Everything I talk about below is what I use. It doesn’t cost me a fortune. In fact I could afford it while being a high school student working at the local supermarket.
Once you’ve set up your blog, you will then have a powerful platform for you to spread your word (and make some money!).
This article shows you how to set up your blog from zero to an awesome, fully functional and professional blog in five clear steps. I provide plenty of pictures and some videos too for those who love a bit of visual learning.
Well, let’s get started.
Setting Up A Blog – Step One
You may have heard of BlueHost – it is because for the price they are simply the best. BlueHost is a webhosting service – it is sort of like a hard drive for the internet. It is where your blog is stored so that others can see it.
The great thing about BlueHost is you get a free domain name when you sign up (this is your www.something.com – your website address).
If you already have a the free domain name and want to purchase another name, I highly recommend NameCheap – sometimes they will have a sale or a coupon that makes it less than half the price of BlueHost.
As you are going through the sign up process with NameCheap, I recommend you put in BlueHost’s nameservers. This will make it easier later as you don’t have to come back and add them it. BlueHost’s nameservers are:
Once you have your new domain name from NameCheap, you will have to assign it to you BlueHost account. Remember, this section is only for those who have bought an additional name, you don’t have to do this if you are using BlueHost’s free domain name offer.
Setting Up A Blog – Step Two
With BlueHost it is very easy to install WordPress. In the old days (heh!) you used to have to set up databases, be able to edit files in a text editor, and then upload and install files by yourself. Not understand any of that – that’s OK, because these days BlueHost does it all for you with an easy click of the button. Here’s how:
Setting Up A Blog – Step Three
Install A Theme
Themes, beautiful themes! Themes are what makes your website look the way it does.
This part (and another section below) is where you will spend too much of your time. Let me say it now – they are all pretty, just pick one and get on with the important stuff!!
OK, I’ve said it, but I know you wont listen. I rarely listen to myself either! But in all seriousness, it is easy to get lost in a sea of themes. There are so many cool ones out there, and with cool features and… I guarantee you are going to spend far too long trying to decide which one to pick for your blog. I am getting better at choosing now – I roughly know what kind of, say, navigation features I am after for a particular blog, and choose one that fits.
There are two types of themes – free, and paid ones called “premium”. I highly recommend premium ones; you can find great ones for $40-50. The reason I recommend premium ones is:
- You are far less likely to have the same layout as other websites
- There are usually lots of special features that make it easier for you to do things with your blog
That second point being the more important one in my opinion. You will also get support for your theme (in most cases), so if you are having a problem you have someone to email for help.
There are many places you can get premium themes from, and everyone has their favourites. I personally love Theme Forest. This is a marketplace for themes, so each theme is designed by different people. Their themes are simply awesome, great value for money and jam packed full of features. Love them!
Once you have chosen a theme you will download a .zip file. No need to extract it, we will upload it as is (although, open it up and check first – some themes have instructions and a zip file within a zip file).
Setting Up A Blog – Step Four
Set Up Your Permalinks
Before you start getting crazy posting on your new blog, it is a good idea to go through your Settings. Go through each section to set your preferred settings.
One setting that can often be overlooked is the permalink setting. This may be because people don’t know about it, or don’t understand it completely and are afraid to change them. Well, change them now!
Basically your permalinks refer to the structure of what your URL will be for posts. Sometimes you will see websites that have letters, numbers and symbols for names of pages when you look in the address bar. This is hard for humans to understand and remember, and it is also harder for search engines to understand what your page is about as well. You want to have a URL like this: www.yourdomain.com/this-is-good, not www.yourdomain.com/?p=123
In my recent installations the permalinks have already been set to the setting I prefer – postname – but just in case you should check them and make sure that the default is not selected as this setting can break some plugins and it doesn’t help your SEO.
Setting Up A Blog – Step Five
Here is the second place you will spend way too much of your time. Plugins add extra functionality to your blog. Here is how you install new plugins:
Like themes, you can also purchase premium plugins. In these cases you will download a zip file and will need to upload it and activate it.
Here are the plugins that I highly recommend. These are all free; to install them just do a search for them.
You will want a spam filter to stop spammers from commenting on your blog. I recommend Akismet, as it is the one I have been using for years.
You will want an easy way for visitors to contact you. I recommend Contact Form 7.
You will want to back up your blog regularly. I have tried many and currently I use Updraft to automatically back up my blog files to dropbox.
Search Engine Optimisation
You will want to optimise your posts for search engines. I find that by using YOAST and making sure that the SEO check is green is all I need to rank well in search engines.
Setting Up A Blog – You’re Done
Your Blog Is Now Set Up!
You did it!
Or, you didn’t. Don’t worry if you found all this too hard or would take up too much of your time. If you find it too technical then it may be better to spend money to get someone else to do it. After all, your time is valuable and could be spent doing other things if this isn’t your speciality.
Also, please note that some links in this post have been affiliate links, to help support this website so that I can create more awesome guides like this one.
You Have A Blog, What Now?
Tips On Getting Started
The next two things you need to do are to create some awesome content, and market your blog. Each is as important as each other – one will get eyeballs on your site, and the other will keep them there.
The important thing to differentiate yourself from other blogs out there is to write great content. What ever you write, make sure before you press post that you take it a step further. What can you do to make your post even more epic?
The second thing to do is to make sure you solve problems. A great way to do this is to think about what you think your target audience may be having trouble with.
Do not forget to market your website. With blogs, the saying “build it and they will come” does not apply. You have to work on building relationships and getting people to your page. Some ways you can get people to your site include:
- SEO (use the YOAST plugin)
- Commenting on other blogs
- Guest posting on other blogs
- Participating in forums