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If you want to start a WordPress blog today, here is a detailed step-by-step tutorial that walks you through it from start to finish.
From discovering your blog purpose, niche selection, hosting, domain, and blog monetization to content marketing, you will learn a lot in this post.
In a nutshell, here are a couple of tips you will learn in this guide:
- How to discover your blog purpose
- How to research and pick the right profitable niche
- Choosing the right web hosting and domain name registrar
- Picking the right plugins and theme
- How to write and publish your first post
- Why you need Google Analytics and How to install it
- How to pick the proper monetization strategy
- Blog promotion tactics
- Tools You Need for Blog Growth.
- And lots more
Without waiting, let’s dive in together.
What’s The Purpose of Your Blog?
The first thing you must understand about blogging is its purpose.
A blog is only a tool to express original thoughts, connect with interesting people, run a business, develop yourself, share ideas globally, etc.
You must be intentional and clear about why you’re starting the blog.
Ask yourself, what do I want to achieve with this blog? How will it positively serve users? Who is my target audience?
To help you answer the question, here are some reasons to start a blog today.
- To earn passive online income.
- You want to improve your writing skills.
- You have knowledge, skills, views, etc. Others might learn.
- Share original thoughts, opinions, views, or beliefs with others.
- You want to advance in your career building.
- To support your online or offline business visibility.
- Drive traffic to your business websites.
These are some of the reasons you should start a blog today.
Choose a Niche
Now that you understand why you need to build a blog, let’s get into how to research and pick the right niche.
Picking the right niche is essential to the success of your blog. Creating content will be easier if you build a blog in a familiar niche.
Here’s how to pick the right niche to build a profitable blog.
Your existing profession, qualification, or expertise are some of the best ways to start a niche blog. It makes it easy to develop content ideas and write high-quality information.
Plus, expertise is now part of the Google EEAT guidelines. You can leverage that to create an authoritative trust worthy site.
For example, suppose you’re a qualified Doctor; you can start a health advice blog. And if you’re an accountant in the real world, you can start a financial advice blog.
Readers will notice you’re an expert on the subject matter, follow your tips and advice, and reference your content in discussions.
Passion is the easiest way to start a blog, especially if it’s your first time building one. You can start a blog on what you’re passionate about.
It could be a profession, hobby, discussion, game, gift, skill, habit, etc.
But there are downsides to this approach.
If your passion is not marketable, you will not make much revenue from running the blog.
So, if earning is the primary reason your blog exists, you must validate your passion for profitability before going ahead.
Then, doing keyword research is something you must pay attention to. Follow the advice in the market research section below.
Low Competition Niche Markets
Finding a low-competition niche is a great way to discover your ideal blog topic if you know how to do keyword research. I have mentioned a few keyword tools in this article; you can start with any of them.
However, your ultimate goal is to discover a market with low competition but with growth potential soon. Being the first to enter an industry is advantageous if you do things the right way.
You should avoid a highly competitive market if you’re just starting a blog, especially for beginners. You will struggle to find and build an audience, not to mention ranking for highly competing keywords.
One of the easiest ways to start a WordPress blog today is to report on trending topics.
For example, ChatGPT and artificial intelligence are the talks of the internet at the moment. You can create a focused blog on AI and enjoy massive attention.
Many blogs are created mainly to discuss the role and use of artificial intelligence in blogging and digital marketing.
You could build a popular blog quickly if you have the resources to publish consistent, informative content on the topic.
If you want to build a business blog, you must learn to do market research and how to work with users and marketing data to determine a profitable market.
The best way to analyze profitable niches is to do keyword research.
You can research, analyze, and gather in-depth marketing data with keyword research to make the right decision.
However, as a beginner, it may be challenging to access premium keyword tools like Semrush, Ahrefs, SEO Powersuite, etc., due to costs.
But, you can always subscribe to a free trial period or download the free version of SEO Powersuite, which is sufficient to research niche topics for beginners.
Your Gut Feeling
Starting a blog based on gut feeling isn’t bad if you are well-grounded and knowledgeable about your topic and niche.
