How to Start a WordPress Blog
So the idea of making money from your writing, wherever you are in the world has sparked something in your mind? You feel knowledgeable and ready to share your thoughts, opinions and ideas with the world? Well, your timing couldn’t have been better. There is still plenty of space to fill in the World Wide Web. There’s a dire need for fresh and unique content as well, so if you’re up for the game, it’s time to get started!
In this article, I’m going to share one of the simplest ways to get a blog up and running incredibly cheaply. I’ll show you one of the most common blogging platforms and why you should use it. I’ll also give a detailed guide on how to set it up. As a bonus, I’ll throw in a content marketing tips that will help you launch your blog the right way and give it a traffic boost. So, without further ado, let’s get down to it!
What is WordPress?
WordPress is the most popular and most widely used open-source content management system in the world. It was launched in 2003 as a blogging platform, but it became so much more on its journey. With further development, WordPress became able to handle any kind of website. You can easily set up online stores, ecommerce websites and even a social media network. It’s easy to use, yet incredibly powerful which is why about every 4th website is made in WordPress. Right now, 74.6 million websites depend on the system. There’s also a WordPress-related monthly search volume of 37 million. So, you can guess that there’s a pretty big buzz around this system.
There are numerous reasons for using it and I’m going to cover the most important ones. It’s a complex CMS with more positive traits than negatives. But don’t just take my words for it. See the rest of the professionally approved benefits of using WordPress to run your website.
Reasons to use WordPress
Now, take a deep breath and run through all the things that make WordPress a definitive winner in running blogs.
It’s Completely Free To Use
You’ll be cutting some major corners by using an open-source content management system to run your blog. Every penny counts when you’re just starting out and having the possibility to do the most important part for free is a big plus. You also don’t need any coding skills to create a website, but that does what limit your possibilities.
You can work yourself around launching a fully-featured blog without paying a penny. Although, if you make money down the road, you’ll want to upgrade your site with a few premium plugins and a premium theme.
You’ll be saving plenty of money with WordPress. Since the system itself and most of the themes and plugins are made to be so user-friendly, you’ll be cutting another corner. You don’t have to pay for a designer or a developer to build your website. You can do it yourself in a few clicks and do a lot more by watching a few tutorials. Although, it is important to mention that a developer does have the ability to develop your own plugin or feature, and to take your blog’s customization and design to a whole other level.
It’s User Friendly
WordPress was created and developed with only bloggers in mind at first. A blogger or a writer isn’t exactly the type of person who would dive deep into tech-savvy stuff like coding. So WordPress was made to be as simple as possible. It has a user-friendly dashboard that makes managing a website a breeze. Just about anyone can jump into using the dashboard without having to go through a documentation.
All you have to do is install the system, add a theme and you’ll have a working website. Of course, customizing the design and adding features is a different subject. But those also made simple through drag and drop features and a visual interface.
It’s Powerful From The Start
WordPress is a fully-featured CMS and has everything you need to get your website working. Unlike Drupal that requires you to install at least a few plugins, just to make managing content and creating a website more convenient.
This CMS was made to pack all the necessary features of a blog or other websites. You have everything you need. You can write and publish posts, add media, moderate comments, manage users’ privileges and more. You don’t have to configure much to have things working the way you want them to. For example, you can install a completely different design right from the dashboard with 2-3 clicks.
Has All The Flexibility You Need
There aren’t many things that you can’t accomplish with WordPress. The amount of options you have to customize your website is truly mind boggling. There isn’t another content management system that is this flexible. Although, Drupal and Joomla! users would argue.
Putting it simple, any kind of business feature or design you need for your site can either be developed by coding or downloaded. Most of the common things your website would require can be downloaded as a plugin. WordPress can meet all your needs if you install the necessary extensions.
Makes It Easy To Publish Fresh Content
Publishing content is just about the same as writing a Word document. You just click on “Add New” and start writing your fresh blog post. You’ll have all the text-editing tools you require in the process and the possibility to add various kinds of multimedia. Adding links to your text is also done in two clicks, so it’s very simple to add any resource or affiliate link to your writing. There are plenty of other features waiting for you down the road too, you just have to use them. To make things even simpler, WordPress gives you the possibility to schedule your posts. You can set the exact time and date for a post to be published automatically, which is incredibly handy if you’re leading a busy life.
