Have you been dreaming of starting a blog but have no idea how to get started? Put your dreams on hold no longer, now is the perfect time to start that blog you’ve always wanted to have! Follow along step by step as I guide you through the process of setting up your blog from the ground up! Start your blog on WordPress right now and have your very own blog up and running with just 4 steps!
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How to Start a Blog On WordPress
Step 1 | Get a Domain Name + Host
The first step is to get someplace to put your blog and a url for people to find it. That means you need a host, who gives you space to put the files that will make up your blog, and a domain registrar that gives you the url or domain visitors will use to access and find your blog. Good news, you can get both of these things at the same place, and usually, if you do that you will also get your domain name for free (for the first year)! Sounds great right?!
You can expect a domain name to cost you about $10 a year, though you can often find deals to get them for even less (sometimes even less than a dollar)! A host on the other hand will be a little more expensive. It will vary depending on the plan you choose. As a brand new blogger you don’t need an expensive plan, the cheapest shared hosting plan is a fine starting point.
I highly recommend using Namecheap for your domain and hosting. They have great service and their prices are great! I use them for all of my domain names and all my hosting needs and am quite happy with them! This guide will focus on completing the process with Namecheap, but the steps are similar no matter what company you go with.
Head on over to Namecheap, then input your desired domain name into the search for your domain name area. It will display the domain name you searched for, include it’s availability and price if available, as well as alternate domain name ideas. Once you found the perfect domain name, add it to your cart.
Next, head on over to the shared hosting area. You’ll see that they offer several different plans. For brand new bloggers just starting out with no following I recommend the cheapest plan that starts at $9.88 a year. If you are an existing blogger moving from Blogger or WordPress.com or maybe you just don’t want to deal with handling all this WordPress stuff yourself, in that case I do recommend the WordPress hosting plan, EasyWP, which starts at $8.88 a year. The WordPress hosting plan gives you more support and easy backups to help you manage your WordPress blog with minimal issue.
Once you’ve selected your hosting plan proceed to checkout to complete the process. You’ll get emails detailing your account information sent to you, so be sure to keep these in case you need them later.
Other Recommended Extras:
SSL Certificates – Highly recommended. Google now uses https as a ranking indicator, plus it gives your visitors a more secure browsing experience. If you will have a shop on your store an SSL certificate for https is mandatory.
WHOIS Guard – I highly recommend this to help keep your private info private and cut down on the amount of spam email you get.
Other extras you really don’t need unless you want them.
Step 2 | Setup WordPress
To begin log into your Namecheap cpanel account. In the top row you should see a link to the Softaculous App Installer. Click that link. Using this app WordPress will be installed without you having to do anything other than enter some basic information!
Once at the Softaculous App, click the icon for WordPress. Hover over WordPress and click the Install button.
Once there you will see a screen that looks like the one shown below. Enter all the required information. I do suggest you install one of the cache plugins they recommend and limit login attempts. This will help keep your site secure! Also, NEVER EVER keep “admin” as your username. It’s VERY insecure and automated bots will try to hack your site with a user name of “admin” so don’t use that or administrator or anything like that. Pick something unique to make it more secure. Also, make sure your password is secure too! It should be a password you do not use anywhere else.
You can put your blog name and blog tagline in now, but they can also be changed at any time later on, so if you are still thinking about it don’t worry!
At the bottom of the page you’ll see a spot to input an email address where the installation details are sent to. I recommend putting your email address there so you can have an extra copy of that information. Once you are happy with the settings you’ve selected click the install button at the bottom of the page. You can select one of the recommended themes if you want, but you can always add a new theme later too! It’s up to you.
After you hit install, Softaculous will install WordPress for you! Once installation has been completed you will be giving the login information and links to log into your new site!
Step 3 | Set up & Customize Your Blog
Now for the fun part! Setting up and customizing your blog! Your initial WordPress installation will have some content put in for you. You can delete what is there and replace it with your own content. Let’s start by customizing your blog’s theme. You will have the default WordPress themes installed already on your blog. You can view them by going to Appearance > Themes on your sidebar of your Dashboard.
From the Themes section you can see what themes you have installed as well as search WordPress’s repository of themes. All the themes you see there are free to use. They can be great options to start out with. If you want something a little more unique you can also purchase premium themes to use on your blog.
Where to Find WordPress Blog Themes
I highly recommend the StudioPress (aka Genesis) themes. They are very high quality and you cane rest assured you are absolutely getting what you paid for. If none of those themes strike your fancy, CreativeMarket has tons of amazing themes (while you are there checkout my shop)!
So you’ve found a theme, now what? Installing it is easier than you think! Head on back over to your Themes section (Appearance > Themes). Click the “Add New” button at the top. Here you can search for or install your WordPress theme from the WordPress repository. If you’ve selected a premium theme from CreativeMarket, StudioPress or elsewhere, you’ll need to click the “upload theme” button at the top of the page.
To upload your theme click the “upload theme” button, then the browse button and select your theme file. You can also drag and drop your them file to the browse button. Once that has been completed click “upload”. Your theme will upload. Once it’s uploaded you will need to activate it. However, before doing so you may want to click the preview button to see how your site will look. After you activate your theme you can use the Customizer to customize the look of your theme. Many themes allow you to easily change fonts and colors through the Customizer. You can also add widgets and more! It’s a powerful tool that helps you change how your blog looks without touching code. Though if you do want to tweak some code, you can do that here too through custom CSS if your blog supports it.
Add Blog Content
Your blog has a fancy new theme, but it’s still pretty bare! It needs content! Time to warm up the writing muscles and pull out some fabulous photos for your blog! There are two must have pages for your blog that you should start with. The first is the About page or a Start Here page. This page will tell your readers about you, your blog, and what’s going on here. Use it to give them a glimpse of what they can expect from your blog.
The next page is a contact page. This page should include all the ways that your readers can get in touch with you from email to social media links. Once these two pages are completed you can use your creativity and inspiration to create the rest of your content. What else should you have? Here’s a quick list to get you started:
- About Page
- Contact Page
- Blog Posts Page
- Home Page (If not using your blog posts as a home page)
- Shop (if selling things)
- Email list opt in Landing Page
- Disclaimer Page
- Terms of Service (ToS) Page
You’ll also want to setup your blog’s menus. You can do this through the dashboard; Appearance > Menus. Set up your menu in a way that organizes your content for your visitors. They should be able to use it to easily find whatever they are looking for. You can link to pages, categories of posts and custom links too!
Add Blog Posts
All blogs need blog posts! New blogs especially need blog posts. It’s how you attract new readers and convince old ones to stay. Before you launch your blog you should have some blog posts ready to go. How many depends on your own time commitment and comfort level. 10 is a good amount but you can also get by with less, 5 is good enough if you are short on time.
Plugins are one of the best things about WordPress. Plugins give you pretty much any sort of feature you could want for your blog! They make it easy to add contact forms, share your blog posts to social media, help search engines find you and so much more! There are SO MANY plugins out there, with more being released all the time, so how do you know which ones to add? I’ve got you covered, checkout my recommendations here.
Step 5 | Launch Your Blog on WordPress!
You’ve worked hard, it’s time to show it off! Tell everyone you know, announce it on social media and show off your brand new blog! (This includes me, I’d LOVE to see your new blog, so drop the links in the comments so I can check it out!)
Looking for more help starting your blog on WordPress?
Checkout my huge list of blogging resources here! It’s got everything you need to help you run your blog!
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