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How to Start a Blog for Dummies in 2020: A Definitive Step by Step Guide

This is a post by Umer Iftikhar.

So You want to know “How to Start a Blog” right? You are at the right place.

This free step by step blogging for dummies guide can take you to next level where you can (without any technical skills) easily start your own blog in just 15 minutes.

When I wanted to start my own blog, I had no idea where and what steps to take first.

In fact, I did couple of mistakes when I created my first blog. I had no idea where to start and all the material online was overwhelming to me.

Therefore, having experienced many problems that newbies face while starting a blog, I decided to create this comprehensive and definitive guide for anyone wishing to start their own new blog.  I wrote down all the steps you need to take to easily understand and create your own blog right now.

Resources Required for a Blog:
Basically, you need three things to start a successful blog.

  • A Domain Name (I buy from Namecheap).
  • A Web Hosting (I buy from Bluehost – Most recommended).
  • A Blogging Platform (WordPress – #1 Pick for everyone and used worldwide).

Are you still confused if you should start a blog?

Table of Contents

Why to Start a Blog?

That’s a long debate but in short, here are simple reasons why you should immediately get into a blogging business.

  • To Make Money Online.
  • Building Right Audience.
  • Growing Online Presence.
  • Sharing Stories.

However, I am not going into too deep here, you can read the 10 top reasons here why you should start blogging.

Alright, are you ready to to create your first blog? Let’s get started.

How to Start a Blog for Beginners

Let’s take a look at the steps you need to take to create a successful blog.

1: Choose a Niche (Topic).

2: Choose The Best Blogging Platform.

3: Choose a Domain Name and Host.

4: Install WordPress.

5: Customize Your Blog.

6: Customize Your Blog Design with Themes.

7: Configure Plugins to Supercharge Your Blog.

8: Write Your First Blog Post.

9: Create Pages (Contact Page) & Main Menu.

Without any further delay, let’s jump into step 1.

Step 1: Choose Niche (Topic)

Topic selection is not a difficult task. There are basically three types of Niches.

  • General Niche
  • Specific Niche
  • Micro Niche

General Niche Blog: A Niche that covers many topics. Best example for this type of site/blog is a news blog that covers numerous topics.

Specific Niche Blog: It is basically a Blog that is focused on a single niche. For example, a Football blog or a Recipe Blog.

Micro Niche Blog: This a type of Blog that is only focused on very narrow topic. Best example is “iPhone 7”. That means your blog is only about iPhone 7 and you only write content related to that topic.

Which Niche Should You Choose Then?

There are also three types of websites.

  • Affiliate Blogs: A type of blog that earns via affiliate commissions.
  • General Blogs: A type of blog that generates revenue via advertisements.
  • eCommerce Blog: A type of blog that generates revenue via selling your own products.

Secret #1: How To Pick A Niche

If you are starting out an Affiliate blog, Amazon is the best platform to get started with.

Go to Amazon.com and click over to “Departments.”

amazon
Amazon Logo is the property of Amazon Inc and used for informational purposes only.

Now when you click on departments, you will see something like this.

topic-ideas

Wow! Over hundreds of categories you can choose from there and decide what topics interest you the most. There are plenty of ideas here.

However, each category has different commission rates and some categories are more competitive than others.

For example, electronics tend to be a competitive category which means too many affiliates are promoting these products.

Also, commission rates for some of the electronics are 2.5% vs. pet category that pays 8% commission.

Here are current Amazon commission rates (2020):

amazon commission rates 2020

However, For General Niche Blogs, You Can Pick Any of The Following:

  • Food.
  • Travel.
  • Sports.
  • Entertainment.
  • News.

But still, you should go with what interests you the most.

Tip: Always go with your passion since it will be easier for you to add your own knowledge and value to your visitors. Believe me, writing about a niche that you are not interested in at all, gets boring pretty fast.

You can always outsource your writing on Upwork.com but I’d recommend being somewhat excited about the topics your blog is about.

Step 2: Choose The Best Blogging Platform

This is very important step and making a wrong decision will impact everything in the future.

There are many platforms available but only WordPress is the right choice. According to w3techs, WordPress is the no 1 platform that occupies 28.1% of total web available on Internet.

WordPress offers simplicity and power to design any blog or a professional looking websites. The reason I recommend WordPress:

  • Secured: It is the most stable platform than any other. NASA, Technorati, Mashable and even more authority sites use it.
  • Updating: It’s always updating it’s interface, security, codes and design to give us a user-friendly environment to work.
  • Tweakable: It is super easy to use. There are lots of free themes and plugins to use to tweak your blog the way you desire. From adding contact forms, creating sliders, menus and widgets, are super easy.

I have always used WordPress for all of my blogs since I started blogging back in 2009. The blog you are reading right now is also made using WordPress.

Hold ON! There are two versions of WordPress so which one to select?

  • Hosted WordPress Blogs (WordPress.com): The one which is created under WordPress.com and is free.
  • Self-Hosted WordPress Blogs (WordPress.org): The one which is created using the WordPress software under your domain name. For example bloggingceo.com

Which One Should You Choose?

