279 comments

How to Start a Blog

turntable_georgeWhat an interesting hobby this has become. I started this “just typing some shit into the computer” hobby almost two years ago, and it has totally shaken things up in the Mustache household (which is only even called the Mustache household because of this blog).

I’ve had the privilege of meeting many new people, surfing on quite a few couches, and eating several free lunches provided by generous visiting readers. Several trips (including Hawaii and an upcoming one to Ecuador) are a direct result of this gig, with more sure to come. On top of that, there has been challenge, learning, and nowadays even some significant earning. So, although I was reluctant to add this new thing to an already-busy life back in 2011, now I’m glad I did (and most of the credit for that goes to the lovely Mrs. MM for forcing me to do it).

Many people email me these days asking for advice on starting their own blogs. Since I’ve only ever started one, I can’t claim to be an expert on the topic. But given the number of requests, I figured it might at least be helpful to share what we have learned over this time, in case it helps the other people on the fence get going more quickly.

Why would you even want to start a blog?

In my opinion, the only reason you should do this is because you enjoy writing and learning. Maybe you discovered an aptitude for busting out some fine phrases in high school English class, but then got shunted into a career path that leaves those skills neglected. Maybe you would like to learn more about computer, web and internet technology, and prefer to learn by doing. In general, if you really notice differences in writing style, and passionately enjoy some of them while actively hating others, you might be a writer yourself. But blogging isn’t reserved for people with some magic bit of proven talent. You don’t have to prove yourself to anyone. It just matters that you enjoy it.

What are the benefits of having your own blog?

The neat thing about these things is that if you’re lucky, they force you to write. Maybe you have always wanted to write a book, but you find the idea daunting. 250 pages or more of carefully-edited and researched stuff.. who has time to make something like that? So you never get started.

This is where a blog comes in handy. You can write a 500-word diddy, or a 1500’er like most of the ones you see here, or any other quantity. You still wrote something, which means you have greased your mind and wiggling fingers for more writing in the future. It all adds up, and you get some practice and refine your ideas, and at some point you might have everything you need for a book, without even realizing it while you wrote posts.

But it’s not just for aspiring authors. A blog is also just a place to tell the world how you think, or connect with other people, or record your progress on something that is important to you. It can serve as a place to be publicly accountable. Or maybe just to post funny stories about your cats or your kids. And its purpose can change at any time.

There is also a strong business case behind learning blog skills and technical skills in general. This is a real and growing industry, with jobs and real money flowing about for organized people. For example, the job title ‘WordPress Developer’ didn’t even exist when I was a software engineer, and now it is a field were a software person can earn a six digit salary or start her own similarly lucrative business, and get a job entirely by demonstrating things they have developed – no degree required. ‘Blog Advertising Consultant’ is another that came out of nowhere, and of course there is the King of self-made internet entrepreneurs, Pat Flynn at Smart Passive Income.

But I’m not a programmer. Aren’t these things difficult to set up?

Not really. The simplest way to create a blog is to simply visit blogger.com or wordpress.com and sign up for a free account. Another great platform is the public-essay/newspaper thingy called Medium. Following the prompts and poking around will have you writing your first post within five minutes, and it might be all you ever need to do. Although it’s a good way to start, that is not the subject of this post, since I’m going to cover how to start a larger-scale, self-hosted blog instead.

Why would I want to have my own hosting?

If you are starting a blog for just friends and family, you wouldn’t. Those wordpress.com and blogger.com accounts keep millions of people happy. But if you’re planning a blog that might become a business, and have things like advertising, affiliate links, or high traffic, you’re better off going for a blog that you really own, because it allows you to control many more aspects. With your own hosting, you get much better visitor statistics via Google Analytics (which works well with blogger.com and a self-hosted WordPress blog, but not wordpress.com), the ability to control your look and feel with more plugins and customizations, plus the ability to run your own advertising (which is not allowed on wordpress.com and blogger – in fact, they reserve the right to run their own ads on your site to pay for the free account).

Plus, your web hosting account can serve as your personal online headquarters, since you generally get unlimited storage space and fast transfer speeds even with starter accounts. Store your backup files there, create additional websites for your family, share those 8GB video files with your friends in other countries via HTTP or FTP, and much more. Mrs. MM and I have had dedicated web hosting accounts for 10 years or more for all of the reasons above, long before blogging was invented.

So how do I do it?

Part 1 – Think up a Domain Name and Get Yourself a Hosting Service

Perhaps you’ve already got the perfect domain name. If not, let me offer you some advice. Don’t name your site something like mydebtfreerevelation.com or billyissavingforretirement.com. Make it something catchy, like the catchyfisherman.com or thoughtful/artsy, like texanmuse.com. (I just made those up, if you can believe it, and they’re still available until some lucky reader claims ’em :-))

I’ve grown pretty content with Bluehost hosting. People keep telling me, “Man, you can’t run a site as big as Mr. Money Mustache with shared hosting! My site is 10 times smaller and I upgraded long ago!” But after upgrading to their “Pro” service and running some speed tests, I find that we still have capacity to spare, even with over 1.5 million pageviews per month, and often more than 200 simultaneous readers clicking away. Although a costlier hosting plan may still be in the cards after additional growth, I’m amazed at how much output we’re getting right now. The biggest benefits, however, are just in the ease-of-use of using a bigger provider like this:

  • domain registration and hosting are all done in one step
  • wordpress blog installation can be added with the click of a mouse
  • automatic backups save you from accidentally erasing your own site, as I did a couple months ago
  • forums (like our own Money Mustache Forum) are easy to install
  • FTP and email accounts and all sorts of other stuff come for free as well

So anyway, if you decide to follow the same path, here’s how you’d sign up with Bluehost:

Special thanks to Mrs. Money Mustache, who wrote the original version of this guide.

