Blogging

8 Smart Steps to Start a Blog — Your Simple Guide

blog

blog

Want to blog?

Look, I never had any idea how and where to start when I wanted to.

So I had to research and learn everything from other bloggers like you’re doing.

The truth is, it’s easy.

Now:

Sit tight for me to help you start yours today.

To begin with, I want to know:

Would you be on a mediocre blogging platform?

No.

Self hosted WordPress is the best. You would love it.

I’m talking about WordPress.org. It’s the most used CMS.

Sites like New York Post, TED, USA Today, TIME.com, TechCrunch, and many others are on it.

According to ManageWp 22% of new US registered domains alone runs on WordPress.

Sure, it has taken over half of the platforms on the internet already.

Meaning, you’ll have to learn some important basic settings in WordPress from this post.

Okay, let’s dive in.

Once you’ve chosen to use WordPress.org as your blogging platform…

1. Find a good web host

You’ve got to give your blog a name. And you’ve got to store your files somewhere that has not less than 99% up time, too.

The good news is most web hosting companies today offer both domain name registration and the storing of files. So, a good web host can handle all that for you.

For $3.95 per month, buy a hosting package from SiteGround and you’ll get a free domain name.

image of free domain name from siteground

Even though no web hosting service is perfect, WordPress.org recommends that we use SiteGround.

There are other good web hosting providers like:

  • HostGator
  • BlueHost
  • Etc

This blog is hosted on SiteGround. What do you think?

You have your hosting now. So, it’s time to…

2. Install WordPress

SiteGround has made it easy to do the installation yourself – it’s just a click.

Using their Step-by-step WordPress Installation Guide, learn how to do it. Or watch the step-by-step video below:

Wow! You have WordPress fully installed. What’s next?

3. Choose a theme that would appeal to your audience

This blog is built with “Authority WordPress Theme” by MyThemeShop.

start a blog with authority wordpress theme by mythemeshop

You’ll find thousands of  free themes in the WordPress theme directory.

But don’t use any of those for the following reasons: some can break over a period of time, and there may be malicious codes in them.

Like I did, you may choose to use one of those free themes for a while and later switch to a paid one.

Read how free WordPress Themes can Sabotage your blog from the “7 Warning Signs Your Free WordPress Theme is Sabotaging Your Blog.”

Quickly, learn how to install WordPress themes from here.

4. Install plugins

Your new blog wouldn’t survive without WordPress plugins.

There’re plugins for…

Blog security

Keep your blog safe from hackers.

You may choose to use Sucuri. This plugin gives me updates of what happens to my blog via emails.

And it cleans up this site when it’s infected with malware.

Alternatively, go for iThemes Security. This plugin also solves your backup issues. Backups insure against mistakes and the unexpected.

Search engine optimization

The trusted plugins for SEO are “Yoast SEO” and “All in One SEO Pack.”

Yoast SEO is mostly used by bloggers these days.

Social media engagement

Give your audience the chance to share content on your blog with others on social media.

The plugin thriving among the best is SumoMe. It’s a marketing plugin that has free tools to grow your blog and online business.

You can learn how to install WordPress plugins from here.

5. Install widgets

The default widgets on a WordPress blog is not useful.

So, you’ve got to install useful ones to get rid of the default widgets. But ensure you don’t get your sidebar cluttered.

Only use what your audience need.

There’re widgets used by most bloggers online. They’re the “Most Recent Posts,” “Most Popular Posts,” “Categories,” and “Text” widgets.

The Text widget is used to embed codes in your blog’s sidebar.

Take a close look at the screenshot of Gallople’s sidebar below:

blog sidebar

Notice that my sidebar is not cluttered to take readers attention from the main reason why they visit my pages. It provides visitors with content that benefits them.

Look at the only two widgets I use for this blog in the screenshot below:

sidebar widgets

They’re the “Text” and the “MTS Popular Posts” widgets.

Learn how to add and use widgets in WordPress from here.

6. Set up a user-friendly permalink structure

The most crucial part in creating a blog is the setting up of your permalink structure.

Look:

Which of these two do you prefer?

  1. The WordPress default or plain permalink structure: “http://gallople.com/?p=123
  2. Or the post name permalink structure: “http://gallople.com/start-a-blog

You chose the second structure, right?

Because it’s not ugly, and can easily be remembered. It’s appealing to the eyes.

To set up a user-friendly permalink structure, go to “Settings” on the left hand side of your WordPress dashboard. And place your cursor on it for “Permalinks.

image of where to start navigating to set up good permalink structure

Click on it to get the “Permalinks Settings” page that shows a list of options:

screenshot of permalink settings page

On this page, select from the “Common Settings” options “Post name.

It’ll give you “http://gallople.com/sample-post/,” like I’ve selected for my blog pages.

