Why should I choose WordPress for blogging?
How to start a WordPress blog (for a podcast or not)
Learning how to start a WordPress blog can be both fun and profitable.
But if you're trying to blog without a little guidance, it can be easy to get frustrated and quit quickly. We don't want that!
We will go through how I would start a WordPress blog in 2021 - and give you some additional options that are popular these days.
There are a few different things you'll need (which we'll go over in detail) in order to get your WordPress site online, including:
- A topic or a niche
- A domain name (the .com)
- WordPress hosting (where your website "lives")
- A WordPress theme (what your blog looks like)
- WordPress plugins (how to customize your website)
And of course a little time to set things up and modify (I'll show you the default settings, which you can change a little later).
Choose a blog topic
When choosing a niche, industry, or topic for your blog (or podcast), you should choose something specific enough to resonate with your audience.
With over 4 million blog posts published daily, it is important to be unique.
But you also want it to be wide enough that you have a lot to write about in the long run. With this in mind, the name of your blog (and your domain name) should wider fate so you can expand.
You can search for a domain name here:
Think of it this way: if you have a heart operation, would you rather see a cardiac surgeon or a general surgeon?
The answer seems obvious, yet so many people create a "general surgeon" blog.
So how do you choose a blog topic?
Maybe you already have some ideas, but you want to secure your topic:
- Has a lot of content to write about (not too narrow)
- Is interesting - and you are interested in it (is exciting)
- There's an audience of other People who are interested.
Here are a few ideas for brainstorming your blog niche:
- Think about what other people are grappling with (what are your friends, family & co-workers complaining about that you do this easily)
- What do people compliment you for? (feel free to ask your friends)
- How do you people introduce yourself to others? What are you supposed to be so good at?
- What would you do if you had 3 more hours? What would you talk about with a friend for 3 hours?
- What do you do on a Saturday afternoon?
- Why are you so excited?
- What are other people doing that you find cool or interesting?
Take a few minutes and write out a bunch of ideas (good or bad, it doesn't matter). Then narrow them down and combine ideas to find a topic.
Once you've decided your topic, here are some tips on choosing a domain name.
Many different guides on how to start a blog recommend Bluehost for hosting.
They're great when you start out and they make it really easy for beginners to get started with their first WordPress site.
You don't have to "Install WordPress" either, as it does this automatically when you create your account.
Quick note: I use Kinsta for my hosting company - you can find out more about that at the bottom of this WordPress hosting section.
How to start a WordPress blog on Bluehost
Note: I've negotiated a special price just for our readers if you follow the link below:
Bluehost includes a free domain name (the .com) when you sign up for a hosting package.
If you want to see if your domain name is available before signing up, just use this:
Or just follow these steps:
Go to the Bluehost homepage and click on 'Get Started':
Then you have to choose a plan. I would choose the 'Basic' or 'Choice Plus' plan. The big difference is the number of websites you are allowed to use:
I like to experiment with new sites without affecting my main page, so I'd choose 'Choice Plus' - but it's up to you!
On the next screen, select a domain name or enter the one that already exists. If you're still trying to figure it out, just click the 'Vote Later!' Button below!
Then you will create your account. If you have a Google account (Gmail, YouTube, Android, etc.) you can simply log in with it.
Below, select your hosting package information:
The cheapest price per month is available if you choose a 36 month plan, but if you want a shorter commitment you can choose the 12 or 24 month plan.
Note: I pay more per month than you would pay for 2 years - just to give you some perspective on how much that is.
I would also disable SiteLock Security.
Enter your credit card details below, agree to the terms and conditions and click on 'Submit'.
Get started with Bluehost
How to set up and configure your WordPress site, see below on this page. There are important settings that you need to change right away!
Kinsta: The WordPress host I use
Since this site has many thousands of visitors a day, I use Kinsta.
They are a premium managed WordPress hosting company based on the Google Cloud platform.
Speed is critical to your visitors and when you are starting to get a lot of visitors (traffic) to your website you need a hosting company that can handle it without slowing you down.
There are a ton of other benefits:
- 24/7 Expert support (these people actually know what they are doing when it comes to WordPress)
- Daily backups (no plugins or additional fees required)
- Free CDN (again at no additional cost)
- Premium DNS (did I mention it's included in the plan?)
- A staging server (one-click migrations)
And a ton more, including one of the best dashboards out there.
When adding a new page, you will be given the option to install WordPress and some useful plugins automatically.
Your blog is also an excellent place to find out all about WordPress.
See our review on Kinsta for more details.
Switching web hosting providers (transferring your database, DNS settings, etc.) can be a bit of a pain. So if the $ 30 / month investment for speed, security, support, and peace of mind doesn't sound bad, I recommend hosting with Kinsta from the start.
When starting a blog with Kinsta, you'll need to get a domain name separately. Here is a quick guide on how to buy a domain. It was written with podcasters in mind, but the steps and tips apply to a blog too.
The only reason I don't top them off is because if you're just starting out, the cost can be prohibitive.
WordPress.org versus WordPress.com
There is a difference between self-hosted WordPress. org with one of the hosting platforms I highlighted above and with wordpress. com.
You have full access to all of WordPress' features when hosting yourself, but WordPress.com only allows you to install certain plugins and themes on the Business plan ($ 25 / month) or higher.
