How to build and Start a Blog: Step-by-Step Guide
Starting a blog is one of our 25 online businesses. The thought of starting a blog can be a terrifying one, especially when you do not know how to code. But not to worry, follow the comprehensive steps in this article to build a WordPress website or blog without learning how to code first.
The process of building a blog is easy to follow whether you are 20 years old or 60 years. However, if you need help, our expert team can help you set up your blog on the Google Cloud Platform
What do you need to start a WordPress blog?
There are three things you need to create a WordPress blog:
- A domain name (this will be the name of your blog. For example, livingmediainternational.com)
- A web hosting account (this is where your website lives on the internet)
- Your undivided attention.
You can start a blog from scratch and fully customize it in two weeks. Continue reading as we walk you through the whole process of setting up a blog.
See also: How To Create A Website For Your Business
In this article, we covered:
1 How to Register a Domain Name
2 How to Choose the Best Web Hosting service
3 How to Install and Setup WordPress Blog
4 How to Change Your Blog Design Template
5 How to Write Your First Blog Post
6 How to Customize WordPress Blog with Plugins
7 How to Add a Contact Form
8 How to Setup Google Analytics Tracking
9 How to Optimize Your Website for SEO
10 How to Make Money From Your Blog
11 Resources to Learn and Master WordPress
If you are ready, then let’s get started.
Step 1. Setup
The biggest mistake beginners make when building a blog is choosing the wrong blogging platform. Thankfully you’re here, so you won’t be making that mistake too.
For over 90% of new users, it makes more sense to use WordPress.org. WordPress.org is also known as self-hosted WordPress.
They choose WordPress.org because it is free to use. You can install your WordPress theme, install your plugins, and customize your blog to look the way you want. On WordPress.org, you can also make money from your blog without restriction.
Also, WordPress is the topmost website-building platform used by many successful websites. Over 34% of active websites on the internet use WordPress.
Just as we pointed out above. You need a domain name first to build a WordPress website or blog. You also need a web hosting account to build a blog. In other words, you need a domain name and web hosting.
For the benefit of those who do not know what a domain name is, it is what people type to get to your blog or website. Your website domain name is the address on the internet. Example, livingmediainternational.com
See also: The Importance of a Business Website
Web hosting on the other hand is where your website files live on the internet. It’s your website’s house on the internet. For your website or blog to be findable, it needs web hosting.
The are several web hosting services you can choose from. We recommend Bluehost, InMotion, and HostGator for managing WordPress hosting, and Google cloud for cloud hosting services.
Now that you have made up your mind on your choice of the domain name and web hosting, then go ahead and purchase your domain + hosting.
We will use Bluehost for the demo.
Open up the Bluehost website in a new tab and follow along.
The first thing you need to do is to click on the “Get Started Now” button.
Select your hosting plan of choice on the next screen, (basic and plus are the most popular).
After selecting the hosting plan, you will be required to enter the domain name for your website.
then, you will be required to add your hosting account information to complete the hosting process. You can choose either the 3-month, 6-month, 12-month, 24-month, or even the 36-month plan. We recommend the 36-month plan because it gives the best value.
You can also purchase more hosting add-ons at this point. Some of the add-ons are not necessary at the early stage of your blog development. You can add the add-ons much later when you decide that you need them.
See also: 4 Best Web Hosting Providers: 2021
Once you are done on the hosting purchase page, you will receive an email with your hosting Control Panel (cPanel) login details. The cPanel is where you manage everything relating to your website including hosting support. It is from the cPanel that you install WordPress or any other Content Management System you want.
Step 2. Install WordPress
Bluehost automatically installs WordPress for you when you signup for a hosting service. This was recently implemented to make it easier for users who are not techy to build their blog or WordPress website.
Login to your Bluehost hosting account with the details sent to you in your email, then click on the “Login to WordPress” button to access your WordPress admin dashboard.
Alternatively, you can log in to your WordPress admin dashboard simply by entering your domain name followed by “/wp-admin” on a browser. For example, enter ‘yourblogdomainname.com/wp-admin” on a browser to access yourblogdomainname.com WordPress admin dashboard.
However, if you do not want to use the Bluehost website service, then see how to install WordPress on HostGator, InMotion, and WP Engine web hosting service providers.
Once you are done setting up WordPress at this stage, then go ahead to customize the appearance of your blog to make it look unique and usable.
