ASH AMBIRGE

Author, CEO & Founder

Learn More >>

How to Start a Blog (Without Wanting to Kill Yourself)

In: Starting an Online Business

 

I GIVE UP: WHERE IS EVERYBODY?!

In 2009 I started this blog and I remember thinking that pretty soon EVERYONE was going to be doing it—My friends! My lovers! My former teachers! That neighbor with the soupy ass! (sweatpants can be evil)—and the gig was going to be up, because I HAD DISCOVERED THE SECRET TO ALL THE THINGS (not to mention making my first $103,000 that year—which, trust me, was a f*ck ton back then).

I remember thinking: Yup, annnnnnny minute now. Anyyyyyyy minute. 

But then: *cue crickets*

And it’s weird, because even though the online space is more saturated than it was nearly ten freaking years ago (no wonder I have grey hair), it didn’t become a life-changing professional movement as fast as I thought it would. I mean, didn’t the ability to get online, and make a name for yourself, and reach people across the globe, and be able to SELL ANYTHING YOU WANT TO, UNDER THE SUN, TO OTHER PEOPLE, WHO DIDN’T EVEN HAVE TO LIVE IN YOUR ZIP CODE, WITH THE CLICK OF A BUTTON solve so many of our woes? So many people affected by an economy gone sideways; by a lack of job opportunities; by physical distance limitations; by other people deciding if and when they’d have an income.

So many people suffering.
So many people uncertain.
So many people barely scraping by.

But the idea of a “job” has meant something very narrow for such a long time, that I think even with the prevalence of the Internet, other options aren't as obvious yet. To most people, having a job means applying to work for someone else. It means showing up during designated hours. It means clocking in and clocking out. It means collecting a regular paycheck. And frankly, it means being told what to do. (Which, you know, can be nice sometimes. It can be nice to be told what to do, as long as we aren’t talking about your haircut.)

The concept of creating your own job is still a little foreign—like that shit is buried deep inside a fortune cookie somewhere, just waiting to be revealed. There’s a lot of hesitancy around creating your own job, because that means creating your own business, and for most people, that means an outdated definition as well: Taking out a hefty loan. Renting a physical space. Investing in tons of inventory. Figuring out packaging. Sweating and tearing and bleeding and crying. And then, you know, PROBABLY FAILING. Because that’s the narrative that’s been spoken to us our whole lives about starting a business. “900 BAJILITY PERCENT FAIL BY THE FIRST YEAR.” No wonder most people are entrepreneurship-averse.

But—let me say it, and let me say it loud and clear, with this big, throaty voice of mine: the Internet has forever changed the game.

You can now:

a) Decide what you want to do with your life
b) Start a website around it
c) Become that very thing
d) Sell goods and services in exchange for money
e) And never depend on other people for your dignity—and livelihood—again

Of course, I’m leaving out all the best parts, like working whenever you want and from wherever you want—LIKE FROM 2-6PM EVERY DAY WHILE PRANCING AROUND SWEDEN. (On the downside you’ll probably gain some weight, forget how to dress like a normal person, and think it’s perfectly normal to pour a margarita at noon.)

Now. We all know that I’m the OG—short for “original gangsta”—of Scranton, Pennsylvania (nice try, Joey), and that means that I know a lot of people who could benefit from learning about these kinds of opportunities. They could benefit from learning about the things that could potentially improve their quality of life seventeen fold. They could benefit from learning about other ways that they can live well, and work well, and survive beautifully—even when the opportunities aren’t coming to them.

As such, I get a lot of Facebook requests that go something like this:

Hey, Ash! …..

…PLEASE FUCKING HELP ME FIGURE THIS OUT.

Love,
Me

So I thought that if they were sending me notes like that, then maybe there were a bunch more people out there who wanted to know the same thing: How can I start a blog like you did? How can I create a business like you did? How can I create my own freedom like you did?

I also thought that it would behoove my little soon-to-be-arthritic fingers if I stopped re-typing everything and maybe just wrote it once. Here. In the form of this very blog post. Or maybe a series of blog posts, now that I see what I’ve gotten myself into here.

BECAUSE IT’S TIME TO SHARE THE LOVE.

We need all the help we can get.
We need all the inspiration we can get.

I truly believe that the only reason cool things happen in this world is because we see other people doing cool things and then it GIVES US IDEAS. And not just ideas, but permission. If so and so is doing it, then it must be a thing, right? It is clearly not an impossible thing, nor a pipe dream, because I am seeing it with my own very eyes.

And this is how we progress.

This is how we move forward in spite.

In spite of is kind of my favorite style, you know? And right now, with this crazy political climate, I’m pretty sure we also need all the in spite of we can get.

