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How To Start a Blog on WordPress – Step by Step Guide

In this blog post, I’ll give you exact instructions on how to create a blog on WordPress. If you follow the instructions your blog will be live in about 30-60 minutes. If something doesn’t work come back and re-read the blog or leave a comment below and I’ll try to help you.

I’ve to warn you – it’s not free as many people seem to think that. There’s no such thing as free lunch in this world. To create a blog it costs you around $10 a month. My guidance is free though, but I will display ads on my content. You will still have to pay for your domain, theme, and hosting. Maybe you can find a theme which is free, so you can save on that, but I rather choose paid one since it might have security issues.

I’ll show you every single step in the process to start your blog using self-hosted WordPress. Don’t try to use WordPress.com you will just end up disappointed. They will be available to display ads on your blog against your will, you won’t technically own it, etc. So stick to the guidelines and create self-hosted WordPress.org blog. This guide will contain a lot of screenshots and beginner-friendly instructions. If you’re worried that it requires some technical knowledge and skills – don’t worry, it’s not true, you can do it without being technical. Without further ado let’s get to it.

start-a-blog-meme

What do you need to start a blog

If you want to create a blog on self-hosted WordPress, here’s a simple step-by-step guide:

  1. Signup for Web Hosting
  2. Pick a Domain Name
  3. Install WordPress
  4. Install a Theme
  5. Start Writing Your First Blog Post

Doesn’t sound that hard now, does it? None of these steps requires in-depth technical knowledge.

Once your blog is live you’ll probably want to publish your first blog post and show it to your friend, family, colleagues, etc. In order to help you achieve that goal, I’ll show you how to do that exactly

I’ll show you how to:

  • Write and publish your first WordPress Blog post.
  • Change how your Blog looks – theme.
  • Add important plugins that will improve your results and ease your life.

If this may seem overwhelming – don’t worry. If you can log into your email and use your Facebook account, then you will be able to start a blog.

Blog Results

Let’s talk about some numbers. I’m going to share my organic traffic for my blog.

my-blog-organic-results

Have you heard of compound effect? The compound effect is the strategy of reaping huge rewards from small, seemingly insignificant actions. That’s pretty much how blogging works. You won’t get success just in one day, you work and write each day/week/month and your results will grow.

As you can see my blog grows month by month and it takes time to get some decent traffic. I’m a lazy blogger I write a blog post maybe once per month in overall and I started to receive some decent traffic only in the last couple of months, the work you do today will pay off later. You don’t have to wait, necessarily 3-months to receive traffic. If you can create a schedule where you publish a blog post every single day I can guarantee you that you will get a crazy amount of traffic in no time.

Step 1 – Set up your blog

In this step I’m going to go through all of the first three original steps above – How to signup for web hosting, how to get a domain and how to install WordPress on it. I’ll show you how to get all three done at once.

A blogging software/platform puts all of your ideas and words into a blog form. You also need a hosting provider so you can make your blog/website live. So you know which blogging platform we’re using – WordPress and we’re going to use Bluehost as hosting in this guide. It’s a great hosting provider, it’s fast, reliable and it comes with a money-back guarantee. You’ll get a discount if you signup for Bluehost through my links and I’ll get a small commission because I’m participating in their affiliate program. I hope you’re reading – here we go.

Signup for Bluehost

When you go to the Bluehost just hit the green button “Get Started”

signup-bluehost

P.S the picture might change over time, but you get the point.

bluehost-plans

Pick a pricing plan. It’s totally up to you which plan to pick, but as I’m going through this guide I’m creating a new blog just as you and I’m going to pick “Choice Plus”. This plan has more unlimited features and includes domain privacy. It will keep your personal contact information hidden from the public, no one will know that you own this specific domain. If you will pick another plan don’t worry, you will be able to upgrade it as soon as you feel you need these extra features.

pick-a-domain-for-your-blog

Time to pick your domain. This will be your web address. For example, ernestsembutnieks.com is my domain, that’s the blog you’re currently reading. In this guide, I’m creating a completely new blog/website and I’m picking my new domain name – noisygeeks.com