Now, you have a blog.

7. Write

But before you do, delete all default pages.

Open your WordPress dashboard. Go to “Posts.” And click on “All Posts” to delete the “Hello world” post.

Then, go to “Pages.” And click on “All Pages,” too to delete the “Sample page.”

default WordPress page

It’s time to boost trust online with these…

Static pages

About page: Brand your blog with a thorough “About Us” page. Make it epic.

Start here page: You can call it the “Getting Started page.” Direct users to the core of your blog, especially, the most important pages.

Terms of service and Privacy pages: These pages shows people how trustworthy your blog is.

Sitemap page: Help visitors to easily find your site pages with this page.

Contact page: Ideally, let your contact information match your whois information on this page.

Let me proof something to you here:

Ask yourself why Google requires Adsense publishers to put in place a “privacy policy” on their blogs.

Hope you got it?

Start to communicate ideas, thoughts, and what your business represents with…

Blog posts

Your posts must be part of your overall plan to be successful online.

Learn to write better blog articles from here if you’re struggling the first time.

Make your posts part of the blog design:

Make them interesting and attractive.

Design your blog posts with a good combination of colors, images, videos, formatting and any other embeds that will keep your visitors on-page.

You’re a blogger now. And you may need people to contribute to your new blog. If you don’t, then you have to simply disable the membership registration under “General” Settings on your WordPress dashboard.

wordpress membership registration

8. Start building your email list

I use MailerLite email marketing software to grow my list. Check others like LeadPages, MailChimp, Aweber, OptinMonster and GetResponse.

Why should a visitor sign up to your list? What have you to offer him?

You must give out.

And what you give serves as an incentive for your blog visitors to sign up. I’m talking about “lead magnets” here.

Your lead magnet could be a white paper, an ebook, free webinar, must watch video, a survey, checklist, “cheatsheet”, etc.

You may even promote the incentive you’ve created. Let people know it’s there to be grabbed for free.

Yes, you can start a blog!

Use this guide to begin the process today.

What do you think? Do let me hear from you in the comment box.

17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Ravi Chahar

    November 14, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    Hey Francis,

    To start a professional blog, you must buy a domain name with the extension .com or .net. Then web hosting.

    I have used Siteground and it’s pretty good. There are many web hostings which can help you start your blog.

    It’s important to install a security plugin. All in One SEO, BulletProof Security can work fine.

    You have mentioned some great points here.
    ~Thanks for sharing with us.

    ~Ravi
    Ravi Chahar recently posted…Are You Ruining Your Career With These Guest Blogging Mistakes?My Profile

    • Francis Quarshie

      November 17, 2016 at 5:28 am

      Hi Ravi,

      All in One SEO is truly a fine plugin to use. John Chow has been using it for years now. And I was using it, too. BulletProof Security has lots of quality features, no doubt.

      Thanks for dropping your contribution, bro
      Francis Quarshie recently posted…6 Figure Income Bloggers You Must Know in 2016My Profile

    • Itender Rawat

      December 10, 2016 at 9:44 am

      Great Article it its really informative and innovative keep us posted with new updates. its was really valuable. thanks a lot.

  2. Gaurav Kumar

    November 14, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    Hi Francis,

    You have nicely shared the whole details about how to star a professional blog on self hosted WordPress platform.
    There is no doubt that it start from choosing a professional domain name, I recommend .com or .org domains. Next choose web hosting from a reliable source such as Bluehost, bluehost also offers free domain.
    next comes installing a professional theme such as genesis which is mostly recommended by professional bloggers.
    Then comes writing SEO optimized pages, post and start promoting them on social networks.
    You have already included all steps.So it is definitely a complete guide to start a blog.
    I really appreciate your efforts. thank you for sharing.

    Regards
    Gaurav Kumar recently posted…How I Make $800 Day by Working Less than 4 HoursMy Profile

    • Francis Quarshie

      November 17, 2016 at 5:39 am

      Hey Gaurav,

      As bro. Ravi mentioned, ideally .com or .net are good. .org, even though anyone can use it, it’s commonly used by open-source projects, schools, and for-profit entities.

      This domain was originally meant for non-profit entities, but that restriction has been removed.

      Bluehost and Genesis are all standard blogging resources one can use. This post is written from what I use for this blog.

      Thanks for your nice words, Gaurav
      Francis Quarshie recently posted…8 Smart Steps to Start a Blog — Your Simple GuideMy Profile

  3. Shamsudeen Adeshokan

    November 14, 2016 at 8:37 pm

    Hi Francis,

    Sweat, short and simple!
    I like the way you compile the post together, no fluff, no rambling…just what we need to learn and take away.

