Learn how to start a WordPress blog in no time
Plenty of businesses strive to create a blog nowadays, especially considering that content marketing can be such a valuable, high-converting strategy. Most know they should start a blog, but they’re lost about how exactly they should get started.
If you’re worried about how to create a blog, what’s involved, or how to be successful, you can rest easy! Starting a blog for your business is much easier than you’d think once you know what to expect and how to proceed, and we’ve got you covered.
Within this guide, we’ll walk you through the entire step-by-step process to create a WordPress blog in no time. Obviously, you can use free blogging platforms like Medium.com, Tumblr.com, or Blogger.com, but if you are serious to get into blogging to expand your business exposure, then a self-hosted WordPress site is by far the best solution you have.
Ready to enter into the magic world of blogging?
How to start a blog in 8 simple steps
- Step 1. Find a profitable blogging niche
- Step 2. Choose a domain name
- Step 3. Get your blog hosting
- Step 4. Set up your WordPress blog
- Step 5. Customize your blog theme
- Step 6. Write the content
- Step 7. Get your blog SEO optimized
- Step 8. Launch and promote your blog
Step 1. Find a profitable blogging niche
Niches are a distinct subset of a broader topic. For instance, “cuisine” is a broad topic while “Italian cuisine” is a niche subset of that broader topic. When you’re planning the strategy and concept for your blog, it’s important to decide on a blog niche early in the process. It’ll help differentiate yourself from your competitors in your industry, determine who your target audience is, and which blog post topics you should focus on. A strong blog niche will help enhance your brand and build your authority in your industry.
Let’s look at an example, and let’s stay within the culinary example we started above. Let’s imagine a culinary school trying to recruit students, they could focus on the general topic of “cooking.” This will be difficult to compete in. The competition is high, therefore they’ll struggle to perform well with their new blog but instead, they could break it down into any of the following topic areas:
- Tutorials showing students how to make classic dishes
- Breakdowns of common mistakes made in the kitchen and how to rectify them
- Historical information on different cuisines, spices, and dishes
These topics are all focused and have a strong point of view, and they’re not being written about extensively by many people. This is what you can call, a profitable blogging niche.
Step 2. Choose a domain name
Choosing a domain name isn’t unlike choosing a brand name. It says a lot about your business, so it’s important to get it right. You can often purchase a domain name when you’re paying for a third-party hosting service (more on that within the next chapter) or through a domain registrar such as Google Domains.
Here are the best practices you need to consider when creating a domain name:
- Keep it simple. You want your domain name to be easy to remember and type. A URL like “www.dinosaursrus.com” is a lot easier to remember and type correctly than “www.dinosaursareourlifeforever.com.”
- Incorporate your brand name. If at all possible, including your business’s name in the domain is a good choice. This ties the content back to you.
- Use .com domains. These are the most known extensions. Other domains such as .biz or .info are easier to forget and may be misleading.
Few tips before you buy a domain name
- Align your domain name with your business name to improve brand recognition and trustworthiness for your customers.
- Keep it short and catchy so it’s easy to tell anyone where your website is located and also easy for people to remember. You can lose customers if your web address is too complicated.
- Get a top-level domain (TLD) such as .com or .co.uk. Choose the TLD based on your customers’ main location so your site will show up when people search with local versions of Google.
- Register the domain under your own name so that you have control over it. If you don’t want your name and address plastered all over the web, then you can enable domain privacy for an additional fee with most providers.
If you already have a blog name in mind, check if it’s available or not. If it has already been registered, here are a few things you can do:
- Instead of the .com domain extension try the .net or the .org versions
- Use hyphens to separate words (-)
- Add or eliminate stop words (the, best, a, etc.)
Step 3. Get your blog hosting
Your blog hosting (also called web host, or web hosting service provider) is where your website lives on the internet. Web hosts will store your site on their remote servers and display the site when a user tries to view it.