So you think about it, brainstorm for some while, because I don’t recommend changing your domain name. You can do it of course, but I highly recommend against that. Pick on that you’re proud of and stick with it. If you have one already then no problem, just enter it on the other box.

create-bluehost-account

Create your Bluehost account. Connect via Google or enter your info manually. Either is fine. Just make sure you use a working email address because this is where your login information will be sent and all the invoices and any other related information.

bluehost-account-pricing-plan

Select your package information. Choose whichever plan suits your financial situation the most. You can pick 1-year plan 2-year plan and a 3-year plan. You have to pay annually, you can’t pay monthly, I know that sucks, but it is what it is. Every single hosting provider does the same. (That’s actually a great idea for my new blog – comparing hosting services) I personally going to pick 12-month price plan for my new blog, since I’m currently on a tight budget, but obviously, financially speaking picking a 24 or 36-month is a better deal. It’s totally up to you.

Skip the package extras except for domain privacy. Just uncheck the boxes. As I mentioned earlier already, domain privacy keeps your personal contact information private. Privacy is important to me if it’s not to you then just uncheck the box.

Remember, there’s a 30-day money back guarantee as well. In case you change your mind.

bluehost-billing-information

Enter billing information. Of course the last step in order to finish your hosting signup – entering your credit card information in order to pay for the service. Confirm that you agree to the fine print and click Submit.

bluehost-successful-purchase

Success. But we are not done, yet. Now it’s time to create your account. Click on the “Create Account” button.

creating-an-account

Fill out the login information. Enter a password you can remember so you can log into your hosting whenever needed. As soon as you fill out the information you’re done with hosting.

After your password is set, click the “log in” button.

You will be offered to pick a free theme. Unless you are familiar with one I would advise you to click “Skip this step” at the bottom of the screen. If for some reason you don’t have the “skip” button, just pick a random theme, any. Usually, free themes aren’t that great. They are not updated and you will run into a lot of bugs and you will have security holes in your site and some people might exploit that. It’s not worth it at the end of the day. Later on, I’ll show you where you can find a theme and how you can install it.

Temporary domain. You will receive a notification at top of your screen that your site is on a  temporary domain. No worries. This is completely normal. Your browser address might look weird and won’t match with your domain, but it will update automatically in a couple of hours in worst case scenario 24-hours.

If anyone happens to stumble on your site while you’re working on it now (unlikely), they will see a “Coming Soon” page that looks something like this:

temporerly-domain-coming-soon

You can take a look for yourself just to check if everything is correct.

You will be able to remove “Coming Soon” with one click of a button. In fact, if you see this screen – congratulations. Your blog has been installed successfully. Time to edit it and make it cool.

You will have two option where you can log in. One is as you know Bluehost login and the other one is WordPress login. To log into Bluehost you can go to their website and click Login at the top right corner. To log into WordPress you will have to go to yourdomain.com/wp-login or yourtemporarydomain.com/wp-login.(you will receive the login link in your email) You will be able to change your login link if needed.

login-to-wordpress-with-bluehost

Log in into your WordPress.

Step 2 – Set up your WordPress

wordpress-login

Welcome to the WordPress Dashboard. Once you’ve opened WordPress, you’ll see your Dashboard. The black column on the left is a good indicator you’re in WordPress. You will be able to edit all the details on your site in this dashboard. You’ll spend a lot of time here, editing your theme, your site and a lot, I mean a lot of writing.

Choose a theme for your website

To install a new theme, go to your website’s dashboard, then go to Appearance > Themes

wordpress-theme

Now like I said before you should pick a paid theme since it’s more secure. You can browse some of the themes if you click on the premium themes or you can go to Themeforest. I personally chose Gridlove theme in this specific example and blog.

Once you find the perfect theme you love for your new blog, you can activate it from either the Live Preview (just click “Activate the Theme”) or from the main search area by clicking the “Activate” button.

As soon as the theme is activated, it will be installed on your site.  You’re now ready to start posting viral content and generating raving fans.

