Whether you are looking for a way to bring in some extra cash or a path to ditching your day job, setting up a blog can be the key to success. Blogs allow ordinary people to share their thoughts and make money at the same time. What could be better?
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But before you get started with your first blog, you need to understand exactly how the process works and what it takes to make this new form of media financially successful. Ever since the earliest days of blogging, WordPress has been one of the most popular blog platforms, and it remains one of the most successful to this day. Here is a step by step guide to everything you need to know about WordPress. From how to set up your blog and create compelling content to how to monetize your opinions, these are the steps you need to take.
- What is a Blog?
- What is WordPress?
- What Do I Need to Know to Get Started?
- How Do I Buy a Domain Name?
- Where to Buy a Domain Name
- How Do I Choose the Right Hosting Service?
- Web Hosting Services
- How Do I Install DNS on the Control Panel?
- How Do I Install WordPress on the Control Panel?
- What Are the Main WordPress Components?
- The Framework
- WordPress Framework
- The Theme
- Free Themes vs. Premium Themes – Which is Better?
- How to Install a Theme
- How Do I Create My First Article?
- Creating Your First Blog Post – The Mechanics of the Process
- Writing a Great Blog Post
What is a Blog?
The first blogs were web diaries, designed to let users express their thoughts, detail their days and communicate with others who shared their interests. These early blogs took many different forms, from new parents sharing the joys and frustrations of parenthood to avid fisherman reviewing the latest fishing poles and tackle boxes.
These days the blogging world is much larger, and much more far-ranging. There are political blogs, sports blogs, real estate blogs, entertainment blogs and many other types of blogs. If you can dream it, chances are someone out there is blogging about it. And now, Blog sites have become full blown websites including displays of services, and sales of products.
There are literally hundreds of thousands of blogs on the Internet, but that does not mean there is not room for even more opinions. If you have something compelling to say, you can find an avid readership in the blogging world. And if you know WordPress and how to make the most of it, you can monetize the content you create and start bringing in a steady part-time or full-time income.
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What is WordPress?
Setting up a blog is a relatively simple and straightforward process, especially if you use one of the popular blogging platforms that are available. There are a number of these blogging platforms out there, but WordPress remains the most popular and the most successful.
What Do I Need to Know to Get Started?
If you are ready to get started in the world of blogging, it is important to know a number of things. One of the most important things to consider is which blogging platform is the best for your blog. As previously stated, WordPress is by far the most well known and most versatile blogging platform. Using WordPress for your blog makes a lot of sense, especially for the new blogger. The folks behind WordPress have worked hard to make the platform easy to use, and when you choose this blogging platform you can be up and running in a matter of minutes.
You will also need to choose a domain name for your new blog. Having a dedicated domain name is an absolute must, since it will help with everything from search engine visibility to creating a professional appearance. You will find more information about choosing a domain name and finding a quality hosting service in the next two steps.
How Do I Buy a Domain Name?
Before you write your first blog post, you need to think about the name you will use. If you want your blog to be successful, you will need a name that is easy to remember, and one that accurately describes what your blog is all about.
For instance, if you plan to blog about whitetail deer hunting, you might choose a domain name like whitetailhunting.com. Of course that domain name may already be taken, so you will need to think about variations you could use. In the case of the above-mentioned hunting blog, those variations might include whitetaildeerhunting.com, deerhuntingblog.com, whitetaildeertracker.com and the like.
Some bloggers choose to use their own names for their domain names. This strategy works best if you have an unusual name or a name that is easy to remember. Chances are jimsmith.com has already been claimed, but you may still be able to claim a more unusual name. Adding your middle name or initial can also help you find a suitable domain name that is still available.
Using your own name as your domain name has a number of advantages, including the ability to incorporate your blog into your overall branding strategy. But no matter which domain name you choose, you will need to make sure it is still available. If your number one name is already taken, you can try adding a, my or the to the name.
The easiest way to check the availability of a domain name is by going to the website of a popular web hosting service. Just type the domain name you have in mind and you will instantly see whether or not it is available or if it has already been claimed.
It is important to keep in mind that the .com domain is still the gold standard for bloggers and other commercial sites. You may have heard about the various new domain extensions, like .biz and .us, but they are not as recognizable or as easy to remember as the .com. It is probably better to accept a second or third choice with a .com extension than a first choice with a different extension.
Where to Buy a Domain NameThis list of Domain Service Providers is provided as a courtesy. It contains no affiliate links. Please do your own research and study reviews before choosing where to buy your domain name.