But you must be patient in growing the blog, building an audience, and generating revenue. You must give it time to see how things played out to decide whether you’re sticking with it.
If you approach starting a blog this way, patience is one of the virtues to explore.
Hosting and Domain
Next, you need to purchase web hosting and a domain name. These are essential investments in online marketing.
You can’t skip it.
Though you can start with a free blog and a free domain name, there are also downsides.
Free blogging platforms like Blogger, Wix, WordPress.com and Weebly limit what you can do with your blog.
Also, you have limited features and tools to grow your blog.
To build a long-term blog business, you need a self-hosted platform. A platform that gives you absolute control and freedom over your blog and its content.
The best and most popular blogging software is WordPress.
However, there are two versions of the WordPress blogging platform.
As the name suggests, it is a free WordPress blogging platform anyone can start a blog.
In this option, you have free hosting and a domain name available. Registering a free account is the only requirement to start a blog on WordPress.com.
As I said, you have limited control, tools, features, and freedom over your blog.
There are better options than this if you want to build a blog to support and grow your business.
You pay for hosting and domain name registration in a self-hosted blogging platform.
If unsatisfied with the hosting services, you can migrate your blog to another web host anytime and even move your domain to another registrar.
Also, self-hosted platforms give you total control over blog content, monetization tactics, growth, functionalities, SEO, optimization, etc. You have absolute control over what you do and do not do with your blog.
You can monetize it in any way you want, and any terms and conditions do not limit the blog’s growth.
Now, the big question is, which web host and domain name registrar are best for you?
NameCheap Web Hosting
Namecheap is one of the most affordable and beginner-friendly web hosting companies.
The web hosting plan starts at $1.98 per month (56% off for the annual plan) for the Shared hosting plan. You can host up to three blogs in one hosting account.
Here are the core NameCheap web hosting features:
- Free 1-year domain name registration
- Free SSL Certificate
- Host unlimited websites in the Stellar business plan
- Up to 50GB SSD storage space.
- Auto backup and cloud storage services.
- Free website builder
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Free SuperSonic CDN (Content delivery network)
- Free website migration services
- One year free domain name and privacy protection service.
- 24/7 supports services
- Cpanel accessible
- And more
How to Sign up for Shared Hosting with NameCheap
As a beginner, it makes more sense to subscribe to a Shared hosting plan.
As your blog traffic grows and more hosting resources are required, you can migrate to a higher plan or different hosting type – like a cloud WordPress hosting plan.
But for now, start with a shared hosting plan.
Follow the step guide below to sign up for the Namecheap shared hosting plan.
To sign up, follow this link to the NameCheap Shared Hosting page. For beginners, I recommend the Stellar hosting plan.
It’s cheaper, affordable, and offers what you need to start your blog. Click the “Get Started” button, as shown in the above image.
On the next page, enter a domain name in the box if you already have one; otherwise, search for a domain name available in the search field below.
You can connect a domain name already registered with Namecheap or another registrar. Select the option that applies.
Remember, you’re getting a free one-year domain name registration cost. So, use it.
As shown above, it costs $22.88 for the first year of the Stellar hosting plan. This is undoubtedly one of the cheapest hosting plans on the internet.
Click the “add to Cart” button when you’re through with your selections.
Note: If you’re using a new domain name, an ICANN $0.18 fee will be added to your cart, slightly increasing your total costs to $23.06.
Go through your items on the order confirmation page; if you’re satisfied everything is okay, click on the confirmation button and make the payments.
There are several hosting features you might want to look at; you’re not compelled to purchase if you don’t need them.
After payment, Namecheap will issue a receipt and send your hosting account details via the registered email address. You can begin building your blog by logging into your Cpanel dashboard.
Several other web hosts to consider include:
- BlueHost – The basic plan starts at $2.95/month; you can only host one blog in this plan. Bluehost is fast, affordable, and one of the few hosts recommended by the WordPress community.
- Hostinger – Hostinger offers the cheapest hosting plan in the industry, starting at $1.99/month. It offers 50GB SSD storage and 100GB bandwidth. However, it only allows for one website installation; if you want to host unlimited websites, you must select the Premium or Business plan.
