You probably arrived on this page because you’ve thought about creating a website showcasing something you love on your own terms. Whether you want to blog for fun or for profit, it only takes a few simple steps to start posting on your new blog today. Let me show you how!
STEP 1: What are you going to blog about?
Maybe you already have an idea in mind or maybe you have several. Some writers prefer to create a catch all journal of daily adventures, but most blogs hone in on a specific topic like parenting, fashion, or travel. Sticking with one subject consistently or several that fit together nicely (like fitness and diet) makes it easier to attract regular visitors. This strategy can also boost your chance of becoming known as an expert in a specific field.
A marketing perspective could also help your new blog thrive. Ask yourself: Who are my readers? What problems are they trying to solve? How can I help them? Most of us are seeking solutions to everyday dilemmas and I’m sure you have some wisdom and experience to share with the right audience. Just make sure to choose something you’re really excited about so it doesn’t feel like a chore to write new blog posts.
Find your niche, share your stories, become an authority.
STEP 2: What will you name your blog?
Using your own name is a good way to create a personal brand. Doing this also allows the freedom to expand or change topics in the future. You would need to do some extra marketing legwork though to associate your name with what you actually write about. Another idea is to combine your name with another word or two related to your topic. You’ll probably need to experiment a bit. Make a list of words related to what you plan to write about and combine them in different ways until something memorable and unique takes center stage.
Being original can be challenging with many names already in use by somebody else, so I typically use a thesaurous like WordHippo to help generate ideas. Once you’ve got a candidate list, use Namechk to see what’s actually available. Being able to register a good domain name (.com) is especially important. You’ll come across as more professional and make it a lot easier for visitors to find your site again.
STEP 3: Setup your domain and hosting
Your ability to customize and monetize your blog will be limited if you choose a free hosting platform. To gain real traction, an inexpensive shared webhosting provider is the way to go. Bluehost is a top pick for many new bloggers because they offer competitive pricing with an impressive track record. Plus Bluehost makes setting up a new WordPress blog simple.
Your domain name can be registered directly through Bluehost and it is free for the first year if you sign up for at least 12 months. I recommend adding the domain privacy protection (additional fee) if you are working from a home address that you’d rather not share with the entire internet. Registering multiple domains? Check out Namecheap for some excellent deals.
More quality webhosting providers to consider:
STEP 4: Create your WordPress blog
Once you’ve signed up for both your domain name and a hosting plan, you’re ready to create your blog! Bluehost has made it incredibly easy to get started with WordPress by including an installation that’s ready to go once you’ve signed up for an account. Other webhosts typically include one-click installation, but if you do not have web development experience, you’ll probably want to avoid hosts that require downloading and manually installing the platform.
After setting up your blog, it’s a good idea to enable a SSL certificate. You can get one for free through a Bluehost plan. This certificate makes your site more secure using https instead of http. If you see a little lock icon in your browser URL bar, that’s an indicator that SSL is being used. Why bother? Blogs are often targetted by spammers and hackers. Don’t be a sitting duck! SSL helps protect you and your visitors’ information with barely any effort on your part. Having SSL on your blog will also boost your search engine rankings.
STEP 5: Using the WordPress dashboard
The WordPress dashboard can be confusing at first glance, but you’ll become familiar in no time! When you first login, you should look for Settings on the left menu. Make sure your information is correctly displayed. Your next stop will likely be Appearance, where you can adjust the look of your blog. There are numerous themes available for free or you can purchase a premimum one that matches your vision. Themes can be further customized in the Appearance subcategories.
Recommended sites for premium themes:
- Theme Forest – Great selection. I’ve made a lot of purchases here!
- Creative Market – Elegant themes plus beautiful fonts and stock
- Genesis Themework – More complex, but this is what I currently use
Using plug-ins is another way to modify the look and behavior of your blog. These snippets of code can enhance your site and make development easier. For instance, you might want a plug-in that displays popular posts, adds social media links, or creates a contact form. Be aware that adding too many plug-ins can clutter your page and slow down your blog, so choose wisely.
Recommended plug-ins for starting out:
- Akismet Anti-spam – Block unwanted comment spam
- WPS Hide Login – Allows you to change your login URL
- Yoast SEO – Improve your search engine optimization
And now you should be ready to start writing by clicking on the New Post menu item. I hope this basic guide helped get your new blog up and running. If you’re seeking more tips to customize and maintain your blog, keep perusing this website for more detailed tutorials.