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Now you may be thinking you can’t afford to start a blog but believe it or not, it doesn’t have to be. You can design a professional-looking website on just about any budget. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to hire a pro.
There are free platforms out there, such as Blogger, Wix, and WordPress.com, and they are great and easy to use if you are strictly planning to work your business as a hobby. Keep in mind that one day you might change your mind and want to be more serious in your business and at a very small cost, you can be prepared for future growth opportunities.
***Remember that being self-employed you might want to leave options for retirement ideas in which I will explore in a later.
So in order for a blog/website to grow with you, it must be started with a self-hosted site.
If you have heard enough and are ready to get started scroll down to Lets get started
If you were looking for a professional or someone who knows what they are doing which would you choose?
So basically, if you want a website or to blog just for fun then free platforms are totally fine! BUT, if you want to be a professional and eventually plan to monetize your site down the road, it’s important to go with self-hosted.
I built my first through Wix. There was a small learning curve but it was fairly easy and it was the right price. FREE! What is better than that? This was probably better than nothing but I spent a lot of time building that website and then I learned about self-hosting and had to relearn another system. I wish I had been taught prior so I hadn’t spent so much time on a useless website/blog. Going self-hosted is actually super affordable (usually less than $5 /month and more often than not $3 a month), and really, the ROI is pretty high if you decide to do any monetization. (I will cover this in another post)
The self-hosting platform I use is, Bluehost. I had to do a lot of research and there was a huge learning curve along the way! My hopes are that I save you years of work from my experience as I lay out the process in detail.
The hosting company or the place that houses your domain name. You pay to have your site hosted and a domain name. However, sign up with Bluehost and you will get your domain name free.
WordPress is a piece of software. It’s a program that allows you to set up a website on the internet. It’s completely free.
It works like this: You sign up for a hosting account and install WordPress with an easy-install through the host. This process literally takes minutes and then you can customize your brand new site!
To clarify when talking about using WordPress we are talking about using
WordPress.com.(this is for blogs only)
WordPress.org is for websites and blogs that you host on your own domain. The very important distinction there!
If you want more information on WordPress go to the main site WordPress.org.
***TIP: Check your local meetup groups for WordPress meetups or other website or business meetups. Usually, you can go 30 min. early for help. Not only are they a wealth of information but they are also great ways to network your business.***
So if you are ready to start your own website we can get that done in about 15min. or less.
Here’s what you need to know about choosing any host if you don’t want to install WordPress:
– Host needs to have cpanel
– Host needs to have wordpress one-click install through Fantastico or Simple Scripts
There are 3 Choices for Packages: Basic, Plus, and Prime
If you are limited on budget, the Basic plan will be fine.
But, if you have a little bit of extra budget that you can commit, the PRIME plan has the best value for the 36-month package.
We chose the Plus hosting for 36 months. Our total came to $178.20 for the 36 months all billed up front. We chose Plus because we have multiple websites/Blogs we knew we were going to want to run so it was the cheapest with the feature that allows us to run more websites and blogs hosted on this same Bluehost account with no additional cost except the purchase of the extra domain name.
***Multiple Domain name hosting is ideal (because you might have children who want to start a website, a friends business, or maybe eventually start a branch off of your current business, you might design a product or another service. I didn’t think I would need but one but I am so glad that I had that option as I am now hosting 7 websites.)
Click SELECT on your preferred plan to move to the next step.
Next are two options:
New Domain – If you do not have a domain for your blog yet, enter in your preferred domain name in the new domain box and click NEXT
I Already Have A Domain – If you already own a domain, then enter your domain in the box and click NEXT
A little bit about your domain name. This is your address on the world wide web. Mine is https:heytherebliss.com.
Come up with about 3-5 names. It should have your business name in it. You may have to find a few differential ways that can include your business name such as…
Keep in mind:
Now it is time for you to make some choices
Account Plan Options:
The other options are:
Domain Privacy Protection – This will keep all your information private. More info. here.
Codeguard Basic- automatic backups of your website. More info. here.
SEO Tools Start- weekly reports on ways to optimize your site. More info here.
SiteLock Security – this verifies your credentials giving your customers an extra security. You can ask for an SSL certificate later at no cost. You can learn more here.
If you have a limited budget, I would still the consider Domain Privacy Protection.
One thing to know is it is all billed up front for at least a year.
The final section is the Payment Information. Simply enter your credit card information here, check the box agreeing to the terms, and press Submit!
Ok, so you’ve got your host. Next, you need to follow these steps:
You will now be prompted by Bluehost create a password for your account. After you create your password (make sure to take note of it,) WordPress will begin installing on your account.
You will also receive emails from Bluehost with your account and WordPress information. If you can’t find them, make sure to check your spam folder.
If you signed up with Bluehost or any other similar hosting company, you should find your “1-click-installation” in your account control panel.
Here are the steps you should follow (should be similar/same on all the major web hosting companies) Here is a video if you would rather watch it.
Karie Babbitt is a Lifestyle and Family Travel Writer. Mother of three boys and one girl. She has raised a family of six on a single income for over twenty-five years. She will share how she budgets so she can travel to show her kids all fifty states before they leave her home. Her parenting fails and successes, budgeting tips, food and living life in bliss.