Because the names are so similar, there is a lot of confusion between the two.
For 99% of new bloggers, just install WordPress through Bluehost or Kinsta and you will be fine.
WordPress default settings to be changed
You will want to change some settings immediately - before You start customizing and creating a blog post or page.
Since this is really a topic in its own right, I would recommend opening this post from HostGator. It's detailed, well-written, and an excellent starting point.
The main ones I would start with are:
- Delete the default post, the page and the comment
- Make sure you have a strong password (User> Your Profile)
- Change the title, tagline and time zone of your website (Settings> General)
- Change permalinks to post name (Settings> Permalinks)
- Change your default category (Posts> Categories)
After you've configured the default settings, you'll need to choose a theme. A theme controls how your WordPress blog looks.
Free WordPress Themes
There are many free themes that you can search for right from your WordPress dashboard:
You can also start with the included Twenty Twenty theme, which was created by the team that created WordPress.
It supports the new Gutenberg editor (we'll talk about that in the Create Your First Post section) and looks great.
High quality WordPress themes
A premium WordPress theme costs a little, but there is lots Advantages of going this route. The premium themes I used and recommended are:
- Updated regularly
- Well supported
- Well coded
- Safe, fast & SEO friendly
- And much more...
A couple of excellent places to go are StudioPressThemes & GeneratePress.
You can also take a look at these WordPress themes for podcasters - my favorites for podcasting are from SecondLine Themes.
WordPress plugins allow you to add functions and features to your website.
Some allow you to add visual elements that your visitors can see (such as contact forms) while others only work in the background (such as caching plugins to speed up your website).
I have a separate post on recommended WordPress plugins, so here are a few free ones to get you started:
- Yoast SEO (guides you through getting the basics of SEO right)
- ShortPixel (automatic image compression makes your website load faster = happier visitors)
- BackWPup (create automatic backups of your website - Note: not necessary with Kinsta, they have automatic backups)
- WP Rocket (makes your website load much faster and is easy to set up)
Create required pages
You should start with a few essential pages that almost every website has:
- Data protection
You will want to create new pages for each individual page.
Here are some tips and suggestions for everyone:
Your about page should actually be more about what Your readers can expectthan you or your company.
Visitors should know if your website is right for them when they visit your About page.
Check out our About page for an example.
Another tip is to link to popular articles or answer common questions your readers might have.
After you've guided through your blog's worth, you can go into any social proof you could have.
These can be websites where you have introduced yourself, testimonials, comments, or just e-mails you have received from readers.
It's OK if you haven't got any of this - but it's something to strive for. Just remember to add it later!
And finally, get personal.
Write about you, your story, or something relevant that your visitors might find interesting.
Your contact page should ideally have a form that your readers can fill out to get in touch with you.
If you simply include your email address on your contact page, be prepared for a lot of spam!
There are several plugins that make it easy to create forms of all kinds. I use Gravity Forms on this site, but WP Forms is my preferred choice these days (I happened to have access to Gravity Forms from my WordPress agency days).
It is helpful to tell people how long they can wait for an answer and Why they should contact you (and maybe why not).
Certain states such as California and countries within the EU require certain information in their data protection declaration - especially since the GDPR and CCPA regulations came into force.
Ideally, you want an attorney to help you craft your policy because every blog is different. It's not as easy as copying mine and changing the name.
Still, there are some great services that can help you out to stay compliant.
Create your first blog post
What to write about
Your first blog post doesn't need to say, "I'm starting a blog" or "Welcome to the blog".
You want to blog posts that will help solve a problem or answer a question that people have.
You probably already have a few ideas, but it's a good idea to do a little research to see exactly, how people are looking for. This means that you have to research a few keywords.
Keyword research basically means researching the words and phrases that people are already looking for.
There are many different tools that can help speed up this search, and the better the paid tools, the more accurate you will get information about search volume (how many times a month is searched) and difficulty level (how hard it is to find a particular phrase) to land on the first page of Google).
I use Ahrefs because it's the most accurate and has a number of great reports that make it easy to find new blog ideas. There are also a number of other features in their suite of tools. It starts at $ 99 / month, which makes it likely out of reach for most beginners starting blogs.
A great free keyword research tool is Ubersuggest. Or for $ 10, Keywords Everywhere is a Chrome extension that shows you related search queries and search volumes right in Google search results:
Good research will help you narrow down the subject of your blog post and include sections that would make a complete and educational post.
You can also use a tool called Answer The Public that will help you find other questions on a keyword or topic:
After you've done your keyword research, here's the basic process of creating your first blog post:
- Add a new post
- Give it a title.
- Edit your permalink
- Write out your heart
- Press publish!
Short note: I have the Classic Editor plugin for the screenshots below
- Which is more difficult fencing or canoeing
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- What do people post on TikTok
- Why do we need vector space
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- How is money taxed
- How many Roman emperors were there
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- What is the history of paper
- Do you really need a website?
- Does subliminal weight loss work
- What is a fulfilled life
- The sun is continuously losing mass
- Most Americans are fat
- Why are children with Down syndrome so happy?
- How can I improve the page speed of the website?
- Is R a good programming language
- Why is the browser cache temporary
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- What are two criteria of historical importance
- Who would read my writings and poems
- How do you define the curvature
- What are the best C ++ books