A lot of people are interested in building their own fitness blog but simply don’t know where to start. You can use this blog as an online journal to track your progress and keep yourself accountable to your nutrition/workout routine, or you can use this blog as a way to generate some extra income for your online fitness business. Or you can do both!
Since I’m sort of a geek when it comes to these things I decided to put this tutorial together to make things super easy for you!
We’re going to use WordPress.org which is the SELF-HOSTED version of the WordPress blogging platform. You can use WordPress to build a blog OR website quite easily.
WordPress is one of the world’s largest blogging platforms and is used by both large corporations as well as the crazy cat lady who lives down the street (yep that’s me). This blog was built on WordPress from day one and I have found it easy to use and a great way to build my personal brand online as well as a six-figure network marketing business.
Sounds great Amanda…what’s the first step??
Before we get started I want you to understand that there’s a BIG difference between the FREE version of WordPress (WordPress.com) and the self-hosted version (WordPress.org) since this seems to be a source of confusion for many people.
This is just a personal opinion but I don’t see any reason why you would ever want or need to use a free blogging platform. Yes, it’s FREE…but there’s a reason for that!
When you use a free blogging platform you don’t own any of the content you publish. That means whoever is hosting that content on your behalf (WordPress.com, Blogger, Tumblr, etc.) can do whatever they want with YOUR content. They can even sell it if they want to. You don’t own the rights to that content…they do. Even if you’re just blogging as a hobby don’t you want to have full ownership of the content YOU create?
Free blogging services also have terms and condition that you need to follow and agree to if you choose to publish your content on their platform. That means if you do something wrong they can delete your blog without any notice. There goes all your hard work. POOF! They don’t even need to give you a reason. Why? Because you already agreed to their terms and conditions. And if you’re a business owner good luck marketing your products and services on your free blog. That’s typically a big no-no.
When you use free blogging services you’re basically renting a house. You are NOT the one in charge. On some platforms you need to pay to use your own domain name, run ads, or use certain plugins among other things. On the surface it may seem like using free platforms is the easy way to go, but it’s NOT.
Almost 100% of the time, bloggers who start off using free platforms eventually decide they want to self-host and then they have to deal with the HUGE headache of moving everything over to a web host. It’s either that, or walk away from the content you’ve already created and start all over from scratch. I want to save you a TON of time and frustration by having you self-host your blog and do it right from the beginning.
If you’re a business owner, self-hosting shows you are serious and professional. And if you’re a hobby blogger you can eventually make the transition into business blogging without missing a beat. Besides that, do you know of any hobbies that don’t cost money?? Photography, crafts, baking, underwater basket weaving…if you want to get the most enjoyment out of your hobby you are going to need to spend a little somethin-somethin’ right?!?
OK, so now that you know the importance of self-hosting, let’s get started!
If you don’t already have a domain name you’ll need to purchase one. Makes sense right? 🙂
This seems like a big decision, but don’t let it freak you out too much.
These are my general recommendations:
- .COM is the only extension that you want to use.
- Make sure your domain name is easy to spell and remember.
- No hyphens or dashes.
- Be creative if you can, but take into consideration that most people won’t “get it” if you try to be too clever or personal.
- 2-3 words is ideal, but don’t go any more than 4 words.
- If you’re really not sure what your long term goals are for your blog or are just being too indecisive, register your real name. It’s good to own this anyway and you can always use it for something else later if you change your mind.
- If you have your heart set on a domain name consider adding short words like MY or THE to the beginning and if the .com is available snatch it up!
- This is just my personal opinion, but unless you’re some type of certified fitness professional or plan on being one eventually (personal trainer, group instructor, etc.) I don’t recommend including the keyword FITNESS in your domain name, such MyNameFitness.com.
When it comes to domain names I’m a fan of Namecheap. Their interface is clean and simple to use. This is just a personal preference but I like to keep my domain names separate from my web hosting account. I find it easier to manage things that way, plus I think it’s better to go with companies who specialize in one or the other and you can typically save some money by doing it that way.
Once you settle on a domain name you’ll want to add it to the shopping cart and then create your account.
