How to Start a WordPress Blog in 2018

So you’ve seen popular blogs… and now you’re jealous :0

Only joking!

Nonetheless, you want to create a WordPress blog, and make money from it.

Am I right?

It all sounds nice… but it’s not easy.

However, it can be done, if you do it the right way.

There are millions and millions of WordPress blogs online, trying to make money. But how many of them are doing well?

Have they got a successful blog?

Are they making money from the blog?

Probably not. They’ve probably just set up a WordPress blog, added a few plugins, a theme, and that’s it.

You’re now a blogger!

Wrong!

There are some very important steps you need to know and implement on your site, to have a successful website.

And I’m going to show you the right steps to take.

How to start a blog

If you want to know how to start a WordPress blog in 2018, there’s always one thing you should have on hand.

A plan!

Everyone needs a pan before making an online website. It doesn’t have to be over-the-top or complicated, but simple, effective and well thought out.

Without further ado, let me get right down to it and show you how to start a WordPress blog in 2018.

Below is the step by step guide in how to start a WordPress blog from scratch. Take notes, and you’ll soon be setting up your own blog.

1. Dominate an Industry

What should I blog about?

One of the first questions you must ask yourselves is “what should I blog about?”

This is a personal question, and one that should be given a lot of time and thought.

The main advice I’ll give is the following; Do what you are passionate about.

Create a blog or business that you’re passionate about, and something you can live and breathe every day.

Doing something that you’re only interested in, will only get you so far. You must be passionate.

If you had to write about one topic for the rest of your life what would it be?

To make your life even easier, pick something you know a lot about.

You don’t have to be an expert.

What you do have to be is conversational. Talk about what you’re passionate about, and slowly build an audience.

Remember: Blogs can be written about anything, literally anything.

You can talk about football results, teach people how to cook, give product review on differ software, or blog about music, art, news.

The list is never ending.

Some blogs on the web make their money from affiliate links, others through adverts. Or you could just directly sell things on your site, like an E-book or a course.

The takeaway from this section, you must blog about something your passionate about.

Are the Topics I’m Writing About Going to Be Popular?

The best way to find out if your idea will be popular, is to use social media. Using social media is a great way to figure out whether or not your blog can gain popularity.

Look at groups and forums, and see if people are actively talking about your chosen niche.

Creating a blog on something you’re passionate about is great, but you also have to write about something that other people are also passionate about as well.

Forums like Quora, and Reddit are great in seeing the interest of a niche, as well as The Google Keyword Planner.

If you’re struggling to find a niche industry to write about, you can use Long Tail Pro . This tool is great for finding a niche to write about, as well as helping you create a keyword plan for your website.

Tools like these help you save time, and help create a great strategy in creating a successful blog.

This nifty piece of software also allows you to get an insight what people are interested about in your niche, and if it is something you can monetize.

If you have picked a niche where there is a lot of competition, don’t worry!

This is a good sign.

Even if the other blogs have more authority than you in the industry, and are more popular than you, it doesn’t mean you will be left in their shadows.

All it means is, there is a lot of people passionate about the niche, AND more importantly, there is money to be made.

The points I explained are all very important. Picking the right niche to dominate can either make or break your chances of building a great website.

So, do your research, and think wisely!

2. Choose Your Domain Name

Buy a domain

The domain name you choose should somehow be related to your niche, but it doesn’t have to be keyword specific.

Back in the old days of SEO, it was a must to have a domain name that had an exact keyword in the URL, in order for your website to be successful.

But things have moved on, and this is longer necessary.

What is necessary is that your domain name should match the brand you want to portray.

Creating a brand is not just an important part of creating a website, but crucial in any business.

The rule is to pick a domain, that is either .com, .net or .org

If you were wondering where to buy domains, I suggest you use Godaddy or Namecheap.

The Benefits of Using an Aged Domain

One of the best ways you can get a head start in creating a website, is to buy a powerful, aged domain. Using aged domains are great because they already have domain authority and page authority. This means that you can rank your web pages easier, than if you were to have a brand-new domain.

