14 Aug How to start a blog: an easy guide for beginners
So, you want to start a blog but are unsure how to? Starting something new can be overwhelming which is why I chose to write this post. When I started my blog I had no background knowledge, I was a stay at home Mum that wanted to do something for myself. After travelling to Japan with our toddler and then coming back home to a normal routine I decided to write about our experiences.
If I can create a blog than anyone can and the beauty of blogging is you can write about whatever you like, I find it to be such a great outlet. So, here is my easy guide for beginners on how to start a blog in 2019.
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1. Choose a blog name
The first step to starting a blog is to choose a blog name. Ideally, your blog name will be the same for your domain and social media user names. My best tip for choosing a blog name is to brainstorm, write them all down and mix them around until you settle on one you like. Be sure to check what is already taken.
Your blog name should reflect what you are writing about as well as being unique to you. Make sure it will be future proof for your blog. When choosing a name for my blog, I had the word toddler on my list but scratched it because obviously, I wouldn’t always have a toddler.
2. Register your name and buy hosting
Once you have decided on a name for your blog, it’s time to register it as a domain. You can register a domain and buy hosting at the same time. I personally use Hostgator.com. For starting a blog the hatchling plan will be suitable.
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As well as one free domain registration, the plan also includes an SSL certificate. The next choice you will need to make is how long to pay for. The more months you buy, the cheaper the price in the long run.
Some features that I like on Hostgator are the user-friendly CPanel and the 24/7 support. I always find the live chat helpful but you are also able to email or phone for support.
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3. How to set up your blog with WordPress
After purchasing your hosting plan, log in and click on “get started with WordPress today”. After selecting your domain, you will need to create a user name. Once you fill in your details, hit install and a password will be made that you can change later.
With WordPress now installed you can type into your browser domainname.com/wp-admin (replace domainname with your actual domain name) and log in with the username and password you just created. This will bring you to the WordPress administrator page where you can start creating your blog.
4. Choose a theme for your blog
When you’re logged into WordPress administrator, you will see the menu down the left side. Hover over Appearance and click Themes. You can then click “Add New Theme” and browse through many different free themes. You can select to look through popular themes or you can filter the search to look for particular features. Each theme will show you a preview, once you have found one you like click install. Once installed you can then see a live preview of the theme and activate it.
You can also choose to purchase a premium theme. These are a lot more customisable than free themes. I started out with a free theme and I think I changed it a few times trying to find a design I liked. I have since purchased a premium theme and am working on getting the blog to look and function the way I want, it’s an ongoing process but having a premium theme does allow a lot more freedom in design. I purchased my theme from EnvatoMarket.
5. Install some plugins
Plugins are add-ons for your website that provide extra features. Some are pre-installed on WordPress such as Jetpack. Other plugins I have are:
Yoast SEO – Easy to follow tips for improving your SEO with content analysis.
Instagram Feed – Display your Instagram feed on your site.
Social Media Feather – Show clickable social media icons so readers can follow you and share your content.
W3 Total Cache – Improves speed and user experience. This is something that I only recently found I needed after doing a site speed check.
6. Add some pages & posts
You can now add some pages to your blog, start with an About page so readers will know who you are and what they can expect to find on your blog. On the left-side menu of WordPress, you will find Pages, hover over and click Add New.
You will also find Posts on the left-side menu, click on it to open the posts window. Sometimes you will have demo posts as part of your theme. Delete these and then click Add New to begin writing your very own post. If you installed Yoast SEO, this will be underneath with tips for your writing. You can save your posts as drafts and come back to edit them until you are ready to publish.
7. Get people to your blog
Now that you have created a blog and wrote some posts, you will want people to read them. Utilise social media to promote your blog, find others in your niche, follow people and share your blog posts. Pinterest has been a great tool for many bloggers in promoting their blog. I personally create my pins in photoshop, using my travel photos but there are also apps available.
I hope you have found my How to start a blog an easy guide for beginners helpful. Happy Blogging!