Step 1: Go to Bluehost.com (affiliate link) and it will take you to this page:

 

The cost varies, but due to the number of MMM readers flowing in, they give us a special. Right now it looks like it’s only $3 per month – still amazing to me since I remember paying much more for 100 megabytes of storage (about 20 modern digital pictures).  Click “Get Started Now.”

Step 1.5: choose a plan. Basic will do just fine, although “prime” is a good deal if you value the extra options. Domain Privacy is an important one, available separately for $0.99 per month even if you don’t get the prime package.

Step 2: If you want to register your newly-invented domain name, enter it on the left.  If you already have one registered elsewhere, enter it on the right.  Since you can register a free domain name with every new account, it might be worth locking in one either way, depending on your needs.  Click Next.

bluehost-signup

Step 3: Oh look at that… CatchyFisherman.com is available.  Lucky me!

bluehost-signup-congrats

Here’s where they tell you about your Free primary domain registration.  Enter your account information and then choose your package details.  It looks like they’re trying to sell me a bunch of extra stuff.  The only thing we chose was the Domain Whois Privacy for an extra $10 per year (this prevents your real name and mailing address from being publicly associated with your domain name).

bluehost-package-info

The drop down will show you the current account plan options.  We picked the ‘plus’ plan, when first starting MMM, because I wanted be able to accomodate other hobby sites as well.  No need for a pro package just yet — you can upgrade your site at any time once the traffic is a flowin’. I found basic hosting was good up to at least 10,000 pageviews/day.

Step 4: I’m assuming that once you fill out the page in step 3 and click Next that you will get some kind of login information for your Control Panel (‘cpanel’).

You now have a domain name and a hosting service.  Congratulations!

Part 2 – Create your WordPress Blog in 4 Steps using Bluehost

Step 1 – Go to bluehost.com and click Login in the top right corner. This will take you to something called your cpanel.  Under the “Website Builders” category, choose WordPress.

iheartwordpress

Step 2 – Now you should be in the Mojo Marketplace. Click the Start button for a brand new install.

bluehost-mojo
Step 3a – You will need to choose a location for your install — this will probably be the root of your new URL, so you would leave this unchanged. In my case, I’m installing a new blog under www.mrsmoneymustache.com/catchyfisherman. Click “Check Domain”.

bluehost-mrsmm-catchyfisherman

Step 3b – For the last step, check “Show Advanced Options” and see what’s there. You can change this information if you like. Leave the “automatically create a database” box checked. Check the terms and conditions box and click “Install Now”.

bluehost-almost-done

Step 4 – Bluehost will automatically install the whole WordPress system. In the meantime, you can click “No thanks” to their attempt at selling you a theme.  Once this is complete, you will receive an e-mail from Mojo Marketplace letting you know that your new WordPress install is complete. You will also find the information to login to your new site in this e-mail.

bluehost-progress

Your wordpress blog is up and running already!  You’ll now see the site in the “My Installs” section. Check it out by going to the URL (in my case: www.mrsmoneymustache.com/catchyfisherman) or login to the admin section of your site by clicking the green “Admin Login” button.

bluehost-my-installs

That will take you here to login. You are logging into the backend of your wordpress site (more on this under Part 3 below):

catchy-fisheman-login

Note the URL to this login page. For me, the URL is: http://www.mrsmoneymustache.com/catchyfisherman/wp-login.php.

Here’s the Mrs. MM Catchy Fisherman blog after the initial Install.  You can customize the look in the WordPress admin panel.

bluehost-new-blog

As you can see, using Bluehost makes a WordPress Install quick and easy.  You can set up numerous sites this way on the same host by using the same 4 steps above.

Part 3 – A few customizations within WordPress

Now you have a site and you can start typing and publishing right away, but you may want to do a few things within WordPress first.  I’m far from a WordPress expert, so if any of you recommend any other setup steps, please let us know.

Step 1 – Login to the wordpress admin section of your blog by entering the username and password you were given.

catchy-fisheman-login

Step 2 – You will arrive at your WordPress Dashboard.  This is the “back end” of your blog.  This is where you go to do almost everything, including adding posts, changing the look and feel, adding plugins, etc.

For added security, the first thing you’ll want to do is change your login by removing the Admin username (unless you already did this during the install, like I did above):

  • Choose Users -> Add New
  • Invent a memorable new username and password for yourself
  • Choose “Administrator” in the drop-down box at the bottom labeled “role”
  • You should now have two Admin level users.
  • Logout as “admin” and log in using your new username.
  • Then, delete the old Admin account. Now you should only have one admin profile.

Step 3 – you may have noticed that your dashboard gave you a notice to sign up for a WordPress.com account. This is an account with the actual WordPress company, which is different from the accounts just created here on your own server.

You do want this, because it is required to enable an essential plugin called ‘Jetpack’ (which is valuable for site statistics as well as other plugins). So click “Connect to WordPress.com” and then register for an account there (I have no idea why you need to sign up for a separate account for this, but hey, whatever). Save the login information religiously.

