gOads.ID, How to Start a WordPress Blog - We know the thought of launching a blog can be scary, especially if you’re not a tech-savvy person. But, the good news is that starting a blog is way easier than you think, regardless of your skillset.
Blogging platforms like WordPress make it super simple for anyone to start a blog without knowing a single line of code. Once you’ve set up the blog, you can create content in a post editor that looks very similar to Microsoft Word.
You can customize the design, look, and feel of your blog with an easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface. In other words, starting a blog in 2022 is A LOT easier than starting one 10 years ago.
But why listen to us?
Unlike other wannabe experts and false prophets, we only preach what we practice.
We’ve built several large blogs in our career including this one. Having helped thousands of WordPress users get started with blogging, we know exactly what it takes to build a stunning blog from the ground up.
Whether you’re an absolute beginner or just in need of a refresher, in this guide, you’ll find everything you need to get your blog up and running.
In this step-by-step guide, we’ll walk you through how to start a blog from the ground up in less than an hour.
If you’d rather cut straight to the chase and dive into the step-by-step technical tutorial, then go for it.
Chapter 1: Why Start a Blog?
Blogging has come a long way since its inception. Initially, it was used by individuals for sharing their personal thoughts and opinions. Now even businesses around the globe leverage blogs for expanding their reach and to generate new leads.
When it comes to blogging, having a purpose is critical, or you’ll lose the direction and inspiration as time passes. When you blog with a purpose, your readers will connect with it because that purpose shines through in your writing. Good examples of blogs with a purpose are our very own IsItWordPress blog and the WPBeginner blog:
Here are some of the reasons why people blog:
Some people blog to document everything they have going on, so they can keep track of their progress. It helps you connect with like-minded people in the community and build long-lasting relationships with them.
Make Money Blogging
A lot of people start a blog with a single goal: to make money online.
Your blog can be your semi-passive income source, meaning you can earn money even when you’re not actively updating it. Some of the ways you can monetize your blog are:
- Advertising: Sell ad space on your blog and generate a steady stream of income from it.
- Affiliate marketing: Join affiliate programs and refer products to your audience and generate revenue when they purchase using your referral links.
- Sell products: Create a product that you know your audience will love and sell it on your blog.
Establish Yourself as an Authority
In this crowded digital era, to be a successful blogger, you need to demonstrate your expertise and establish yourself as an authority. In order to do this, you’ll have to keep an eye on trends in your niche and consistently blog about them.
Be sure to offer tips and recommendations to your audience on a regular basis so they’ll realize your blog is a go-to resource when it comes to everything related to your niche.
1.1. Choose the Right Niche for Your Blog
When starting a blog, it’s imperative to realize that blogging isn’t always going to be rainbows and unicorns. Blogging is a marathon, not a sprint.
To run a blog on a long-term basis, you’ll need to be persistent. And to be persistent, you’ll need to consider a few different things when choosing a topic for your blog:
- Passion: For persistent blogging, you’ll need to choose a topic that you’re really passionate about. You can’t continuously write about a topic that doesn’t excite you.
- Traffic volume: Just because you love a topic doesn’t always mean it’s the best one for starting a blog. If no one else wants to read a blog on the topic you’re about to choose, then you’ll need to reconsider the topic before jumping in.
- Purpose: Consider the purpose of your blog when you decide on a topic. For instance, if you want to make a living from advertising, but the niche is too narrow with low traffic volume, then you might want to expand your niche or change your monetization strategy.
1.2. Unlearn Conventional Writing Lessons
Blogging is a bit different from conventional writing. If you’re an aspiring blogger, then you might have to unlearn a few things that you were taught in your English classes.
For example, when you’re blogging or writing for the web, it’s advised to craft short sentences and even shorter paragraphs, so readers can quickly consume your article. This is mainly because people have shorter attention spans on the web.
Another difference is that print editors often recommend writers write in the third person. However, bloggers are expected to write in a first-person voice. By writing in a first-person voice, you’re talking directly to your readers just like you would with your friends.
Aside from talking to your readers directly, you’ll also have to optimize your blog posts for search engines. This’ll help search engines discover and index your website, so you can attract more search engine traffic, also known as organic traffic, to your blog.
Chapter 2: Choosing a Blogging Platform
The blogging platform you choose can make or break your blog.
Not every blogging platform is created equal. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the different blogging platforms available. So, before you jump in, it’s worth taking a moment to examine a few different factors:
- Your blogging purpose: When choosing a platform, it’s essential for you to check if it aligns with your blogging goals.
- Usability: Obviously, you’ll need to choose a platform that’s easy to use. With an intuitive platform, you can easily get things done with a minimal learning curve.
- Monetization: Double-check if your blogging platform of choice allows you to monetize your blog with ads. For instance, some platforms, like free WordPress.com, don’t allow you to monetize your blog. That means such a platform isn’t a good fit for you if your goal is to make money blogging.
2.1. Best Blogging Platforms Showdown
Now that you know what factors you’ll need to consider, let’s take a look at some of the best blogging platforms in existence.
Without a doubt, WordPress is the most popular blogging platform out there. Originally, WordPress was started as a blogging platform, but it’s now transformed into a full-fledged open source content management system (CMS).
With WordPress, you can build any kind of website you can imagine, such as an eCommerce store, forum, niche social network, etc.
