Blogging has become a favourite profession nowadays and to became own boss.
Introduction – Blog Beginners Guide
Lots of bloggers earning millions as a full-time blogger. Million dollars, it sounds cool?
Yes, but earning money from blogs is not an easy task. A lot of dedication required to run a successful blog.
Dedication towards your blog can make your dream true. But for a newbie, it’s too confusing How to start a blog. So I am going to share a free blog beginners guide.
So, what is a blog,
A blog is a regularly updated website that is run by an individual or small group that is written in an informal or conservative style.
Blog posts are typically displayed in reverse chronological order, so that the most recent post appears first, at the top of the web page. Blogs have a comment section so that the user can share their views by comments.
Comments are a good way to interact with blog viewers. Its like audience can give real feedback of the recent movie release.
So, you made your mind to be a blogger but wondering that you need any technical knowledge to start the blog?
The answer is NO. Just follow the steps that I am going to share and you will be able to set up your first blog.
So, Why start a Blog?
So, have you ever thought about why you want to start a blog? Because your friends are doing blogging or inspired by any pro blogger.
First, clear your vision otherwise, you will be just wasting time and some money too. No, I am not discouraging you.
I have seen people who just start blogging and after 1 or 2 months they stopped. Consistency is the key to success. So, reasons to start a blog could be –
4- Blog can make your resume better and you will behave opportunity
5- You want to be a great author in your niche.
Common questions beginner blogger always ask
Platform to choose – Of course WordPress, don’t think much to choose the platform. Go for WordPress, it is covering 30% of the worldwide web and more than 70% of blog websites.
Niche – That’s up to you, of course, chooses niche that you hold command over it. Unless you are not expert in that niche, you can’t explain to readers.
Domain Name to choose – Ah, a sometime difficult thing to come up with right domain name. But I will advise choosing a short name that will be easy to remember and of course related to your niche will be an add on.
What Hosting – That is something you need to choose wisely. Bad hosting can make your all efforts zero. We will discuss a few best options later on in this post.
Expenses for 1st-year – How much money I will need to start the blog, such question arises in beginners bloggers mind. So if I include both domain and Linux shared hosting for your blog the minimum budget will be approx 2200 INR (30 USD) for the First Year only.
Can I start a blog for free – Yes You can.
But I will not advise going for free blog service platform like WordPress.com, Squarespace, Blogger, Wix, Weebly etc.
Because blog monetization will not be possible in free blog platforms or you need to upgrade by paying to start monetization our blog.
Features are limited and not useful for long term
Lack of support or limited support available in free blogs services.
Switching is not easy from free blog services to the personal host blog. It will take extra money, time and complex work for non-technical bloggers.
You can not have a personal domain name with free blogging services. You need to buy it.
So, assuming we are on the same page that We are going to use self-hosted WordPress (https://wordpress.org/) blog with the domain name.
So, I am going to cover the below points to start your first WordPress blog. It will take up to 30 minutes to set up your first blog. Let’s start blog beginners guide:
Select a Perfect Niche for the Blog
You are eager to start the blog and looking to set up the first Blog.
But wait, have you decided your blog niche i.e topic on which you are going to write. A blog can be on anything like your hobby or interest like sports, games, gadgets, yoga or any life experience or professional skills, technology blogs, travel, finance, cooking etc.
Always choose a niche that you know and understand very well. And can write and explain to others and share knowledge.
For newbies, it can be difficult to choose a niche so list down all your choices and then brainstorm on your capabilities and skills which niche you should start a blog.
Good luck for niche brainstorming. 🙂
Choose a perfect domain name and register domain name
So next part after selecting your blog niche is to choose a perfect domain name for your blog.
A domain name should be less in characters and easy to remember. And should have keywords related to your niche but this is not mandatory but can help on optimizing your domain name.
Always go for .com domain name
A domain name should be easy to remember and pronounce
A domain name should be less in characters
Don’t use .info , .net domain name extensions , If .com not available then choose .org
There is lots domain name registrar available to register the domain names. You can check if your domain name is available or not.
