The Ultimate, All-In-One Guide To Start Your Own Professional Blog The Right Way.Reading Time: 22 minutes
Introduction – Learn how to create a blog.
You want to start your own blog or website, but you have no idea where to begin… When I created my first website, I made a lot of mistakes. I hope this article will help you avoid the same mistakes many other beginners make.
Start your journey the right way.
Creating a blog without any experience about website design or coding may seem overwhelming at first. There is no need to fear, in this article I will guide you through all the steps needed to help you get your blog up and running, the right way.
There are many reasons why people are creating blogs, including: To promote their businesses and turning traffic to customers or to start generating a full-time income from home. Others just write for the fun.
Today, it is extremely easy to create a blog, you can get a blog up and running in just a few minutes, however we are going a few steps further in order to make sure every aspect of your blog is set up the right way.
Never take shortcuts, you will most definitely regret it in the future. The fastest and easiest way is not always the best. Stay away from the “all-in-one platform solutions”. It is extremely important that you can upgrade and future proof your website.
You want freedom and ultimate control; this means you need two main things: a good blogging platform and a web host.
Let’s get started!
How To Create A Blog – There Are 4 Main Steps
I will guide you through all the steps needed to get your site up and running, I will also tell you what services I am using for PCReckoner.
Step 1: Choose a Blogging Platform
A blogging platform is simply software that allow you to create and manage your blog.
There are several different blogging platforms available. Some of the most popular platforms include Blogger, Wix, Tumblr, Joomla, Medium and WordPress.com
These are great platforms, but if you want to make money with your blog or don’t want any limitations then you should use WordPress.org.
WordPress is the best and most popular CMS (Content Management System). In this guide we are going to use WordPress.org to create content and design your blog.
What is WordPress.org?
Please do not confuse WordPress.org with WordPress.com
WordPress is the most popular Content Management system in the world. It powers more than 30% of all Websites on the internet and have an estimated 63% market share of websites using CMS! It started as a blogging platform back in 2003 and have significantly improved over the years. You can use it to easily create stunning blogs, websites, and even eCommerce stores.
WordPress is an open-source content management system that are very customizable and allow you to create your own blog in minutes. Millions of websites are using WordPress. The blog you are reading right now was created with WordPress.org
WordPress.com & WordPess.org?
The most important difference between the two is that with WordPress.org you host your own site and with WordPress.com web hosting is included. WordPress.com and WordPress.org are not directly related. I highly recommend hosting your own website. The downloaded version on WordPress.org have no restrictions and gives you MUCH more flexibility and control.
5 Reasons Why You Should Use WordPress.org for Your Blog.
1. As I said before, with WordPress.org you choose your own web host. You will have complete control over the design and functionality of your website.
– You can have your own unique domain name.
– You can choose any web host of your choice.
– You will not have any design or styling restrictions.
– WordPress can grow with your business. You can upgrade or expand your website to fit your specific needs.
2. WordPress is SEO Friendly. There are excellent free WordPress SEO Plugins like Yoast and Rank Math that you can use to further improve your rankings. SEO is particularly important if you want your website to rank high on Google or other search engines.
3. WordPress have hundreds of free and premium plugins available. Plugins can extend the functionality of your site to do almost anything you think of. It is quick and easy to install.
4. WordPress can be turned into a fully functional online store, where you will be able to showcase and sell your products online. It is extremely easy; all you need to do is install and setup the WooCommerce plugin. WooCommerce also have many extensions to add even more functions and features.
5. WordPress is not just for beginners; it is an immensely powerful platform. If you are familiar with coding, then you will be able to customize everything!
WordPress is reliable and widely supported, and unlike many All-in-one platforms WordPress.org put you in control. You own the data and contents of your website. All your hard work and designs belongs to you.
Great, now you what the best blogging platform is. Now let us find the best web host for your blog.
Step 2: Sign up with a Web Hosting provider and choose a domain name
This is an especially important step. The web host is the foundation of your website. The host you are using will affect critical aspects of your website, including performance, security, SEO, and uptime.
What Hosting Company You Must Choose.
There are many popular names in the hosting world like DreamHost, WPEngine, GoDaddy, HostGator, A2Hosting Bluehost and many others.
I have tried multiple hosts and read hundreds of reviews in my search to find the best web hosting provider for my website. Let me safe you some time and introduce you to SiteGround! SiteGround is a Bulgarian hosting company founded in 2004 in Sofia.
They are well known for their advanced infrastructure and exceptional customer support. I have been a customer of SiteGround for 25 months now and have only good things to say about them.
