Let’s start quickly: this guide is about learning how to start your own blog.
You can start a blog for any reason: from publishing articles about your business field to posting book reviews, everything can be an argument for a blog.
And don’t forget that starting a blog in wordpress is a very easy process: you can do it in 10 minutes (including the time to purchase the hosting!).
This guide is tailored to the absolute beginner that wants to explore the world of blogging and that wants to start blogging for money or even only to share her opinion.
Let’s see the essential steps you need to take.
Choose the niche of the blog
While you could blog about anything at all, doing it on the same blog is not a great idea.
The process goes like this: you have a broad interest or idea about your blog. For example you want to open a books blog and write some reviews of your favourite books.
From that idea you can narrow down the scope of your blog, for example you only write about fantasy books or about non fiction books.
That’s a niche, isn’t it?
Finding a good domain name for your blog
If you want to start your blog for free you’re going to have limited choices here, since you won’t be able to select a top level domain (which is essential for search engine optimization).
But if you are starting a blog to make money you already know that you have to spend a little on the hosting and on the domain name (more on that below, if you use my offer you’ll only pay for the hosting, the domain is free!).
So, remember that choosing a domain name for your blog is a delicate process. The future of the blog depends on the name.
So let’s see what are the best way to choose a good domain name:
- Your name and surname is a very nice choice, especially for blogs. There are many examples of successful blogs that are worth millions of dollars. Neil Patel is a very good example.
So it is Matthew Woodward.
- Try a blog name generator. While I don’t like letting randomness choose my website name, I know that it can be inspiring to see some possible names generated. There are many blog name generators and each of them can give some nice hints.
- Compose two or more terms together. This blog is an example, it is composed of smart and striving. You can do that with any term, name, adjective you want, no problem indeed.
Now let’s see what you should not do when choosing a domain name.
- Don’t use a keyword as your domain name. Ever. There has been a Google search algorithm update named Exact Domain Match that penalizes websites that are stuffing keywords into their domain name.
- Don’t use hyphens and try to limit numbers. While using numbers in domain names is not a bad thing, it should be avoided because it is not so good for humans to remember an URL with numbers and letters together.
- Don’t buy domain names that are misspell of other sites. Don’t do that, that’s silly.
Once you come out with a nice domain name and check its availability, you can do that here, you are good to go to the next step of the process.
Choosing the best hosting for a blog
There are many hosting providers out there and I tried most of them.
If you’re starting a blog with the purpose of installing WordPress (the most famous blogging platform) you should first check 3 things:
- A hosting that has a 1-click installation for WordPress is essential. You don’t want to lose your precious time with installing the platform, you want to write your first blog post in minutes, not in days.
- A SSL Certificate for your site. SSL encryption is essential nowadays. You know the little green “lock” icon near the URL? That signals that on that web server every data exchanged is encrypted and secure. Oh and you know what? Google couts it as a ranking factor.
- A nice page speed with reduced loading times. This is also a ranking factor for search engines and if the page is slow or doesn’t load properly the user will close it without even taking a look at the content.
Quick Note: if you want to boost your page speed you can check this article.
At first you don’t expect many readers so a shared hosting will suffice and handle quite well the task.
Many other guides are suggesting cloud hosting plans or other more sophisticated solutions but you will need none of them in the beginning.
You only need a reliable and not too expensive hosting.
That’s why I suggest using HostGator.
If you want to go to their site and buy the hosting right now, click on the banner below.
HostGator offers a free domain name, a free SSL certificate and awesome technical support.
They also have a 1-click installer for many applications and their starter plan is 2.75$ per month.
How to launch your WordPress blog in 5 minutes
Go to their home page by clicking on the image above so you can start the process.
Then click on the orange Get Started button.
After that you’ll find yourself here:
You can select the Hatchling Plan for only 2.75$ per month. Now the process really begins.
First things first, enter the domain name you already found out in the second step of this guide and see if it is available (if you didn’t check it above).
Then the second step, you go ahead and choose your username and PIN.
The third step is to insert all your personal information.
And choosing your preferred payment type. After that step, scroll down to find the “Additional Services” section.
In this section you will find that many additional services are already checked for you to buy, but right now you don’t need them, so you can uncheck them all and proceed to the checkout.
