Starting a WordPress blog is an activity a lot of people desire, but not everyone makes it a reality. The investment of time and money, insecurities with their writing, and fear of privacy loss are common reasons why people fail. In contrast, we think that everyone with passion and desire should dare to be a blogger. After all, every person has a story to tell and something they excel in, even if they aren’t aware or refuse to accept it. There’s also an element of luck; you never know what might fight an audience, and how quickly. With that out of the way, let’s delve into how to blog on WordPress.
1. Determine a niche
Although you can get into this without a plan, we don’t think that’s a good idea. Having a rough concept of the topics, areas, or fields you plan to cover will let you execute step 2 perfectly. It also means that you’re working on an end goal from the beginning, and don’t have to move the contents of your website to a new domain, erase articles, rebrand the blog design, and rush to publish new content. We suggest you spend some time deliberating on a niche in which you can bring value to others long-term.
2. Choose a domain name for a WordPress blog
Do you know the niche and your target audience? Well, then you know the language the domain name should be in, and some words might come to mind immediately. With that knowledge, check our tips on picking the best blog domain name.
3. Decide between WordPress.com or WordPress.org
You did good picking WordPress as your CMS (Content Management System) since it powers over 41% of the indexable websites. However, you must now pick between these two blogging platforms:
For the vast majority of bloggers (we’d say 95%+), using WordPress.org, known as self-hosted WordPress, is the better choice. It’s open-source, free to download, use, and modify, can be installed on nearly every web hosting, including in localhost. It provides freedom to making money in WordPress by installing Google AdSense or placing your own ads with plugins, installing custom apps, plugins, themes, creating a membership-only section, using custom analytics tools, and much more. The downside is that you must do steps 4 and 5 manually.
WordPress.com is the hosting service led by the co-founder of WordPress.org. It’s free up to point (mostly 3 GB of storage space), takes care of hosting, free subdomain, updates, and backups. In contrast, they place ads on your blog and make money from it, and you can’t sell ads on your website unless you’re using a paid plan. Even then, you must share a percentage of revenue. Moreover, you can’t upload plugins, add custom themes, analytics tools, create a members-only section, and much more. Or, you can, but with a Business plan upgrade ($25/month).
4. Purchase a web hosting plan
We’ll assume you decided to use WordPress.org. The next step is to pick the web hosting provider, and the type of web hosting that fits your blog. We’ve reviewed a few popular choices, namely Bluehost WebHosting, Siteground WebHosting (both recommended by WordPress.org), and Rocket WP Hosting. We’ll demonstrate the procedure with Bluehost:
- Open Bluehost and click on Get Started.
- Select one of the plans by clicking on Select.
- Now, enter the name under “Create a new domain” or “Use a domain you own” and click on Next.
- Enter your personal information, double-check the plan under, sign up or opt-out of add-ons, and enter payment information.
- Agree to the terms and click on Submit.
- You’ll receive credentials to sign in to the Bluehost cPanel (web hosting Control Panel).
5. Install WordPress
Bluehost is one of the web hosting providers that have a 1-click WordPress installation feature. On the “Home” tab of the cPanel, click on Log in to WordPress. If your provider doesn’t, or you prefer the manual way, we have an ultimate guide about installing WordPress. For that, you’ll need to master accessing your website via FTP.
6. Install a theme in WordPress
Now’s the time to make the barebones blog your own by installing a WordPress theme. But not just any theme; you should look for the best theme for speed and performance. It also needs to be blogging-friendly – the latest or featured blog posts, categorized or random, must appear on the home page. Be aware that, while you must like it, you aren’t making the blog for yourself. Instead, you want to attract as large an audience as possible. Therefore, the theme should be conventionally attractive, responsive, and load quickly. Seen a visually appealing website? Check whether WordPress powers it, which theme it uses, and start from that foundation.
7. Make necessary changes to your WordPress blog
At this point, there’s a lot of excess content or page elements you must remove or modify. It’s time to access your WordPress Admin Section and start mastering WordPress. Edit the header, add a new drop-down menu, comb through every top-level page you left linked in the header, and personalize each. Pay special attention to editing the footer, particularly removing the credits footer, and modifying the links in the footer menu. If a contact form/page doesn’t exist (which is rare), add your own.
8. Publish your first WordPress blog post
Now that you’ve tidied your blog up, it’s time to give visitors a reason to come. Go to the WordPress Admin section, then click on Add New under “Posts” in the left sidebar. In the WordPress Block Editor (Gutenberg Editor) interface, enter the post title at the top, write text, embed elements in the text, and structure content with headings. After you’re done writing, consider adding a tag and sorting the post into a category. Add a featured image, and you’re ready to publish.
9. Install WordPress plugins
With a foundation in place, you can customize your blog further. To introduce new functionality without writing a line of code, you must install WordPress plugins. If you aren’t sure where to start, we recommend doing these 10 changes after WordPress installation and installing most, if not all, the must-have plugins for WordPress. After you’re done, we suggest reading 13 tips on becoming a successful blogger.