Today, blogging is a popular career for many who can now work from home to earn good money. Through a blog, you can set your mind on creating a potential money-making machine or express yourself by writing personal stories – the choice is yours, and the possibilities are endless. Many platforms are available to make your blogging dreams come true, but WordPress is your best bet. No coding knowledge is required, and you can start a blog in less than 15 minutes. Want to learn more? In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to start your first blog on WordPress.
What Do You Need to Start a WordPress Blog?
You can start a blog by following a few simple steps. You’ll need:
- A web host
- A domain name for your blog
- Free WordPress blog software
- To log in and write your first blog post
- A blog design theme
- A couple of essential plugins
Note: When starting a WordPress blog, choose a blogging platform. Most users opt for WordPress.org since it’s free and offers plugins and customizations. WordPress.org (also known as self-hosted WordPress) and WordPress.com are two different blogging platforms, with the former offering way more benefits.
WordPress.org vs WordPress.com
WordPress.org allows you to own a website and all its data. As long as you’re not doing anything illegal, no one else can have command over your site. You can set your terms and conditions and won’t have to sign up for any yourself. You also can customize your website by incorporating different themes, adding plugins to boost performance, using powerful tools like Google Analytics to identify trends and patterns of how visitors engage with your site. In comparison, WordPress.com is only free for up to 3GB of data. The developers place ads on your blogs, and you can’t even earn money from them. You can’t sell ads, add plugins, customize blog themes for free, or access Google Analytics and eCommerce features. WordPress.com also holds the right to delete your account at any time. If you’re wondering why WordPress is free and not sold as software, here’s why: no one individual owns WordPress. Instead, it’s built and developed by people worldwide who fix bugs, make and suggest features, contribute patches, etc. Think of it this way: WordPress provides you with a platform to play on. You have to do the setup and host it yourself. To do that, you require a domain name and web hosting.
Every website needs hosting – it’s where your website files live and is the engine that powers your website. You need to look for an affordable hosting package carefully, but that can be a difficult task, even for experienced users. There are many different web hosting options available to new website owners. The most popular types are:
- Shared hosting
- VPS hosting
- Managed WordPress hosting
A single server can host hundreds of websites and serve many users, cutting down the server cost since it’s split between the hundreds of websites. Most shared hosting plans start at $5 a month, which is why we recommend going for shared hosting sites if you’re on a tight budget. In shared hosting, all websites operate from the same piece of hardware. If even one of the hundreds of websites has a bug that takes up 80% of the available memory, the other websites might crash and become unavailable. Similarly, if one website gets attacked, all other websites on the server could be negatively affected.
VPS (Virtual Private Server) Hosting
In a virtual private server (or VPS), there’s also a single server and one piece of hardware. However, only a few people use the server, and the server space is distributed equally. If there are five users, each user will get 20% of the available resources. You won’t have to worry about a bug affecting your website or hackers accessing it. You have more control over your part of the server and can manage server administration options, install tools, and more. VPS plans will cost you around $15 to $20 a month. Managed WordPress Hosting Managed WordPress hosting is different from shared and VPS hosting. You can look at a managed WordPress package as getting a website from WordPress.com, a WordPress host itself. A single software package includes everything you’ll need – memory, processors, server software, server-level caching, and more. It also provides automatic updates and professional WordPress support that speeds and secures your website. However, you can’t install other platforms on the system, and some plugins may be disabled. You won’t have to worry about installing WordPress and can start right away. Bluehost is an example of a reliable hosting company that hosts thousands of websites on the Internet. Here is a step-by-step guide on setting up your domain and host with Bluehost as an example.
- Open up Bluehost.
- Click Get Started to begin.
- Choose the plan you need.
- Enter the domain name you’ve decided on for your website.
- Add in your account information.
That’s it! Your hosting platform and domain will now be set up. You’ll receive an email with instructions on logging into your web hosting control panel. You can manage emails and support and install WordPress in the control panel.
Select a Domain Name
Domain name = Website home address The domain name is the official address of your blog on the Internet and is what Internet users type in a browser’s URL bar to access your blog. The domain name is part of the URL and not the URL itself. Use niche keywords in the domain name, and try to keep your domain name short and memorable, so it’s easy to type.