The popularity of SiteGround have significantly increased since 2013. SiteGround Currently have 6 top-of-the-line, high redundancy data centres located in Iowa, London, Eemshaven, and Singapore. They recently added two more data centres in Frankfurt and Sydney.
There are four main things you need to look for in a hosting company namely Support, Performance, Security and Reliability
3 Reasons You Should Use SiteGround.
Siteground is known for their excellent 24/7 support and server speeds. They provide unique solutions for WordPress to make your website fast and secure.
1. Support – The best support in the industry.
The support department of SiteGround is on another lever. They have a friendly, efficient, and patient support team that provides excellent speedy support and they are 24/7 available to assist you.
Customer service is one of their top priorities and it definitely reflect in their user reviews. I contacted SiteGround 2 times through their helpdesk tickets about errors on my website (caused by incorrect changes I made). The issues were resolved both times by their support team within 6 minutes! It is nice to know you have a friendly and effective team behind you when things go wrong.
If you need advanced technical help, you can contact SiteGround anytime via live chat, helpdesk tickets or phone. You can also browse through their excellent knowledge base which is full of informative guides where you will find answers to most common issues.
Security is more than just “secure servers” which in the industry generally just mean a frequently updated kernel, updated services, firewalls, and spam filtering services etc.
SiteGround know what security means. They understand the necessary measures needed to secure accounts in a shared hosting environment.
In a shared hosting environment, multiple users share the same server, which means that if a site get vulnerable then it may also affect the other sites. SiteGround have a unique method where they isolate accounts on the same servers which means your account will not be affected if another website gets vulnerable.
They also developed scripts to check for hacked content, they will also notify you if any hacked content is detected.
They also developed HackAllert (known as SG Site Scanner), a service that monitors your website and notifies you about malicious code or security issues.
SiteGround also run a system called 1H Hawk that identifies brute force attacks and disable the IP addresses of attackers in real time.
They also provide you with a free SSL certificate that you can easily enable in control panel.
Unfortunately, a 100% secure website do not exist, but SiteGround definitely do their part to make sure your website is hosted in the most secure environment possible. There are a few things you can also do to make sure your website stays secure.
Here are a few tips you can follow:
- Make sure your WordPress and all plugins are always up to date.
- Use strong passwords for your WordPress account and do not use the common “admin” username.
- Only download and install plugins from official sources.
- It is also important that the devices you use to login to your account are virus free and always updated. Your OS and all software including browser addons should be up-to-date.
- You should also make sure that you always have a back up of your website.
The web host you are using have a significant impact on page speed. It does not matter how many improvements you try to make, if your hosting server is slow then your website will remain sluggish.
Page load times is used as a ranking factor on both desktop and mobile platforms. If your site is slow, it will have a negative impact on your rankings. Search Engines do not like slow websites, neither will your visitors.
Here are some of the speed technologies SiteGround use:
NGINX server technology is included in all shared plans and helps to speed up load times for static content on your website.
SiteGround developed SuperCacher – A caching system based on the NGINX reverse proxy that significantly boost page loading times.
HTTP/2 Are available on all shared and cloud servers. HTTP/2 is a revision of the HTTP protocol that offers various performance improvements.
High performance SSD drives on all shared and cloud hosting plans.
SiteGround also partnered with Cloudflare to provide a free CDN for all clients. A CDN (content delivery network) is basically a network or group of servers across the globe, working together to provide faster content delivery.
Sign up with SiteGround and choose a hosting package.
1. Go to Siteground and click on WordPress Hosting.
Siteground offer 3 hosting plans for WordPress. Before you choose a hosting plan, you need to determine what your needs are.
Here are 3 questions you can ask yourself:
1. What is the number of monthly traffic I expect?
2. Am I going to create multiple websites?
3. How much storage space will I need?
I am currently on the GrowBig plan, but I recommend you start out with the StartUp. You can easily upgrade to the GrowBig or GoGeek when needed.
What plan will fit Your needs?
Each plan includes loads of features. Compare the plans and pick the right plan for your needs.
3. Click on Get Plan
To register a Domain name will cost around $15 a year.
4. Enter your domain name and select Proceed.
5. Enter your Account information and review your plan.
6. Click on Pay Now after you entered all details and reviewed your plan.
You created your new hosting account!
You will now receive an email with important information about your new hosting account.
Now you can login to your SiteGround Account.
A login link should be in the email you received. Otherwise follow this link to login to your account.
7. Login to your SiteGround Account
Take some time and get familiar with all the options and settings. Everything is self-explanatory. If you are uncertain about something you can browse through the help centre. SiteGround also have excellent 24/7 support available should you need it.
Now it is time to install your blogging platform.
