Last week I gave you 5 reasons to start a pet blog, and to be honest, there’s never been a better time to jump in.
Today I’m going to walk you through the 7 steps to set up your pet blog, and I want to say up front that if at any point you feel confused and unsure what to do next, congratulations! That’s the first sign that you’re really and truly a pet blogger! We’ve all been there.
Although blogging may seem super technical, it’s really just the initial setup that makes people nervous and might hold them back from starting a blog. Don’t be one of those people! Do each step one at a time. If at any point you have a question, feel free to message me and I’ll be more than happy to walk you through it.
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7 Steps to Set Up Your Pet Blog
1. Choose your blog name and URL
It’s time to decide what your blog will be called, and for some people, this is a daunting task. My advice is to give it a lot of thought, and bounce your ideas off your friends and loved ones.
You want a name that’s catchy, maybe even one that conveys what your blog is about. My friend Amanda named her blog Dog Mom Days, which is perfect because that’s exactly what she writes about.
Your blog name might include your city or state, like Go Dog Nashville. Or if you plan to write about specific breeds, it might be something like My Brown Newfies. As you can see, there are lots of options to consider when coming up with your blog’s name.
Be thoughtful about your blog’s name, but don’t get too hung up on it. I’ve seen beginner bloggers really get stuck here, and often times it’s just an excuse not to move forward because blogging can seem like a big task. Don’t get stuck!
Once you’ve chosen your blog’s name, you’re ready to purchase your URL, or domain name. This is your blog address, the www part.
You’ll want your URL to match your blog name, as closely as possible. Start your domain search here. I purchase all of my domain names from Namecheap, and I highly recommend them.
Pricing for your domain name will usually start around $10. This is an annual fee.
2. Choose your blogging platform
There are several blogging platforms to choose from, ranging from free options to paid ones. If you ever want to make money from your blog, you don’t want a free option. What you can do on those platforms is very limited, and I highly suggest staying away from them unless you’re starting your blog strictly as a hobby.
My recommendation is WordPress.org. This is the industry standard for websites, offering a plethora of customization options that give you complete creative control over your blog.
WordPress itself is free, but you will have to pay for hosting, which I will cover in the next step.
4. Purchase your web hosting
I strongly recommend SiteGround for web hosting. I’ve been with them for a number of years, and I’ve really never had any issues with them.
As you’re starting out, the StartUp plan will be sufficient for your blog, and at only $3.95 per month, you really can’t beat it. Go ahead and purchase the 12 month package to get the best possible pricing. It’s not necessary to purchase any extras right now.
5. Install WordPress
After you’ve purchased your hosting package, you’re ready to install WordPress. Log into SiteGround dashboard and select “WordPress”. Then you’ll click on “Install and Manage” and follow the prompts from there.
When choosing a user name during the install process, choose something creative. Don’t choose “admin”, as this is not secure and may make it easier for hackers to breach your site.
If you have issues doing the install, let me know. I am more than happy to help for a minimal fee.
6. Select your theme
The appearance of your blog is controlled by a WordPress theme. These are professionally designed templates that you can install on your blog to change its appearance.
WordPress sites come with a basic theme, but you will most likely not find it very attractive. The good news is, there are thousands of WordPress themes you can install on your site. Many of these are free, and some are paid.
Because you’re just starting out, you might choose to use a free theme. I think that’s fine in the beginning, because at this point your focus should be on creating amazing content, which we’ll talk about below, and less on your blog’s appearance.
If you would like assistance with the installation of your blog’s theme, let me know. This is a service I offer for a fee, and I’d be happy to lend a hand.
7. Tweak your website
Now is when the fun starts! You can create navigation menus, install plugins, adjust your site’s settings, and so much more. These are the little things that will make your site unique from everyone else’s.
Tweaking and playing around is also a good way to start looking around at the inner workings of your blog to learn how things work. Don’t be worried about “breaking something”; it’s almost impossible to do that, and playing around is really the best way to start learning.
Are you ready to set up your pet blog?
I’d love to hear your thoughts about starting a pet blog, and I’m happy to answer any questions you may have about the process. Also, if you need help with the technical aspects mentioned in this blog post, use the form below to send me a message and I’ll be back in touch as soon as possible.