Install WordPress Software
After purchasing hosting and domain names, the next step is installing the WordPress content management system.
This is easier than you think.
The process is straightforward and identical for many web hosts.
Your web host will provide a link to log into your Cpanel or a custom dashboard. This is where you install WordPress on your root domain.
For example, here is how to install WordPress on the Namecheap shared hosting plan using Softaculous.
Install WordPress Plugins
Plugins are scripts/codes that bring extra functions or features to WordPress to extend its core functionalities. You can have plugins for any features or functionality imaginable.
There are thousands of WordPress plugins as of writing; the official count is 60,000+, excluding premium plugins not available on the wordpress.org website.
For starters, these plugins seem necessary:
- Yoast SEO
- Broken Link Checker
- All-in-one SEO
- Google Site Kits
Your choice of plugin depends on your blog type, niche, functions, and, sometimes, budgets. If you can’t afford premium options, there are always free plugins to consider.
Here is a step-by-step tutorial on how to install and activate WordPress plugins.
Choose a WordPress Theme
You will need a WordPress theme to design your blog.
A WordPress theme controls the overall blog layout, design elements, hyperlinks color, structures, background color, page width, etc.
Themes give beauty and, to an extent, improve the user experience of your sites.
Currently, you can access over 5,000 free WordPress themes, both free and paid themes.
You can use the search box to search for a theme in the database. Alternatively, you can search using the “Feature filters” gear settings.
To install a theme you like, hover over it, and click the install or preview button. Then follow the instructions to activate it.
The preview option lets you learn more about the free plan’s theme features and available limits.
Most WordPress themes now come with a customizer panel that allows you to adjust its setting to your needs.
You can access it by going to “Appearance” >>> “Customize” in your WordPress admin menu. Then the customizer setting page.
You can preview the changes in real time from the right. So you don’t need to refresh your page to see the changes.
If satisfied with your changes, don’t forget to click the published button at the top of the customizer panel.
Install Google Analytics
Knowing how users interact with your business and where they come from in digital marketing is vital to success.
What traffic sources drive the most engaged audience, time spent on site, most viewed pages, etc.?
You must know how to use this data to make important website changes, optimize marketing campaigns, increase ROI, engage your audience, etc.
You need data analytics software to know and identify these user and marketing metrics.
Google Analytics is the most advanced and free website analytics software on the internet.
To send website traffic data to your Google Analytics account, you must install a code in your website head section. Right after the opening HTML tag before the opening HTML body tag.
However, you need a Gmail account to use Google Analytics. If you don’t have one, signup for a Gmail account here.
Next, register for an Analytics account here and create your first property.
Since Universal Analytics is going away on June 1, 2023, ensure you use Google Analytics 4.
GA4 (Google Analytics) provides a better and more advanced tracking measurement for business.
Though looking through its data can be overwhelming for beginners, here is a free course to learn GA4 from Google.
Publish Your First Post
Your blog is set up; it’s time to start publishing content.
Everything being equal, the quality of your content will bring the most significant value to your blog. And it will help retain and convert visitors to loyal blog readers.
Here is how to publish your first post in WordPress.
Go to your admin area and hover over “Post” from the menu list. Click “Add New,” You have the Gutenberg editor from here.
Gutenberg editor has been released in WordPress 5.0 as a significant update to how content is created in WordPress. It brings a lot of improvements and features to the WordPress editor.
However, using Gutenberg editor is beyond the scope of this easy guide to creating a blog on WordPress. You can learn more about using the Gutenberg editor on the Themeisle website.
Remember to click the publish button once you’re through writing and formatting your content.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when writing your content:
- Write what people want to read, different from what you think people will read.
- Research your industry for trending topics.
- Write your content around a specific niche keyword.
- Write original high-quality content.
- Test different content formats.
- Share your content with many blogging communities.
- Proofread with grammar and spelling checkers like Grammarly.
- Cite other credible and authoritative sources in your niche.
