How to Create a Blog or Website
For my friends that are thinking of diving in to the blogging and/or website shop pool, and have asked me about it, this post is for you and anyone else wanting to know.
This is especially great for those that are not doing as well as they would like on Etsy. Etsy is a great resource but with the plethora of others on there offering something similar to what you may have it can be very hard to be found. With having your own online shop you don’t have to pay a fee to list items, relist items or a sales fee.
That being said when you have your own online shop you are responsible to promote yourself and get your shop out there and gaining an audience which takes time and hard work.
Or maybe you want to start a food blog, DIY blog or share a talent. This will work for all of you.
So here we go.
(this post contains affiliate links)
First off, decide on a domain name (what you want your site to be called), then do a search and see if that name is available. You can do that right here.
Now you need to find a hosting service. Personally I have used a couple and right now I am using BlueHost. The customer service has been top notch and they have saved my bacon more than once.
A couple of times, while messing with code,I have locked down my own website, thankfully BlueHost had me back up and running within half an hour. I contacted them via online chat and voila, I was back in business.
You can see what they offer by clicking the link. I started with the least expensive plan and as my site has grown I have upgraded. Super easy to do and they have more options for when my blog is even larger. No fuss, no muss.
You can set up with BlueHost in less than 10 minutes.
First after you pop on over to their site you will either enter the Domain Name you have registered elsewhere or use the free one you get by signing up with BlueHost. There are many Domain Name registers, I personally have used Domains Priced Right for years.
The Starter is just fine for doing just that, starting your blog or website.
One caveat, to get the best price you need to pay for 36 months up front. But the up side is if you decide it is not for you anytime before your paid subscription is up BlueHost will refund you the remaining balance on your plan. You can go for just a 3 month plan to see how you like it without shelling out quite so much $$$. You won’t get the cheapest rate but it is only a few dollars more per month and may be more to your liking. Still the same money back on what is left of your plan if you decide they are not for you.
One extra thing I did sign up for and have not regretted is the Site Backup Pro. You will notice it is the first option just below where you pick your plan. That is what saved me when I made a major goof in some coding and locked myself out of my site and made it super easy to have everything back up and running in no time. In fact, BlueHost did it for me instead of me trying to figure it out. I would highly recommend it. If you are just starting out and don’t know all the FTP stuff then this is your ticket.
The filling out of your info is pretty straight forward and I know you do not need me taking you step by step. There will be some additional options offered but just skip past those.
You will come to a screen to make your own BlueHost password, make it a strong one so it is very hard for someone to hack your account.
Then you will login to the Hosting not Webmail button.
This video here takes you step by step of what to do next. It is produced by BlueHost and is very comprehensive.
BlueHost has a series of videos that are very informative and helpful. I am going thru them one by one to make sure I am optimizing all I can.
There are tons of options for Themes, but I personally love the ease and versatility of Genesis
Here is my note on that
Now you need a great Framework.
Genesis is the best and easiest in my opinion. Many big name bloggers use it but what sold me was the ease at adding plugins to make things happen that would normally take coding and the headaches involved with that for us non computer geeks.
Genesis is like our body and the child theme (which I discuss below) is like the clothing we put on to make it look better. There are also a lot of great StudioPress Child Themes that work with Genesis to choose from.
I recently built a website for a robotics company using Genesis and one of StudioPress’s fabulous child themes. It took me a day to get them up and running and now I have two more possible website designing jobs from it. Everyone that sees it is impressed and think I am a genius website designer.
I am not, I just used Genesis then a child theme and followed the step by step set up instructions. End of story.
StudioPress offers a step by step beginners instruction PDF for using Genesis that is downloadable. Very comprehensive and useful.
Genesis is $59.95 and worth every penny.
Now on to the child theme I used for this blog/website….
StudioPress has lots of great child themes for Genesis Framework but when I ran across Lauren’s site, Restored 316 Designs I was hooked. She had a couple designs I had rattling around in my own brain that I wanted my site to look like so instead of me working away figuring out how to make my site look just how I wanted I just purchased her Tasteful theme it was just what I had envisioned without me having to do much work at all.
Recently she came out with a new design that has me severely tempted to switch over to, it is called Divine. I can’t help myself, I love all her designs and I have a hard time sticking to one!
I followed her easy step by step instructions and before I knew it my site was matching the vision I had in my head. One caveat was that Tasteful was not set up as a commerce theme but Lauren had an easy tutorial on her site to make Tasteful compatible with WooCommerce (my online store plugin) that I could do myself. That is another plus I want to mention with Restored 316 Designs, the entire website is easy to navigate and she has great tutorials.
And now there is a Restored 316 Facebook group where we help each other with stumbling blocks we may come up against when putting our sites together or changing a feature. Once you purchase a design you are eligible to join. I have learned so much from this group and it is a free resource.
She does offer themes that are already WooCommerce ready like Delightful Pro, Adorn, Sprinkle, and more. You can also purchase branding bundles(ie: Facebook headers, Twitter headers and MailChimp logo) to match your theme, which I think is a great idea but I have yet to avail myself of that service. Mostly because I have not settled on a permanent logo for my site yet.
One last important note, all of the Themes at Restored 316 are mobile responsive!
A Restored 316 Theme is $50.
You will need Genesis before you can use one of Lauren’s child themes.
I will delve more deeply into WooCommerce in another post. This is the Plugin you will use to make your online shop to sell your products. It is fairly straightforward and easy to implement and Lauren’s child themes makes it even easier. At least it was for me.
WooCommerce also has themes if you are not taken with any of Lauren’s themes. I just did not find them as easy and I like EASY!
If you want to see what the WooCommerce Plugin looks like in use I have a button in my Navigation bar that says SHOP, hover over it and pick something from the drop down menu and it will take you to that page.
Of course, if you are just blogging or doing a Food Blog you won’t need WooCommerce.
I hope you find this helpful and I wish you…