If you pick a theme and decided, after all, it’s not for you, you can ask for a refund, I know it’s really difficult to find the perfect one.

Create & Submit your first blog post

You have a blog, you have a new theme, it’s time to publish your first blog post.

To add your first blog post navigate to Dashboard > Posts > Add New
From here, you can add the title and start writing

how-to-write-a-blog-post

The WordPress editor is self-explanatory. There are quite a few options and details, but as soon as you’ll start writing you will get the hold of it. I suggest you just to play around with it, write your first “test post” and you will adapt quite quickly.

After you write something you need to add a featured image (find the “featured image” at the right side) as your main image for the blog post. I also suggest you add some visuals in the blog post, it makes the post more appealing and even easier to navigate through it and readers will love it.

Once you have written up the whole post, added visuals to your post, featured image and added all the headlines – it’s time to save it. Don’t publish it just yet. Before you hit the publish button and show it to your readers you need to take care of metadata. You will need to add the title & description for search engines. So when people search for you through Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo or any other search engine you can control what titles & descriptions show up. In order to do that you will need to download – Yoast SEO Plugin.

yoast-seo-for-blogging

You will be able to edit titles & description at the end of your posts. I usually add the main keyword in the slug in the title & in the description. Don’t overdo it. Make your titles & descriptions clickable, but make them also very relevant to your blog post.

Now it’s time to hit that “publish” button at top of the page.

You have officially published your first post!

Create a menu for your website

One of the most important aspects of a blog is a good user experience and easy navigation. You have to make it easy for viewers to find the content that they are searching for.

Creating a menu inside WordPress is simple.

Firstly you have to create Pages. Dashboard > Pages > Add New create all the navigation pages you want there. After you have done that Dashboard > Appearances > Menu

create-menu

Create and add a new title for your main menu and then, in the left pane of the menu editor, check the pages you want to appear on your new menu. Click “Add Menu”.

The checked pages should appear on the right pane of the editor and you can now rearrange their order by dragging the labels up and down. Once you’re happy with your menu’s structure, you can display it on your website’s main header by checking the “Primary” location checkbox (the name depends on the theme you previously selected) in the menu settings and hit save.

main-menu

Your pages should appear at top of the main menu if you did everything correctly.

Plugins for your site

You already have Yoast SEO installed. It’s time to install a couple more useful plugins that will improve your blog. There are thousands of free plugins that are available. What’s important for you now is that people can contact you.

Contact Form

First, you’re going to go to Dashboard > Plugins > Add new and search for “Contact Form 7.” Then, click “Install” and activate the plugin from the search results.

It’s not finished yet, you need to make sure that the mail template is properly functioning, you need to set up an email address where you will receive all the emails.

To do this go Dashboard > Contact > Mail tab and change the “to” value to the address where you wish to receive the emails.

Next, you’ll need to copy the “shortcode” found just under the contact form’s name… It should look something like

After you have copied the shortcode, create a new page called “Contact Us,” if you haven’t already done that. Simply paste the shortcode in the content.

contact-us-page-setup

Your Contact Us page is set.

Having a domain-based email account like [email protected] boosts the professionalism of your website and increases authority with your readers. Luckily Bluehost gives you the option to create an email on your domain. In order to do that you can go

To access this feature, simply login to your BlueHost panel, click “Email & Office” and you will figure it out. It’s pretty straightforward. I will try to keep this blog as short as possible, if you stumble upon a problem hit me up via social media, I’ll try to help you out.

Sitemap Generator

xml-sitemaps

Yet another useful SEO plugin for WordPress, Google XML Sitemaps helps search engines like Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo and Yahoo! Index your website with a special XML sitemap.

As soon as you install and activate the plugin, it will automatically create an XML sitemap that makes it easy for search engine bots to view, crawl, and index your site so that search engines can index your content for years to come. Install it and leave it as is. Simple as that.

Google Font Typography

google-fonts

If you want to edit your font on your site you don’t need to edit code, you can get a plugin for that. With Google Font Typography installed, you’ll notice that there is a new option in the Customizer: Google Fonts.

