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Starting a blog is one of the best things I’ve ever done. It has made me learn new things and helped me in earning some passive income from the comfort of my home. Initially I started blogging as a hobby and then with a steady growth in traffic I gradually monetized my blog.
I would have to admit that before starting Cheerful Trails I had zero writing experience, did not clearly know what blogging was all about, had never thought of having my own website and had never heard of WordPress. For me, WordPress was just a mobile App I had downloaded to practice writing which is my hobby.
I messed up a lot in the beginning, which is why I thought of sharing with you how easy it is to set up your own blog without facing any hardships.
Here’s how you can start your own blog;
Find A Blog Name :
You need to be creative while deciding on a name for your blog. In the coming few days when you will launch your blog, this name will become your brand. Just keep in mind the following things when deciding your blog’s name;
- Your readers must get to know what your blog is about from your blog name. It should reflect your blog’s niche and in some cases your personality too. For example, as a travel blogger I came up with the word “trails” to be unique and less used in blog names. From the name you get to know that I might be blogging about my journeys or the trails I pass through.
- Don’t pick words for your blog name that have been used a lot before such as Nomad, Wandering, Adventurous, etc.
- Your blog name must be catchy and easy to memorize.
You would be creating social media accounts for your blog, so make sure it’s not already taken.
Select between WordPress.com or A Self Hosted WordPress Blog:
There are two forms of WordPress platforms, one is WordPress.com and the other is WordPress.org. I have explained these two platforms below to make it easy for you to select a platform as per your convenience;
Choosing WordPress.com :
If you opt for WordPress.com you will not have to worry about finding a host, monitoring security or back ups of your website regularly. It comes with a few restrictions relating to customization and control of your website.
If you select WordPress’s Personal or Premium plans, you would be restricted to monetize, run custom codes for a campaign or place third party ads on your website.
WordPress’s Business plan would be a great option for you if you are a non technical user or simply don’t want to go through any hassle for finding a host and maintaining your website. It also allows you to fully monetize your website.
However with any of the plans, you will not have full control on your site in terms of ability to work directly with your server and database.
Choosing WordPress.org :
WordPress.org is the most popular website platform. Being an open source, it’s free and extremely flexible.
So, if you are looking for more flexibility where you get to manage your website on your own terms, monetize and customize it to any extent without any restrictions, you should be opting for WordPress.org. Having complete control over your website and a custom design can be very important when it comes to branding.
For a long term business plan it’s highly recommended to use WordPress.org platform.
Setting Up A Host :
If you have chosen to go ahead with building your website on WordPress.org platform, finding a host for your website will be your next step. Hosting will provide server space for your website files. This is where your website is going to live and be reachable from the internet to thousands of viewers.
HostGator is a very reliable in terms of speed, excellent customer service and ease of setting up your website or migrating it to their server. It is one of the most powerful host providing companies. Hostgator also guarantees 99.99% Uptime metric which ensures that your website won’t be going down.
Exclusive Offer : Click sign up for Hostgator and avail 60% discount on your hosting plan through my blog. For example; you’ll pay $2.75/month rather than $5.95/month for the basic Hatchling plan.
I would recommend choosing the Hatchling plan. It’s all you need to get started with, and you can always upgrade later if you need to.
After selecting your required hosting plan, you will be taken to the next page where you will have to enter your Domain Name. The Domain Name is your blog name which you have picked earlier.
The longer your plan is, the cheaper it will be. I would recommend you to select at least a 12 month plan. This will make the monthly hosting charges more cheaper and you won’t have to worry of renewing the hosting plan at higher charges for the coming months. Hosting is the biggest expense of setting up a blog and this comes at a very reasonable cost through Hostgator.
Installing WordPress :
Once you have signed up and successfully logged in to your HostGator account, under the title “Popular Links”, click on “Build a new WordPress Website”.
On the next screen, select your Domain Name and click on Next.
Enter your basic user details into the fields and click on Install.
After the installation, a screen will display domain name (link to your new website), username and an auto generated password.
To start working on your website and customizing it, head to http://yourdomainname.com/wp-admin, enter your username and the auto generated password. This will take you to your WordPress dashboard where you can start creating, editing and publishing content.
Pick A Good Theme :
WordPress offers a plethora of good looking themes that would make your website visually appealing. You can choose from either a free or premium theme. If you are just starting out, I would suggest you to experiment with free themes first. This will allow you to recognize the functionalities and capabilities you are actually looking for on your website.
Once you know what you want and are ready to commit to a paid theme, I would recommend you to check out theme options from StudioPress and Themeforest.
Install Necessary Plugins :
Plugins provides tons of features and improve the functionality of your website. Here are some of the necessary plugins you should install on your website :
- Akismet: Filters and removes spam comments;
- Yoast SEO: Helps you to optimize your content and increase ranking on Google.
- Social Warfare: Adds social media icons to all your posts to allow sharing your content on various platforms.
- Google Analytics by Monster Insights: Track views, sessions and other analytic metrics of your website.
- Contact Form 7: Creates a contact page that allow users to email you.
Join A Valuable Blogging Course (Optional) :
If you are aiming to successfully monetize, optimize, drive traffic and grow your blog, you should consider taking up a suitable blogging course as early as possible. Here are some of my recommendations for courses that will definitely help you in all aspects of creating affiliate income through your website;
- Affiliate Marketing Bundle : The Affiliate Marketing Bundle includes a step by step guide, video tutorials and more useful resources to help you make income through affiliate marketing.
- SuperStar Blogging : SuperStar blogging is an exceptional blogging course created by Matthew Kepnes from Nomadic Matt. This course is divided into a 10-week syllabus on how to create optimize and design your website, how to build your brand, how to create engaging and viral content, how to rank on google, how to create newsletters, how to make money and create digital products and much more. SuperStar Blogging course covers all the aspects needed for creating a successful and money making blog.
- Making Pinterest Possible Ebook : Pinterest is a social media platform used by many bloggers to drive traffic in huge numbers to their website. This allows in elevating income through affiliate marketing as well as advertisements. The Making Pinterest Possible Ebook is a perfect guide to help you with put on the right strategies to help you maximize the viewership of your blogs. It also includes a $30 Tailwind voucher if you want to automate the pinning game on Pinterest.
Congratulations! Now that you have got your blog up and running, you will have to start with adding up basic pages such as an About Page and a Contact Page. Create content on your interests, ideas and topics you believe in. Be consistent and increase your online presence through social media platforms. If you have any questions regarding blogging, you can leave a comment below or email me through the Get In Touch Page.
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