It is no more news that Blogging is an incredible way to make a living. Neither is it surprising that WordPress is one of the most recommended solutions when it comes to blogging. But the fact remains that there are certain things that one needs to know before starting the blog life with WordPress. With so many features, it can get a bit intimidating. Moreover, as easy it can be to get started on a blog, converting it into a consistent source of income needs some thought. Let us go through the set of steps that will guide you to start a WordPress blog from scratch.
1. Find a blog topic
This is the obvious first step in starting your blog and most of you already have an idea about what you want to blog about. If you don’t, then give it some thought before starting.
Find a field that you are passionate about, as it has the most chance of longevity. Also, try to keep one blog dedicated to one field or idea, instead of going all over the place. This doesn’t mean there is no scope for expansion. Consider a broad topic like movies.
You might start as a movie critic who reviews the latest movies. As you progress, you will evolve and write about a diverse spectrum of things that comes under cinema. Remember that when you start you don’t need to be a know-it-all. Think of blogging as a two-way learning opportunity.
2. Set up web hosting and domain
Now coming to the technical aspects of starting your blog, the first thing to do is to subscribing to a hosting plan and purchasing a domain name. There are a huge number of WordPress hosts available for you to make a choice. One major recommendation you can find everywhere is Bluehost, an affordable hosting plan at $2.95 a month.
It also gives you a free domain when you sign up. You can also check out some other hosting options like Flywheel or WPEngine. WP Engine is a great option for advanced bloggers, but it is viable only if you make money as it doesn’t come cheap.
3. Install and setup WordPress
Once you have selected a hosting plan and have a domain name to go, you need to install WordPress software for your website. In the case of Bluehost, you can install it from your Bluehost profile. Managed WordPress hosting plans like WPEngine comes with WordPress pre-installed as part of hosting. You can also manually download and install WordPress.
After installation, log in to WordPress using the admin name and password that you chose while setting up your hosting plan. WordPress provides a ton of options that might get overwhelming initially. Under general settings, you will find fields to enter the title for your website and tagline to go with it.
There is another setting that allows you to choose a default post category and post type. It can speed up your blogging process. Besides, the reading tab lets you see how your homepage looks.
Comments in the blog
You can choose whether or not to allow people to post comments. You can also select manual approval of each comment if you want to. You can opt for how to edit and crop the media you add to the website under media settings. Other settings like permalinks allow you to choose how the URL for a specific blog post looks like. Don’t use the default permalink option as that is just the post id. Commonly everyone uses the post name which looks neat and also boosts the SEO. Do keep in mind that changing permalinks without proper thought can lead your readers to end up in 404 pages.
Read more: 10 Things You Should Know Before Blogging
4. Choose a theme and design your blog
The next step is to choose a theme for your website. You can choose a free theme or the default WordPress theme during setup. Anyway, that isn’t important as we can change the theme afterward. WordPress has a lot of free as well as paid themes to choose from. You can also browse good themes from third parties like ThemeForest.
You can start with a free theme and then switch to a paid one if necessary. If the blog succeeds and starts making money, then there is a good chance that you might want to take that switch to get more features and customization options. All you have to do is to navigate to Appearance -> Themes -> Add New and you can upload your newly downloaded theme’s zip file. Once done, activate it and that is it. You can further customize your theme by going to Appearance -> Customize.
5. Write your first blog
Before you get ready to write your first blog, don’t forget to remove the sample post, page, and comment that WordPress includes by default. You can access this from the Pages and Posts menu. Now, navigate to Posts -> Add New and start writing your blog. Once done, click Publish and done. You have just started a blog. You can organize your posts, based on Categories and Tags. Do try out the block-based editor in WordPress to create content layouts that you wish for your blog.
6. Install relevant plugins
WordPress comes with an incredible number of features. However, some functionalities are more specific to each blogger and do not come by default. Plugins help to avail of these additional features like contact forms, backups, improved SEOs, newsletter subscriptions, etc.
The WordPress community has thousands of free plugins and even more paid plugins. You can search for recommended plugins for what your needs are. Some most recommended plugins include the following:
- Google Analytics with MonsterInsights
- Yoast SEO
- VaultPress or UpdraftPlus for backup
- WordFence Security
To install a plugin, navigate to Plugins -> Add New and search your free plugin. If you have purchased a premium plugin, then upload the zip file. Once done, activate the plugin.
7. Make some money
Once you start blogging the next thought might be to start earning. And there are a lot of ways to make money from blogging, what you need to understand is that there are no quick returns in this career. You can show ads on your blogs with Google AdSense, or recommend other products or services for a commission, with Affiliate Marketing. You can also choose to sell products or services directly using your blog.
Getting started on the blogging journey is that easy. If you start small and learn, you will progress with time and can go deep. But most importantly, work on your content more than any of the tweaking that you do because the content is the singular most segment of your blog that will keep readers coming back for more.
Hope you are now ready to start a WordPress blog.
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