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This is a continuation of the Make Extra Money with Multiple Streams of Income series starting with installing a WordPress blog in 30 minutes or less for beginners, which will be followed by setting up the blog, what to do before you start considering any kind of monetization and my best tips for reaching the audience you’re looking for.
When I started my first blog, it took me months to figure everything out and my research online confused me even more. I would very much have appreciated a simple step by step guide back then.
How to Start a Blog in 30 Minutes or Less: The Beginners Starter Guide
1. Choose the Right Domain Name
This is the home of your new blog. What do you want to name it? It should be relevant to your topic but also be on a topic that generates results on search engines. If no one is looking up the topic (s) you’re blogging about, no one will find your website.
Before you choose a domain name, do some keyword research to verify if the topic you’re interested in is viable. It would suck to blog and blog and blog only to discover later on down the line that you’ve wasted your time on a topic no one is interested in.
You can use paid tools available online like SEM Rush, Ahrefs & Mangools but Google Keyword Planner is free and can be just as useful in this endeavour. You also have free trial options available with the paid versions as well.
Keep in mind your domain name should be unique, simple, easy to remember, easy to type and shouldn’t contain hyphens, numbers or weird mis-spellings. Additionally, the best domain name extension is either .com or .net.
Once you’ve chosen a domain name, it’s time to check if the domain name is available. You can do this using the tool below:
There’s a voluminous amount of information online about choosing the right domain name. Don’t get too hung up on the research or you’ll never get started. You can purchase your domain name here. If you buy hosting through them as well, you get the first year free.
2. Choose a Hosting Company
A hosting company will provide a base for your new blog as well as a platform for you to launch from. They will do the techie stuff behind the lines while you focus on the business of blogging. The best thing is hosting costs less than you would spend on a cup of coffee or muffin every day – less than $5/month depending on your hosting company!
If you’re new to blogging, start with a basic shared hosting account. You can upgrade according to your website’s needs as you go along. For shared hosting, I recommend Bluehost or Siteground. They are both user-friendly, flexible to your needs and have reliable servers.
If you purchase your hosting through Bluehost, you also get a FREE domain for the first year. You can purchase hosting for 12, 24 or 36 months at a time but they work out cheaper if you buy in bulk. The longer your plan is, the cheaper the monthly cost will be. This is a huge money saver if you’re just starting out. The same goes for Siteground.
Go to Bluehost to purchase a plan (I recommend basic for beginners), enter your preferred domain name or a domain name you already registered, enter your details, choose a password and finalize the purchase. Your domain name is free for the first year if you purchase hosting through Bluehost. Get the deal HERE.
If you already purchased your domain name from somewhere else, you need to point your Nameservers to Bluehost. This is easy and you should find info on how to do this in the help pages of the company you purchased the domain name through.
For instance, if you purchased your domain name through GoDaddy, you can find this information at setting name servers for your domain names.
3. Decide on a Blogging Platform
Once you’ve purchased your domain name and hosting account, it’s time to set up your new blog. Blogger, WordPress, Drupal, Squarespace or some other platform? You want to start with a platform you can grow and develop your blog with.
Migrating from platform to platform is a pain even with the help of a plugin. If your site is comprehensive when you make the switch, it’s an even bigger pain. If you’re serious about blogging and eventually making an income from it, then my best recommendation is start with WordPress.
I started one of my sites on another platform and I made only a few dollars here and there no matter how hard I worked. However, once I switched over to WordPress and started making use of the valuable tools available, my income skyrocketed. Even the most technology challenged individual can create a blog via WordPress.
You can install WordPress on the cPanel of your hosting platform with just one click. If you sign up for Bluehost and have any questions along the way, I can also help you. Read on for a step by step guide to install WordPress.
4. Step by Step Guide to Install Your WordPress Blog on Bluehost
Once you’ve purchased your domain name (or linked your domain name to your host) and a hosting package, log in to your account and locate your cPanel.
Within the panel, look for the icon that says Quick Installs or One Click Installs. If you can’t find it, you can quickly search for it with the control + F command on your keyboard.
Choose the WordPress icon, which will bring you to a Start button. Click this button to begin the installation.
Once the installation commences, you will receive a prompt for a domain name to install WordPress on. Choose your domain name from the drop-down menu.
Afterward, enter the site title, username, a difficult to guess password, and an email address for admin. Do not use email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. This is very easy for hackers to get into your site and wreak havoc. Check off the terms and conditions then click install.
The installation should take only a few minutes. Once complete, you will receive your log in details via the email address you provided.
Congratulations! Your WordPress blog is ready for you to get started. If you sign up through my link and need any help along the way, feel free to ask in the comments section or send me an email through the contact page.
