Do you want to start a blog but don’t know where to begin? Let me help you.
I have been blogging for more than five years, and in between the way, I have learned a lot. Blogging can seem confusing at first, but it’s not when you know where and how to begin.
When I started blogging, my aim was not to make money but share what I had to offer in my niche – beauty. Only when I received my first sponsored post offer, I discovered the power of a blog. After that, I got to know about affiliate marketing, which is another great way to earn money. It was 2015, and there were not so many blogs, but the competition was undoubtedly high.
It’s 2020 now, and you can imagine how far blogging has come. There are loads of blogs out there, but what sets your blog apart relies on how to decide to work on it. Even in this competition, starting a blog can get the traffic you desire.
So, here is a step-by-step guide on starting your WordPress blog.
Before I begin, I’d like to disclose that some of the links I’ll mention in the post are affiliate links, which means I’ll get a little commission when you purchase something at no cost to you.
1. Choose a niche
Niche is a specific topic or a sub-topic your blog is going to be based on.
There are a variety of niches you can pick to create a blog however I’ll suggest you go for the one you are genuinely interested in and only if you can think of several topics under that niche to write on your blog.
If you can come up with at least more than 50 unique posts for your topic, you are good to go.
If you have expertise at something, for instance, DIY crafts, you can create a blog on it and post step-by-step tutorials to create an art project.
Popular niches already exist on the internet like health, gaming, fashion, technology, beauty but they are quite competitive and broad. The best bet here is to narrow down your niche to find a specific one you enjoy writing about. At the same time, don’t make it so narrow that if you plan to expand your niche in the future, you have to rebrand everything – from domain to content.
Whatever you choose, you should have an interest in it and a basic knowledge about the niche so you can write better.
2. Pick a nice domain name
Now that you have picked the niche, it’s time to think about a domain name.
A domain name is a name you are going to keep for your blog. This is an essential step, so take your time to think of something that speaks about your blog topic.
It is recommended to name your blog something which allows you to expand your niche.
Before you pick a domain for your blog, make sure it:
- Isn’t copyrighted or trademark (do proper research before picking a domain to make sure no one owns it)
- Contains no more than 15 words
- Gives an idea that you are a specific niche blogger
- Doesn’t contain any hyphens, special characters, or numbers
- is a .com domain – .net and .org works but a .com domain is a top-level domain
If you’re confused about what to name your blog, try adding makeup/lifestyle/finance/kitchen/food at the end of your first name. It will go like this: yourname+niche.com. For instance, I can go for mariyambeauty.com, marylifestyle.com, or marymakeup.com.
Tip: Namelix is an online domain name generator that suggests you thousands of domain names according to your keyword. I recommend it for finding unique and brandable domain.
#2. Choose a Blogging Platform
First things first, decide whether you want to go for a free blog or a self-hosted blog?
If you want to start a free blog, WordPress.com, Blogger.com, and Wix.com are the topmost platforms for blogging. The best part – they are free. There’s a bad side too – you don’t have many options to monetize and customize your blog and its look.
WordPress is the most popular blogging platform and Content Management System which is most simple to use. Did you know that WordPress currently hosts around 60 million blogs? Yep, it’s a popular choice for bloggers.
#3. Get a WordPress Hosting
Each free blogging platform has its own pros and cons and the common thing is – they lack customization features. That is why it is recommended to go for a self-hosted blog.
A self-hosted blog is when you pay a hosting company to host your WordPress.org blog to make it easily accessible online to everyone. It simply means that you own the website and have full control over it.
If you are serious about blogging, go for a self-hosted blog. It doesn’t cost a fortune to get started with hosting. There are a lot of hosting companies that provide you with unmatchable hosting. I will recommend BlueHost, which is officially recommended by WordPress itself for hosting blogs.
With BlueHost in the first year, you get a free domain, free SSL certificate, and an option to install WordPress in one click without any coding. They also offer a 30-day money-back guarantee for you to try without any worry.
How to Get Started with BlueHost with Few Easy Steps
1. Visit BlueHost
Click here to get started with BlueHost hosting. Once you go there, click on ‘Get Started’.
2. Choose Your Plan
Since it is your first time blogging, I would recommend you to go for a ‘Basic’ hosting plan. Now click on ‘Select’.
3. Choose your Domain Name
We named our blog, thebeautyholic.com. Now it’s your turn to pick a domain name for your blog. I have suggested ideas in the first section already so type in the domain name you want and click ‘Next’.
If your domain name is available you will see the screen something like this:
4. Sign up and fill details
Now that you have selected your domain, it’s time to fill details to set up your BlueHost account. Make sure you select your ‘Basic’ plan which is perfect and pocket-friendly for beginners.
If you want it for 24-months it would be $4.95 per month and $5.95 for a 12-month plan. That is why I am suggesting a 36-month plan which comes at $3.95 per month.
Note: Untick all options of ‘Package Extras’ since you wouldn’t be needing those at this stage. (We’re saving money, right?)
Though I highly recommend ‘Domain Privacy Protection’ since it hides your personal details including your email and address.
After entering your payment details, click ‘Submit’.
5. Set up your blog
After creating the account, now log in. BlueHost has recently revamped its dashboard so once you log in, your WordPress starts to install automatically saving you time and hassle.
It might take 5 to 20 minutes to install but usually, it takes around 5 minutes. If it takes far too long, refresh the page and see if it is installed. Once it is installed, you will receive an email containing all the details of your newly created blog!
