For the last decade, blogging has been such an unexpected gift for my family and I. The income from blogging has allowed me to remain a work from home mom for the last decade. That is no small thing since my family lives in NYC and my husband is a (great!) teacher. We have also been offered so many amazing opportunities that we may not have been able to experience financially due to the fact that I chose not to return to my job in corporate America after the birth of my first son. Friends, family and readers often share that they want to have a blog and I definitely encourage it. Personally, I think that everyone should have a blog – for fun and/or for profit. There is something special about having your own little corner of the world wide web. You can do whatever you like with it!
If you have ever considered starting your own blog, try it. It’s not brain surgery…if you don’t like something, you can always go back and change it. 🙂 If you are a “do it yourself” type of person, you can even set up your own site. In this post, I will show you how to start a Genesis Framework blog in only 5 simple steps. Let’s begin.
1. Select a domain name.
For the most part, you want to make your domain name the same name as your website title. You have some flexibility regarding how long (up to 60+ characters) the domain can be, so make it something that you like and that will be easy for your intended audience to remember. Test the name with family and friends who are part of your intended audience before making a final decision. There are also some FREE online sites like Panabee that will help you to come up with a blog name. (As you come up with different options, check the availability of the domain names on sites like register.com.)
A couple of other things to consider:
A.) Don’t infringe on a trademarked name. You can do a free search on the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Search Trademark Database to see if the name that you are considering is being used. In my opinion, close variations of a trademarked name should also be considered as “off limits” – for ethical (if not legal) reasons.
B.) Don’t forget social media channels. Love it or hate it, social media is important. As such, it is helpful to make sure that your chosen name (or at least a close variation of it) is available on your preferred social media sites. Mashable has a great post, 7 Services to Find and Reserve Your Name Across the Web, that will help.
2. Register your domain and set up site hosting.
It’s now time to register your domain and to set up site hosting. There are two schools of thought regarding domains and hosting. One school of thought is that you should purchase separate email addresses, domains, nameservers, and hosting so that if one service is down, then it doesn’t mean that everything is down (the “no single point of failure” mindset). I think that is valid when you have the funds and the desire to do it that way.
However, when starting out, I like to keep things simple and keep everything (email, domain, nameservers, and hosting) together. I have used various blog hosting companies in my decade of blogging and in the few years that I have been developing sites for others. The two blog hosting services that I recommend for beginners are Bluehost (if you can afford to pay for a year of hosting upfront) or HostGator (if you prefer to pay by the month). Both are owned by the same parent company so the quality of service and setup processes are very similar.
It is easier to show you than to tell you how to register a domain and set up site hosting so watch this short video below:
3. Install WordPress.
Next, it is time to install WordPress on your site. It is so simple and FREE to do with Bluehost or HostGator. When you register and set up your site hosting, you are sent an email with your cPanel (control panel) web address, username, domain and password. You will need that information to log into your cPanel in order to install WordPress. Once you log into your control panel…
-Go to “Software and Services”
-Under “One Click Installs”, click “WordPress”
-Under “Install WordPress for FREE”, click “Install WordPress”
-Fill in the information under “Install WordPress”
If you want WordPress to be your site’s home page (like mine), leave the URL section blank and just fill in the rest of the page. However, if you want your blog to be on another portion of your site, you can put whatever url addition that you like. For example, if I wanted my blog to be seen at www.mominthecity.com/blog, then I would have added “blog” at the end of the application url.
-Click “Install WordPress”
-A bar on the top of your screen will say, “Your install is complete! Click here to view your notifications.” You can then click on “View Credentials” for your WordPress login information. (You will also be sent an email with your WordPress login information.) That was quick and easy…right?
A visual is sometimes helpful, so below is a quick video tutorial on how to install WordPress on HostGator using QuickInstall.
4. Purchase the Genesis framework.
There are several different WordPress frameworks on the market, but my personal favorite/the best WordPress framework in my opinion is Genesis.
Let me use the words of Genesis developers to explain how a framework functions on a WordPress website…
In talking about all this, it helps to think of your website as a car.
WordPress acts as the engine of your car.
Genesis (the framework) is the frame and body of the car, and is the basic design, security, and SEO foundation of your website. In handling all the core code, Genesis also helps to “future-proof” your site, so all your customizations won’t disappear when it comes time for your one-click software upgrades.
(I’m a visual person, so that description helps me to keep it all clear in my mind.)
The Genesis Framework is what I use on Mom in the City and for my RK Responsive Design web development client projects. It is easy to use and StudioPress (the developer) has great, prompt technical support. It also has great built-in SEO and the clean design lines that I appreciate. The Genesis Framework is currently only $59.95 for use on unlimited domains. (There are additional fees for the themes, depending on which one you choose.)
5. Choose and install a StudioPress theme.
Now, it’s time to discuss themes. Let’s go back to the car analogy quote from StudioPress (Genesis) in order to get a clear picture regarding the purpose of a theme on your WordPress site…
Lastly, a child theme is the pure design element that rests on top of your framework — the cherry red paint job on that car. Or blue. Or black. Pink. Green. You get the idea, whatever works for you …
Choosing the best theme is one of my favorite parts of creating a Genesis site. I enjoy planning the look of sites (colors, fonts, layouts, etc.) before I start filling them in with content. While there are many free WordPress themes available, I highly recommend purchasing a premium StudioPress Theme for the Genesis framework. The main thing that I appreciate about StudioPress themes is that their instructions for installing the theme and setting it up to look like the demo are very clear. (FYI: Most themes that you purchase don’t look like the demo as soon as you install it on WordPress. You will have to do a little work-including setting up widgets.)
To help make the process easier, I am showing you how to install the Genesis framework and a StudioPress child theme below:
You can see how to set up a StudioPress theme so that it looks like the demonstration one by viewing a demo video that I did a while ago: