7 Simple Steps For Starting A Personal Blog Using WordPress
Blogging is the trending sensation of personal branding that everyone wants to do, but don’t know how. There are now countless bloggers who make a full-time income from their blogs.
Wondering how is that possible? Well, for most people it starts as a hobby and then end up becoming a stepping stone for their success. If you ever wanted to start a blog, then you have come to the right place. In this article, we will look at how to create an awesome WordPress blog in 7 simple steps.
1. Decision: To Rent Or To Own?
Before you can start a blog, you have to make a very important decision. Do you want to rent your blog or do you want to own it? This is a very common analogy used to describe the difference between Free WordPress.com and the self-hosted WordPress platform. Many WordPress beginners get confused when choosing the right platform. WordPress is well-known for its versatility because of the plugins that are available for it. You can only use plugins if you have a self-hosted WordPress. If you want to monetize your blog and receive 100% of your revenue, then you must use self-hosted WordPress.
In short, my pick is the self-hosted WordPress.org. For a full comparison chart check out our free WordPress.com vs self-hosted WordPress [Infographic]
2. Pick the Domain Name for your Blog
Picking the domain name is a crucial step for your blog’s success. Your domain name is your brand. There are numerous domain extensions available such as .com, .net, .org, etc. However, it is highly recommended that you choose (.com) over others because of its popularity compared to other domain extensions. You want to make sure that your domain is brandable, and it is easy to remember. Try to avoid hyphens in your domains. Be conscious of the length, because the length of the domain has a direct correlation with loss of traffic due to typos.
You can register your domain name using NameCheap, or your preferred web host.
3. Picking the Best WordPress Hosting
Web hosting is often one of the most overlooked features when creating a WordPress blog. There are numerous type of web hosts such as Shared, VPS, Dedicated Servers etc. As a beginner, sometimes the wrong decisions can haunt you in the long run. If you don’t want your website to get hacked or go down, then you need to pick the right web host.
WordPress is a very light-weight script, and it is compatible with almost all web hosting providers. The decision of picking the type of web hosting depends solely on your needs. WPBeginner has a very useful article that will show you how to choose the best WordPress Hosting. They also have the list of recommended WordPress web hosts along with user reviews.
4. Selecting the Right WordPress Theme
WordPress has a great community of developers which leads to a lot of good quality themes. There is a theme for just about any industry that you can of. You should pick a theme that relates to your industry. You should strive for simple themes that gets the job done rather than looking for complex features. Often you don’t need those features. You should always check to make sure that the theme you are getting works with all popular browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer). Lastly, beware of bad themes.
If you are looking for Free WordPress themes, then only download them from the official WordPress themes directory. There are tons of SPAM sites that are offering free themes that comes with encrypted malware. So I want to strongly recommend against downloading free themes from anywhere else except for the official WordPress themes directory.
There is a good number of commercial themes available as well. I have compiled a list of my recommended WordPress theme providers along with exclusive discounts.
5. Must-Have Plugins for WordPress
You will see websites with lists like 60 MUST have WordPress plugins. You should avoid articles like those at all cost. There is a difference between recommended plugins vs. Must have plugins. Recommended plugins will vary from site to site however just about every site needs to have a plugin to combat comment spam, speed up their website, and get better search results.
The Must have plugins for every website:
- Akismet – combats comment spam
- W3 Total Cache – keeps your site from crashing and improve your site speed
- WordPress SEO by Yoast – Improves your SEO.
- Limit Login Attempts – Prevent Brute Force Attack
- WP-DB Backup – backs up your database.
For a full list of plugins that I’m using on my site feel free to check out WPBeginner’s Blueprint.
6. After Steps
Once you have gotten everything setup, you should consider adding Google Analytics, so you can get insights about your users. Where are you getting the most traffic from, who are your users, what is the most popular time on your blog etc.
You should also consider creating an email list where you give your users the ability to subscribe to receive weekly updates from your site. Here is an article about Email Newsletters 101.
Last but certainly not the least, you should get a branded twitter profile, a facebook fan page, and a Google+ business page for your blog.
7. Promote your Blog
Once you have everything in place, there is only one thing left to do. Promote your blog and get the word out. Share it with your friends on Facebook and any other social network you are on. Consider joining relevant LinkedIn or Facebook groups where you can interact with other bloggers. Networking is key to growing your blog.
These are just the basic steps to starting a WordPress blog. As your blog grow, you will change themes, add new plugins, consider monetization options etc. I hope this article has helped you get started. If you get confused with WordPress, then check out these free WordPress videos.
Guest post by Syed Balkhi of WPBeginner.com