How to Start a WordPress Blog? – An Instructive Guide for Beginners
Starting a blog should not be difficult.
However, most of the people fear to blog and are holding themselves back because of reasons like lack of technical knowledge (and other excuses).
Maybe, that might have stopped you a decade ago or so.
Today, anyone (even an amateur) can start a blog and get it off the ground without being a technology geek.
Blogging has been easier than ever before.
The only difficult part in blogging is the consistency – to continually come up with content ideas, and create high-quality content that stands out in front of the audience. Apart from that, starting a blog is just a piece of cake.
Just follow along and you’ll have your own blog after the end of this post.
Table of Contents
As with many things in life, blogging demands patience. That should not stop you from building a productive habit of blogging – and change many lives in case you build traction to it.
In this post, I’ll show you how to start a WordPress blog (step-by-step)
Develop the Idea & Research the Niche
The most important step is to RESEARCH.
There’s no question about that. Without research, you’ll enter the niche with a lot of competition, and almost no profit. And, it will be more difficult for you to stand out.
Believe me, blogging is a long-term game.
In order to win, you have to set long-term goals. Or else, you’ll just be another drop of water in the ocean.
Of course, researching is not a compulsory step, and you can start writing as soon as your blog is live on the internet. But, this step will save you a lot of time and should you decide to monetize your content later on – this step will prove to be the most valuable one.
Step 1 – Come up with an idea (or topic)
Think about topics that you want to write about.
At this point, you should not constrain yourself to limited thinking. The idea is to get as many topics you are interested in as possible. Ideas come from everywhere – you just need to have an open mind.
Take a paper in your hand (or sticky notes), and brainstorm the topic ideas.
List down all the ideas:
Yoga & Meditation
Finance & Investment
Interior Designing …
List down every topic you are interested in.
Don’t think of not having enough knowledge or not being the expert in the field. It’s not necessary to be an absolute expert who knows everything about the topic, in order to blog.
Everyone who writes about blogging knew nothing about the blogging when they started out.
The point is:
You’ll figure out everything along the way.
As one of the quotations goes, even a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
That’s particularly true for blogging.
Even a blog of thousands of articles starts with a single post. However, you need to be prepared for your journey – especially if you’re trying to blog to make a living. In addition to the time, it takes a lot of efforts to take your blog to the level where you could make a living.
Needless to say, you need to develop a lot of skills along the way.
Step 2 – Find out the market (audience) for that topic
Although there is a myriad of ways to do market research online, we’re going to focus on 2 ways to quickly look through the data and decide whether the niche is worth being into.
The idea is to quickly skim through the data …
… not detailed market research.
The first step, go to trends.google.com.
Use a few of the keywords that relate to your topic (“Interior Design” in this case) and find out what the Google trends show:
Here, you can see that the term – “interior design” has a stable number of searches throughout the years, which means …
… this is a green signal.
The only time when you need to think about is when you see the graph slowly declining over time. That means, all the efforts that you put out today might not generate fruitful results in the near future.
Repeat this process using other related queries, until you are satisfied with the niche.
Next, let’s go to adwords keyword planner and find out the estimated searches for the important keywords in your niche.
Head over to Keyword Planner (sign up for adwords if you haven’t already)
Click on the “Get search volume and forecasts”.
And then, type in the important keywords that relate to the niche you’re trying to blog about, and then click – “Get Started”
Here, you’ll find the data (search volume, estimated CPC etc.) of the keywords that we typed in.
In this case, there seems to be the market of the niche – “Interior Design”. Google Adwords mentions that we can get around 23K for the US $1.6K, which is again a green signal because there’s at least money being spent in that area.
The only problem is when you notice that no money is being spent on the keywords.
It will be particularly helpful later on, should you decide to monetize your blog.
Don’t forget to look for the search volume as well.
The more the search volume, the more lucrative becomes.
However, the more search volume also means that there’s a lot of competitions for sure. In order to quickly go through the competition, I would check the “Domain Authority” of the top 3 websites that are already ranking for my keywords.
If that’s too high for me to compete, then it’s time to give it a second thought.