Before you start working behind the scenes, be sure to put up a site under maintenance message. You can download any free plugin for this. For instance, below is a message people see when they visit one of my websites currently under maintenance. This isn’t absolutely necessary but it makes the page look clean and you can also start collecting email addresses while you are in maintenance mode.
5. Essential Tools for Beginners to Blogging
Once your blogging platform is installed and maintenance mode activated, it’s time to start making things look the one you want it to on the back end prior to launching. You will require several tools to achieve this, which I have outlined below:-
1. Branding & Design for Your WordPress Blog
A logo and theme are one of the first things you need to get started. There are many free themes on the Internet as well as on WordPress but they are usually limited in what you can do with them or how you can modify them. You can search for free themes in the appearance -> themes section -> of WordPress.
If you’d rather something a bit more professional that you can modify to your heart’s content along with superb support, then I recommend two options – Genesis Framework is one of the most popular themes. I also love the themes available on ThemeForest.
If you haven’t come up with a logo or color concept yet and are design challenged, you can get someone to help you with that on Fiverr.
Fiverr is an online marketplace where you can get any kind of gig for $5 with additional elements coming at an extra cost. You can hire someone to create a basic logo for you but make sure the source files are included in the final product before you buy the gig.
2. Image Editing
An image is worth a thousand words and you will need to use them on social media as well as within your blog posts. They are engaging and visually appealing to readers. You can get free images on places like Wikipedia, Pixabay, and Flickr. Remember to check the attrition clause on images. You can also buy professional images on places like Deposit Photos.
All the tinkering I do with the images on my sites is with the help of PicMonkey & Canva. You can do pretty much anything with an image on these sites. This is invaluable considering the image can be shared in so many places on the Internet helping you promote your brand.
You can edit the images for free on both sites but for more advanced features, membership costs around $3.99/month on PicMonkey. You can pay for individual elements on Canva, which starts at $1/element.
3. Page Builder
A page builder is an extremely versatile tool to have. It can save you hours of tinkering around trying to figure out how to make something look like you want. A page builder is a drag and drop tool that helps you build pages and posts on your website; make things look fancy and all laid out nicely.
While I have basic knowledge of HTML, I still found a page builder to be a useful time saver. The best page builder for WordPress hands down is Visual Composer. With Visual Composer, you are in full control of your website.
Note, a page builder is not 100% necessary but like I said, it’s a very effective tool that makes your life easier when you’re working on your website. Find out more about Visual Composer HERE.
4. Google Trends
Google Trends is a tool that helps you find out the search volume for a particular item or phrase. This will help to determine what kind of topics you should write about and/or focus on in the present as well as for the future.
This will help tremendously with search engine rankings. This is a free resource provided by Google. Create an account and learn more HERE. If you already have a Gmail account, you can use the same email address to access Google Trends.
Another immensely useful tool from Google. Google will provide a code to include on your website. This code will track all your website traffic and activities and provide a comprehensive report enabling you to do more of what works and tweak or eliminate what isn’t working. Create an account and learn more HERE.
If you already have a Gmail account, you can use the same email address to access Google Analytics. You can add up to 100 websites to the same Google Analytics account. You will receive a different UID for each website.
6. Email Marketing
You should start to build an email list from day 1 of your blog. This list will become the most important thing in your business as you grow. There are many many email marketing services out there but the ones I use and recommend, which also happens to be budget friendly are Mailerlite, ConvertKit, and GetResponse. Read 5 Top Tools for Small Business Email Marketing Management for a breakdown of each one.
7. Useful Plugins
Plugins are software that can be downloaded and utilized to expand the functionality of your website and make your life easier. There are thousands of plugins but the ones you should definitely download when you launch your blog include:-
- Akismet Anti-Spam
- All In One SEO Pack or Yoast SEO
- Broken Link Checker
- FMTC Affiliate Disclosure
- Google XML Sitemaps
- WP Super Cache
I will outline what each one does in greater details in a follow-up post but this is also explained before you download each plugin on WordPress. Before you go crazy downloading every plugin available, too many plugins can affect the speed and functionality of your website.
Download only plugins that are absolutely essential. Additionally, be careful about downloading plugins that haven’t been updated in a long time. They can muck up your website. WordPress mentions the last date the plugin was updated before you download.
You’re all set to start your blogging career with the basics above. As the weeks go by, I will be updating the list with more useful information. Don’t forget to sign up below to get notification of new articles.
Resources Recommended in This Article
- Make Extra Money with Multiple Streams of Income
- Choose a Hosting Company – Bluehost or Siteground
- Blog Theme – Genesis Framework or ThemeForest
- Logo Design – Fiverr
- Premium Images for Your Blog – Deposit Photos
- Image Editing – PicMonkey or Canva
- Drag and Drop Page Builder – Visual Composer
- Email Marketing – Mailerlite, ConvertKit, or GetResponse