Now that you purchased your hosting and your domain name you can access the One Click Installation tool and install WordPress.
Here’s a video that explains step by step how to install WordPress on HostGator.
I already skipped through the video and pointed it to the installation part of the video.
OK, now you have WordPress installed and you’re ready to configure it to achieve the best possible performances and to make it search engine friendly.
Please remember: after you buy the hosting plan and the domain name you’ll have to wait some time because of the DNS propagation. This means that every Domain Name Server on Earth should memorize that www.thedomainyouchose.com is linked to your hosting.
Let’s go to the fourth step of the guide.
Essential plugins and themes for your WordPress
Now that WordPress is ready, we have to install a theme and some plugins that will make our life easier.
Here’s a list of essential plugins you need to install as soon as your WordPress is reachable at your domain name.
- Easy table of content: when you use Gutemberg Editor to create your posts and publish a new article, this plugin will create a table of content from each of the paragraph heading you added.
- Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights: this is essential to check the analytics of your site. After the installation and during the configuration process it will link itself to your Google Analytics account.
- Rank Math SEO: this is a must. I personally love it. It is the best SEO plugin on earth at the moment.
- Sassy Social Share: this is going to create a list of “share buttons” and will let you decide where you want to display those buttons.
- WebP Converter for Media: to compress every image you’ll insert in your posts this is the best plugin available.
- WP Force SSL: while you have a free SSL if you bought the hosting from Hostgator (if you didn’t yet, you can do it now) when you install this plugin all the users are going to be redirected to the SSL version of your site.
- W3 Total Cache: this plugin is going to help caching your content and will improve your page speed score. The better the page speed the higher you’ll rank on search engines.
Simple guide to install a new plugin
From the plugin section of the dashboard, if you click on “Add New” you’ll arrive at this page.
By searching the plugin name (copy it from the list I wrote above) you’ll get the results below. You can click on Install Now and when installed on “Active Now”.
I suggest you install all the plugins I listed above because they’ll help you to rank higher on search engines and they’ll help you improve the speed and the usability of the site.
Choosing a theme for your site
When starting a blog in WordPress one of the most important things to do is choosing the appropriate theme.
While in the beginning you don’t really need a professional theme, after some months you will want to upgrade it.
But let’s start with the best free wordpress themes you can find from your WordPress Appearance >> Themes dashboard section.
Since you need a very nice and fast loading theme which must be also responsive, GeneratePress will be your best choice when starting a new blog.
To install it without wasting time, you can click on the button “Add New” and search for GeneratePress.
If you don’t trust me on the goodness of GeneratePress theme for WordPress, check out this awesome comparison made by Matt Ahlgren.
GeneratePress is the fastest on desktop computers and on mobile. And it’s free (there’s also a premium version which adds some cool features.
Now that we installed the theme, we are ready to publish our first post.
How to write your first blog post (the sixth step, bonus)
This guide is full of tips for starting a blog and it will also teach you how to learn to write a good blog post.
Click on Add New post and you’ll see that the Gunteberg editor pops out and you are ready to type your awesome article.
But how can you write a good blog post that gets read and that retains attention?
It’s simple, by following these rules:
- Write many posts in the beginning. Do not focus on optimizing your blog for search engines. First of all you need to learn how to write for the web.
- Use short sentences and try to speak to your reader’s emotions. Most users are consuming blog posts when they are travelling or commuting. Many people are also reading blog posts while at work… so the important thing is: do not waste your users precious time, entertain them and offer very useful content for free.
- Use lists a lot. Yes, use them, they are powerful and they help to structure your content.
- Develop your own voice. That’s why you must write a lot, especially when starting a new blog. Every author has its own voice and every blog has its own style.
By following the 4 simple rules you’ll learn to create high quality content.
How to start your own blog: conclusion
So, in this guide we saw how easy it is to start a blog. The cost right now is very low and right now is the right time to buy hosting and start publishing content.
You will receive your first visits after weeks or maybe months, but you’ll receive them.
A quick recap on what to do to start your own blog:
- Choose the niche of the blog
- Finding a good domain name for your blog
- How to choose the best hosting for a blog
- Which are the essential plugins and themes for your WordPress
- Now choose a theme for your site
- It’s time to write your first blog post
That’s how to start your own blog quickly and effortlessly.