Whether you’ve been wanting to share your craft ideas, or you’ve been thinking about starting your own handmade business to sell the crafts so you can make extra money – you make you might have thought about how to start a craft blog once or twice.
As I mentioned, it can be a great way to sell your junk journals or teach other people your favorite techniques. I love it.
I know that it can seem daunting because it involves making a lot of decisions and figuring out how to use things that seem super technically complicated. It was a learning process for me too when I first began blogging.
But I promise, that in reality, it’s a lot easier than you might think to get started.
(Transparency note: I often link to resources in my blog posts that I believe are useful and these are sometimes affiliate links. That means if you choose to purchase through my links, I may make a small commission with no extra charge to you.)
And if you’ve ever thought about starting one but held back because you felt too intimidated, today’s the day to give it a go. I’m giving you a complete rundown of everything you’ll need to know to start your own craft blog, with step by step instructions.
Step 1: Decide if You Want a Self Hosted Blog/Website
The first step, before we can do anything else, is to decide if you want a self hosted blog or website, or if you want to borrow some free space on another blogging website.
If you don’t have extra money to spare, you can easily set up a blog on wordpress.com or blogger.com. Both have the ability to create a free website to get you started. If you’re not sure if blogging is for you, and you just want to test the waters, this is probably the option you’ll want to start with.
To be fair, there are a few downsides to doing it this way. (Isn’t that always the way it is when something is free?)
For one, if you go the free route you can’t have your own domain name – a fancy way of saying your own website URL. Instead of YourNameCrafts.com you’ll have something like yournamecrafts.blogspot.com or yournamecrafts.wordpress.com.
This isn’t a problem if you’re just testing out blogging, or sharing a few blogs with friends, but if you hope to launch a business you’ll definitely want your own domain name and hosting. It’s more professional, gives you more freedom, and will let you do things like set up a shop on your website to sell your handmade goods.
For two, you don’t get a lot of control over your website. You’ll be limited in how you can design your website, what you can put on your website, and how you can use it. You’re getting free space after all, so it’s understandable that there will be limits.
For three, if you ever decide you want to switch from your patch of free space to the bigger wider world of having your own website, it can be a mega pain. Almost everyone I know who went this way had to hire someone to help them.
So if the free plan is for you, and you’re confident you won’t want to set up a shop on your site, and the limitations of it will still allow you to do what you want – go for it! Head over to one of those sites and click the button to get started building your own website. They’ll take you through step-by-step instructions of how you can get set up.
If however you’ve been thinking about having your own business, opening up your own shop, and the idea of having your own .com has you excited, then self-hosting otherwise known as owning your own website, is a better bet.
It’s what I did, even though I wasn’t entirely sure where I was going with it at first. But I’m so glad I did.
Step 2: How to Get Self-Hosted
If you made it to Step 2, I’m going to assume you’ve decided, like I did, to have your own website.
The next thing you’ll need to do, is get a hosting company. There are lots of different companies out there that provide this service, and you might already have one in mind. If you haven’t I’ll explain a little more and give you my recommendation.
A hosting service is a company that provides space on a server for your website to exist. Where wordpress.com or blogger.com provides you with free apartment space, a host provides you with something more like a home. You own it, and it’s yours to do with what you wish. But that also means that there is a cost.
Again, if you’re just looking to get started, you can start small to give it a try. Unlike with free sites, deciding you want more doesn’t have to involve a massive move with lots of technical expertise. It generally just means you pay a little more down the road.
Most hosting services have small starter packages to get you started that are very affordable and have more than enough space.
I personally use SiteGround and recommend them wholeheartedly. They offer incredibly affordable hosting packages to get started, and they have great customer service that’s super helpful and patient with all of your questions.
Their Start Up Plan is only $3.95 a month, and you can head over here to get started!
Click “Get Plan” to get started.