Once you have an account, you can authorize Jetpack and you will see a new option under the left hand menu for “Site Stats”. Your site stats will start to display in a little while, although at first you will get a “Take ‘er easy, dude.” message.

You may have also noticed that there are some updates to install. Like most pieces of software, WordPress is under constant development (and it’s amazing that it is free to use!). Under ‘dashboard’, choose ‘updates’ and let WordPress do its thing.

Step 4 – Finally, you can now check all your settings and learn about them. Go to ‘Settings’ and poke through each menu item. Under ‘General’, you can type in your site name and tagline (i.e. early retirement through badassity), your e-mail address, as well as your time zone. Be sure to click the ‘save changes’ button for every page.

Advanced option: check out the ‘Permalink Settings’ to ensure the links to your articles URLs show up the way you’d like them to.  This will be handy when your catchiest articles later go viral on the Internet, as well as increasing the number of visitors you will get from search engines. The default of using Post Name seems pretty good, especially since an MMM reader friend of mine who is a Search Engine Optimization expert recommends leaving the date out of the permalink.

At this point, your site probably looks blank but enticing and ready to go. If you added a site name and tagline, you’ll see that. Since we deleted the Admin account, your hello world post is probably gone. Note that you are currently set up using the default theme (a theme is what dictates the look and feel of your site). The default theme is called “Twenty Fourteen” in this case, and mrmoneymustache.com is running one called “skeptical” at the time of writing.

bluehost-new-blog

Part 4 – Updating your blog’s look and feel

Step 1 – when you choose Appearance – Themes, you’ll see the theme that is currently installed on your site at the top left. The range of available themes is almost endless and people are making hundreds more even as you read. I also see that the Mojo Marketplace has been added as a convenient quicklink, which is a clever way to get you to buy one of their themes. I’m sure their themes are great, but start with something free and get to know your site before buying a theme.

wordpress-themes

After initial install, you have the option to choose another theme (in my case Twenty Thirteen or Twenty Twelve) from the Themes tab, or search for free themes using a keyword under the WordPress.org Themes tab at the top of the page.  You can search by keyword or by filter (as I’ve done in the image in Step 2).

The Add New link at the top of the page also allows you to upload your own theme. It’s a flexible option, but be careful only to use themes from a trusted source lest you end up installing malicious code.  A few reliable sources we’ve used are the Free WordPress Themes (which are built into the search), WooThemes, and Elegant Themes.

WooThemes has some free themes that you can use and Elegant Themes allows you to have access to ALL their themes for $39. I have purchased themes from both places and have never had any issues. I’ve also heard that ThemeForest is a good place to purchase themes, although I haven’t done so myself. I’m assuming that the Mojo Marketplace is also a reputable place to purchase themes.

Note that it is often difficult to change the basic look and feel of a theme, so make sure you start out one with basic positioning that meets your needs. If you have experience with CSS and PHP, you can dig in and change almost anything, but without that knowledge you may be stuck with a theme’s default options.

Note the “Live Preview” link under each available theme. This allows you to see what your site will look like using the new theme. If you save and activate, then the new theme will be used and your previous theme settings will likely be erased… so be careful!

Step 2 – If you decide to use one of the free WordPress themes, just use the built-in search box. For example, suppose you want one using the color orange, with two text columns and a right side bar. I’d also like to be able to upload my own logo so I choose Custom Header. Check the appropriate boxes and click ‘Find Themes’.

wordpress-theme-search
My search results look like this:

wordpress-theme-search-results
From here you can preview themes and choose one to install. Note that the themes won’t look the same on your site as they do in the thumbnail, as your site currently has nothing on it (you’ll notice this as soon as you click the “Preview” link). It can look the way they show in the thumbnail with some work.

Step 3 – You could spend all day or all month looking for just the right theme. This is one of Mrs. MM’s weaknesses. For this example, we will stick with the default theme. After updating a few options under Appearance – Theme Options, we end up with a web site that looks like this.

wordpress-final-site

Note: this screenshot is from the original article (although updated with the new theme), so it is for mrmoneymustache.com/mrsmm instead of mrsmoneymustache.com/catchyfisherman.

Part 5 – Start Blogging!

Once you have the theme you want, you can start creating blog posts (under Posts) and pages (under Pages). You’ll probably want to link to your social media accounts and start letting people know about your blog once you have some good content.

Under Settings -> Privacy, you can choose to make your blog visible to search engines or not.

Under Appearance -> Menus, you can create a menu which helps users navigate to key pages in your site.

Under Plugins, you can add any of the thousands of plugins developed by other people. These are like phone apps for your blog, and many are quite powerful. But again, be careful since some may have bugs or security holes.

The MMM site contains the following plugins that might be useful: Ajax Edit Comments, Akismet, BackupBuddy, BNS SMF Feeds (for the forum feed), Jetpack, LinkWithin, Random Redirect, RSS to Email, Subscribe Sidebar, WP-Optimize, WP-Table Reloaded, WP Security Scan, and WP Super Cache.

You can see the new example blog we just created here: https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/mrsmm/
or
http://www.mrsmoneymustache.com/catchyfisherman/

If you do create a blog as a result of reading this article, and you feel it might be useful to other Mustachians, feel free to share it in the comments. It is normally considered bad form to blatantly plug your own blog in somebody else’s comment section, but in this case, we’re here to support each other in the wonderful world of self-publishing. Happy Blogging!

