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If you have been visiting crochet and crafting blogs, you may be thinking “Sure, I want to build a blog, too!” I’m here to tell you that with some basic steps and a bit of determination, you can absolutely achieve that goal.
Let’s start a blog together today, and not just any blog, but a super-amazing blog that will bring you joy in the creative process and money (if that’s one of your blogging goals). You can do this!
I started blogging in 2012, on a free travel blog site. That’s when the bug caught me. Since this was a free hosted blog site, I didn’t have to do any of the “behind the scenes work”, just log in and write. In time, I realized the benefits of writing on a website with full control of the layout and began to pursue steps in my current journey.
I love the interaction with my readers, many of whom are now among my closest of friends. The approach of Crochet Getaway is a bit different than some crochet and crafting blogs. This site provides information and resources regarding yarn-based textile crafts and places where crochet enthusiasts can gather to learn and network. This might be a cruise ship, a weekend seminar, or just a small gathering at a local library.
Yes, there are some free patterns and other resource materials on the site for the armchair travelers who love crochet.
Stick around. Enjoy the fun. And, most importantly, welcome to our little community.
Back to blogging. There is so much information on the web about how to start a blog. Conflicting information creates a web of confusion.
Where do you start?
Who is the real expert on this?
Well, I’m here to tell you, that after a couple of years of running in circles, I’ve discovered the secret. There is no one right way. There are actually many paths to a successful (and profitable) blog experience.
During my journey in creating Crochet Getaway, I’ve learned to follow a handful of experts who have given me the important tools to make my own decisions about the best path for my blogs.
My blogs are not the largest out there and I don’t have millions of followers, but the blogs I write have given me a huge sense of accomplishment and provide an opportunity for a side hustle income stream.
I had no idea that blogging would become more than a fun hobby when I started with those first few blog posts.
It’s been quite an experience and I have now gained enough skills that I’ve become eager to share all that I’ve learned along this amazing journey into blogging. This post will help you with the very first crucial steps and give you actual screenshots for setting up a blog using WordPress (for the writing) and Bluehost (for the hosting service).
Choosing a domain name
We are making this process as easy as possible and the first step is to choose a domain name. The domain name is what appears before the “.com” when searching in google or other search engines.
Think about your blog direction and how the domain name looks on paper and how it sounds when spoken. Is it easy to understand when spoken? Is it easy to spell out when talking to prospective blog readers? You will be spelling out this name often as you meet fellow bloggers and potential readers. Give it some thought, brainstorm with your friends, look at your best-of-the-best blog name choices in print and say them aloud a few times.
When you decide on a name, use NameCheck (https://www.namechk.com) to see a number of different social media platforms and to determine which of the platforms have that name available. As you add social media venues it is helpful, but not mandatory, that these are based on using the same domain name.
There are many opinions about using a descriptive blog name versus using your actual name as the blog name. I do both and honestly see a place for both in my online business strategies. My Crochet Getaway blog uses a creative blog name and uses the tagline “escapades for crochet enthusiasts” to more clearly articulate the purpose of the blog – which is to provide information about gathering events for yarn crafting groups. I have a fun little mascot for the site (sourced from Fiverr for $5) and the site name seems to resonate well with my crafting friends.
As I began writing more articles for travel publications and promoting my photography work, I purchased the domain for gwyngoodrow.com. This site has endless possibilities as my hobbies and blogging interests evolve. I’m branching into some new revenue streams – styled stock images for social media, social media copywriting, building websites for small business and nonprofits, and other fun techie projects. These sometimes overlap with Crochet Getaway, but not always. The gwyngoodrow.com site is a good fit for my other interests and income ideas.
When you have settled on a domain name, to make the process really easy, purchase your domain name directly through Bluehost. You can get a FREE domain for your first year of blogging when you buy 12 months of Bluehost web hosting services. You need both – a domain and a host – so this is an economical way to get started. Ready to go? Just click the photo below to move to the Bluehost website, then click the green button to “get started now”.
The next decision (made easy for you!)
Basic, Plus, or Pro? Which one is right for you?
For your first blog, I recommend the basic Bluehost package. The basic package at $3.95 per month will provide everything that you need to get started. It is a small investment but completely adequate for your starting your crochet blog.
You can upgrade to the higher level packages at any time and pay the fee difference when it makes sense. For now, just click the green “select” button for your chosen package and we’ll link your domain name and the hosting system.
On the screen below, on the left side of the page, you will enter your new domain name (if you have not purchased a domain elsewhere)
If you already have a domain name, you will identify your already-purchased domain name. Then click the blue “next” button.