Step 3: Install the blogging platform on your hosting account.
There are multiple ways how you can install WordPress on your hosting account. For this guide I am going to show you how to install WordPress with the Softaculous App installer.
1. After you logged in to your account, Click on Websites, then cPanel next to your domain name.
2. Scroll down to AUTOINSTALLERS and click on WordPress.
3. Click on Install.
3.1 Choose a protocol for your website: Choose https:// or https://www if your website have a SSL.
3.2 Select your domain name.
3.3 Enter the Name and tagline (description) of your website.
3.4 Enter a Username, Password and Email address. Remember these details, you will use it every time you login to your WordPress dashboard.
3.5 Select Limit Login Attempts if you want to install the plugin. Loginizer is a plugin which helps you fight against brute force attacks.
3.6 We have now filled in all the necessary fields. Click on Install Now.
WordPress will now be installed and your new site is now up and running!
Enter your domain name in the address bar of your browser to view your new website. Your website will look something like this:
This is the default Twenty-Twenty WordPress theme. Now you can login to your WordPress account and start designing your blog
Login to WordPress
Login with WordPress with the administrative URL. It usually looks like this: http://www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin
The WordPress Admin Area
After you logged in, you will see the default Dashboard screen. The Dashboard gives you an overview of what is happening on your site. On the left side of the Admin Area you will see a list of all the admin options.
Take some time and browse through all the sections. As a blogger, you will spend most of your time in the Posts section.
I will quickly explain some of the most important sections:
Posts: When you write a blog entry, you will use a post. Posts appear in reverse chronological order on your blog. To create a post, go to the Posts section and click Add new.
Media Library: In the media section you can upload images, videos, and files to your website. You can also edit and remove previously uploaded content.
Pages: Pages are used for static content. Pages is not time dependent like posts, e.g. you will use pages for the Terms and conditions or About Us page. To create a page, go to the Pages section and click Add New.
Comments: In the comments section you can view all the comments on your blog. You can activate or deactivate comments on both pages and posts.
Appearance: This section is where you can change the design and looks of your site.
Themes modify the way your site are displayed, e.g. the layout, fonts, colours and styles…
The Customizer allows you to manage theme options and features in a live preview.
Widgets help you to add content to certain areas of your theme in an easy way.
Menus help you create structure to your blog. Links such as pages and categories are usually added to the menu.
The Theme Editor is a simple text editor that allows you to view or modify theme files. You probably will not need to use this feature. Do not mess around with these files if you are not a 100% sure what you’re doing.
Plugins: Plugins can extend the functionality of your blog by adding more options or features to your site. You can install, activate, deactivate, delete, or upload new plugins from this section.
Users: This section allows you to control what users can or cannot do on your website. You can manage all users and set specific roles that defines certain permissions of a user.
SETTINGS: The General settings contains basic settings like the title, tagline, URL, language, and time settings.
Writing allows you to change certain post settings such as the default post category and format.
On the Reading screen you can decide how many posts displays per page, if your home page should display a static page or recent posts, whether to show each article in a feed full text or summary…
Discussion Contains settings on how users interact with your website.
Media contains settings related to the images you use on your blog e.g. the image sizes.
Permalinks enable you to create custom URL structure for your permalinks and archives.
Step 4: Find and Install a Premium Theme and important plugins.
A WordPress theme controls how your website look, but it is much more than just the design of a website. It is crucial to get a theme with a solid framework.
There are many free themes available, but I highly recommend investing in a good premium theme.
Your website already has the Twenty Twenty theme installed. To view it, hover your mouse cursor over your blog’s name (on the upper left corner) and click on Visit Site.
Why purchase a theme if you can get it free?
Free themes have limited features and functionality, they also have limited or no support.
Choosing a WordPress theme is not a choice you should take lightly. In almost all cases, you will stick to the same theme for a very long time. If you make the right decision the first time, you will never have to worry about purchasing a theme again.
You can use the free themes to experiment and to get familiar the WordPress live customizer.
I’m using the Genesis Framework by StudioPress for PCReckoner.Genesis is a solid Framework that offers unlimited support and updates with state-of-the-art security.
Here are 4 Characteristics of a Good Theme.
1. Reliability & Support: You don’t want to waste time with technical issues because of poorly written code or with the possibility that the theme may be discontinued in the near future.
2. Mobile Responsive: The theme must function well on all mobile devices. Approximately 50% of website traffic are generated through mobile devices.
3. SEO Optimized: Search Engine Optimization is very important; it is the process of getting organic traffic to your website from search engines.
Genesis is optimized for SEO, with clean lightweight code that will make your site run fast and smoothly. Slow Page loading speeds will have a negative impact on your rankings.