Here’s that Bluehost link, in case you choose to support this blog while creating your own.
(It doesn’t affect price to you, and many thanks if you do!):

MMMBanner

  • Aloysa @ My Broken Coin January 21, 2013, 11:31 am

    Quite an extensive manual. You should convert it into an ebook and sell it on your site. :)

    Reply
  • Mr 1500 January 22, 2013, 5:49 am

    Super awesome and I wish I would have had this post about 2 months ago; it would have saved me lots and lots of time.

    If you ever do a part II, I’d love to hear about your monetization strategies.

    Reply
  • Kelley January 22, 2013, 8:30 am

    A few other options you didn’t discuss was turning your blog into a blook.

    I’m a professional author (of YA and romantic comedies) w a legacy publisher, blogger, and self-publisher. Besides self-pubbing some of my own novels in print and e-books, I offer one of my blogs as a Kindle subscription (as I don’t monetize my site otherwise). I also converted it into a blook.

    To be honest, a lot of my new readers didn’t want to go thru five hundred links of previous posts to catch up. It was much easier to offer a free pdf on my site, as well as selling the e-book for Nook, Kindle, Kobo, Smashwords, etc. And e-books are living docs, so I update every month w any new posts.

    As far as costs, I learned how to format myself. Smashwords has the best tutorial, I’ve found. I also do my own covers (quite simple using Powerpoint, the free Fotoflexer site, and public domain photos-or my own.) I have accounts w all the distributors I can sign up with.

    The royalties are really nice as extra side income, and my readers appreciate it. And once you figure it out, it’s not much more work than just running a regular blog. A win-win.

    Reply
  • Bakari January 22, 2013, 8:32 am

    I don’t doubt in the slightest that having a fully independent blog platform and hosting provides more customization and bandwidth and storage and is probably worth it if you have a large following, but just to clarify, you can definitely integrate both AdSense and Google Analytics on Blogger – in fact, they are built in options so it is ridiculously easy. It is so easy, its almost challenging *not* to.

    Anyway, I’ve been writing way back since 2006, and have continued despite a maximum readership of about 12.
    All that changed with the MMM article “What Do You Mean You Don’t Have a Bike” where my used bike buyer’s guide was direct linked. That drove so many to my site it actually jumped to the top of google results for “buy bike on craigslist”, and it continues to be the single largest source of traffic for my blog.
    Thanks MMM

    Here’s my shameless plug: http://biodieselhauling.blogspot.com/
    The last post is a totally emotionally charged topic, and a potential trigger for some, but don’t let that discourage you from poking around the other articles

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache January 22, 2013, 9:05 am

      Thanks for the correction, Bakari.. I fixed the article regarding Blogger.com with Analytics. It makes sense that Google would work with Google.

      I am also glad to hear that your bikes via Craigslist article got some benefit from the MMM article. Having the ranking change in the search engine seems like an amazing result!

      Reply
  • Grimpeur Heureux January 22, 2013, 9:27 am

    I commented above but then realised that MMM is allowing direct plugs in the comments. (So here it is…)

    This post re-inspired me to write a blog. I looked back to a project I started last year but never quite got off the ground. After a bit of a re-brand and a reorientation of the style and content to better reflect me as a person, I’ve relaunched:

    http://grimpeurheureux.com

    It’s a blog about cycling and happiness. Not directly about frugal living, but I did give up my job as an investment banker to be a stay-at-home dad and our household now has a much lower income (my wife works 3 days a week). So it is indirectly about changing your lifestyle to achieve greater happiness – and I do plan to write the odd post along these lines (as well as what it is like to go from advising large companies and governments on bond deals to looking after two children aged 4 and 21 months…).

    Please stop by and have a look :-)

    Reply
  • Ryan January 22, 2013, 5:13 pm

    One thing I’ve never been able to figure out is how to get those redirect links for affiliate URLs. Is there a plugin you use to get the “http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/mmm-recommends/bluehost/” to go to the correct place?

    Reply
    • Mrs. Money Mustache January 22, 2013, 5:22 pm

      Yes, the plugin we use is called “Affiliate Link Cloaking”, by Clionpid.

      Reply
      • Ryan January 22, 2013, 6:15 pm

        Perfect. Thanks! I read a guide a long time ago on how to do it by editing the htaccess file, but got lost in all the steps.

        Reply
  • Jane Savers @ The Money Puzzle January 24, 2013, 10:02 am

    Your Wise Bread ranking jumped by 73 spots this week.

    Do higher rankings mean higher ad revenue rates?

    Do you care?

    Reply
    • Mrs. Money Mustache January 24, 2013, 11:02 am

      It looks the same to me. The blog has been sitting at #53 for 3 weeks in a row, although much of the data that is calculating the wisebread score is stuck right now so it hasn’t been very reliable lately.

      All the ranking systems are flawed in many ways and many can be manipulated (ex: want a higher klout score? tweet a lot!, want a higher alexa score? join Yakezie!). None of them accurately measure readership.

      I can assure you that MMM does not give a shit about rankings of any kind. He only cares about writing and readers. I’m the only one that checks that stuff. :) He specifically thinks you should ignore all rankings and other ways to “get ahead” and focus on writing and your readers.