It’ll take you to the next page which will ask you for your domain. You can either get one somewhere else, or you can register one with them for $15.95. This is another personal decision, although I’ll give two other little tidbits of information.
Some people require keeping these things separate in case you ever want to change hosting companies, which is fair advice. But, it will require an extra step in the process of setting up your site if you choose not to buy it from your host. So if you’re going for easy, just grab the domain while you set up your host. You can also move it later.
(If you do decide to get it somewhere else, I recommend using Namecheap as they usually charge a little less than the hosting company would for the domain.)
Step 3: Decide on a Domain Name for Your Craft Blog
You’ll want your domain name to be something you like a lot, as you’ll be using it for awhile, handing it out to people, and if you’re choosing to set up a craft business, it will be the site that you give to customers.
Pick a site name you like and see if its available. You might have to come up with a few ideas, as lots of common names are already taken.
Step 4: Purchase Your Hosting Service
After you’ve put in your domain name, it’ll take you to the next page where you’ll need to put in account details like email address and password and your credit card information.
The next page should look like this, only with the domain name you chose instead of this made up one I used for this demo:
Enter in the email and password of your choice and proceed to the next screen. (And make sure you save it somewhere so you can reference it later when you need it!)
Then you’ll need to enter your information and your credit card info:
Then you’ll need to choose the period of time you want.
You can choose 1, 12, 24 or 36 months. This is the thing I love about SiteGround – with the exception of choosing one month (where you’ll have to pay a 15 dollar set up fee) it’s the same price per month no matter how many months you choose. Most hosts charge you more if you want anything less than 36 months. And let’s be honest, when you’re first starting out its hard to plan beyond 12 months!
So, I’d recommend choosing the 12 month option, but if you’re feeling confident – go for a longer time if you wish! It’s definitely a good deal because you can keep the discount for longer.
Next up is the Extra Services screen.
You can pick which extras you like. The domain privacy is a good one to have, because when you register a domain if you don’t have domain privacy people can find your personal information, like the home address you used to register. I highly recommend it!
Then click “PAY NOW”
Then you can log in to your account, and you’ll be taken inside. You’re getting super close to having your blog up and ready to go – are you excited yet?
Step 5: Install WordPress on Your Craft Blog
Next, we’re going to help you get WordPress installed. WordPress is a “content management system”. That’s fancy language that means serves as a framework for your blog so that you can have a beautiful and functional website without having to know any HTML.
For those of us that aren’t uber techie, it is amazing. Plus, there’s tons of ways to configure it to what you want – but we’ll get to that in a minute.
Like I was saying, you’ll want to get into your account.
Once in you’ll see a screen like this one.Click on CPANEL:
You’ll see a big panel of options and you want to go under the one that says “WORDPRESS TOOLS”. You’ll see a big W and it will say “WordPress Installer”. Click that and follow the prompts.
Once WordPress is installed, you’ll get taken to your WordPress login screen which looks like this:
Log in, and you’re all set. You have your own website, and now you just have to get started creating it.
Bonus Step: Get a Theme
I recommend getting a theme on your blog if you want an easy way to spruce it up and make it look a little prettier. You can get some gorgeous themes like this one or this one:
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If you get your domain separately: Point your domain to your host
Earlier I mentioned that I’ve purchased my domain separately (and recommend Namecheap for that). If you did that too, you’ll now need to point your domain towards your host. In your account info you should have a list of your nameservers. Usually 2 different ones that end in numbers that look something like this:
Keep that tab open on your browser and log-in to Namecheap. Under domains, your recently purchased domain should be listed. Click on the domain you purchased and you’ll get a drop down menu that looks like this:
You want to choose to enter custom name servers. Flip back to the other tab where you have your hosts name servers and copy paste those into the space available for them in your Namecheap account.
Click ok. You’ll get a warning that this could take between a minute and 24 hours. You’ll have to wait patiently for that to go through, but in my experience, it takes a few minutes, and then you’ll see that your website comes up. Now you can get blogging!