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Starting a blog is something many people think about, but just don’t know where to start. There are so many different options and steps to creating a blog, it can be mind boggling.
You’ll want to know you’re doing it right because, after all, this is your investment in yourself and your future. There’s a lot to think about and these early stages where you’re laying the foundation for the future success of your blog are so important.
This is one of the most confusing decisions you’ll have to make and that’s why we’re talking about this first. These two sites sound very similar, but there are huge differences. WordPress.com is free. Brilliant, I hear you say? It’s not so brilliant if you’re going to be blogging for the long haul. WordPress.com restricts your ability to use display ads and widgets. This may not seem like a big deal. Since you’re just starting out, but you’ll definitely thank yourself later if you choose a self hosted site with WordPress.org.
WordPress.org is used by, well – pretty much everyone. It has everything you could possibly need. The themes, add-ons, e-commerce solutions, designs, and marketing software make it a go to blogging platform. It’s versatile enough to suit any blog niche or website and, of course, you can monetise it!
Choosing a Domain Name
When you’re coming up with ideas for a domain name, you’ll want to think hard about choosing something unique and something you’ll still love 10 years from now.
You could use a site like Bust a Name to help you use words you like to find available domains. You can also purchase your domain name straight through them if that makes things easier for you.
You’ll want to try and choose a domain which has .com available. There are .net’s and .co.uk’s which have become very successful, but .com is best practice. It’s easiest to remember and makes your blog look that much more professional.
You should also avoid using numbers and symbols in your domain name. People won’t know whether to spell the numbers out and it can make it harder for people to find your site.
Have a look on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to check that you can get usernames for your blog. This is also good for finding out if there’s anyone with a similar name. If there is, you may want to re-think because it could confuse readers and make you difficult to find.
Now that you’ve chosen your domain name, it’s time to secure it. It is best practice to register your domain name with a different provider to your hosting (we’ll get to that soon). I’d recommend Go Daddy. They have excellent support available and it’s super easy to use.
Purchase Blog Hosting and Install WordPress
Blog hosting is where all your files and content for your blog live. It’s really important to have a realiable blog host. Your hosting is your blogs house and where all of your blog’s important belongings are. If anything goes wrong with your hosting, your blog will suffer.
I use Bluehost for my blog hosting and I couldn’t recommend them enough. I’ve received fantastic support from them and never had any hiccups whilst building my blog. It’s only $3.95 / £3.02 per month when you sign up with my link! It’s usually $7.99 / £6.10! They also have a money back guarantee. So if after 30 days, you don’t live it as much as I do, you can get your money back.
Once you’ve signed up, you’ll be able to log in and see your dashboard. It’s on this page where you’ll be able to download WordPress and finally start the exciting bit! Designing your blog! Scroll down and find the “website” section. Here you’ll see a little button which says “install wordpress”. Click this and follow the instructions.
Choose a Responsive WordPress Theme
Most people start out with a free WordPress theme, me included. After spending money on your domain and hosting, you probably won’t want to spend more on a theme. However, once your ready, it’s definitely a good investment.
When you’re ready to buy your theme, you need to make sure it’s by a reputable seller and that they offer full support with your purchase. Some sellers which I can recommend are –
Install your Plugins
Plugins are great. They allow you to add stuff to your site, without needing to know code or be a computer whizz. You do need to be careful not to add too many though, they can slow your site down. Here are some I recommend –
- Askismet – this reduces spam.
Yeost SEO – this will help you structure your blog posts so that they rank well in search engines.
Jetpack – this plugin shows you all your sites stats in a handy dashboard view. I love it.
You should also create a google analytics account. Google analytics can give you detailed insights to your blog traffic and site activity.
Once you’ve created your account, you’ll be asked to insert some code into your site to help them track your site activity. This is very simple to do.
I recommend you install the plug in Insert Header and Footers. This makes inserting any code to your blog super easy!
All you have to do is install it and then on your WordPress dashboard, select Settings. There should now be a option to select Insert Headers and Footers. You can copy the HTML code and place this into the header section.
Voila! Google analytics is set up! When you get further down the road, potential advertising partners and brands will ask for statistics from google analytics – so don’t skip this step.
Set Up Google Webmaster Tools
Over time, setting up google webmaster tools may help you to rank higher on search engine searches.
You can use the google adsense tracker code already inserting to verify your account so this should be nice and quick to set up.
Okay, so now you should have all the bases covered to begin your blogging journey. It’s over to you to start creating awesome content and out it out there on your blog. It’s a good idea to get at least 5 blog posts published on your blog before you start worrying yourself with social media sharing and traffic.
Let me know how you get on! And if you found this post useful, please pin me! 😊