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Starting a blog in 2020 may feel daunting. I can promise you however, that it is not a hard as it seems. Here is a step by step guide on how to start your WordPress blog:
- Get clear on what your blog is about
- Your blog name and domain name
- Getting a Host
- Log into wordpress.org
- Pick a template
- Start posting and sharing your blog
*If after reading this post you would like some further clarification on how to set up your WordPress blog, you can book a free consultation with me here.
Why you should start that blog you’ve been wanting
The online world seems so saturated with bloggers and blogs in almost every imaginable niche. So why should you even bother? Why would anyone care about what you have to say? What can you offer that’s different to everyone else?
You should bother because of the simple fact that you matter. People will care because although they say that nothing is ever new under the sun, the way you do something and your perspective is going to be vastly different to mine or anyone else.
There are billions of users of various apps and websites and platforms on the inter webs. I can guarantee that you WILL find the people who will value what you have to say. Whether it’s 10 or 100 or a million people, your platform could change lives, and the longer you take to start, the longer someone is going without meeting you, and that’s a big ol’ shame.
Take you and I for example. I’m hoping you came across this post because you were playing around online and thought oh, this chick looks like she has something to say. And if you’ve reached this far, you must have found some value in what I’m saying.
Now just imagine if I had never decided to start a blog at 16 years old, calling myself the MadBookBlogger (cringe I know) and then allowed myself to grow to where I am now. We never would have met.
How to start your WordPress Blog (finally!)
Get clear on your blog content
You have to know what your blog is going to be about before you can even start thinking about taking it online.
Chances are you have an idea of what you want to write about, but how much energy you put into writing for your ‘niche’ will depend on the purpose of your blog.
If you’re writing a personal blog, like I did when I started, it’s not so important to have a niche right away, because your goal is to express yourself and the purpose of starting is to learn and find your place in the online world.
If you do have a niche however, all the better because you can begin to focus and look towards growth in a certain area.
Before going live, it’s recommended to have a small library of content already on your site, plus a few blog posts ready to be posted regularly after that.
If you’re starting a blog for your business or to make money, then I highly suggest you invest some time in strategising what you’re going to talk about, how often you’re going to post, who your target readers are and how you can make your content different to everyone else’s.
How can you add your unique perspective to something? How is your story different to someone else’s?
Your blog name and domain
It’s important to take as much time as you need to figure out your blog name so that you can buy your domain name.
Your domain name is the name of your website. You can get a free domain name in wordpress.com but I DO NOT recommend wordpress.com EVER because it comes with severe limitations and your free domain will look like this: www.mydomainname.com/wordpress.
You want to use wordpress.org
In order to have a domain name that looks like this – www.mydomainname.com, you have to buy one from a registrar online and the options for this are plenty.
I recommend Siteground to all of my clients for domain registration and hosting (below) because it is one of the most reliable and cost effective services for starting your website.
A domain name doesn’t cost more than €20 and is renewed yearly. Be warned however, that if your desired name is not very unique, it might already be taken, in which case, the site where you’re buying your domain name will offer some similar names which you can choose from or you can go back to the drawing board.
Getting a Host
Your host is the server which essentially helps manage the back end of your website. It stores your data and can ensure your privacy and security. With a good host, there is very little you will have to do on the back end of your website because they will have all of the support and automations ready for you.
There are free hosting services and there are paid hosting services and each one in between will have different services so it’s about looking into what various hosts offer and comparing the features.
I don’t recommend getting a free host because of security. Once you get into the nitty gritty of designing your website and creating content, you want to be assured that your data is secure and everything is legal and properly done – free hosts can be a bit sketchy.
I recommend Siteground because when you buy your domain name with them AND you host with them, they offer you a free year off your domain. They also have excellent customer support.
Step by Step: Go to SiteGround.com → choose ‘Managed WordPress Hosting’ → choose the recommended ‘Grow Big’ Plan → register your domain name → fill in your billing details → create and verify your logins
Log into wordpress.org
Once you have your domain name and your host, if you’re using Siteground, you will be able to create a WordPress.org account from within Siteground and will be able to log in right away.
What I recommend is that the first thing you’ll want to do is download the Jetpack plugin.
Jetpack is a feature of wordpress.com which helps with analytics and which adds some of the better features of wordpress.com, into wordpress.org
Getting that out of the way will allow Jetpack to run in the background as you start getting familiar with your wordpress dashboard.
Now, start getting familiar with your wordpress dashboard by clicking on the various features.
Pick a template
In order to start designing your website, and if you’ve never designed a website before, your best bet is to buy a template which you can alter.
WordPress.org offers a range of over 100 templates, and there are other websites that offer templates of various prices compatible with WordPress. Some of my favourites include:
↠ The Tonic Site Shop
↠ Qode Interactive
Once you buy and install your template (instructions are always provided when you buy your template on how to install it), you can begin changing the colours, changing the fonts, adding your images and playing around with everything to tailor your design to your preferences.
Download the Elementor Plugin
Elementor is a web builder which has been designed to be super user friendly and allows you to build your website in blocks.
I use Elementor with all my clients and it allows for a clean looking outcome, interactive features and Elementor Pro has additional features that make the web design experience both fun and easy.
How to install a plugin: In your wordpress dashboard go to ‘Plugins’ → click ‘Add New’ → search for ‘Elementor’ → click ‘Install’ → once it’s installed click ‘Activate.
Start posting and sharing your blog
Obviously there’s going to be some work which goes into designing your website/blog until you end up with an end product that you love.
The best advice I can give you is not to wait until it’s ‘perfect’. It’s never going to be ‘perfect’.
I’ve had my current blog for five years and every year has seen a brand new design and every week I tweak something that I don’t like or I think has gone out of date.
Make your website live when you’re happy with it, and start sharing it with your friends and family to gain some traction. As you get used to it, and as you grow, you’ll continue to make some tweaks, learn more tips and tricks and then, the online world is truly your oyster.
I hope you found this post useful! Let me know below if you have any other wordpress or website related questions and I’d be happy to answer them in another post.
Stay safe, sit back, grab some Oreos and I can’t wait to see what life has to offer us next!