Aged domains are either purposely left to expire, or they are ready to be sold by the owners.

There are some great places where you can buy these domains, like ExpiredDomains.net & They offer great quality, aged domains, that can kick start your blog.

Some tips on naming your domains

Its best to have around 2-3 words in your domain, or less if possible, and stay away from adding any Hyphens to your domains. This helps with branding, and user experience.

You only get one chance in naming your domain, and you can’t change it so, make sure to give it some thought before you chose a name.

3. Pick a Web Hosting Provider

Choosing the right web host provider is one of the most overlooked aspects in running a website.

You’ll get told this all the time, and its best if you take the advice and run with it.

OR

You’ll learn the hard way!

It bears repeating twice, it is crucial you pick a good web hosting provider, or you and your business will learn the hard way.

A good web host will make you forget about web hosting. They will do such a good job that, you’ll forget you even bought their service. They will never cause you a problem, or prevent you from accessing your website. So, all you can do is focus on creating an amazing website.

A bad web host will constantly cause problems for you, making it impossible to access your site, due to some sort of server error. You may even lose your data, if things are not configured correctly. For example, no backups.

I think all new beginners or new websites should host SiteGround. They give you an Email Address for your hosing, Unlimited Hosting, Control Panel, (cPanel), the ability to One-Click install a Managed WordPress Site, Free SSL Certificate, and a Free CDN! They are a powerhouse in the industry, and have super-fast and reliable servers.

Get a Free SSL Certificate

When buying a webhost provider, make sure you get a free SSL certificate, to improve the security of your website. CMS, like WordPress, are trying to push for all WordPress site to have a SSL certificate, is its best advised you get one. Remember, SiteGround offers a SSL certificate, so make sure to give them a look.

4. Install Your Blog

When you install your website, you need to pick a Content Management System (CMS), to run your site. I highly suggest you use WordPress. WordPress is by far the world’s most successful, and popular platform.

Some of the biggest companies in the world use WordPress, so if it’s good for them, it’s good for you!

You can build any type of website on WordPress, and it’s certainly one of the under estimated blogging tools people have at their disposals.

Installation

There are a number of ways you can use install Word Press on your site. I mentioned earlier how some web hosting providers, like Siteground, offer a one-click installation of WordPress. These types of features make it incredibly easy for you to install WordPress on your site.

However, if you don’t have this option available to you, or your web hosting provider does not offer it, then you have to install WordPress manually. This involves downloading WordPress and the uploading to your hosting account, creating a MySQL database, and then finally installing WordPress in cPanel.

5. The Set Up

Knowing how to use WordPress properly, to maximize your blogs success is essential. Likewise, it is important get familiar with the WordPress dashboard, and to make initial settings for your website.

My Dashboard

General Settings and Permalink Structure

Once you have successfully installed WordPress on your site, you now need to login to WordPress and make some changes to the settings.

This is where you can change, the tagline, title of your site, time zone, language, email notifications, etc.

Also, if you want your visitors to be able to find your website using www. in the URL, you can make the changes in this section. You can choose this option, or leave www. out of the URL.

Depending on what you intend your site to be used for, this is also where you can allow people to subscribe to your website. However, be careful when choosing this option, as your site is much more open to SPAM.

You can set your General Settings by going to Settings > General

General-Setting-edited

Permalink Structure

The next step is to set up your websites permalinks.

This creates a link structure for your blog posts and web pages. This is an important factor in SEO, and helps make your site SEO friendly.

The structure of your permalinks can do more than just this. It can also set ups the rewrite conditions for your website links, which is located in your .htaccess file. This helps the way your links are seen by people visiting your site, and what happens when they click on the links.

To set up your permalink, go to your admin bar on the left-hand side. Go to Settings > Permalinks and then go ahead a click on “Post Name”.

Scroll to the bottom of the page and then press the “Save Changes” button.

settings-permalinks

Setting up Your Categories

The next thing I recommend you do is to make some changes to your categories. Look on your admin bar and go to Posts > Categories.

