The following step-by-step instructions will help you get your blog up and running in less than an hour. I used these exact steps myself to create this blog, which has accumulated over 350,000 page views since inception and has been featured in Lifehacker, Business Insider, CNBC, and Rockstar Finance among other sites.
Full Disclosure: I am a Bluehost affiliate partner. This means if you use any of the Bluehost links below to register your hosting and domain, I receive a commission at no additional cost to you. I personally use Bluehost and I have had a wonderful experience with them since starting my blog. Even if you don’t click through to their site with the affiliate links below, I still recommend using them for your domain and hosting.
1. Hosting and Domain
First, I decided on a domain name – fourpillarfreedom.com. Next, I headed over to Bluehost to register my domain and purchase a hosting plan to get my site up and running online. I chose the basic hosting plan, which is $3.95 a month. I also set up a free Google Analytics account to track my site stats.
NOTE: This is a fairly straightforward process, but if you encounter any problems at all, Bluehost has a live-chat box that lets you talk with someone from customer support in real time.
Unless you want to write code to create your site from scratch, you’re better off using WordPress. Using a “one-click” installation on Bluehost, I was able to install WordPress on my site.
3. WordPress Theme
Next, I found a free WordPress theme that I liked. Many bloggers will tell you that you need to purchase an expensive theme in order to make your site look professional, but I haven’t found that to be true. There are thousands of free themes to choose from, so the odds are pretty high that you’ll find one you like.
4. Modify Your Theme
Once I chose a theme, I made a couple tweaks. I changed the color scheme to black and white. Then, I created a site menu and placed it at the top of my site.
I personally like to keep my site layout clutter-free, with plenty of white space, a simple menu, and no sidebars.
5. Add WordPress Plugins
After modifying the theme, I installed a few WordPress plugins. Some free plugins I personally use and recommend include:
Yoast SEO – optimizes SEO
W3 Total Cache – improves speed of your site
Wordfence Security – good for anti-virus and malware detection
Social Warfare – the best plugin for social media sharing buttons I have ever come across
6. Publish Posts
Last, but certainly not least, I started publishing blog posts. This is the fun part of running a blog. On any given day, I get to decide exactly what I want to write about and share it with the world.
Some Thoughts on Blogging
Income Takes Time: Without a doubt, the number one reason most people start a blog is to earn some extra money. While it’s certainly possible to generate income from blogging, it’s something that takes serious time and effort. Here’s a look at my blog income from my first full year of blogging in 2017:
I made a grand total of $88.64 in the first six months. In the last six months, I saw my income jump up significantly and I expect it to keep increasing through 2018. If I started blogging only for the money, I would have quit after the first six months. Fortunately, I started not for the income, but because I loved writing about personal finance so much.
If your sole intention is to earn money from blogging, you better make sure that you’re writing about a topic you love and that you have a long-term vision. Blogging requires passion and patience.
Posting Frequency: How often you post is entirely up to you. The most successful blogs I know typically post 2-3 times per week. I personally post closer to 6-7 times per week, simply because I write an article every morning and they tend to be on the shorter side (800 – 1,000 words) compared to most sites.
Writing Schedule: I find that writing comes easier to me if I do it first thing in the morning. To make this possible, I started going to bed a couple hours earlier so I could wake up and blog for a couple hours before work each morning. Here’s a visual look at how I shifted my schedule:
Page Views: Ignore page views for the first six months. Focus on writing compelling content. The traffic will come.
The Right Time: There is never a “right time” to start a blog. You can always find reasons to delay. If you have been thinking about creating a blog, start it today. Don’t wait. The longer you delay, the more you miss out on meeting like-minded bloggers, creating content worth sharing, and sharing ideas worth spreading.
Again, I recommend using Bluehost for your domain and hosting. Although I receive a commission for referring new customers, I would still recommend them even if I wasn’t an affiliate. They offer the best, most reliable service and their setup process for WordPress caters to new bloggers.