How to Start a WordPress Blog: Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

How to Start a WordPress Blog: Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

Even years before the term “blog” spread through the Internet, people were writing personal stories in different online formats. Back in the ’90s, individuals had been writing online journals and diaries where they were able to express feelings and share information. Since then, those diaries evolved into the whole blogging industry, and blogs quickly became a trend that everybody wanted to follow.

It’s time for you to learn how to start a WordPress blog of your own.

Today, blogs have become more than just a way of expressing yourself. They have become a way of life. Some people will occasionally write personal stories, while large enterprises will invest thousands of dollars into their blogs. Blogging has developed into a career and dream job for many individuals who can now work from any location in the world.

blogging is popular

Getting started with WordPress

Now, whether you imagined your blog as a hobby or a potential money-making machine, first you need to make it. We will skip the motivational speeches and assume that you already set your mind on creating a WordPress blog. Oh well, you can even build a blog from the comfort of your couch if you have a laptop.

We want you to understand that there are various blogging platforms you can choose to set up your blog. But in this article, we are going to focus on the most popular blog site – WordPress.

So, how do you start a WordPress blog?

NOTE

In this guide, we are going to show you how to make a WordPress blog from scratch using the two most popular methods:

Creating a blog using any of the above options is a straightforward task and can be done in 10-15 minutes. This tutorial is designed for Beginners (no technical or coding skills needed). At the end of the day, you will successfully launch your own blog.

Before getting into details on how to set up a blog, it is important that you understand the differences between WordPress.org and WordPress.com.

For starters, WordPress.org is an open-source CMS and thus available for anyone to download and use for free. Many developers, designers, and coders who loved the platform got involved and built a large community around it.

WordPress.com is a commercial project (service) that uses the WordPress.org system to power itself up.

Disclosure: FirstSiteGuide is supported by our readers. When you purchase via links on our site we may earn a commission. We test and try all the products that we recommend. 

Setting up a WordPress blog with Bluehost (recommended)

Even if you’re just starting out, we strongly recommend going with the self-hosted version. Yes, there will be a higher learning curve and probably more work from your side, but having your own site that you get to control is priceless, and it definitely pays out to invest extra time into the management. You will be able to install any themes, plugins, and services that you wish, run ads, and monetize the blog the way you want. There are practically no limitations to a self-hosted WordPress blog.

Before you can install WordPress, you will need web hosting which can store all the files, manage your domain, and take care of your site. For the purposes of this tutorial, we have chosen Bluehost which is a fantastic and popular hosting company that lets you start a WordPress blog for as little as $2.75 per month! With Bluehost, even the lowest-priced option gives you a Free domain, SSL certificate which will make your site more secure, option to install WordPress through a few clicks, and 24/7 support.

The section below explains how you can register with Bluehost and install WordPress using the ‘one-click install’ button.

1. Visit the Bluehost site

Go to Bluehost.com and click on the “Get Started Now” button.

bluehost home page

2. Select a hosting plan to start a blog

If you are a beginner, choose the basic plan as it will cover all the fundamental needs of your site’s functioning.

Once your blog takes off and starts receiving heavy traffic, you can consider upgrading to the prime version of your hosting plan, which offers advanced features better suited to handle the massive inflow of traffic.

hosting plans

3. Input a domain name

If this is your first time with a WordPress blog, you will have to register a new domain. Enter a name, and choose the extension from the drop-down menu next to it. There are different domains you can choose from including .com, .net and .org to name a few.

After clicking the “Next” button, Bluehost will check the domain and let you know if it’s available. If the domain name is free for usage, you can proceed with the registration process. If not, you will have to select another name.

choose domain name

If the domain name you like is already taken, Bluehost will help you by letting you choose one later. That will give you time to do some research and thinking.

Free Domain Later

Sometimes it can be hard to decide on the name, so learn how to choose the best domain name for your blog.

