I started my blogging journey a few years ago. I decided to start writing online tutorials on how to solve the common issues related to a particular computer language. The main reason I started it was to showcase my skills(by linking it to my Linkedin page) and give an extra boost to my career growth.

But the readers grew very fast in a way I never expected it to and made some money on the side too. I had started with Google AdSense, but later started with Amazon affiliate marketing by recommending relevant books. My contribution to that particular website is very low now since I have started a variety of other blogs. But it is still gathers more traffic and more revenue every month than it used to.

That is one of the beauties of starting a blog. Once you grow an audience you will earn a passive income from it even if you don’t regularly post on it. Of course, it will take some months to gain a loyal following and earn money. It all depends on how much you work in preparing and writing each post and how you market it.

In this post, I will tell you how to start a blog on WordPress.

Why WordPress you ask? Apart from the fact that more than a quarter of all the websites are powered by WordPress, these are some of the advantages.

  • It is free.
  • Easy to setup.
  • If the WordPress platform itself doesn’t have a support for something, then it can be done with any of the vast numbers of plugins including 50000+ free plugins.
  • You can customize your site with 1000s of free themes available in the market.
  • Most of the hosting providers have unique support for WordPress including One-click install and even managed WordPress where the company itself does all the technical aspects.
  • If you are stuck with anything then the enormous community or just a google search can help you out to solve those.

I have 10+ active blogs and websites of which 8 are in WordPress. The other blogging platform I love is Ghost (Used by this blog).

Now let us go through the main steps in starting a blog.

  • Deciding what are you going to write about.
  • Choosing a domain name.
  • Choosing where to host your website.
  • Installing WordPress
  • Customize your blog with themes.
  • Installing the essential plugins.
  • Changing from http to https
  • Monetizing your site.

Step 1 – Decide what you are going to write about

You might have already figured out why you want to start a blog. If not then you should do it now. There are 1000s of areas on which you can write about.

Consider the following:

  • A good amount of people who are interested in your chosen topic. It ensures that you will get a steady traffic. If you are not sure of the interest then go to Google Trends. You can check the relative interest of people by location and time.
  • It would be better if you choose an area where you are skilled or passionate enough. This way it will be easier to keep working on it. Sometimes it is hard to work with the prospect of money alone.
  • Check out the current competition to see the topics which does not have a heavy competition. That can help you in making a speedy growth.

Step 2 – Choosing a Domain Name for your Blog

The domain name is the address you enter into the address bar to visit a particular website.

Mainly there are two parts to it; the name and the extension. For example, in my case, ‘affs’ is the name and ‘.review’ is the extension.

There are some major points to consider while choosing a domain name.

  1. It should be easy to remember. You can either make it a short one or a long one with commonly used words.
  2. It is better if you can have your brand or the topic of your blog in the domain name itself.
  3. You might not get a .com extension with your preferred names. But there are 100s of other extensions like the ‘.review’ for this blog.
    You can also choose an extension that says what your blog is about like ‘.design’ or ‘.clothing’ etc.
  4. If your targeted visitors are from a particular country, then choose country-specific extensions like ‘.us’, ‘.ca’, ‘.in’ etc(Go here to see some options). This will have a slight benefit in search engine optimization. There are even extensions for major cities like .london and .nyc.

Usually, there are two options to buy the domain name.

  1. Easier and Faster setup but lesser options on domain extension.
    Buy from the hosting provider itself. And in some cases you will get a domain name for free the first year. But the extension available will be less. Also, in case of free domain do read the terms of who the domain name belongs to and if you can use it if you decide to transfer the hosting at a later time.
  2. More options on extensions but additional configuration steps(adding an entry) and slower(couple of hours) – You would have to do Step 4.2
    Buy the domain name from an exclusive seller like NameCheap. This option would require an additional step of adding a DNS entry in the domain providers site which points to the hosting providers. This option will give you access to a 100s of domain extensions and a lot of cheap options too. And you have better control.
    **If you are buying from NameCheap there will be an additional steps of adding a new entry which I will show at the bottom – Step 4.2
    **

Click here to buy a new domain name from NameCheap.
NameCheap

Now another big question is how much does a domain name cost usually? It will depend on the name and extension.
But in general, I found that most of the ‘.com’ domains come to around $10 for a year.
If you are using Namecheap for buying a domain most, then you can avail discounts. Like the ‘.review’ extension I use. It cost me only $0.88 for a year. And I bought it for 5 years so it came to about $6 for 5 years.
Also, they give you free whoisguard protection for life now. This is useful if you do not want people to know the details of name, address and phone number you registered the domain with.
Also, it comes with good security including 2-factor authentication.

