If you’re wondering how to start a blog, then know this: you are not alone. This article will explain how to make a WordPress website in 30 minutes or less, on the same platform as Woblogger.
Around four years ago, I didn’t know the slightest thing about starting a blog. But over the years, I learned a lot about blogging. I even set up many successful blogs for myself. And I’ve showed people how to create a blog of their own. Today, I know what best practices to use and the risky things to avoid.
So, how do you start a blog and get profits from it? The short answer is—it’s easier and harder than you might think.
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On one hand, it’s easy because it requires little cash investment. You don’t need a degree, the field is wide open, and the profit margins are impressive. But, setting up a successful blog will only be the result of massive amounts of effort, consistency, and perseverance. In short, it takes time.
Today, I will show you how to start a blog, which is quite easy! Just follow the simple steps below and your blog could be ready in 30 minutes or less.
- Choose the niche/topic of your blog
- Choose the blogging platform
- Pick a domain name get hosting in place with SiteGround
- Setting up your blog
- Driving traffic to your blog
What Topic Should I Choose
Topic choice is going to be one of most important decisions of your blogging journey. I always tend to choose topics that I have a great deal of interest in. This way, I never run out of ideas and get stuck.
Thus, the best is to choose a niche you’re passionate about. There’s fulfillment in connecting with others and providing helpful information to solve their problems. And you’ll be able to do it for a long time if you’re passionate about what you blog about.
Choose Your Website Platform
The question “How do you start a blog?” has many alternative answers. You can do it on blogging platforms like:
- Blogger: e.g. yoursblog.blogspot.com
- Tumblr – e.g. yourblog.tumblr.com
- Self-Hosted WordPress: e.g. yourblog.com
The first two options are free. But, they come with annoying limitations that just enslave you on the long haul. Yet, there are more than 82 million active users of WordPress, which is a lot.
Even though WordPress is bigger (and better) than Blogger and Tumblr, here are some reasons why you should still go with WordPress:
- It’s FREE, with many layouts/themes to choose from
- It’s beginner-friendly
- Small or large site? Great for both
- There’s a massive support forum in case you get stuck
So, the smart choice is to go with a self-hosted blog.
Choose a Web host and Domain Name
You might be asking yourself “what is hosting?” Hosting is a service that puts your website up on the Internet, so everyone else can see it. Everything you want to share you will have there, on a server. Think of it as a computer hard-drive on the Internet where you can save your blog.
Then, the domain is the URL of your website. This is your blog’s name. Examples: Woblogger.com (Woblogger.com is the domain), Youtube.com (Youtube.com is the domain) and so on. See? Simple!
Your domain should articulate not only your blog’s mission, but also the purpose of the project. Don’t hurry through the process of picking a domain name. It’s your brand and something you’re going to love for years to come.
Take a day or two to consider potential domain names. Brainstorm and toss around ideas. When you land on one that you like, check to see if the domain name is available before jumping ahead and settling on any name.
You can try the tool below and see if your domain name is available. If it’s not, continue searching. The right name for your project is out there!
There are a plenty of hosting services available. Yet, based on my experience, I recommend SiteGround Hosting. I believe it is the best option for most people to get started and here’s why:
- SiteGround is one of the most reliable and highest rated hosting providers in the WordPress community
- They are an official “WordPress” recommended hosting provider
- They offer excellent customer service (365x24x7)
- Their packages are affordable
- Their service provides fast page load times
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How to create a blog using SiteGround?
After you sign up for a SiteGround hosting package, you will receive your login credentials and all the necessary information. SiteGround has integrated a tool called Softaculous which provides 1-click-installation for WordPress.
Once you login to your Cpanel account, you will find the Softaculous icon under the Software services section. Here are the steps you should follow:
- Click on the Softaculous icon
- Look for the “WordPress” icon
- Choose the domain where you want to install your website
- Click the “Install Now” button and you should get access to your NEW WordPress site
If you’re unable to locate it, look here: How to Install WordPress on SiteGround.
Brand yourself by choosing a design
At this point, you should have some sort of website up and running. Now, we have to make it awesome!
How to find a great WordPress theme?
You have a few different options when it comes to themes. The first option is to search within WordPress.
Go to “Appearance > Themes” in the side menu and then click “Add new” at the top:
You can sort themes by “featured”, “popular,” or by any advanced “feature filter” that you’re looking for.
If you like the look of the theme’s thumbnail, click anywhere on it to bring up a preview window:
If you like the preview (on the right panel), click install button. Otherwise, click the close (X) button and you’ll go back to your search screen.
Once you install a theme, you need to activate it for it to light up on your blog. You can do that fast from the successful installation screen. Or, go back to your themes page (Appearance > Themes) and you’ll see your new theme as an option.
Click on the theme thumbnail. There, you’ll find an “activate” option, as well as a “live preview” option if you’re not sure that you want to activate it.
Second option is to find a theme using a third party site
You can find a lot of great free themes online, but the best ones are all premium. These are more expensive, so expect to pay somewhere between $20-$100 for one.
I recommend premium WordPress themes to start if you’re serious about your business. It’s a onetime fee. But, of course, you can always start off with a free theme and convert to premium later.
