are in the building phase until you decide you are ready to launch.

Use lots of pictures to make your website and posts look attractive. Compress your pictures before uploading them to your site as this will keep your website loading quickly.

Post Weekly, monthly or occasionally, whatever works for you. There are no rules, but posting original material regularly will help to grow your website and your audience.

Create a menu, add a search bar, picture galleries, links to social media or YouTube. See what options are available in your Theme & experiment with the way your site looks and functions.

Be creative and have fun!

Launch your Blog

When you’ve finished building your website and you’re happy with the result, go to your Bluehost account and click “Launch”.

Congratulations! Your blog is now online!

Click here to get started

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