Whenever I talk to people about blogging and websites, there are inevitably questions that arise. Here's the 411 on the series and some answers to those frequently asked questions. Watch the video or read the following, whichever you prefer.
What does this course cover?
This course is free. It is the updated, revised, expanded and simplified version of my popular series, originally written in 2010. A lot has changed since then, so an update is definitely in order. We'll walk through the process of creating a blog or website from scratch, step by step.
Related: Feel free to dive deeper into any topic as we go. Here are some highlighted posts from: Nuts & Bolts, Passion & Writing, Design & Usability, Marketing & Traffic, Networking & Social Media, Productivity & Organization and Making Money.
Can't see the video? Watch it here.
Is it for anyone?
Yep! This is DIY website creation, but don't let that scare you. I'm telling you, anyone can do this. As with any DIY project, if you put in a little time and energy, in exchange, you'll save TONS of money and get the satisfaction of knowing you did it yourself. And so much fun stuff to learn!
Related: Totally new to this blogging thing? Check out my Start Page to get an idea of what this site is all about.
I'm not techy. Will I be lost?
I like non-techy types. My goal is to teach anyone how to blog or create a website from the very beginning. I've taught countless people these steps, most with no prior web building knowledge.
If I complete the course, what kind of site will I have at the end?
The type of blog or website you'll have is a self-hosted WordPress site, (not to be confused with a site at WordPress.com, more on that later). Self-hosted WordPress sites are highly popular and highly recommended, not just by me, but by bloggers and website owners everywhere.
What if I don't want a blog, but just a website (or vice versa)?
You can use WordPress to blog or you can use it as a traditional website. Setup is exactly the same. So either way, I've got ya covered.
Related: How to Create a Website (Not a Blog)
What's the difference between a blog and a website anyway?
A blog is a type of website that is updated regularly, with posts listed in reverse chronological order (newest first). I will use the term "website" to refer to the type of site that is static, that is, not updated regularly. A static website would be used like a brochure, providing basic information about yourself, your company or your organization. For example, if you want to start a virtual assistant business or you want a website for your existing business with basic info like services, pricing and contact info, a static website would be the way to go.
Related: Blogging is Like Ice Cream – An explanation of what blogging is and how it works using ice cream as an analogy. Nothing is bad if ice cream is involved, that's what I think.
Who are you and why should I listen to you?
I'm Amy. I created my first website in 2004. I am completely self-taught (read: zero prior computer knowledge) and if I can do it, you can too–except you won't have to be googling like a crazy person since I lay it all out for ya. For me, blogging started out as a hobby and has grown into a full-time job. I've listed my current income streams here.
Related: About me, The Girl Behind the Geek
How much will my new site cost?
There are two expenses you'll incur off the bat. Everything after that is optional, which I will note as we go along.
- The first is domain registration which will cost $0-$20 per year. Domains must be renewed at least annually.
- The second is hosting which will cost $10 or less per month, depending on how you choose to pay for it (a year or a month at a time).
In other words, if you break it down, the cost to have a great website is $5-$12 a month. Not bad. Not bad at all.
Note that you are not paying me. I will tell you exactly which services I pay for, use personally and recommend. If you choose to purchase the services via the links I provide in this series, I will receive a small commission from those companies as a thank you for the referral. I'm what is called an affiliate, but of course, me being an affiliate doesn't cost you anything extra. Read my full Disclosure Policy here.
Can't I start a blog or website for free?
Yep. There are a lot of free blogging services out there and I've tried most of them. However, the old saying "you get what you pay for" is true here. So, my method requires a small investment, but you'll get a WHOLE lot more than if you go with free.
The only times I recommend starting a free blog is (a) if you are only interested in hobby blogging or (b) you're not sure if blogging is for you and you want to test drive it. It is possible to switch down the road, but it can be a hassle.
I'm in a financial pickle. How can I make money blogging?
It is true you can make money blogging, but it's not likely to happen quickly. Think of this as a marathon not a sprint. If you need cash right away, I recommend working a traditional job until your online venture can support you. Everyone's experience is different, but I wouldn't expect to make enough to live on for at least a year or two and extra spending money after 6 months or so.
Related: Explore my Making Money posts.
Is there anything special I need to start a website?
There's not a lot you'll need other than some time, patience, stick-to-itiveness and willingness to learn. You've obviously got access to the internet which is good. In a few posts you'll need to pay to get set up (a domain and hosting, those expenses I mentioned earlier).
What if I have questions during the process?
First, I have a rule and it's this: there are no dumb questions! Everyone who has ever created their own blog or website has been exactly where you are, so don't be shy. We all can relate. I do get a lot of questions, so I can't answer them all personally (especially emails), but if you ask me on Facebook, I try to answer as many as I can there since it'll help others too. You can follow me on Facebook here (or just click the "Like" button in the sidebar).
You can also subscribe by entering your email address here (or in the sidebar). That way, every time I publish a new post, you'll get it sent straight to your email. It makes it easy to keep up that way. If you decide at some point you're no longer interested in getting the emails, simply click the "Unsubscribe" link at the bottom of any of them.
What if I want to work ahead?
An overachiever are you? Oh I kid. I'd be asking the same question. You are more than welcome to work ahead or bounce around as much as you'd like. As I mentioned, this is an updated version of a series I did previously, so you can always check that out for an general idea of where we're going. Note that there will be major updates though. Also, browse the categories and topics in the sidebar and visit my archives for lots more!
Can I share this with others?
OK, I made this question up, but yes, if you know of anyone who wants to start a blog or a website, please let them know! You can use any of the buttons below to share this around the web or email it. Thanks!
Other posts in this series
- How to Start a Blog or Website: Intro & FAQ
- How to Start a Blog or Website: Cheat Sheet
- How to Find (or Refind) Your Passion
- How to Decide What to Blog About: What Works for Readers?
- How to Decide What to Blog About: What Works for You?
- Understand Branding: 4 Tips
- Understand Keywords: Increase the Odds of Getting Found
- Writing Great Content: 3 Tips
- How to Write a Killer About Page
- 12 Blog Organization Tips
- How to Choose a Domain Name: 12 Tips
- How to Register a Domain Name
- How to Set Up Hosting and WordPress
- How to Change Your Nameservers
- How to Add a New User in WordPress
- How to Optimize Your WordPress Settings
- How to Install a Plugin
- My Favorite Plugins
- How to Get & Optimize a Feedburner Feed
- How to Choose a WordPress Theme
- How to Install a WordPress Theme
- Elegant Themes for WordPress
- How to Install Google Analytics
- How to Use WordPress: Tips & Tricks
- How to Start a Blog or Website: 10 Tips for New Bloggers