For years, I've always wondered “what if.”
What if I never started my seven figure blog, Bargaineering?
I wasn't a personal finance expert. I wasn't an expert on anything.
But I hoped that, maybe, just maybe, other people fumbling their way through money could join me and we can learn and grow together. So I started a blog.
Six years later, that blog would be acquired for millions and I changed the trajectory for the rest of my life (SEC filing, search for my name). I was independent, an entrepreneur, and I learned valuable skills that were valuable in the marketplace, not just to my employer.
All because I started.
If you want to start a blog, you can. You need less than ten minutes.
Let's do this.
Step 1. Register a Domain
The hardest part about this entire process is finding a domain that you like. Once you have your topic, you want to start brainstorming keywords that match your subject. It may be helpful to pull up a thesaurus to help you find synonyms in case your initial keywords aren't available (if it's a single word or two words, it will not be available).
For my scotch blog, I thought of the obvious words – scotch, whisky, whiskey, and threw on the word blog at the end. None were available. Then I thought, drop the blog and go with something like ScotchReviewer or ScotchFanatic, but both are gone. I thought about alternatives to “fanatic” (scotchfan was available but I didn't like it) and finally settled on addict. I had a few reservations about “addict” given that it's alcohol, but I got past it.
Here's a tool to help you search domains:
Some tips about domains:
- Get the .com version. If you can't get the .com, try to think of a better name. JD at GetRichSlowly.org made it work with a .org but you can bet the guy who owned the .com was pretty happy at all the free traffic he was getting!
- Make sure it's easy to say and type. Bargaineering is hard to say and hard to type. A lot of your early traffic will be from you spreading the word… make it an easy word!
- Make sure you aren't infringing on someone's copyright or trademark.
Step 2. Set Up Hosting
For this tutorial, I'll be using Bluehost.
I personally believe that shared hosting providers are technologically similar and that you should go with a company that has a good track history and a reasonable price.
WordPress, which is the blog platform we'll be installing, recommends three hosts – Bluehost, Dreamhost, and Laughing Squid. I've never used Laughing Squid but I have used Dreamhost and I prefer Bluehost.
Free domain name, unlimited data, Free blog installation, money-back guarantee
Click on the green Get Started Now button.
What plan should you get? Basic. Get the $3.49 a month package because it'll give you everything you need. It comes with 50 GB of space (more than enough), unlimited bandwidth, and 1 included domain.
If you know you want to start two sites at once, then you'll need Plus.
Type your domain into the left hand box and click Next:
On the next screen, you'll enter your billing information.
Under package information, you have some choices to make. Setup fee and domain registration are FREE, but SiteLock Domain Security, Site Backup Pro, and Domain Privacy Protection are checked by default. Uncheck anything you don't want and you can click More information to learn about each one.
The next page is a list of upsells, you can scroll down and click the blue Complete button to skip all of these, none are checked by default. You'll see a summary page with a link to Create your password – click that link.
The next page asks you to create a password and will not let you pass until the strength is considered Good (green). Follow their guidance, use an uppercase letter and at least a symbol, then you'll be good to go.
It may take 24-48 hours for the nameservers to propagate (Bluehost set this up for you already), so if you type in your domain it may not go to your site immediately. I won't go into the technical details but that information has to get passed to the various DNS (Domain Name System) servers throughout the world and that could take 24-48 hours. Until then, you can still install and configure WordPress but accessing your site may take a day or two.
Step 3. Simple WordPress Install
You'll be prompted to log in again and then you'll see this cPanel dashboard (the first time you log in you will have a big welcome video on the screen, subsequent logins will show the cPanel):
Click on the Install WordPress:
You want to Start a Brand New Install, so click Install. Now you need to pick the domain you want to install to, in this case we're going to install DailyGratis.com… so we need to check the domain.
Once it checks, it'll likely see that something already exists there. But nothing exists there, so click that checkbox and it'll move to the last step. Click “Show advanced options” because it'll let you set up some basic WordPress settings. Type in your Site Name, your Admin Username, Password, and your Admin email address.
It is recommended that you change your Admin username to something other than “admin.” Check the terms and conditions of GPLv2, it's just a standard boilerplate GNU General Public License. Click install… and it'll start doing it's thing.
This generally doesn't take more than a few minutes, go have a cup of coffee or a spot of tea. When it's done, you should see this:
Step 4. Done!
At this point, your blog will be set up with the default options of WordPress! Congratulations – you are officially a blogger!
This guide only explained the first steps of getting everything up and running. If you want a full guide, a soup to nuts, what to write about, how to promote, what plugins to install, SEO, newsletters and more – this is the definitive guide (and illustrated!) to starting a blog in 2019.
Go check it out — and email me where I can find it, I want to see it too!