    With less word, you cover what most author will put up in a 200 pages ebook..
    Thanks for sharing, nice read.
    Shamsudeen Adeshokan recently posted…SEO PowerSuite Review – A Must Have SEO Tools – 15 ReasonsMy Profile

    • Francis Quarshie

      November 17, 2016 at 5:45 am

      Hi bro. Sham,

      Yes, no fluff, no rambling. I had to approach it this way to help readers find it interactive.

      There’re over a hundred posts on this subject. Most of which I found difficult to follow and learn from.

      Thanks bro for the kind words.
      Francis Quarshie recently posted…6 Figure Income Bloggers You Must Know in 2016My Profile

  4. Anyinature Damasta

    November 16, 2016 at 5:48 am

    This steps you have listed is like a must do in wordpress blogs, if you dont do it, your site raffic and rankings will never increase and thats why it must be done.

    i cant go without them although i grabed some points in this post,i saw my errors and iam going to correct it right away.

    thanks for sharing this wonderful post sir
    Anyinature Damasta recently posted…Universal Crack Download For Internet Download Manager 6.26My Profile

    • Francis Quarshie

      November 17, 2016 at 5:49 am

      Yes, you’re right Anyinature.

      They’re must do steps to be taken in creating a WordPress blog. As for site traffic and rankings, there’re still some more you must do.

      Thanks for dropping yours bro.
      Francis Quarshie recently posted…6 Figure Income Bloggers You Must Know in 2016My Profile

  5. Mercy Mmbone

    November 16, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    Hey Francis,

    A great post! It’s very important to choose a reliable hosting provider to ensure that your website doesn’t go down each and every time. All these points are very helpful.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Mercy.
    Mercy Mmbone recently posted…5 Simple Ways to Get Blog Topics that ConvertMy Profile

    • Francis Quarshie

      November 17, 2016 at 5:55 am

      As a matter of fact, Mercy, this blog has been on 99.9% up time ever since I got on board SiteGround. Except for my domain name issue I had some time ago.

      My domain name in with Godaddy.

      I’m happy to see you here, sis.
      Francis Quarshie recently posted…6 Figure Income Bloggers You Must Know in 2016My Profile

  6. LH Louis

    November 17, 2016 at 1:36 am

    Love your insights, I notice if your readers are following the guide in this post will definitely help boost site speed as well which google loves it.

    Great article.
    LH Louis recently posted…Top 3 Marketing Tactics to Increase Website TrafficMy Profile

    • Francis Quarshie

      December 23, 2016 at 7:18 am

      Hey LH,
      Their site speed will be boosted for these reasons:
      The use of SiteGround web host, the use of the “Authority WordPress Theme,” and the use of few widgets.
      And for Google to trust your site it will be for the following reasons in the post:
      The static pages outlined, the setting up of a user-friendly permalink structure, the use of a highly secured web host like SiteGround, making your blog posts useful and interactive: interesting and attractive.
      There’re a lot more you can do, bro.
      Thanks for stepping here, LH.
      Francis Quarshie recently posted
      Francis Quarshie recently posted…23 Essential Blogging Tools to Help You Grow Your BlogMy Profile

  7. Joy Healey

    November 20, 2016 at 12:05 am

    Hi Francis,
    I found out much of this a few years ago by trial and error – mostly error! And it wasted me a lot of time finding out the hard way. So it’s great that you have put together such a helpful post for newbie bloggers.

    My number one tip is to reinforce what you said about security. As a newbie my site was hacked and the hosting company of the time (NOT SiteGround) had no recent backup (and neither did I) so I lost an awful lot of work. Even if you think your hosting company takes backups, make sure – by having your own.

    SiteGround is a great hosting company – their support is top class.

    Joy – Blogging After Dark
    Joy Healey recently posted…Free Online Shopping Store For YouMy Profile

  8. Barry

    November 25, 2016 at 11:08 am

    I guess you are absolutely right about all the points listed in this post. I believe web hosting is the main thing which we must consider focusing on as many bloggers are frustrated with their hosting companies.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Barry recently posted…How to Download from Internet Without Worrying about VirusMy Profile

  9. Joseph Chikeleze

    November 26, 2016 at 4:49 pm

    Hello Francis, I’ve been kicked off from WordPress few months back after IPAGE hosting suspended my account for a reason best known to them.

    I will still come back – which host is better, in terns of uptime and good customers support (email response preferable)

    Help please or suggest the one you’re using.
    Joseph Chikeleze recently posted…Drop Your Website For Free Review on W3HowTo.comMy Profile

  10. Narinder kumar

    January 6, 2017 at 4:23 am

    Hey Francis,
    Thanks for sharing great article i have also blog in WordPress and i am use yoast seo plugin its really a good seo optimization plugin its provide a lot of features like sitemap and webmasters verification i think yoast is perfect SEO tool for over blog.

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