How to Build Your Own Startup Blog

Have the itch to start a business but don’t know the best place to start? Let’s start by walking you through setting your own startup blog so you can flesh out some ideas and start to network with the entrepreneur community online.

I’m going to walk you through setting up your own startup blog, just like this one, and make it easy for you to start your new business, and of course you are welcome to donate any funds to Wise Startup Blog for helping you on your way 🙂

Step 1: Register Your Domain & Get Hosting

When I was first getting into the whole blogging game, I had setup a blogger account as well as a wordpress account (i’d like to think i’ve come a long way from those 2 sites). I soon discovered that for my goals, and wishes, I would need to upgrade to an advanced account hosted on my own domain.

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I did a quick google search, and after reading about 15 different articles, most of which being spam, I finally found a decent host: Bluehost. They make the WordPress install very easy, via SimpleScripts. Simple Scripts make it easy to install a number of useful services, like content management, blogging platforms, forums, shopping carts, etc. (WordPress, Joomla, phpBB, b2evolution).

The great part to me was that I didn’t need to know anything about “programming,” all I had to do was click install, put in my root directory (your domain) and click install. It put all my documents in one place, and made it easy to access my WordPress admin panel.

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Now that you have hosting and know how to install WordPress, you actually need to setup a domain. While GoDaddy is a great service, and it’s $3 cheaper than BlueHost, I like to keep all my services together. So I can use the Bluehost domain registration to make things easy and all my hosting and domain management under one account so I don’t run the risk of losing domains, etc. Registering a domain is the hardest part about making any website, but let’s assume you’re trying to start a blog similar to Wise Startup Blog; a blog on startups, web 2.0, starting a business, etc.

Here are a couple good domain names for you to try out for yourself. As of writing this post, all of these are available, so buyer beware. (to check availability, just go to Godaddy, and try the domain):

Let me know if you use any of these names so I can take them off the list. Personally, what I like to do is register a couple names and then play around with the one I like the best. When choosing a domain, it’s important to choose one that’s going to incorporate your keywords in it, for the choices above, I’m obviously going for the “startup” keyword. When doing SEO for your startup blog, you want to make sure you’re planning for your future audience and branding your blog with a name that will help you in gaining better links, ie people will reference Andrew and his “Wise Startup Blog,” when sourcing any of my articles, etc.

Step 2: Choose a WordPress Theme

I’ve spent a lot of time poring over the numerous free WordPress themes, and the majority are just junk. I’ve gone through the best WordPress themes for SEO, only to discover some better alternatives, and in the end I’ve tinkered with a couple different themes and have decided on the WP_Premium as my main choice for Wise Startup Blog.

Here are a couple great free WordPress themes for you to choose:

Monochrome Gallery is a beautiful theme that, unfortunately, does not lend itself well to text-rich blogs or SEO optimization, however, it is extremely beautiful. It is available for free from Graph Paper Press and demonstrated below on my blog, Mixtaped.

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ProSense is a great easy, lightweight template for straight SEO work. While it’s a bit on the minimalistic side, I believe with some color tweaking, you can turn this into the next Muxtape layout. It is available for free as well, from Dosh Dosh.

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WP Premium is the blog of choice for Wise Startup Blog, which doesn’t mean I’m going to be keeping it forever, but for the next ..3 or so days it should be considered the gold standard. The original template left a little to be desired for me, but after a couple hours of work (and having to learn CSS for the first time), I figured it out and have it to my liking. For tweaking your blog, the best way to go about doing it is to setup a testing blog, like Gainesville Delivery, for me, where you can pretty much twist, turn, and poke at it as much as you want without disturbing any of your visitors and then once you think it’s ready, shift it over to your main host and you’ll be ready to go. This blog is available for free, in 3 colors from CSSAce. Be sure to visit the author’s site and read all the instructions for customizing the theme to the different color sets or feel free to ask me for help.

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Installing your theme is a bit tricky, but what you have to do is install it into the wordpress root (main) directory under content/themes. You can do this through the Bluehost hosting platform or you can use an FTP uploader.

Once you’ve clicked on the uploader, you simply navigate to your blog name, click on content, and then upload the folder, whether it be “WP_Premium” etc and place it in the themes section. Once inside WordPress, navigate over to design, and activate your theme. The actual CSS editing is a bit advanced for this discussion, but a few helpful searches on Google should point you in the right direction.

Step 3: Blog, Blog, Blog

Now that you have your blog setup, it looks great, your job is to blog. Starting out, this article would have taken me about 3 hours to complete, now thanks to my understanding of the system, some developed efficiencies, I’ve chopped the writing time on this article down to a good 1 hour. And from this 1 hour of time spent, I’m going to have a wealth of incoming traffic and continued Google search juice from this one blog post.

So to get started, start writing articles like this and just practice, practice, practice. If you devote a good 1 month to continued blogging everyday, you can easily start setting up your own startup advertising network, cranking in the readers, and lead to starting your own business !

Let me know what you think in the comments.

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