4. Register Bluehost account

Bluehost will then take you to the registration form, where you’ll fill in the billing details along with your personal information.

bluehost account info

5. Select your hosting options

The 12-month package offers the basics at the lowest price. But you can also consider the other two options – after all, hosting is a long-term investment. You could always remove unnecessary features from your package in the initial stages of your blog launch and add them back later, whenever you feel the need.

package info

6. Set your password

You’ll set your password after you’ve entered your payment information, as the final step in registering yourself with Bluehost. This same password will be used for verification purposes.

set password

7. Log in to your new account

Congratulations! You are now the proud owner of a brand new website. Login to your Bluehost account to proceed with the setup.

login page

8. Choose your WordPress theme

Now you’ll be given an option to choose a WordPress theme – pick one that suits your brand and represents your website in the best way.

choose wp theme

If none of the displayed options work, visit WordPress’s repository to choose a theme from the choices shown there.

9: Welcome to WordPress

You’ll be greeted by a “Welcome” message once you log in. Then, BlueHost will guide you in creating a blog. In case you don’t need supervision when setting up a blog, it also offers you the option to continue on your own.

welcome screen message

And this is it! You can now go to the WordPress login page and start working on your blog. That was easy, wasn’t it?

Pros of a self-hosted blog

We believe that the self-hosted version of a blog is a much better option than having a free account at WordPress.com. Although there are many pros to having your own site, here are just a few ones you should take into consideration.

Pros:

  • Complete control of your blog
  • Use any theme or plugin
  • Monetize the blog anyway you want

Setting up a blog with WordPress.com

On rare occasions, having a self-hosted blog may be unnecessary. No matter the perks that come with it, some users will never need complete control over their site. They won’t have to switch and customize themes nor use various plugins. Many users are just not interested in learning about WordPress. They don’t want to install WordPress and take care of it on their own; all they want is a platform to let them publish stories.

So, the other option when starting a blog with WordPress is to register a free WordPress.com account. By doing so, you can start writing your first article in the next few minutes after reading this, without having to pay a single cent. You won’t have to worry about domain names, hosting space, or doing backups of your site. So, how do you start a free blog with WordPress.com?

Create a free WordPress.com blog

  • Go to WordPress.com
  • Click on “Get Started” button
  • Choose the type of a website you want to create (blog, website, portfolio or online store)
  • Select a theme
  • Enter the name of your site and choose the first free option
  • Choose “Start with Free” option
  • Fill in the account info
  • Click on “Create my Account” button

From the very moment after clicking the button, the versatile machines at WordPress.com will generate your site. You can now log into the blog and start working. You can additionally change themes, add widgets, and create new posts. This is it. You have your first blog free of charge. Good luck!

How to upgrade your free account

Although the free account will be just enough for some individuals, you should know that there is a possibility of upgrading. WordPress.com has several plans you can choose from, and if you get a bit more serious about your blog, you will probably need to upgrade (or better yet, switch to the self-hosted version):

WordPress.com price plans

If you choose to upgrade your account, you will get a custom domain, Jetpack custom features, additional space, access to new themes, support, customization, and more. The business plan now lets you install custom themes and plugins as well. But take your time to go through all the options to see which plan will suit you the best.

Pros and cons of WordPress.com

Just like with the self-hosted version, WordPress.com has its pros and cons. Although you can have an account completely free and professionals will manage it for you, there are many disadvantages to it. For example, if you decide to use different themes and plugins you might find on the Internet or customize particular parts of the blog, it won’t be possible to do with the free or premium WordPress.com sites.

Pros

  • Free for basic service
  • Professionally managed
  • Beginner-friendly and easy to set up

Cons

  • Can’t use custom themes or plugins unless you opt-in for the Business plan
  • You don’t have control over the blog
  • Limited monetization options

Pricing and features comparison

WordPress.org (Bluehost) WordPress.com (free) WordPress.com (personal) WordPress.com (premium) WordPress.com (business)
Price $2.75 per month Free $2.99 per month $8.25 per month $24.92 per month
Domain Custom domain name WordPress.com Subdomain Custom domain name Custom domain name Custom domain name
Storage space 50GB 3GB 6GB 13GB Unlimited
Design Customization Complete customization Basic Basic Advanced Advanced
Monetization Full freedom Limited Remove ads WordAds program WordAds program
Support 24/7 support Community support Email & Live Chat Support Email & Live Chat Support Email & Live Chat Support

Maintaining a WordPress website

WordPress works in two ways:

The front end

As the name suggests, this page will be visible to your visitors whenever they access your site. The tasks usually performed in the back-end like the plugin functionality enhancements, and the customization of your theme will be visible to you and your visitors on the front-end of your WordPress website.