This is how the new BlueHost dashboard looks like.
From ‘Dashboard’ you can access your blog’s admin URL and all the other essential things.
Now we are done with installing WordPress and creating your blog part!
Back in 2015, I had free hosting on blogger.com, which was great but didn’t let me control my site to the fullest. From 2016 to today, I run my blog on self-hosted WordPress, and it gives me a bunch of options to design my blog the way I want.
Going for a self-hosted blog has many benefits:
- WordPress is a free, open-source platform that most hosting companies provide as a ‘one-click install’ option.
- You get hundreds of free and paid themes to choose
- WordPress gets frequently updated for a seamless experience
- You control EVERYTHING on your blog
#4. Essential Steps After Installing WordPress
Now that you have installed WordPress, you need to make sure that your site is perfectly set up. Here are some things to do quickly before you begin your blogging journey.
Login into your WordPress dashboard
The link to your WordPress will be something like this: to yourdomain.com/wp-login.php. Insert the username and password to login to your account.
You will be taken to your WordPress dashboard. You’ll be going to manage your whole through this dashboard.
From your WP dashboard, on the black left sidebar, click on ‘Settings’ -> click on ‘General,’ and there you will see the option to fill in the ‘Site Title’ and ‘Tagline.’ Fill the name of your site in the ‘Site Title’ option. In the ‘tagline’ section, type what your blog is about in not more than 5-6 words.
When you scroll down, you can also set your timezone and preferred language.
Make Sure Your Site is Visible in Search Engines
Under ‘Settings’ in the main sidebar, click on the ‘Reading’ section, and when you get there, make sure ‘Discourage search engines from indexing this site’ is unchecked. It is unchecked by default, but we have to ensure that it remains the same so that Google can notice your site.
Set up Permalinks
‘Permalinks’ is basically the structure of your post links. Let me give you an example. Here are two permalinks:
Which one did you find easy? If your answer is no. 2, you understand all too well.
To set your permalink structure, hover on ‘Settings’ from the left sidebar and click on ‘Permalinks.’ After the page loads, scroll down and click on ‘Post Name’ structure and save changes.
Now your post URLs will look good, and search engines will like it.
#5. Get Your Blog a Nice Theme
After you are done setting up your blog with the basic settings, it’s time to choose a theme. By default, you will have a WordPress 20-something theme, but we are not going to keep that.
WordPress offers both free and paid themes that are highly customizable. To explore the themes available on WordPress, hover on to Appearance -> click on Themes and click ‘Add New.’
There you will find four tabs – Featured, Popular, Latest, and Favorites. You may want to click on ‘Popular’ to check out trending themes that are widely used.
If you like a theme, hover on it and click ‘Preview’ to see its live preview of how it will look. Once you finalize a theme in the live preview, click on ‘Install’ to install the theme, followed by tapping on the ‘Activate’ button to activate it on your blog.
You can always pick another theme by following the process mentioned above without losing your data like posts and pages.
#6. Create Essential Pages
Three important must-have pages in your site are – About, Contact and Hire (if any).
To create a page, navigate to your dashboard and hover on to ‘Pages’. Then click on ‘Add New’ to create a page. Hit ‘Publish’ when you are done.
1. About Me
When people visit your blog, you want them to know about you, right? You may want to tell them how and why you started your blog and everything else that you want to share with them.
Having an About page is essential to build a relationship with your readers. When someone likes the content you share on your site, they will look for an ‘about’ page to know your background. Every blog has it – now you know why.
What to write on the ‘About Me’ page? Start by writing your name and where you are based. Then frame different paragraphs answering these questions:
- What is your profession? (if any)
- What are your hobbies?
- Why did you start blogging?
- What is the aim and vision of your blog?
When a reader has a query or just want to say hi, where would they go? How about a brand wanting to work with you for paid collaborations?
Without a contact page, getting in touch with you wouldn’t be possible. You don’t have to put major efforts into creating your contact page, as it’s effortless.
You can create a contact form or simply write your contact details like an email on your contact page. This will help readers, other bloggers, and brands to contact you on the go.
If you provide any service that matches your niche or blog, create a ‘hire’ page where you will list the services you offer. It can be any. For example – content writing, graphic designing, and so much more. You never know when someone may like your work and hire you for your services.
#7. Create Your First Post
We are done with all things basics. Now is the time to create and publish your first post.
Your first post can be about anything – A message to your readers, a review of your favorite product, personal tips and hacks.
To create a new post, log in to ‘Dashboard.’ Click on ‘Posts’ and then click on ‘Add New.’ Write your post and attach some good images that you own. Hit ‘Publish’ when you are done. You just created your first post. 🙂
#8. Blog Post Ideas
After creating your first post, it’s time to create more. Here are some ideas to get started:
- An honest and detailed product review with high-quality images.
- A detailed guide on X
- A step-by-step guide to X
- How to do X
- A post on your favorite products ranked from best to worse
- What’s your daily routine
There are gazillions of blog post ideas that you will discover when you start your blog.
Starting your own self-hosted blog isn’t as difficult as you think. All you need to do is buy a domain, get a good web hosting and set up essential settings on your blog. After setting up the basics, you can get started with creating awesome posts.
Do you still need help in setting up your blog? I’m just an email away and will be happy to assist. 🙂