In this case, the websites have a domain authority of more than 80, which will be difficult to compete. In that case, I would repeat the process using other long tail keywords, and try to find out the opportunities for me to rank.
In case, I find none …
… I would be better off finding the other niche.
Step 3 – Consistency (Whether You Can Continue … ?)
Question yourself this –
“Whether I can continue writing about this topic for 1 year without having anyone paying me for it?”
If yes, then go for the topic.
If no, it’s a time to give it a second thought.
Generally, blogs do not start to generate revenue in its first year. Because it takes time to build a huge readership, it takes a consistent amount of effort and hours of dedication to gain a loyal and substantial number of followers.
And, when you’re not passionate about the topic – it’s too easy to give up.
But when you’re consistent, you’ll consistently increase the domain authority of your blog domain and build a large traction along the way, which you’ll help you be established as an authority within your niche.
The whole idea of finding the niche is:
“To find an area where your passion and the market opportunities intersect”
Looking for an SEO Specialist in Nepal? Look no further – have a look at my services.
Get Domain Name and Hosting
Before setting up our wordpress blog, we need a place to set it up (host) and we need a path for our audience to visit it (domain)
In simple terms,
Domain Name: Unique address through which our audience identifies our website in the internet (for instance – swopnadigital.com)
Host: Server computer which stores all our files (website’s source code, images, and other assets)
Before deciding a domain name for your blog, it’s necessary to know if the name is available in the internet. In case, it’s already taken by someone else, you can always opt for different variations of the name.
To check the availability:
Go to Godaddy.com and then type your preferred domain name in the search box:
Vary your keywords for the domain and find something that’s available on the internet.
After you find a domain that’s available, you can buy it right away. If you’re satisfied with the price, then add the domain to cart and buy the domain.
After you buy a domain name (make a path for themos audience to visit your site), it’s time to get a hosting service, where you can store all your files and database.
Although you can buy the hosting from Domain provider, it’s recommended to buy the hosting from the different vendor.
There’s nothing wrong with getting the domain and hosting from the same provider. Maybe, they might make it even easier to set up your website. Nevertheless, it’ll be difficult for you to change the hosting later on (if you wish to change it!!)
We recommend Bluehost to get hosting server.
Regardless of wherever you get hosting server from, make sure to look for certain factors:
- Is the server up for 24*7?
- Is SSL included?
- Customer Support (in case of difficulties)
- Is it under your budget?
Another good option for hosting is Hostgator.
After you buy the hosting server (most probably a shared server), they’ll provide you with the username and password through which you can access the cPanel – cPanel is like the control panel for your website.
You’ll upload files, create a database, set up the mail server, etc. using cPanel.
For our purpose, we’ll see how to install WordPress on your website using cPanel.
Based in Nepal and having difficulties to pay for the domain? We recommend to check out Prabidhi Labs for the reliable domain and hosting service.
Set Up WordPress (using cPanel)
WordPress is everyone’s first choice when it comes to the blogging platform. As of 2018, WordPress powers more than 30% of the entire web.
Isn’t that a lot for a single platform?
However, when you start understanding all the benefits that WordPress provides to its users, it won’t be strange to you that wordpress is this popular. Here are a few of its benefits for the bloggers:
- Easily Customizable
- Extend Functionality using plugins
- Quickly create posts and pages
- No need to code
- Thriving, Engaged Community
With all these benefits, WordPress comes in handy for every blogger to quickly create amazing blog posts and share that with the world. Now that we have our domain and hosting in place, it’s time to install the wordpress using cPanel.
How to Install WordPress using cPanel?
First, log in to the cPanel (using admin passwords)
This redirects you to the main dashboard of the cPanel – every setting you’ll need are separated into sections, and you can search for the settings you need.
Step 1 – Creating Database:
First, you need a database where you’ll install your WordPress. A database is basically a way of storing data and files using tables (no need to worry about that as a blogger). You just need to be able to create a database and install wordpress within it.
Search for SQL in the search box of your cPanel.
Now, create a database – give it a name and continue.
After the database has been created, it’s time to create a user through which you can access the database.