So let’s do this thing, shall we?

I’m going to walk you through the very first steps you need to take to create your own blog / website / secret escape hatch, and then we’ll pick up on this conversation in part two of the series next week, so that way I don’t accidentally write a book IN THIS ONE BLOG POST because then everyone will think I’m an overbearing hag and no one will read anything I write ever again, obviously.

 


Step #1 | HOW TO START A BLOG

Check to see if www.yourname.com address is available + set up a freaking account with Bluehost already. (Time commitment: 90 seconds.) HINT: YOU CAN DO THAT RIGHT HERE IN THIS BOX. Go ahead! Type in something! Voila!

Do not over think this, boo. Your name doesn’t have to be your website address forever—you can ALWAYS add different URLS to your account later—but it’s a good idea to own your own name’s URL anyway, so no other fool tries to take it, and this is one way that you can just get started without having to be a total perfectionist and have all the details perfectly in place. DO NOT OVER STRESS. (Otherwise you’ll be waiting the next year while you think of the perfect name.) Just take one small step today that gets you some momentum, so you can stop feeling like a low-life Procrastinating Patty.

By the way, here’s why I like Bluehost:

1) I started this website on Bluehost, and I did very, very well with it. Therefore, Bluehost and I happen to like each other. And this isn’t just a one-sided relationship: They happen to like me, too. So much so, I’M EVEN A POWER PARTNER. (Not an actual term but I kind of liked it so, I mean, it’s an actual term in my head.) Which means that if you sign up for hosting with them afterward, then they will email me and be like, “Ash thanks for sending us a customer, we want to give you a commission for referring them, here you go, sexy.” Except they won’t call me sexy. And that's crazy, right? BUT THAT IS HOW THE INTERNET WORKS. Referrals are everybody’s friend. We will talk about how you can create these kinds of relationships soon.

2) Bluehost is reliable and doesn’t make your website crash every other day, which can make you want to kill yourself in really dramatic ways. (Trust me on this.)

3) You don’t need hosting that costs $90/month. BLUEHOST IS, LIKE, $2.95/MONTH. (As a power affiliate, I get to offer special, ridiculously cheap promo pricing like that. I got your back, boo.) It’s kind of like buying cotton candy for $90 when you know you can have it for the real price of $2.95. YOU WOULD NOT BUY IT FOR $90. I MEANNNNN.

 

After you pick your plan, go ahead and put a ring on that domain name.

Step #2 | HOW TO START A BLOG

Put some paint on your website. AKA install a theme!

“Themes,” as they’re called, are pretty much the visual equivalent of painting the walls of your website, or hanging curtains, or decorating the baby’s room. If WordPress is the structure, themes change the way that structure looks. Maybe you want a navigation on the left. Maybe you want it on the right. Maybe you want a big photo up top. Maybe you want no photo at all. The theme you install will help to dictate the way your website looks. So because you’re going to be using WordPress, you need “Wordpress themes.” So, two ideas to get you started. Either start right within your Bluehost account, or browse over at Template Monster, which is a huge freaking library full of modern templates that I like. (And who will also send me a commission check if you buy anything, because REFERRALS.) My biggest tip here? Stay away from free themes. It won’t look as polished as you need to be taken seriously.

Option #1: Within Bluehost

 

 

Option #2: Template Monster

Bluehost set up step seven, how to start a blog - template monster themes

 

 

 

Step #3 | HOW TO START A BLOG

Use Bluehost’s 1-click install button, and install WordPress!

Think of it like this: Your .com address is your plot of land. Your hosting is your electricity. But WordPress is the frame of your house. It gives your website the structure + ability to have a blog with blog posts that can be updated—which is different from just having a static website with a few pages (like your About Page, or Contact Us page), and given that it’s the #1 platform in the world for blogging and websites, it’s ultra flexible and can do many, many different things. This is good news for you. And it’s also good because it means it’s not going anywhere, anytime soon, which is important because nothing would be worse than putting in tons of sweat and tears into a website on someone else’s platform only to have that company go under. EW.

 

 

 

Step #4 | HOW TO START A BLOG

Sign up for Canva and make yourself a logo.