Set Up Your Domain
Most companies allow you to buy both a domain name and a host. However, it’s best to keep your domain separate from your host. If someone hacks your hosting account, all your files and data become accessible to them. If your domain isn’t registered separately, hackers can transfer your domain away, and unfortunately, you’ll have nothing left. If you purchase your domain directly from your hosting provider, you won’t have to worry about setting up your domain. Otherwise, you’ll need to log into the website where you registered your domain, change the nameservers, and set it up.
You can install WordPress on multiple accounts. The latest version of Bluehost installs WordPress automatically. Follow the steps below:
- Log in to your Bluehost account.
- Under the My Sites tab, click on your WordPress site.
- Click Log in to WordPress button to go to the WordPress admin area.
- Click on Create Site under My Sites to get started. This will launch the Bluehost-guided WP installation wizard.
- Now, type a site title and an optional tagline.
- Click Next.
- Select a domain name and path for your website. If you’ve already purchased one, it will appear on the drop-down menu.
- Leave the directory path blank and let Bluehost choose it for you. The installer will also show a few essential plugins that you can install.
- Click Next.
- The installer will set up your WordPress site, and you’ll receive a success message with your WordPress site details.
You can also log in to WordPress by directly typing yoursite.com/wp-admin/ in your browser.
How to Install WordPress on SiteGround
SiteGround is an excellent hosting company well-known for its optimized hosting plans and quick and easy installation.
- Sign up with SiteGround. A welcome popup will appear on the screen, asking if you would want to set up your website right away.
- Select Start a new website.
- Click on WordPress.
- The installer wizard will ask for WordPress installation details. Type in your email address, an admin username, and a password for your new WordPress site.
- Hit Confirm to continue.
- Click on the complete setup button. The installer will install WordPress, and you’ll receive a success message once completed.
- Click on Proceed to the customer area. There, you’ll find your new website under the My Accounts.
- Click onVisit admin panel to enter the WordPress admin area.
Select your WordPress Theme
Now that you’ve chosen a domain name, purchased a hosting platform, installed WordPress, and set up your website, it’s time to select your theme. That could be the most exciting part of setting up a blog – you can channel your inner creativity into creating what you think looks best. WordPress offers thousands of pre-made themes, and you can easily install them on your site.
- Go to your WordPress dashboard.
- Click on Appearance.
- Click on Themes.
- Click Add New.
- Search for 9100+ themes on the WordPress.org themes directory.
- When considering a new theme, click on Preview to see how the design would appear on your website. The theme may end up not looking exactly like the preview, but it can give you a pretty good idea. Of course, you can customize and edit it later.
- Hover over the theme you want to install.
- Click Install and wait for the installation of the theme to come to an end.
- Click on Activate.
- Click on Customize under the Appearance menu to further customize your theme.
- You can gain even more control over your theme by using the built-in widgets and customization options.
You can use a WordPress page builder like SeedProd or Divi to create a custom header, footer, sidebar and more without writing any HTML code. Some of these themes are free, requiring you to purchase premium versions. You can filter through the themes based on their popularity or features. A few points to note when selecting a WordPress theme:
- Make sure your theme serves its purpose and supports your goal. If a theme looks good but doesn’t help you boost your site performance, it’s not a good theme.
- Don’t go for something too flashy. Tacky themes can work sometimes, but simplicity is the best policy. Website visitors need information directly, so try not to complicate your theme customizations.
- Choose a mobile-friendly theme that doesn’t come with a fixed layout. Check this by resizing your browser – if the theme fits the new adjustments, your selected theme is mobile-friendly.
- Test your theme on different browsers, including mobile browsers. Your theme may look good on the browser you’re using but break on another one.
- Your theme should support all well-known plugins to boost the success of your website.
- Your themes should be able to translate new languages and support multilingual plugins.
- Look for a theme that has a support option. Most free WordPress themes do not come with a support option.
- Make sure that your selected theme is well-configured for SEO.
How to Create Your First Blog Post
Now that you know the basics, it’s finally time to create your first blog post!
- Click on Posts.
- Click on the Add New menu.
- You’ll see an editing area. WordPress uses a block-based editor – each element is a block.
- Once you’re done writing, click Publish in the top-right corner of the screen.