Here essentially you have two solutions to host your WordPress blog, either a free blog hosting solution or a paid one. Which one should you choose? It all depends on what your goals are.
If you aim to create a personal blog, then yes, you just have to head to WordPress.com, register an account, choose a blog name and within minutes you can start posting your first blog post. WordPress.com is your free blog hosting solution for excellence. While super accessible, user-friendly, and clearly affordable, it’s important to keep in mind that it also comes with some limitations, such as:
- There will be WordPress.com’s own advertising on your site
- Unless you pay for a premium account your URL will look something like: yourname.wordpress.com
- You only have access to a limited number of themes and plugins
- You can’t use your website for commercial purposes
- You only get 3GB of website storage
If instead, your goal is to monetize your blog in any way then you need a WordPress-specific web hosting solution such as Hostinger, WP Engine, or Bluehost just to name a few, but there are many more out there, and here you can already find a list of the best web hosting services for 2022 tested and rated by PC Magazine.
The advantage of choosing a third-party web host is that in addition to getting WordPress installed automatically, they usually offer:
- A free domain name, and SSL certificate the first year
- Automatic updates of the WordPress software
- Great security
- Customizable solutions
- Reliable server uptime and speed
- Dedicated support 24/7
- Variety of plans and pricing
- Intuitive dashboard (c-panel) interface
- Unlimited storage
Key factors to consider when choosing a web host for WordPress
- Make sure the web host meets WordPress minimum requirements
- Understand the needs of your blog. What type of content are you going to publish? Simple blog posts or are you going to also host videos, podcasts, and maybe webinars as well? In that case, opt for a shared web host solution
- Look at server reliability/uptime scores
- The ability to upgrade your server in case your blog grows exponentially and attracts larger traffic (usually above 30K unique visitors)
- Do they have a refund policy/free trial?
- Do they offer a good backup policy?
- Do they offer essential features such as a one-click installer for WordPress, file manager, and DNS management?
- Do they offer live chat or telephone customer assistance?
- Do they offer a stable and fast server speed to ensure that your website loads smoothlyand fast?
Step 4. Set up your WordPress blog
Within this section, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of setting up WordPress on a third-party web host and as an example, we have chosen BlueHost which is one of the top three hosts recommended by WordPress.
Let’s get started.
Here are the 8 simple steps you need to follow:
Step 1. Visit BlueHost home page, and select the “Start building” tab on the right.
Step 2. You’ll then have the option to choose among 3 plans: basic, Pro, and online store. As you can see, all plans include hosting however, if your goal is to monetize your blog, choose either the Pro or the online store option.
Step 3. You will then have the option either to create a domain name immediately or later. No matter what will be your choice, you first need to create your account to move on.
Step 4. Once registered, from within BlueHost’s main dashboard, click on the sidebar’s “My Sites” tab, then click the “Create site” button on the top right
You’ll see that two new windows will appear, click the “Start Building”button under the WordPressoption, and enter all the required admin information such as your blog name, tagline if you have any, a username, and obviously a new password.
Step 5. Click again on the sidebar’s “My Sites” tab, then look at the site you want to manage and click on the “Manage site” button
Step 6. Click the “Log into WordPress” tab on the top right corner
Step 7. Then within the secondary menu, click the “website” tab, and within the highlighted WordPress section of the page, click on “install now”
Step 8. A WordPress icon will appear, click on the “install” button
Congratulations, you just have installed WordPress!
From here you can select the plugins you desire to add extra functionality to your blog, keep the default theme that comes with your hosting package, or purchase and upload a premium one, and you are ready to go.
If you don’t feel comfortable with your WordPress installation and set-up, especially for the plugins you might need and other more technical functionalities you would like to add to your blog, the best is to hire a WordPress developer to whom you can also ask to teach you some basics in terms of maintenance and update of your WordPress site.
Find a WordPress developer for hire
Step 5. Customize your blog theme
Now, speaking about WordPress themes all web hosts, free and paid, offer a default set of free themes. They might or might not fit your needs, no matter what there is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to your theme design and customization, and it may require more advanced web customization knowledge than some businesses have access to.
