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If you are looking for a step by step guide on how to start a blog, then you are at a right place. I have been blogging since 10+ years and have built numerous blogs and websites for my clients and myself. In this blogging guide I am going to share each and every little detail that you need to start a blog from scratch.
Before I start taking you through the whole process of blog creation, I presume you already know about a blog, right? If not, here’s a little definition:
A blog essentially is your digital diary in which you can share your thoughts, write stories, review products, services and what not. The only difference is, this digital diary is public, available for anyone to read. And, the best part, with a blog you can earn your livelihood.Pankaj Sharma, Topitguy.com
So, before I go ahead, I hope that we are all on the same page now, as to what is a blog. And, don’t worry if you have any questions, as I am going to cover all the aspects of blogging down below, so your questions should be answered automatically.
Here’s what you need to know before starting a blog:
Table of Contents
How to choose niche or topic for your blog
This is the first and foremost question every blogger should ask themselves. One can start a blog on absolutely any topic but in the longer run, it won’t be worth the time and money, as over a period of time, your motivation to write content for what you don’t love fades away. As a result you end up calling it quits.
Therefore, it is important to choose a niche or topic you think you are good at and makes you happy. The following are some of the topics that are really good to start a blog in 2020:
- Health & Fitness
- Travel Reviews such as Car rental, Bike Rental, Hotel Reviews, Destinations
- Sports Centric Blogs, especially popular sports
- Fantasy Leagues
- Education and Career
Just pick a topic from above or simply go ahead with the one you find you are comfortable in and people should know and start blogging.
Finding the best domain name
After choosing the niche for your blog, it is important to have the best and supporting domain name. A domain name is unique address using which your blog or a website can be accessed to view its content.
A typical blog looks like https://topitguy.com. Where “topitguy” is the blog address, “.com” is the TLD extension. And, “https” signifies that the blog has SSL Certificate installed and is safe to browse. More of in covered in upcoming sections.
It is very important to have a domain name that corelates with content of your blog and blog name. The following needs to be considered before picking one:
- Always try to pick a .com extension for your domain
- Don’t use a number or any other character in your domain name
- Always pick a domain name which is easy to remember
- You domain name should identify with the content you create
- Don’t use a lengthy domain, don’t go beyond 3 words
Now, registering a domain name, most hosting companies these days offer free domain name for a year with their hosting plans. I personally like to go ahead with the following:
So, do use these and save some money upfront. Follow my YouTube Channel to view the videos of me explaining how register a domain name using these hosting companies.
How to choose the best web hosting for your WordPress blog
There are two ways to host your WordPress blog, one is through WordPress.com and, other is through WordPress.org, and out of the two, I highly suggest that you choose WordPress.org to self-host your blog, and have full access to it.
So, to self-host your WordPress blog, you need a webhosting plan. With so many webhosting companies offering their plans at affordable rates it sometimes becomes difficult to pick the right hosting company. But, don’t worry, down below I share the web hosting companies that I use personally and find the best.
Hostinger: Their plans start from just $0.99/month. With their premium hosting plan, you get a free domain name and an SSL certificate as well. You also get easy WordPress Installation with this European Web Host. The following is a snapshot from Hostinger that you may want to check:
Bluehost: Another great web hosting company that offers 1 click WordPress installation, a free domain name for a year, SSL certificate and unlimited bandwidth with their hosting plans. Here’s a snapshot:
How to install WordPress for a self hosted blog
After registering the domain name and buying the web hosting for your self-hosted blog, the next thing to do is to install the content management system(CMS) WordPress. This can be done in two ways:
- Manual way (Lengthy Process)
- Using Auto Installer or 1 Click Installation services absolutely free
Both processes do the same job but the later saves you a lot of time. So, I highly recommend that you pick that option. The following is a step by step guide to:
Installing WordPress on Hostinger using Auto Installer:
Step 1: Login into your Hostinger account and click on Hosting tab. This will take you to the following screen:
Step 2: Now, click on manage button and you will see the following screen:
Step 3: Go to the Website section and click on Auto Installer as shown in the image above. On the next screen, you will find WordPress, just click on it.