On the next two screens, you will enter your contact information, confirm your purchase, and enter your credit card information.
Optional Domain Name Selections (Additional Fee if you Choose to Include)
The following screen offers additional domains similar to your selected .com or .net account. These are offered with prices beginning at $8.99 per year. Depending on your target market, some of these may be beneficial to your business model. The add-on can be purchased now, or at a later date (assuming someone has not taken the domain name at that time).
Keep in mind that many people naturally type the “.com” version on the end of searches, so you will need to market the other extensions if you choose them instead of (or in addition to) the .com extension.
Congratulations! You are now a domain owner!
It’s time to select a secure password and enter it into the system.
Choose a password that cannot be easily guessed, includes numbers, letters, special characters, and no easily recognized patterns.
Coming Soon…Your Amazing Crochet Blog Site
Now it is time to log into your account, using your blog domain name as the userid and then your password (from the prior screen) in the password field. Then click the blue “submit” button.
The next step (moving right along) is to connect your domain name with the blog hosting service. If you purchase both through Bluehost (recommended) then you can skip this step.
If you need a break, this is a good time to pat yourself on the back or get more caffeine. You will receive a welcome email from Bluehost shortly with a link that we’ll use in the next step.
Welcome back! Now, it’s getting real!
It’s time to install WordPress using Bluehost’s cPanel. Your welcome email from Bluehost will explain how to access this page.
Choose Hosting (top menu bar), then cPanel (second menu bar) and the following screen appears.
Click Start (if this is a brand new install). The installation process begins automatically.
You will receive a prompt to select your domain. Click on the drop-down menu and select your domain.
And the installation will continue. Easier than many of the crochet stitches that we’ve mastered! Do you agree? Hang in there, We are almost finished.
When you reach the screen for the last step, you will see “Advanced Options.” This is where you will need to choose a username and password for your WordPress website. You will use these each time that you log in to WordPress to work on your blog.
Just like we did before, choose an Admin Username and Admin Password that includes numbers, letters, special characters, and does not have easily recognized patterns.
You will want to check “Automatically create a new database for this installation” at the bottom of the screen (unless you already have a database). For a new blogger, it would be uncommon to already have an active database instance.
Click the box regarding terms and conditions (after you read through the documents) and then click on the green “install now” button.
Like MAGIC – Your install is complete!
Be sure to save your user id and password in a safe place for access to your blog.
Your blog is set up and ready for the first blog post. Well, almost. Before posting that first blog entry, we need a platform to display it to the readers. This visual layout for your blog is known as a “theme”.
Here’s my hack for selecting a theme. Look at some websites that you enjoy reading – and think about what appeals to you.
Is it the number of columns on a page?
Is it the color and font combination? Are the photos generally large? Generally smaller thumbnail photos? A combination?
Are the photos generally large? Generally smaller thumbnail photos?
What about the text? Do you prefer big and bold or clean and refined fonts?
Think it over and explore the internet with a new perspective.
You are building your dream website with every decision.
Did you find the ideal website layout?
To navigate in the WordPress system, you will need to log into WordPress with your username and password. This happens on a login screen that appears in the middle of your monitor, tablet, or other devices.
Here’s the last screenshot of this series. When you log into WordPress, you will arrive at a Dashboard page.
Don’t be intimidated. This is the page where you will spend the most time and become intimately familiar with all of the options and tools along the left side of the screen.
The photo below is an example and the dashboard offers Screen Options (upper right corner) for you to customize your view.
Here’s my Promise to you
If you use this document, and need any help or have questions, I can help you out. I’ve been where you are and will do anything I can to make your path painless
YOU DID IT!
Give yourself a pat on the back and embrace your amazing future as a crochet blogger!
You can now start adding pages and posts to your blog, select some plugins to keep the engines running smoothly, design fun graphic photos using Canva.com, or take some online classes to further your skills. As I mentioned before, I struggled with building my blog into a viable online business for several years.
Only a few months ago, I stumbled onto a course that has transformed my outlook on blogging as a source of side hustle income. It is the Blog By Number class by Suzi Whitford. This class is super-affordable and packed with easy-to-understand steps to make your blog shine. I’m so impressed with Suzi’s teaching style, that I purchased two additional courses this morning! She takes the overwhelm completely out of the process and makes the technical stuff seem less complicated so that we can focus on what we really want to do – share crochet patterns, network about events, and build crocheting friendships.
Again, thank you for sticking with it to the end of this long blog post. Let me know how I can help by contacting me through the contact forms on this website or by email. My email address is email@example.com.
Drop me a note with your blog info and I’ll help promote it for you! Yes, really.