January 13, 2016 Blogging Tips Stop Waiting & Start Doing Last week was all about goals, resolutions and dreams for 2016 and while I love that, it’s easy to get bogged down in all the details. The easiest way to tackle your goals and resolutions is simply to take them one step at a time. If starting that blog you’ve been thinking about for months was on your list, I’m here to tell you that it’s time. Stop waiting and start doing. I find that for a lot of people this toughest step is picking a domain and getting their blog set up. Ironically, after you have a name picked, setting it up is probably the easiest! Coming up with fresh content every week is a lot harder (but also the fun part!). If you’re still holding back, I can understand. Starting a blog is a commitment, but it’s also brought so many amazing things into my life: THE VERY BEST FRIENDS Probably one of the best benefits of blogging is making new friends! I work from home, so making friends at work wasn’t an option when I moved to Chicago, but thankfully, blogging has introduced me to some of the most wonderful friends I could have ever asked for and friends I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise because we’re in different professions, from different places and we’re not the same age. I’ve also met and connected with people from different cities and states that I most definitely would have never known if it wasn’t for blogging. SENSE OF COMMUNITY Again, working from home alone doesn’t provide much community. Chicago has a really great blogging community that’s always organizing fun events, opportunities and happy hours! This is actually where I originally met all my blogging friends. If you’re in Chicago and want to get involved with this community, make sure you join Windy City Blogger Collective! Not in the Windy City, google to see what groups are available in your area! CREATIVE OUTLET This is the reason so many of us started blogs in the first place and it continues to be a creative outlet over 5 years later. The coolest thing is to be able to see your documented progress and how you’ve changed over the years! So, what are you waiting for?! It’s hard work, but if you’re passionate about something, it never seems like work! So, seriously — get on it! The rest of this article explains, step by step, how to launch a blog, so you really have no more excuses, just do it! For this tutorial, I’m showing you how to launch a WordPress blog on Bluehost. There are lots of different hosting companies out there, but I continually recommend Bluehost to all of my clients. Why? Because I trust them and it’s what I use to host (The Fox & She and Leap. The thing that really sold me is their customer service. The ability to live chat with someone has been my favorite feature as I hate waiting on the phone! Their control panel is simple, user-friendly and easy to navigate too. I’ve worked with hundreds of clients over the years and in my experience, Bluehost has been the most reliable hosting company of them all, so if you’re getting started fresh today, I really couldn’t recommend Bluehost more and highly recommend that’s the host you go with! So, let’s get started shall we! STEP ONE: Domain Name & Hosting You’ve probably already thought about what to call your blog, but if not, take some time to think it through. Go to Bluehost and click that big green button to get started. To check if your domain is available, type it in the left hand box and Bluehost will let you know. By the way, Bluehost gives you a FREE domain name with the purchase of your hosting plan! After you’ve selected a plan, you’ll follow Bluehost’s instructions. Select your package details and any other special deals you want to include. For me, the only one that’s super important is the domain privacy — it keeps your personal details private. Follow the remaining instructions and soon you’ll have hosting! STEP TWO: Install WordPress Hosting is set up, so let’s get WordPress installed! Thankfully, Bluehost makes it insanely easy. Navigate to the hosting tab at the top of the page and then click on “WordPress” under “Website Builders”. Next, you’ll click on “Install a brand new instance” and then select the domain you’d like to install it on and click “Check Domain” (you can leave the “directory” part blank). Sometimes you may get an error message that says there are files already there. Unless you already have website files there that you want to keep, you can click “Overwrite”. For the final step, select the drop down for “Advanced Options” — I promise, it’s not advanced! You can name your blog title here (you can always update this later) and choose your WordPress login and password. Check the box about creating a new database and then hit “Install Now”. You can watch the install process at the top of the page and when it’s ready, a box will show up in the top right corner that says “View Credentials” — click on that and write these down somewhere safe so you can refer back to them to log in to your site. You’ve installed WordPress, congrats! Easy, right? And that’s it! I’m sorry, were you expecting more instructions? I told you it was easy! Now that you’re all set up and ready to start blogging, let’s make this thing gorgeous. STEP THREE: Make it Beautiful Now that you’re all set up, you’ll want to add a beautiful theme to show off your amazing content. There are lots of free themes out there, but I always recommend doing a premium theme – they’re typically designed for specific purposes and can give your blog the advantage it needs when first starting! Click here to get the scoop on quickly installing a design and where to find the very best themes — TAKE ME!