If you are thinking of setting up a blog or even a simple website, it’s becoming the same thing. You can set up a blog to use as a website for your small business. Here’s how in three easy steps:
Step 1: Choose Your Blogging Platform. Spoiler alert: Use Self Hosted WordPress.
Step 3: Configure and Design Your Site. Spoiler alert: Make sure your blog/website theme is Responsive.
Ready? Let’s go!
How to Set Up a Blog or Website
1. Choose your blogging platform.
I recommend WordPress Self Hosted. I started out on the free version of WordPress and I also started a blog on Blogger to try it out. The upshot is that it’s worth the expense to start on Self Hosted WordPress for a myriad of reasons:
- Free Wordpress does not let you sell things like ads on your blog
- Blogger doesn’t have an easy way to categorize your posts.
- It isn’t easy to customize a Navigation Bar on Blogger.
- The PlugIn selection is better on WordPress.
- You will lose SEO you’ve earned on Free WordPress when you switch your blog to Self Hosted WordPress.
- You will probably have to hire someone to move your blog to Self Hosted WordPress eventually. This negates the savings you’ve made from not paying for hosting your blog/website.
- It’s not that expensive to self host.
2. Secure Your Name and Get Hosting with BlueHost
When you choose your domain name, make a list of many different options and ideas and then consider:
- Social Media Branding: Is the URL that you want also available on other social media platforms? Ideally, you want the same name for everything for branding. Check the popular ones line Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
- Number of Characters. Twitter allows a maximum of 20 characters.
- Trademark. Is someone else using the name? Even if that business or blog is in a different area, it’s still confusing and can impact your ability to file for trademark protection.
I’d recommend searching for the URL that you want on BlueHost. If it’s available in the ending that you want (.com, .biz, etc), then do a quick social media platform search. Is that name available here as well? If so, GRAB the name on ALL social media platforms. Then buy the URL on BlueHost.
Why BlueHost? Full Disclosure. I am an affiliate and get a small percentage if you use BlueHost at no additional cost to you. I like how BlueHost has an easy 1 Click set up for WordPress. Without this, you will have to hire someone techy to set up your blog.
3. Configure & Design Your Blog
Now that you set up your blog/website at BlueHost using Self Hosted WordPress, you just need to wait for the “bubble wrap” to come off. It usually takes a few hours or so. Once it’s ready to go, you’ll need to pick a theme. You can use a free theme or buy one. If you choose to buy a theme, I like Theme Forest, but I have set up this website for Soccer on the Mat for FREE using a free theme called Twenty Twelve.
My only recommendation is to pick a theme that is RESPONSIVE. That is to say, the blog/website theme adjusts for smart phone screens versus computer screens. If your blog/website them is not responsive, it might not work on smart phones and Google will ding your search results.
Ok. Let’s get started setting up your blog or website. Let’s login to your new back end!
Now it’s time to set up Pages and Posts. Think of Pages as content for a website that is always there; information like Contact and About. Think of Posts as your content that you’ll create as the meat of your blog. If you have a website, you’ll want to have a blog embedded into your website for content that changes in order to get higher ranking in Google.
Once you have content on your blog/website, you’ll want to organize it so that readers and Google can easily find it. On WordPress, we use Categories, Tags, and a Navigation Bar (Menu) to do that.
Plugins are mostly free and will add all kinds of functionality to your blog but add judiciously as sometimes the Plugins can cause issues with your blog. I’ll post more on that later!
That was easy, wasn’t it? If you need help, leave me a comment. There’s plenty more to learn, but you’ve done the hardest part by getting started! Congratulations on your new blog and/or website! Let the journey begin!
As an BlueHost affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
p.s. Here are two websites that I set up in 24 hours using self hosted WordPress and a free wordpress blog template. In creating a website or a blog, I tried to have the homepage reflect the business and audience. I also have blog posts attached to enhance SEO (search engine optimization).
My longtime hair stylist started a line of handmade organic skincare products for hypersensitive skin. I’ll be experimenting with a shopping cart to turn this site into an eCommerce site for her. She does all the photography herself, and her pricing is probably much lower than it should be, as she does this for fun.
My friend Alison Foley, Head Coach for Women’s Soccer at Boston College, found yoga, got certified as a kids’ yoga instructor, and created soccer/yoga classes for girls. This class targets girls ages 11 and up to help with physical issues that can happen when girls are at risk for injury as they go through puberty and play a sport that tends to develop one side of the body more than the other. She integrates Brazilian fast feet soccer technical skills with yoga, and includes a philosophy of girls learning to stay true to themselves. The classes are held during winter only, when outdoor soccer shuts down.