Launch Your Blog and Start Blogging with Purpose

The Ultimate Guide for Creative Bloggers and Story Tellers

Whether you’re trying out blogging for the first time or an old-timer who fell off the wagon for a while and want to get back into blogging, the concept of starting a new blog can be quite overwhelming. In fact, the whole process is probably making you want to quit before you even began!

As a side story, I have been blogging for 18 years (say what?!) and have built a career and a business around blogging and designing blogs. That said, a lot of people come to me for help because they think that only a blog “expert” or a web designer can set up a blog.

I’m here to tell you today that NO, you don’t need to be an expert to set up a blog the right way.

There’s definitely a process involved but this is not rocket science. If you can read and follow instructions, then you can absolutely set up your blog right away.

Today, if you want. Like, right NOW. Game?

But wait, there’s a right way to start a blog?

There is no ONE right way, yes, but there are several WRONG ways that will cost you money and days (maybe even months) to correct.

I personally made really bad investments in my quest for the right tools to keep my blog(s) going. Although I’m one to appreciate mistakes (because you learn things from them you wouldn’t have learned otherwise), I also wish I didn’t spend so much time and money experimenting and just trying things out.

As for you, you don’t need to make the same mistakes I did. And you sure don’t need to waste decades of your life to reinvent the wheel.

With this comprehensive guide, you can launch your blog in one sitting. And no, I’m not talking about launching “just another WordPress blog”, but one that you’ll love using and sharing for years to come. 

But first,

If you’re still thinking about whether or not blogging is for you, I took the liberty of answering a couple of FAQs.

Why start a blog?
There are many reasons why you’d want to start a blog today, more than ever.

1. To make money blogging. Blogging has become a legit way to make a living. Whether full-time or part-time, there are many ways to make money blogging. In fact, blogging can be a lucrative profession, with professional bloggers making a lot more than the average income.

2. To promote a business. Others don’t earn directly from blogging, but they use their blogs as a tool to promote existing businesses. Blogging is a cost-efficient way to increase search engine visibility and to establish thought leadership, which is why many digital marketers use blogging as a strategy.

3. To use for ministry or advocacy. Many churches, pastors, and non-profit organizations use blogs to inspire, encourage, and minister to their communities.

4. To be a published author. Aside from having an online space online to showcase your written work (and to practice writing), publishers nowadays require authors to have an existing online following.

5. For fun. Others blog to document milestones and share stories, or just for the fun of it, without any intentions of making money from blogging. This is okay too, and yes, you are free to do this. However, chances are you wouldn’t really put much effort into growing or maintaining your blog when you’re not benefiting from it in a monetary or professional way.

How much does it cost to start a blog?
If you follow this guide, your setup fee would be around $65.

Basic setup: $65

  • Web Hosting and Domain via Siteground (first year): $65

Feeling extra? Level up: $120+

  • Premium WordPress theme (one-time investment): $50+
  • Premade Logo (one-time investment): $15 to $30
  • Premium Stock Photo bundle: $20 to $50
  • Email Marketing Software via Convertkit (monthly): $29

What is a web host and a domain name?
Web hosting and domain name are two different things but are often mistaken for the other.

In layman’s term, web hosting is the space on the web where your website is stored, while your domain name is your website’s unique address. Example: This website is hosted by Siteground, and my domain name is www.thepurposeblog.com.

When starting a self-hosted blog, you need both web hosting and domain name.

Can I use free blogging platforms?
You can, but I won’t recommend it. First of all, what’s your purpose for blogging? If you intend to turn it into a career eventually or to make money from it, investing in a domain and hosting is imperative. No questions.

First of all, advertisers and affiliates (two ways to make money from blogging) won’t approve your application if you’re not on a self-hosted blog.

Second, having your own domain and hosting allows you freedom on so many levels. Free blogs come with limited templates and features, and you have no choice but to work around those limitations. Moreover, you technically don’t “own” your content because it’s on another company’s platform. So if you’re serious about your creative and intellectual property, the best way to protect it is to have your content on a space that’s totally yours.

Third, when you host your content in a free blogging platform, your domain name will have a “.wordpress.com” or “.blogspot.com” attached to it, which aren’t good either if you want to use your blog for professional and business purposes.

Finally, when you invest in something (in this case, in your blog), you get a sense of ownership and responsibility. In a way it makes you work hard to grow your blog, to consistently create content, and to benefit from all the effort.

1Know your purpose for blogging.

If there’s one thing I learned about blogging all these years, it’s that purpose always precedes passion and profit.

It is purpose, after all, that keeps you going even when passion or profit are running low. It brings meaning to your craft and gives you direction. It allows you to connect with your readers and make a difference in their lives. And this is why I believe that any blog (or any endeavor for that matter) should begin and operate from a place of purpose.

I mean, you guys, this is what The Purpose Blog is all about. This is how you’ll be able to consistently and strategically create content, grow your blog, and make it last for years and years to come.

So how do you know your purpose in blogging?

