I decided to write an article about “How to Start your Blog” , to give beginners a fast, easy guide to starting a blog, without having to learn HTML or waste your time reading long, boring tutorials. I hope it will help you to understand to whole process of setting up a brand new blog and helps you avoid expensive mistakes most people make.
This guide is just a short guide ,so it should not take a long time to read. So, get comfy and lets start with STEP 1. If you have any question , do not hesitate , Send me an email and I’ll do my best to help you out.
There are only 5 steps to start a blog.
- Choose your blogging platform
- Choose a domain name and host
- Customize and edit your blog
- Write posts and add pages
- Get traffic and make it successful
Step 1: Getting Started – Choose your Blogging Platform .I prefer WordPress .
Before you can even start worrying about how your blog will look like, you’ll need to choose your blogging platform.
There’s a lot to choose from. You are able to create a blog with many different blogging platforms, such as WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger and more…
However, given that there are over 72 million active users using WordPress today, it’s clear which platform is the best. I build all my blogs and blogs and sites are with WordPress blogging platform.
These are some reasons why:
It’s FREE for everyone to use (including themes, layouts and add-ons that many other blogging platforms don’t provide).
- It is very easy to set up.
- It’s secure; WordPress is always updating their software and keeping everything sound and secure, so there’s rarely a worry of having your blog come under hacking attacks. No wonder Sony, NASA and even university blogs are using WordPress.
- It’s HIGHLY customizable. There are hundreds of free themes and plugins that add more functionality to your blog, from contact and subscribe boxes to plugins that improve blog performance and more.
While some blogging platforms are generally all pretty good , nothing in my opinion has ever come close to matching the freedom and customization options that WordPress offers. So without a doubt, go with WordPress. Especially when you are just starting out.
Why you shouldn’t create a blog on a free blogging platform
1.You don’t control your content – the blogging platform does. They could shut you down any time, and for any reason. Don’t believe me? Read this.
2.The web address of your blog will be long and hard to remember (like yourfreeblog.blogspot.com) instead of a catchy, branded address you choose.
3.You’re not allowed to advertise on most free blogging platforms, making it much harder to ever make money from blogging.
All of these limitations apply to the WordPress.COM blogs.
If you are serious about blogging and making money out of it in future then you need a self-hosting, WordPress blog. Blog without limitations.
Finding a domain name and web hosting provider
To set up a self-hosted blog on your own domain name, you’ll need two things:
Domain name – This will be your personal blog address where people find you over and over again. For example I use GoDaddy domains from www.Google.com. Your new blog domain name will be www.YourBlogName.com, except you’ll choose what’s going to be behind YourNewBlog. The cost of a domain name is usually £0.99/month.
Web hosting – This will be the home of your blog address and content that’s on the blog. Without web hosting, you’ll be unable to use your domain. Think of it as a computer hard drive that stores all your content on your blog (images, blog posts and so on). The cost of web hosting is usually somewhere between £1 per month with GoDaddy.com
Where should I get my domain name and hosting?
When it comes to hosting, there are only two things are very important.
- Page load speed – The average amount of time (in seconds) it takes your blog to load.
- Uptime – 99.9% isn’t enough (it’s 42 minutes of downtime per month). You should be aiming for 100%.
There are hundreds of different web hosting providers. They all offer you a similar service (domain + hosting) with a similar price, but since I’ve dealt with and monitored many famous and recommended web hosting companies like Bluehost, iPage, Godaddy etc…
I decided to go with WordPress hosting .. I found it easy and straight forward.
However, you can always go with another web hosting as long as it’s fast, reliable and offers unlimited storage & bandwidth. This helps you to avoid problems later on.
After realizing the struggle many face when starting a website, team at Reviews.com decided to create a helpful guide on web hosting platforms. They looked at over 200 of the most popular platforms focusing on options that are reliable, intuitive, knowledgeable, and easy to upgrade when the time comes. At the end ,the managed to create a resource to help anyone get started and feel comfortable on their own. You can check it out here: https://www.reviews.com/web-hosting/
Step 2: Set up a Blog on your own domain name (self-hosted WordPress)
I will be showing you how to set up hosting and a domain name yet in a minute
At the end of this step , you will have a fully working self-hosted WordPress blog on your own domain name.
Some hosting companies do not have one click install for WordPress. If that’s the case, see this guide for installing WordPress manually .Personally, I would not recommend it for beginners, will confuse you even more .
- Go to WordPress.com and click on “Start Your WordPress Blog”
2.Pick a Domain name for your blog
How do I choose a good domain name?
Choosing a bad domain name is one of the most common mistakes I see bloggers make. Be sure you choose a domain name that is unique ,easy to remember and relevant to your blog.
1. Easy to Remember – Don’t choose a nonsense name, something tough to spell, or a long name full of dashes. “www.best-dresses-in-the-world.com” won’t ever stick in someone’s head, but something like “www.bestdress.co.uk ” -much easier to remember.
2. Unique and Descriptive – You want a name that reflects who you are and what you care about. Be creative and build an identity you’re excited about!
3. Trustworthy – Domain extensions like “.co.uk”, “.org” or “.net” are the most popular, with “.com” being the one most people think of first. Try to avoid crazy extensions like “.rocks” or “.biz”, as these are less commonly used, tougher to remember and not as trusted.
Type the domain name you want to use in the box, then click “next”. If the name is available, you’ll be able to claim it. If it’s not available, choose another one.
3. Choose your blog hosting plan
As a beginner, you can start with basic plan and upgrade in future. WordPress has amazing free theme options.
