Starting a blog, huh? Let me start off by saying you won’t be struggling as much as I did.
Since this is the ultimate stop for all of your blogging related needs, I decided to put together the only guide on how to start a WordPress blog that you will ever need.
Today we’re going to talk about WordPress, and as anyone who has ever begun to consider creating a blog knows, this is the blogging platform to use, hands down.
According to the WordPress website, over 409 million people view 16.3 billion pages each month on their platform.
In addition, every month has users producing 61.8 million new posts and followers leaving 55.4 million comments as well.
A Timeline of WordPress [INFOGRAPHIC]
Want to embed this WordPress Timeline?
<a href="http://www.onblastblog.com/how-to-start-a-wordpress-blog/"><img src="http://cdn.onblastblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Wordpress-Timeline.jpg" alt="Wordpress Timeline" width="1000px" border="0" /></a> Credit: <a href="http://www.onblastblog.com/how-to-start-a-wordpress-blog/" target="_blank">On Blast Blog</a>
Blogs that are hosted through this service are written in over 120 different languages, making this a universally accepted (and adored) blogging platform.
Check out this video below that visualizes the simple process of getting started.
This is the world’s biggest party, and you want in. Don’t worry, we’ve got you on the list and by the time this article is done, you’ll be prepared to launch your WordPress blog today!
Is This Going to be Difficult? I Don’t like Difficult Things
You may hear about HTML codes, SEO, and all manner of other internet terms that make you cringe, but starting a WordPress blog is very easy.
If you’re not into WordPress, check out the other free blogging sites available.
We’re going to get started by heading over to the signup page of the website. Once you’re there, you’ll see a screen like this one below:
Let’s examine the fields here and make sure we have everything in place before creating your account.
1. Email address
This one’s easy, but keep in mind that this is the email that will be tied directly to your blog.
Don’t use some throwaway email that you give other websites when they try to force their newsletter down your throat.
This is the email that all of your blog related notifications will go to. For me, that would be my Gmail account, but maybe you’re one of those crazy people who uses Yahoo, I don’t know. Make sure this is an email address you check often.
Very important item to understand here: this is not your blog’s name. This is just a username that you’re creating for your WordPress account.
Don’t spend an hour trying to find a cool name that works here, just try your own, and if that doesn’t work, start adding numbers until you’ve listed out Pi to the hundredth place, or you found one that works.
A final note here is to pick something that does not include these words: “Test”, “Administrator”, “Admin”, or “Root.” Recently, a lot of blogs were hacked who had these usernames.
Speaking of hackers, don’t make your password something obvious. You hear all these websites telling you to make strong passwords but oftentimes they fail to tell you what that really means. A strong password should include numbers and special characters.
No, I don’t mean the name of your character from Ever Quest online, I mean symbols like these: ^ / # $ % &, and so on. These will make your password harder to crack.
4. Blog Address
There are a lot of blogs on WordPress.com, mostly because it’s free to set one up. Because of these, a lot of names are taken. Prior to signing up, it may be best to sit down and come up with a list of addresses that you would be happy with.
Remember, with the free option here you’re going to have .WordPress in the URL no matter what.
Don’t bother with the paid options that you see on the page, if you’re going to pay for your blog, it would be best to self-host because it’s a lot cheaper, and it offers you more flexibility. Once you’ve entered everything, select “create blog.”
I Guess that Wasn’t So Bad
See, it’s just like I said, easy as pie! Now that you’ve created your account, you’ll need to verify your email. Look out for an email from WordPress that included a link to do so. Sometimes these emails will get thrown in the spam folder by your provider, so check to see if that happened if you don’t see it in your inbox.
Once you’ve verified your email, you’re seconds away from writing a blog post and customizing your blog’s layout. The next step is to head over to the WordPress Login site. Once you’re there, you should see a screen like this:
Once you’ve logged-in, you can begin fine tuning your blog. The dashboard itself is very easy to use and navigate through.
Before we jump into your first post though, let’s get you a theme picked out so your blog has some panache and flair to it.
When it comes to themes though, not all are created equal.
I’m getting ahead of myself though, on the main dashboard of the site, select “Appearance” then “Themes” on the left side to see your options.
I know you’re excited, and so am I, but we need to remain grounded in reality here. Case and point: don’t rush out and buy one of the premium themes. They are expensive, and you’ll find plenty of great free ones to use. A nice one that I would recommend is entitled “Truly Minimal” and it’s a free theme you can use.
Here’s an example of it from the WordPress website.
See? It’s all class and no sass. Well, maybe a little sass. The best part about themes is the fact that you can change them whenever you want. If you don’t like this, you can switch it out, and if you change your mind again five minutes later, switch it again, there’s no limit.
Once you have a theme picked out that you like, click on “active” to make it appear on your blog. There are over 200 different themes to choose from, so go wild.
A piece of advice though, if I may: make sure you fully customize your blog before writing your first post. There’s nothing more cringe worthy in this world than a blog that still has the default line underneath the header.
Explore all of the customization options for your layout and theme, and be sure that nothing is left to the default setting because a mistake like that can shatter your presentation.
Creating Your First Blog Post
This is when it gets truly exciting! The heart of your blog is about to begin beating as you inject it with the life of your first post.
I know something like this can cause a severe case of stage fright, which is why I’ve already prepared an article for you that contains 151 blog post ideas for your blog.
Once you have an idea for your first post, you can begin by clicking on “post” which is located on the left side of your dashboard. From here, you’re going to see two options:
1. Create a Page
A page is different than a post in the sense that a page is usually a separate part of the site, away from the main blog. Pages are usually used for your contact information, or maybe a bio about yourself so followers can get to know you better. Most of your creations are going to be posts, not pages.
