Do you have knowledge to share? a passion? to anyone who has a desire to share I recommend sharing your knowledge by starting a blog.
Ever since I learned how to start a blog it has been extremely rewarding. If you’re looking to advance your career or just have fun by sharing your stories starting a blog is a fantastic way to do either. Sharing your knowledge online is a perfect way to show potential jobs and clients the value you can add to their company.
There are many ways to create a blog online with options like Squarespace, Wix, Blogger and more it can be hard to choose. If you want ultimate control over your site a self-hosted WordPress site has become the most customizable to create a blog.
But if you’re on this page you are already ready to build a WordPress blog.
This step by step guide to starting your blog should only take about 20 minutes.
So here is my step-by-step beginners guide to setting up a WordPress blog:
Why Blog with WordPress?
Don’t get me wrong, these are great options if you don’t need much customization.
Worst of all using a managed platform like Wix could lead to them going out of business and all of your hard work can be lost or difficult to migrate. With a self hosted WordPress blog you control all of your data and files, plus if you use a redundant WordPress backup of your site it’s nearly impossible to lose your content.
Many people choose WordPress because of its ability for infinite customizability. WordPress is one of the best platforms that grows as you do. Managed platforms like Squarespace and Blogger have you locked into their functionality but a self hosted WordPress site can be extended with any functionality if you have access to a WordPress developer.
Since WordPress powers 60% of the web you know it has incredible community support as well. With thousands of amazing plugins and tons of developers it’s easy to find a plugin or a developer to customize your site.
If you’re looking to make your blog as professional as possible WordPress is the way to go.
Buying a Domain Name
If you’re unfamiliar with domain names, a domain name acts as address for your blog. For example google.com, facebook.com, etc are all domain names. Domains act as an address to point your computer to a server.
When buying a domain name I recommend using Google Domains.
You likely have an account. Well everyone has a Google account so you’ll never need to hunt down an obscure login. Plus it’s likely they already have your credit card info.
Their interface is super simple. Many web companies have very cumbersome interfaces for no reason. Google Domains takes away one of those stresses.
A benefit of buying your domain name separate from your host is the ability to move services later. If your website becomes a huge hit it’s easier to change hosting companies if you bought your domain separately.
Now that you have an address for your blog you’ll need to point it to a web host.
Buying WordPress Hosting
I don’t recommend buying your domain name from where you buy hosting. Which is why we used Google Domains above.
There are a slew of hosting options but we will be using BlueHost.
The primary reason to use BlueHost is that they specialize in WordPress. Plus their plans only start at $3.95 which makes it easy on the wallet starting out.
Additionally they offer 24/7 support so if you have any questions you can call them.
They also include a 30-day money-back guarantee so there is no downside to changing your mind.
Choosing a plan
BlueHost’s basic plan includes 50gb of storage which is more than most sites will ever need.
Unless you are going to upload thousands of photos stick to the basic plan. Worst case scenario you can easily upgrade your plan later.
Enter your Domain Name
Since we already bought a domain name you can enter your domain name after selecting your plan.
BlueHost will offer a few more package details but the only one worth keeping on is “Site Backup Pro”. This will allow you to restore if you make any mistakes while using your blog.
Installing WordPress on BlueHost is as simple as one click. After logging in you’ll see an option to add WordPress to your hosting. This will give you a fresh WordPress blog to start from.
Finding a WordPress Theme
After you learn the basics of WordPress you’ll want to customize your blog even more.
You can change the look & feel of your WordPress blog using themes. Whenever I build a website I start with a theme from ThemeForest.
The market for free themes is very limited and often low quality. so upgrading to a premium theme is a must when expanding your blog.
Recommended WordPress Plugins
After you setup a WordPress blog one key role is WordPress plugins.
The huge benefits to using WordPress is the massive selection of plugins.
Installing WordPress plugins is as simple as going to Plugins > Add New. This interface will allow you to install plugins with ease. I recommend starting with some of the plugins below.
Yoast SEO – Every WordPress blog I build I use Yoast SEO to change page titles and descriptions for SEO. SEO is a whole topic on its own but starting with Yoast will add some SEO features right away. Additionally Yoast will give you a sitemap to submit to Google Webmasters.
Jetpack – Jetpack offers a slew of tweaks to WordPress like contact forms and the ability to add custom CSS. It’s worth installing Jetpack for its login protection.
Also read my article of my recommended WordPress plugins if you want more suggestions.
How to Fully Customize Your WordPress Site
After you’ve tried out themes and plugins you’ve wanted you’ll want to customize more.
If you’re a web developer there is tons of documentation on building themes and plugins.
If you’re looking to hire a developer to customize your WordPress blog I recommend Envato Studio. Envato Studio is a simple way to hire a developer or designer to make modifications to your blog.
How to Make Money Blogging
Once your blog gets traffic and influence you’ll be able to monetize through multiple ways. It’s important to focus on quality content when starting out rather than monetization.
Now Start Blogging!
Once you have created some content on your blog be sure to submit it to Google via Google Webmasters. This will tell Google to index your site so you can show up in search results.