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Whether you want to be a blogger or you're a virtual assistant wanting a site for your services, you need a blog of some sort. I'm going to show you how to do for under $20 in five minutes. I'm only going to discuss WordPress because it's popular and pretty much every client uses it. You don't need a ton of money to start a blog. You can get a domain for under $10 and web hosting around $5, see we're up to $15 to start a blog. If you can skip a cup of coffee once a month you can pay for hosting.
What to Blog About
This is the first step to blogging. You need to figure out what you want to blog about. If you're a VA you can blog about things relevant to your services. If you want to become a blogger search your passions. Are you a foodie that loves cooking and creating tasty new dishes? Start a food blog. Whatever your passion is there are readers for it, you just have to post regularly and interact with your readers. If you can do that you can start growing your blog as you grow and learn about all the different aspects of blogging. Oh, and don't ever think your passion is over saturated with bloggers. I always find really interesting blogs that are new and sometimes they're way better than the ‘experts' for that subject. If it's what you want to do then do not let anyone stop you.
Grab a Domain and Buy Some Hosting
There are free methods of blogging but I'm going to stop you right there before you even ask. Put that out of your mind right this instance! You want to be taken seriously as a VA, so you need to invest in your business. Also, for both VA and blogger you want to be in charge of your content and own it. If you go with a free method you have no control if they shut down tomorrow or remove your account. All that hard work and effort is lost. The first month is typically the most expensive because you have the domain purchase and the first month of hosting. That being said, its a minor purchase in the scope of things for your business so just do it.
Tips on Picking Your Domain
This one is easy but you have to do a little research first. Make sure the name you want is available not only for your domain but on social media as well. There is nothing worse than find a great name only to find someone is using it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or elsewhere. I have three rules when purchasing my domains aside from the research aspect.
- Do NOT use a brand name or popular blog name, be original as possible.
- The shorter the better but it's not always an easy task these days.
- Buy the .com version of blog first. It's what people automatically think of when you say your blog name. Later on if you choose to do so you can buy the other versions of your domain (.net or .org). This is done typically so competitors don't snag them, it's optional at this point so don't stress over it.
What Is This Going To Cost Me?
Domain – Yearly price is the minimum you can pay and you renew it every year to keep your .com live. There are a lot of options for purchasing this, I personally prefer Namecheap to purchase my domains as it comes with whois privacy. Be sure to use this month's discount code. DOMSKATE
Web Hosting – Monthly or yearly is what you pay every month. If money isn't an issue and there is a sweet discount for the yearly price then go for it. Otherwise you can pay every month to start with. For those of you just starting out I recommend going with a budget friendly host like Host With Love, which is very affordable. I know many people recommend Bluehost, but not everyone can afford to pay a year at a time. That is why I recommend Host With Love if you need to start now with minimal money. I personally had an account at SiteGround and recently switched to Host With Love since I prefer monthly payments vs yearly. I've found both are great companies and like I said, its a preference of how I choose to pay.
Installing WordPress Is Easy And Fast
All of the hosting companies I mentioned use cPanel as their control panels. This is a good thing because within that there is a nifty program that installs WordPress with the click of a button. Granted you have to fill in some minimal information but the process is quick and painless. Once you have your login for your cPanel scroll down near the bottom and look for Softaculous Apps Installer and click WordPress to install it. Just read carefully, follow any prompts and you'll be ready to blog in 5 minutes*.
*Sometimes your domain hasn't fully propagated to the internet so you may have to wait for that to happen first.
Once you see your new blog live, you're ready to start blogging but you might want to spruce up the look of your blog.
How To Make Your Blog Pretty Looking
WordPress straight out of install is kind of boring and nobody wants to stick around when your digital house isn't appealing to the eye. Don't worry, this doesn't have to cost any extra. You can get a free WordPress theme or if you want to step you can buy a fancy theme.
Free Themes That Are Decent
Here are some free themes that look pretty good for being free. Typically free themes have a credit to creator in the footer.
- Edge – Has a similar style to many paid themes. Will look great with some color changes.
- Yaminth – Another one that has that look that many bloggers like. Change up colors and nobody will be the wiser.
Paid Themes That Look All Fancy Pants
I personally use the Genesis Framework and buy child themes to make my blog pretty. I love them so much I got a pro account there years ago. At the time of this post I have a Restored 316 child theme that I love. You can also find pretty child themes for Genesis at Pretty Darn Cute Designs.
It seems like with all this stuff it would be hard to create a blog in WordPress. If you've stuck around to this point, you've got this and probably well on your way to thinking about your first blog post.
Here are the steps we covered:
- Finding our passion.
- Researching that the name you want isn't taken.
- Purchasing a domain and hosting.
- Installing WordPress in 5 minutes.
- Choosing a theme to make your blog look pretty.
If you get stuck anywhere feel free to leave a comment and I'll reply as soon as possible. Got your blog up and running? Share your new blog creation in the comments below. Congrats on taking the first step to being a blogger or virtual assistant!