2. Create a Post
These are the true pieces of your blog. When you create a blog, your entire purpose is to write posts like these. Remember to keep these things within a reasonable length, and remain on topic in regards to your niche or the subject of your blog.
Most importantly, have fun with it and write in your own style because that’s what people want to read.
Once you’ve finished creating your post, click the “publish” button to make it live. Once you’ve published it, you can add “tags” to make the post easier to find on search engines. Try to make these relevant to your topic and maybe research what words come up most often when you search your post’s subject.
Why are There Two WordPress Websites?
It’s amazing that any of us can even begin to navigate the internet these days with how complicated URLs, HTML, and all that other technical jargon can be. Don’t worry though, you’re not seeing double, there are in fact two different WordPress websites.
One of them ends in .com, and the other ends in .org. What’s the difference you ask? Well, we have an extremely in-depth article that in explains this in great detail, but we’ll run you through the cliff notes before we move into our guide.
The first one, WordPress.com, is a free blogging platform that allows you to submit articles, posts, rants, journal entries, anything you’d like and let the public read your thoughts.
You can’t submit posts on topics like pornography, gambling, or pharmacy, and even though that should be obvious, I have seen things like a chainsaw that reads “Do not try to stop the blade with your hands” on the blade, so apparently it needs to be said.
Many people tend to start here with the free option, to see how they like the concept of blogging. We’ll focus on this website today, but if you’re already itching to get into the big leagues, we like your style, and we’ve got some information you’ll want to read.
WordPress.org is a site where you can download and use the open-source version of the platform. Essentially, this allows you to download the program itself and attach it to your own domain or website.
This is most commonly referred to as “self-hosting your blog” and it represents the true definition of freedom and power over your blog.
So why is this the better option then? Well, the .com version, while nice, does have a lot of restrictions. For the long-term it’s not recommended that you blog on a sub-domain.
What I mean by sub-domain, is that the website owns your blog, so they get their cut of just about everything you do. It’s not personal, it’s just business. So, if you we’re to set up your blog on the .com, it would look like this
You can purchase your own domain through the website to remove that little advertisement from your URL, but again, all of the restrictions will still be there. If you want to have your own website and your own version of WordPress to use, first check out our full comprehensive guide on how to start a blog.
If you already know what you’re doing, then allow me to offer you a fantastic deal on hosting services through Web Hosting Hub. (SAVE 40%)
We want you to have your blog today and whether you decide to start free or jump right into the self-hosting waters, we want to give you every possible resource to make it happen.
Click that link above to receive their premium hosting services for only $3.99 a month. Once your blog takes off, you’ll be making that much for every word you type.
Now that we’ve got the differences out of the way, it’s time to learn how to start your blog on WordPress.com!
How to Make the Most of Your New Blog
Now that your blog is up and running, it’s time to consider how you can continue improving it. As you become more comfortable and popular, don’t forget that you can easily migrate your blog onto your own domain and still use WordPress as your blogging platform.
Don’t wait too long though, because that amazing deal I mentioned earlier from Web Hosting Hub isn’t going to stick around forever. There’s no strings attached there, and no hidden fees.
I just want to say thank you for reading our article by offering you a discount on hosting services.
As you move into the open world of blogging, allow us to provide you with some final tips to make the most of your new blog:
- Don’t start promoting your blog until you have at least 10 quality posts of 400 words or more. You don’t want people to come and see a blog that only has one post. I know it’s hard not to tell the world about your blog, but don’t start the show until you’ve hired some performers to fill your roles.
- If you’re sticking with wordpress.com for a while, purchase a domain to save yourself from trying to nab one later on. The longer you wait on this, the harder it will be to get the domain you want. Of course, you could always self-host and be done with it.
- Utilize the permalink option to create short URLs for your blog posts, the shorter the better. The default ones are ugly and won’t show up easily on search engines.This will allow you to customize the links that lead to your posts and trim them down into something that’s only a few words at most. Something like this: www.yourblog.com/suspicious-cats instead of www.yourblog.com/suspicious-cats-are-everywhere-man.
- Modify the tagline, I mentioned this earlier, but do not let the tagline on your blog read: Just another WordPress Blog” or whatever the default is for your theme.
- Set up a Google Analytics for your blog. This is a free traffic report that will let you document how many visits and hits your blog is getting. It may not be lighting up at first, but it allows you to measure the blog’s growth accurately.Don’t assume you’re getting hits, take a look for yourself and if you need more, check out my guide to increasing traffic to your blog.
- Install some free Webmaster tools from Google. These tools allow you to submit your sitemaps to be indexed, it also allows you to keep track of malware and 404 errors.
It will even tell you if there are WordPress updates available. Think of it like Clippy from the old Microsoft Word, only in this case, it’s actually useful.
- Make your images SEO friendly by adding ALT and TITLE to their descriptions. You can download a plugin to do it automatically, or you can alter the image options to override the defaults and put in your own. This will make them far easier to find on image searches, and you don’t want to underestimate the power of image searches to drive traffic to your site.
- On a final note, make your posts visually appealing with said images, and use numbered lists and bullet points along with headers to make everything flow nicely. A great post should read very naturally.
Now that you’ve got a solid idea of what it takes to start a blog, you’re probably feeling like this now.
That’s it for now my friends. Now that you know how to start a WordPress blog, you can do anything, the possibilities are endless!
Go out there and put the competition on blast!
Stay tuned to On Blast Blog for new articles that will help you find maximum success with your blog. Thanks for reading!
Wait! Before You Go…
I know, I know, you’re ready to get out there and make some serious blogging happen. I get it, but don’t I at least get a goodbye?
Look below the article, see that glorious box? That’s how we communicate, so let’s get to talking! I want to hear your thoughts on the article, and I want to see your blog!
As always you can email me, or leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you every time.