If you’ve decided to buy a theme, the most well-known marketplace is StudioPress. If you can’t find a theme that you like, you can also buy one from sites like:
I use Eleven40 Pro theme for Woblogger from StudioPress. What I love most about a premium WordPress theme, is that you get support from the theme’s creators, which is useful to beginners.
Customize and optimize your WordPress blog
Here is where the fun begins. You can make endless customization on a WordPress site. But we’ll stick to the essentials for now.
Themes are the foundation of your blog’s design and include the core functionalities. WordPress also has plugins that can add to or extend the functionality of your blog.
Changing the site’s identity
The first step is to click the “Customize” button on your active theme.
Menu options in the sidebar will vary, depending on the theme you choose. The main category to edit is “Site Identity.”
Here, you can add the name of your blog and a tagline if you wish. When you’re done, click the “Save and Publish” button.
Set up Permalinks
Permalinks are static hyperlinks that lead to a particular blog post or page. You can change the URL structure of your blog by changing permalinks. The default permalink structure of a WordPress site is yourblog.com/post-ID.
Setting permalink structure is quite simple. In the left sidebar, go with your mouse over “settings” and click “Permalinks.”
There are five custom permalink structures that WordPress displays as common settings. I use the “Post name” structure on my blog, which uses keywords from my title. Check “post name” radio button and save the settings.
How to create great blog content?
Once you set up your blog, the next step is to create content. The content of your blog will be the bait that attracts visitors. Without great content, even the most well-designed and structured blogs will fail. So you will need to create static content pages for the following types of information.
This is the most traditional page on any blog. About page tells new visitors what it is about, who you are and why you have a blog about a specific topic.
This page allows visitors to contact you at any time. It can be a simple page with your email address and social network links. Or you can use plugins like Ninja Form to have a simple contact form. Your visitor can use it to contact you without leaving your blog.
Adding new pages
On the left sidebar in the WordPress Dashboard go with your mouse over “Pages” and click “Add New”. There, you’ll find a screen that looks a lot like what you’ve maybe seen in MS Word. Add text, images and more to build the page you want, and then save it when you’re done.
Adding new posts
In the left sidebar, go with your mouse over “posts” and click “Add New” from the submenu that pops out.
Then, add the post title you want in the first tab. You should add content in the second tab. When you finish, hit “Publish.”
You can view your published post by clicking “View Page” from the next page.
And one more thing, you should always optimize your post’s content for readers. Otherwise, you’ll never gain the exposure that it takes to get backlinks and rank well in search engines. If you write content that people love to read, you get traffic, social shares and links from other sites as your readership grows.
How to promote your blog and its content?
Now, it’s time to learn online marketing strategies. These will help you market each piece of content you create. So let’s talk about content marketing. Your content marketing skills will determine how many visitors come to your blog site, how many social shares you gain, how many comments you have on your blog posts and how many email subscribers you get.
Your ultimate goal should be to have as many visitors as possible when you start to monetize your blog. Visitors who you can convert into advertising clicks, referrals and product/service buyers—depending on your monetization strategy.
So, let’s look at the many ways you can promote your blog and blog posts.
Share your blog posts on social media
The best thing I ever did to get visitors, was to promote my early blog posts on Social Media (Twitter/Facebook/Linkedin) and the forums I was a member of. Never forget that Social Media is a place to connect with others, be helpful and share your expertise.
Additionally, there are a few WordPress plugins and tools that make it easy to share old blog posts automatically:
- Revive Old Post – Shares your old blog post to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn automatically.
- Tweetily – Allows you to share your old posts on Twitter automatically.
- Hootsuite – a great tool for sharing posts, new and old, on Social Media.
Submit your blog to search engines
I suggest you use a plugin called WordPress SEO by Yoast. This plugin allows you to create a custom XML sitemap for your blog. You can use this sitemap to submit your blog to search engines through Google Webmaster Tools (for Google) and Bing Webmaster Tools (for Bing and Yahoo).
Start building your mailing list
You should start building an email list from the beginning. Don’t wait until you start getting a large amount of traffic to build one. If on the first day of launching your blog you get two people who love it, you want those two people to be able to give you their email address so you can keep them up to date with what is happening on your blog. Later, this list will be what you use to promote your monetization strategy.
Building a mailing list is not expensive in the beginning. Services like MailChimp allow you to have up to 2,000 subscribers with up to 12,000 emails for free, while services like GetResponse allow you to have up to 1000 subscribers with unlimited emails for $15 per month.
Optimize your blog for search engines
Creating valuable, outstanding content on your blog regularly is one way to get search engines to index your content. If you want your posts to rank on particular keywords, you want to always strive to optimize them for search engines. This can be as simple as using the fields provided by WordPress SEO to add a keyword optimized SEO title and a meta description to your blog’s homepage, main static pages, and to each one of your posts.
To stay on Google’s good side, make sure to avoid overstuffing your blog post with keywords. Choose one keyword phrase to optimize on each page and post. Include it in your SEO title, meta description, and to one image (image title and alt tag) on the page.
That’s a wrap! You have officially setup your blog. This is only the beginning of an exciting journey for you. If you have any questions or issues, please leave a comment below. I try to check my comments daily.