Published on January 9, 2019
1. How to Start a WordPress Blog (14 Steps)
2. In this comprehensive guide, we’re going to take you through all the steps required to create a successful blog using WordPress: How to Start a WordPress Blog (14 Steps) 1. Identify Your Blog’s Subject and Niche 2. Name Your Blog 3. Choose a Platform for Your Blog 4. Purchase Web Hosting and a Domain from DreamHost 5. Install WordPress 6. Tweak Your Blog’s Appearance with a Theme 7. Customize Your Blog With Plugins 8. Brainstorm Blog Topics 9. Write Your First Post 10. Optimize Your Posts for Search Engines 11. Set a Schedule (And Stick to It) 12. Create a Style Guide 13. Market and Share Your Posts 14. Monetize Your Blog We’ll cover everything from coming up with a name and installing your site to writing your first post and sharing it with others. There’s a lot of ground to cover — let’s get started!
3. Step 1 Identify Your Blog’s Subject and Niche
4. Step 1: Identify Your Blog’s Subject and Niche First and foremost, you’ll need to decide what your blog should be about. Ask yourself: ● What kind of topics are you passionate about and feel you could write about insightfully? ● How will your blog differ from other blogs about a similar subject? ● Who is your target audience? What type of content would your ideal reader find interesting? How to Start a WordPress Blog (14 Steps) Doing some market research at this stage will be useful, as it can help you find a niche that may be underserved.
5. Step 2 Name Your Blog
6. Step 2: Name Your Blog Most blog names can be roughly separated into two categories: ● Keyword-based. These are names that contain relevant keywords, in order to be descriptive and make the purpose of the blog clear. Some examples include British Beauty Blogger and Car and Driver. ● Brand-based. These blog names focus on a brand and tend to be shorter and more memorable. A few examples are Kotaku and BMWBLOG. How to Start a WordPress Blog (14 Steps) Need help? There are several online name generators you can use to create potential names based on a word or phrase. One of our favorites is simply called Blog Name Generator.
7. Step 3 Choose a Platform for Your Blog
8. Step 3: Choose a Platform for Your Blog There are numerous platforms available. However, we strongly recommend WordPress, an easy-to-use Content Management System with lots of added functionality. Why? ● WordPress lets you style your blog using themes, and add new features via plugins. ● It also helps to make your blog more secure and perform better with minimal work required on your end. How to Start a WordPress Blog (14 Steps) New to WordPress? To start learning the ropes, you may want to read up on what a WordPress site contains, as well as the basics of self-hosted WordPress.
9. Step 4 Purchase Web Hosting and a Domain
10. Step 4: Purchase Web Hosting and a Domain Now that you’ve decided on WordPress, you’ll need a hosting plan and a domain to get your site online. Let’s look at the main types of hosting that are available: How to Start a WordPress Blog (14 Steps) ● Shared hosting is the cheapest option (DreamHost plans start at $2.59/mo) but can be limiting in terms of performance. On this type of plan, you share a server and its resources with multiple other sites. Shared hosting is best suited for new sites with low traffic. ● Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting is a version of shared hosting where each site has its own resources. It’s slightly more costly but provides improved performance. ● Dedicated hosting is the most expensive and powerful option. As the name suggests, you’ll get an entire server that’s dedicated to your site alone. This is usually overkill for a blog unless your site draws unusually large volumes of traffic.
11. Step 4: Purchase Web Hosting and a Domain Finally, you’ll also need a domain name, which is the URL that will be used to access your blog. Many hosting plans, including DreamHost’s Shared Unlimited plan, include a domain with your purchase of a hosting account. How to Start a WordPress Blog (14 Steps) When it comes to creating a domain name, there are a couple things you’ll want to consider: ● Choosing the right Top-Level Domain (TLD), such as .com or .org, for your website. ● Making the domain name memorable and concise. Choosing the right provider is crucial, as this will play a key role in your site’s performance, security, and other vital factors. It’s also smart to look for a company that specializes in WordPress hosting specifically. Here at DreamHost, we offer a number of top-notch WordPress hosting plans to choose from. ● Our shared Starter plan is likely to be ideal for your brand-new blog. It only costs a few dollars per month and will provide plenty of resources while your site is still small. ● Later on, when your blog begins to receive more traffic, you can upgrade to a more powerful option such as DreamPress managed hosting. To purchase a shared hosting plan, simply select Sign Up on our plans page. Then, you’ll need to create a hosting account. Ready to set up your DreamHost account? Start here.