On your post screen, you’ll notice several other sections, such as Categories and Tags. Use these to organize your blog posts. Go ahead and add videos, images, headings, table of content, sub-headers, bullet lists, and social media posts.
WordPress Plugins and Customizations
Plugins allow you to add features to your blog without writing any code. There are 59,800 plugins available on the WordPress directory. Here are a few well-known plugins:
The SEO Framework
The SEO Framework is a quick, minimalist SEO WordPress plugin – free from advertisements or promotions. It concentrates on assisting users who maintain high site performance without spending time reading perplexing SEO articles. The interface is user-friendly, making it ideal for beginners. It doesn’t come with a set-up wizard but offers a five-minute set-up guide, ensuring that your settings get configured correctly. It also offers many hints explaining what everything means. You can also review all the plugin settings in a menu called SEO.
The SEO Framework has outstanding features. For example, it prevents search engines from displaying low-quality data in search results (404 pages, feeds, the sitemap, and empty categories). The plugin steers search engines like Google away from comment sites and toward posts that include comments. So, by simply installing the plugin, you’ve already improved your SEO.
You can configure your homepage appearance by going over the title and meta description the plugin creates for your page, deciding whether or not to add the tagline, describing the image URL you want social networks to use, and modifying robot.txt settings. Once enabled, the SEO Framework also creates an automatic sitemap containing all your site content. This will help search engines index your posts and pages.
The plugin doesn’t gather data to report back to the developers nor set any cookies, and unlike many other plugins, the user interface is free from branding and advertising. The plugin may not have all the features possibly incorporated in any plugin, but it has the ones you need.
This AI-powered SEO tool converts web pages into search engine-friendly text. WordLift adds Schema.org markup, helps you organize your content, and automates structured data markup.
WordLift includes internal links, suggestion widgets, and semantically rich metadata. You can convert your articles and pages into machine-friendly material. Search crawlers, chatbots, and personal digital assistants, such as Google Assistant, Siri, and Alexa, can use this material to boost your organic traffic.
WordLift enables editors to add a layer of metadata to their content, with several SEO advantages:
- By adding Schema.org markup, you can dramatically boost your Google visibility.
- It improves your SEO potential by giving contextual, internal linking based on semantic principles to increase your website’s usability.
- It improves user experience by offering semantic interlinking and content suggestions and impacting engagement numbers (a big deal for Google).
WordLift also uses WooRank’s technology to help you track your content’s success and give tips on improving your website. WooRank produces an immediate audit of the site’s technical, on-page, and off-page SEO, providing clear and actionable insights to help improve search ranking and website traffic, as well as audience engagement, conversion, and customer retention.
WordLift comes at a premium price, with plans starting at €59 ($65) per month. It does offer a 14-day free trial with all subscriptions. You can also enjoy a 20% discount on your annual membership.
Yoast SEO is one of the most popular plugins for WordPress. It’s comprehensive and beginner-friendly. If you’re a user with more knowledge of plugins, you can opt for their advanced menu.
Yoast offers a user-friendly and beautiful interface so that you can choose a unique and optimized title for your web page, give it a distinctive meta description, and make an SEO-friendly URL. It assesses your content on SEO and readability and generates a report card for each page and post. This will allow you to avoid technical SEO errors and manage and optimize your content. You can also control the discoverability of your post or page by enabling or disabling robot tags.
Google’s free Search Console service provides site owners with many different tools to monitor site performance. It not only shows how your site is performing, but it also shows how searchers perceive your site in the search results. You can learn about the keywords and queries that drive traffic to your site, the results your content has achieved, and overall site performance. You can even check if Google can see your content.
Google Search Console is a must-have. You can authenticate your website and use its valuable SEO statistics by simply copying and pasting some HTML code into the Yoast user interface. When you add your code via the plugin, it’ll be secure from accidental overwrites, preventing you from having to re-add the code if things change, such as theme and WordPress upgrades not handled correctly by web developers and SEO professionals.
Creating and updating XML sitemaps is one of the most overlooked SEO techniques. Sitemaps are essential for your site as they provide search engines with a list of pages to crawl on your site, making information about your website’s pages easy to obtain. Yoast offers a dynamic XML sitemap, created automatically anytime you add new material to your website. You can use the XML sitemap in the user interface to make your website components more visible to search engines.
