There are numerous reasons why you might be interested in starting a blog. Perhaps you’re looking to start your own home-based business that helps you achieve financial freedom. Maybe you’re very passionate about a certain topic and want to share what you’ve learned with others. Regardless of what your reasoning is, the first step towards making your blog a reality is figuring out how to get started. In this guide, we’re going to dive into what setting up a WordPress.org blog will look like so that you can experience a seamless setup process for your new business endeavors.
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Before the Blog: Important Items to Take Care of Before Starting Your Blog
I want to let you in on a little secret. Starting a blog is easy. Absolutely anyone can do it. However, it’s what you do after your blog has been established that will ultimately determine your success. The key ingredient to a great blog is extensive planning. If you want to become one of the blogging success stories that you’ve heard about, you have to be willing to put in all the work that comes before and after your blog is established.
We won’t dive too extensively into this, but a few questions that you should ask yourself when you first consider starting your blog include:
- What Do I Want to Blog About?: The most important piece of advice is to find your niche before you start blogging. For example, if you’re a fan of photography, you may want to start your own blog where you talk about photography tips and tricks and beyond. An even better piece of advice, however, is to not write yourself into a corner. If you choose a wide variety of topics, you can’t properly brand and market your blog. If your niche is too hyperfocused, finding relevant keywords and managing to create a content calendar for months or years will be near impossible. Look for a topic that you can start small with then grow over time.
- Where Do I See My Blog in Five Years? 10?: At first, your blog’s growth may seem extremely slow. However, as you build momentum and continue to improve traffic, you’ll then have the platform you need to start earning revenue. Set aside some time to think about where your blog will go. Do you want to teach classes on your blog? Do you want to start a membership platform? Or, alternatively, do you just want to make money through advertising and affiliate relationships? Figuring out what direction your blog will go makes it so much easier to stay on track and hit your goals.
- What Do I Need to Do to Operate My Blog?: There are numerous tools out there that make your blogging journey easier. Some tools may be simple, like downloading Grammarly to double-check your content before you post it. Other times, you may need to outsource technical help to help you deal with problems you’re encountering on your blog. Think about all the tools you’ll need to thrive as a blogger and where you can find those tools so you have them at the ready once you start writing.
- How Much Am I Looking to Spend Now and Down the Road?: Most bloggers have a limited budget when they start their blog. The good news? Hosting, themes, and other starter items you need for your blog are relatively affordable. However, it’s important to remember that blogging is a business, and investing in your blog allows you to get much more out of it. Don’t just set income goals, set spending goals so that you can utilize those funds effectively and earn more along the way.
- What Skills Do I Need to Thrive?: When you blog, you’re not just a blogger. You’re a content creator, a marketer, a designer, a technical professional, and beyond. That being said, going into your blog with limited skills is almost always a recipe for disaster, especially if you don’t have the budget to hire specialists who can get what you need done (although, there are always marketplaces like Fiverr where you may be able to score a project at an affordable price). Even if you’re learning as you go, it’s much better than starting your blog and realizing you don’t have what it takes to run it. Another great place to find professionals is on UpWork.
Don’t fret if this is a lot to take in. Most people who hear about the wonders of blogging rarely hear about how much work goes into making a blog. If you’re at this stage in your blogging journey and you feel the need to take a pause, return to this guide once you have fleshed out a serious plan that will help you work towards success in your new blog.
Your Three-Step Guide to Getting Your New WordPress Site Up and Running
So, you have your blogging plan and you’re ready to put it to the test. What’s next? In this guide, we’re going to break down the WordPress set-up process into three simple steps to make moving along easier for you. Although our main focus will be on Bluehost, which is the most commonly recommended hosting platform for WordPress users, we will also cover a few additional options at the end of this section to give you options when you’re ready to get started.
Let’s dive in!
Step 1. Settle on and Register Your Domain Name
Your domain name is what your readers will type in to find your website. Generally speaking, your domain name will feature your brand name, which makes it easy to brand yourself and ensure that people are looking for the right website.
Once you have your domain name, all you have to do is register it. Some people may choose to use sites like NameCheap, GoDaddy or Google Domains. However, if you’re looking to simplify the process, you can use Bluehost to register your domain name and sign up for your hosting plan, which makes getting your blog ready much easier.
Domain names are very affordable, especially if you decide to go through Bluehost, which will offer you a free domain name if you sign up for 12 months of hosting ahead of time. One issue to keep in mind, however, is that you may run into the issue of someone else already owning your domain name. If this happens, either make some changes to your domain name, buy it from someone else, or make changes to your branding so that you can find the domain name that you want.
Step 2. Buy Your Hosting Plan (and Connect Your Hosting With Your Domain, If Applicable)
Domain names and hosting can be confusing concepts to new bloggers who may not have much technical experience, especially when it comes to the latter. The best way to describe hosting is to imagine it as if it were a vacant lot. Once you purchase your hosting, you’re able to reserve that space so that you can build your home or, as it is here, your website. It’s basically your dedicated space on the internet that holds all of your files and data related to your blog.
Bluehost offers three hosting plans for WordPress users. The basic plan costs a few bucks per month and offers the WordPress tools and support you need to get a running start on your blog. If you’re someone who’s a bit more ambitious and has an aggressive business plan in place, you may be better suited for the Managed WordPress plan, which has scalable site capabilities and bandwidth to handle greater demands. The final hosting plan, Online Stores, is designed specifically for vendors with a digital storefront (who knows, this may be you later on).
Whatever you decide on, whether it’s Bluehost or beyond, it’s important to pay close attention to the features offered by your plan and whether or not it falls in line with your needs. If you find yourself without the proper tools, it’s going to be hard to change course and transition to a plan that’s built specifically for your purpose.