12. Step 5 Install WordPress
13. Step 5: Install WordPress Now it’s time to install WordPress. There are two main ways you can do this: ● Manual installation. This requires you to manually upload and configure the WordPress software on your site. While the process is infamously quick, we only recommend this approach if you’re more technically savvy. ● One-click installation. This is an option offered by many web hosts, which enables you to install WordPress on your site almost instantly. As such, you don’t have to worry about configuration or manually installing any files. If you feel up to the task of installing WordPress manually, we recommend that you check out our complete guide on the subject. You’ll need to download the latest version of WordPress and use an FTP tool such as FileZilla to upload it to your site. However, using a one-click installation tool is a considerably simplified process. You may have already completed this step when you signed up for your hosting plan. If not, you can set up your site at any time in your DreamHost panel. How to Start a WordPress Blog (14 Steps)
14. Step 6 Tweak Your Blog’s Appearance with a Theme
15. Step 6: Tweak Your Blog’s Appearance With a Theme You can change the appearance of your site by using a WordPress theme — a template that determines the layout and design of your site. Picking the right theme can be a struggle if you don’t know where to look, but a good place to start is by browsing the official WordPress Theme Directory. If you find a theme you want to use, you can download it here and then install on your site. However, you can also do this through your WordPress dashboard by navigating to Appearance > Themes. How to Start a WordPress Blog (14 Steps)
16. Step 7 Customize Your Blog With Plugins
17. Step 7: Customize Your Blog With Plugins How to Start a WordPress Blog (14 Steps) One of the reasons WordPress is so powerful is its built-in flexibility. This is due to plugins, add-ons you can install to provide your blog with new features. You can find lots of free options in the WordPress Plugin Directory. Great Plugins for Beginners There are literally thousands of free and premium plugins at your disposal. Let’s look at a few of the best plugins for blog owners: ● Jetpack gives options for improving your site’s security, optimizing its performance, sharing your posts on social media, and much more. ● Akismet Anti-Spam automatically detects and filters out spam from comments. ● Updraft Plus lets you create backups, which are copies of your site.
18. Step 8 Brainstorm Blog Topics
19. Step 8: Brainstorm Blog Topics How to Start a WordPress Blog (14 Steps) Now, it’s time to start thinking about content. Begin by performing keyword research. You can use Google Keyword Planner for this, as it’s both comprehensive and free. With this tool, you can search for keywords related to your blog to see what your audience is most interested in. Example: if you enter the keyword “men’s fashion,” you’ll see that popular keywords include “stylish shirts for men” and “men's summer clothes.” You can then consider how to write blog posts that are optimized for these terms (something we’ll look more at later).
20. Step 9 Write Your First Post
21. Step 9: Write Your First Post How to Start a WordPress Blog (14 Steps) You’re finally about to put pen to paper and write your first post. To get started, access your admin dashboard and click Posts > Add New. This will open the WordPress editor.
22. Step 9: Write Your First Post (cont.) We’ve written a comprehensive guide to writing quality blog posts. We’ll go through some of the basics here too: ● Write a descriptive and attention-grabbing post title. The key to creating a snappy headline is to make it informative and specific. ● Add your body text by typing into the main paragraph block. How to Start a WordPress Blog (14 Steps) When you’ve completed your post, you can add the finishing touches: ● Assign it one or more Categories and Tags. These help you organize each post based on its type and topic. ● Set a featured image for the post. How this will appear depends on your theme, but it’s usually featured on both your blog’s homepage and at the top of the post itself. Select your headline, and use the Featured Image option in the sidebar to choose a file. Your post is now ready, so go ahead and click the Publish button in the top-right corner to make it live!