We highly recommend you start with WordPress because it gives you full control over your blog. Also, check out our article on the best WordPress books including the books on creating a website or blog with WordPress.
Pricing: To build a blog site, you’ll need to purchase a domain name and web hosting account. A domain name costs around $14.99 per year and web hosting costs around $8.99 per month. We’ve worked out a deal with Bluehost for IsItWP users, so you only have to pay $2.75 per month.
That means you get 70% off on WordPress hosting and a free domain name.
Wix is a free website-building platform that also allows you to create a brand new blog from the ground up. There are also premade website templates if you don’t want to start from scratch. To create a blog with Wix, you’ll need to integrate the Blog app into your Wix website. The free Wix plan lets you use 500 MB storage and 1 GB bandwidth.
Pricing: To remove Wix branding and enhance the built-in features, you can purchase a premium plan, starting at $19 per month.
WordPress.com is a free blogging platform managed by the same folks as WordPress.org. With WordPress.com, you can create a free blog, without purchasing a domain name. You can upgrade your subscription for enhanced features, such as a custom domain, monetization, additional storage, etc.
Make sure to check out the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
Pricing: You can start a basic blog for free. For $48 per year, you can connect a custom domain name and remove WordPress.com ads. To monetize your blog, you’ll have to get the Premium plan for $96 per year.
Blogger is a free blogging platform by Google. Blogger allows you to start a blog and monetize it with ads without having to spend a dime. While it comes with all the features you’ll need to run a blog, you can’t add enhanced functionalities like an eCommerce storefront.
Pricing: Blogger is a 100% free blogging platform.
2.2. Why Do We Recommend WordPress.org to Create a Blog?
We recommend using the self-hosted WordPress.org platform to everyone because it’s a truly superior blogging platform. We use it on all of our websites, including this one!
The main difference between self-hosted WordPress and other options is that it gives you full freedom and control over your site. You can customize the look and feel as needed. You can monetize your website however you like. You can even add an online store to your blog.
Last but not least, nobody can delete your blog just because you didn’t follow their terms of service. See this guide to see the full list of differences between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org.
Now that we’ve chosen the platform, let’s take a look at what do you need to start a WordPress blog.
Chapter 3: Creating a Blog – Technical Guide (Step by Step)
Starting a blog isn’t rocket science. With the right set of tools, it’s easy to get your blog up and running.
No matter what kind of blog you’re looking to create, you’ll need to have a few things in hand, such as a domain name, a blogging platform, and web hosting.
After setting up the blog, you’ll need to customize its appearance, add essential functionalities, and more.
In this chapter, we’ll explain:
- How to choose a domain name
- How to set up a domain name and web hosting
- How to install WordPress on your host
- How to install a WordPress theme to customize blog’s appearance
- How to install a WordPress plugin to add functionalities
3.1. How to Choose a Domain Name
Registering a domain name is easy and cheap, but it’s important to choose the right domain name for your website that’s easy to type and remember.
Your domain name will also be your blog name and serves as your blog’s address on the internet, like Google.com or IsItWP.com. It’s what your customers type in their browsers to access your website. A domain name normally costs around $14.99 per year.
Let’s take a look at a few different approaches you can follow to choose a domain name for your blog.
Go for a Brandable Domain Name
Gone are the days when you can boost your blog’s search rankings with a keyword stuffed domain name. While including a keyword in your domain name can still have a positive impact, stuffing with keywords could negatively impact your SEO efforts.
When choosing a domain name, it’s advised to go for a brandable domain name, like ProBlogger.com or OptinMonster.com over keyword-stuffed ones, such as copywritingtweaks.com or killercopywriting.com.
Not only are they easier to remember, but it helps you get a positive SEO impact in the long run.
Choose the Right Domain Extension
.com domains are so popular that people are more likely to type in [yourblog].com on their browser to visit your site. In fact, if you choose a different extension, then you might want to do extra work to get people to remember it.
Of course, we always recommend choosing a .com domain name for your blog. However, if .com isn’t available, you can go for .net or .org.
Use a Domain Name Generator
Choosing a perfect domain name for your blog can be intimidating because it’s highly likely that your first domain name of choice’s already taken. That means you’ll need to brainstorm your own domain name ideas and check for their availability one by one.
A domain name generator helps you save time by automatically generating tons of domain name ideas by simply entering one or two keywords.
You can choose IsItWP’s domain name generator for finding the perfect domain name.
3.2. How to Set Up Domain Name and Web Hosting
Now that you’ve found a domain name, the next thing you’ll need to do is register it and set up web hosting.
If you’re new to the web space, below is the definition of a domain name and WordPress web hosting.
Domain name: Your domain name is your blog’s address on the internet, like Google.com or IsItWP.com. It’s what your customers type in their browsers to access your website. A domain name normally costs around $14.99 per year, but we’ll show you how to get one for free later in this article.
Web hosting: Your web hosting account is where your blog’s content and files are stored. Think of it as your website’s house. When a visitor tries to access your blog by typing your web address (domain name), they’ll be directed to the website files stored in your web hosting server. Web hosting typically costs $7.99 per month.
Also, check out these best blog hosting companies for reference.
When you’re first starting your blog, the combined cost of a domain name and hosting can seem like quite a lot.
That’s why we’ve worked out a deal with Bluehost to offer our users a free domain name, free SSL, and 70% off on WordPress hosting.
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