How Do I Choose the Right Hosting Service?
Choosing a suitable domain name is vital to the success of your blog, but selecting the right web host is just as important. A bad hosting service can kill your blog before it gets a chance to live, so choose wisely and take your time.[tweetthis display_mode=”box” remove_twitter_handles=”true”] A bad hosting service can kill your blog before it gets a chance to live #blogging @loriballen_[/tweetthis]
There are a number of ways a poor web host will doom your blog. If the web host is using old or outdated servers and other equipment, your readers will experience slow loading times, frequent errors and a range of other frustrations. It will not take long for those would-be blog fans to abandon your site, and chances are they will not be back.
It is hard to recover once your domain gets a reputation for poor quality, and you may have no other choice but to start over from scratch. It is much better, and much less time-consuming, to get it right from the start.
There are a number of things to look for when choosing a web hosting service, starting with a money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied. A poor quality web host is unlikely to offer this kind of guarantee.
You will also want to make sure the web host offers true 24-hour service, including options for email, text messages, phone and web chat. You can test the responsiveness of the web host by sending a general inquiry and seeing how long they take to respond. If the response time is slow when you are a potential client, chances are it will not improve once you sign up.
It is also a good idea to choose a web host that offers free and user-friendly support for the most popular blogging tools, including WordPress. This support will be essential going forward, so choose your web hosting service accordingly.
Web Hosting ServicesThis list of web hosting services is provided as a courtesy only. There are no affiliate links and we do not endorse any particular company although we may or may have used them. Please do your own research on these companies and look at reviews before choosing your own.
How Do I Install DNS on the Control Panel?
Once you have selected the perfect web hosting service, you will need to set up an account and register the domain name you chose earlier. The exact process needed to register and account and domain name will depend on the web host you choose, and you should be able to find specific instructions on their website.
Once you have registered with your chosen web hosting service and claimed your domain name, you will next need to install DNS on your control panel. This will allow you to make the most of your WordPress blog and maintain 24/7 connectivity for your readers.
To get started, just log into your web hosting account. The username you will use is the root URL of your blog. Once you are logged on, you can choose the domain name you want to work with and then select Edit.
How Do I Install WordPress on the Control Panel?
The WordPress blogging platform is known for its ease of use, and for its ease of installation. In most circumstances it should take no more than a few minutes to install WordPress and get it up and running. Before you can actually set up your blog and start creating content, you will first need to install WordPress on the control panel, using the steps outlined below.
- Choose your plan. For most bloggers the basic plan is the best choice. The basic plan is the least expensive, yet it still offers plenty of versatility and scalability for your new business.
- Select your hosting package. You will probably get a better rate if you choose a longer hosting term. For instance, many web hosting services offer a discount for a 24-month or 36-plan compared to their standard 12-month plans.
- Go to the homepage of the web hosting service and log on using the credentials you established earlier. You should be taken directly to the control panel
- Look around the control panel for a link that says “Install WordPress”. Click the Install button to start the WordPress installation.
- Select your domain from the list of choices, then go to the Advanced Options section. Here you can enter your site name, username, password and other key information.
- Wait for WordPress to install. The entire installation process should only take a few minutes.
What Are the Main WordPress Components?
No matter what they choose to blog about, owners of WordPress blogs will utilize a number of core components. Before you start writing content for your blog, you first need to familiarize yourself with these core WordPress components. Having a solid understanding of WordPress will make every aspect of setting up and maintaining your new blog a lot easier.
The framework can also be used as the foundation on which new themes can be erected. If WordPress is a house, the framework is the interior wall, while the theme is the exterior wall. The theme is what your readers see, but it is the underlying framework that supports it.
Every theme will have a framework. Firms like Thesis and Genesis charge separately for their themes and frameworks, while the popular Elegant Themes have their frameworks embedded in their themes. When deciding which company to use, it is important to understand this distinction.
WordPress FrameworkThis list of WordPress Framework is provided as a courtesy only. There are no affiliate links and we do not endorse any particular company although we may or may have used them. Please do your own research on these companies and look at reviews before choosing your own.
The theme is arguably the most important of the WordPress components, and you will be working with themes a lot as you go forward. In WordPress a theme is the set of files that control how the website will look and behave.
The WordPress theme creates the overall layout of the pages on the site, along with the various plugins blog owners can use. The theme contains a number of different page elements – things like graphics, logos, headers and footers.
