There are many guides on how to start a blog on WordPress, so you may be wondering what I can offer that’s different from all the rest. Not only is this a comprehensive ‘ how to start a blog ‘ guide but I will give you some useful tips and tricks that other guides won’t tell you! I have been blogging for over 7 years now, so I have succeeded and failed after, trying most things, meaning that I have some great advice on what to do and what NOT to do.
Blogging is not only a fantastic way of telling your family and friends what you’re up to but also there a whole business side of blogging too. It’s an actual career now and no longer a fantasy job. Anyone can grab a laptop, install WordPress and start a blog but the sad reality is most people give up within the first year. This is mainly due to people not knowing how to properly market, how to write interesting content, how to take beautiful pictures, and the biggest of all, underestimating how much work goes into it. Blogging has really changed my life and not in a cheesy way. Now I call it my full-time job and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Let’s begin! Here’s how to start a blog.
- FIND A HOST
To create a blog, you will need to find a host. There are tonnes of companies out there but unfortunately, many of them are crap. I use SiteGround and recommend them fully. I used to be with Go Daddy but found their support system horrible and very limited. SiteGround may look complicated but, trust me, if I can use it you can too. To be honest, most of the time I just hop on live chat and ask, “WTF does this mean?” and they respond every single time and do most things for me because I am too incompetent. For this reason, the live chat is my favourite feature. Within a minute, I am talking to a technical assistant who fixes any problems or answers any questions I may have. Prices start at just £2.75 per month!
Another hosting platform that many bloggers use is Bluehost. I know many bloggers who do use this and highly recommend it. It is also reasonably priced and easy to navigate.
- REGISTER YOUR NEW DOMAIN NAME
This is a very important step and often people just jump into picking a name. You need to be thinking about the long term. If you have a travel blog solely on New Zealand called AnitatravelsNZ, what will you do if in a couple of years’ time you move to Africa? Also, think about the opportunities, are you limiting yourself?
If you choose the first plan from SiteGround which will be perfect if you’re a beginner, you will only pay £2.75 per month! This includes hosting and a FREE domain name, plus loads of other great features like unlimited email addresses, free setup, free daily backup and free website builder.
- INSTALL WORDPRESS
WordPress is essentially the platform that your blog is on.
It’s easy to set up in SiteGround. Here is a step-by-step guide.
- Once you have signed up for hosting and your domain name you will now need to login into Siteground to the “My accounts” tab. From there, click on the orange “Go to cPanel” button and it will take you to the next step.
- Under the “Autoinstallers” tab you will need to click on the button called “WordPress”.
- From there click “Install Now”. This will install WordPress to your account.
- Next, you will need to fill in the blanks which include your domain, which has already been registered, your site name, description and set up a username and password.
- Once it is all filled out you press Install and it’s done! You have now installed WordPress, congratulations!
Here is a step by step guide if you choose Bluehost.
- Access the cPanel from your Bluehost account.
- Under “Blogs” click the WordPress icon.
- Click on the “Start” button, which will then activate installation.
- You will then have to click on your domain name from the dropdown menu.
- In “Advance options” is where you will choose your username, password and other important things!
- Once everything is all filled out click “Install now”. Then you’re done!
- CREATING A BEAUTIFUL THEME
Creating a clear and beautiful theme can be tricky as there are so many options out there. WordPress offer some great free themes but being free they do have their limitations. I brought the theme for my travel blog from Pipdig. I was sick of playing with WordPress themes, so I just took the bullet and paid for a fantastic theme, which I am very happy about. They are very reasonably priced too.
Make sure your theme is clear and easy to navigate. Also, make sure it looks good on a mobile becausea majority of blog readers are on a mobile these days. Look at a bunch of other blogs online and investigate what theme they have. I would recommend getting a piece of paper and drawing your theme and what features are most important to you. Grab ideas from other websites that you love and want to implement. In my opinion, that’s the easiest way to design your theme and set your expectations on what you want your blog to look like.
- CREATE ESSENTIAL PAGES
Gone are the days where blogs are just a homepage. Blogs are so much more than that! Here are some pages you should consider making.
About me: This is where you want to tell the world who you are, why you set up your blog and what you can help them with. Include a few photos, and at least one of yourself so it makes it more personal!
Contact: This is important, so people can get in touch with you. Not only your audience but also work opportunities. I highly recommend you create an email address with your domain too. Make your personal and business separate. You can easily set one up in SiteGround or Bluehost. They are free and come with your plan. In fact, you can create 100 email addresses if you really wanted to.
20 of my best blogging tricks and tips
- Start building an email list straight away. You can use SumoMe or Thrive Leads to create popups on your website.
- Offer a gift or a mini-guide to get people to sign up to your mailing list. Give them a reason to subscribe!
- Educate yourself! Joining e-courses are a great way to learn about different aspects of blogging from professional bloggers and entrepreneurs. I highly recommend Michelle’s Making sense of affiliates if you are interested in earning money from your blog! I also offer a Pinterest e-course (Pinterested in Growing) which teaches you how you can gain a lot of traffic through the platform and use it to leverage your blog.
- Connect Google Analytics to your WordPress site so you can see how your blog grows! Plus, Google Analytics is industry standard when companies ask for your statistics.
- Make business accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. Choose two to focus on and automate the others.
- Join Facebook groups to promote your latest posts! They are a fantastic way to get your new content out there.
- Interact with other bloggers and get yourself out there.
- Join blogging conferences around the world. They are a fantastic way to meet other bloggers, further your knowledge and meet potential sponsors.
- Create a logo and header in Canva because it’s super easy to use. I also make all my email headers and graphics for my blog in Canva too.
- Introduce yourself with a photo and description on your homepage so people straight away can get to know you.
- Put a search bar on your homepage so people can search for content they are looking for.
- Ask bloggers if you can write guest posts to further your exposure and get more linkbacks to your blog.
- If you want to become a professional blogger, then treat your blog as a business. Have a business plan, pay taxes and invest in it.
- Get serious with Pinterest! Pinterest is a huge traffic referrer, which I teach all about in my e-course Pinterested in Growing. It’s a platform you should take very seriously if you want to grow your blog!
- Learn about SEO. You can download the Yoast plugin through your WordPress site.
- Pick 3 successful blogs that you love and have a good dig around on their website. What are they doing right? Learn from them!
- Be active on social media all the time. You will need to grow your online presence so make sure you reply to comments.
- Comment on other people’s blogs and social media platform. Become part of the community!
- Be different and unique! Don’t copy everyone else. Make sure you offer something different from the other millions of blogs out there. That will make you successful!
- Join Buffer so you can schedule Facebook posts and tweets for your social media accounts. This saves you time and makes sure you are always active, which will grow your audience.
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