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Since I started my blog, I never thought it would have led me to where I am today. I’m now traveling full-time and getting paid by brands I love! If you’ve been following my journey you may have asked yourself “I want to do that! How do I start a blog?” I’m always happy to help and I know it’s not as easy as it seems. I hope this post will help guide you on how to start a blog from scratch!
If you are new to my blog, here are a few things to know about me! I grew up in Los Angeles and lived in New York for three years before moving to San Francisco with my fiance. I’ve always loved sharing my experiences with travel and food with friends and family which led me to start my blog in April 2016. I was working full-time in a corporate job doing analytics for a retail company where I spent hours after work/weekends on my blog. I spent all my vacation days, holidays and weekends traveling as much as I could to create content and within less then a year I was invited on my very first press trip to the Dominican Republic and have worked with many tourism boards, travel and product brands that I truly love and support. I currently now have close to 200,000+ social media followers in under two years and have left my corporate job to travel full-time! Starting my blog was the best decision I’ve ever done, I’m able to work from anywhere and have a flexible schedule. Anyone can start a blog and make money as long as you’re doing it for the right reasons and love what you do! So, are you ready to join me and start that blog you have always been thinking about?
HOW TO START A BLOG
PICK YOUR NICHE
Everyone is passionate about a specific topic. Ask yourself why do you want to start a blog? Do you like dogs, fashion, food, babies or travel? It can be anything! You can pick anything that you’re passionate about and want to share your knowledge or experiences with others. It’s important to think about your niche and it can even be more specific such as a vegan food blog or an adventure travel blog. I decided on a travel/lifestyle blog as I love to talk about all things travel, fashion, food, pretty much everything that relates to my life when it comes to traveling.
PICKING A NAME FOR YOUR BLOG
Picking a name for your blog is not easy. It can take you days, weeks because this name will stick with you! Remember, you’re building a brand for yourself so make sure it’s something memorable and resembles you. The name should also be available on all social platforms and your domain. You can start by checking if it’s an available domain on any hosting site like HostGator. I ended up picking Tour de Lust because it’s unique and my slogan is “a girl touring the world and lusting after her next adventure”. My friends and I came up with a bunch of different words and combined them together (Tourist & Wanderlust = Tour de Lust). Hoping it made sense, but somehow it worked and I love it!
CHOOSE YOUR HOSTING PLAN
There are many hosting websites but I decided on HostGator after doing some research and had a recommendation from another blogger. It’s important to pick the right hosting plan for you, you don’t want to have to switch to another hosting site down the line as it will be a big headache. A good hosting site will be able to handle more traffic as your blog grows. HostGator supports wordpress.org which is what you will want to use for your blog. So far, HostGator works great for me. Go to HostGator’s main page and click on Get Started.
There are three types of plans: Hatchling Plan, Baby Plan and the Business Plan. Most likely you’re not a business and you just want to start a blog. You will either select the Hatchling Plan or Baby Plan. The difference is that the Baby Plan allows for unlimited domain names and the Hatchling Plan is only for one. If you plan to have multiple websites and want the flexibility to change the name of your site later, then select the Baby Plan. I selected the Baby Plan. So choose your plan and select Sign Up Now.
CHOOSING YOUR DOMAIN
You should have probably thought about this already. So for this example, in the first box, you will enter the domain name. I entered “tourdegirl.com”. I would suggest selecting .com since it’s most commonly used and easier to remember. If the domain name is already taken, keep trying a different name that has not yet been taken. Make sure you’re on the “Register a New Domain” tab.
Domain Privacy Protection is added, you can unclick this if you want. It’s $1.25 more monthly, but it will make your site more secure.
ENTER HOSTING INFORMATION
In the bottom section, you will fill out your hosting package information. Here you can change your hosting package if you like. In the Billing Cycle option, the more months you pay up front, the cheaper the monthly rate will be. I knew that I would have the blog for a few years so I selected 36 months. You have an option to select monthly, 3 months, 12 months but it will cost a little more than the 36-month option.
You will also create your username and security pin. This is the username to login to your HostGator account.
ENTER BILLING INFORMATION
Here you will enter your personal and billing information
CHOOSE YOUR HOSTING ADD-ONS
Here you can select some extra add-ons for your site. I highly recommend choosing Domain Privacy Protection because it will protect your personal information. HostGator provides you with a personal email address but I love using Gmail and selected Get Your Professional Email from Google. I currently log into Gmail as email@example.com. You can also add Backup Your Hard Work to get daily backups of your site.
ENTER MY COUPON CODE
Before confirming payment and creating your account, enter my code “TOURDELUST” for up to 60% off. 1 month is 30% off and up to 3 years with 60% off. Hit “Validate” and you’ll see the discount on your total at the bottom.
REVIEW ORDER DETAILS
Review your order information to check if it’s all accurate. You will get 24/7/365 Phone, LiveChat, and Email Support for free with 45 Day Money Back Guarantee if you change your mind!
You are paying for 3 things:
- HostGator Domain Registration – Yearly fee to own the domain name
- HostGator Hosting Plan – Up to 60% discount applied at checkout with the “TOURDELUST” coupon code.
- HostGator Hosting Add-ons
If everything looks good, read the HostGator Terms of Service and check the box I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and click on the Checkout Now button. You will receive an email to access your Control Panel and a password to log in. KEEP THESE EMAILS and bookmark the Control Panel link.
INSTALL WORDPRESS FOR FREE
Once you receive your login information for HostGator’s Control Panel, log in and click on the Hosting tab, from here you will select WordPress – 1 Click Installation.
You will be taken to a new page to fill out your information accordingly:
- The Base Domain for your installation.
- The subdirectory you would like the site to load from. You can leave this blank.
- For Admin Email, enter an email address where you want the admin password emailed to. Make sure this is a working email address.
- For Blog Title, enter the name of the website. This is what will appear in the header as the name of your site.
- For Admin Username, enter your preferred username.
- Your first name.
- Your last name.
- Click Install WordPress when you’re ready to proceed.
Once the installation is completed, you will get information on how to access your WordPress with your username and password. Your WordPress page can be found at http://yourdomain.com/wp-admin. Go to that URL and sign in.
You’re all done!! Congratulations on successfully purchasing your own domain and creating your WordPress account!
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