No one talks about blog accounts.
They talk about your domain name. And hosting. But those are only the beginning of the different accounts you need in order to support your blog. It may sound daunting, but these are pretty quick and easy to set up.
1. Select an email provider.
You do not want to use your personal email for your blog. If two email addresses (personal and website) seems overwhelming there are tricks to manage them. But a public email address that matches your domain name is professional and created a layer of privacy.
I prefer Outlook which offers cool features like Sweep that make it simple to mange your inbox. And I use handy services like OneNote and OneDrive for organization and file storage extensively which both have very well designed mobile apps.
2. Register a gmail address.
I know! I just said pick an email provider and look isn’t Outlook nice and here I am telling you to ALSO register with Google. But you want access to the services they provide in addition to email that you need.
Google Analytics – the standard into visibility of how many people are visiting your site and how they’re finding you.
Google Domains – one of the options for step 3 below.
Google Voice – so you don’t need to enter your mobile number in every account you set up. Google Voice gives you a number that you can forward to your home or mobile phone to screen calls and receive voicemails via email. If it’s ever compromised, it’s easy to delete without dealing with your service provider.
If you chose Gmail for your email, than you’re all set and can skip to step 3.
If you didn’t choose Gmail, there’s really no reason not to have two email addresses.
Email, once upon a time, was just email. Now an email address serves as the gateway to valuable services offered by different companies. Just because you have an email address with multiple providers doesn’t mean you need to share both of them. You only need to use one to receive emails.
3. Register your domain.
Your domain is your web address. If you’ve identified your blog focus, then you probably know the domain you want to use.
You have two choices to procure your domain name (or actually several more but I’m going to focus on two). You can either register your domain with Google Domains or with BlueHost (what, who’s BlueHost?! oddly enough, I explain that in step 4). Our post on setting up a domain name goes into detail on why we recommend Google.
This is where I’m going to seriously suggest you get a PO Box for your blog
Several of these accounts will require an address to set them up (including your domain). You don’t want to enter your home address all over the internet for all your accounts. PO Boxes cost anywhere from $50 – $100/year which you do pay upfront. But for basically $8/month it’s an inexpensive privacy measure. (I’m not sure what different countries offer that is equivalent to a US PO Box but you should do that – whatever you can do to have a mailing address that is not your home.)
4. Set up your web host.
Every article on starting a blog is going to inform you the first step is to get a web host (I seem out of order but you need an email address to set up a web host so really, they’re out of order, this whole court is out of order!).
5. Register social media accounts.
Turns out I’m COMPLETELY out of order from most blog tutorials. They get around to social media accounts after you’re well into getting your blog going. But you’ve got your blog name and your email address. There’s no reason not to go out, sign up for social media accounts and secure a username that matches your blog (or as close as you can get).
The basics you want are:
Having these accounts means you can begin using these social media accounts whenever you’re ready, even if you’re blog isn’t. And you can easily set links to them as you’re building your blog.
6. Set up a Bank Account
If your blog is only a hobby and you don’t want to make money then skip right on past steps 6 and 7 – you’ve got the accounts you need!
If you do want to make money, though, then your blog is a business and you will be more successful if you approach it that way. Keeping your business finances separate from your personal fiances makes taxes easier and provides visibility into the balance between your expenses and profit.
CapitalOne has two great options for bank accounts. Both offer well designed websites (and mobile apps!) that make managing your finances simple.
If you want separate finances but don’t want to full on register an LLC then go with CaptialOne360. There’s no fees, no minimums so it’s basically a free account. That way, whether you make $50/month or $5,000 you don’t have to worry about it.
CapitalOne Spark is a business account so you need to provide a tax ID number (other than your social security number) but there’s also no fees and no minimums. It’s easily the best small business account I’ve found.
This is the part where I recommend you set up an LLC for your blog.
For both privacy and professional reasons it’s good to treat your blog as a separate business entity. Setting up an LLC is fairly inexpensive in most states and once you do that, getting an EIN from the IRS is free and easily accomplished online. That way you aren’t putting your social security number all over the internet. And it’s simple to separate your personal tax info from your business taxes (though you can file them together using a Schedule C but don’t ask me anymore about it because I am really not an accountant… or a lawyer… or all that great with math…)
7. Sign up for Paypal.
Paypal is a nice, simple way to get paid consistently from multiple people or businesses. And, even if you set up a separate bank account, it’s still a good way to maintain a nice bit of privacy (so you aren’t giving all sorts of accounts personal bank information, as well as your name, address, mobile number, etc).
Wave is another excellent tool to manage your blog accounting. Categorize and track expenses, monitor income and get nice, simple reports. Their mobile app doesn’t offer full functionality but the web interface is good.
Now that you have your accounts set up, building your blog is a bit of choose your own adventure
You can begin working on the technical framework. Or just get those basics out of the way and start creating content. You can even start getting social if you need a break from all this blogging business!
If you’re not sure where to go next, jump back to the tutorial page to see all eight steps to create a blog you’ll love!