You can get access to Yoast premium features through their website. Premium features include a redirect manager, free support, and content insights. You can also optimize five keywords per page and get a preview of how your page will appear on Facebook and Twitter. Yoast will also send internal link recommendations that direct users to other parts of your website. You can purchase it for $89 per website. However, even the free version can do wonders.
SEOPress is an ad-free plugin with many features, and you can easily import any other tool you need. It is precise, speedy, and effective. You can set your meta-description tags and titles, allowing you to control what the search engines use. That means that you have complete control over your pages. Of course, you can do this for every post, page, or entire site.
In SEOPress, you can make a Google Knowledge Graph, a small box appearing when you search for something. It contains a brief profile, web links, and social media links about whatever you searched. The Google Knowledge Graph can boost site performance as users can instantly know what they’re searching for. SEOPress also performs content analysis, criticizing your content structure, headlines, titles, and graphics and helping arrange your SEO material. It focuses on improving your on-page optimization so you can boost your ranking.
XML sitemaps assist search engines in crawling your website, while HTML sitemaps help people find the sites they’re looking for. Both help with navigating your website and contribute to your overall SEO – and you can generate both with SEOPress. Other plugins, for example, Yoast, don’t produce HTML sitemaps, so you’d need to install a third-party plugin to do so.
SEOPress gives you complete control over your Google Maps presence. You can customize your company name, address, latitude and longitude, URL, phone number, and other crucial local search data.
The SEOPress Pro costs $39 per year, and you can use it for unlimited websites. Many other plugins limit use to only one site. The free version of SEOPress also has a lot to offer.
W3 Total Cache
The W3 Total Cache plugin allows site owners to enhance their website speed – a significant ranking factor these days. W3 Total Cache reduces the download time of your website, making your page load quickly. After downloading and installing W3 Total Cache, you can use Google PageSpeed Insights on your site and your competitor’s site. Keep checking these insights to see improvement and optimize your site until it becomes faster.
Its installation and settings are easy to figure out. You can also find a lot of information online to help you install the plugin and configure it properly. W3 Total Cache improves the performance of your WordPress site regardless of how your visitors access it – visitors on mobile devices will experience the speeds as those on desktop computers. You can opt for W3 Total Cache Pro for more features.
How to Install a WordPress Plugin
Due to its limitations, you can’t install a plugin if your platform is WordPress.com. Make sure you’ve using WordPress.org.
- Go to the Plugins.
- Click the Add New page inside your WordPress admin area.
- Find the plugin by typing the plugin name or the features you are looking for. You’ll only see free plugins here.
- Click Install Now. WordPress will download and install the plugin for you.
- Click Activate to start using the plugin.
Go ahead and configure the plugin settings according to your desire.
How to Create a Contact Form in WordPress
Every website requires a contact form. Since WordPress doesn’t come with one, you’ll need to make one manually. First, install a plugin such as WPForms Lite to generate contact forms.
- Go to Plugins.
- Click Add New.
- Type WPForms in the search box.
- Click Install.
- Click Activate.
- Go to WPForms.
- Go to the Add New page to create your first form. The WPForms builder interface will open.
- Enter a name for your contact form.
- Click on the ‘Simple Contact Form’ template. WPForms will generate a simple contact form with the necessary fields. Edit the fields.
- Click Save on the top right corner and exit the form builder.
- Go to Pages, then Add New.
- Label this page Contact.
- Enter the WPForms block into the editor.
- Select the form you created earlier from the drop-down menu so that WPForms loads a live preview of the form in the editor.
- Save and publish the page.
Visit the page in your browser to see your contact form for yourself. You can also use this plugin to create reader surveys, polls, guest post submission forms, etc.
How to Set Up Google Analytics Tracking
Google Analytics measures website visitor behaviour, including session length, web pages viewed each session, and bounce frequency. But why is Google Analytics so crucial when creating a WordPress blog? When you first create a blog, your primary aim is to increase visitors and subscriber numbers. By displaying the statistics that count, Google Analytics helps you in making informed decisions. You can use it to see how many people visit your blog on average a day, whether they choose to stay for long or if they visit again. This will give you an idea of what you need to improve so that to lower your bounce rate (the number of people that leave your site after visiting it once). Google Analytics also shows you the time when you have the most users so that you can plan your posts to go up when more people are likely to view them. You can also view what interests users the most on your blog so that you can get inspiration for the future.