4. Complete your registration
1) Domain Privacy Protection (DPP) hides your registration information in the “whois database”, a worldwide database everyone has access to. I recommend it if you want to keep yourself anonymous, but uncheck the box if you want to save as much as possible.
2) I’d uncheck all the other boxes (Site Backup, Constant Contact, SiteLock Security) as these aren’t really worth your money. You can always add them later.
Step 3: Configure, Design and Customise your blog
Understanding the WordPress Dashboard
When you log in for the first time, you’ll see a dashboard or admin panel that looks something like this:
Getting familiar with WordPress dashboard
- Changing your blog’s design, themes etc.
- Installing new plugins/features
- Making your blog search engine friendly
If you’ve set up your blog, you’re now ready to start using WordPress and customizing your blog. This is the best part, it is like decorating the house :)) .Experiment, get familiar with themes and futures.
- Dashboard- shows you an at-a-glance look at your recent activity, including how many posts, comments and pages you have. You can also write up a quick draft blog post here – but don’t – I’ll show you a better way a little later in the guide.
- Posts is where you’ll click if you want to add a new blog post or edit an existing one.
- Media is the library of all the pictures, videos, and audio files you’ve uploaded to the site. You can manage all of those items here.
- Pages is where you can add a new permanent page – like a services or contact me page (not a blog post!) and manage the pages you’ve already created.
- Comments is the place you’ll want to go to manage comments. You can see which comments are waiting for your approval, review comments you’ve approved, see which comments WordPress has labelled as spam and delete comments you don’t want.
- Appearance – this is where you can edit your blog’s design and install new themes and layouts. I show you exactly how to do this a little later in the page.
- Plugins is where you’d click if you wanted to install a new plugin, like a photo gallery or SEO tool. I’ll show you how to do this in a moment.
- Settings is the last section you need to know about. Here, you can change your site’s title and tagline, edit your email address and manage all of your site’s important settings.
Changing Your Blog’s Design (Themes & Layouts)
WordPress blogging platform uses design templates called “Themes” to figure out how your site should look. Changing your blog’s layout and design is as simple as installing a new theme.
There are over 2,000 professionally designed, fully-customizable and free themes to choose from – so you’ve got a lot of options.
Here’s how to find and install a theme you love:
Go to “Appearance” tab in the WordPress sidebar, then click on “Themes”.
- On the next screen, you’ll see several themes are already installed. If you don’t like those, click the “Add New” button at the top, or the great big “Add New” square to start searching for a theme.
I really like the “Customizing ” option, because you can choose themes in certain colour schemes, select specific layouts and even choose themes with built-in advanced features.
So, when you press “Theme” option on the dashboard it will open up all the available options. Basis themes at available for every plan, Premium themes- only for paid plans.
On the right hand side of each theme you will see 3 dots, press on those , you will have several options: (see picture below)
- Live demo- Have a look at it, it will give you a good idea how theme works, layout etc.
- Activate – Only do it ,if you decided to go for this particular theme.
- Try & Customise– Have fun with it, explore all the theme ,without applying it to your own just yet.
Plugins on WordPress.com
WordPress.com includes the most popular plugin functionality within our sites automatically.
Plugins are little software modules that you can install to add features and tools to your blog. Built-in plugin functionality includes (but is not limited to) the following:
- WordPress.com stats (our version of Google Analytics)
- Essential SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
- Security scanning
- Advanced galleries (tiled, mosaic, slideshows, and more)
- Social Media (add social media buttons to your posts and pages)
- Form builder (contact forms)
- Extended Customizer
- Extended Widgets (Flickr, Eventbrite, Google Calendar, Twitter, and more)
- Akismet (advanced anti-spam security)
- Backup & Export (24/7 backup of your entire site)
- Extended Shortcodes (video, audio, and more)
- Infinite scroll
- Related posts
- Email subscriptions (follow button)
- Advanced Commenting (comment likes, user mentions, notifications, and more)
- Likes (for Posts)
- Embeds (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more)
Premium Plan Upgrades:
Business Plan Upgrades:
Step 4: Adding/Writing Blog Posts and Pages
So, now you should have fully working WordPress blog on your own domain name. You should also have a custom blog theme that fits with your blog’s topic. Congratulations!
If you still have any questions please drop me an email here
Now I would like to show you how to write your first blog post and share some tips for writing blog posts.
In this section, I’ll show you…
- How to write a post inside WordPress
- How to add images, links and format text
- Some quick tips and tricks for writing great content
To add a new blog post, click the “Posts” section on the left hand side-menu, then click on “Add New”.
On the next screen, you’ll see something like this:
You can add the title to your blog post in the top field, and your content goes in the big text box below the title.
You can save your draft or publish your content live by using the box menu on the far right of the page. You can even schedule the post to be published later – or make the post private so only friends can see it.
So, by now you should be able to Add Title to your blog, edit it, add some links and images. Also, preview it and share it on your social media.
Step 5: MAKE YOUR BLOG SUCCESSFUL
Now that you have set up your blog and know the basics, it’s time to make your blog successful. Many beginners struggle at that point. There are some step I would definitely recommend :
- Creating a perfect about me page (This is usually the most visited page on your blog)
- Adding a Contact Page/Form on your blog (So that your readers could contact you)
- Get your blog listed on Search Engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo)
- Get more traffic to your blog
- How to monetize your blog (Affiliate marketing, selling advertising space, getting new clients etc…)
- Set up Google Analytics (For tracking your blog visitors)
So, here we are . I hope this article will help and encourage you to start your own blog .
If you have any questions, please comment and let me know.
Love , Samira xxx