Remember to save the username and password for your database user (you’ll need it in the next step when installing wordpress to the site)
Now that we have a user and a database, it’s time to add the user to the database and provide it the privileges.
Select the correct user and database and then click add.
Don’t forget to provide your user the privileges.
When asked for the privileges, make sure to check on the “All Privileges”, and then click on the next step.
At this time, we’re all set up for the database and are ready to move on to the next step – make sure to save the following details for this step:
- Database Name
Step 2 – Uploading WordPress:
Download the latest wordpress version from its official website
Save the zip file you download in the location that’s easy to find.
You need to decide where you need to install the wordpress – most of the times, it’s your homepage. So, you should find out the document root of your website. Generally, it should be named – “Public_html”. Contact your hosting provider if you don’t find your document root.
First, go to File Manager.
Search for your document root i.e “public_html”
Anything that you’ll upload in this folder will be live in your domain – (for example – swopnadigital.com)
Since we’re just installing wordpress on our homepage, this should be the folder where we’ll store the wordpress files. Upload the wordpress version you downloaded earlier (zip file) within this folder.
On the top-left side of the dashboard, you should see the “upload” button. Click on that, and select the zip file from your computer.
After you upload is complete, the progress bar turns to green and the next step is to extract the zip file.
It’s time to extract the zip file and move that to the main directory (root).
After you extract the zip file, it creates a folder named “wordpress” and then unzips the files. For our purpose though, we need to move all the files (like index.html and all) to the main folder.
Select all the files and then move to the root folder (i.e “public_html”)
In this case, remove the word – “wordpress” and then select move files. This way you upload all the necessary files in the root folder, which can be visited using your homepage (main domain)
Step 3: Installing WordPress
After you upload the wordpress, it’s time to install it.
In this step, you’ll need the database info (database name, username, and password) from step number 1. Make sure (and double check) the username and password or the installation may break down.
Go to your homepage – (for example – https://swopnadigital.com)
And then you will see an installation wizard that helps you install the wordpress.
Select “English” as a language and continue.
Your browser shows you the form that asks for a few database information.
Match the field and enter the information that we saved earlier. Let me show what are those information in our case
The server will verify the information after you submit it. When everything is all right, there should be another form that asks for your website info. Although you can change it later on, it’s better to submit the correct information early on.
Site Title: Name of Your Site – Put in the name of your blog.
Username and Password: Admin user and password. You’ll use this to log in to your wordpress backend.
Your Email: WordPress will use it to contact you (for comments, securities and so on.)
Check the checkbox off – “Search Engine Visibility”. If you check this box on, search engines will not be able to index your website. As a blogger, your consistent traffic will always come from search – hence you need to take care of a few SEO things right before you blog.
Now, it’s time to run the installation.
As a part of the default installation, wordpress installs its default theme (named similar to – “Twenty Seventeen”) and implement few settings, which you want to change, however. If you want to make a custom blog for you, the first step you need to do is to install and activate a theme that matches your style.
Find and Install a Theme
WordPress comes with a default theme – for example – twenty seventeen, which is far away from someone’s expectations – both in terms of design and usability.
If you’re serious about blogging, you need to download a theme.
Here’s the tricky part:
WordPress theme marketplace is flooded with all kinds of themes. And, finding the right one for our purpose is almost like picking cotton. Sometimes, we get so picky about the design that no theme feels to be made for our purpose. But as a beginner blogger, it’s better not to care much about design.
Find a theme with a decent design and start writing!
The easiest way to find a theme is to search it right from the wordpress dashboard.
Go to Appearance >> Themes (on the wordpress dashboard)
And then, click on “Add New” to add themes to your wordpress site.
At this point, search the wordpress repository using the word of your choice. Try to use different variations of the word and then search again until you find the theme that matches your taste. It’s OK if it does not match 100%, you can customize it later on (for example – fonts, layouts and all).
The point is:
Search for a theme that has a decent design right out of the box.
When you find the theme of your choice and are ready to install that on your website, it’s time to actually install it.
