Many potential individuals, business owners, bloggers, writers, influencers are a bit away from launching their blogs just because they don’t have any idea about Hosting, FTP, cPanel, Database etc. To make a blog seems to be a nightmare for them, which pushes them away from making an online presence. Many of them spend thousands of dollars to hire webmasters, web developers, coders, freelancers to make a blog. Are you wondering, how to start a blog? Then you are in the right place. My aim behind this guide is to help those people to build their own blog with a little effort and a low cost.
Don’t let your technical barriers stop you from starting your online presence. You don’t need to be a coder or hire a web developer to start a stunning looking blog. You may opt for our Free Blog Setup Service or do it yourself by following the steps below,
A Step-by-Step Guide to Start a Blog
Step 1: Choosing a Perfect Niche to Start a Blog
The very first step to start a blog is to choose a niche that fits you. First ask yourself, why you want to start a blog and what to blog about. Starting a blog is easy, but maintaining it and carrying it towards its goal is a tough path. Therefore, you should have a clear direction and knowledge about the topic you want to cover in your blog. A niche that works for someone may not work for you. So first do some research and choose the one you are really passionate about and most interested in.
Step 2: Branding and Domain
The second important step to start a blog is to choose a Brand Name. Brand Name should be related to the blog niche. Simultaneously search for the available domain names related to your brand name. You can search and note down available domain names on Godaddy website. But, don’t register the domain in a hurry as you will have it for free of cost (Q: Show Me How? #A: I will show you in the next step).
Things to Remember While Choosing a Domain Name:
- It should be easy to remember
- It should be as short as possible
- It should reflect your Niche and primary keyword
- It should be Unique and Catchy
- Use appropriate domain extension
- Avoid using hyphens and numbers
Step 3: Choosing a Hosting Service to Start Your Blog
Though you can host your domain free of cost at platforms like Blogger.com. But, I recommend you to choose a premium hosting provider for more flexibility and security. You can choose anyone from the below-listed reliable and secure Hosting Providers,
Though all the above are incredible hosting providers, I personally prefer to be hosted on Bluehost. There are several reasons behind this choice,
- It’s the cheapest. Bluehost plan starts at as low as $2.95/month
- Bluehost offers a Free Domain with annual billing. So, you do not need to purchase a domain separately. (#A)
- Bluehost offers free SSL certificates
- You will get 5 Free Email Accounts with the above plan
- Bluehost is the oldest Hosting provider that is recommended by WordPress itself since 2005.
- The support system of Bluehost is simply awesome.
Step 4: Choose A Platform to Build Your Blog
There are a lot of CMS (content management systems) to choose from and choosing the right platform is very important. WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla are the three giant CMS to start a blog with ease. You will be surprised to know that 50% of websites are run on WordPress. Its popularity is due to its reliability, flexibility, and security. I personally highly recommend WordPress to choose for your blog.
- WordPress is totally FREE, with many layouts/themes to download for free.
- WordPress is extremely powerful and secure. It can run most types of sites. Top blogs like TechCrunch, BBC America, MTV News, Microsoft’s News Center use WordPress.
- WordPress is easy to use and learn
- WordPress is SEO friendly
- WordPress has a huge support and developer community available to help.
Step 5: Start Building Process
Now you have a great domain name for your business, a hosting account and you have chosen WordPress as recommended. Now it’s time to proceed further to start your blog.
All the hosting providers listed above has integrated 1-click-installation for WordPress, which makes the installation process much easier. To be specific, let’s proceed with Bluehost.
- Login to your hosting account
- Go to your cPanel
- You will find ‘Install WordPress’ tab under Website section. Click on it.
- Choose the domain where you want to install your website. Keep the ‘Directory’ part blank. Click on ‘Next’ button.
- Now set your Site Name, Admin Email, Admin Username, Admin Password. Check all the boxes and click on ‘Next’ button.
- Your WordPress installation will be finished within a couple of minutes. You will see a confirmation message on the topmost part with a link for your credentials. Click on ‘View your Credentials’ link.
- Click on your Install Location link. You will be redirected to your WordPress login page. After entering your Login ID and Password, you will be taken to your brand new WordPress dashboard.
Step 6: Choosing a Theme for WordPress
Once you have successfully installed WordPress on your domain, you’ll see a very basic look of your blog. But you don’t want to look like a noob, do you? The very first step for customizing your WordPress site is to choose a premium theme.