      The real measure of success for a blog is how many people are reading and participating (commenting) and I think the MMM blog ranks pretty highly in this regard (much higher than any of the ranking systems would have you believe). Pageviews, visitors, feed subscribers, # of comments, forum participation… that stuff is all useful information. MMM is primarily interested in changing people’s lives and he gets e-mails every day about folks doing just that.

      I know other people say that it can affect ad revenue, but I think that has more to do with private advertisers, which we don’t use.

      Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache January 24, 2013, 11:11 am

      Haha.. while I think the people who run that Wisebread blog are great, that rating chart is silly and almost meaningless outside of perhaps the top 5. That’s because they don’t take into account any of the things that are worth measuring in a blog: page views, unique visitors, total reader time, feed subscribers, or anything else that measures how much people read or like the blog.

      Right now it appears to be scrambled randomly (maybe a code bug) so it means nothing at all. Last time I heard, this blog was in the 50s on that chart. Now it says “71, up 53 spots from last week”. Huh?

      There are some unfortunate advertisers that do try to buy based on things like that list or the meaningless “Alexa Rank”. I commend the bloggers who get some earnings in that way, since it’s a bit of good luck on their part.

      This blog doesn’t have any private advertisers, just google adsense and affiliate links for things like ING and Lending Club. That’s not a great model for revenue either (I should just have everything ad-free and have a book instead). But for now it works and provides a fun motivation to keep things growing.

      Reply
      • Jane Savers @ The Money Puzzle January 24, 2013, 2:12 pm

        Thank you to Mr and Mrs for replying. I have a lot to learn and I am reading as much as I can.

        Today I learned that there are services that will comment on blogs for you using your blog name to get your blog name out there. $3.00 per comment. Some people must waste a lot of money on their blogs.

        Reply
        • Mr. Money Mustache January 24, 2013, 8:29 pm

          Oh man, the idea of that makes me ill – Comments as a commodity. And I’m sure they would suck, just like the offers I get daily for “free guest posting on topic of your choice from experienced writer”. with an embedded link for search engine rank purposes, of course.

          Reply
  • A pair of blue eyes January 28, 2013, 7:25 am

    Thanks for the tips. I have signed up after wanting to get back into blogging for a long time. Hope when I have written a few more posts you can come over and see how things are going. I have been reading your blog for ages now and find it very useful (shall be linking up anyone I get to read mine to yours)

    Reply
  • Nick January 29, 2013, 12:43 pm

    Thanks for the information. I actually started a blog a few days ago in ernest after realizing I really liked the notion of sharing information whether it be about travel, money, science or politics. I think its critical to the human condition for people to have the chance to explore and learn more about the world we live in and the combination of the techniques you describe here in saving money, along with ways to travel cheaply, and our continued thirst for knowledge are all move us forward in a postive way. We live in exciting times and I’m eager to see what other posters on here have to share! If anyone decides they want to pay me a vist please check out: http://slicksshoebox.blogspot.com/

    Based on your advice MMM I may migrate over to private hosting at some point though. Thanks!

    Reply
  • Yossif January 29, 2013, 2:20 pm

    I actually made up my own blog right as this was posted. Thanks for making an easy to follow guide for us newbies.

    My new blog is basically MMM if he talked more about diet and nutrition. I loved MMM’s attitude and style but I specialize in nutrition stuff. I’ve lost over 100lbs and I want to help others do the same. MMM inspired me to start something useful! (and if I can get some passive income off it, great. Either way, this stuff is fun to do!) Any visitors to my new blog would be great! Thanks!

    http://angrynutrition.com/

    -Yossif

    Reply
  • Renee S January 29, 2013, 2:28 pm

    I made a blog thanks to your help! I really hope you write more blog-y posts.

    I am a public health nurse and wanted to blog about my PERSONAL experiences in the hospitals/drs offices/etc as a patient. I think it would be a very unique perspective and I have had a lot of interesting surgeries/procedures that I think would be of interest. I think I could potentially help others to get through the hospital system easier and find out answers about themselves and their children faster and more efficiently with both my personal and professional experience.

    It’s scary though…what if noone listens? What if they don’t care? Oh well, I still do want to get my story out because…its awesome :)

    Thanks MMM!

    Reply
  • Ms. Rants January 30, 2013, 10:33 pm

    This is a great guide. I’ve thought about starting a self-hosted personal finance blog, but I’m not ready to start quite yet. I have a free wordpress blog already at http://chronicrants.com that I love, and I don’t want to have to divide my attention. It’s been a year and a half and while my readership isn’t all that high, I do have some loyal readers who I’ve built great relationships with. I also find it to be very cathartic to not only write about the various issues around chronic illnesses, but to find support and similar experiences from others. I’ve actually been shocked to find that some things I thought were rare are actually quite common.

    Now, what I’d love to see in part two is “how to start a *successful* blog”! Your readership stats have been amazing almost from the start, and I’m curious about that. While I don’t write for the numbers or to monetize right now, my next blog may be different.

    Reply
  • Renee S February 5, 2013, 11:16 am

    So, when I made my blog, I signed up with bluehost for the 36 months, but my only price option was $6.95. Now they have it low again at $4.95. I talked to their customer service rep and she refunded me $72.00 :) Just wanted to share!

    Reply
  • Cee February 6, 2013, 11:23 am

    This was so amazingly helpful and inspired me to finally take the blogging plunge. Thank You so very much for all you do!