Click on the theme and it loads the preview of how your website’s homepage will look like after installing. You should see the “install” button on the top left side of your screen – click on that.
In the preview screen, you can change a lot of things – content or design. WordPress can help a business build a full-fledged website – that might intimidate a beginner though. As a blogger, if you focus more of time on design, you’ll miss that time to create the content.
Hence, not that productive.
The section that you need to focus most is the “blog” section. In terms of design, you need a good layout, readable fonts, a comment section and readable paragraphs (line heights and so on.)
When you’re satisfied with the design, activate the theme.
Looking for a professional SEO Company in Nepal? Make sure to check out Swopna Digital as well.
Now it’s time to write …
Writing journey often feels like a roller coaster. Sometimes, you’re motivated enough to write (and write on and on …), while sometimes you find yourself in a position where words don’t seem to come out.
That’s how it is.
However, a few efforts in planning and you’re good to go with your blog.
As I said, WordPress can be completely customized – especially with the help of plugins. For our purpose, we don’t need to overload ourselves with tons of information. We just need to know enough to start writing.
Let’s know the difference between posts and pages:
Post & Page
On the WordPress dashboard, you’ll see two section – page and post, which is often confusing for a beginner. We need both for our blogs.
Simply put, a page is a static page in a website.
Pages don’t change often …
… unless we change it manually.
For example – homepage in most of the pages. Browse any of a business website and you’ll find that their homepage is a static page – in the sense that they don’t change often. It will be the same even after you write 100s of blog posts.
Posts, on the other hand, are comparable to the diaries.
A blog post is like an entry in diaries. The piece of content you’re reading right now is a blog post. Blogs are the collection of posts – whether you upload photos and videos or just write text form of content, you do that in blog posts.
In order to add a blog post, go to Posts >> Add New.
Write a heading title and permalink – even if you don’t create permalink (URL), wordpress generates one for you based on your heading. You’ll want to change it, however – for SEO purpose. Using short URLs is one of the on-page SEO techniques.
Now, it’s time to write the main content.
Everything else you did before was like a trailer – this is the actual film that your audience is going to watch. (“read” in this case )
Here are few writing tips I provide for a beginner blogger:
Create a content calendar. Starting a blog is easy – continuing the one you have is your real test. When you have a content plan in your hand, it becomes easy to manage time and it even provide extra energy to continue.
Make your post readable – both in terms of design and content. For design, make sure you have large enough font size and write small paragraphs. For content, write in the language that is understandable to your audience.
Encourage engagements within your blog. Make sure people who read your article comment on your posts – make it easy for them to do so. It helps for SEO purpose as well.
Always help your audience. When you help your audience, they start to build the trust with you. And, in turn they’ll promote your content when they feel right.
This is how a wordpress dashboard for new posts look like
… note that it will change after Gutenberg will be released as a default editor for wordpress 5.0
There are a lot of formatting options – (bolding text, linking to external source and so on). Most of the times, I find myself using these tabs later on after I finish writing – with some exception like adding images. I would recommend to turn on the distraction-free editor which will help you focus on your writing and nothing else.
… and be ready for Gutenberg as well.
When you’re ready to hit publish button, take care of a few things:
Write Meta Title and Description (for SEO)
Choose Categories and Tags
Check for Grammar and Spelling Errors
Publish your post
And, that’s it!
Congratulations that you made this far in this post. And, if you’ve followed every step properly, you should’ve published your first post as of now. Now that you have a blog that you can be proud of, check out a few other blogging and SEO resources from us:
WordPress SEO Tips: 7 Essential WordPress SEO Tips
Speed Up Website: How to Speed up WordPress Site?
Increase Organic CTR: How to Increase Organic CTR (in SEO)
Blogging is a journey, not a destination.
It continues till the point you write, create the content and provide the value to your audience. Sometimes, the energy can be high – sometimes it can be low. My only suggestion is to keep writing and eventually it pays off.
Now, it’s your turn
Have you set up your own blog? Or, are you in the process?
Please comment in the comment section below and let me and our readers know that you have a blog. If you’ve tips and advice for a beginner blogger, make sure to share that as well.