Why should you choose a premium theme while you have a plenty of free themes available? That could be a reasonable question to ask, however, there are, actually, a large number of reasons as to why you need to select a premium WordPress theme for your blog. Buying a premium theme from a good source ensures a product of high quality. The same can’t be said of many free themes. A few of the finest premium theme shops bundle their products with intuitive user interfaces, that will let you make adjustments in design and formatting to your blog with the click of a button. Premium themes are usually updated frequently to keep up with new versions of WordPress. The same can’t be said of free themes.
But still, the choice is yours. You will get access to over 2000 free themes, right from your dashboard! Just look at the sidebar for ‘Appearance’, then click ‘Themes’.
If you want to look more professional, you can head over to following Premium themes library and choose one as per your need.
I personally recommend Genesis Framework for speed and performance of the blog in future. But, if your budget is low, I also recommend opting Elegant Themes. With Elegant Themes, you will get access to 87 Awesome Premium Themes and All Premium Plugins for 1 Year for Just $89.
So you have the theme you want for your blog and you’re ready to install it. Look at the sidebar for ‘Appearance’ tab, then click ‘Themes’. Click on the option ‘Add New’. You can install a free theme available there or upload a premium theme by clicking on ‘Upload Themes’ option provided in the upper left corner. After installing the theme you need to activate it.
Step 7: Installing Recommended Plugins
There are millions of plugins available for customizing your blog. Though most of them are useful, you can’t afford more than 20 Plugins due to the speed issue. Too many plugins will slow down your blog.
10 Most Essential Free Plugins for Your WordPress Site
- WordPress SEO by Yoast: Free but powerful SEO plugin for WordPress. It helps to optimize on-page SEO. The must-have plugin for every WordPress blog
- Akismet: Akismet is a free anti spam plugin for WordPress. It helps to fight against spam comments. Another must-have plugin for spam haters.
- WP Total Cache/WP Super Cache: Install any one of these two. These are cache plugins to boost the loading speed of your WordPress site.
- WP-Optimize: It helps to clean database of your WordPress site. It also deletes post revisions, removes all auto-saved draft posts, cleans spam comments, and cleans unapproved comments to make your database lighter.
- Contact Form 7: Contact Form 7 can manage multiple contact forms, and you can customize the form and the mail contents flexibly with simple markup. The form supports Ajax-powered submitting, CAPTCHA, Akismet spam filtering and so on.
- Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights: It helps you to set up Google Analytics for your WordPress site with a few clicks.
- WP Smush: Images have a direct impact on your website’s loading speed. WP Smush optimizes the images without changing their look or visual quality.
- Jetpack by WordPress: Jetpack is a single plugin that can eliminate the need for more than15 plugins. Learn More
- Shortcodes Ultimate: It is a mega pack of shortcodes. With this plugin, you can easily create tabs, buttons, boxes, different sliders and much more.
- UpDraftPlus: UpdraftPlus is a free WordPress backup plugin. It allows you to create a complete backup of your WordPress site and store it in the cloud or download to your computer.
To install these free plugins just look along the sidebar for ‘Plugins’ tab, then click ‘Add New’. Search in the search box provided for your desired plugin and install it. Don’t forget to activate it after installation
You can consider adding some PREMIUM plugins too.
Some Useful Premium Plugins for Your Blog
- OptinMonster: OptinMonster is the best lead generation plugin for WordPress. It allows you to create beautiful opt-in forms and popups on your WordPress blog and convert your users into subscribers.
- WP Forms: WPForms is the most user-friendly contact form plugin for WordPress. This drag & drop online form builder allows you to easily create contact forms, email subscription forms, order forms, payment forms, and other types of online forms with just a few clicks.
- WP Rocket: This is a premium Cache plugin for WordPress with Cloudflare integration. Best replacement for WP Total Cache and WP Super Cache.
- Visual Composer: Page Builder for WordPress: Visual composer is used to building responsive and stunning looking pages for all WordPress themes. It allows you to design unique pages using building blocks of content.
- Slider Revolution: Slider Revolution is used to build modern and mobile friendly sliders for WordPress site.
- SEMRush: SEMRush allows you to look at the keywords where your competitors are ranking. You can check out their paid keywords as well as their organic traffic.
