Do you feel passionate about a specific craft (or several) and would like to share it with the world? Why not start a craft blog? You could inspire thousands of people with your unique voice and make an income while doing so.
Blogging gives me the platform to share my enthusiasm (in my case for making my own clothes, shoes and accessories) and make an income as a stay at home mum. I’m so glad I started it and I know it can grow more once my children don’t need me as much.
I did a lot of research before I started to blog because I wanted to get it right from the beginning.
To summarize my findings here is what I decided to do: I wanted a self hosted WordPress blog, because it would give me the flexibility to build any blog I wanted and make it profitable in the future.
I could run ads on it, recommend products and earn affiliate commissions or integrate a shop and sell my own digital products, (which I’m now doing successfully, selling my Sandal Making eBook).
Yes, there is an initial small investment, mainly the hosting costs, but compared to starting any other type of business it’s relatively little and who knows where it will lead to…
So here are the steps to start a self hosted WordPress blog. It will take you about 30 minutes or less to set it all up.
I’m using SiteGround as my hosting service, I signed up with them because they had the best reviews on the Internet and I’ve not been disappointed. They offer fantastic hosting and a wonderful customer service.
Prices for beginning bloggers are reasonable, their basic plan costs $ 2.75 per month (60% reduced at the moment).
Best of all SiteGround makes it very easy to launch your blog.
Start A Craft Blog in 6 Steps + Extras
- Choosing a hosting plan
- Choosing a domain name
- Enter your information
- Choosing your plan length and extras
- Begin the SiteGround Account Setup Wizard
- Make it Beautiful
1. Choosing A Hosting Plan
SiteGround offers 3 different hosting plans. For the beginning blogger the StartUp Plan plan will be fine. You get 10GB of space and it’s designed for those pages receiving less than 10,000 visits per month. You can always upgrade later.
2. Choosing A Domain Name
Choosing the right name for your domain is like choosing the right name for your children or pets. The name should be catchy, and not too long -2 to 3 words and it should let people know what to expect.
Once you’ve thought up a couple of names hit the get started button for the plan you chose and register your domain name.
Register a new domain through SiteGround for $9.95, or transfer one over for free when you begin the registration process. You can purchase domains through Namecheap.
3. Enter Your Information
Now that you’ve chosen a hosting plan and decided on a domain name it’s time to enter all of your important information.
4. Choose Your Initial Plan Length + Extras
SiteGround gives you the option to choose how long you would like to pre-pay for their hosting services at the introductory rate. You can lock in the rate for up to three years.
This is a great offer that most hosting services don’t have. The only downside to this is that you have to pre-pay for 2 to 3 years but with the reduced rates at the moment it’ll still be reasonable, $33 for 12 months, $66 for 24 months and $99 for 36 months.
In addition to choosing the length of your contract, you can also choose any extras, such as Domain Privacy for $9 per year or SG Site Scanner for $15.60 per year.
Domain Privacy will hide your personal information – like your address and phone number – so it doesn’t show up when people look at your domain information which is public.
SG Site Scanner monitors your website and lets you know if you have been hacked.
These services aren’t necessary but it might be a good idea to get Domain Privacy.
5. Begin the SiteGround Account Setup Wizard
Once you completed payment your account will be created. Now you have a domain name and hosting, how awesome is that! What’s left to do is installing WordPress.
WordPress is a blogging software. It’s the software that I use for secondskinblog.com. The best part is that it’s SUPER easy to use and it’s also super easy to install on your website.
SiteGround will ask you to set up and install your new WordPress blog immediately and it takes just a few minutes using the Account Setup Wizard.
To get started, choose the “get wordpress pre-installed on this account” option and hit Proceed.
The next page consists of two parts. In the first one, enter the login information for your new WordPress application.
It’s important to choose a pass word that isn’t easy to guess, random passwords with a combination of letters (both uppercase and lowercase) and numbers are best.
There is a great password management app available for free, it’s RoboForm to help you keep track of all your passwords and usernames, it also generates passwords.
Next, pick one of the free WordPress themes available in the Wizard and click on the Submit button once again.
You can easily change the theme afterwards if you are not happy with the free themes.
Finally, you will see a quick summary of your WordPress installation, including from where to get access to your admin area, your username and your password.
That’s it you are done! You can now go to the front page of your site and check out the newly installed WordPress application. To access your back page go to http://yournewdomain.com/wp-admin. Then just enter your log in information and see your new WordPress dashboard!
6. Make It Beautiful
There are a lot of themes out there and deciding which one to choose does take time. Of course you might like the one you installed while setting up your blog.
In case you would like to try something else you could go to Appearance > Themes on the left hand side of your WordPress dashboard and search for and install a free theme in the WordPress database.
Some themes you have to pay for. Why you ask if there are themes available for free. Well many people use free themes and they tend to look generic. A paid theme will help you stand out of the crowd as you get more features and optimization options.
Other advantages of premium themes are that you get free upgrades, free support and sometimes access to other resources.
I’m using the Danielle theme by BlogBeauty, it’s a good theme and not as pricey as other premium themes, but I recommend you also have a look at the options listed below, there are great looking and SEO friendly themes to be discovered here:
There are a few plugins that will help to make your site successful. They are easy to install and at this point you will be fine with the free version of all of them. Head to Plugins on your Dashboard, hit add new and search for the ones you’d like to add.
Akismet – is pre-installed (not activated) with WordPress. Activating it will protect your site from spammers leaving comments and track backs on posts and pages.
Contact Form 7 – you will want to give people the possibility to contact you, easy to install and to integrate.
Favicon by RealFaviconGenerator – creates and installs your favicon in seconds.
Google Analytics – knowing how may people come to your site, what they read and how they get there is an important part of managing a successful website.
jQuery Pin It Button for Images – most of my traffic comes from Pinterest, so it’s important to have a pin it button on your photos to make it easy for people to pin from your site.
Open external links in a new window – when people follow links from your blog to outside websites, they don’t loose your site, your site tab stays open waiting for them to return.
Wordfence Security – to keep your site safe, with firewall and all. Also comes with a live traffic panel where you can see all traffic coming to your site in real-time.
WordPress SEO by Yoast – This plugin does amazing SEO things for you in the background and helps you write SEO optimized posts and pages with its page analysis option.
WP Fastest Cache – This is the best free cache plug in which helps your site load faster.
WP-DBManager – supports automatic scheduling of backing up, optimizing and repairing of database.
Tools for Graphic Design
Canva – great for designing graphics for social media.
Pic Monkey – free photo editing tool.
Other great tools
Grammarly – a very cool online proofreader which checks spelling, grammar and punctuation! Works on gmail, facebook and where ever else you write on the internet.
NOTE: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links and will earn Secondskinblog a small commission if you sign up to the services. This adds no cost to you but helps keep this blog sustainable. I only recommend products that are helpful and companies that I trust.