Step 3. Selecting Your WordPress Theme
WordPress themes are the building block or backbone of every WordPress theme. The appearance of a WordPress Blog or website is determined by its active theme. By default, a WordPress website or blog has one of WordPress’s free themes activated on installation.
If you do not have money to buy premium themes, you can go for any of the thousands of free WordPress themes available. You can also customize the default theme to suit your need. However, if the security of your blog or website is important to you, you have to go for a premium theme.
Customizing the appearance of your WordPress blog or website is indeed very exciting and rewarding in your journey of building a WordPress blog or website.
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You can change your WordPress blog or website theme at any time simply by going to your WordPress admin dashboard,
- Click on Appearance,
- then click on themes
- Click on the Add New button
- On this page, search for over 7,000 free WordPress themes available. You can sort the themes by latest, popular, industry, layout, features, etc.
Take your mouse over a theme, you will see a Preview button, if you click on the preview button, it will open the theme’s preview where you will see how your blog or website will look if you install and activated the theme.
To select a perfect premium theme for your WordPress blog or website, search based on your niche. There are lots of niche-based WordPress themes. Also, there are lots of multi-purpose premium themes that you can buy for your blog or website. Before you choose your theme, consider simplicity in design. This will ensure you have a clean blog or website with a good user experience. Also, remember to go for a lightweight theme.
You may buy your theme from a theme and plugin marketplace like Envato Marketplace. Also, you can buy your WordPress theme directly from the developer.
After purchasing and downloading your WordPress theme, then you login to your WordPress admin dashboard,
- Click on Appearance,
- then click on a theme,
- Add New
- Upload theme
- Navigate to find the zip file on your computer and click Install Now
- Wait while the blog or website theme is uploaded and installed.
- To activate the newly installed theme. Go to Appearance → Themes and hover over the newly installed theme to activate it.
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Once you have successfully installed your blog or website theme, you can now start customization. In the Appearance menu, click on the customization link to start customizing your blog or website.
If you need help deciding on the theme to use for your blog or website, then our article on the things you should look at before choosing your blog or website theme.
At this point, you should be ready to create your first blog post.
Step 4. Creating Your First Blog Post
To write your first blog post, navigate to your admin dashboard, click on Posts, then, click on Add New. At this point, you will see a block-based WordPress editing area. Once you are through with writing, then in the top-right corner of the editing window or your screen, click on the Publish button to make your post visible to the users of your blog or website.
You will notice on the post screen other sections such as tags and categories that you can use to organize your blog posts.
You can also create a page the same way you created a post. At this point, you may be wondering about the difference between a page and a post. A page is more static in nature while a post is dynamic in nature. If you are using WordPress for blogging, you will be publishing more posts than pages.
Step 5. Plugins & Customizations
Having published your first blog post, you can now continue to customize your blog. You can add more features such as sliders, contact forms, galleries, newsletter subscription forms,s and many more. To add these features and more functionality to your blog, you will have to install plugins.
WordPress plugins are apps specially built to add functionalities and features to your WordPress website. No matter the functionalities or features you want to add to your WordPress website, there is a plugin already written for it.
To install plugins, in your admin dashboard, navigate to Plugins, then click on Add New. At this point, you can choose from over 5000 plugins in the WordPress plugins repository or you can click on upload plugins to upload other plugins that you downloaded.
How to Setup Google Analytics Tracking
As a blog or website admin, you need to know what is going on on your website as it relating traffic. You need to know where your users are coming from, the pages they view, how long they stayed on a page, etc.
Google has a tool for measuring all these and many more. Google Analytics is a tool that helps webmasters like you to see and analyze the traffic details of their websites.
To start using Google Analytics, visit the Google Analytics website and create an account or sign in using your Gmail account.
After signing in with your Gmail account, then sign up for a free Google Analytics account. Provide all the required information including your website URL. When you are done, with the registration, you will be issued with a Global tracking code that you will insert on your website.
To view your tracking code, navigate to the admin menu at the bottom left corner of the Google Analytics screen, under the property column, click “Tracking Info”, and click on “Tracking Code” to see your website’s Global Tracking Code. Copy this tracking code and paste it on the header of your website.
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How to Optimize Your WordPress Blog for Search Engine
It is very important to factor in SEO from the first step of your blog creation. Most people forget to do this, and it is very good. Optimizing your website for search engines helps users find it in search queries on the internet.
A poorly optimized blog or website may not appear I the first page of search results. You know what that means, probably only bots will be reading your blog post.
