“Will I Need To Hire A Web Designer To Create A Blog / Website”
“How Can I Start Blog A Like You”
This the most common of all the emails I receive about Blogging. The most common misunderstanding I see about Blogging is – that it’s meant for technical freaks or geeks. People do love to read Blog and somewhere inside think about having one for them too. But the above misconception keeps them away. While you can find articles about creating or setting up Blogs or Websites on thousands of Blogs
There is a lot of info on creating a Blog and Blogging across websites/Blogs, but mostly too complicated for the beginner. Most people see the highly technical stuff as a Geeks World and just back-out…never to attempt again.
Trust Me Creating A Blog Is Not At All Complicated – Nor Geeky
With this Post, I’ve tried to make it as simple as possible for all those who want to Create A Blog and Start Blogging.
Follow These Steps – And You Will Be Blogging In The Next 30 Minutes
A lot of people want to start Blogging about their Travel Experiences, Thoughts or as a Daily Diary. They want a Blog just for the sake of sharing it with their family, friends or to write their thoughts as a hobby. If you wish to do that, you can head over to WordPress.com and create a Blog for free. It’s as easy as creating an email account and won’t need any serious effort other than following some on-screen instructions.
But if you want to create a Professional Blog that is seen by larger audiences and eventually makes money, this requires some serious work. But not as geeky or techy as most people think. It’s a just pure business sense that you have to apply.
Creating a Professional Blog – Isn’t as complicated as shown by most so called Experts.
Whether you want to start a Travel Blog to share you stories or just a plain Blog to share your ideas – thing’s aren’t complicated at all. You just follow these 5 Steps and blog is ready. Some people stay away saying “I don’t have the Technical knowledge”. I say – if you can create an email account for yourself – You can create a Blog.
Are You Ready To Start?
Step 1: Get A Name
The first step to start is with having a name and address for your Blog. If you feel confused with the word “Domain Name” just think it as a real life address for your Blog/website. It has to be easy and related to the topic, so people can reach it, recognize it and remember it.
Put your thinking cap, get a coffee and a plain paper. Start writing names that relate to you, your topic or anything you would like your Blog to be known as. If you’re still short of ideas you can head over to SpinXo. It’s a great tool to come up with exciting Blog names, it’s free and I love it. Finalize a name and what extension would you like it to have (mynewblog.com, .us, .biz and many more are available, but you don’t have to worry about them now). Look at what seems to you as the shortest, easy to remember – catchy one and go with it. Make a list of at least 5 names and discuss them within your family and friends – take their ideas also.
Check for the availability here. If you want more insight on choosing the name, here a detailed breakup of everything involved – The Four R’s of Choosing Right Domain Name. I would advise not getting in it too much as you may get carried away from taking Action.
Step 2: Get Hosted
Yeah, it sounds scary – but is as simple. I recommend Bluehost and HostGator for nearly everyone, new bloggers included. I use either of the two for my sites because they offer quality hosting for a price as low as $3.49 per month at Blue Host and $3.96 at Hostgator. The Hosting packages offer the best value for money without any major caps on performance and the support is excellent.
Additionally you get the domain name for free, too! Here’s a walkthrough of the steps involved to start with BlueHost.
From the front page, start by clicking the big Get Started Now button:
Select a Package – I would recommend the “Starter” pack as it is best suited for a new Blog.
Next, choose the box on the left and put in your new domain name and choose the extension you want (or better keep it to .com).
If the name you’ve chosen is not available you’ll be shown alternate names to select from – choose one or try another from your list. Once done you’ll be taken to a screen where you have to enter your personal info, check your selected package and make the payment
For your account plan, I recommend basic hosting plans for 12, 24, or 36 months. I recommend you go with the 12-month plan as anything can happen within a year and it’s just $1 more per month than the 24-month plan.
For the add-ons on the list, you don’t need Search Engine Jumpstart. But I advise keeping the SiteLock Security and Site Backup Pro as you would save a lot of time getting into those hassles yourself. With this, your site will be secure from malware and backed-up in case of any eventualities or accidental deletion.
Another must is the Domain Privacy Protection, you SHOULD spring the extra $9.99 for. Anyone can look up who owns any site; if you don’t pay for Domain Privacy Protection, anyone can see your name and mailing address on your site.
After your account is secured, it’s time to get WordPress up and running.
Step 3: Install WordPress
WordPress is one of the world’s largest publishing platforms. It’s immense, it’s easy, it’s used by multimillion-dollar publishers like CNN and People magazine, and nearly every blogger I know uses it, which means there are lots of professionals out there to help you out if anything goes wrong.
Bluehost offers easy one-click WordPress installation, which saves you from struggling through it or hiring someone to do it. On the cPanel, BlueHost’s home screen, you’ll see this button:
Click through and it will take you through a simple installation process. When it asks you where you’d like to install it, choose your domain (http://mynewblog.com).
Configuring Your Blog/Website
Once you install WordPress, it will tell you where to log in (usually www.mynewblog.com/wp-admin) and your name and password. From that page, you’ll be able to log in to your WordPress dashboard – which will look like to this
Now it’s time to select and define how your Blog/Website will look. This can be easily done by installing a Theme on your WordPress dashboard by selecting the “Appearance” tab and just click on the “Add New” button. Installing a theme is as easy as installing a new app on your smartphone.