This setting allows you to change the fonts on your site to your liking and grants you a greater level of authority over your site’s aesthetic. I suggest you play around with setting and find the right fit for your blog.

Create an identity for your WordPress site

The most important things are done, but you still have a couple more things to take care of and just take your blog to the next level.

how-to-create-taglines-for-wordpress-blog

You can create a free logo just by adding your domain name & niche your site is in. After you pick your favorite logo they will send you an email with logo, favicon, header for twitter, facebook, etc.

Edit your site’s title and tagline. In order to do that Dashboard > Appearance > Customize > Site identity

Source – free logo creator

A lot of customization happens on theme level, so it’s hard to give out tips since there’s a huge chance we have different themes.

Add Google Analytics to your site

You’re probably interested in the traffic you’re receiving and from which countries they are coming and what are they doing on your site, so you should also install Google Analytics. I’ll show you how to do it without a plugin. The fewer plugins you use on your site the better. Badly coded plugins could add bloat and slow down your site.

You’ll be directly editing the code that outputs your site, so a mistake as small as a misplaced comma could bring down your whole site. So don’t make any mistakes.

Step 1 – Create a Google Analytics account

Step 2 – Get your Google Analytics tracking code

copy the Global Site Tag (gtag.js)

google-analytics-tracking-code

Step 3 – Add the tracking code into header.php file

Log in to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to Appearance > Theme Editor. Now click the header.php file on the right-hand side below the Templates section.

settingup-google-analytics

Paste the tracking code you just copied from your Analytics profile before the closing </head> tag.

That’s it. Click “save” and give it 1-2 minutes and go check your Google Analytics Dashboard. (Soon I’ll create a guide on how to navigate through Google Analytics and track important things on your site that you should pay attention to improve your user’s experience.)

Congratulations your blog is done.

Like I said…it wasn’t that hard, right? Give your self a quick clap for a minute. Unfortunately, it’s just the beginning. Time to create content, so glue your ass to a chair and start writing one blog post after another.

celebrating-blog-finished


If you had some issues and got stuck somewhere, feel free to reach out via email or social media. If you guys enjoyed the post, share & subscribe.  Comments are always welcome, so drop me a line below.

Also, my site is monetized with affiliate links, so if you use any of the services I recommended there’s a chance I might receive a small commission for that. Shameless affiliate links. My site also accepts BAT tokens if you’re interested in contributing.


FAQ

Frequently asked questions when you’re starting out with blog and WordPress. I figured someone of you might have these questions as well, so I’ll just give a quick summary. If you’ve any other specific questions in mind, drop me a line in comments or reach out to me on social media.

How to backup WordPress site

Backing up your WordPress blog or website is essential. If something for some reason goes wrong you can get your site back up and running in minutes. You can never be too careful.

How to back up your database

  • Download a plugin called UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup Plugin. Activate it.
  • Configure your plugin setting. Set up your schedule for daily/weekly backups. Depends on how much your content is changing on a daily basis, if you write one blog post a month then it’s enough to schedule your backups weekly.
  • Connect your WordPress with DropBox or any other cloud storage service so your backups are safe in a cloud.

How much does a blog cost?

The method I’m describing is budget friendly. It will cost you less than $10 a month. I’ve used this budget for years. As your blog will grow you’ll start buying premium plugins, tools just to improve your blogging, but since you’re just starting out you should be fine with $10 a month. Think about it…it’s less than your gym membership, it’s almost the same price as a meal at McDonald’s. Unless like a meal and a gym membership this is an investment and has the potential to bring in thousands of dollars for you, it all really depends on you.

How do I log in to WordPress once I’ve logged out?

To get back to your WordPress dashboard, type your domain name + /wp-admin. For example, if I want to log into my site I’ve to go – https://ernestsembutnieks.com/wp-admin (you can change that in setting for security reasons, but if you do, write it down)

logging-in-to-wordpress-dashboard

 

WordPress login box

If you don’t remember your login info, find the history of the email when you signed up. Also, you can always log in to WordPress by logging in to your Bluehost account first.

Sometimes Marketing is More Art Than Marketing. A lot of People Don't Get That.

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