Step 3 – Choosing where to host your website

The next step is to find an online server which will store all your files. Or in short a place to host your website.

There are different kinds of hosting like Shared hosting, Manged WordPress hosting, VPS hosting etc. But for a new blogger the preferred solution is the shared hosting when considering the monthly cost.

I have worked with multiple hosting services and one I can swear by is
SiteGround shared hosting. Click on the link to get a 60% discount also.

And it is recommended on the official WordPress.org page.

Some advantages of the Siteground shared hosting are

   
   
   
   

Note: Many shared hosting plans will show unlimited bandwidth. But that may come with a lot of limitations including throttling your CPU usage once you exceed their expectations.

Step 3.1 – Choose the hosting plan

Click on ‘Web Hosting’ link on the menu and select shared hosting. You can see 3 plans are available.

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Startup – This is the cheapest plan. If you are planning to start only a single website then this plan is fine. This is good when you have less than around 10000 monthly visitors. Don’t worry if you have more vistors as the time goes by. When you see a consistent increase you can move to the next plan.
Growbig – This is what I usually buy and the recommended one. You can host multiple websites in this plan. So you can host the additional new websites that you may start. I will show how to add new domains in a later post. You can also restore the backups easily.
GoGeek – This is the top tier and you can accomodate more than 100000 monthly readers. Well, if you have that many visitors you should anyways move to a dedicated hosting.

After deciding on the plan, click on Get started.

Step 3.2 – Enter your domain details

If you haven’t bought a domain already then you can buy one here. Choose your name and extension. If you already have a domain name then give that name here. Click proceed.

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Step 3.2 – Enter your personal and payment details

Give your personal details and provide an email id and a password for login purpose.Give your credit or debit card details for billing purposes.

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Step 3.4 – Additional Addons

You can change the plan here once more. You can also change the location of the datacenter. There are multiple location in US, UK, Singapore and Netherlands. CHoose a location that will be nearer to your targeted visitors location.

Select the duration of hosting you want to pay for now. Note that once the time is over, the renewal payment will be without a discount usually. So if you have enough money now choose 3 years.

The SG site scanner can help you in monitoring you websites for troubles. It is a good option.

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After doing everything click on pay now.

You will get a message saying you have successfully created the account. You can login to the customer area from the button here.

Step 4 – Installing WordPress

If you are logging in for the first time, SiteGround may show a pop-up asking how to setup your website. Select ‘the don’t need help now’ button.

When you are in the Siteground dashboard for your account, click on the ‘MyAccounts’ tab on the top.

Click on the Go To cPanel button. You will get a pop up asking whether to connect to the cPanel securely. Check the box and also the ‘Remember my selection’ box. Click on Proceed.

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The cPanel dashboard is where you can install the blog platforms, add extra domains etc.
Scroll down and go to WordPress tools section and click on WordPress installer.

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In the next dashboard click on ‘install’.
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In this dashboard you have to enter the basic details of the blog.

  • Choose Protocol: For now you can choose the ‘http://’. We can later change it to ‘https’ for free in the next section.
  • Choose Domain – Select the domain on which you want to install WordPress. Since this is the first site, there will be only one option to select.
  • In Directory – Don’t give anything.
  • Site Name – This is the name of the website which will be shown in the header bar. We can change it later also if needed.
  • Site Description – Give a good description of the site as it is good for the SEO. This can also be changed.
  • Admin Username – This is the username by which you will enter the wordpress dashboard installation. By default, Siteground will give you a username. If you are changing, then please avoid ‘admin’,’user’ or your name etc. for security reasons.
  • Admin Password
  • Admin Email – Select the email where you want the installation result and other notifications to be sent.
  • Leave the select plugins and themes options.

Click on Install.

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After installation you will get a notification like below.
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The first link is to see your site. If you had bought the domain name from a different vendor then if you click on this link you will get an error. WE have to add a dns entry also in the namecheap server.

The second link is to see the wordpress admin area.

Step 4.2 – Connecting domain name provider to Siteground(Only if you had bought the domain name from another provider)

This is an example of connecting namecheap to siteground. Basically we are asking the Namecheap that whenever someone enters the domain name, forward it to the SiteGround servers. We just need to enter one entry.

Go to the cPanel dashboard. In the ‘Account Information’ tab on the left you can see the NameServers. We need to copy those two entries.

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Go to NameCheap and select the domain which you want.
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In the domains tab, when you scroll down you can see a NAMESERVERS section. Change the option to Custom DNS.

And enter the two nameserver details you copied from the siteground dashboard here. And enter the tick mark on right.

