#1 Today everyone wants to start a blog/website because they all have something they want to share.
#2 Yes, you have a really good idea, and you’d like to share it with the world. But how do you get started and how do you follow-up once you’ve started? Unlike what most people think, blogging isn’t just about writing some cool stuff and posting it on the net.
#3 If you want to go serious with your blog and get a lot of regular followers, then there are a lot of things that you need to take note.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll be tackling how you can start your own blog and how to make it successful. We’ll go through each step carefully so that you’ll be able to get each point and use them in the creation of your blog.
Why Is A Blog a Great Investment of Your Time?
Before we go to the steps on how to create your blog, let’s just take a look at why having a blog is going to be a good investment of your time. You should adopt blogging as a serious business.
- Share Experiences and Ideas on a Personal Level.First of all, information is shared around the internet every day through different mediums. A blog is one of the best mediums to reach out to people because blogs tend to touch people on a personal level. It is for this reason that good bloggers can get a solid base of loyal followers.
- Can Be a Great Source of Income. Other than the joy of sharing your insights and experiences, you can also make money by blogging. If you have enough followers, you can monetize your ads so that you can get commissions for every click on the ad that is showcased on your blog. As a matter of fact, thousands of bloggers worldwide are now earning a decent amount of money, if not more, just purely from blogging. So, you see, blogging can now be considered as a high-paying career if you just have the right know-how.
- Become a Key Leader on Things You are Interested About. Companies will also consider making you a brand ambassador for their brands if you’re famous enough. If you’re an excellent blogger, then you can do what you love doing and make money at the same time. Hence, why you should treat your blog like a business should you want to take it seriously. There is certain happiness in knowing that you get to represent things that you genuinely cared about, and to top that, brands are paying you for something you love doing. Isn’t that awesome?
5 Critical Steps to Starting Your Own Blog
If you are so adamant about starting your own blog, then here are five vital steps that you have to bear in mind:
Step 1: Choose a Blogging Platform
The first step in creating your blog would be to decide on which blogging platform you’d like to use. Blogging platform refers to the system wherein you can write and customize your blogs. The platform is also where you will be publishing your posts for people to see. Back in the late 2000’s, the most popular blogging platform was BlogSpot. This is where most people would flock to when they wanted to create their blogs. However, biggest blogging platform as of today is WordPress.
Why Choose WordPress?
- The great thing about WordPress is that the back office of the platform allows you to customize it just the way you’d like it by adding plug-ins, accessories, and different features.
- WordPress also allows you to have your own domain name which makes your blog look like an actual website.
- WordPress, over the years, has become both a blogging platform as well as a CMS. You can try other blogging platforms such as Tumblr and Blogger. Although we wouldn’t say that Tumblr and Blogger are better than WordPress, they’re good enough if you just want to do blogging as a sideline.
Step 2: Choose a Suitable Web Hosting
After reading Step 1, I guess that you’d probably want to go with WordPress since it is the biggest blogging platform recently, and it includes the most features. So, when that is done, the next step would be to choose the hosting provider. Selecting a suitable host is a critical decision since this will be the primary factor as to how much you will be paying for starting up your blog.
First thing’s first, it is recommended that you do not use the free version of a blog site because it hurt your blog’s SEO.
Reasons Why You Should Say No to the Free Version
- The name of the blogging platform will always appear in your blog’s link (e.g. myblog.wordpress.com). Of course, you wouldn’t exactly want this for your blog because first, it’s not good for SEO purposes (blogs like these don’t have much crawlability).
- It doesn’t certainly look good to your followers.
- You won’t get all the cool features that a paid blogging would have. For example, you won’t be able to get all the plug-ins and widgets of a paid blog.
- Lastly, you won’t be able to monetize your blog if you’re using the free version.
With that said, the next question to ask yourself would be which host is the best for your blog. We would recommend WPEngine if you are a beginner. WPEngine is one of the most affordable yet reliable hosting providers out there, and they have splendid optimized hosting.
Another thing about using WPEngine is that WordPress users will get discounts and promos for the usage.
Step 3: Setting Up Your Blog and Hosting
Now that you’ve chosen your blogging platform and your host, let’s go through the setup of your blog. Let’s start with your purchase of WP Engine (assuming you did choose WP Engine as your hosting, and we recommend you should).
Setting Up WP Engine Hosting Account
- First, you should visit WP Engine’s Homepage.
- Click on the shared hosting option which is under the products option. Shared hosting is recommended for startup blogs. Since you are just starting your blog, opting for a dedicated and managed to host is out of the question since you don’t have that huge number of visitors yet. So, start with shared hosting first, and you can just upgrade later on when the situation demands it.
- After that, you will be directed to a page where you can find all the plans WP Engine offers.
- Once you have arrived at the hosting plan page, you can get started with purchasing your desired plan and set everything up.