Once there you will see a category named “Uncategorized”. For my own sanity, I like to change the name to something else. It can be whatever for now.

NOTE: You cannot delete this category, but you can change the name of it at a later date. Don’t get to bogged down by this now though, just change the name of the category.

When starting your new WordPress blog in 2018, you must create a couple of essential pages.

pages-categories

The pages I am going to mention are a MUST for any website. Your site needs them, for your audience and the search engines.

  • About Us: This web page tells your visitors what you and your company are about. Your mission, goals, and services.
  • Contact Page: Every online website needs a Contact page. It displays where people can get in contact with you, if they want to make an enquiry about your services.
  • Affiliate Disclaimer: If you want to monetize your site through affiliate links, then you must have an affiliate disclaimer page on your site.
  • Privacy Policy: You have to have a privacy policy on your site, explaining how you share information, and the finer details of what this entails.

Pages-in-Dashboard

As a beginner you may be confused as to what the differences are between Posts, and Pages.

Posts are dynamic and can be seen as temporary or timely, whereas pages are static, and are seen as permanent and timeless

If you want to know more visit this article published by wpbeginner.

Now that’s done, lets add some colour to our website, by choosing a theme.

6. Install a Theme

Now you have the basics done, let’s move things you’ll be more interested in. Lets create a design for your blog.

How you want your website to look is completely down to you. Each theme has its pros and cons, so it’s your choice on how you want your website to look.

The theme you pick will decide, how the layout of your website will look. The options the theme make available, will allow you to make some changes to the web design as well. Like, page layout, placement of text and images, and main colour of the site.

Don’t fret over not finding the right theme for you. There are thousands of themes, free and paid, available for you to choose from.

To change the theme of your website go to your sidebar, click on Appearance > Themes.

Appearance-Themes-in-WordPress

When you’re deciding what theme to use, pick one that reflects what your business is about. Different niche’s will have different designs. For example, an online news website, will look much different to a food blog.

Think about what the colours conatate, and make your site memorable with your audience.

My advice is to keep your site as simple as possible, without making it look boring.

The content on your blog is much more important than the look of your site. To be honest I wouldn’t make your website fancy, until you have built an audience. Then, you can experiment and play around with your site a bit more.

Some of the most profitable and popular websites follow this template. They put content over design, and still make a ton of money.

When choosing a theme, focus on support. Making sure you can reach out for support on your site is mandatory.

Things happen, so you need to make sure there is support there at the helm, just in case you need it.

After all, you want your site to be smooth sailing, without any issues and by carefully picking a good theme at the start, will dramatically reduce your chances of running into trouble.

A little tip: Pick a theme that is mobile responsive. More people make search on mobile than on desktop, don’t isolate the majority, join the mobile revolution.

Places to Buy Themes

If you wanted to buy a theme for your website, there are plenty of places to go. Firstly, you could check out the themes available on WordPress. However, if you wanted more variety, you could buy a theme from Thrive Themes or My Theme Shop.

Logo and Favicon

If you haven’t already, you need to create a logo for your website. Every business needs one and it is very important, not only for branding, but also your web design. For example, the main colour scheme of your site, could be similar to that of your logo.

The best logos are simple and memorable. Don’t go over the top, and make it something your audience will like.

A great place to get a logo made is fiver. You could also use Logo Nerds. They are a great place to start, as they have been around for ages, and are used by almost everyone.

You also need to create a favicon

A favicon is a small icon (the same as your logo, but smaller) shown in the browser URL bar. A favicon is great for branding, and it helps maintain a professional look to the rest of the world.

If you want to make a favicon you can use sites like fiver to get the job done.

Structure Your Blog Reading Settings

Once you have your theme up and running, and your logo and favicon uploaded, you need to set your blogs reading setting.

To do this go to Settings > Reading.

