Have you been thinking of starting your own blog but didn’t take any action because you are not sure from where to start?
If your main worry is how to handle the technical nuts and bolts that go in setting up your blog, you have landed on the right page.
Like you, I am a non-technical person miles away from coding but still running a successful blog.
Over the years, I have explored, uncovered and learnt multiple areas related to setting up and marketing of my blogs.
And if I could do it, so can you.
Even the technical part. Thanks to Bluehost, managing a blog is such a cakewalk.
This post is an attempt to make your learning curve shorter and help you start with your blog in just 30 minutes.
Here are the steps below:-
STEP 1: Finalize your niche
I am passionate about personal finance, startup marketing & entrepreneurship and have a good understanding of these areas.
Over the past 10 years, I have been actively involved in these 3 things and have been guiding my friends, colleagues and family members multiple times with advise across these areas.
On the same lines, identify your niche.
Remember, you don’t need to be an expert in the field. You just need to solve problems that people are facing.
Find an area where you are better (at least 5X times) than the majority around you. But being better is just a hygiene factor, you also need to be passionate about the topic.
It can be cricket, stock markets, office politics, daily cribs, coding etc. Spend time in exploring your niche.
STEP 2: Book a domain name
A domain name refers to your identity on the internet – the name by which people know your work online – in this case, the URL people should type in their browser to reach to your blog.
As soon as you have finalized your niche, think of a name for your blog and book a domain name.
Preferably, get a .com domain since it has a global appeal. If not, even a .in or your country specific domain will also do.
But don’t spend too much time in deciding on the domain name.
At the end of the day, you are going to make your mark through your content and domain name is just a hygiene factor.
Just in case you are not able to find a matching .com domain, try having an alternate. As an example, the domain tusharjain.com was already taken so I had to settle with jaintushar.com. Not bad, right?
The next step describes how to get a free domain name when you opt in for a Bluehost WordPress Hosting Plan using the link here.
STEP 3: Buy WordPress hosting
WordPress is by far the best (and the easiest) blogging platform, and Bluehost offers very cheap hosting plans for WordPress.
I have been using Bluehost for past 3 years now and I am very much satisfied with the service.
In addition to a one click WordPress install, Blueshost also offers a FREE SSL certificate and a CDN.
If you are starting out, consider signing up for the basic package (see below) but for larger duration (2 or 3 years) since it results in lower per month cost.
Use this link to get 65% discount + FREE Domain on Bluehost Packages
Step 4: Basic WordPress Settings
Once you are on Bluehost, refer their very easy and simple guide to WordPress installation.
But before you hit the publish button for your first blog post, there are few configurations you need to do on WordPress so that you get the things right from the very start.
My first recommendation is to change the default permalink structure setting to something like yourdomain.com/post-name.
You can find option under Settings > Permalinks in the navigation menu on the left.
This type of URL structure is SEO friendly and will ensure your pages rank better in Google Searches.
e.g. the URL of this page is jaintushar.com/start-a-blog and not jaintushar.com/blog/04/04/2018/start-a-blog
As a starter, don’t worry too much about the look and feel of your blog. Just pick any free theme and use it till the time you don’t feel constrained by the theme.
I am using a free theme (Blog Way) by Promenade. If you think Just it aligns with your vision, download this free theme and install it via Appearance > Themes >Add New >Upload Theme.
c) Menu Items
You would need to create a few static pages which you can set up as menu items (like this page).
Menu can be set via Appearance > Menu.
Decide the way you want your homepage to look like.
It can be a static page or can show a list of your latest blog posts (just like it happens on the homepage of this blog).
You can change that setting under Appearance > Customize and find the relevant option for Homepage.
Step 5: Install The Basic Plugins
Popularity of WordPress is because of easy availability of plugins.
Plugin is a code block that extends the functionality of WordPress without you having to code anything. They make life so much simpler for a non technical blogger like you and me.
You will find a related WordPress Plugin for almost any feature you can think of.
Here’s the list of most basic plugins which I have in my WordPress installation.
- ‘Akismet’ for controlling spam
- ‘Yoast’ for SEO
- ‘Sumo Me’ for email subscriptions
- ‘Click to Tweet’ for inserting Tweetable quotes
- ‘W3 Total Cache’ for caching and faster loading
Step 6: Configuring Google Analytics and Google WebmasterIn life, you can’t improve anything if you don’t measure it. Click To Tweet
Same holds true for your blog.
Google Analytics tool helps you monitor and measure your website traffic and identify the channels that are working best for you.
Google Webmasters tool helps you understand how well your content is performing in organic searches (aka SEO). Here’s an indepth guide by Moz on everything you should know about Webmasters aka Search Console.
The setup for both the tools is as easy as installing WordPress and takes hardly 10 minutes.
However, effectively using both the tools may take months to learn, if not years, so be patient and keep on reading on internet how you can leverage the data thrown by these awesome tools.
The steps mentioned above, though basic in nature are enough to help you start your blog.
But remember, in the initial days, your focus should be on building the content than worrying about the look and feel of the blog.
Ultimately, it’s the content that makes or breaks a blog.
Once you have few content pieces in place, spend some time each day towards improving the UIUX of the blog or adding new functionalities.
Remember, Rome was not built in a single day. Similarly, your blog needs constant improvements, nurturing and edits.
So just keep pushing your way forward.