How to set up Google Analytics
- Go to the Google Analytics register page.
- Sign in using your existing Google account or set up a new Google account.
- You’ll see a welcome screen. Using your Gmail account, sign up for Google Analytics.
- Choose a username for your account. It can be anything similar to your company name.
- Ensure that the Web is selected.
- Provide the site’s title, URL, location, and time zone.
- Select Next after you’ve finished entering these details.
- Accept the Google Analytics terms and conditions by clicking I Agree.
- Your Google Analytics monitoring code will be displayed – you can insert this code into your WordPress website based on the option you pick next. You can also keep this internet tab active and return to it once you save the code. After putting the code onto your WordPress page, we recommend keeping the analytics web browser running if you have to return to it.
How to Set Up Google Analytics for WordPress
The most popular Google Analytics add-on for WordPress is MonsterInsights. Bloomberg, PlayStation, Zillow, WPBeginner, and others are among the three million sites that use it. Whether you’re a newbie or a professional, it’s the simplest and finest approach to integrating Google Analytics into WordPress. Both a premium add-on and a complimentary edition of MonsterInsights are accessible.
- Start by installing and activating the MonsterInsights plugin.
- When you start the plugin, it will introduce an additional menu item to your WordPress admin bar called Insights. The MonsterInsights setup wizard will open
- Select a genre for your website first, then press Save and Continue.
- Select Connect MonsterInsights from the drop-down menu.
- A window will prompt you to log in (or pick a Google account if you’re already signed in).
- Select Allow.
- Pick your webpage and select Complete Connection. Google Analytics will already be installed on your website by MonsterInsights.
- Choose your website’s suggested configuration.
- To confirm your modifications, click Save and Continue.
- If you switch to PRO, MonsterInsights will present you with a premium attachment. To avoid this phase, select Save and Continue.
- Download the WPForms plugin or bypass this step by clicking Skip this Step.
How to Insert Headers and Footers
- Enter your Google Analytics monitoring code.
- Install and activate the Insert Headers and Footers plugin.
- Go to the Settings option and the Insert Headers and Footers page after activation. Paste the Google Analytics monitoring into the Scripts in Header area.
- Confirm your adjustments by clicking Save Changes.
- Within the WordPress theme, enable Google Analytics.
- Copy the Google Analytics monitoring code.
- Include the code in the header.php file.
- Update your WordPress theme’s header.php file and insert the Google Analytics monitoring code.
How to Optimize Your WordPress Blog for SEO
Using the methods and best practices in this article to optimize your site can help you increase your placements, earn additional subscribers or sales, and create a better overall website. Here are some more tips:
- An effective keyword search can help you develop your material. Content producers and SEO specialists employ relevant keywords as a tool – search engine statistics can help you determine what subjects your users are interested in. Then, you can create compelling content around these keywords to guarantee you’re talking about things your visitors want to read about, and it’ll also help you come up with some new blog post concepts.
- Arranging your website will help you create a navigational route from your main page to specific articles and web pages, as well as a return pathway. You should link your material inside your writing and arrange your site. Because these connections usually exist inside the text, this is called internal contextual linking. Internal contextual links direct users to similar material. For instance, linking to an article about SEO copywriting makes sense in a piece on targeted keywords. These connections also give search engines information about how sites are linked. After that, you need to organize your material by managing classifications and labels.
- Boost the performance of your WordPress site. Your visitors might get annoyed if your site is sluggish and be less inclined to interact, explore, convert, or return. As a result, they’re less likely to read your material, connect to your web pages, or endorse your company. Speed is a critical component of WordPress SEO and consumer satisfaction.
- Protect your WordPress site by making backups frequently – daily if possible. If your site is compromised or something terrible happens, reverse the update as soon as possible. Choosing the correct web host for your WordPress website is the first step towards securing your setup. But while your server will do everything possible to assist you, it’ll remain your job to safeguard your system. Maintain a close watch on any security vulnerabilities to ensure your website is as safe as necessary.
- Attend to the needs of your mobile guests. After making sure your website is speedy, check if your website’s design is convenient for mobile users. To make your site mobile-friendly, ensure URLs aren’t too crowded together and that buttons are readily accessible. Your typeface must be uniform and not too tiny, and your photos can’t be too large in terms of file length and size. Employ an adaptable design and focus on what matters most to mobile consumers.
