While we sell beautiful themes here at Restored 316 Designs, one of the most popular questions that comes to our inbox and our support site, comes before anyone ever purchases a theme…
How do I start a Blog?
Sure, blogging seems like something that absolutely everyone does these days and it seems like it should be as easy as the snap of a finger. And, for those using a free blogging platform like Blogger or WordPress.com, it is. But today, we wanted to walk you through how to start a blog using your own domain, your own hosting, and how to make it beautiful by using one of the themes we offer here.
Step One: You’re going to need a domain.
This is usually the toughest part of the process, especially if you’re starting a blog on a whim and haven’t put any kind of thought into what you’re going to be writing or sharing. This is the part that is going to make you ready to ram your head into the desk and possibly leave you in tears: choosing your domain name. When I first started blogging, I quite literally changed my name every single time a new idea hit me. It wasn’t until after I changed it about twelve times that I thought that maybe I should just use my name and leave it be.
You may choose to use your name, or you may choose to go with something completely different. If you’ve thought of a name for your business or website, then you’ll want to check first to be sure that the domain name is available. Here, our business name is Restored 316 Designs so naturally, we were able to pick up the url Restored316Designs.com. Do some searching and some Googling to see what is available and what isn’t. Take some notes. Brainstorm. Outline. And when you’re ready, purchase yourself a domain. They are free with BlueHost when you register with them for a hosting account (which I will get to momentarily) and average around $12 per year.
Now that you’ve taken care of that it’s time for step two…
Step Two: Purchase Hosting.
One main difference between free blogging platforms (like Blogger and WordPress.com) and what we call self-hosted WordPress, is that you will have to have hosting. Hosting is where you will quite literally purchase your own little corner of the internet. Free blogging sites allow you to store your content and your photos on their servers. With a self-hosted site, you own the section of the internet that you are publishing on. Meaning that should Blogger or WordPress.com decide one day that they don’t want to be in the blogging business anymore, YOUR content will be safe and not disappear into internet oblivion.
We highly recommend BlueHost and WPEngine for hosting. Both of these hosting providers are top notch when it comes to security and customer service. I personally have been with one of these companies for seven years and any time I have any trouble (which is very, very rare), their customer service is on top of it and the issue is fixed in no time! With BlueHost, like I mentioned, you also get a free domain when you register for hosting!
When you go to purchase hosting, you’re going to be asked which hosting package you’d like to select. This can seem completely overwhelming because there are so many options and so many different “tools” that are included in a hosting package. You’ll see a screen like this…
We recommend that you choose the “Most Popular” Package. This is going to get you the most bang for your buck and land you that free domain if you’re just starting out with a self-hosted site. Once you click on the hosting plan of choice, you’re going to be asked to either choose a domain or register a new one.
This is where, if you’re registering a new domain, you’ll get to snag that url that you spent so much time thinking about earlier!
What if I have a domain already but need to transfer it to my hosting provider?
You can absolutely transfer an existing domain to your host! While we recommend having someone help with this if you aren’t familiar with how to do it (most hosting providers have a customer service team that would be willing to walk you through the process). With BlueHost, you’ll want to change your name servers to these:
Okay, so you have a domain and you have hosting. What next?
Step Three: Install WordPress onto your chosen domain.
Now that you’ve got your hosting account and you’ve made a selection with your domain (hard, wasn’t it?), it’s time to launch WordPress.Many hosting companies offer an easy installation process for WordPress. If you’re using Bluehost, look in your cpanel for the WordPress icon and follow the steps from there. You’ll have WordPress installed in under 5 minutes!
Here is a step-by-step video to walk you through installing WordPress using the one click install in BlueHost:
Once you have WordPress installed, here is a guide to getting logged in for the first time:
Now that you’ve walked through steps one, two and three…the fun part begins!
Step Four: Choose your Theme!
This is where your creativity gets to shine! There are a lot of theme providers out there, but we are hoping that since you’re here, you’re going to choose one of our completely customizable and super-versatile themes to be the one you use for your new site. We are currently offering 15 Customizable WordPress Themes that offer top-of-the-line coding and mobile responsive design. Most of our themes are E-commerce ready and all of them come with beautiful homepage layouts and site functionality as well as a blog feature.
All of our themes are built on the Genesis Framework, so be sure to grab that while you’re picking out your theme. Our theme will not work without it and you will receive an error message that could cause your site to crash. So, make sure you don’t try to upload our theme without the framework.
Step Five: Install your Theme and Start Blogging!
You’re almost there! You’ve got a WordPress site set up and you’re ready to get started! WordPress automatically adds an out of the box theme to your site when you create a new install, so you’ll want to upload your new theme and override what is there.
Once you purchase both the Genesis Framework and any of our themes, you’re going to download a .zip file. Once you’ve downloaded that, login to your new WordPress site (or existing site if you already have one). Once you’re logged in you’re going to be on what is known as the WordPress Dashboard. You should see a column on the left hand site that looks similar to this:
You’ll see the APPEARANCE tab a little toward the bottom. When you hover over it, you’ll see something that says THEMES. Click on it. This is going to take you to the install screen so you can upload your new themes and get those activated. Once you’re there click on ADD NEW > UPLOAD THEME.
This is very important…make sure that you install the Genesis Framework first. You will install the ZIP file that you downloaded. Do not unzip the file, as it won’t download and you’ll receive an error message. You’ll be asked if you want to activate Genesis it once it’s installed. No need to do that because you won’t actually be using this theme. Genesis is just the framework, sort of like a pretty shirt is the outfit and the jewelry you wear is what makes it fabulous. Restored 316 Themes are those accessories. After you install Genesis, upload the theme that you’ve purchased through Restored 316 Designs. Then you’ll click on activate.
From there, you can customize the site to your liking! All of our themes are completely customizable and versatile. Many changes can be done through the dashboard (such as uploading a header or changing your background) and some changes, like changing your fonts, have to be done in the themes stylesheet. We have put together step-by-step tutorials for each of our themes so that you can get things set up like our demo site is set up. We also offer customization packages for those who want to use our theme but want something a bit more custom and don’t know how to make those changes themselves.
If you’ve already got your site up and going with one of our themes, hashtag us on Twitter or Instagram with #restored316 so we can see your gorgeous new site! Or, if you want, you can submit your site for inclusion in our showcase!