So you’ve decided you want to start a blog! Congratulations! I did the same thing four years ago and I’ve never looked back. If I woke up tomorrow and was told I have been dreaming this entire time, I would totally believe it because blogging has led me to do things I never thought would be possible. So, you’re making a life-changing decision here. But, as they say, nothing good comes by easy. And the same applies to blogging. But the good news is that the technical stuff behind the blog doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Here are some easy steps on how to start a blog that will get you up and running in minutes!
How to Start a Blog – The Technical Stuff Behind the Brand
The very first thing you have to do is decide what you want your blog brand to be about. How will your brand suit you? How can you choose a brand when there are so many things you love? This can be scary for many, but it doesn’t have to be. My advice is to start with what you love the most and then think about how you can monetize it with good traffic by using affordable SEO services.
I am launching two new brands this year. The first thing I did was write down (yes with pen and paper) everything I wanted to write about. For example; Travel, Film, Gaming, Recipes, Toys, DIY, Beauty, Fashion, and Tech all in the Geek vertical. I can see right away that several of those topics will allow me to monetize. So I want to think of a brand that will speak to those audiences.
And that’s how you come up with a domain name. Think creative yet poignant.
Which leads me to my first step!
Step 1: Decide on a domain name
Or several because you don’t know what will be available. Write it down, ask your friends what they like and don’t and why. You can see what’s owned and not owned just by entering into an address bar. Once you’ve got the winning name, you’ll want to purchase your domain with a third party like GoDaddy. Then stop there. Next, you need to choose a host where you can purchase everything (but the theme) that you will need to get you started.
Step 2: Choose a host
There are many hosting companies out there. I’ve used everything from GoDaddy to KnownHost. Now Knownhost isn’t the cheapest, but they are 1000% reliable and will be there to walk you through all of your support needs. I have been using them for 5+ years and they have seen it all with me.
Which package do you get?
Think of your host as the place that holds all your stuff. Your storage for your website. Personally, I recommend a VPS (Virtual Private Server) so you know what’s on your server. If you’re just starting out and you want to cut costs, you can certainly use a shared server. But you’ll want to get onto a VPS once things start to pick up. It’s best to have your money maker in your hands.
If you stick to being on a shared server, you’re basically a hobby blogger. This is essentially the vault to your site. It’s not something to cheese on. You don’t have to be a developer to do this, but if you don’t have experience with Plesk or Cpanel, then you’ll want to ask Knownhost exactly how you can point your nameservers to your VPS, how you can install WordPress and set up your email. They will walk you through it and maybe even do it for you if you ask them to.
Make sure that when you’re talking to sales about what you need that you tell them you want an SSL certificate. This is a must. Their support staff can also install the SSL cert and get you running smoothly.
Step 3: Install WordPress and plugins
Because you want to design your site, you going to need to install WordPress. This is really easy. The most powerful blogging dashboard is just seconds away from your fingertips. Just ask your support tech to guide you through the steps of installing WordPress into your server.
Once your WordPress dashboard is up and running yourdomain.com/wp-admin, you can start to install very important plugins. Here is a list of must have plugins for all blogging pros:
- Jetpack for site stats, widgets, sharing buttons and more (but mostly for site stats)
- Akismet Blocks spammy comments
- Smush Compresses images (but you still need to size first)
- Yoast SEO for dummies
- Social Warfare + Social Warfare Pro Keeps social counts under your posts worth the couple bucks a year once your numbers get up there
- Google Plus Authorship So your pic comes up in Google search results
- Instagram Feed Shows your latest pics
- JQuery Pinit Button for Pinterest Adds a Pin It button to all your blog post images so people can share directly
- Open External Links in New Window Keeps readers on your page
- Redirection Let’s you reassign broken or changed links to a new URL so you don’t have broken links on the internet. Great for typos.
- Reduce Bounce Rate Tells Google Analytics the proper bounce rate of your pages
- Wordfence Security Protects your site from hackers
- WP Fastest Cache Clears your cache with one click!
Step 4: Pick a theme
Now you can make your site look how you want! There are tons of free themes on wordpress.org to choose from. Other sites like Theme Forest and StudioPress are great places to look. Note: some themes are free and some are not. I’ve always loved using ThemeForest.com.
You want to search for a WordPress theme followed by blog/magazine. Then you want to filter your results by a high volume of sales and 5 stars. The last thing you want is a theme that is buggy. A good theme will run you about $50-$70. It’s a one time fee and it’s a great way to launch with a bang because these themes are SMASHING!
Once you’ve picked your theme and purchased it, you can download it to your hard drive and then upload it into the WordPress dashboard under the “Appearance” menu option on your left sidebar. You can log into your WordPress by typing in your domain.com/admin.
Almost there but not just yet….
It’s really important that you get a Gmail and sign up for Google Analytics so you can have tracking and Webmaster Tools (now called Google Search Console) so you can monitor for errors. You’ll need to verify your domain with them. This can be mind-numbing if you don’t know how to do it, but over the years they have made it easier. Here are steps for Google Search Console and Google Analytics.
And just like that, you have a blog! Now it’s time to start customizing your site for your brand. You want to launch with about 50 articles. You can click “new post” and start writing! Be sure you are uploading photos in the correct size (your theme should tell you what size is best for that theme) and using all the best SEO practice to optimize your site for Google searches. It only takes a few weeks for Google to start recognizing you, so get it right the first time! For best SEO practice you can use YouTube video downloader by smallseotools.
Once you have your blog up and running, creating a presence on social media is a great way to promote your site, draw in readers and open more opportunities for monetization. I recommend starting with Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. Depending on what your blog is about, you can draw in relevant followers by using niche-specific hashtags. You can even put a link to your blog or main website page in your Instagram bio. Be sure you’re signing up with business pages too.
Good luck on your journey to start a blog. This is just a chip of the burg when it comes to blogging. So be sure to join in Facebook groups and start networking so you can get yourself out there. And if you have ANY questions at all leave me a comment below!