It also allows actions like commenting and sharing on other social mediums to be performed from the front-end by you and your incoming visitors as well.

The back end

This is commonly known as the WordPress dashboard – this is where you can oversee and manage every aspect of your site’s content, functionality, and web design.

If you want to access your WordPress dashboard, type “yourwebsite.com/wp-admin” into the address bar of your search engine. Here log in using your WordPress username and the password you set for your account.

The dashboard

The WordPress Dashboard handles your website’s administration.

The Dashboard is the center of blog administration. It consists of three main parts: the left side menu, top toolbar, and middle section.

The left-hand column of your WordPress dashboard is where you’ll find all of your admin options and where most of your creative effort will be focused.

Recommended tutorial: The Beginner’s Guide to Managing WordPress Website

Writing a blog post

To write a new blog post, log in to the Dashboard. On the left side click Posts – Add New. The editor area will open where you can start writing your first post.

There are a few things you need to get familiar with. For more details watch the video below or read our in-depth article on how to write your first blog post.

Recommended reading: How to Add Your First Post in WordPress The Right Way

blog post structure

Feel free to use this template on your site

FAQs

Can I start my blog for free?

Yes, you can start your blog for free. There are more than just a few options you can choose from. One of the most popular choices includes starting a website with WordPress.com, which is entirely free. The same is with Blogger.

But one of the best ways is to start a blog with a self-hosted WordPress where creating a site is completely free, and the only expense is hosting, which you can get for just $2.75 per month if you choose Bluehost.

Do I need WordPress to build a blog?

While WordPress is the most popular blogging choice, it is not the only one available. There are dozens of other content management systems you can use to start blogging. The most popular alternatives are Wix, Squarespace, and Blogger which allow you to start your blog quickly.

How much money do I need to start a blog?

If you want to start a simple blog, you can do that with no money at all. Starting a blog on WordPress.com, for example, costs you no money, and it takes just a few seconds to register a new account.

If you decide to step up your game and choose to blog with WordPress, you will need less than $3 per month to pay for premium hosting services like Bluehost.

Can I create a blog without a web hosting provider?

Hosting services are an inevitable part of each website. However, if you decide to start your blog with a free website builder like WordPress.com, Blogger, Tumblr, or Wix, for example, you can forget the whole idea of hosting providers.

Don’t let that surprise you. Hosting is still something a site can’t do without, but in these cases, the website builders use their own hosting services. That means that you do not have to pay or worry about hosting at all. WordPress.com, Wix, Blogger, Tumblr, or any other free website builder will take care of every hosting aspect, so you can focus on designing and building your website.

What domain name should I choose for my blog?

Finding good and available domain names is hard. But this should be entirely a personal choice. Choose a domain that you will like, and that will represent what you do. Ideally, you should find a domain name that’s short, easy to remember, and still is tightly connected to what you do.

If you need help, you can always use domain name generators that will get you some new ideas.

Can I make money with WordPress blog?

Starting a blog with self-hosted WordPress means owning the blog. So you can do anything you want with it, and there are many possibilities for earning money with it.

You can show CPC and CPM ads and banners on your site, which can bring you money. Showing private ads is an option, too. Selling digital goods, using affiliate links, selling memberships, or sponsored posts are all excellent ways of earning money through your blog.

If you want to learn more, see how to make money blogging.

Can I design a blog with no technical skills?

The answer to this question would be completely different a few years back. But today, it is possible to design a blog with no technical skills. Many platforms like Wix and Squarespace have introduced visual builders that allow you to simply drag and drop website elements where you want them to be until you get a site you like.

WordPress, on the other hand, has more than a few page builders. If you combine those with premium themes, you can design a professional-looking site without having to write a single line of code.

How do I create a custom email address for my blog?

If you have a custom domain name for your website, creating a custom email address is just a few clicks away if you’re using Bluehost. You just need to log in to your BlueHost cPanel, and open the Advanced tab. There, you will find the Email Accounts setting where you need to click the “Create” button to create your custom email address. After that, you will be ready to start using your new email address.

If you need more options when it comes to custom email addresses, you can check out and learn how to set up a custom email with G Suite or one of its alternatives like Zoho, Microsoft 365, Fastmail, ProtonMail, Pobox or Rackspace Email, to name a few.

