How to Start a Blog And Earn the Senior Web Designer Badge

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I know many of you look at the web designer badge for Senior Scouts and fear how complex building a website could be. I have gotten emails from readers asking for help getting started with a website and how to teach their girls how to put together a blog of their own.

In the next few months I will have a full Web Design training series ready for you to use with your girls. It will be complete with how to set up a wordpress site from scratch, understanding everything involved in managing and running a wordpress website, and even some advance techniques that will in the end give your girls all the tools they need to earn the Senior web designer badge. The best part it is also great for you as Leaders as well, if you have always wanted to learn how to build a site, or even create a site for your troop this training series will be great for you. It will include videos as well as be a printable PDF so you can learn in the style that works best for you! Send me a email at jodicarlson@leaderconnectingleaders.com if you want to be notified personally when the training is available.

In the mean time if you are like me and I just want to jump in and get started, figure it out as I go. Today Ill share with you the first steps to get a blog/website up and running. It is true if you follow these simple steps below in less than 20 minutes you will have a website that you can start using today.

Where do I Start?

To start with you will need a place to host your website. There are 100s of hosting companies out there, but for a WordPress site, and for ease of use, Bluehost is at the top of my list.  There are many reasons I choose Bluehost:

  • Number 1 reason the outstanding customer service and technical support – I called them with issues and they walked me through everything I needed to do to set up my WordPress site the first time (But of course you wont need that because I am going to give you all the steps)
  • Once you build your first website if your like me I wanted to build more, or if you are a Leader to more than one girl you can put all the websites on onto one hosting space. With the ability to add unlimited websites with unlimited domains on one account it is a great value. , email accounts, and domains – all on one account at an affordable price
  • You are under no contract so you can cancel anytime which is great with the unknown of having a troop and not knowing if girls will want to continue with website or with program.
  • And the price so affordable, if you sign up for hosting through this blog post you get a special offer of hosting at  $3.95/month for 36 months, as well as a free domain name for a year!

To set up your hosting account with Bluehost and installing WordPress, follow the steps below.

Set Up Your Hosting Account

To get started, go to Bluehost’s home page and click “Sign Up Now.”

Next, you need to choose a domain name for your troop site or for your Senior girl’s site. If you already got a domain name before coming to this site, you can enter it here, and you will just have to go through a few extra steps to make sure you get your DNS pointed to Bluehost. But for most of you that don’t already have a domain name, you can purchase one from right in the sign up process, and the best part is, it comes free with your new WordPress hosting account purchase. Later on if you need more Domain names for more girls you can purchase those, or if the girls will be just making demo sites to learn how to build a site you can install wordpress onto subdomains.

Example: You buy domain gstroop80671.com then you can create subdomains for each girl such as jodi.gstroop80671.com with its own separate wordpress site for that girl to design and build on her own.  That way you are not having to buy more domains for each girl. 

Once you’ve entered a domain name, you’ll fill in your personal information.

Then, you’ll choose which hosting package you want. Normal, shared hosting is priced at 12, 24 and 36-month terms. To help save you money, the longer term you purchase, the lower the monthly rate will be. For example, by choosing a 36-month hosting term, you can get the great introductory rate of $3.95/month.

There are few other offers provided at sign up, which you can include at your discretion. One that you may want is Domain Privacy, its a paid service that allows personal information to be kept private on WHOIS databases (who owns this domain). If you choose not to purchase that you may just get emails from people trying to sell you more features for your website.

After you’ve filled in your information and chosen your hosting package, click the “Next” button to complete your purchase. You’ll then be asked to create a password for your account. You can use the Password Generator to create a strong and secure password, or create one yourself. It is required to have both capital and lowercase letters, a number, and a special character (?!#, etc.) in order to have a strong enough password to protect your account.

Now that you are all signed up and are able to log into your account, you can get started installing WordPress onto your site!

Installing WordPress

This may seem like the most complicated step, but Bluehost has worked hard to make this one of the easiest things for you to do by using the new MOJO Marketplace for installing WordPress. In your cPanel, scroll to the section titled “MOJO Marketplace” and choose the “One-Click Installs” button. This will take you to a page inside MOJO Marketplace called Scripts and Platforms. The blog section is at the very top, so all you have to do here is click on the WordPress icon.

