Blogging provides an opportunity to share your interests, expertise and life story with the world.
The internet has provided a way to monetize the content whether through ads, affiliate links or selling something through your blog, allowing many to actually earn money from their work. Others simply make their own website to get the word out. Regardless of your reasons for wanting to blog, here’s how to start a WordPress blog in five easy steps.
Select a Domain Name
Create a list of possible domain names. Each name should communicate the purpose or focus of the blog or be clearly related to you as a person.
Buying a domain is rather cheap and most domain registrars won’t charge more than a few pounds. Others, like GoDaddy, will give you a discount on the first domain name you register with them, so take advantage of this.
Also, you may choose to keep your domain private or go for WHOIS protection. WHOIS protection is rather cheap as well, so if you want to keep all the domain information private, you could go for this option. You should also consider buying variations of your name using various extensions if you want to make sure your domain remains unique.
Set Up a Web Hosting Account
The web hosting account is where your website will be located. You’ll want to shop around for website hosting services as prices range from free to cheap. While most free hosting sites will have some sort of caveat such as having to show ads, there are some decent free options as well.
Install and Configure WordPress
If you’re going to run a WordPress blog, you’ll need to install WordPress on the web host if it isn’t already provided for you. Many web hosts have WordPress pre-installed, and all you have to do is configure it. However, in most cases, you will be charged extra for this service. If you like the added convenience, go for it, but installing WordPress yourself is very easy and straightforward.
If you want to install WordPress yourself, you’ll need to go to the cPanel or control panel and install WordPress from inside the web host’s control panel. Or you may decide to install it by downloading the latest version of WordPress from their website and installing it through FTP. However, it’s usually better to have it installed directly through the your cPanel.
All you have to do is head on to your cPanel and click on the “Install WordPress” icon. On the next screen, you will be given a couple of simple options like your Site’s title or name, your username and password. Make sure to not use the default “Admin” as a username as it will make your site more vulnerable to attacks. Next, all you have to do is agree to the terms and condition and click install. The rest will be done for you.
Now you get to configure the WordPress blog. First, pick the theme; this determines the background colours, stylistic elements and background graphics. Know that you can change the theme or add to it later.
WordPress is incredibly customizable. If you go to the Settings Menu in the sidebar, you’ll see a lot of options. Note that you don’t have to worry about most of those settings, and if you don’t know what you’re doing, leave them on the default settings.
One of the most important settings for new bloggers is the Site Title & Tagline. This is probably your website name or brand name, though for personal blogs, it may be your name. The tagline is optional, but it is a great way to further define your blog’s purpose or intent.
The Default Post Category and Post Type section lets you determine how your blog will look. How many prior blog posts will be shown on the home page? When someone looks at the home page, will they see your last 10 full blog posts or a summary of the last 20 blog posts? This is the page where you can make those selections.
The “Discussion WordPress Settings” section lets you determine the level of reader engagement. This is where you can let people post comments, allow for link notifications from other blogs, or require someone to register with your blog to comment. Common tactics to limit comment spam include requiring comments to be manually approved, requiring someone to log in to post a comment and turning off comments on articles more than two weeks old.
Once your blog is set up, you can create your first post. Remember that your first blog post can be a simple introduction to the world. You can create longer, more complex posts later. In fact, you want to create a few short posts to make sure the content looks the way you want it to on the blog. Is the text easily read on the background theme you’ve selected?
When your blog is new and rarely viewed is when you want to test things. Take this time to practice importing images and seeing what pasted affiliate links look like.
Start Attracting an Audience
The simplest way to start attracting an audience is to use the social media buttons embedded in WordPress blogs. If you’re already logged into your social media accounts, just pressing the social media sharing button for that particular platform will post a link to the blog post under your account, sharing it with all of your friends.
If you have multiple social media accounts, post the blog through all of them. One useful piece of advice: after you post the link to your social media account, like it, give it a heart, or vote it up. Those who didn’t see or ignored the social media update that you posted a new blog may see that you “liked” it. In short, liking your own blog post increases the odds your existing connections will notice it and visit it. Adding a call to action to like and share the blog makes readers more likely to share it.
WordPress stands out for the strong search engine optimization features it has already built in. Learn how to use hashtags and tags on WordPress blog posts as search engine optimized keywords to attract more traffic. The key is to keep blogging, learning and improving.
WordPress is an incredibly popular blogging platform due to how easy it is to set up, use and customize. It is also very SEO friendly and has tons of tools that will help you optimize for search engines even with limited knowledge of search engine optimization.