Go to any domain registrant like Bluehost, Bigrock, Godaddy etc. and try finding your domain name. See image below, I tried searching for my domain name ecomspark.com, And this domain name is showing already taken but there is another option also available.
So choose a domain name that is available and has .com extension, Com extension not mandatory but good to have.
So go ahead buy your domain name, domain name registrar will ask you to add some extra features also But it will cost you some extra money. So for now as beginners no need to buy add on features with a domain.
Choose the best web hosting provider
Now, I am assuming that we have finalized :
Blog platform i.e WordPress
Blog Niche is final 🙂
A domain name is finalized
So, now the time is to choose the best web hosting. You will see many hosting providers says that they have 99.99% uptime and 24X7 availability. But don’t go blindly, do detail research before buying hosting.
I will suggest you go Linux based hosting that is good for WordPress Blog. Also, try to buy a domain and hosting from one provider as a beginner you might find it difficult to have some settings to map your domain name from a different hosting provider. All hosting provider also sells domain names.
You can go with any hosting provider Bluehost, Go daddy or Big rock etc. All are good and I have used all of them.
There are lots of other hosting providers also that provides hoisting on cheap prices. But I will suggest not to go with cheap web hosting because it might cause trouble in after-sales services.
Let’s see Prices of Bluehost, GoDaddy and BigRock.
Bluehost Linux Hosting Prices
As a beginner, you can go with a Basic plan for now. When your blog grows you can go on the upper version.
GoDaddy Linux Hosting Service Prices
GoDaddy also gives a WordPress specific hosting at $4.99. WordPress hosting comes with WordPress specific features like lots of free themes to use. You can also go with Basic plan of $2.49.
BigRock Hosting Plans
BigRock could be a option if you want to go with India web hosting company with 100% up time. Prices are lower as compared to GoDaddy and Bluehost.
i am assuming after going through hosting details and prices, now you have decided with which hosting to go with. Always try to search coupons before doing any payments as you will find hosting coupons available up to 30-40% off. Web hosting companies offers more discount for 1st year hosting to attract customers.
i am assuming, you are smart enough to purchase hosting with online payment options like Credit /debit card , net banking or money wallets.
If you face any issue while purchasing, you can ask in comment section.
So, you have purchased web hosting. Upon successful purchase, you must received an email from hosting company with the c panel details.
You will also get an email to change your domain name’s DNS to map it with your web hosting server.
For Big Rock, login with your credentials in to your account. You will see list of all you purchased domains. Click on the domain to see the details page :
Click on Name Servers and change Name Server 1 and Name Sever 2 with your hosting provider name servers that you received on your email on contact with support for any issue.
So now you need to install WordPress on the server. But if you have purchased WordPress specific hosting then you don’t need to do anything. WordPress will be auto installed. And you are good to go with your first blog post.
OR If not purchased WordPress specific hosting plan, then Login to c panel. There you will find auto installer available, that you can use to install WordPress on one click on your domain name. In a minute of time, you are ready to use your blog with WordPress default theme.
You will receive WordPress admin and database credentials from auto installer on you registered email id.
Install a new theme and design your blog
So, now you have WordPress installed on your domain name and ready to publish your first blog.
But do you like default theme design or is it like that you wished for? If the answer is NO then you need to change the theme or make changes in the default theme as per your thoughts.
But making changes in them is not easy, Are you a web developer? If Yes, go ahead and do the changes in the theme’s template files. And make it more beautiful and user friendly.
A nice design of your blog is an asset for you because visitors don’t like bad design and difficult user navigation.
You can hire a designer also for your blog’s theme development. But if you have a tight budget go for free WordPress themes available.
Log in to your newly installed WordPress and you will find default theme installed like Twenty Fifteen, Twenty Fourteen, Twenty Thirteen etc.
WordPress Free Themes
For a free theme, Go to theme section under Appearance and click on Add New. You will be on a screen from where you can search for new free themes or you can upload themes also from Upload Theme.
If you have some budget, you can also go for paid themes. There is lots of paid theme available on WordPress theme development websites –
Try above links and choose the theme you like and want to have for your blog.