This will open the installation window. Click on the green “Start” button that will start the WordPress installation process, which has a few easy steps.

 

Step 1: Choose where you want to install WordPress. This can be any domain on your account, or a subdomain or a folder for one of your domains. Next, click on “Check Domain,” which will make sure the domain is assigned and pointing to your account. You may get a warning that you are overwriting files, but as long as you don’t have another website built yet, you can check the box and continue. This is mostly to make sure that you really want to install in that location. If you do have other sites built, you will want to make sure you’re not overwriting something important.

Step 2: Show Advanced Options. This section allows you to set up your own username and password for your WordPress install. IT is recommended to use a different username than “admin” and a very strong password. Make sure that the “Automatically create a new database for this installation” box is checked, unless you have a database already set up that you want to use.

Step 3: After you’ve read the terms and conditions, check the box indicating that you’ve done so, then click “Install Now.”

Now you’ll see the progress page, which will show you how far along the installation is. Once WordPress is fully installed, it will provide you with your site URL, the admin login URL, your username, and password. You will get a copy of this information, except your password, in your email as well. Make sure to keep it in a safe place.

Now you can log into your WordPress site by going to the admin login URL. Enter your username and password, then click “Log In.” This will take you to your WordPress dashboard. From here, you can control everything to do with your WordPress site, such as picking a theme, creating pages, writing posts, and changing the appearance. Ill have more resources available soon to help you get that all done.

I know it seemed like a lot but you can totally handle the technical side of blogging– don’t let it stop you from doing this with your girls, once you have done it once you will be amazed how easy it comes to you! Sure, you will do a lot of learning as you go along, but once you have the basic building blocks in place, you are a lot closer to getting to do the fun stuff: which is creating amazing content!!

Remember, Start your own troop website with bluehost for as low as $3.95 a month (this low price is through my link only)! Also, if you sign up using my link, then you will get your domain for free if you purchase a 12 month or longer hosting plan (a $15 value). I highly recommend signing up for the 12 month hosting plan through Bluehost. It’s affordable and you can save a lot of money by signing up for at least 12 months.

If you sign up for Bluehost, but you are still super confused for any reason (such as how to set it up, picking a plan, pricing, etc.), you can always send me an email at jodicarlson@girlscoutleaderconnect.com and I can help you out. That’s what I’m here for so don’t be afraid to send me an email it will also help me know what everyone is struggling with to provide more helpful resources.

Now You Have The WordPress Website Now What?

Below are a few helpful hits to get you started building a amazing website for your Troop and/or for the Seniors to earn the web design badge

  • Once you have your site, save the WordPress login information that you receive in a separate email. You will receive this email after you complete the process of downloading WordPress.  This email will include your WordPress login URL (your URL is separate from everyone else’s and it’s the only way you can access your WordPress account), your username, and your password. You want to keep this email safe.
  • Navigating the site:
    • You can add and create new posts by clicking on “Posts” on the left-hand side when you are logged in. If you want to add a page, simply click on “Page” works the same.
    • If you want to add an image, click on “Media” on the left-hand side.
    • You can go to “Appearance,” then “Widgets” in order to add items to your sidebar, footer, and so on.
  • If you are looking for a way to send newsletters or emails to your readers, I recommend mailchimp its easy to use and offers some great features to customize templates and set up automatic emails.
  • There are a number of free themes you can get under “Appearance” then “Themes” but if I were choosing the best theme out there for ease of use and no need to learn any code I would recommend DIVI WordPress Theme which you can get from Elegant themes, when you buy the one theme you get access to all 87 themes they have available which is a great value if your girls want to try different themes.

More Resources For My Leader Readers 

I get asked a lot what other resources are out there on the internet for Leaders.  I have done some digging over the years and have used many of the resources myself. I compiled a list of some great companies that sell patches, programs and also other bloggers offering amazing resources that may fit your needs even better than my site did.   Checkout what I found.