13 Steps How to Start a Blog Using WordPress & Make Money Easily
Congratulations wanting to know how to start a blog; today, I'm going to give you thirteen simple steps how to get a blog up and running quickly with zero fuss and how to make some extra money...not just pocket money!
In my opinion, blogging is a fab way to earn a passive income and get away from the rat-race of society.
Most people think that setting up a blog is difficult, but from experience I can confidently tell you that it's a lot easier than you think and much cheaper than you'd imagine.
I promise you it won't break your bank!
OK, so it's not completely correct that you can start a blog for free without unhealthy risks. I'm being honest here, sorry about that, but I believe if you're serious about starting your own blog and want to be safe then somewhere along the way you'll have to pay for something. These initial costs will be your domain name and a good but cheap hosting plan.
If there's anything that I can do for you today it's to help you start blogging with an absolute minimal cost. If you're ready let's begin delving in....
1. The Beginnings of How to Start a blog
Years ago a blogger had to understand HTML, and then came along CSS and PHP files to throw a site together. Back in the day, what took months to set up and achieve now takes only days - lol not weeks, not months or years. Back then, some people used Dreamweaver or something similar to create a website, which obviously made it a little easier for us unskilled persons.
However, the downside to this was that the process was painfully slow. History teaches us that the coding idea would revolutionize the way in which web design was done and could be done.
Today, there are plenty of ready made software and themes allowing you to create a website with full-features without having to know any html, css or php coding.
WOW this is so cool, it saves us so much time and effort.
Today, the only requirement you need to create a website is drive and ambition. And oh, I forgot to mention zero skills are required - that's even more awesome don't you think?
So, without further due and if you're ready to take some action, let's learn how to start a blog the simple way.
2. My Three Hosting Recommendations
There is a reason behind my madness recommending three hosting companies. When comparing an awesome curry...one is hot and the other is mild, but both taste good depending on your preference.
Choice One - Let's taste the hot curry
If you're like I was many years ago knowing much about nothing, then you might prefer jump straight into my Wealthy Affiliate Review 2018 – Build Your Empire, Retire & Start Living! to get started. They're an online university that offer full video training how to start a blog and be your own boss.
Wealthy Affiliate are fabulous if you're looking for in-depth premium training, regular up-to-date teaching, webinars, unlimited websites, forums, chatrooms and super fast cloud hosting...basically they offer everything to help you get started.
What's so awesome about this company, is that you will automatically be entitled to a FREE 7 days trial without having to produce a credit card...use this offer to check them out. I suggest that you make the most of their 7 day free premium training...you can check them out using this link Wealthy Affiliate.
Wealthy Affiliate's monthly cost is $47, or they offer 59% discount with their yearly one-off fee $359.
I realize this pricing may not be within everyone's reach, it's for this reason I am recommending and demonstrating in this article an alternative company to buy your domain and host your site.
Choice Two - Let's Taste Another Hot Curry
A mild curry can often taste as good as a hot curry, so don't be put off thinking I'm suggesting something inferior. This company is called SiteGround, I believe they definitely deserve a good look in.
They are an excellent choice, offer a variety of hosting plans, advanced security, free transfers, unmatched speed, basic training and support is very fast. They don't offer that same features as Wealthy Affiliate, but that's because their prices are much cheaper starting at $3.95 per month.
Compared to many other hosting companies, I believe SiteGround is outstanding because they offer:
- Variety of platforms: shared, cloud or dedicated
- Multiple serve locations: strategically positioned data on three continents for even better performance
- Optimized performance: optimized for Joomla, WordPress and Drupal
- Unmatched speed: offers advanced hardware, customized software and unique speed boosting solutions
- Advanced security: they have accounts, servers and applications completely covered
- Expert support: offers super fast support 24/7 covering issues beyond hosting
You can jump straight to SiteGround and/or follow my quick guide below. Today, I will be using this company to demonstrate how to start a blog.
Another company I highly recommend is Name Cheap, I've used this site for many years to buy my domains and the odd hosting. They offer some of the best prices and can often be the cheapest, especially when buying domains. It's my first port of call when buying domains not just because of their great prices, but because they're super fast with DNS transfers.
I've previously bought many domains from them, and their transfers to my hosting company have never been more than 30 minutes compared to other companies taking 24 to 48 hours.
Should you prefer to use Name Cheap or any other hosting company over and above the two choices above, then the setup guide below is virtually the same as SiteGround.
Let's get started...
3. Are Freebie Domains & Hosting Okay?
Now we've established hosting packages, lets delve into how to start a blog beginning with choosing your domain.
Whilst I empathize that budget is everything, I do not recommend that you set up a website using a free domain and free hosting.
This is because you will never own your domain or your content, plus if you violate the companies terms and conditions your site can be taken down without your knowledge.
Another problem with freebie domains and hosting is that your WordPress theme and Plugin choices are limited.
Want to know how easily I designed this page, then check out my review: Thrive Architect – Everything Has A Beauty But Not Everyone Sees It!