Step 4: Just fill in the details on this new screen, as shown in the image below. Make sure to select https from dropdown in the first field. Also, choose the administrator username and password carefully and save the somewhere. Pick the administrator email where you want all your WordPress emails to go to. Website Tile can be changed later as required, don’t bother about that.
Just hot the install button and in a few minutes, your blog will be live.
Step 5: After the successful installation of your blog, it will be available under List of Installed applications.
To access the WordPress Dashboard of your blog, simply type https://yourblogname.com/wp-admin. and enter your username and password and click on login.
Installing WordPress on Bluehost using 1-Click Installer:
If you are going to use Bluehost for hosting your WordPress blog, consider following these steps to install WordPress:
Step1: Login to your Bluehost control panel, look for a tab Marketplace and open it
Step 2: Look for featured products and click on One Click Installs
Step 3: Select WordPress from the list and click install
Step 4: Click on get started and choose your domain name, leave the directory field empty, click next
Step 5: Now enter the admin info such as admin username, password, , email address. After the completion of these steps, your website should be ready.
To access the backend of of it, just type https://youtblogname.com/wp-admin/, enter your username and password and click on login.
Choosing the right theme for your blog
Now that your blog is up and running, it is time to make it look beautiful so that when visitors visit your blog they instantly fall in love with it. So, to make it look great, you need to change your WordPress Theme.
By default when you Install WordPress, a default free theme comes auto installed with it. It is very normal theme, nothing fancy in it. One can still use it for blogging but when it comes to customizations and designs, you can’t make it look the you always wanted. So, that is where a need of a paid theme comes along.
For this website, I am using a theme from MyThemeShop, it is not all that great but still does the job pretty well for me. For my other websites, I use the following WP Themes and can’t recommend them enough already:
Avada: This is the number#1 bestselling WordPress theme which can be used for any purpose right from building a one page website to a full-fledged WooCommerce store.
Astra: It is one of the fastest growing lightweight and fast WordPress Theme. It is being used by 1 million+ users. I highly recommend that you consider using this theme for your blog, as the customizations through this theme are really easy to make.
After buying the wordpress theme, the next thing you need to do is to upload it on your blog. To do so, just follow these steps:
- Login to your WordPress dashboard
- Go to left side menu and click on Appearance
- Choose the first option Themes
- Now, find the option Add New
- On new Screen, you find the option Upload Theme, click on it
- Click on Choose File to select the theme from your local drive
- After selecting the theme, simply hit install
- After the Installation finishes, you will see the new theme appearing in your Themes section, just click on it and hit Apply Theme, that is it
Now, the good thing is, you can customize the premium themes with an ease to get the optimum settings for your blog or website.
Important WordPress Plugins for your blog
After setting up the before and before posting your first blog post, it important that you install a few plugins to make your blog robust and easily available for search engines when they crawl your content. So, do go ahead and install the following plugins:
Yoast SEO: This is the very first plugin that you need to install on your website/blog before start posting content. The basic version of this plugin is absolutely free and does serve the purpose of setting up SEO, building your blog sitemap.
You can install WordPress plugins by logging into your blog dashboard and following these steps:
- Click on Plugins in left sidebar
- Click on Add New
- Type the plugin name in search box and hit enter
- Choose the plugin from the list and click on Install
- On new screen click on Activate, that’s it
reSmush.it: This plugin is very important, especially if you are going to use a lot images in your blog posts. As, the Images are usually heavy in size and make make your blogs load way slower. But, with reSmush.it plugin on board, your images will be automatically compressed to the optimum size without loosing much of quality, eventually making your blog load faster in the browser even with images. And, the best part is, this plugin is also free to use:)
WP Super Cache: Another plugin you should install before making your first post, again it is free to install and helps speed up your WordPress website.
GA Google Analytics: If you are interested in monitoring your website performance in Google search, right from your website’s bounce rate, traffic, Live audience, I highly recommend that you install this plugin. Down below, I explain the process of how to setup Google Analytics and Google Webmasters (Search Console) accounts for your WordPress Website.