NOTE: if you go to NameCheapCoupons.com you can find the current coupon code for a discount on a one-year registration for your new .COM domain.
After that, just follow through the steps and leave everything on the default settings as you go. Later on, after you sign-up for web hosting we will need to change the DNS (domain name server) information but you don’t have to worry about that right now. While I really like using Namecheap for registering my domain names, web hosting isn’t their forte so I would rather use a different service for that.
If you already registered your domain name with another company it’s not a show stopper. You will just need to figure out how to change the DNS settings as described in Step 3 below.
STEP TWO: Sign-up for Web Hosting
Now that you have a domain name it’s time to sign-up for a web hosting plan. There are lots of hosting companies out there and you can research them all if you want, but I love and recommend Siteground.
One of my favorite things that they offer is the LIVE CHAT feature, where you can contact support 24-7 if you have a problem or question. I’ve used this MANY times when I can’t find the answer to something after searching Google or their support files. When you’re in a hurry and need to find an answer quickly you don’t want to sit around waiting for someone to get back to you. This is especially important if you’re using your blog for business.
To sign-up for web hosting go to Siteground and you’ll see three options. The $3.95 per month START UP plan is all you need for now. Click GET STARTED and then follow the steps. Select GET A NEW HOSTING ACCOUNT and I ALREADY HAVE A DOMAIN (enter your domain) if you registered your domain name with Namecheap or other domain name company. Otherwise you can use Siteground to register your new domain name.
Choose whatever billing period you want to use. I recommend de-selecting DOMAIN PRIVACY but leave HACKALERT MONITORING checked.
As you go through the checkout process you may be offered more add-ons but you can just uncheck everything.
Once you create an account and purchase your plan, Siteground will send an email with information on how to log into your cPanel (control panel). This is where you will install WordPress on your domain with just one click using an application called Fantastico. Be sure to write this info down and save for future reference. You will also want to make note of the DNS information they also send in this email so you can tell Namecheap exactly where your domain name belongs on the Internet.
Which brings us to…
Once you log into your Namecheap account you’ll be taken to the MEMBER’S HOME page. From there, in the upper left corner of the screen you’ll see a menu under your username. Go to MANAGE DOMAINS and then click on your domain name on the next screen. In the sidebar under GENERAL click on TRANSFER DNS TO WEBHOST. Make sure SPECIFY CUSTOM DNS SERVERS is selected and enter in the two lines that Siteground gave you in the welcome email. You can leave the other spaces blank. SAVE CHANGES and you’re done!
If you used another company to register your domain name I recommend searching their HELP files for instructions on how to change your DNS information. They (hopefully) should make it pretty easy to find. You may also find instructions by doing a search on YouTube or Google.
OK, here we go…you’re almost there!!
Next you will need to log into your Cpanel dashboard so you can install WordPress. Go to yourwebsite.com/cpanel and log in with your Siteground username and password.
NOTE: it’s kinda confusing, but be sure to use the password that Siteground sends you to log into your cPanel. Even though your username will be the same, you need a separate password to log into cPanel which is different than the main password you created for your Siteground account. This information should be included in your welcome email.
Next, find the WordPress icon under the AUTOINSTALLERS section and click on it:
Then, click on the link that says INSTALL NOW. After that, click NEW INSTALLATION.
Your URL should display where it says CHOOSE INSTALLATION URL. Leave everything else the same and be sure to make note of your ADMIN USERNAME and PASSWORD.
Your admin username is what will display on your blog whenever you write a new post so you can change this if you want (this can be changed later). You may also want to change the default admin email address if it’s not one you currently use. Again, this can all be changed later in your WordPress dashboard under SETTINGS > GENERAL.
Scroll to the bottom, click INSTALL and you’re done! (You can have details of the installation sent to your email). After that you will have the default version of WordPress installed on your website.
Go to yourdomain.com and instead of the default Namecheap page you should now see something that looks a bit different.
CONGRATULATIONS! It’s a website! 🙂
- how to setup your blog settings for the best SEO
- what theme/design is the best
- how to publish your first post
- how to include an email sign-up form on your blog
- how to connect your blog to social media
- what plugins you need to install
and SO much more!!
Stay tuned to this page for more info!