In order to share your passion for health and wellness with the world, it’s important to understand the technical side of how to start a fitness blog or website. In talking with other fitness bloggers, we can agree that the technical side is the most daunting — I waited years to start this fitness blog because I was overwhelmed by the idea of setting one up. To be honest, setting up the back-end of the blog is a challenge, but once you get a few key elements in place, the blog can work seamlessly in the background, so you can focus on the fun stuff, like posts and photos!
I want to share my experience setting up a fitness blog, so you can avoid the obstacles I encountered, and take advantage of the tricks I learned along the way. Here’s an in-depth guide for how to start a fitness blog.
How to Start a Fitness Blog Step 1: Research, Prep, Plan
Before you dive into building the back-end of the blog, do some research to see what other fitness bloggers are doing to make sure your blog name and URL will be original. Brainstorm what makes your passion for fitness unique, and use that to set your fitness blog apart from the rest. Enter the URL in your browser’s address bar, and also search it on Google and Bing to make sure nobody is using it already.
I’ll also add that once you’ve done your research, pick a blog name and URL and run with it. I spent a lot of time being indecisive, feeling like these were imperative to get right, and I’m realizing that they’re not as important as they seem to the overall success of your blog. It’s more important to just start posting consistently.
How to Start a Fitness Blog Step 2: Choose Your Blogging Platform
You’ll want to do some research on the different blogging platforms out there before getting much further. Blogging platforms are the software or service you use to publish your content online. Popular ones are WordPress.com, WordPress.org (yes, there are two WordPress options), Blogger and Squarespace. Here’s a helpful link comparing some of the most popular platforms. I’ve chosen WordPress.org, because I can use a custom domain name (URL) and all the plugins, plus I have experience using it in my day job.
How to Start a Fitness Blog Step 3: Choose Your Hosting Platform
Websites are “hosted”, or stored, on servers around the world in order for them to be viewed on the internet. Many of the blogging platform options have hosting included. If you decide to go with WordPress.org like I did, you’ll need to select a hosting platform.
This was one of the biggest decisions I had to make, because there are a ton of hosting platforms out there to choose from. When I first started, I went with Hostgator’s WordPress starter package. At first, I did not know what I was doing, so I didn’t know I was missing out on so many capabilities. The biggest issue was that their starter package did not come with cPanel. I learned that cPanel is super important for managing the backend of your blog.
For example, there’s no way to create backups of your site without cPanel, unless you spend hours chatting with tech support to work around it (like I did). When I wanted to switch hosting platforms, not having cPanel made it more challenging.
Now, I use SiteGround web hosting services. I’ve selected the GrowBig package for three years based on my site’s needs. Even the StartUp package comes with cPanel, which is great. I switched to SiteGround to get access to cPanel, and also because reviews online were really positive. SiteGround typically gets less spammy bot traffic than Hostgator, and is fast and reliable. I’ve really enjoyed my experience with SiteGround, and would recommend to anyone interested in setting up their own fitness blog.
How to Start a Fitness Blog Step 4: Purchase Your Domain
Once you’ve picked your blogging platform and hosting service, you’ll want to purchase your domain. Some services like SquareSpace will include the domain with your package. When I signed up for the SiteGround hosting, I was able to purchase my domain right in the setup process, this makes it easy to manage the domain and hosting all in one place. However, you can also purchase domains separately from a site like GoDaddy.com (Note: I’ve never used GoDaddy.com, so not sure what the user experience is like).
How to Start a Fitness Blog Step 5: Point Your DNS Servers to Your Blog
When I first was learning how to start a fitness blog, I was able to successfully fumble my way through all of the steps above. When I completed all of those steps, I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t type in my domain name (URL) and see the site.
Here’s the reason: I needed to point my DNS (domain name servers) to the blog address. What this means is that I have the servers that I’m using with my hosting package, but they are not automatically connected to any websites. So, I need to go in and tell my URL to go to those servers so my content will show up.
I know that sounds complicated, so here’s a step-by-step guide with pictures for how to point your DNS using SiteGround.
First, go to your hosting site and find your DNS. If you’re using SiteGround, go to My Accounts and click on cPanel.
Once you’re in cPanel, on the left column, you’ll see account information. In that box, find name servers.
Leave that tab open, and open up another tab to manage your domain. Go to the site that’s managing your domain, if it’s SiteGround, go to My Accounts, and click “Manage” under the domain section.
Then, enter in each DNS in the “Your Domain DNS” and click “Update”.
It can take a few days for the DNS servers to be updated, so hang out, write a few blog posts, and then check back in the next few days to confirm that it works.
How to Start a Fitness Blog Step 6: Select a Theme & Customize the Layout
Next you’ll want to select and install a theme to personalize your fitness blog. There are a bunch of free themes out there you can download and add to your site. SiteGround has a helpful article listing each step to setting up a theme on your blog.
How to Start a Fitness Blog Step 7: Post!
Now, you are ready to post. Especially when first starting out, you may want to spend time up front creating pages, like an “About Me” page and “Contact” page. Then, you can jump in to posting blogs as often as you’d like.
Check out my other posts on how to start a fitness blog here. Also, let’s connect on Twitter @GroupXMich.