WP Engine Hosting plans – Personal, Professional, Business
- If you’re a beginner with all of these things, we would recommend that you try the most basic plan first so that you’ll get how it works.
- Once you’ve clicked on the plan that you want, input your domain name and click on the next button. For the domain name, it best if you have done your research beforehand. Don’t just choose a random name out in haste as this can seriously affect your blog’s SEO in the long run.
- From here, you will be directed to a page that will tell you whether your domain name has already been taken or not. If not, then you can go on to the next step. In the next step, you just have to fill up your personal details, as well as your account details then you’re all set.
- After all of that is done, you just have to pick all the features that you’d like for your package and go on to next. If you don’t want to pick any particular feature, you can just choose the default details. When that’s finished, you have to fill in your credit card/other payment mode details.
- Click that you agree to the terms of service and click the submit button. After that, you’ll be sent an email to verify that you’ve purchased a package from WPEngine. With that, you’re all set to go!
Now that we’re finished with WPEngine, let’s now move on to the installation of WordPress.
- With the WPEngine website, you can go to the website section of the homepage of the WordPress site and click on the Install WordPress option.
- You will then be brought to a page where you can continue with the installation of the button.
- Click the install button and connect your WordPress to your blog’s domain name.
- Once that’s done, you can create an admin username and password.
- After you’ve created those, just click “Install Now,” and you’re done!
The next time you want to log into your WordPress, you can just place the link which will look like this: http://myblog.com/wp-admin.
Step 4: Creating Your Blog
In this section, We’ll show you the WordPress Dashboard and help you install a theme to increase your blog’s aesthetic appeal.
Choose a Theme
Now that everything has been activated and you are now ready to work on your first blog, let’s start on the technicalities of how to work on the first blog. With your page set up already, the first thing that you have to do is choose a theme.
The theme or the design of your blog page is just as important as what is written on it because a bad design won’t garner loyal followers. Fortunately, WordPress has a ton of themes that users can choose from. It has a default theme (called Twenty Sixteen) that it uses, but you can change and customize it according to your preference.
Customize and Play with your Design
You may modify the design to better suit your tastes. You can even download WordPress themes and install it on your dashboard by uploading it to your WordPress. For the more intricate parts of your design, all you have to do is going to the Appearance tab and click on the Customize option. From here, you can play around with your design.
After you’ve already chosen your desired design, the next thing would be to think of the stuff that you want to write in your blog posts. Just to give you a skinny on how to use WordPress, first you check the left side of your dashboard. From there, you’ll see a menu where there are a lot of options for you to choose from.
To create a new post, click on the “Add New” button under the Posts option.
Create an Interesting Title
From there, you’ll be brought to a page wherein you can see an Enter Title and a Body. You can start writing your blog post here. In the content section, you’ll add your blog’s actual content, and in the Enter Title portion, obviously, you’ll put your title.
Once you’re done, then you can click save as draft if you don’t want it published yet. If you want it published, then you can click on the Publish button.
Add Images, Videos, and Other Media Files
Another thing that you have to know about would be the media library. The media library of WordPress is an important tool that you can use for managing your media files like your images, videos, and mp3 files. You can upload all of these things to your posts using the media library.
To check out your media library, first, go to your Dashboard and click on the Media menu. After that, you will be brought to the Media Library where you can add media items to your post.
You can do this by clicking the “Add New” button which you can find at the top part of your dashboard.
Edit the Media Item
After that, you can select which media item you would want to use and then upload it. With the Media Library, you can also edit photos that you will be uploading to your WordPress post. You can resize your photos, and you can also crop out some parts.
If you’re uploading a video, you can also change the size of the video to fit it the way you want.
Add Access Logins
Now that you know the basics of navigating your blog’s dashboard, let’s talk about expansion. Let’s say that you would want to expand because you’re taking your blog seriously and would want to grow in size and increase followers. When this kind of thing happens, you definitely can’t manage all of these things all on your own because it would be challenging to keep up with the growth.
In this case, you’ll be needing some help from the outside sources. Whether you hire employees or even outsource a staff, two or more heads are definitely better than one.
In the event that you do want to add people to your team, you’ll need to give them access to your blog’s back-end office. This simply means that you have to make them admin users. To set this up, first, you need to click on the Users option which you can find on your Dashboard.
From your Dashboard, you then click “Add New” so that you can add more people who can access your blog. Once you’ve done that, then you have to add some of the personal details of your new user. After that, you have to select the role that these people will be playing on your blog.
3 Types of Login Users
The three primary roles that you can choose from are:
- Admin- somebody who has access to all the administration features within your site.
- Editor- somebody who can publish and manage posts including the posts of other users added;
- Author- somebody who can publish and manage their own posts.