    Reply
  • simplicity seeker February 7, 2013, 8:59 am

    Thanks to this post, I finally stopped procrastinating about writing a blog and took the plunge. Now, if only I could stop procrastinating and actually write some posts of my own…
    I have lots of ideas, so I’m sure I will get around to blogging regularly sooner or later. It’s going to be a blog about a few topics that interest me: philosophy, personal finance, health and fitness, and the general pursuit of happiness.

    Reply
  • Jane Savers @ The Money Puzzle February 7, 2013, 12:54 pm

    I just had a terrible technical experience with Blue Host. I was doing the online chat to get help with moving my online files from WordPress to BlueHost. The ovelry techy guy could not understand what my problem was when he dumped several screens of information on me at once and I had trouble following them and moving between chat, WordPress admin and the Blue Host control panel.

    It was a very frustrating experience and I explained that, as I scrolled through screen after screen of instructions, that it was difficult for me to follow and that I might as well cancel so he just transferred me to billing and I cancelled.

    I am sure the guy knows everything there is to know about Blue Host but he certainly couldn’t explain anything to me.

    The billing people were very nice and cancelling was straightforward. Perhaps Blue Host would of been easier if I had opened my blog there instead of starting with WordPress and attempting to transfer.

    I left a detailed statement about my experience in the comment area and I hope they learn from my disappointing experience.

    Reply
  • Net Worth Snowball February 14, 2013, 7:34 pm

    Your tremendous posts and inspiration have encouraged me to join the party and kick off my own blog. I have been contemplating whether or not to blog for nearly a year, but this post gave me the necessary boot in the ass to get started.

    My blog is titled Net Worth Snowball and focuses on embracing frugality early in life to harness the snowball effect of compound interest. I will share the ways I have been able to put myself on the fast track to financial independence in my 20’s.

    Thank you so much for always providing the great content MMM and for this easy outline to blogging!

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache February 14, 2013, 8:43 pm

      Congratulations NWS! Looking forward to hearing of your journey, and if you hit retirement before 30 (which is entirely possible), I will properly bow down to you :-)

      Reply
      • Net Worth Snowball February 15, 2013, 6:45 pm

        Thanks MMM! What an incredible honor that would be to have the godfather of FI bow down to me :)

        You rock!

        Reply
  • Ian February 15, 2013, 4:05 pm

    One of the best posts I’ve come across – great job!
    Absolute concrete, practical steps to follow, you can’t go wrong.
    Power to the blogger dude! Thanks for posting.

    Reply
  • Brian February 20, 2013, 5:09 pm

    Wow. What a great post! I’ve been using Blogger since 2001. I like it because it’s free and easy. My previous attempts to switch over to a Wordpress blog failed miserably. Thanks to your informative post I think I’m going to give it another try. I’ve had Bluehost accounts before, but for whatever reason I couldn’t make it work and gave up on it. That’s been several years ago and before you wrote this excellent how-to. Thanks a bunch.

    Reply
  • Dave February 23, 2013, 5:26 pm

    Things haven’t gone well thus far. First I found that the information in this blog is, I guess, out of date already as things looked different on the site after I passed part 2. When I was done, I tried to log in according to the email they sent me. I could not log in so I spent a half hour on a chat with an incompetent technician. It was then escalated to a higher power who told me that I needed to verify the account. I hadn’t done this because, gee, there was nothing about verification in the email. I pointed this out in the chat and never heard from them again. I called about the verification and the person I spoke to had no idea why I needed to verify but did it anyway. When I got back to my computer I had email that my password had been changed. And, what a surprise, as I don’t know the new password I still cannot login! Do you think I will ever get my $105. back?

    Reply
  • Ryan February 25, 2013, 4:47 pm

    Inspired by your Post Here, I decided it was time to venture forth into the “Blog-o-sphere” and Create a .Com to call my own. Thank you so much for putting this all together, it really did make the whole process much easier.

    Have you given any consideration to A follow-up Post detailing the Steps you took behind the scenes to generate traffic to the Site?

    I noticed that you’ve done some guest posting, and was curious just how involved you were with the whole SEO process.

    ——————————————————————————————-

    Also wanted to personally thank you for making such a life changing Blog and creating this great community. Inspired by your Work I started saving and paying off my debts, fixing my credit and working towards FI.

    I’ve also been smoke Free for 2 months now thanks to the support of Other Mustachians in the “Throw down the gauntlet” Thread of your Forums. Again my sincere Thanks, and keep up the Good work sir’

    ~Cheers

    Reply
  • Lisa Mueller March 10, 2013, 7:50 pm

    Mr. MM, I am a big fan of your site. Thanks for the tips on how to start a blog. I just recently started a blog, and I love it! I love writing and it’s been a great way to connect with people. I am on wordpress.com but may consider the hosting service if I get more traffic.

    My blog is: http://savvycareer.wordpress.com/
    (how to survive unemployment an thrive in the new economy)

    I started the blog to provide information and resources to people who are unemployed, underemployed or in a career transition.

    I am a big fan of personal finance blogs and read yours on a regular basis! The Ecuador trip sounds fabulous.

    What matters the most in terms of building readership…number of subscribers or visits?

