So, you are considering to start a blog? Well, you have come to the right place, because I have decided to take everything, I have learned so far about blogs and create an ultimate guide specially tailored for you. If you are looking to find out how to start a blog from scratch, I have prepared a step-by-step guide, so keep reading.
Before we start, I just want to tell you why I think you should start a blog. In the year 2020, blogging has become one of the most popular ways to communicate and spread news and information online. Blogging is also a great way to share your ideas, express yourself and show your creativity and knowledge. You can connect with other people who have the same interests as you and finally earn some money while doing it.
Why Use WordPress?
I personally recommend WordPress and not something free like Blogger, because when something is free, you end up being the product. This is bad because these kinds of platforms can easily shut you down at any point, even for a minor indiscretion like using an image without the right consent. One the other side, these free platforms will make you look unprofessional, as you cannot have a unique domain name and you are very limited with the customization of your blog. And the part that will concern you the most is that you won’t be able to make money out of your blog if it is not properly hosted and if it does not have a unique domain name.
Now that you know that free platforms are not the right choice for your blog, you need to decide what kind of platform are you going to use. There are many different open source platforms that every major hosting company will support when you are creating a blog, so you will need to choose between:
- WordPress – which is the most popular CMS (customizable content management system) in the world.
- Ghost – a new blogging platform that has created a lot of buzz in the blogosphere.
- Drupal – popular, but can be a little difficult for beginners.
- Joomla – another popular CMS but can be a little difficult to learn.
I would personally recommend WordPress, especially if you are a beginner in blogging, mainly because of the great support and ease of use. So, let’s see how to create your WordPress blog.
This is the time when you will need to brainstorm a killer domain name. You should keep the domain name short, and have in mind that one-word domains have already all been taken, but do not worry, there are good available domains out there. Try to get .com, .net or .org. A .com is preferred but, all of these three are fine, because it is more important to find a domain name that will be memorable and easy to spell. Once you have come up with a domain name, you will need to buy and register it.
A Hosting Provider
So, you have bought a domain name and now it is time to find a place on the web where you will keep your files. Think of web hosting like a house where you will put in all your stuff. There are many hosting companies out there, so make sure to choose one from the best web hosting companies to get most of it for your blog. When you decide which web hosting company is right for you, the next step is to install WordPress on your account.
The installation can be done in several ways, mostly depending on your website hosting provider. Installing WordPress is really easy, WordPress calls it “the famous 5-minute install”. You can do it by yourself, or by calling up your hosting support and asking them to install it for you.
Once your WordPress is installed, you need to add a WordPress theme that will have all the functions you need. A theme is a pre-designed template that you can easily customize. Now, you will have to make a choice whether you will go with a free theme or a paid one. They both have some advantages and disadvantages, and, in the end, it all comes to what you really want for your blog. Some of the good places where you can find themes for your blog are:
- WordPress Library
When you are selecting your theme, make sure that it will fit within your goals; if you are going to run a professional blog, then opt for a clean and formal design, and if you want to run a music blog, then you will need to choose a theme that will show off your creativity. Make sure to use a responsive design, meaning that the layout of your blog will be able to adapt to tablet and mobile screen sizes. This is very important because many people are now using their mobile devices to browse the web.
Essential WordPress Plugins
Plugins can be a little tricky. On one hand, they can expand the functionality of your blog if you use them effectively, but you can easily go overboard and install too many of them, which can bloat your code and slow your website down. Sometimes, a lot of time can pass before you find the plugins that will suit you the most, but you are in luck, because I have found the good ones that are essential when starting a blog. You can use:
- Yoast WordPress SEO
- Gravity Forms
- Simple Social Share Plugin
- Pretty Link
- Lead Pages
- WordPress Super Cache Plugin
Now, you are ready to start your own blog. You just only need to make sure that it is good. So, write, create a schedule, be interesting, offer your solutions to certain problems, and answer some important questions regarding the niche you are going choose. Tell good stories, always be honest and never give up, no matter how hard this may all seem.