4. Security: StudioPress made security a priority when developing Genesis. They also brought in security expert and core WordPress developer to make sure the genesis framework has the best possible security.
They also release new updates regularly; this is very important for keeping your site secure.
Install A Premium WordPress Theme.
I recommend you use StudioPress themes. StudioPress is the creator of the Genesis framework.
The Genesis Framework is a very well-designed structure that provides a secure and search-engine-optimized foundation.
Here are some of the benefits of Genesis themes:
- SEO Optimized
- Excellent Security
- Updated Regularly
- Great Support and Documentation
- Mobile Responsive
- Build on the latest HTML Markup
- Clean and Lightweight code
- Optimized for Speed
Find and install your theme.
1. Go to StudioPress Themes. Here you can browse through all the available themes.
2. Find any theme that you like and click on See Details and Pricing.
3. Click on Live Demo to view the site.
4. If you like what you see then click Buy Theme + Framework Package.
Take your time to browse through the demo site and make sure you are happy before moving to the next step.
Now you will need to complete the form to create your StudioPress account and complete your purchase.
After you Purchased the theme, you will have the option to download the theme files.
5. Save the files to your computer.
Install Genesis and the Child theme.
Genesis and Child?
1. Go to Appearance > Themes > Add Themes> Upload Theme.
2. Click on Choose File and select the Genesis ZIP file and click Install Now.
3. Click Return to Themes page, DO NOT activate it.
4. Again, click on Upload Theme > Choose file and select the StudioPress theme (the child theme) file and click Install Now.
5. Now you can Activate the child theme.
Congratulations!! You installed one of the best WordPress themes for your website.
WordPress Live Theme Customizer
You can now customize your theme with the WordPress build-in Customizer. Go to Appearance > Customize. On the left side you will see a sidebar with all the options and on the right side is a live preview of your site. Go through all the sections and get familiar with the layout, it is quite easy and self-explanatory.
4 More Tips To Get You Started.
#1 Install SSL on your website.
A SSL Certificate improves customer trust, protect your data and it may also give you better SEO rankings.
If your website is using a SSL, your URL will start with HTTPS instead of HTTP. Most browsers also display a “lock” icon.
Easily install a certificate with Siteground:
1. Log into your SiteGround User Area.
2. Click on Websites and scroll down to Extras
3. Go to SSL and click ADD
4. Select your preferred certificate and the domain where you want to install it.
5. Click on GO TO CPANEL.
6. Make Sure your domain and SSL type are selected and click INSTALL
#2 Install a Coming soon/Maintenance Mode Plugin.
Getting your website ready will take some time. You may want to use a Coming soon Page, while you prepare your blog.
1. Login into your WordPress Admin Area.
2. Go to Plugins >Add New
3. Type “coming soon page” in the search box.
4. Click Install Now on one of these plugins.
Remember to activate and configure the plugin.
Coming Soon mode should only be used while prepare your site to launch. Use the Maintenance mode when you are doing maintenance. Otherwise it could have negative effects on your site’s SEO.
#3 Install a SEO Plugin
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of optimizing your website to improve its rankings in search engines.
Here is a link you can read to learn more about SEO: WordPress SEO Plugins for your blog.
#4 Three ideas to make money with your blog.
1 . AdSense: AdSense match ads to your blog based on your visitors and content. These ads are administered and maintained by Google. AdSense can generate a revenue through either CPC (Cost per Click) or CPI (Cost per impression)
It is quite easy; you do not need to be in contact with advertisers. Just provide the space on your blog and Google will chooses the relevant ads to display and you will get paid though clicks or impressions.
2. Affiliate Programs: Affiliate marketing is when you promote or refer products and services of other businesses.
There are many Affiliate programs available. Amazon Associates is one of the most popular ones.
How does it work?
You get a commission when someone buy a product through one of your affiliate links.
Let’s say you wrote an article about the best processor for high end gaming.
- You sign up for the Affiliate program.
- Add the affiliate link to your article.
- When a visitors clicks on the link, they will be redirected to the retailer’s website.
- The user makes a purchase, you receive a commission, and everyone is happy.
3. Sell digital products. You can write and sell eBooks or create online courses. If you have the skills you can also develop your own plugins or themes and sell it on your site.
Now you can start writing and customizing!
Few links you may find helpful:
Please let me know if any of these steps were unclear to you.
Please note: PCReckoner is an affiliate for some of the services mentioned in this article, (Siteground and StudioPress) which means that I may earn a commission if you purchase one of the services or products thought one of these links. I will never recommend a product or service that I don’t personally use or truly believe are the best option. Thanks!