You can do this! I avoided starting this site for a long time because I had way more questions than answers about how to go about it. Hopefully this will be of some use to some of you out there and get you started on your own creations.
Step 1: Decide on a name and register a domain name. I know some of you out there will say that you can create a free site under blogger or wordpress.org, but I think that its important to really have total control over your site. There are lots of wonderful plugins and free things that you can use to build your site, but only if you are able to freely upload things as you please. I chose to register my domain name through bluehost.com. Their prices were reasonable and it allows free and EASY installation of wordpress (see step 2).
Step 2: Install WordPress! I can’t really see any reason to run your blog in anything other than wordpress. Installation is free and easy, and it has every sort of feature/smartphone integration etc that you could ever want. Here’s a look at how easy it is to install wordpress under bluehost.
Yeah, that’s right you just click wordpress off of your Bluehost cPanel page (they’ll give you a link to this page when you sign up). From there it takes you to another page where you click ‘Install WordPress’. You’ll set up an admin account and you’re done.
Step 3: Style it. So you’ve got this new blog with zero content… at least you can make it look nice! Log into your wordpress control panel at http://www.yoursitenamehere.com/wp-admin . Once logged into the Dashboard click ‘Appearance’ on the right, then choose theme. From there you can go to the Install Theme tab at the top of your screen. That will take you to a menu where you can search for a theme by color, feature, etc or browse by most popular themes, newest themes etc etc etc…
The point is there are so many great themes out there, you can get the look you want without writing a single line of code, or really knowing anything about web design.
Step 4: Create Content. I can’t help you too much with this part. What I can tell you is that it helps to have a decent camera, more importantly to know how to use said camera, and its reeeaaally nice to have someone who is willing to take pictures of you on a regular basis. Once you’ve got content, creating posts is as easy as filling out a web form under the ‘Posts’ link in your WordPress Dashboard.
Step 5: Plugins. This is where wordpress really shines. The free plugins allow you to easily add whatever kind of feature you could imagine to your site. I won’t go into great detail about specific plugins, but I will say that everyone should be running at least one type of plugin to let you know how much traffic your site is getting and where its coming from. The best for this is the Google Analytics plugin, you’ll have to register for a (free) account with google and link it to your blog. The easiest plugin to install and use is the Jetpack plugin. You just install and go.
To install plugins – click the ‘Plugins’ link from your WordPress Dashboard. From there you can search by plugin name and install.
Step 6: promote, promote, promote. Still working on this one myself… open to ideas and strategies! Most people use a combination of Twitter/Facebook/Google Friends Connect/Comments on other blogs to drive traffic to their own.
Post your questions to this page and I’ll try to answer them and add to this page. Good luck!