The original purpose of blogging was to share personal lives online, just like an online journal. But over the last decade, many people have started to harness the power of blogging to achieve their professional goals.
If you write something on Facebook and receive likes, comments, and get shared, then you are a blogger. If you write your views within 140 characters on Twitter, then you are a microblogger. If you upload videos on YouTube and get subscribers, likes, and comments, then you are a video blogger or vlogger.
Syndicated columnist Arianna Huffington once said that “self-expression has become the new entertainment.”
Perhaps this is the main reason for which more people are now engaging in social media and online activities. It has created and an explosion of expression and creativity that has opened up digital corridors for invisible experts across the globe. The democratization of self-publishing like blogging and self-marketing like SEO, SEM, and SMM are breaking the barriers to display unseen niche specialists who were previously hidden from view.
If you are serious about sharing your knowledge and passion online, then blogging can be an excellent channel for it. A Facebook Page, Blogger, or Tumblr might be good for an amateur, but if you want to take blogging to the next level, then you would need a pro blogging platform like WordPress. This is a free, open-source Content Management System (CMS). This user-friendly CMS will allow you to beautify, customize, and manage your blog in an easy and limitless way.
WordPress is also SEO friendly, and due to this reason, you will easily get more traffic from Search Engines. These are the reasons that make WordPress far better than other blogging platforms. In this post, we will take you through a complete guide and reveal how you can start a blog with WordPress.
Step 1: Choosing a Niche
You might be thinking that writing about your passion, according to your knowledge, is enough for blogging. Well, of course, it is unless if you are planning to earn money through blogging. If you want to monetize your blog, then you have to be very careful while choosing the niche. The following tips will help you to pick the right niche for your blog:
#1 Starting a blog is fun. Buying hosting and domain, installing, and setting WordPress, designing and customizing the site, writing, and promoting your first article is unquestionably an exciting experience. However, many people quit blogging after a few months because they lose their interest in the topic. If you don’t want the same thing for your blog, then, first of all, you have to pick such a topic that you enjoy talking about.
#2 After choosing a topic or industry, you have to perform quick market research on it. Let us suppose the topic of your blog is fishing. So, go to Google trends and search for “fishing.” The search result will help you to understand how trendy is fishing through a graph. Meanwhile, you can also perform a generic search on Google to see how many niche websites are covering the industry, fishing. The result of these two research will help you to understand whether your niche is in demand or not.
#3 In this stage, you have to narrow down your niche. Again we will look over our example “fishing.” Now, if you think carefully, then you will understand that fishing is a broad, highly competitive term to cover and target. So, instead of targeting the entire niche “fishing,” if you choose a narrow sub-niche, then you don’t have to compete with high authority websites. So, if you consider fishing, then “freshwater fishing” can be a good sub-niche for you.
#4 Finally, at the last stage, you have to ensure that the sub-niche that you have chosen is worth enough to target. So here comes the most important question, how will you ensure that your sub-niche is profitable. Well, perform a Google search with your topic, and if you see that Google ads are coming for that keyword, then you have to understand that the sub-niche is worth blogging. To double-check your decision, you can also perform an Amazon search for the keyword, and if you see sponsored ads for that term, then you can confidently start blogging on that sub-niche.
Step 2: Domain and Hosting
After choosing a perfect niche, you have to pick a domain and hosting service provider for it. While selecting a domain, you have to ensure that the domain name aligns appropriately with your niche. For example, you can’t choose a domain like boating.com for fishing because it would sound awkward. So it is far better to go for domains like bigfish.com or fishday.com. Meanwhile, you also have to ensure that your domain name is easy to memorize. It will help your audience to recognize you easily. It will help you to build your authority faster.
Overall we would conclude that choosing a domain name is comparatively an easy job than choosing a hosting provider. If you are a creative person, then choosing a domain name won’t be a difficult job for you. However, you would need a bit of technical knowledge to choose your hosting. Consider the below factors while choosing your hosting.
#1 The first and the most important thing that you have to check while choosing a hosting is its price. Previously many service providers used to offer free hosting, but now they are gone. Now you have to pay for hosting services. So, pick some hosting service providers first and then compare their pricing. It will help you to get a fair idea about pricing and also empower you to make the right decision.
#2 In the next step, you have to figure out the area of specialties of your service provider. For example, some hosting is suitable for corporate sites; some customize their services for eCommerce websites. So, while choosing your hosting plan, you have to ensure that it is ideally designed for WordPress blogs. If you search carefully on the web, then you will find many companies offer managed WordPress hosting. This type of hosting service is ideally customized for WordPress blogs. As a beginner, you can also opt for this type of hosting service.
#3 You also need to check the user interface of your hosting’s control panel. By using your control panel, you have to install WordPress, set up your email and FTP account. If you choose such a hosting whose control panel is not so user friendly, then doing the things mentioned above will be an overwhelming job for you.
#4 The quality of the hosting support is another important thing that you need to check while buying your plan. Before choosing a service provider, you have to ensure that the service provider offers real-time chat or phone support. It will help you to ensure that if for any reason your site gets down, then you will get support to fix the issue. So, choose such a hosting plan that offers live support for 24X7.
So, consider the things mentioned above while choosing your domain and hosting. Meanwhile, you also need to check the client reviews and ratings of the service provider. Checking these things will help you to make a smart call.