How do I come up with good ideas for my blog posts?

At first, coming up with blog post ideas may be relatively easy. You have probably started a blog with some concepts in your mind, and covering those first few points might not be a challenge. As you move down the road, crafting a unique and exciting blog post will get harder and harder. That’s especially true if you care about your blog and want to make the best out of it.

When you get stuck, you should see if there are any open or unaddressed issues in your field of expertise you can solve. It would help if you also thought about changing the perspective; instead of writing about a general problem, try writing from personal experience, which will attract the audience. Also, explore keywords, and see what people are interested in. If you can combine those keywords into something unique to you, having a popular blog post is just a corner away.

You also always have to know your audience and write about stuff they want. If you still do not know your audience, you can start asking them questions via blog posts, polls, or social media.

Those are just some of the ideas; to learn more, please see How to Choose What to Blog About (with Examples of Viral Headlines).

Conclusion

Although you have several options when starting a WordPress blog, we recommend going with the self-hosted version on Bluehost right away. For as little as $2.75 per month, you can have complete control over your site. There are practically no limitations when you host your own blog, and you won’t have to worry about monetization options or themes and plugins that you wanted to use.

Yes, it will take more time to manage the entire blog on your own, and sometimes there will be problems with 3rd party themes and plugins. But after all, you can rest assured knowing this is your blog, and that you can do anything you want with it.

10 Surprising Features of WordPress Most Site Owners Aren’t Using

10 Surprising Features of WordPress Most Site Owners Aren’t Using

Do you like using WordPress for your website platform? If so, you’re not alone. Many business owners, personal bloggers, and online organizations have chosen WordPress as their web design platform of choice for many reasons. Not only is it an excellent format to use when trying to publish content but it also has some excellent features that authors and site owners find irresistible. Check out these features first then read the rest of this article for more WordPress features and benefits.

For one thing, it’s easy to use. WordPress has many easy-to-access features that don’t require expert knowledge to figure out. It is simple to configure to get it to do what you want it to do and it can help you create an appearance that fits the type of business model you have.

For example, online publishers can use one of the publication or media templates that create the look you’d expect to see with an online newspaper or publication. Restaurants can utilize one of the food services templates or add WordPress features plugin that helps to portray the type of business they want.

But there are so many benefits of using wordpress for website, many of which are overlooked. In this post, we’ll take a look at 10 WordPress features you may not know about that can save you time, money, and resources when you go to build your online website through WordPress.

wordpress

1. Help tab

One of the unknown features is a nifty little thing called the “help tab.” If you go to your Dashboard, you’ll find a drop-down menu labeled “Help.” You have two options from there including the support forums or documentation on dashboard option. There are tons of documentation pieces that you can use to find the information you need.

2. Screen options

Besides the “help” menu, you’ll also find the “screen options” menu. WordPress will give you the options that you can customize, but there are many more options you may not have known about without exploring further. Below are some of the other options you can choose from using this menu.

  • Categories
  • Format
  • Tags
  • Featured image
  • Excerpts
  • Other plugins

All of these options will give you more choice on how you want to utilize your customizations menu.

3. Multiple page blogs option

Have you ever been working on a blog post only to find that you ran out of room too fast? Well, you can always use the multiple page blogs option to fix this problem. Splitting up your blog into several pages can also help your SEO and give your readers places to access your stuff or to bookmark for later. Remember, too; it takes much longer to read a longer post so you may improve your site engagement levels by doing this.

4. Distraction-free Writing Mode

If you’ve ever been writing a blog post that you can’t seem to get done, think about what might be distracting you from finishing the task. If you have trouble focusing on your blog posts, WordPress offers a distraction-free writing mode that will help you focus on your writing tasks and make the screen look less busy. You can also choose the full-screen option if you want to get rid of all of the other items on your desktop that might distract you from your work.

5. Auto-embed Content

WordPress 4.4 came out with this nifty add-on that allows you to paste a link into the post editor and enable WP to generate a Post Embed. There is a clickable box in the body of your content that includes all of the information that you need to reference it later including the page’s content, title, featured image, and an excerpt of the page. All of the multimedia, images, and other content will also be embedded in this way.