    Reply
  • Daddy Pig March 14, 2013, 6:28 pm

    Mr. Money M, Thank you for what you do. I love your posts and you have inspired me to start working towards early retirement. This post also convinced me to start my own blog Richbyhalf.com. Keep up the great work.

    Reply
  • kriss April 6, 2013, 5:59 pm

    is bluehost better or worse than dreamhost? i already have a friend set up there and we like them but i have a bit of a hard time organising all this in my mind so am looking for advice. we want to start a PPC type blog for our business. any suggestions?

    Reply
  • Ryan April 18, 2013, 11:43 am

    Signed up for Bluehost today thanks to this post, mostly for the FTP and side benefits but maybe also to start a blog.

    The one thing i DID NOT see you mention, MMM, is that you pay for 36 months up front. Gee, thanks for the heads up on that one.

    Reply
  • One Day At A Time April 19, 2013, 10:01 am

    Just used this to set up a new blog http://www.whatmomwears.com

    While Wordpress isn’t as intuitive as blogger it’s definitely much more professional. Thanks for all your help!

    Reply
  • shane Hopkins April 20, 2013, 6:04 am

    the watchdog of internet marketing Blog: http://www.moneymakerspy.com was inspired by the mustache clan and readership cult. I am almost ready to hire an indian and friends are starting to call me cheap. Those same friends seem to want to borrow money a lot more often though…I must be on the right track to badassity.

    Reply
  • Autonomous Mom May 12, 2013, 7:27 am

    Thank you for this and all of your excellent posts. I was able to set up my bluehost account and get started on my blog about being a single mom. Yay!

    One thing I’ve noticed is that even googling my specific domain name doesn’t bring up the site. I tried to make sure everything is public, but am I missing something? Is there some trick to having search engines find my site?

    I really enjoy your blog.

    Reply
  • Brad May 16, 2013, 5:29 pm

    MMM,

    Great article — thank you for sharing!

    I suspect I’m just missing something, but how did you create the entire section below the article and prior to the comments that starts with Article: How to Start a Blog all the way down to “Join the Conversation” and the sharing buttons?

    Is that part of your theme, or a plugin?

    Any chance we can get a full list of the plugins you use for Wordpress?

    Thanks!

    Reply
  • Chris June 7, 2013, 6:51 am

    MMM, any tips on picture/photo content? I’ve been thinking about starting a blog that’s heavily news commentary centered, but one big thing I haven’t figured out yet is how to use pictures without getting sued or feeling bad about swiping someone’s work. I obviously can’t go out and just take a photo of the president or the speaker of the house if I’m looking to write about them, so what options are available? Have you had any experience with this?

    Reply
  • Laurie June 23, 2013, 3:53 pm

    MMM, I’ve been thinking about getting a website up and running for years. Went so far as to teach myself dreamweaver, a lot of work for a non-programmer like myself. Thanks for the tips on Wordpress, Bluehost and smartpassiveincome.com I feel like I can actually do this now!

    My blatant plug: http://www.modernhouse-plans.com

    I’m an architect designing small modern net-zero energy homes which I will eventually post for sale. First though I’m writing all about it so that I have technical literature to reference, so I can educate and so I can get a ranking with google.

    Thanks for the kick in the pants!

    Reply
  • Rich Davis June 29, 2013, 5:01 pm

    Thanks for the excellent post. My blog is now live! Chartprepping.com

    Reply
  • Melissa July 11, 2013, 7:20 am

    Thanks MMM! I have justed started a blog myself http://www.ourhystories.wordpress.com and have been exploring all of the options now available to me. Thanks for this post :)

    Reply
  • Living Life Happier July 14, 2013, 8:35 pm

    Thanks for the great instructions! I finally started a site that I’d been thinking about for a long time, and your step-by-step guide really helped. Now for the fun part – writing!

    Reply
  • Laurie August 3, 2013, 12:45 pm

    MMM, Just a big thank you for being instrumental in the launch of my website. Five years ago I hatched an idea to do what I really want, which is to design and sell modern net-zero energy house plans and make them available to everyone. I’ve been doing a lot in the meantime in order to realize this goal. I even went so far as to teach myself dreamweaver. Who knew that wordpress was such a cakewalk! Thank you for giving me all of the tools I needed to get up and running! I’m starting out with a blog and all the backstory I will need for people building modern net-zero energy homes. I will have plans for sale in the near future. Thanks…and thanks for the space for the plug. ; )

    Reply
  • Jeremy August 6, 2013, 5:32 pm

    i finally made a website. check it out http://my12weekbodyplan.com/ it is a website to track my progress and keep me motivated while hopefully motivating some others.

    Reply
  • Cristin Frank August 8, 2013, 2:43 pm

    I started my blog (http://EVEofREDUCTION.com) after my husband and I paid off our house in less than 7 years by being crafty and resourceful (upcycling a lot!) Thank you for posting your WP Plug-ins and Affiliate programs in the comments. Super helpful as always.

    Reply
  • Woot August 18, 2013, 8:48 am

    Thanks for the great guide, and I enjoy reading your approach to managing money. My wife and I have been downsizing for a few years now, and we hope that between small part-time work and our blogging we will be living off passive income in 5 years. But that wouldn’t have ever been something I thought about doing if you hadn’t posted this guide and your 50 jobs list with blogger as one of them.

    Reply
  • Karl August 20, 2013, 1:21 am

    Wow. I wish I had read this post a couple of years ago!