Step 3: WordPress Installation
After choosing the hosting, you have to install WordPress. Almost all the hosting service providers offer quick installation services, so you don’t have to install WordPress manually. So, first of all, you have to log in to your cPanel account, and after that, you have to find the software section. Under the software section, you have to find the quick install icon and then click on it.
Under the quick install icon, you will find different options like WordPress, Magento, Joomla, etc. Since you are powering your blog on WordPress, so you have to click on the WordPress icon. When you click on the WordPress icon, a dropdown will appear to you. Now you have to select the domain name, and then fill up a small form, and after that, you have to click on the install button. After that, you will see a progress bar. When it completes 100%, you have to understand that you have successfully installed WordPress.
Step 4: WordPress Theme
After the installation of WordPress, you have to log in to your WordPress account by using your username/email and password. After that, you have to install a good theme for your WordPress. It will help you to give your blog an iconic customized look that will help you with branding. So, here come two crucial questions – how can you choose the best theme for your blog, and then how to install it? Well, in the section below, we will discuss both of them one by one. Let’s start with the dos and don’ts of choosing a theme.
#1 We always recommend bloggers to opt for a premium theme because they come with lots of customization options and coding potentiality. On the other hand, if you pick a free theme, then you will risk a lack of support, not being updated on a regular basis, etc. Since you are choosing a premium theme, so you have to ensure that its price comes in your budget. Meanwhile, you also have to ensure that the theme is equipped with all the features that you need.
#2 You need to choose such a theme that is responsive. A responsive theme will perform precisely on every type and size of the device. Meanwhile, you also have to check the color of the theme. Here it is essential to understand that colors play a crucial role in marketing as well as in brand recognition.
So, overall it is fair to conclude that choosing the right theme will help you with marketing and branding as well.
#3 Don’t choose any theme which is overly designed. Here it is important to understand the minimalism is the latest trend in web design. Due to this reason, you should choose a simple theme which is sophisticated and gorgeous.
These are the three things that you need to consider while choosing a theme. Meanwhile, you also need to test the theme thoroughly. When you are confident about the theme, only after that, you should buy and download it. After that, you have to install the theme. For this, again, you have to log in to your WordPress website. And then, you have to click on the Appearance button from the dashboard. In this section, you will find the ‘Theme’ where you have to upload your theme from the local hard drive to your website by clicking on the add new button.
You can also choose a theme from the official WordPress theme directory. The selection is totally up to you as long as the theme meets the factors mentioned above. After uploading the theme, you have to click on the activate button. It will enable the theme on the front end of your website.
Step 5: Plugins and Customization
In the section above, we have talked about the WordPress theme that will help you to improve the aesthetic value of your website. In this section, we will speak of plugins which will help you to add functionalities and customize your site. In the section below, we will talk about a few WordPress plugins and their functions that will help you to improve the overall performance of your blog site.
- Yoast SEO: This is an excellent WordPress plugin that will help you to improve the on-page SEO score of your blog posts.
- Akismet: This plugin will help you to protect your site from spam and allow you to back up your website easily.
- Everest Forms: This plugin will help you to add forms in your pages, posts, as well as in the sidebar. By using this plugin, you will be able to collect the contact information of your audience and create your email list.
- wpDiscuz: This plugin will help you to add comment section in your blog posts and encourage interactions.
- Easy Social Sharing: Just like the name suggests, this app will help you to share your content on different social media sites. As a result, you will get more traffic to your website. Social sharing will also help you to boost your SEO ranking signal.
- NextGEN Gallery: A blog is not just a piece of text. You might also want to add some astonishing images in it to make your blog look more professional and aesthetically pleasing. NextGEN Gallery will help you out with that.
These are some of the most useful WordPress plugins that every blogger should use to boost the functionality of their blog. These plugins will also help bloggers to customize their sites and meet their unique needs. Meanwhile, they can also consider using Jetpack, which is a powerful WordPress customization tool.
Step 6: Content Writing
After customizing your blog site, you are set to write your first blog post. But before picking a topic, you have to ensure that term has a high search volume and less competitive. It will help you to rank faster and enable you to get more traffic. After choosing the topic, you have to set the tone for your blog post. You need to understand your audience first to select a writing tone for your blog. Meanwhile, you also have to ensure that the tone of your blog matches your brand voice.
After that, you have to write a title and create an outline for your content. Then you can start writing your blog post. While writing the blog, you have to ensure that the post is SEO-friendly, highly informative, and engaging. Following these things will help you to write such a blog post, which is worth reading and sharing. You can follow the same techniques for all of your blog posts.
Step 7: Promotion
Creating content is only half the job. In the next stage of the process, you also have to promote it. Social media is the key when it comes to promoting a blog. You can use the power of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other sites to promote your blog page. Meanwhile, you can also try email marketing to reach more audiences. Email marketing is a direct technique, and it will help you to skyrocket your traffic.
You can also answer Quora questions and strategically place your link to drive more traffic to your website. Guest posting can also be a cool way to promote a blog. Apart from doing these things, you also need to improve your SEO game because it will help you to rank higher on Google SERP and allow you to get more traffic organically.
Step 8: Monetization
After creating a huge audience base, you can start to monetize your blog. By setting up a Google AdSense account, you will be able to show ads on your blog posts. Whenever an ad gets clicked, Google will pay you on behalf of the advertiser. Affiliate marketing can also be a good option for monetizing your blog.
That’s a wrap on how to start a blog with WordPress. So, follow the guide and start your blogging adventure today!!!