6. Reset a draft post’s URL

Ever been writing a post and saved it as a draft that you need to edit and change later? If you make a boo-boo with a post, you don’t want to publish this lesser-quality version to the world. Instead, you can change the post URL either manually or automatically using the setting already on the WordPress platform.

If you do change your title before you publish, you will have to edit the permalink to reflect those changes. If you tell WordPress to reset it on an automatic basis, you can click “edit,” clear the text and close it. This will narrow your permalink URL to match the new title.

7. Hyperlinking Shortcut

If you blog regularly, you will want to save as much time as possible when posting links to your posts. When you use the Ctr/Cmd+K shortcut option, you will be able to open a hyperlink box in the editor without having to click any buttons. But you can also just highlight the text you want as the link and paste the link itself. This is a quick but simple action that will save you a lot of time in the long run.

8. Image Editing

You may or may not know that WordPress has the power to edit your images right within the WP program. WordPress is a robust program with lots of surprises. To use the WordPress picture edit function, just select an image and click on the “edit image” link near the image thumbnail in the details section. This will select the image you want to change. Then rotate, clip, tweak, or whatever you want to do to improve the image. Don’t forget to save the changes. Not interested in using WordPress for image editing? Try these free image editing tools instead.

9.What is a WordPress site Filesystem API

This feature was created with WordPress 2.6 to handle the auto-update features. You can save a lot of time using this feature when developing your applications or web pages that require internal file maintenance.

10. Change the author’s name

Ever write something embarrassing and then decide to attribute it to another author? We’re just kidding! But there really may be times you need to change the author’s name once you’ve created a post. You can easily switch the attribution of the author/user without logging out using the “change author” option within WordPress. All you need to do this is to have a user account on whatever post you’re working on to make the change.

wordpress-website

Creating Your WP Website

Well, we hope these tips will help you to get the most out of your WordPress site. Go ahead and create a website with WordPress anytime you want. Then contact us to help you fine-tune and polish it.

We are webdesignteam.com, and we can easily integrate your WordPress site with our platform. We can also show you how we can include neat scripts like Joomla, WooCommerce, HTML, and CSS, to name a few. We have expert coders and creative engineers who have what it takes to create your website or take the one you already have from WP and incorporate it into our platform.

Contact us today for a free quote and get your brand out there! It’s never too late to get started with your website and blog. But don’t wait another day. Let 2018 be the year you set the world on fire! Visit us today at webdesignteam.com.

 

8-Step Process to Speeding Up Your WordPress Site

8-Step Process to Speeding Up Your WordPress Site

How fast does your website load? If you don’t know, then you could be missing out on a lot of traffic and lost revenue as a result of a slow loading site. Just because your site loads fast for you, it doesn’t mean it will load fast for everyone. It’s actually depends on a wide range of factors… all of which we will be covering in this article.

First of all, a fast loading website is extremely important for a number of reasons. Here are just a few of them:

  • Keep your audience happy
  • Limit your bounce rate
  • Google ranks fast sites higher
  • Faster website earn more per visitor

These are just four of the most obvious reasons to have a fast loading site. Besides the obvious point of a slow loading site being extremely annoying, it’s a huge financial and growth factor as well.

I’ve already covered most of these points in previous articles on this blog, so this time I want to focus solely on how you can actually speed up your site — step by step. However, just to provide a reminder of how important loading time and page speed is to your business and brand, take a look at the graphic below provided by Aberdeen Group. No matter how much traffic, revenue or business your site is generating online… it can still be leaving a lot of money on the table if it’s not loading as fast as possible.

1-second-delay

8 Steps to a Faster Loading WordPress Site

Each of the methods below will be used to increase the loading time and speed of your site in different ways. For this reason, I highly recommend you do a Google Speed Test on your website before implementing any of them tips, then running it again each time you make changes to your site. This way you can see what improvements have worked best. Special thanks to Blogging Basics 101 for the infographic below.

what_is_slowing_site_down

1 – Identify What Causes Your Site to Slow Down

If you want to have a fast loading website or blog, you will find need to find out what areas are slowing it down. A great way to accomplish this is to run a simple speed and optimization test through sites like Pingdom, WebPageTest or GT Metrix.

Each of these solutions will analyze your site and then provide a report for you on how fast each section of your site is loading. As mentioned earlier, this is one of the first things you should be doing before moving forward with any of the steps below.

email_marketing

2 – Get Rid of Unnecessary Plugins

WordPress is one of the greatest content management platforms ever created, however it can also be loaded up with some unnecessary features as well — such as plugins.