Settings-Reading-in-WordPress

Depending on the theme you’ve chosen, you want to set your Front Page (Home Page) as “your latest page”, or you will have to create a Home Page and a posts page, so you can display your blog posts.

The vast majority of themes already have Home Page templates installed, but some don’t.

If you find yourself in this position, you’ll need to design a Home Page yourself.

Remember I told you to think about what theme to use carefully, well this where it comes to bite you in the arse, if you don’t pick the right theme!

This is one of the main reason I like using WordPress, Thrive Themes and My Theme Shop.

Most of their themes come with so many options, including templated home pages, as well the ability to create a home page easily.

Once you have created your Front Page, name it “Home”.

Next, go to the Reading Settings page and select your new Home Page from the drop down.

Lastly, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click “Save Changes”.

When you do this your Home Page will be set to the page you just set.

To set your “Post Page” you will first have to create a blank page, publish it, and then select it from the drop-down menu. That’s it, done.

WordPress takes care of the rest, by automatically adding your newest posts to it when you are finished.

Similar to how some themes come pre-installed with home page templates, some themes also come with blog posts templates.

7. Installing Plugins

What makes every website special, is the plugins that are installed on the site. Plugins allow you to change or add the functionality of your blog.

And guess what?

There are millions of them.

If you want to add more plugins to your site, go to Plugins > Add New.

Plugins-Add-New-in-WordPress

You can either buy plugins from other websites, and then upload the plugin to WordPress or you can download the plugins from WordPress’s own repository.

Must Have Plugins

  • Yoast SEO: This is one of the best, if not THE best SEO plugin. The plugin essentially optimizes your blog for SEO, and it’s a must have plugin.
  • WP Optimize: This plugin is designed to clean your database, making sure you have nothing slowing your website down, making everything run as clean as a whistle.
  • Akismet: By far the best Anti-SPAM tool. Simple.
  • WP SpamSheild: This is another plugin that helps protect you against you SPAM. However, it is much more silent and is basically invisible, as it displays no Captcha’s.
  • Wordfence Security: Wordfence Security is great for protecting your site for hacks and viruses.

These sites are a must have, however there are other plugins you should install to take it to another level.

The Plugins You Should Involve

  • W3 Total Cache: This plugins caches data, making your site much faster for your visitors. If a visitor on your site returns back to your site, they will notice much faster load times.
  • Backup Buddy: If you want to make sure your site is backed up, you need to have this plugin. The plugin backups your data to the cloud, so you can restore the data whenever you want, or in sticky situations Like, after you get hacked, GOD FORBID!
  • SiteGround: This isn’t a plugin, I know FAIL! However, using a CDN makes your site much faster. SiteGround provides a FREE CDN, if you were wondering.
  • Pretty Link Lite: If you want to monetize your blog with style, you need this plugin. It cleans up your plugin, making it look “pretty”. It also makes your URL SEO and search engine friendly.
  • Social Warfare: A big aspect in building a successful blog, you need to make it go viral. This plugin makes it easier for people to share your content, giving you a better chance to go viral.
  • Thrive Leads: The money’s in the list, that’s the saying. And it’s true. The best way to create a huge, profitable subscribers list is to use thrive leads.

8. SEO

Even though, the Yoast SEO plugin will help you with your SEO efforts, there is still more to be done.

Every single website needs SEO. Otherwise, you’ll struggle to rank high in the search results, and attract any traffic.

SEO is a billion dollar industry, and growing. If you don’t optimize your site, your will have no chance beating your competition.

Learn SEO, or hire someone to do it for you.

Either way, YOU NEED SEO.

Make sure to check Serpjump’s Beginners Guide to SEO, if you don’t know how to optimize your site.

It will teach you everything you need to know about SEO, and teach you the fundamental aspect of SEO.

9. Setting Up Google Analytics

Everybody needs to track their blogs progress to see what they’re doing well, and they need to do to improve their blog, and their overall blog.

The best tool which does this, is Google’s own tool, Google Analytics. It can help you track the number of links, traffic, sources of traffic, data about your audience, conversions, most popular blog post, as well as much more.