Apart from the above there are so many plugins that you may need in future such as a contact form, displaying ads for monetizing your blog. Social sharing buttons etc, those can be installed later as your blog/website grows.
Watch this quick tutorial to learn how to install plugins:
How to publish a blog post on WordPress
Now that all the necessary steps completed, the next step is to publish a blog post. To publish your first blog post, here are the steps you need to follow:
- In the left sidebar of your WordPress dashboard, click on Posts and choose, Add New
- You will be given a little walkthrough on new WordPress editor, I highly suggest you to go through it
- Give your post a Title, where it says “Add Title”
- Below that, write the content and add images as needed.. To add the images and other important stuff, simply click on the + button and choose what you need for the blog and that section will automatically be added to your post
- In the right sidebar or your editor, you can choose a category for the post, add relevant tags, permalinks as needed
- After you are done, simply click on Publish button above and your post will go live for the world to see
Getting traffic to your blog
After setting up your blog, posting content on it, the next challenge to bring people to see your content. This can be achieved in several ways and they are:
- Get Traffic From Social Media (Free)
- Use SEO effectively and get traffic from search engines (Free)
- Use advertisement methods such Google Ads and Facebook Ads
Getting traffic from social media is not all that tough but there is a thin line between posting genuine stuff and spamming. So, in order to get traffic from social media, I suggest you to share your blog posts with friends, if they like what they see, they will further share it with their friends and the chain reaction starts, eventually getting you tons of traffic for free. You can also add a social share button to your blog so that people can share your content with their favorite social network.
Using SEO best techniques, one can rank for the popular keywords that people search in Google and get heaps of traffic absolutely free. This is not an easy method though, you have to be at the top of your game to get there. In 2020, no SEO shortcuts can get you up the ranks.
Only genuine content and the perfect use of SEO settings can get you there. So, do learn about SEO to get traffic for free or simply hire some to do so for your website.
Using advertisements with Google and Facebook, you sure can get targeted traffic to your website fast, but for this to happen, you need to pay fee. I suggest you to only indulge in this if you have the budget and the required knowledge to do Google and Facebook ads.
I have been using both Google and Facebook ads for my clients and myself since a long time and have gotten great results.
Getting your blog posts indexed in Google Search Results:
To get your blog posts indexed in Google, the major search engine, the first thing you need to ensure is that, your content is indexable. For the most blogs, it is always indexable by default but for some, search engines are discouraged to crawl the content on purpose.
Do check this setting inside the Settings>Reading Settings, your Search Engine Visibility box should be unchecked sat all times.
To get your blog posts indexed faster in Google Search, I highly suggest you to create a Google Webmasters/Search Console account and add your blog there.
After creating the account, simply follow this video to get your blog post indexed in Google each time you create a new account.
Also, to get your content indexed faster in Google search, you need to create content on regular intervals. Just keep your content fresh and your content will be picked up by Google search crawlers without fail.
Create pages for your new blog:
For any new blog to look professional, it is important to have the following pages:
- About Us
- Contact Us
The about us page is very important for blog/website owners to give the readers a complete introduction about you. This will build a personal relationship of yours with the readers of your blog.
Contact us page is also equally important if want to get contacted by your website readers, you can choose to be contacted via email or though a contact form. The contact for can be created using free plugins, so don’t forget to have one.
Frequently Asked Questions:
To start making money from your blogs, you can sign up with Ad networks such as Google Adsense, Media.net or join affiliate networks to earn commissions on products and services you sell through your website.
The ideal way to keep your blog up and running in google search for top queries is to update its content on regular basis. Whether it is to add a new post or updating the old one. Just always ensure to keep the content of your blog as fresh as possible.
Well, there are bloggers that earn 7 figure income everymonth from just one blog, and believe me, there is no limit to it. It is a sea of opportunity, just dive into it, put your honest efforts and you will be on the side for sure.
So, through this step by step guide on how to start a WordPress blog from scratch, I have explained every thing you needed to know. If you have any questions about any topic that I cleared or not cleared, just let me know in comments section or reach out to me at [email protected]