The theme controls how your blog looks to the end user, but plugins have a vital role to play as well. You can think of a plugin as a tiny program that provides your site with additional features and allows it to do things it could not do otherwise.
You will find a wide variety of plugins that can be used with your new WordPress blog. Some of these plugins are free, while others must be purchased separately. When setting up your new blog, you may want to experiment with a variety of different plugins and see how the impact the functionality of your site.
Free Themes vs. Premium Themes – Which is Better?
As stated previously, blog owners can choose from a wide variety of themes, some free and others paid. When choosing between the two, you will need to consider a number of different factors, including your budget and your needs.
If you are setting up a simple blog for your own use and a limited audience, you can probably get by quite well with one of the many free themes available on the Internet. If you plan to use your blog for commercial purposes, it may be better to choose a paid theme instead. Paid themes tend to be more versatile, and more scalable, than their free counterparts.
How to Install a Theme
Whether you choose the cost-effectiveness of a free theme or the flexibility of a paid one, you will need to install that theme on your WordPress blog. Luckily, the installation process is a simple and straightforward one. Just use the.
steps outlined below.
- Download the theme in .zip format. Note the location of the file.
- Upload the .zip file to the /wp-content/themes directory.
- Use your favorite ZIP file program to extract the theme from the .zip file.
- Click on the executable to start the installation process.
- Wait for the installation to complete and start using your new WordPress theme.
How Do I Create My First Article?
One of the most important things to think about when creating content for your blog is the nature of your intended audience. Since your blog is brand new, you will not have an established readership, but you can make a few assumptions based on the niche in which your blog operates.
If you are running a hunting and fishing blog, your audience will probably consist of avid outdoor enthusiasts. If your website is focused on reviewing the latest movies, you can bet your readers will be just as enthusiastic about film.
Knowing the nature of your audience will help you craft a blog post that will get results. Since this is your first blog post, you may want to start with a brief introduction. Blogs are highly personal forms of communication, so providing your future readers with some basic information about you is a great way to start.
You should obviously avoid giving out personal information like your address and phone number, but you should provide an email address for readers who want to contact you. It is a good idea to set up a separate email account just for your blog. This will make administration a lot easier and help ensure you see all the comments that come in.
Creating Your First Blog Post – The Mechanics of the Process
Now that you know what you want to say, it is time to log into your WordPress account and start creating the compelling content that will draw readers to your site. To get started, just log in using the credentials you created earlier, then find the Blog Title section.
Replace the existing title with one that describes what the blog post is all about. For instance, you may want to make your first blog post title something like “An Introduction” or “Where Do I Start?”. Your title should get the attention of the reader and make them want to learn more.
You can also change the site title and tagline to get the attention of the readers and give your blog post a more personal look and feel. Once you are done, simply click the “Save Changes” button to continue.
To start writing your first blog post, simply click the “Add New” link. You will find this link in the menu on the left-hand side of the site and also next to the word “Posts”. Once you click the “Add New” link you can start writing your blog post.
It is important to remember that any changes and updates you make will go live as soon as you hit that “Save Changes” button. Be sure that your entire blog post, including the title, subtitle and text, is perfect before you post it.
Writing a Great Blog Post
You do not have to be Shakespeare to create a great blog post. In fact, many of the most successful blog posts are also the most informal. Just think about what you want to say and write your post based on that.
Many bloggers, especially the largest and most successful ones, employ a cadre of guest bloggers to provide fresh content. Guest bloggers serve a number of key purposes, including lightening the load for the blog owner and providing different perspectives. If you are just getting started, you will probably be writing most, if not all, of your posts. As you grow, you can decide whether to continue writing all your content or outsource it to guest bloggers and other voices.
You can review your existing posts by going to the “Posts” section in the administrative section of WordPress. You can delete old posts or make changes to existing ones in this section.
You can choose to dress up your blog posts with images and pictures. Just go to your new or existing post and look for the “Add Media” button, then choose “Select Files” and navigate to the image on your hard drive. You can change the alignment of the picture and adjust its size to make it look its best. When you are done making changes, just click “Insert into post” to add the image to your blog post. When everything looks great, click “Publish” to make the blog post live.
Whether you want to share your opinion with the world at large, supplement your income or just have fun, creating and maintaining a blog is an excellent way to do it. Getting started with WordPress is easy, but making the proper preparations will make your new blogging career even easier, and ultimately more successful.