Instal A Theme
While there are a lot of free themes available on WordPress, always go for a Premium Theme. There are some distinct advantages of using a premium theme which include support, responsive display on various devices and more importantly proper implementation of SEO Meta Tags. If you plan to build something professional, you can find the best Themes at ThemeForest. They have themes for almost every kind of Blog and Website, and the features of every theme are clearly mentioned. You can also see live demo’s of every theme which will give you a first-hand feel of how your Blog/Website will look and work with a certain theme. Do pay attention to the features and look for responsive themes (responsiveness helps to show your Blog?Site properly on different display sizes and devices).
At ThemeForest, you can get a premium Theme almost every type of Blog or Website and the prices are rally low. You can buy a Theme starting from $4 and the best one are priced at the most at $59.
You can also select Theme from the large list of freely available themes in the WordPress repository. Wordpress has free themes for almost everything be it a Travel Blog, Food Blog, Fashion Blog or a plain one.
Step 4: Install Plugins
Your new WordPress Blog right now is just like a new smartphone – a blank canvas. Plugins are add-ons or like apps you install on your phone. Every plugin has its own functions that can be added to you Blog.The vast majority are free; some free plugins ask for donations. Some premium plugins charge.
In the right sidebar, click on where it says “plugins” and select “add new” to search plugins by keyword.
Here are the plugins that I recommend for new travel bloggers (and all of them are free!):
- Akismet — Keeps spam under control (and yes, you will get LOTS of spam otherwise!).
- AutoOptimize – Makes your site load faster by combining lot of scripts into one(Does the Technical job for you).
- Contact Form 7 — Allows you to install a simple contact form so people can email you through your site.
- SumoMe — Displays social media icons on a floating sidebar, making it easy for people to share your posts.
- Facebook Social Widgets — See that little Facebook widget on my right sidebar? That! Makes it easy for people to become your fan on Facebook.
- FD Feedburner Plugin — Manages your feed, your stream of new content.
- nRelate — Show related posts at the bottom of each post, showing people more content they might like.
- Magic Action Box – It the easiest way to show action boxes in your posts and sidebar.
- Google Analytics — Installs Google Analytics, the industry standard of measuring your site’s visitors and traffic.
- WordPress SEO by Yoast — Helps you create content that shows up better in search engines.
- WPTouch Mobile Plugin — If the theme you chose is not responsive (most of them are) for different display sizes you can install this plugin. It Makes your site look nice and easy to read on mobile phones.
- Wordfence – Complete security for your Blog from Spammers.
- WpSmush – Automatically compresses the images you upload making your site load faster.
Also, do visit CodeCanyon, here you can find some of the best premium plugins and most of them are priced at $10 to $19. This can help you to give your Audience new functionalities, and enhanced browsing experience.
Here’s a complete list of Plugins for starters – you may not need all of them at this stage or maybe any time.
Step 5: Start an Email List
If you wish to stay connected with your Audience and eventually make money with your Blog, an email List is a must. It’s the most valuable thing to have on your site. People are far more likely to see your content via email than they are by any other social network, and while social networks come and go, email addresses are here to stay.
Use a Professional mailing solution as this is a long term deal and any mistake is gonna cost you a lot. There are many mailing list solutions like Mailchimp, Sendloop, Active Campaign etc. but I always recommend Aweber. They are a trusted provider and on top of the technology tier. If you’re on a budget and want to bootstrap you can also try Mailpoet – it’s good, free but not as good as Aweber
Today I use Aweber, the best email service out there, and I’m kicking myself because I wasn’t using it from the beginning.
Email Opt-ins and LeadGeneration
Once you’re through with the Email Solution just setup your Optin forms. Opt-in forms are small forms that can be strategically displayed to your Audience to increase conversion. So the better the opt-in’s, the greater your Visitors are converted to subscribers and long term fans. The best opt-in and lead generation plugin is Bloom by Elegant Themes and OptinMonster. While both the plugins are great, I prefer using Bloom. It is highly customizable and has more than 100 ready to use templates. So you can just start immediately – no coding or technical troubleshooting.
Yes! Its’ Done. Your New Blog is Ready
All the basic functionalities are done. Now you can start posting or give time towards more customization of you Blog/website.
Want to start posting your content – Just Click on Post sections in your Dashboard and select “Add New”. Go hit the keyboard and start Posting. Don’t bother about SEO, or keywords right now, they would just complicate things for no good – just start writing and posting. If anyway you’re interested in a SEO and Keywords tool, do checkout Semrush. It’s the best and the most value for money tool in the entire SEO segment.
Additional Links and Tools
You can check out how to come up with great content using this post I had written some time back How to come up with great Blogging ideas every time? and don’t forget to promote your posts on social media.
Here are some more links to help you
If you’re interested in making money with your Blog or want an Online Passive Income. – Subscribe to the Xero To Millions training program. I’ll show you how to make anything from a few thousand Dollars to Millions Online.
Good luck and don’t forget to share this article.
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