23. Step 9: Write Your First Post (cont.) You can also set how and when you want the post to appear on your site, if you’d like to delay its publication. You can also choose its visibility, which determines who can see it, or simply save it as a draft to work more on later. How to Start a WordPress Blog (14 Steps)
24. Step 10 Optimize Your Posts for Search Engines
25. Step 10: Optimize Your Posts for Search Engines How to Start a WordPress Blog (14 Steps) By optimizing your posts for specific keywords, you can increase the likelihood that they’ll appear when users search for them. This is also known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and is vital for increasing traffic and visibility for your blog. There are several SEO tools that you can use to do this, but our recommended solution is Yoast SEO — a free plugin that adds a new section to your WordPress editor. Keywords: Phrases that users enter into search engines to find what they’re looking for.
26. Step 10: Optimize Your Posts for Search Engines (cont.) Here, you can set a ‘keyphrase’ for your post, which is the keyword you want to optimize it for. Once you’ve done that, the plugin will show you in real time how well-optimized the post is, giving you specific advice on how you can improve it. How to Start a WordPress Blog (14 Steps) Yoast also lets you add a meta description, which is a snippet of text that appears alongside the post in search results.
27. Step 11 Set a Schedule (And Stick to It)
28. Step 11: Set a Schedule (And Stick to It) How to Start a WordPress Blog (14 Steps) ● Your available time ● Your blog’s subject matter Regardless, it’s a smart move to set a strict schedule for yourself and make sure you follow it. You could even make this schedule clear on the blog itself, letting readers know when new content will be available (for example, every Tuesday and Thursday). To make sure that readers return to your blog, you’ll need to publish content regularly. How often you publish will depend on: Need a tool? The Editorial Calendar plugin lets you create a calendar for your posts and even schedule drafts to be published at a specific time and date.
29. Step 12 Create a Style Guide
30. Step 12: Create a Style Guide Another helpful asset for any blogger is a style guide — a set of guidelines that determines how posts on your blog should be written and formatted. Why have one? ● It helps you ensure that your content has a consistent tone and look over time. ● A style guide can also be useful if you ever decide to bring on additional writers. There are plenty of things you’ll need to consider when creating your blog’s style guide. Here are the most crucial elements: ● Voice and tone. Is your blog laid-back or serious? Is the writing casual or professional? ● Language. For example, do you use British or American English? ● Punctuation and formatting. Do you use en dashes or em dashes? When do you use single or double quotation marks? Naturally, a style guide will evolve as your blog grows and changes. As such, it’s best to think of it as a constant work-in-progress, rather than as unquestionable gospel. How to Start a WordPress Blog (14 Steps)
31. Step 13 Market and Share Your Posts
32. Step 13: Market and Share Your Posts Once you’ve published a few posts and settled into a groove of writing content, it’s time to market your blog: ● Start by sharing your posts on social media. This will help get them more widely seen while encouraging those in your network to share your content with their own followers. ● It’s also smart to make your posts easier to share right from your website. One way to do this is by adding social media buttons to your posts, which you can do using the Jetpack plugin. How to Start a WordPress Blog (14 Steps) Remember: marketing takes time. If you perform SEO, share your posts, and regularly publish high-quality content, you should see a gradual increase in readers. That increase will let you know you’re on the right track. You can also keep a close eye on your site’s analytics, to see how well it’s performing.
33. Step 14 Monetize Your Blog
34. Step 14: Monetize Your Blog Last but certainly not least, let’s consider the options you have when it comes to monetizing your blog: ● Selling products and services. Providing something purchasable, such as an e-book, alongside your posts is a great way to earn some income. ● Affiliate marketing. By marketing products from other vendors, you can earn revenue without the need to create or ship your own items. ● Crowdfunding. You can also ask your loyal readers to donate directly, which eliminates the need to market any external products. ● Put ads on your site. A popular and easy solution for doing this is Google AdSense, which automatically generates ads that are suitable for your blog and audience. How to Start a WordPress Blog (14 Steps)
35. Your WordPress Blog Awaits
36. Your WordPress Blog Awaits The number of reasons to start a blog is almost equal to the volume of actual blogs in existence. Not only can a blog be a phenomenally creative pursuit, but it can also be used to market your business, or even be monetized in its own right. Ready to get started? DreamHost can help you get your blog live for as little as $2.59/mo. How to Start a WordPress Blog (14 Steps) Do you have any questions about the process of starting a WordPress blog? Join DreamHost on Twitter or Facebook and let’s start the conversation!