Keeping your blog design clean, clutter-free, and user-friendly is key. Here are some important design tips to keep into consideration:
- Incorporate plenty of white space on the blog. This helps the reader focus, and it looks clean. Use wide margins and good content spacing to accomplish this.
- Format the text for scanability. You want people to be able to skim your content and your blog as a whole quickly. Think short blocks of text, lots of bullet points and subheadings, and bolded text to help your main point stand out.
- Keep the color scheme simple. Stick to your core branded colors, and make sure that the main color field isn’t too dark so that the text can’t be read.
- Organize your navigational tabs. It should be simple for your readers to find what they’re looking for. Include a search bar and the option to browse by topic.
- Test the responsive theme. Make sure the design actually looks great on mobile, too.
Knowing that 55% of users spend fewer than 15 seconds on a web page, you understand how much your blog design matters. The design of your blog is essential, and it can matter just as much as the content itself. If the design doesn’t look clean and professional, it can make your entire brand lose credibility. If you want to gain time (and money) the best solution you have at this stage, it’s to hire a freelance WordPress customization expert to help.
Find a WordPress customization specialist for hire
Step 6. Write the content
And now, finally, is the part that you’ve been waiting for since you first decided to create the blog: writing the content itself.
Content is king. Without informative, helpful, and authoritative content that’s well-written and provides valuable insights to the reader, your blog will go nowhere.
Authoritative web content typically possesses the following characteristics:
- It’s informative and actionable, so the reader learns something and knows how to use that information.
- It’s relevant to your target audience, making it impactful.
- It’s easy-to-understand so that it’s easy to act upon.
- It’s detailed-oriented, offering more information than what they could find with competitors.
- It’s including your expert opinion and your industry knowledge.
- It’s valuable and beneficial to the reader.
While you need the individual blog posts to contain all of these elements, remember to pay close attention to your “About Us” and “Contact” pages. You may already have these up and running, but if not, make sure that they’re transparent and that they feel authentic, explaining who you are, what makes you different, and how your audience can get in touch.
Blogging and content marketing offer an enormous array of benefits to businesses that use them strategically, consistently, and correctly.
These benefits include the following:
- You can gain readership and popularity. Blog posts that are well-written and well-researched to provide valuable and informative content can attract regular readers, helping your brand build new relationships.
- Develop a community around your brand. Readers who become loyal and follow can become a community on your blog, especially if they’re regularly engaging.
- Establish yourself as an industry expert and build authority. When you create valuable and authoritative content that stays on top of industry trends, you demonstrate your authority and build trust among your customer base.
- Boost SEO and increase traffic to your site. Creating search-optimized, evergreen content for your site means that you can appear in search results for a large number of diverse keywords. Evergreen content covers topics of persistent interest to your readers, so you can write long-form, highly authoritative guides that will serve as a reference for months or years to come. Over time, this means that more traffic will come to your site, especially as blogging contributes to authority-boosting backlinks that will further help your SEO.
- Convert traffic into leads. Your blog allows you to build trust with your followers. It also gives you a chance to show your product in use and explain why it’s valuable to an interested audience, resulting in leads and even sales.
If creating your blog content feels overwhelming or outside your wheelhouse, consider hiring a content writer. There are plenty of experienced, knowledgeable content writers out there who can offer high-quality writing and content strategy to increase your success.
When you hire a writer, you should make sure that you provide them with clear style guidelines. This should include the tone and language you want them to use, any keyword strategies that you have, and specific style guidelines. Your preferences on sentence length, passive or active voice, conjunctions, or title case should be mentioned here. It’s also helpful to share the goal of the piece and the audience you want to target.
Find a blog writer for hire
Step 7. Get your blog SEO optimized
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of optimizing your blog to help search engines crawlers easily find and “understand” your content and index all of your blog pages.