Connecting Your Domain Name and Your Hosting
If you purchased a domain from a company other than Bluehost, you’re going to need to connect your domain name to your hosting provider to get completely set up. What does this process look like?
Let’s imagine that you signed up for hosting through Bluehost and used GoDaddy to purchase your domain name. In this instance, you’re going to need to navigate to the “Domain Settings” area of your GoDaddy account, click on the “Nameservers” option under “Settings” and click the “Manage” link. Then, click on “Custom” and click on “Enter Custom Nameservers”. There, you’ll be able to enter your Bluehost nameservers. Once you’ve achieved this, your Bluehost account should use your GoDaddy domain as your private domain. If not, you’ll need to manually add it through the Bluehost cPanel.
As you can see from the above, there’s a reason why we recommend Bluehost as your hosting provider. Not only is it easy to use but it’s specifically designed for the WordPress creation process, allowing you to get everything done in one place. If you experience any issues along the way, reach out for support at your chosen hosting platform or conduct more in-depth research to guide you through the process. Once you have your hosting and your domain name, you’re ready to get started!
Step 3. Install WordPress on Your New Website
The final step is to install WordPress on your website. If you have decided on Bluehost for this process, they automatically install the latest version of WordPress on your website so that you have immediate access to your new blog. Even better, they also take care of automatic WordPress updates so that you don’t have to worry about dealing with any of that.
However, for those who may have not decided on Bluehost, what would this process look like? Let’s take a look at a few other viable hosting candidates for your WordPress blog and what you need to do to get your website up and running.
WP Engine WordPress Hosting
WP Engine is another highly-respected, managed WordPress hosting provider that offers a wide range of plans and support to meet the needs of those looking to create a lucrative blog of their own. Given that they’re utilized by companies like Instacart, Etsy, and Asana. As with the above, WordPress is already ready to be installed as soon as your domain is linked.
Flywheel Managed WordPress Hosting
Flywheel is a managed WordPress hosting company that offers a number of affordable hosting plans for prospective WordPress users in need of excellent hosting and support as they move forward. The good news about Flywheel, like Bluehost, is that it comes with WordPress pre-installed, making it so that all you have to do is connect your domain with Flywheel and get started working on your blog.
No matter which hosting provider you choose, you can install WordPress on your new site. However, the further you drift away from managed providers like Bluehost, WP Engine, or Flywheel, the more complicated the process may become. Keep this in mind before you start going through the guide above so that you can make the best possible choice for your new blog.
My WordPress Blog Is Live! What’s Next?
Now that we’ve got your WordPress blog all set up and ready to go, you may be asking yourself, what’s next? Of course, we’re not going to leave you without some tips to help you make the most of this new blog you have. Some helpful tips to use moving forward include:
- Conduct Keyword Research and Create a Content Calendar: No matter how much your write, it won’t rank unless you’re focusing on optimizing your content for search engines. Before you start writing, use a free tool like to look for longtail keywords that you can rank for. Then, use those keywords to come up with content ideas and create a calendar that tells you when you’re going to post and what you’re going to post. Not familiar with SEO? Don’t worry! WordPress has excellent plugins that can guide you through the process of optimizing your content for improved results. Don’t be afraid to take some classes on SEO as well!
- Set Up Your Social Media Accounts: You want to rank organically on search engines, but you also want to leverage other free marketing materials to help you develop a community and get word of your new blog out there. Whether it’s Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Snapchat, or Twitter, take some to understand the ins and outs of these platforms so that you can learn how to leverage them in your marketing strategy and bring even more visitors to your blog.
- Start Forming Relationships With Bloggers in Similar Niches: Certain aspects of SEO, like keyword optimization, is something that you have full control over. However, off-page SEO strategies like link building require you to reach out to others to help boost your domain score. Seek to develop resources that others want to use and relationships with bloggers in similar niches so that you can handle your off-page SEO strategies as effectively as you do your on-page tactics.
- Understand Your Audience and Their Needs: When you set up your own blog, there’s likely a twist in the way you approach it that will make you appealing to readers. However, in order to understand exactly what elicits the right response, you must know your audience. Being that you’re in the beginning stages of your writing journey, it can be impossible to figure out what people want to read. Instead, look at your competitors and see not only what they’re doing but who they’re attracting. Then, ask yourself, who do you want your audience to be and what do you need to do in order to bring them in? Once you have established the right voice, you’ll begin attracting the ideal readers.
- Look for Ways to Monetize Your Work: Although managing a blog can be cheap at first, it does get expensive over time. Additionally, you don’t want to be paying for something that’s not bringing in any revenue. The moment you start your blog, you should be looking for ways to monetize it. Whether this means selling ad space, writing and distributing your own e-books, or even starting a membership model so that dedicated readers can unlock exclusive resources, there are plenty of ways to make money with your platform.
- Think Beyond Just Written Content: When you hear the word blogging, you most likely only think about writing. However, running a blog goes far beyond just writing great material. You also need attractive graphics, helpful videos, and other content that helps you make your written work more appealing and branch out in your business operations. The more you can do to stand out from your competitors, the better your blog will far once you start gaining some traction.
Running a blog can feel very much like a trial-and-error experience, and that’s because it is. Look what others have done to achieve success and see where you fit into that narrative. Then, carve your own path, assess your progress, and make adjustments as needed. As long as you’re willing to make mistakes and learn from them, you’ll likely have a great experience running your new blog!
Starting a Blog Is Hard Work…
… But when it’s done right, it can be a great way to work on the content that you’re passionate about while creating a passive income stream or even a full-time career that pays you for all of your hard work. If you’re ready to start your own blog on WordPress, the guide above will provide you with the necessary steps to establish your blog and thrive once it’s launched!