There are several SEO plugins that you can use as a guild to optimize your blog. Note however that installing any of these SEO plugins on their own will not work magic for your blog SEO. You need to learn how to use the plugin to truly optimize your blog. You can between the Yoast SEO plugin, RankMath SEO plugin, or All In One SEO plugin to fully optimize your blog or website.
Follow the steps we gave above to install and activate the Yoast plugin. When activated, you will see a new menu item on your admin dashboard labeled “SEO”, click on it to see the plugin settings page. Follow the plugin’s quick configuration wizard to do the needful. You can also visit the Yoast SEO website to learn more.
How to submit your blog to search engines
Submitting your website or blog to a search engine is one of the things you MUST do to let search engines discover and index your website or blog faster. Whether or not you submit your website or blog to search engines, your site will be discovered and indexed. However, manually submitting your site to search makes it faster for your site to be indexed. The three most popular search engines are Google, Bing, and Yandex. Visit each one of them to register and submit your blog or website URL.
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How to create and submit your XML sitemap
After submitting your site to search engines, for instance, Google, the next is to create your site XML sitemap. An XML sitemap helps search engines such as Google easily navigate through your blog or website content. It gives search engines a list of all the content of your blog or website in a machine-readable format. The easiest to generate your site XML sitemap in WordPress is through the use of an SEO plugin such as Yoast.
Upon activation of the Yoast plugin, go to the SEO » General page and switch to the ‘Features tab. From the Features tab, scroll down to the ‘XML Sitemap’ option. Make sure that the XML Sitemap feature is turned on. After turning it on, save changes by clicking on the ‘Save Changes’ button.
To verify that Yoast SEO has created your site XML Sitemap, click on the question mark icon next to the XML Sitemap option on the page. Then, click on the ‘See the XML Sitemap’ link to view your live XML sitemap generated by Yoast SEO.
You can also check your sitemap by simply adding sitemap.xml at the end of your site URL. For instance, https://www.example.com/sitemap.xml.
You can also add sitemap_index.xml. Example: https://www.example.com/sitemap_index.xml
After generating your site sitemap XML, the next thing to do is to submit it to search engines, for instance, Google.
Visit the Google Search Console website and sign up for a free account.
Then select a property type. You can choose a URL prefix or a domain. URL prefix is easier to set up. So we recommend it.
Enter your site’s URL, then click the Continue button.
Then, verify ownership of the website. There are several options giving to do that, we recommend using the HTML tag method.
Copy the code on the screen and then navigate to the admin area of your WordPress website.
Open the Insert Header and Footer plugin, and add the code you copied in the ‘Scripts in the Header box of this plugin. Then save your changes on the plugin.
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Head over to the Google Search Console tab, and click on ‘Verify’.
Google then will check for the verification code on your site. If the verification was successful, it will then add it to your Google Search Console account.
If the verification of your website or blog was not unsuccessful, then clear your cache and try verifying again.
When you successfully verify your site, the next thing will be to add your site’s XML sitemap.
From your Google search console dashboard, click on ‘Sitemaps’ from the left column.
Then copy and paste the last part of your sitemap URL in the ‘Add new sitemap’ section. Then, click the Submit button.
At this point, Google will add your sitemap URL to your Google Search Console.
Submitting your sitemap to Bing and Yandex is also as simple and straightforward as submitting to Google. Visit Bing and Yandex to create an account, verify your site, and submit your sitemap.
How to create and add Robots.txt File
The robots.txt file is very important to the security and SEO of your website. It is used to tell search engine bots where they are allowed to go on a website. If you are using the Yoast SEO plugin, you can edit the robots.txt file easily.
- Log in to your WordPress website or blog.
- Click on ‘SEO’. On the left-hand side of your screen
- Click on ‘Tools’
- Click on ‘File Editor’
- Then you will see your robots.txt file. Make the changes to your file.
- Then, Save your changes.
An ideal WordPress robots.txt file should look;
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More WordPress Plugins and Customizations
There are lots of others WordPress plugins that you can download and install. Often new WordPress users find it overwhelming to search for the plugins they need.
Below are more WordPress plugins we believe are very essential to the security and performance of your website or blog.
Back up your WordPress website is very important. Anything can go wrong at any time. In the event of an accident or an attack, with the backup of your website, you can restore your site easily and speedily.
UpdraftPlus is one of the best WordPress plugins used for backup.