Only you can decide what's best and if it means getting in on the action, then I'd definitely recommend SiteRubix over and above other free platforms. This is because if you're ever in a position to buy your free domain and hosting, you can upgrade easily without compromising your content or your domain name.
4. Steps Choosing Your Domain Name
Before buying your dream domain name, you’ll first need to decide what your niche will be. As discussed in step two, this is your passion, which is an interest that'll eventually turn into a blog.
I was once told not to spend too much time pondering on domain names, but from personal experience, I think you should take time. My suggestion to you is to keep your domain name simple, this means 2-3 words and make it catchy...people need to remember it.
When you’ve thought of your dream domain name make sure your peers analyze it because it’s very easy to fall in love with a name that could easily ruin your reputation.
Allow Your Purpose in Life To Become Your Passion, And It Will One Day Become Your Profession!
For example think about at this domain name bloggersexchange.com. You're probably reading it as Blogger Sex Change, but in actual fact its true name is Bloggers Exchange.
Do you see how easy it is to make a mistake?
Check out these 31 Funny Domain Names That Will Make You Scream With Laughter! these are an example of what to avoid. They are the most unorthodox names you’ll ever come across, and the purpose for creating that article was to show you how easy it is to get it wrong.
As suggested, if possible keep it to be two words, at a push three. Remember, it’s all about simplicity and memorability. I particularly found NameMesh and BustaName to be very helpful and foolproof in finding good domain names.
Here is a good article that I've created which covers everything you need to know and more Foolproof Ways Finding Awesome Domain Names and Hosting.
5. Setting Up Your SiteGround Hosting Account
During this step, I'll show you how to set your hosting account with SiteGround. Remember though whatever company you use, setups are virtually the same.
Let's get started with Step One:
Head over to the Siteground website, once you're on their site you'll obviously need to register your details. To do this you'll first need to choose a hosting plan that's suitable for you, your choices are StartUp, GrowBig or the GoGeek.
Let's move to Step Two:
You can choose to buy a new domain or sign up with an existing domain. If you own a domain name you can take advantage of SiteGrounds free website transfer...that's a $30 saving how cool is that?
Let's now move on to Step Three:
Unlike many other hosting providers SiteGrounds advertised discount applies to any of the initial periods chosen during the sign up process.
Enter your payment details and your details. Choose your preferred hosting price, of which SiteGround offer a 1 month trial, 12 months, 24 months and 36 months.
Congratulations you are now ready to pay.
If you don't know how to start a blog, then follow these next steps how to install WordPress, your theme and plugins.
6. Installing WordPress onto Your New Website
To install WordPress using the SiteGround Wizard, first access your Customer Area. After you signup for SiteGrounds WordPress hosting package you will receive all the necessary information you need to login.
Once you're logged for the first time, you will see a popup asking you if you want to have WordPress pre-installed. If applicable select that option and click the Proceed button.
The next page consists of two parts. In the first one, enter the login information for your new WordPress application.
Next, pick one of the free WordPress themes available in the Wizard and click on the Submit button again.
I would suggest you save your admin link, username and password for easy future access.
Finally, you will see a quick summary of your WordPress installation, including from where to access your admin area, your username and your password.
With SiteGround you should be able to access your new website straight away. The only reason why you won't be able to access your site immediately is because new data servers may need updating.
7. Which WordPress Theme to Use & Installing It
When learning how to start a blog, it's important to understand which WordPress theme to use. If you're planning on creating a news site then you'll need a magazine theme.
There are so many free themes; in fact, the WordPress directory is loaded with more than 2,600 – how neat is that? Plus, there are thousands more floating around the world wide web.
Which WordPress theme should you use?
I have found there’s no grey area with free themes; they are either bad or good - but rarely brilliant. Although developers have the best intentions to help people, free themes do not make them money, so they’re often neglected and you end up suffering.
Aside from the popular Twenty Ten, Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen and Fourteen, etc., I would definitely recommend lite themes if you’re looking for something free or cheap - at least you can upgrade!
Things that you need to take into consideration when looking for a new theme are support, its features, how the theme is coded, its styling and genre. To check out which theme I currently use take a read of Which WordPress Themes Should You Use? – What I Use On My Websites!
For more in-depth information here is a good article that I've created, it covers everything you need to know Top Free WordPress Themes – Expert Collection, Best Features & Guide and more.
8. Which Plugins To Use & Installing Them
Plugins enable your website to function better, they are a type of coded software offering different functionalities depending which plugin you use.
There are thousands of plugins on the internet, some are free and some are paid.
Sometimes free plugins offer an option to buy, which means paid versions have a lot more functionalities. Unless you’re absolutely sure that you need these extras, then it’s not necessary to buy them.
These are the free plugins that I’m currently using:
- All-In-One SEO Pack
- Pretty Link Lite (as described it gives pretty affiliate links)
- Cookie Notice (this type of plugin is compulsory for EU laws)
- WP Forms, (as described to create a contact form)
- WPForms Lite
These are the paid plugins that I constantly use, I love them and can't be without them:
- Thrive Architect - I use this plugin on all my articles
- Thrive Leads - I use this plugin to generate leads
When you set up your website, you may find you'll need different plugins this is because your niche and WordPress theme might be different to mine.
