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How to start a WordPress blog

I don’t consider the topics I write “advanced”, but as it turns out, I need to reach back to the fundamentals once in a while. Apparently, there is so much info on the web on SEO and making money, a lot of basics get lost — like actually creating a blog!

Look, I get it, the money isn’t there for bloggers to write about how to start a blog site. People starting a blog typically aren’t the ones who would be clicking on ads or spending any money really. I’m guilty as well; one of my first posts here described how you would start a blog site, but it was so high level. I wasn't lazy, I just didn’t realise it was necessary.



1. How do you start a blog site?
If you’re a non-techie like many of my friends, you’re in luck! In today’s self-server web environment, you can create a blog with little or no experience! If you were able to find this blog, then I’m certain you have enough computer skills to create your own blog.

First and foremost, since you’re not going to build a blog site from scratch, you have to decide which blog company you want to work with. There are a good number of them out there, but two of the more popular ones are blogger and WordPress.

I’ve used both, and they each have their pros and cons. Without going into crazy detail, if you’re just starting out, you can’t go wrong with either. Just go there and browse around. The interfaces are very intuitive, so if you can’t figure out how to start posting, then I strongly suggest you find another hobby.

Of course, right now your blog site URL looks something like this bloggeydown.blogger.com. If you would like bloggeydown.com instead, you’ll have to register the domain somewhere else. That’s a topic for another day regardless of whether or not it will actually make me any money, I do feel I owe it to my audience to post a step-by-step process on creating a blog from scratch. Most of the active Free Blog Help dot Com c0mmunity already have sites, but there are some new visitors every day, many of whom do not have established blog sites yet. So here goes, a little more depth on my take on how to start a blog with WordPress.

How to start a WordPress blog

Step 1: Decide on a topic

This is your most important decision. If you are planning on creating a blog just to post your random thoughts, then you will always be your only audience.

“Experts” will tell you to find a niche that’s not saturated but my suggestion is to find a niche that you are passionate about, regardless of how popular it is. Your knowledge of the subject matter is secondary because you can actually post while you gain the knowledge or document the learning experience.

If you must, find a micro-niche. For example, there are many blogs on being a father already so. Instead, your blog will be about being a single dad, being a stay-at-home dad, or being a dad who homeschools his kids. You get the idea, right?

Remember, fresh content is the lifeline for any blog. If you’re not passionate about the topic, then you’ll lose interest fast — especially since readers and money from your blog won’t be coming for a while.

Step 2: Choose a domain name

If you are planning on using blogger or any other free full-service blogging platforms, then you can just stop reading here. On the other hand, if you want your blog to grow and make some money in the process, you will need your own domain name. This way, your blog will be stayathomedaddy.com instead of stayathomedaddy.blogspot.com. Your blog will be more accessible to remember, but more importantly, you have shown to the world that you are committed to this blog. Your own domain name will cost you less than $10 a year, so there’s no reason not to do this.

Need help with picking a domain name? I have a brief article on what makes a good domain name that you should read. Come up with a short list since it’s likely that your first choice is already gone.

I personally use GoDaddy, but you can use some sites to register it. I’ve had nothing but great things to say about GoDaddy for domain registration so if you’re going to head over there anyway, so I get a little something-something.

Step 3: Secure a host

After you purchased your domain name, it’s time to find a home for it. This “home” is called hosting, and this will cost you about $80 a year. Since you are using WordPress, you will want a hosting provider that supports it.

Before you ask, I also use GoDaddy to host all of my blogs. There are many other good companies out there, but I haven’t had a bad day with GoDaddy yet so there’s no reason for me not to stick with them. The cost is comparable to everyone else, and I know what I’m getting from a customer service standpoint, which is one of the best in the industry.

As an alternative, although I have not used Blue Host, some of my peers have raved about how happy they are there. You can head over the Blue Host here.

Whether you choose GoDaddy, Blue Host, or another WordPress supported hosting provider, you’ll be all ready to go for the next step.

Step 4: Install WordPress

Actual GoDaddy screen cap for installing WordPress

The big reason why I recommend WordPress supported companies is that of how easy it is to install WordPress. If you are not technical like most bloggers today, you probably don’t want to mess around reading requirements, setting up a database, downloading WordPress files and unzipping them into your folders, and running the install file.

Alternatively, if you signed up for GoDaddy, for instance, you can go to your Hosting Control Center and literally click a button to do all of the things mentioned above for you. Really, you click one button. It can’t get much more comfortable.

If you need help navigating through the site or have questions along the way, you could just call GoDaddy 24/7, and a customer service rep will walk you through step-by-step. By the way, installing WordPress is free.

Step 5: Add a theme

Even though you don’t have to have a new idea to start posting, I wouldn’t want anyone to see my new site with a default theme. A theme is basically the overall look and feels for your website. It may also provide you with additional administrative tools. Although many issues are free, usually the better looking and more fully-featured themes will cost you a few dollars (usually $40-$80 for a single topic).

There are so many choices out there that it can be overwhelming. Just look at the blogs that you like and scroll down to the footer to see what they are using. In the beginning, experiment with free themes, so you get the hang of using WordPress. You may find that a free theme is perfect for your needs.

If you decide you’d like to pay for a theme, one that is clean looks great, easy to use, has good support and optimised for search engines, one option is the one that I currently use. A frugal theme is an excellent choice in my opinion. You could use this link to learn about and purchase a Frugal theme. While you’re there, check out examples of what others have done with Frugal. Pretty amazing stuff!

Step 6: Start posting

Now that you have your building blocks laid out, it’s time to populate your blog with real meat. It will seem pretty easy to fill your new blog site with content at first. Don’t let that fool you! Most bloggers fall off the face of the earth pretty fast.

If you followed all the steps so far, you’ve put yourself in a pretty good position. Look at some of these tips on how to be in the top 10% of bloggers who can survive six months. You’ll find that the first tip is to set a goal on posting frequency and stick to it no matter what. That’s easier said than done.

What to do next

There you have it. You have your own WordPress blog for less than $100! I know you’re proud of yourself but don’t relax too much though. Your work isn’t done, in fact, it’s just beginning!

If you need more depth on what you can do in WordPress, check out the video from Getting started with WordPress – the newbie guide.

Although there is a lot to do, below are the first few areas you should start learning about.

And if you get a moment, go check out how to make money blogging with YouSayToo.

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