Supports Multiple Users
Often enough, you’re not the only one who’s working on your blog. There might be other people taking different roles as content creators, editors, moderators, developers and so on. WordPress lets you assign a variety of roles to anyone working on your website, which will limit their access to certain administrative features.
There are five different roles that you can apply, which are: Super admin, Admin, Editor, Author, Contributor and Subscriber.
Sites are Fully Responsive
Ever since smartphones hit the market, WordPress was keeping up with the pace. Just about every theme that was developed in the past 7-10 years, is mobile friendly. It will look good on any screen, so that mobile users can enjoy reading your blog as comfortably as possible. This is a major plus because about half of your blog’s traffic will come from mobile devices. It is also very good from an SEO perspective. Your website wouldn’t be able to compete in Google’s algorithm if it wasn’t responsive, which brings me to my next point.
It Offers Thousands Upon Thousands of Themes and Plugins
WordPress’ plugin system has inspired many individuals and companies to develop their own custom plugins with a variety of features. Thanks to this, you can add all of the functions your blog requires to grow. Also, if you’re looking to launch an eCommerce website or an online store, you can also do it by installing a simple plugin. You can simply search by simple keywords or by typing in the features you want. You don’t even have to open a separate tab, because you can do it from the dashboard.
The same goes for your blog’s design as well. There are thousands of free and premium themes you can use for your site. Once you’ve installed your theme, you can customize it through code or its own drag and drop site builder. One of such themes is the Divi Multipurpose theme, which comes with the Divi Builder.
It is SEO Friendly
In the past, it was almost a complex form of technical art to make a website that’s completely SEO friendly. With WordPress, you can do the same as professional developers did years ago, with a few clicks. Any website you create is easy for search engines to index, which will help your blog increase its rank. Of course, there are 74.6 million other websites, so this only provides a solid basis. You’ll also have to install the Yoast SEO plugin, to embrace other useful SEO features when you publish your posts. This way, you can customize every detail of your post that’s important from a SEO perspective.
It Has a Large and Supportive Community
Because WordPress is so widely used, it also has a massive community. People come together in all sorts of official and non-official forums to share their experiences. They help each other out with issues and post useful resources. Almost any problem you would have with your site has already been solved by someone else. You also have a high chance to find a blog post or a tutorial video explaining the same exact thing you want to accomplish.
Also, there isn’t a single soul in web-development who doesn’t know what WordPress is. It’s easy to find a developer who can help you with taking your website to the next level. The prices vary, but you can definitely find some assistance for a reasonable price.
It Supports All Kinds of Media
Implementing media into your page is incredibly simple right out of the box. You can drag and drop pictures into your posts or add videos by copy-pasting their URL. WordPress supports videos from multiple sources, such as YouTube, Facebook and others. If there are other kinds of interactive media you would like to have on your page, you can manage that too with installing a plugin.
Easily Integrates With Other Platforms and Apps
Your blog would be an island of solitude if you didn’t have the possibility to implement social media features. Most of the themes you download already have social-media sharing buttons implemented into them. But you can also add a Facebook commenting system through a simple plugin and do so much more.
WordPress also seamlessly integrates with Google Apps, MailChimp and just about any other software that would prove to be useful for your website.
It Continues to Get Better
Ever since its launch, WordPress continued to get updates from its original development team and it does so to this very day. Updates include new and advanced features, better security, more speed and so on. You can rest assured that your WordPress blog keeps up with the fast paste development of the internet. But you do have to pay attention when your website requires an update and install it.
Setting Up Hosting For Your WordPress Blog
One of the most useful advice you’ll get when starting a blog is to choose your hosting provider wisely. You’ll be investing a lot of time and energy into making your blog work and you definitely want to do it without frustration. It would be sad if you ended up with technical difficulties that aren’t your fault to begin with. So your best option is to choose a trustworthy hosting provider that will make things work for you. You definitely shouldn’t go with a free hosting provider, because it comes with numerous pitfalls. Instead, invest the price of a sandwich every month and go with a commercial web host. I’ll review BlueHost, because it is the most popular choice among WordPress users. The reason behind that, is that it’s one of the recommended web hosts on WordPress.org’s website.
Why Choose BlueHost
Bloggers usually don’t start off with a high budget. You want to be careful where you invest your money and start with the basic necessities. BlueHost is one of WordPress user’s favorites, because it is cheap and has a great support for the system. It is also a solid platform for beginners who want to make their job of administering their website as simple as it can be. BlueHost’s cPanel does just that. It has plenty of one click installs (one for WordPress as well) and makes all of your administrative tasks seamless and convenient.