    I’ve been working on a couple of special interest blogs (www.velophile.com.au and http://www.bodyboardingaustralia.com) for the past few years. I’ve only recently moved from the free worpress blog to self hosting with Bluehost earlier this year with some assistance from a friend who is an engineer and into DIY websites.

    I’m still trying to find a clean, functional and aesthetically pleasing theme to use but I am relatively happy with my current websites at the moment. Will have to have a look at the suggested theme sites and see if there’s anything interesting to try out. I also have to look into the automatic site backup feature too, currently I am manually doing it and it takes quite a bit of effort to do it before every major wordpress update.

    One major issue was that within a couple of weeks of setting up my new site and Google Adsense I was blocked from their program for an unspecified reason (a common issue apparently). I’ve appealed this a few times but keep getting an automated rejection. This was a bit of a blow to morale as my monthly costs are around $15 (for two sites) which isn’t much but I was hoping that the small side income from Adsense would offset that cost so the sites could run at no loss. I know there’s alternatives to Adsense but they aren’t as easy to use or profitable. Would love to see an article about alternative options at monetising a blog.

    Thanks for the post!

    Reply
  • Robin August 31, 2013, 10:00 pm

    Thanks for posting this MMM. My husband and I had been exploring the idea of starting our own blog for months. When we finally decided to ‘take the plunge’ we came right back to this post for the tutorial. You’ve been an inspiration for my husband and I for a long time. We’ve always been pretty frugal, but the thought of early retirement had never crossed our minds until I ‘stumbled’ across your site back in January. Since finding your blog both my husband and I have gone on to read every post since its inception.

    Our new blog is: http://www.welfaretowelloff.com As the name would suggest the blog is about our journey from poverty (we were parents at 20) to paying our home off and our current aspirations of early retirement.

    Thanks again!

    Reply
  • MG September 7, 2013, 2:17 am

    Thanks for the very clear guide MMM! Starting a blog seemed like such a daunting task (and very true about choosing the right theme, perfectionism can get in the way of doing stuff sometimes!), but you have a knack for teaching.

    I started a blog about vegetable gardening and am in the process of building a solid base of articles. There’s also a series about exotic fruit I’m working on (Freaky Fruit Friday), so check it out at http://themysteriousgardener.com :)

    Reply
  • Josh September 10, 2013, 5:32 pm

    Thanks MMM! You and your blog have been very inspirational. I’ve started my own focused on health, weath, and wisdom at http://jlyblog.wordpress.com/

    Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  • Liam G September 12, 2013, 8:16 pm

    This blog is awesome. This is the one that finally pushed me over the edge. I started my own blog, and my wife even started her own blog. You can find mine at harebraininvestments.com. Thanks MMM!

    Reply
  • Kaitlyn Schorr September 19, 2013, 10:54 am

    It was this post that first inspired me to actually start a blog! That was quite awhile ago (it took some time for the idea to percolate sufficiently). Now I’ve experienced some changes in employment and I figured why the hell not. I’ve always been interested in the science behind creativity and what makes a person creative, and so now I have a blog about it! I figure it will force me to learn more about a subject that interests me, and if all goes well I’ll meet some like-minded individuals. I’ve read this particular post at least 3 times, so I just want to add to anyone reading it for the first time: Do it! It’s very easy and very fulfilling. My blog is called Drawing Blanks. Check it out if you want to get more creative! http://drawingblanks.co

    Reply
  • Jane Hallowell October 2, 2013, 5:31 pm

    This was so extremely helpful. I’m starting my new blog now. And at age 60-something and being quite the technological klutz, this was a great start. Thank you! I also enjoy reading all of your posts in general. Right on!!

    Reply
  • Digging Girl October 9, 2013, 8:09 pm

    Most impressive guide! You write how my brain thinks, which works great for me and gave me the push to get a blog started – never thought I would be one of those “blogger” people.

    Reply
  • Miss Growing Green October 10, 2013, 9:46 am

    Thanks for the highly useful step-by-step. You inspired me to sign-up via bluehost and start a blog, and I think other Mustachians will find it useful, too:

    http://www.thegrowinggreen.com

    “how to quit your job & save the world through self-sufficiency and minimalism”

    Reply
  • Wofie October 16, 2013, 6:06 pm

    Hi Mustaches and thank you for this great info. Based on this, I took the leap and started a blog. I had a blog previously on blogger however I was not particularly satisfied. Mrs. Mustache was right when she said we would spend hours looking for themes! I am still trying to figure out how to get my header image to stretch across three columns.
    Thank you also for the frugality perspective. I have been doing saving and frugality for years beginning with a book called ” Poor Richard’s Economic Survival Manual. I bought it used.
    Regards.

    Reply
  • Adam Brown October 20, 2013, 10:02 pm

    Hey MMM,
    Inspiration that you are, I have ventured out to create a blog of my own:
    adambrowncpa.com. As a Certified Public Accountant, I thought I would begin to share insight on the industry.
    Cheers and Thanks.

    Reply
  • Ricky October 23, 2013, 9:18 am

    Hi. Just wanted to share my site – http://www.changefordollars.com . I hope to grow it into a small personal finance advice blog through ways of discussing personality and philosophy. In other words, differentiate from what everyone else already has. I just started a few days ago and only have one post, but hopefully I will get some motivation and start sooner than later on posts with a lot of depth.

    Reply

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