It’s important to not only remove such plugins after installing WordPress on your site, but also to remove any unwanted or unused plugins after you may no longer need them. A good rule of thumb to remember is, the more complex a WordPress plugin in… the more likely it is slowing down your site.

P3Profiler is a great plugin for analyzing WordPress plugins and see letting you know which may be affecting the speed of your site.

optimize_database

3 – Practice Optimizing Your Database

The power behind your WordPress site is actually the database that it’s running off of. Just like a computer, this database can fill up with junk over time and slow down in it’s processing speed. Other areas that can slow down your WordPress site include spam comments, drafts, revisions and old plugin tables.

Optimizing your database is not only a great way to speed up your site, it’s also quite easy to accomplish as well. Garbage Collector is a plugin that will help clean up unwanted tables and different areas of your site.

cdn_network

4 – Understand Content Delivery Networks (CDN)

One of the best ways to immediately improve the loading time of your site is to connect with a content delivery network. The way a CDN works is simple, they basically host a copy of your site in different places around the world so your readers are directed to a server closer to them.

For a CDN to work, all a site owner needs to do is modify their root domain DNS configurations (ie: domain.com) and those of its subdomain as well (www.domain.com / img.domain.com). The root domain (A record) will also need to point to the CDN’s IP ranges as well. It sounds like a complicated process, but it’s actually quite simple and will only need to be set up once. Most CDNs will also provide you with a complete tutorial on how to set this up as well.

Content delivery networks can actually help your site with a lot more than just increasing its loading time. Further benefits of having a CDN associated with your site includes:

  • Improve page load speed
  • Handle high traffic loads
  • Block spammers, scrapers and other bad bots
  • Localize coverage without the cost
  • Reduce bandwidth consumption
  • Load balance between multiple servers
  • Protect your website from DDoS attacks
  • Secure your application

I personally like the CDN from Incapsula, since it has integrated DDoS protection, WAF and real-time traffic monitoring (failover and HA).

W3 Total Cache is definitely my recommendation as a popular WordPress plugin that is often used to connect WordPress sites with their CDN of choice.

speed_up_site_content

5 – Learn to Speed Up Images Issues

One of the heaviest areas of content and resources on your site is going to be image use. Every photo on our site must be downloaded by your audience every time your site is accessed. This includes site design images and content as well. In short… the more images you have, the longer your site is going to take to load.

An excellent way to speed up your site while lowering image loading issues is to add lazy loading to your site. This will only load images as the reader scrolls down into your site content. Some popular plugins for this are Lazy Load, BT Lazy Load and Lazy Widget Leader.

remove_old_wordpress_junk

6 – Never Forget to Use Caching

Caching is a great way to speed up your site and content delivery while also reducing the amount of requests that are being sent to and from your server. The more and longer they processes to your server takes, the longer loading time your site will have.

To help with this process, you can implement a caching plugin to do most of this work for you. Such plugins change dynamic files into static HTML files, thus speeding up the time is takes for your site to load.

minify_code

7 – Minimize and Minify Your Code

While WordPress has made the concept of creating websites and content very easy, it hasn’t done a world of wonders for the actual coding and page sizes that are being published. A better way to get around this and release sites and content with smaller loading times is to minimize and minify your coding wherever possible.

This is best accomplished through the use of GZIP, which can reduce your page size by up to 70%. This can be done by modifying your .htaccess file or using a plugin like W3 Total Cache or WP HTTP Compression.

email_marketing

8 – Social Media Sharing

We all know about the importance of social media sharing and adding those cool Facebook Fan Page boxes and sharing buttons to our sites, but are you using the right ones? As great as some of them might look, they could actually be causing more damage than good.

Many of these tools and plugins are very heavy in coding or resources, which ultimately slows down your site. Some of the most recommended and fast loading WP plugins for social sharing are Floating Social Bar, Share Center Pro or WP MashSocial widget.

Speeding Up Your WordPress Site Infographic

In addition to everything we’ve laid out above in detail, you can also walk through this same 8-step process in the visual infographic below.

speeding-up-wordpress-hd-infographic-e1469662373320-png