Decided that starting a blog is what you want to do?
I wish that I had someone to help me when I started blogging. This is why I am writing this article, to help you with how to start a blog. Congratulations!
You probably have seen many beautiful blogs online and wondered if you could create something like them? Yes you can, it is possible. You just have to learn how to do it. It does take work and being consistent.
Blogs are frequently updated using articles, but a website contains features such as static pages that focus on certain types of content. Such as a home page, business services page etc. Blogs are more socially active with shares and comments. A website may also have a blog section with very good content that is updated frequently on a regular basis.
So What is the First Thing You Should Know About Blogging?
Something that I found very confusing when I started looking at blogging over 10 years ago. I looked at the types of platforms available. I started a site on Blogger, with no comments and no engagement at all. This is a free site, there are many of them. You do not own this site, Google owns Blogger. For info about another free platform called Squarespace, in comparison, to WordPress, you can read my article I wrote on this subject.
My conclusion was that with 72 million active users using WordPress today, so it is the best choice. It is extremely customizable with hundreds of free themes plugins which add functionality, such as contact and subscribe boxes, even spam blockers for improving the performance of your blog. More than any other type of platform, especially for people new to blogging WordPress is the way to go.
There Are Two Types of WordPress Platforms
It took me a while to sort this one out. If I can explain it simply for you. WordPress is open source, meaning that lots of people are working on this platform. It is free to download. However, it’s the two types that get new people mixed up.
- WordPress.com is similar to the free sites I have mentioned. WordPress owns this platform so you can not monetize it for a business.You are not allowed to advertise on most free blog
platforms, which makes it hard to make money from blogging.
- WordPress.org Needs a self-hosted platform. It is free and includes themes, layouts, and
add-ons. Many other platforms do not provide all of this. You need a web hosting account (various types such as HostGator, GoDaddy, BlueHost, and SiteGround.) I have tried each of these.
A Self-hosted Platform Allows You to Run a Blog on Your own Domain
Very customizable with hundreds of free themes plugins which add functionality. Your site has a domain name. Like your address online. Mine is http:// marketingofflineonline.net. I purchased my domain from namecheap.com Your domain is your own unique address of your blog on the Internet.
Some hosting companies offer domain registration services. Some people keep their domain name with the domain registrar company, separate from the hosting account, for a good reason. Your domain should be purchased from a company that specializes in domains only. Makes sense, that is their only business. Your domain will always be accessible, even if you change hosting companies. Kind of all your eggs in one basket idea. I don’t have to go back to a hosting company I have left to change my domain. Just much simpler to use a domain company.
It normally costs $4 to $8 per month for a web space (hosting account), depending on the company you choose, and $12 to $15 per year for the name (domain).
The functionality and performance of your blog will depend on your hosting provider. When you have decided on a web hosting account ( I recommend SiteGround ) They help you to install the blogging software and set up a blog. Easy to do, but for someone new to all of this, SiteGround has the best support staff. I even had a phone call to see if needed help. Thanks, but no I did not. Sometimes it can take a day or so for the site to resolve to the correct address, is the simplest way to put it. I have a link to SiteGround on my site.
You Have Your New Site Up!
Your hosting company will send you an email with all the details for your new site. Be sure to copy this information and keep it in a safe place. You will need to refer to it. I use a little notebook Good tip!
When you log in for the first time you will see your dashboard or your admin panel. You log in with your username and your password ( from the email from your hosting company ). You can also log into your blog by typing in the search bar www.yourblog.com/wp-admin/ using your username and your password.
Setting Up Your Site
The first thing I was told to do was the change my permalinks.
To change your links go to settings
Permalinks and use the following settings
USE _ post name
Changing your blog’s layout and design is a simple install of a new theme. This is one of the most exciting aspects. This is where you are able to upload a whole new theme for your site. You may see one to two themes there, but you can add a new ( theme look ) by changing the theme. There are over 2,000 professionally designed and customized free themes. For more premium types of you can see many sites such as the one I have on my site: Creative Themes. Beautiful sites with good prices.
Themes are found under Appearance on the left sidebar. Across the top of the page, you also see Popular/ Latest Favorites/ and if you click on Feature Filter /you can choose the features that you would like, such as two columns, right sidebar, and subject -blog. Mouse over a theme and get a details & Preview. If you like it you simply click install. Once your theme is installed just click Activate.
You can later purchase a paid theme that has more options to it such as my site which is a GRACE theme which I purchased and installed much the same way as a free site except the location to upload the theme would be online at the Grace site.
So with your new theme installed ( you just have to upload it – say yes to installing, click activate,) You can change your theme any time you like with all of your content intact.
Your first post on your site
These are general popular page types:
- Welcome or home page
- About me page
- Blog page
- Contact page
These static pages will be accessible from tabs on the top of the site, (usually sometimes down the side of the page,) depending on your theme. To install a page Click on Pages in the left sidebar. To install a page Click on Pages in the left sidebar. A pop-up box appears Add New – Enter a title ( you can always change it)
Put your mouse on the big window and click it. Start typing your first post. You can save your post as a draft or publish your content live. Also, you can schedule the post to be published later or make the post private for certain people to see it with a password.
Url example (http://marketingofflineonline.com/themes) at the top is what you can save with Ctrl C move to where you want it to appear and hit Crtl V.
Posts are generally set up under the blog page and go from new posts with older ones under them. Works the same as pages to set up basically. What to post about? For more on the purpose of your blog post.
Under Appearance, you will find Menus
These control your pages. You set up your pages there. You will see the menu structure, drag and drop pages, very easy to do. Remember to save.
To add functionality to your site upload plugins.
Additional features such as:
- contact forms
- spam blockers
- SEO (search engine optimization) friendly
- newsletter sign-up forms
Just move your mouse over “Plugins” in the sidebar and click “Add New”
There are thousands of plugins. Sometimes they do not play nicely together and then you have
a problem that your hosting support will have to help you with.
My last count was 14 plugins that all are ok and that give me a range of things from a broken link checker, to comment mail, Google Analytics, Social Share buttons and backups, wp-spam shield and Yoast SEO for writing articles.
One plugin is for comments on your blog ( Yes you do need comments )
When people come and visit your blog they will leave a comment. You will want to read and reply to these nice people. You just comment and it is sent back to them. Generally, these are a delight to read, unless you get spam. These are sometimes strange comments like my cousin said to visit you blah blah they just don’t seem right, and generally you get a ton of them all at a time or over a long period of time. You need to have a plugin to prevent this type of spam. You can see which comments WordPress has labeled as spam. Delete which comments you don’t want. One of the best spam blockers I have found is Wp-SpamaShield. Does an excellent job. Find it in your plugins back office.
When I started out blogging, I had no idea what I was doing. I purchased a very expensive website with all the basics and learned by trial and error. On my journey of over 10 years online I have met many groups of marketers and bloggers. One of the best blogging communities I have found is one that new bloggers would learn a great deal from. They are known as PAC https://Poweraffiliateclub.com For the past two years I have been the welcome lady for PAC. I enjoy this community of great bloggers very much. To learn more about expert business blogging I have an article on PAC. I hope that you feel more comfortable starting a blog now, and you are welcome to visit PAC for more info. Happy blogging!
To your blogging success
PS. If you enjoyed this post, please support PAC by commenting & Sharing! Thank you!