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Thats it. You are done. You will get a message saying that there will be up to 48 hours to see the effect. But usually for me it takes less than an hour. After it is done you will be able to go to your site by entering your address on the browser. Also, try chrome incognito mode if it takes too much time.

Step 5 – Changing from http to https(for free)

Changing your site from http to https has many advantages including better ranking for your new blog in google. And they have made new changes where all sites without an https will show as ‘not secure’ in chrome (Read about it [here]
(https://security.googleblog.com/2018/02/a-secure-web-is-here-to-stay.html)). Also, read this post to see some more advantages.

When you have hosted with Siteground(no matter where the domain was bought from), you can setup the ‘https’ protocol for free and easily.

Step 5.1 – Installing Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate

Login to your account and go to your Cpanel account from there.

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Under the securities tab, click on Let’s Encrypt button.
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You can see all your domains listed out there. Under the Install new Let’s Encrypt Certificate tab, select the domain you want. And click install.Screenshot-2018-06-08-11.04.55

After it is installed, you will get the below message.
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Step 5.2 – Forcing https from your WordPress page

Go to your WordPress admin page. If you have not downloaded the SG Optimizer Plugin do that now.

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Click on the SG optimizer section on the side toolbar. Click on the configure button in HTTPS Config section.
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Click on the force HTTPS button so that a ‘checkmark’ is seen. It might ask you to login again at this stage.

Now your site will automatically move to the https version.

Step 6 – Selecting a theme for your new blog

There are 1000s of free themes for wordpress, many of which are available from the WordPress dashboard itself.

To see your themes or add new ones click on the ‘Appearance’ section on the left menu and select themes. It will show all the themes installed, which is active etc. you can select any of them with a click.

To add a new theme click on the add theme on the top.

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You can search for any themes or choose one from the popular or newest ones. There is also an option to upload the themes. If you search for good themes then most ones will tell you to download the zip file. Then you will have to upload it here.

Premium WordPress Themes

There are also many paid WordPress themes also in the market. Choosing a good premium theme has its merits.

  • Regular updates for improving security and performance
  • Good support
  • You can customize as per your wish. Some comes with its own drag and drop builder. So you don’t have to code.
  • Comes with multiple layouts.
  • Much more features than a free one.

So what are some good Premium WordPress themes for a new blog.

These are the ones I have experience with.

You can see from the last image, Extra and Divi, which are from elegant themes. It will cost you around $89/year(after that use with update limitations if not paid)or $249 for life time.

  • 88 themes.
  • Plugins
    • Divi drag and drop website builder with modules for a lot of functions.
    • Bloom plugin for setting up email opt-ins in various ways
    • Monarch plugin for social media sharing
  • A great blog(you can access for free) which contains many posts about WordPress, marketing, plugins, customization and more.
  • Premium Support
  • Use in unlimited websites
  • Regular layouts which you can just upload.
  • Third party themes made by professionals.

Envato Elements have a different approach. For a monthly subscription as low as $19, you will get access to a lot of themes, plugins and more.

  • 400+ WordPress themes & plugins
  • 30,000+ design assets, fonts, 3D & add-ons
  • 61,000+ video templates & stock footage
  • 510,000+ stock photos
  • 22,000+ presentation & graphic templates
  • 1,000+ courses & eBooks from Tuts+
  • Unlimited downloads
  • Commercial license

Themify themes (30 day refund)

You can either buy a single theme or access all their themes. It costs $49 or $79 accordingly. You will get 1 year support. You can use it after the period also with limitations.

  • A free plan to download free themes.
  • Use in unlimited sites.
  • Themify drag and drop builder with Pre-designed Layouts.

Step 7 – Installing the essential plugins.

Plugins enhances the functionality of WordPress. Sometimes you will find that some of the functionality you need is not given buy WordPress directly. But do not worry. Most probably it should be covered by the 1000s of plugins available. Both free and premium.

It is easy to add a plugin to your site. On the left bar click on the Plugins section. And then on the right side just search for the plugins. And when you see the plugin you want just click install and activate.

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Below are some of the best plugins that I have used till now.

  • Yoast Seo – For search engine optimization.
  • Akismet – Spam filtering in comments.
  • Wordfence – Security.
  • Table press – Create and manage tables easily.
  • Sumo me – Social share plugins and more.
  • W3 Total Cache – Performance.
  • MaxCDN – CDN
  • Rich Snippets
  • AMP – Accelerated mobile pages

Step 8 – Monetizing your site.

There are multiple ways to monetize your site. Of course it depends on the niche selected. SInce it is a vast topic I will write a detailed post soon.

But some of the basic ways are to show ads and affiliate marketing(Most of the posts in this blog.

So start writing now.

Coming Soon