You can launch your website on their server for $3.95 per month, which is basically the price of a meal. For that, you’ll have a 99.90% uptime and an average loading speed of 1000-1200 milliseconds for your website. BlueHost’s customer support isn’t the best there is but it’s consistent enough. They take about 30 minutes to get to you when you reach out to them on live chat or email. You can also call them on phone.
BlueHost’s plans are flexible, so you can always upgrade to a higher one if your blog’s traffic grows. There’s a reason why millions WordPress users choose this hosting provider to start their online journey. Their services are reliable and definitely worth taking a look at. If you’re into it, continue reading and I’ll show you how to set up your blog on their server quick and easy.
Setting Up Your WordPress Blog on BlueHost
It’s easy to set up a WordPress blog on BlueHost is pretty easy. In order to do it, you’ll have to sign up to their service. If you choose to do it later, then this tutorial will still be of help. You’ll even have a 30 day money back guarantee period, which you can use to experiment and get your investment back if you change your mind.
Just be sure not to use Blogger or any other free blogging platform if you’re serious about making money. These blog networks put ads on your blog and will also limit its speed among other things. Instead, go with BlueHost’s plan for $2.95. Creating your blog once you’ve subscribed is easy. This process can be done by anybody, so there is nothing to worry about if you’re not a techie. Here are the steps to doing so.
1. Find and Register Your Blog’s Domain Name
First things first. Come up with a creative domain name that fits your blog’s niche well. It doesn’t take much to do it. You can even use an online name generator to help you out with hundreds of names. Keep in mind that this is a serious choice and requires plenty of thought. Take your time, even a week if you need it. Come up with the best possible domain name that just rolls off your and other people’s tongues. Make sure that it is short, catchy and represents what your blog is about in one word.
Once you have it, you can register your domain name right from BlueHost’s site. This is the best way to go about it because it spares you a lot of clutter. In fact, it gets even better because you’ll get your domain name for free as long as you subscribe for BlueHost’s services for 12 months.
Connecting a GoDaddy domain to BlueHost isn’t hard either, but it’s much easier to have your domain name registered and connected to your hosting right on the spot.
2. Buy a Hosting Plan
Like I said, you can narrow down your cost of blogging to $2.95 per month. It’s called BlueHost’s Basic plan. The only problem with it is that you’ll have to subscribe for a 36 month plan. That’s three years of commitment, but you save a lot of money. And yeah, it’s an upsell too. Because if you subscribe for a 24 month plan, the price will increase to $3.95 per month. If you subscribe for a 12 month plan, it will go up to $4.95 per month. But the price of your hosting plan is still around the price of a decent sandwich, so there’s nothing to worry about. Overall, hosting for your blog will cost you around $59 per year or $99 for three years. Here are the detailed steps in getting your hosting plan and continuing with starting your blog.
- Go To BlueHost.com and click on „Get Started Now“.
- Choose one of the plans that suits your budget and needs.
- Enter the email address you have registered with or sign up for a fresh domain name.
- Add your credit card or other personal payment information
- Now enter your password and you are ready to go.
3. Install WordPress on BlueHost’s cPanel
Here’s the part when you actually start your blog. It requires you to install WordPress on the server. Lucky for us, BlueHost has made it incredibly easy to launch a WordPress blog.
- After you’ve created your password, BlueHost will guide you through a step by step process that will help you start your blog.
- First, you’ll be asked to choose a theme. You can just choose a random one on the list or one that actually suits your blog. Either way, you can change it just as easily later. So, just skip it if you want to make it fast.
- The next step is to click on „Start Building”
- On the upcoming screen, you can click on „Personal” or „Business”. That much is a personal preference. You can also click on „I don’t need help”.
VOILÁ! You have your blog ready to work. All you have to do is to choose a killer design, customize it and produce some high quality content. Doing so is fairly easy. Everything’s there on the dashboard and it’s very easy to navigate. You just click on posts on the left side and select „add new”. Once you’re on the post page, explore and see what kind of editing tools you have. Feel free to watch a tutorial that explains which icon does what. I’m sure you’ll find plenty of them online. Now for the content marketing tips that will help you launch your blog properly.
Useful Content Marketing Tips To Help You Gain More Traffic
Many of these steps should be taken prior to launching your WordPress blog, but even if you already set it up with a domain, you can pretty much make use of all of the tips here. It’s important that you stay practical and not think that people will just flock to your site after you’ve created it.
