This post is from the first blog I started, called “How to Start a Law Firm.” Over the years I’ve moved to different sites a few times and wanted to catalog all of my content in one place. If an article refers to a link and there is no link, sorry, that’s consequence of the move. Enjoy!
If you missed part 1 of how to start a law firm blog, click here. And, if you did miss it, you’ll want to read it first. Part 1 talked about why you should blog and some of the advantages of blogging.
This post is going to get into the nuts and bolts of actually putting a blog together.
Step 1: Buy a Domain Name
Buying a domain name is pretty easy. Just go to www.GoDaddy.com and search to see if your name is available. If it is, buy it.
When you buy it, I’d suggest buying it for at least 5 years. This tells Google you’re not trying to set up some spammy website that’s going to come in and try to make some quick money and then disappear. I think five years costs about $75 or so.
You can buy domain names in other places, but I’ve always used godaddy and they’ve never steered my wrong.
Picking Out a Domain Name
I’m just going to talk about this briefly – don’t over think your law firm blog domain name. If you can get your practice area in there that’s great. If you can’t that’s great too. My blogs are named dui-lawyer-blog.com and traffic-lawyer-blog.com. Short and sweet is best.
One trick, which you can see from my blog names, is to insert dashes in between the words. duilawyerblog and trafficlawyerblog were already taken.
Using Your Website as a Blog
You can always just set up a page on your website and use it as a blog. What I like about having a separate blog is that it gives you a completely different canvas to work with if you want – you can design it a little edgier, for example, if you want. The second thing is that having a separate website gives you an independent source of links to your website. That’s always a good thing.
Step 2: Hosting Your Website
Websites don’t just pop up on the internet. They have to be hosted and stored somewhere. Someone has to be responsible for the data that your site is made of.
That’s where hosting companies come from. There are a million out there, but I’ve been turned on to hostgator.com. I’m honestly not tech savvy enough to know what makes them good, I just know I’ve never had a problem with my websites while they’ve been hosting them.
I think the cost is $9.95 a month for up to 10 different websites hosted. That’s a pretty good deal as far as I’m concerned.
Anyway, all you have to do is go there and sign up for a plan. Once you do that, they’ll email you some important information about name servers. You want to keep this information because you’ll need to use it in the future.
Step 3: Connecting Your Domain with Your Host
This is the section where you don’t ask why you do the things you do, you just do them and your website works. Here we go
1. Your hosting plan will give you two name servers (the things I just talked about). Copy them and paste them into a notebook page.
2. Go to your domain registration account (i.e. www.GoDaddy.com) and sign in.
3. In GoDaddy click on the “My Account” Button in the middle of the page.
4. Click on “Domains.”
5. Click on the “launch” button in the top right corner of the “domains” screen.
6. Click on your domain name (it should open up a Domain Details Page).
7. In the “name servers” section click on “set name servers.”
8. Click on the button that says “I have specific name servers for my domains.”
9. Put in the two name servers hostgator gave you when you signed up and click “save.”
10. You are through with the GoDaddy portion of the set up.
At any time if you have any problems, just use the help that’s on the site. Those people are used to dealing with people like us who have no idea what’s going on and they’ll walk you through it.
Step 4: Setting Up Your Domain on Hostgator.
Again, this is a very step-by-step process. If you have troubles, use the support on hostgator. I’ve asked them questions tons of times and they always help me out.
1. Log in to your hostgator control panel (when you sign up you’ll get an email with your control panel URL and login instructions).
2. Scroll down to the section that says “Domains” – it’s about half way down the page.
3. Click on “addon Domains.”
4. In “new domain name” put the URL of your website.
5. Click “addon domain.”
You’re all done!
Step 5: Installing WordPress on Your Website
Now, you don’t have to install wordpress on your website. But you’ll be missing out on the easiest platform to manage your blog that’s ever been invented. My advice is to give it a shot and if you don’t like it then scrap it.
Again, a very step by step process.
1. This is very easy with hostgator – that’s why I use it.
2. Go back to the control panel on hostgator.com and scroll down to “software/services.”
3. Click on “fantasico deluxe.”
4. On left side you’ll see a list of things you can do. Near the top it says “blogs.” Click on that and then click on “wordpress.”
5. When the window pops up click “new installation” – fill in the boxes.
6. Where it says “install on domain” click on your domain name.
7. Where it says “install in directory” leave it blank.
8. Where it says “Admin Access Data” put in whatever login information you want – this will be the login information to the back end of your site (to write posts) – use something you can remember!
9. In “base configuration” choose whatever nickname you want (not important).
10. In “email” put in your email address.
11. In “site name” put in what you are going to call your site – include keywords if you can.
12. In “description” describe your site. Again, using a couple of keywords isn’t a bad idea.
13. Click “install wordpress.”
14. Click “finish installation.”
15. If you want to email the details to yourself, do it. Otherwise IT IS TIME TO START BLOGGING!
This whole process, while it seems long, is going to take you 45 minutes max. And, again, if you have trouble, use the support. They are really good.
How to Start Blogging
We’re finally here. You’ve got your domain picked, your website hosted, and wordpress installed. Now it’s time to start blogging.
But how do you do that?
1. Go to your admin panel – in the URL box type in the name of your site and /wp-admin. For me it looks like this – traffic-lawyer-blog.com/wp-admin.
2. In the spot for the username and password, enter the username and password you just created on hostgator.
3. You’re into the control panel! Now you can start blogging if you want – just hit “new post” and start writing!
Okay, now that that’s all done you are ready to start writing right?
You’ve still got to set up your blog so that you like it and so Google likes it.
But you’re going to have to wait until the next post to figure out how to do that!
This is a Community – Speak Up!
I set this up so we can exchange ideas. The only way to do that is if you all speak up a little bit.
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Thanks for reading. Talk to you soon!
About Me: C. Small is a lawyer, a business owner, and an entrepreneur. I write about starting a law firm because I want to document my journey and help out others taking the leap. If you like what you’ve read here and want to see more, click here.