The main reason why most people use Google Analytics, it to track the success of blog post. We, as marketers, want to know which articles are popular, and which aren’t. We can then make some conclusions as to which type of content performs better, and then produce more of that type of content.

For your WordPress blog, you can simply get the Google Analytics plugin by MonsterInsigts, and upload it to your site. Or, you can add your Google Analytics tracking code to your settings. Either way is fine, but installing the plugin is much easier.

10. Social Media

Everybody knows the power of social media, and how social media can influence the success of your content. The more your content gets shared online, the more people will see it.

It increases traffic, and brands you as an influencer in the industry.

There are some great social media tools, like Social Warfare, that makes it easier for your audience to share your content.

Buffer, is also a great tool, it’s a social media platform, that allows you to schedule post, and track the performance of your content. I highly suggest you incorporate it, in your software arsenal.

The social media accounts you should create are, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google Plus.

One you create your social media accounts, add links to your website. Most themes have sections where you can add your social media accounts.

Similarly, you should add your social media accounts to your Yoast SEO plugin, under the Social section.

The key to building an audience is great content, and consistent promotion. Social media allows you to build an audience to your site, and helps you increase traffic, and popularity.

11. Setting Up an Email Campaign

I just mentioned how important it is to build an audience, and the best way to do this is by building a large subscribers list, and setting up an email campaigns.

Every website should have a system in place to collect email subscribers, and a create a strategy to eventually get people in your subscriber list to make a sale.

As I said earlier, the money’s in the list.

Every successful online business has an email marketing strategy, where they market their products and blog posts, and you should too.

You can use Thrive Leads to help build your subscribers list. The plugin offers different methods to entice your audience to sign up to your list. It has so many, popups, forms, widgets, that you can use on your site.

Thrive leads help you capture the emails, but what about actually emailing your list? I suggest you use MailChimp, as it’s one of the best email marketing service around. It will help you send emails on scale, and you make money from your list.

MailChimp has a “Forever Free” plan for beginners, meaning you won’t have to pay until you get 2000 subscribers AND this free package also allows you to send 12,000 emails.

WHAT!

Having MailChimp, and Thrive Leads run simultaneously, creates you very own lead generation machine. I highly suggest you get them both.

12. Create a Content Marketing Strategy

One of the most important things an online business has to do is have a blog the create great content.

It’s what establishes you as an expert, and is something that can have a direct impact on your bottom line, if executed correctly.

This is why everyone should have a content marketing strategy.

You don’t have to post multiple times a day, but you should definitely post on a regular basis. It is also important to remember to post valuable content that can help you readers.

There is no point posting useless 300 word posts 5x a week.

Instead focus on quality blog posts, as opposed to quantity.

Keep a schedule of the content you want to create, and when you want to publish it by. This will help you stick to a regular schedule, and increases your chances of publishing regularly.

It is also a wise idea to know what the best time to publish your content is.

When you post your content on social media, you need to make sure your content gets seen by as many people as possible, which is why you need to find out what time is the most optimal to post your content.

The same thing applies when email your subscribers. Make sure to email them at the best time, to increase your click-through rate.

The main takeaway, is to create high quality content, valuable content, and your blog will success.

13. Publish Your Blog

Following the points outlined above, will help you succeed in creating a popular blog. The better your set-up, the less problems you will face when you have launched your blog.

Before you actually launch your blog, let people know about it. Announce your new blog to the world on social media, and publish a press release.

Now you know how to start a WordPress blog in 2018, why not share this article, and help other people who want to know how to start their own blog. If you keep forgetting the steps, bookmark the page so you can easily come back and refresh your memory.

 

Tahir Miah
 

Tahir Miah is an entrepreneur, digital marketer and SEO enthusiast. He is the founder of Serpjump, a Bedford link building agency. Tahir currently advises companies on the best way to increase revenue and brand awareness through SEO, content marketing and link building. He can be found on @serpjump

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