  1. Cast a vision. Start with envisioning how you want your life to look like in 3-5 years and what role your blog to play in your life or business.
  2. Know yourself. Think about your life story. What brought you to this point in your life? What are the values that matter to you? Remember that your personal story and experiences are the very things that will make your blog content authentic and relatable.
  3. Set goals. Why do you want to blog? Just for fun? Or do you want to explore the opportunity of making this a full-time job? Do you want your blog to play a part in your life’s purpose?
  4. Niche down. Explore your interests, skills, and passions. You’ll want to write about topics that come naturally to you. This will be your blog’s niche.
  5. Profile your readers. Who do you want to reach with your content? What are their dreams? What are their challenges? Where do they hang out?

I created a mini e-course about blogging with purpose! If you want to deep dive into this process, join the 7 Days to Blogging with Purpose HERE.

2Choose your domain name.

I know what you’re thinking. Do you really need your own domain name? Can’t you just use a .wordpress.com subdomain or any of those free blogging platforms?

The straight answer is YES, you need your own domain name if you’re serious about starting a blog the right way.

Here are the reasons why you should get a domain name:

  • You want to eventually make money off your blog.
  • You want to use your blog to promote an existing business or a potential business.
  • You want to build up your personal brand and establish yourself as a thought leader in your passion or area of expertise.
  • You care about the creative ownership of your content, and you want it in a space that you own. (This, for me, is the most important thing, whether you want to make money from your blog or you just want to blog for fun.)

Having your own domain name speaks a handful about your intentions for your blog.

Let’s ponder upon that last sentence for a moment, shall we?

When you invest in your blog from day one, it becomes of value to you. It also puts a bit of pressure on yourself, which can be a good thing if you want to motivate yourself to blog purposefully.

With that said, yes, definitely register a domain and set up a self-hosted blog. Make a list of your domain name ideas, giving room for a few options in case what you want is not anymore available. When you’re ready with your list, it’s time to sign up for a web host!

3Get the right web hosting.

Web hosting and domain name are two different things but are often mistaken for the other. In layman’s term, web hosting is the space on the web where your website is stored, while your domain name is your website’s unique address. Example: This website is hosted by Siteground, and my domain name is www.thepurposeblog.com.

On that note, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you get your domain name and web hosting .from Siteground.

Read my full honest review of Siteground here

Trust me when I say I’ve done the legwork, and I’ve never been more happy about finally settling down at Siteground.

Pricing starts as low as $3.95 per month for the first year (that’s like $64, web hosting and domain included). Coming from a more expensive web hosting provider (Dreamhost), I love that the initial investment for Siteground is just right for beginners. You’re not paying for server space that you’re not using yet, and you can just grow the space as needed.

Here’s how to sign up for Siteground.

Step one. Choose a plan.

The StartUp Package works great for starters, up to 10,000 monthly visits. When your blog traffic starts growing to more than 10,000 page views (that’s the goal right??!), you can easily upgrade to the next plan.

The GrowBig and GoGeek plans are ideal for advanced bloggers. This is good if you plan on having multiple domain names down the line.

Step two. Choose domain.

Once you click the ORDER NOW button, you’ll arrive at the page that tells you to type in your chosen domain name.

It will verify if the domain name you picked is available, after which you can proceed with the registration details.

Step 3. Review & Complete.

And then you just have to complete your account information and other payment details.

After payment, you’ll receive all the billing info and other registration effects through email.

You should also receive your login details via email so keep watch for those Welcome emails! One of those initial emails will take you to your Siteground dashboard.

4Install WordPress.

There are other Content Management Systems or blog content platforms around (i.e. Squarespace, Blogger, to name a few). But I will not go around in circles anymore and just tell you straight out—choose WORDPRESS.

In all my years in the industry, I always recommend WordPress as a blogging platform because it’s FREE, it’s SEO-ready, and it has a massive community of third-party plugin developers and theme designers. And because it’s an open-source software, it has room for all sorts of optimization and customization that are not possible with other blogging platforms.

Installing WordPress is super easy with Siteground through their setup wizard and their AMAZING customer support team. (The best one I’ve seen!)

Once you log in to your Siteground dashboard, you’ll see an alert like this, which will take you through the setup wizard.

Just follow the instructions and you’ll be done in a jiffy!

It’s really easy to install WordPress through Siteground’s setup wizard, but if you find yourself lost in the process at any given point, Siteground has a 24/7 support that will walk you through the process.

 

5Design your blog.

Others will tell you to skip this part and just come back to it later. But as a creative person, I find that having a blog I love looking at helps me in my creative process. Not to mention, a good design attracts readers and keeps them on your website too, so I recommend you don’t skip this step.

You don’t have to hire a web designer for starters. Hiring one can be costly, and as a web designer myself, I understand the amount of work that goes into customizing blog designs, and why it costs so much. So if you don’t have the budget yet for a web designer, investing in a premium WordPress theme is your next best bet.

Good thing for us, there are many premium WordPress themes in the market that are ready to use and easy to install.

Here are some of my favorite WordPress theme resources:

1. Station Seven

Station Seven is known for its clean and minimalist WordPress themes, designed for creative entrepreneurs. I’ve been using Station Seven WordPress themes for years.

2. 17th Avenue

If you’re style is more classic and sophisticated, 17th Avenue is for you. Highly recommended for lifestyle and beauty bloggers, as well as personal blogs.

6Start blogging.