There are a few more, but these three are the most crucial ones. When you have done all of that, then all you have to do is click the “Add User” button at the end of the page, and a new user will then be added.
The new user will then receive an email containing all the information that they need for logging in, which they will be using to access your blog’s back office.
Step 5: Adding Some Cool Plugins
What makes WordPress the best platform for blogging would be the plugins that come with the platform. Plugins are great because they add extra features to your blog that can help you customize your posts better.
For those who are not very familiar with what plugins are, they are these apps that can help your blog add some functions that will make the work easier. As compared to many other blogging platforms, WordPress arguably has one of the most numbers of plugins as well as the coolest. The best thing about WordPress is that both the free and the premium accounts have these plugins. Even if you didn’t sign up for the premium account, you’d still get a ton of plugins that you can use. Of course, you can use more plugins if you go for the paid version.
How to Add Plugins?
So, after learning about what plugins are all about, let’s go to the meat of it all and find out how you can add some cool plugins to your WordPress accounts.
- First, you once again go to our WordPress Dashboard and go to the Plugins option.
- Once you hover over the Plugins option and click on it, click on “Add New” so that you can place in your new plugin.
- After this, you will be prompted over to a screen where you can search for some of the free plugins that you can use for your blog. You can search using the search box which can be found in the top right corner of your Plugin menu.
- If you’ve already picked out some of the plugins that you want to install, click the “Install Now” button so that you can add in your plugins. From here, you can choose to activate your plugin or even deactivate it if you need to once it has been installed.
Now, from experience, we have discovered that there are a lot of people who become rather hooked on installing plugins even if they don’t really need it. They do think that the more they install, the better because they’ll have so many functions at their disposal.
Although it is cool to have a number of plugins that you can use anytime you want, we would advise against doing this because, firstly, it takes up too much space, and this is one of the primary causes why your WordPress crashes.
What is running on Memory?- WordPress does.
We suggest taking note that WordPress also runs on memory. If you fill it up to the brim, it will not work like it is supposed to. Instead, it will just slow down and eventually crash. Secondly, it might also confuse you when you are looking for a certain plugin. If you had a hundred plugins that you’d have to manage from time to time, I bet you’ll definitely have a hard time. My word of advice would be, know which plugins you need and just stick to that.
Suggested WordPress Plugins for Startup Blogs
Just to give you an idea of which plugins you may need, I’ll be providing a list of the useful ones that will help you make your blog successful. Here are a few that I would certainly recommend:
- Easy to use form format for filling up contact details
- Fast way to install in your WordPress Dashboard
- The convenient way to manipulate by making use of the plugin in your dashboard
- Help encrypt cache in your blog easily
- Best caching plugin in for WordPress
- Helps in loading the blog faster
- Has complete Search Engine Optimization assistance features for your blog
- Comes with AdWords feature
- Connected to Google Trends for Trending News writers
- Efficient in filtering spam
- Includes a spam queue for storing spam comments for the users to see
- Also deletes spam when the user sets the plugin to
- One of the best social sharing plugins for WordPress
- Contains useful options for sharing on different platforms
- Have great features which allow users to monitor their products
- Includes features for monitoring inventory and stock
- Easily able to help manipulate information of the products
- Easily able to export huge amounts of files
- Able to export media files, databases, themes, and even existing plugins
- Also works for exporting files into mobile devices
- Let’s the user manipulate certain apps and functions on the WordPress site
- Acts as a security feature to block malicious attacks on your blog site
- Easily features functions for the user to simply manipulate
These are just some of the cool plugins that you can find when you make use of WordPress. There is so much more plugins out there that you can try out and screen which ones are best for your blog. However, these are some of the essential ones. so We would recommend that you perfect using all of these plugins. It should be before you move on to learning how to use the others.
You can also do some research on the different plugins that WordPress has to offer so that you’ll know what to search.
With all of these areas covered, then you are all set to form your own blog! We suggest you plan the content that you would like to put, and you’re all set to publish! Having a blog isn’t as simple as just writing stuff and putting them out for people to see. There are now a lot of tools on the internet that has been made available to bloggers Worldwide. It is up to you as a blogger to know how to fully utilize these tools so that you can take blogging to the next level.
Gone are the days when all you had to do was to sign up in a free blogging website and just write stuff to share random things to people. Blogs can now become websites with the help of great blogging platforms such as WordPress.
As long as you know how to use all of these essential tools, then you’ll be able to do well in blogging. Not only will you spread your joy and passion to thousands or even millions of readers every day, but you can also turn it into a living and get some passive income so that you won’t have to worry about paying your bills.
With blogging as a colossal thing right now, we, at iThemeSky suggest that you learn the technical aspects of maintaining a blog if you are going to take this craft seriously.
If you are looking for help to set up a website, iThemeSky Team can help you setup Themes and can be hired!
(Last edited by iThemeSky on May 22, 2018).