Now that you’ve defined your goals and chosen a niche, it’s time to build the foundation of your blog. That means choosing a URL, hosting site and theme — but don’t worry! I’ve provided every resource and tutorial you’ll need along the way to make it as easy as possible. Let’s get started!
CHOOSE A DOMAIN NAME
The first step to building your blog’s foundation is choosing a domain name. Sites like Godaddy and Google’s new domain registrar allow you to see which names are available.
Depending on how you plan to bring traffic to your site, you can either choose a domain that includes keywords that are discoverable in organic search OR a branded domain name with more personality. Discoverable domains are helpful for SEO search traffic and branded domains are usually more memorable but either can be branded.
For example, a discoverable domain for this site would be something like: howtoearnasideincome.com. Movingmountains.co is a brandable domain because we’re more focused on realizing your potential, not just making money.
Bottom line: Make sure your domain name is easy to spell and pronounce. Don’t get fancy with alternate spelling, it just confuses people. (I speak from experience, having done this before.)
FIND A HOST
Before you launch your website you’ll need to choose a website hosting provider that will store all the content on your website.
I recommend Bluehost because it’s reliable, has great support and is inexpensive at just $3.95 per month. The first time I set up my site I didn’t go with Bluehost, and I seriously regretted the hours of hassle it caused me.
CHOOSE YOUR WEBSITE’S THEME
Choosing a theme is about more than just the website design. The theme also affects how your audience will engage with the site and the type of customer support you’ll receive.
Here are the main things to consider when choosing a theme.
- Responsiveness – Is it a mobile responsive theme? Having a website that’s easily viewable on mobile devices is especially important after Google’s most recent update.
- Free vs. Premium – A free theme is great for obvious reasons, but it also means fewer updates, less support, and a lack of control over some features. If you’re serious about your blog and plan to personalize some of the features, we’ve found it’s often better to choose a premium theme.
- Customization – Does the theme have a visual page editor? While the theme will dictate the main features, you’ll want the option to make changes to the design of the site without touching the code.
You can check out theme Showcases to see the potential of different theme. Here are some great options for all types of websites.
- These themes were created by the Copyblogger team and run on the Genesis framework (the framework is the foundation of the site and the customization of the backend things like columns and backgrounds.)
- You can get any theme with the Genesis framework for $99.
- Studiopress has great support.
- Woothemes are a great choice with simple backend management.
- If you’re considering an e-commerce store they also have Blue Commerce which is a great choice.
- They have free themes and paid themes starting at $99.
- Themeforest is by far the biggest marketplace with many user generated themes.
- Because the themes are user-generated you’ll want to read the reviews and see how good the support is for each theme. Make sure you can get answers to your questions if a problem comes up.
- Most themes are in the $0-$70 range, but they also have free themes.
INSTALL YOUR THEME
Once you’ve selected a theme, you’re ready to install it. It’s a simple process that shouldn’t take long at all. This video is a great step by step tutorial for installing your theme in WordPress.
SET UP YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS
Finally, if you want to set up a specific email address for your new website this tutorial is very helpful. If you are the only one blogging, just start with firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or, if you’re already using Gmail and want to integrate the email address into your existing account, use this tutorial.
Congratulations! Your wesbite is ready to go. In our next post about starting a blog, we’ll discuss how to lay out the welcome mat for your visitors and start customizing your homepage and blog. Stay tuned!