- Link relevant website content internally to improve user experience and SEO.
- Break content into sections, subheadings, and short paragraphs, and use bullet points where necessary – like this one.
- Use an active voice as often as possible.
Promote Your Content
It’s time to let the world know about your new blog and its content.
If you don’t promote your content, your blog does not exist.
You must intentionally and aggressively promote your content to see significant results quickly.
There are several content promotional methods to explore today; I will discuss four proven tactics.
PPC Advertising (Pay-Per-Click)
To experience results quicker, you must try PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising. It is one of the tried and tested content marketing tactics.
But it required a budget to start.
The more money you throw into advertising, the more traffic you drive to your content or landing pages. And as soon as you stop putting in money, traffic stops coming.
However, you don’t need a big budget to run paid ads; with as little as $5 daily, you can promote your content on Facebook to thousands of interested audiences.
Read this post for more information on how to run successful Facebook advertising.
Email marketing is one of the oldest marketing methods on the internet. And the seconds’ activities people perform online behind the search.
As of 2022, there are 4.26 billion email accounts, according to 99 firms.
That is a massive number compared to the world population and even active social media users.
It presents golden opportunities for marketers to leverage email marketing for business growth.
You must start building an email list as soon as you launch the blog. Start collecting email leads for your business.
Several email marketing service providers offer free accounts. Getresponse allows up to 500 email contacts in its free plan.
As a beginner, start with the free plan; when you reach the limit, upgrade to a paid plan, which allows more contacts and features such as autoresponder, webinar, automation, landing pages, shop, etc.
Sign up for the Getresponse free account here.
Many successful online marketers start with cold content outreach to build their blogs.
While it is time-consuming and tedious, the reward is great.
You must consistently reach out to other bloggers in your niche for content collaboration, promotions, networking, link-building opportunity, etc.
However, content outreach requires automation; you need access to quality tools that make the whole process seamless and effortless.
Once again, as a beginner, purchasing premium tools might be challenging; you can download Link-Assistant free version to start an outreach campaign.
Though the Link-Assistant free version it’s limited in features, you can achieve a lot if you know what you’re doing and how it works.
The tool allows you to search for potential links and content partners from multiple sources – Blogs, Guest posts, keywords, forums, etc. In addition, it allows you to start, manage, and follow up with conversations within the app interface.
Here is the download link for the Link-Assistant app.
Relevant Blogging Communities.
Blogging communities are a part of content marketing tools.
You must belong to relevant communities to participate in discussions, share ideas, help each other, and share relevant content when necessary.
If you don’t want to be kicked out or seen as spamming, contribute positively to the group before sharing your links.
If you help others win and achieve group recognition, people will naturally seek you out and visit your website.
FAQ – How to Build a WordPress Blog
If your question is not answered below, leave your query in the comment section and I will do my best to provide an answer.
Can you start a WordPress blog for free?
You can start a free blog on wordpress.com platforms here. You need an email address, your name or username, and a password. Once your blog is set up, choose a theme that fits your message, design it, and start writing to publish your first post.
How much does it cost to start a blog on WordPress?
There is no specific cost to start a WordPress blog; it depends on several factors like hosting type, business needs, size, features, etc. However, for most beginners, you should budget an upfront payment of $40 – $100 covering hosting and domain name registration.
You may demand other features that add additional cost; these are the basic needs and costs to start a blog on WordPress today.
How do I create a blog in WordPress step by step?
Follow the step-by-step guide in this post to create a WordPress blog in minutes. For reference, here are the steps to build a blog on WordPress:
Choose a blog niche
Register a domain name
Purchase hosting account
Install WordPress themes
Install and activate WordPress plugins
Design your blog
Write and publish your first blog post
Promote your content
Creating a blog on WordPress or another content management system isn’t difficult; you can do it if you follow the advice and tips in this guide.
I shared several tips and advice that enable anyone, irrespective of knowledge and technical know-how, to build a successful blog.
In addition, you have abundant resources on the internet to learn everything you need to start, grow and build a successful blog business today.
You have no excuse to start a blog today.