Finding the right theme can be difficult but I can share some basic thoughts that you should take care while going for paid themes –
The theme should be simple
Always go for simplicity, you have seen most of the WordPress sites with lots of colours, crazy and fleshy layouts animation.
But sometimes you don’t need these flashy things at all. Always choose a theme that has a layout matching with you blog niche.
Blog theme should be easy to navigate so that user don’t face any problem while browsing your blog.
A theme with lots of features inbuilt might look fancy but sometimes it might slow down your blog. So always be careful while installing themes and do a thorough check.
Choose a Responsive Theme
Responsive themes are those that adjust themself per the device resolution. The main reason for choosing the response theme is that now Google prefers mobile-friendly websites only while showing them into the search engines.
Yes, Google is now a mobile-first Search Engine. They have their main crawlers named as Smartphone Crawler.
In a study, 55% of web traffic is generated from mobile and it will go high eventually. If your website is mobile-friendly then you will cover 50% of traffic from your blog niche.
You can go for free themes or paid themes but most themes are already responsive by default. But you will find few sellers which are very old in the market, still, provides themes that is not mobile-friendly.
So, please make sure before using any theme, if it is mobile friendly or not.
There are lots of online tools available on the internet, where you can go and do a quick responsive test of the theme you are going to use.
You can use the demo URL of the theme, every theme has a demo URL. So you can check by URL and can see if the theme is mobile-friendly or not.
Do keep colour in mind.
Always keep colours your first reference while your select your theme because it will impact when a user visits your blog.
Make your bog logo compatible with the theme. Never choose so bright colours that make eyes hard to see your web pages and give a bad visual experience to your visitors.
I will recommend you to choose the light colours over dark colours because dark colours sometimes make readability low while light colours make your blogs more readable and your blog bounce rate will be a little lower.
Don’t choose a theme that is hard to read
Fonts play an important role for your blog visitors to be on your website. Font’s capture the attention of the readers while they browse blogs one to another.
So always make sure fonts should be simple, sophisticated and readable. Most of the browser supports all super-rich, readable like open sense.
Or you can install a font from outside and can sue them in the theme. If you know a little bit about CSS, then you should go in and install other fonts that are available to download and you can include them in and can use in your blog.
Always choose theme those give you the flexibility to customize.
Always go for the themes that support all WordPress popular plugins. Because plugins make it possible for your WordPress blog to achieve all features.
SEO friendly features
Your WordPress theme also plays a crucial part to come in the search engine rankings. Sometimes bad code on the theme, that is not W3C markup validated make your blog slow.
So always do a W3C markup validation before choosing the theme. A slow theme can affect the performance of the blog in the search engine rankings
Niche & Purpose
In the end, your blog niches should take in consideration before choosing a theme. Always keep in mind your Idea of blogging and why you are doing it and what is your purpose of blogging.
Like if you want to make money by an affiliate then consider that theme that only built for affiliates. So always keeping those things ready before choosing a theme.
Install required Plugins
There are lots of plugins available in WordPress. WordPress has a large community so for every custom feature there are plugins available. I am going to list down plugins that are a basic need for a Blog –
SEO Plugin like SEO by Yoast or All in one SEO
Cache Plugin like W3 Total Cache
Contact Form 7
Any security plugin like Sucuri Security.
Always keep in mind that unnecessary plugin can make your blog slow. You can install and activate plugin from WordPress dashboard itself. There is always a settings option for the plugin, you can learn more about plugin from plugin’s documentation and support section.
Publish your first Post
So, after installing theme and basic plugins, you are good to go with your first blog post.
As we discussed initially about blog niche, hope you have done your home work and start to publish your first blog. Don’t copy content from others blog and keep your post content unique and should have 800+ words length.
Try to publish 2-3 blogs per week and have images, videos, links ,info graphics in your blogs.
I tried to cover all basics to start your first blog. Hope it will help to start, for any questions related to blog begineers guide please write in the comment section.
Also please share your blogging journey and any challenges if you faced any to start the Blog.