Choose Your Niche
It’s important that you choose a topic that actually interests you and that you’re passionate about. But what you’re actually looking for here is a market and a target audience. Choosing a niche is your way to combine what you’re passionate about and the value you can offer people with your blog. What kind of advice are you looking to give them?
The two important things to do here are:
- Find the people, your target audience, who are actively seeking solutions to specific problems.
- Create something that is designed to fit these people’s need and is proven to actually being able to make actual sales.
For example, a lot of people create review sites. They review certain products within their niche. If their blog is about photography, than it probably provides some decent advice on making better photographs. They also show off their camera gear and review others on the market. Each of these reviews have affiliate links that people can use to navigate to Amazon and buy a product. After they bought something, the guy or girl who runs the blog will receive a commission.
Do a Market Research
You’ll definitely want to know what kind of waters are you sailing onto, right? You can do it by conducting a throughout market research. A lot of people do it only through keyword research and while it’s an important part of the process, it isn’t everything. Your market research will involve plenty of online surfing, seeing what others have to offer, seeing what kind of questions people have and making notes along the way. Here are a few simple questions to answer.
- What kind of content is your target audience already consuming? What kind of blogs and YouTube channels do they visit? What kind of social media pages do they follow? What kind of groups are they in?
- What kind of questions are they trying to answer? What are their goals, hopes and dreams? How do they search for it in Google? You can use Google Trends to find out how popular a particular topic is.
- What kind of products did they already buy?
- How old are they? How much money do they make?
- Now, do some keyword research with Google AdWords and the MOZ Keyword Explorer. There are plenty of other keyword research tools you can find on the web so make good use of them.
As you can see, it all boils down to establishing a customer persona. So, create a few imaginary people in your head and have a conversation with them. Hear what they like and dislike and try to figure out their story. Just don’t go crazy in the process.
This will allow you to create content and posts that will attract your target audience and get them onto your mailing list.
Set Up Your Social Media Accounts
Once you’ve established your target audience, you should look into what social media platforms they are most likely to use. For example, about 70% of Pinterest users are female, Facebook users are 47% male and 53% female, Instagram is 45% male and 55% female and so on. What platform they use can depend on demographics as well.
Create a social media page for your blog and apply some of the looks that it features. Either use the same color scheme, the same banner or the same logo that you’ve used on your blog. Just make sure that people will easily recognize it as your blog’s social media page.
Once you have everything set up, use the HootSuite tool to manage multiple social media accounts at once. It will also allow you to schedule your posts to launch exactly when you want them to, making your life a whole lot easier.
Buffer is also very popular among social media managers, because it also helps to manage and schedule posts on multiple social media platforms.
Also, to help your blog gain some additional traction, use Tiberr as well. It will help you find readers who are already interested in your topics. You can use it to find similar blogs and post some links to your own content in their comment sections.
Use Paid Social Media Ads
It’s hard to imagine that you would leverage social media marketing without using Facebook. The way you can leverage its paid ads is truly amazing. It provides you with the possibility laser focus the right kind of traffic onto your blog’s page, instead of having it run around in an uncontrolled manner. Which is why I’m a big fan of Facebook Ads. But you can also use Google AdWords, because it’s more search driven, so you’ll get people who are actively looking for what you have to offer.
I definitely recommend only using a small amount of money, since you didn’t even make a single dime from your blog. You should also spend a lot of time researching how to make the most of Facebook Ads and Google AdWords to put each dollar in the right place. After you do, your investment will definitely pay off.
Create Powerful Headlines For Your Posts
Your headlines are the first thing people see when they stumble upon your social media posts. The more powerful they are, the more people they will get clicking. Rest assured, you’re not left to your writers instincts alone. There are some awesome tools that you can use. These will analyze your headline word by word and tell you where you can improve them to achieve the results you want to see.
These tools are:
To make a good impression with your content too and ensure that it’s top notch, use the Flesch Reading Ease tester or Readable. These will help you analyze your posts and ensure that they’re easy and fun to read for everyone.
WordPress is the best choice you can make when you’re embarking on your journey as a blogger. It makes things infinitely easier and leaves you with only the task of making your content awesome and your blog popular.
Now that you have the right framework and the initial steps of the process, it’s time to get to work if you haven’t already. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading through this article and that we helped learn something new and useful today. Hope to see you in the next one!