- UberMenu – WordPress Mega Menu Plugin: UberMenu is a user-friendly, highly customizable, responsive Mega Menu WordPress plugin. It works out of the box with the WordPress Menu System, making it simple to get started but powerful enough to create highly customized and creative mega menu configurations.
To use these premium plugins, you have to buy those and download the Installable (zip) file and upload it to your WordPress site. To upload the plugin just look at the sidebar for ‘Plugins’ tab, then click ‘Add New’. You just need to click on the ‘Upload Plugin’ tab on the upper left corner.
Step 8: Adding and Editing Contents to Your Blog
Your blog will look empty without contents. You need to create some basic pages and posts to give your blog a professional look.
Adding a Page
Let’s start with a basic page named ‘About Us’. Look for the section ‘Pages’ in the dashboard menu and click on ‘Add New’.
Adding a Post:
To add a new post look for the section ‘Posts’ in the dashboard menu and click on ‘Add New’.
Write about something related to your blog and hit ‘Publish’. Similarly, you can add unlimited amount of posts in future.
Remember, Pages are used for static type content such as About Us, Contact Us, Disclaimer etc. On the other hand, posts are used to publish dynamic and time relevant contents. If you are going to run a blog, then you will end up using posts the or majority of your site’s content.
Adding a Category:
You can quickly add a category right from your New Post page. Search for the ‘Categories’ section on the right-hand side and simply add a new category. You can also organize your post categories on ‘Categories’ page. Look for the section ‘Posts’ in the dashboard menu and click on ‘Categories’. Simply add your primary categories there one by one.
Creating a Menu
Your website users will be lost somewhere without a proper navigation and direction. Menus are the primary element of a good navigation system. To create a Menu,
- Click on the ‘Menu’ option under ‘Appearance’ section of the dashboard menu.
- Click on ‘Create a new menu’ option. Provide a name for your menu and hit ‘Create Menu’
- Find the page you created and add it to the list by clicking the checkbox next to it and then ‘Add to Menu’.
- Similarly, You can add Custom Links and Categories to your menu.
- Finally, select the ‘Display Location’ for the menu and hit ‘Save Menu’.
Final Step to Start a Blog: Some Important Tweaks
In order to change the title and tagline on your blog, go to ‘Settings’ section and click on ‘General’ and enter your desired Title and Tagline. Change Timezone to your default time zone and hit on ‘Save Settings’
Go to ‘Settings’ section and click on ‘Reading’. Set your front page as ‘Your Latest Posts’ or a Static one. Change the search engine visibility by unchecking ‘Discourage search engines from indexing this site’ option. Save the settings.
Go to ‘Settings’ section and click on ‘Discussion’. Check the box ‘Comment must be manually approved’. It will help preventing spam comments.
Go to ‘Settings’ section and click on ‘Permalinks’. Set your permalink structure by ‘Post name’ and save the settings.
Create a Sitemap:
Go to ‘Dashboard’ of ‘Yoast SEO Plugin’ and head to ‘Features’ tab. Enable ‘Advanced settings pages’ and save changes. You will notice new menu items are added to your SEO menu. Click on ‘XML Sitemaps’ link. You will have your XML sitemap there. You can use this sitemap to submit your site to various Webmaster Tools.
Click on ‘Tools’ under ‘SEO’ section and go to ‘File Editor’. Click on ‘Create Robot Txt’ and enter the following and hit ‘Save changes to robot.txt’[box]
User-agent: * Disallow: /cgi-bin/ Disallow: /wp-admin/ Disallow: /wp-content/plugins/ Disallow: /wp-includes/ User-agent: Googlebot-Image Allow: /wp-content/uploads/ User-agent: Googlebot-Mobile Allow: /[/box]
Although you have finished doing the above steps, you will see a message on your dashboard as “Your site is currently displaying a “Coming Soon” page”. Click on ‘Click here’ link there to launch your blog for public users.
Wrapping It Up
This guide is made to help people to start a blog and get online quickly without the need of a web developer. If you have followed the steps specified above you should now have a fully-functional blog.
I have enjoyed making this guide and if it helped you, please don’t forget to share to help others too. If you need more help, please feel free to get in touch via the Contact Page or put a comment here.
WordPress is loaded with plenty of features. You can’t master WordPress within a day. Following guides may help you in this regard,