See My Better Blogging Tools for more plugin options.
And that’s it...
You’ve now set up a website, and installed all the blogging software...how cool is that!
9. Adding Posts And Pages To Your New Blog
Once you've loaded your WordPress theme and plugins, you'll more than likely be eager to add some posts. Knowing where to start is half the battle, so here I'm going to show you what to prepare first.
First let's understand the difference between posts and pages...
- Posts are for your everyday articles that you may want on your blogroll. The more posts you add the more they become buried and eventually archived.
- Pages are your Privacy, About You, Terms & Conditions etc. Pages are generally static content that is separate from your blog, but can be easily accessed ie usually from your footer.
Let's learn how to add posts and pages...
- Check the left sidebar of your WordPress dashboard as in my image. to add a new post or a page.
- To add either a post or a page click on Add New.
Let's learn what pages to add...
If you want your site to look official, then it's very important that you add these pages in your footer.
- Contact page: Your readers need a way to contact you and the best way to do this is to use the Contact form 7 plugin. I'd highly recommend that you refrain from using your personal email address.
- About page: This is a very important page and one that'll be most visited,other than your homepage. Your visitors need to know you and what you're about, I would suggest that you keep it simple.
- Terms & Conditions - You need this page to prevent legal issues, and so, protect your work and website. Check out Terms Feed to generate a free T&C.
All these pages are free to view on my site in my footer.
10. How Content Creation Works With Posts
There are several ways to create content for your posts, but one that never fails is examining other niches in your field.
Writing compelling and informative content will nearly always require some level of research on your chosen topic, especially if you lack a little knowledge in a particular area.
Of course, your sources of information can be varied, but the more reliable they are within your niche industry the stronger your own expertise will become.
I would recommend that you write about what you love doing the most because your content will automatically have a natural flow.
Spend quality time preparing your articles and their layout. I use Thrive Architect for all my articles because it makes everything so much easier and nicer, this post created with it.
For more in-depth information here is a good article that I've created, it covers everything you need to know about No Nonsense Quality Content Writing Tips & Using Relevant Keywords and more.
11. Getting Traffic To Your new Website
I'd suggest that you create approximately twenty unique articles related to your niche before you start thinking about traffic. Once you're set, then it's time to start getting traffic to your new website.
To do this, sign up to the social medias relevant to your niche. The social medias that are perfect for this website are Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is critical to getting good traffic, for this I use the Yoast plugin to give me an upper-hand. SEO isn't too difficult to master, but if you're looking for more information then check out my article 13 No Nonsense WOW Tips To Learn Search Engine Optimization.
Sign up to forums that are related to your niche and start chatting to other bloggers, this is a great way to get yourself known on the web.
Check out my latest article Complete Guide: Getting To Grips With Building Traffic To Your Site to grab more insight on traffic building.
12. How Easy Is It To Generate An Income
There are multiple ways to generate an income online, in fact 1000's, so I’ll attempt to discuss the one's I've used and are good.
Amazon: If you have a product related to your niche such as blenders or cameras, you can easily incorporate Amazon into your site to make sales.
Google Adsense: I'd suggest to use this form of monetizing when your site has a lot of traffic because it only pays pennies. If your traffic is streaming, you can earn a lot of revenue with Adsense.
ShareAsale: For this site, I find ShareAsale pretty awesome, this is because most of my affiliate links are from there and can't get them elsewhere. Check out my article ShareAsale Affiliate Program Review – Can You Earn Money From It?
For more ways about generating an income check out How To Easily Generate Revenue From Your Website The Right Way.
13. Is Continual Learning Necessary?
Continual learning is very much needed, never assume you know it all. If you're serious about blogging and creating awesome content for your visitors, then make it your ambition to gain more knowledge and understanding in your field of expertise.
There's always another skill in your niche to be learned...
Take for example technology, this is moving at such a rapid pace that you ought to never be without fresh content.
Your readers will love you all the more for the fresh content you provide on a regular basis.
And There You Have it How to Start a Blog
It doesn't matter how much blogging experience you have, you will always start where you're at and what you currently know.
It's up to you to complete every step to get started and you have to put in the legwork. But, if you're a newbie I'd recommend you start with Wealthy Affiliate because their training is awesome so will give you a firm foundation on how to start a blog and maintain it.
You're the one responsible to for your success...it's your passion your potential!
What To Do Now?
Take your pick which you think will suit you the best...
Wealthy Affiliate offer a FREE 7 day training how to start a blog and maintain your business. Should you want to upgrade you'll be offered your first month at $19 and a years memberships with 59% discount.
SiteGround offer good discounts for newbies and offer a superb experience with an easy 'Start Up' plan to 'Grow Big' plan or 'Go Geek'. Offers secure hosting, 1-click install, insane site speed and fab support via chat or phone.
Name Cheap offer some of the best prices and can often be the cheapest especially domains and hosting together. It's my first port of call when buying domains, not just because of their great prices, but because they're super fast with DNS transfers. I've bought many domains from them in the past and their transfers have never been more than 30 minutes compared to others being 24 to 48 hours.