- Evaluate your progress and make improvements. A successful SEO strategy entails making changes and assessing their impact, identifying what works, and repeating the process. There are many excellent tools for gaining important insights on your website and identifying SEO chances.
- Make your website more visible. Interaction involves the numerous ways people can respond to your content. It may be as simple as writing a remark, spreading it on social networks, or performing broader action. The best approach to connect and develop your blog’s readership is social networking. You should be active on the social media platforms where your target demographic hangs out.
- Create a catchy blog post name. The name of your blog article is crucial for lookup engine results. Your content will be more related to specific search terms if you choose a solid blog article title. Most crucially, when readers see your post in search engine results, a good title will encourage them to choose it. Use your target keywords in the headline of your blog article to make it more SEO-friendly. Keep your title appealing and attractive for users, and use your main keyword.
- Develop a practice to link internally. This allows you to direct fresh readers to prior, related pieces. Internal linking is an excellent technique to establish a contextual relationship with new and old entries. It also lets you pass useful link juice to earlier posts. WordPress makes it easy to search for prior posts within the post-builder – just press the link option after selecting the text you want to connect.
- Your blog posts should include images and videos – plain text is significantly less engaging on its own. You’ll want to include photographs between paragraphs in your blog postings. You should be aware of picture copyrights while adding photos. Beginners frequently steal pictures from other websites to be used independently, but this might land you in legal trouble. Create slideshows, vlogs, or experiment with alternative formats to turn your blog entries into videos.
Making Money From Your Blog
Now that you’ve set up your blog, you might wonder how you can make money from it.
- Google Adsense is the best way to show ads on your blog and is the most popular blogging and publishing advertising platform. Google serves as an intermediary between you and the marketer, allowing them to invest in keywords that match your content to help you to get the best pricing for your advertisements.
- Affiliate marketing is the second most popular way for bloggers to make money. Essentially, by recommending your favourite items and services to your followers, you can get paid a referral commission if they buy them. Affiliate marketing is all about recommending high-quality items and services that you already use and believe in. There are many affiliate marketing plugins and solutions available for WordPress to help you make more money by promoting affiliate products, like PrettyLinks or ThirstyAffiliates.
- Online shopping – Many bloggers earn money by selling products directly on their websites. These products include physical items and digital downloads such as ebooks, artwork, and music. Some bloggers even provide customers with expert advice. WooCommerce is one of the best WordPress eCommerce plugins and is also the most popular. Bloggers who don’t want to deal with setting up their own store could start an Amazon affiliate store to sell other people’s things on Amazon and earn a commission.
How Much Does it Cost to Start a WordPress Blog?
The WordPress software itself is free, and you can download it from the WordPress.org page. However, you will need to purchase some other requirements that you will have to purchase to optimize. Your best option is to invest diligently and not compromise on building a solid foundation. You’ll need to purchase a domain and host. Bluehost, for example, offers unlimited hosting and a free domain for $60. You’ll also need to invest in a blog theme – WordPress offers many free themes, but the premium ones can cost up to $400. You’ll then need to purchase plugins to optimize site performance, costing you from $47 to $200 per plugin. You can be frugal and not optimize your website, but investing in your blog and earning money later on, is better.
Is WordPress Free for Blogs?
WordPress software is open source and completely free. You could go to WordPress.org right now and download the entire unrestricted WordPress software without paying a cent. However, you still need a way to power your WordPress blog and make it available to people worldwide. You’ll need to pay for web hosting and a domain name to do this. Fortunately, many hosting companies provide a free domain name even with their cheapest hosting packages.
Is WordPress Hard to Learn?
With some patience, you can master the basics of WordPress and have your website up and running in no time. Remember, your WordPress skills depend on your investment in the website.
Can I Build a Blog in Any Language?
Yes, you can! You can write your blog in any language and target a certain audience.
How Long Does it Take to Create a WordPress Blog?
Building a website from scratch (i.e., coding the website software – which is not a good idea) can take weeks. However, if you follow the steps in this guide and build a blog with WordPress.com, you can be done in less than an hour. Yes, it’s that simple!