If you’ve got the bucks, hire a designer. Fuze Branding is doing our new re-brand, and I AM MADLY FREAKING IN LOVE WITH THEM AND THEY ARE AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING. If you don’t, however, and you just need to get started? Go use Canva and create yourself a logo in a matter of minutes! (Canva is freaking awesome for creating any kinds of graphics, if you have NO CLUE WHAT YOU’RE DOING. Which is clearly why I like it. I am super duper design challenged. <Insert tear.>)

Canva

And voila! That should be everything you need to get started! Next week, in Part II of this series, we’ll talk about what to actually write on your blog, now that you have one. BECAUSE YOU DO REALIZE YOU HAVE ONE NOW, RIGHT? And you do realize we totally did this together, and it probably took you less than an hour, and now you are a total big cheese, and now we can all happy dance and cook hot dogs. (WHAT YOU THOUGHT I WAS VEGAN?! …playa please.)

I hope we will love each other long time.

Love,

Ash

Part II: How to Start a Blog (Without Wanting to Kill Yourself)

Feb 18

2016

An Ode to the Internet’s Worst Business Advice

Feb 18, 2016

A person, going into business for themselves for the first time: How can I get found? The Internet: Start a newsletter! Person: What, like a weekly bulletin? The Internet: No, like a newsletter. Person: So, like, write a bunch of updates about me, me, and me? The Internet: Yeah! A newsletter! Person: Every week? The […]

In: Starting an Online Business

READ ME >>

Aug 16

2017

Too Shy to Stand Up and Sing Your Own Praises? Start Here, You Humble Little Lovebug, You.

Aug 16, 2017

Someone tells you that you did a great job, and what’s the first thing coming out of your mouth? OH NO BIGGIE, BARB, IT WAS NOTHING, REALLY—NO WORRIES, LEAST I COULD DO! We’re quick to diminish our efforts because taking credit for all the things somehow feels self-important; braggy; boastful; full-of-herself. Do this enough times, […]

In: Starting an Online Business

READ ME >>

Aug 7

2014

Tweet When You’re Dead

Aug 7, 2014

Death is weird. One minute you’re painstakingly slaving over the perfect Facebook status update, worrying about the new wrinkle in your forehead, and crying hysterically over the fact that you spilled a drop of creamer on the counter and WHY! CAN’T! ANYTHING! BE! EASY!, and the next, well, you don’t even have the privilege of […]

In: Starting an Online Business

READ ME >>

May 14

2017

The Noodle Test: Is Your Business Idea Any Good?

May 14, 2017

When you’re weighing out your business ideas, do not cave to the pressure of having to do something new. You do not have to be the first—you just have to be the only. There’s a difference. If you think about it, there are plenty of restaurants using all the same ingredients. After all, there are only […]

In: Starting an Online Business

READ ME >>

Jul 10

2014

What To Do When You Hire Them And…They Suck.

Jul 10, 2014

So you started a business and before you knew it you were regularly lip syncing to Gaga while kicking ass, taking orders, AND taking names—which, for the record, I hear is a mafia term. Isn’t that delightful? Suddenly, you found yourself with an extra $5 and immediately shouted to no one in particular, “I’m going to reinvest […]

In: Starting an Online Business

READ ME >>

Apr 5

2013

Reason #959 to Start a Business

Apr 5, 2013

Employment freaks me out. It’s hard to imagine putting all of your intellectual, emotional, and physical energy into a company – with nothing to show for it at the end of the day. Or, the end of your life. Maybe a savings, if you were disciplined enough, or a 401K, but aside from that, you’re […]

In: Starting an Online Business

READ ME >>

Nov 30

2012

The $2,000 Offer to LEAVE a Company

Nov 30, 2012

When I was hired as Director of PR for AWeber, the VP of Operations called me into his office two weeks after I had started, and offered me $2,000 to leave the company. “You’ve been here two weeks now,” he started, “and you probably have a good idea if this is a place you’re going […]

In: Starting an Online Business

READ ME >>

I'm a Bad Influence on Women

Hey, I’m Ash! Twenty years ago I was a small town girl growing up in a trailer park in rural Pennsylvania. Fifteen years ago, I lost my family and everything I knew right as I became the first to graduate college. Fourteen years ago, I found myself leaving everything behind for a new life in the city where I could be “normal.” Ten years ago I realized normal was the most disappointing thing that ever happened to me. Nine years ago I quit my job in advertising and pursued my dreams as a creative writer. Eight years ago, I built a 6-figure business doing what I love using nothing more than the Internet and my voice. And now, today, I’m the founder of The Middle Finger Project, an irreverent media co. that helps other women find their voice and teaches them to use it to build whatever the f*ck they want to. With a book coming out with Penguin Random House in February 2020 (YASSS, WE’RE A PRODUCT IN TARGET!) I’m proud to be a bad influence on women and guide them into doing something disobediently brave with their life and their career.

Enter your email address and I’ll send you my advice column every week sharing everything I’ve learned—and so much more.

But no serial killers. I promise I won’t send those.

Privacy Policy Info Here