Security – Much as you need to back up your website, you also need to take preventive measures to ensure that the security of your website is not breached. There are some plugins you can use to relatively secure your website. For example, Wordfence, Sucuri Security, etc can be used to add some security features to your WordPress website.
In this day and age, website performance, I mean speed, is as important as security. For your blog or website to be respected by Google, it needs to have an excellent performance score. Google rolled out some performance measuring indices (Core Web Vitals) that will be implemented in June 2021. From an SEO perspective, your website needs to have a fast load time to rank well.
Good thing, there are several plugins that you can use to improve the performance of your website or blog. Also carefully choose your theme and your hosting provider to make the job of the performance-improving plugins easier.
You can use plugins such as WP Rocket, WP Super Cache, Asset Cleanup, Autopmize, etc to improve the performance of your website.
Step 6. Making Money From Your Blog
Oh yes! Here we are. Revenue generation most of the time is what drives so many blog or website owners. Of course, you need to be rewarded for your hard work. But do not prioritize revenue generation over the experience of the users of your blog or website.
The more quality content you have, the better the performance of your website or blog, the more traffic you are likely going to have, and the more revenue you are bound to generate.
There are lots of ways to successfully monetize your blog. As long as you are willing to work hard, you will have a good reward.
Below are some of the best ways to make money blogging.
If you plan to monetize your blog or website, then Google AdSense is the best you can choose. AdSense is by far the most organized of all contextual ads networks. Many bloggers are already making good money by showing Google display ads on their blogs.
Google AdSense is by far the largest advertising platform for publishers and bloggers. It connects seamlessly advertisers with publishers while acting as a middleman.
To start using AdSense on your blog is very easy and simple. Sign up for a Google AdSense account. If you have a Gmail account, then you can use your existing account to sign up for an AdSense account.
Once you’ve submitted your application to the AdSense team, wait at least 2 working days for the Google AdSense team to review your application.
Once your application is approved, then log in to your AdSense account and copy your ad code. The ad code is the code that you need to place on your website to display AdSense ads.
There are several ways through which you can get AdSense ads to display on your website. The easiest is to use a plugin to add the codes to your website. Some WordPress themes come with this feature so you would have to install an additional plugin.
The second most common way to monetize a blog is affiliate marketing. In affiliate marketing, you recommend your favorite products or services to the users of your blog. When they make purchases from your blog, you get paid a referral commission.
Recommending high-quality products and services is the key to success in affiliate marketing. If you properly harness these revenue sources, it has the potential of paying you several times what AdSense can pay you.
There are several WordPress tools and plugins that you can use effectively use when you are promoting your affiliate product to make more money.
See also the step-by-step affiliate marketing guide. If you follow these steps, you are sure going to succeed as an affiliate marketer.
You can also make good money by directly selling products or services on your blog. It could be digital downloads such as e-books, or music, it could be physical products, etc. As a blogger, you can also offer consulting services.
You can use the WooCommerce WordPress plugin to implement an online store in your blog.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How much does it cost to start a blog?
The total cost of starting a blog depends on several things. It depends on your host provider and the hosting package. It also depends on the WordPress theme you plan to use, and additional add-ons. Also, it depends on whether or not you will need a professional service at any point along the line of your blog development. With about $300, you can get started.
How do I come up with blogging ideas to write about?
It is very important that you learn the art of scriptwriting to succeed as a blogger. You also need to find a blogging niche where you are proficient. A blogging niche where you can write effortlessly.
Republishing other blog posts will hurt your blog and reward those you are copying from. So do not copy from other blogs and publish in your own blog. A lot of beginners make this mistake.
Can I design a blog with no coding skills?
Yes. You can build a professional-looking WordPress blog without any coding, design, or programming skills.
There are lots of easy-to-customize WordPress themes. All you need is to point and click to completely set up your WordPress blog. Most WordPress themes come with Demos that you can import with one click. All you have to do is to import any of the demos and get started.
There are other powerful themes that give you complete drag & drop design options for customizing your website or blog.
Also, there are powerful drag-and-drop page builders that work with lots of WordPress themes.
Can I add a photography gallery to my blog?
Yes, WordPress comes with a built-in gallery feature that allows you to add photo galleries to your website or blog.
If you are a professional photographer, you can also use premium WordPress gallery plugins to better display your photos. You can also use these plugins to even sell photos to make more money from your photography business.