The vast majority of online traffic comes through search engines, so you want to ensure that your content is ranking as highly as possible. If not, you’re missing out on an enormous portion of potential clicks, which could have ideally been high-intent potential customers.
Optimizing your content for SEO takes consistent effort, and should start with the following steps:
- Do keyword research using tools like SEMRush or Ahrefs, and identify keywords that have enough search volume that you can get results but aren’t so competitive that you’d struggle to rank for them. You can also hire a keyword research specialist to help.
- Include the keywords in your headline (h1) and H2 and H3 headers.
- Include keywords throughout the text and in alt-image text.
- Create a meta description that includes the target keywords.
You should also optimize the backend of your site for SEO. A technical SEO specialist can help you with this part of the process, which may include the following:
- Adding Schema markup to your site, which helps Google read and understand the information on your page.
- Setting up canonical tags helps prevent duplicate content issues
- Use open graphs (OG), which are meta tags designed to improve integration with social media platforms.
Since SEO includes a variety of skills and knowledge, it can be helpful to hire an SEO freelancer if you don’t have these skills yourself. A freelancer can take care of all SEO aspects behind SEO, whether it’s on-page, off-page, or technical SEO.
Find an SEO expert for hire
Step 8. Launch and promote your blog
Once your blog is up and running, it’s easy to think that it’s all smooth sailing ahead. But blogs need consistent and ongoing promotional efforts.
Even if your blog content is fully SEO optimized, you can’t just sit back and wait for your audience to find you. It can take some time to build up SEO rankings and for your blog to draw consistent organic traffic, so be proactive about your blog promotion strategy.
Here’s are some ways to effectively promote your blog:
- Be active in your niche by participating in industry forums and Q&As, such as on Quora
- Be active on social media, sharing your blog content regularly on your profiles
- Find guest blogging opportunities to build more online visibility and increase your brand’s trust and authority
- Participate in a blog community. Blog communities can offer valuable insight and help you build connections that can benefit you moving forward.
- Collaborate with other bloggers in your industry. Partnering up with other bloggers opens up opportunities for guest posting and shared promotion strategies.
- Respond thoughtfully to comments on your blog. If your readers are taking the time to leave comments, you should take the time to write a strong response that shows that you value their input.
- Focusing on quality over quantity. Quality is always superior, so make sure that your content is well-researched, well-written, and well-edited, even if you can only publish one post a month.
- Be consistent. If your posting schedule is irregular, your topics are all over the place, or your brand voice changes too frequently, you’ll lose readers quickly.
Here are five ways to repurpose your blog content and extend its reach
You want your blog to benefit you as much as possible. This can mean using the content you’ve already created in new ways, extending your content’s reach, and making it even more powerful.
Consider implementing the following strategies:
- Use the content as part of your paid advertising campaigns. Create retargeting campaigns based on users who viewed certain posts.
- Create forums and online communities (including Facebook Groups) around the blog.
- Create newsletters summarizing your best content, ensuring that all of your subscribers see every great post.
- Repurpose great blog posts into podcast episodes, which can be uploaded onto third-party platforms.
- Create videos based on repurposed blog posts, which can be embedded in the blog posts themselves and shared on third-party, high-engaging platforms like YouTube.
Launching a new blog can be exciting and overwhelming for business owners at the same time. However, with all the incredible potential that content marketing has to offer, it’s not something that you want to put off!
With a strong blogging strategy like the one we’ve detailed above, you can drive your business more effectively. You can achieve items such as effectively reach your target audience, drive traffic to your site, build thought leadership, increase your SEO rankings, drive leads and sales, and establish long-term relationships with potential customers. These are all incredible benefits that you want to take advantage of as soon as possible because they can be a game-changer for your business (and your profit margins).
There are some complex tasks involved in creating a blog, and if you’re feeling overwhelmed or out of your element, that’s okay. There is an abundance of talented and experienced freelancers available for hire who can help your business blog excel.