Wordpress.com (Hosted)
  • Offers Free Sub Domain
  • Limited Features
  • Can be Taken Down Anytime for Any Reason
  • Pay for Upgrade (Domain, Storage, Emails, Etc)
Wordpress.org (Self Hosted)
  • Self Domain
  • Complete Branding
  • Full Control
  • Backups Anytime
  • No Take Down Fear
  • Yearly Minimum Fees
  • Flexible to Use
  • Easy to Customize
  • Free Upgrade to Latest Versions
  • Ability To Add Free, Paid, or Custom Plugins/Apps
  • Create Membership or eCommerce Sites

Why You Should Not Choose The Free Hosted Platform?

Let me ask you a question, would you really host your blog with these limited features:

  • Less Control: You don’t have complete control over your own content. They can delete everything without a warning if they think you violate their TOS.
  • Non-Professional: If you don’t have a paid plan, the platform will represent their own brand. You will have ‘WordPress’ in your domain name.
  • It’s Free Only for 3GB Space: After you exceed your bandwidth, you need to switch to a paid plan.
  • They Place Ads on All Free Websites: If you don’t want their ads on your site (since you will not be earning any of that commission) you have to upgrade to a paid plan.
  • You Are Limited With Ad Platforms: You are only allowed to use their advertising program.
  • Limited Plugins: You can only install limited plugins.
  • Limited Theme Collection: Can’t upload custom themes and only premium and business plan users can tweak with CSS.
  • No eCommerce or Membership features: You can’t build sophisticated eCommerce stores or Membership sites.

I hope I’ve explained enough for you to see which platform is better. So, if you ask me, I will prefer Self Hosted platform for a long term, successful business.

Let’s jump to another step.

Step 3: Choose a Domain Name and Host

To start a blog, you need two following elements.

Find a Domain Name:

Here you need a few things to keep in mind before you register your domain name.

  • Choose a .com domain name which is easy to remember.

 

  • Never use dashes (hyphens) in your name, something like www.blogging-ceo.com. This will add an extra, unneeded character to your domain name. Additionally, may be hard to remember since most people are generally used to domains without hyphens. Moreover, a domain name with a hyphen has also a lower resell value.

 

  • Your domain name should reflect your brand or product. This means, add some relevant keywords to your domain name. You don’t need the exact match keywords in your domain names anymore in order to rank. In fact, your brand will sound much more authoritative with a domain name like kitchenbliss.com than thebestkitchenknifereviews.com. Make it short, not longer than 3 words, but broad enough in case you want to expand your site into more categories.

 

  • If you are creating a very personal blog or a blog where you offer a service, a class, etc., you can choose your name as a domain name.

I like to use Namecheap for domain names because the prices are way better than at GoDaddy and it also comes with free WHOIS guard which costs around $12.99 on other domain registrars. Their interface is easy to use and support is great too.

Important Tips:

If you are out of name ideas for your blog or find the premium two word domain names too expensive (kitchenbliss.com is selling for $4,945 as of this writing), you can use a name generator.

I’ve used this name generator many times when choosing domain names for my sites. It gives you many search options  and shows which  domains are currently available to buy.

Find a Host and Host Your Domain

When I started blogging, I had a pretty bad experience with a local host I was using, and I completely lost my first blog. I was getting around 500 visitors per day at that time, and poof I lost everything.

So moral of the story here is that use a reputable service to host your blog.

Here are just a few things you need to keep in mind when choosing a host.

  • Speed: Matters a lot. Google and all other search engines love speedy websites/blogs. Would you want your visitors to go away even before your site opens? Your site must provide the response in seconds (Not more than 2 seconds).
  • Uptime: The host must maintain 100% uptime. Would you want your site to be down for a single second? Of course not. Always look for 100%.
  • 24/7 Support: Necessary! Technically, you can have an issue at any day and any time. At least you must be provided full support, right? Choose the one who provides full-time support for every single question you ask.

There are many host providers out there so how can you pick the right one? Let me help you out here.

Bluehost – A Top Host Provider Referred by WordPress:

After I lost my first site, I signed up with Bluehost. I still recommend Bluehost for new bloggers who just start out and don’t have massive traffic yet. Bluehost is cheap and is great for first time bloggers.

Initially you have to pay for a whole year hosting service while you sign up. Later for renewal, you can do a monthly payment.

Here I put together a step by step guide how you can start using Bluehost.

I’d been a Bluehost member for several years before one of my sites grew a lot and my hosting needs changed.

Here are some of the facts about Bluehost:

  • Over 2 million websites use Bluehost today.
  • Offers $150 Free Advertising Credit right in your Control Panel
  • Great support and Uptime
  • 1-Click Installation Services

Last but not least, it is one of the companies that has been referred by WordPress.

wordpress-refers-bluehost-bloggingceo

Check here  for the full article. There are many other good ones too but for a beginner blogger, Bluehost is great.

Personally, whenever I’ve had any issues with changing usernames, payment methods and moving from another host, they helped me out quickly. The live support is awesome too.

Get Your Hosting Account Now:

Click over to the green button ‘get started now.’ on Bluehost.

get-started-now

Choose a ‘Basic’ plan. Since you are just starting out, a basic, shared hosting is more than enough. You can always upgrade later when you start getting more traffic. Bluehost will scale you quickly.

hosting-plan

Enter your unique words here at ‘new domain.’ This is how you can get a domain for absolutely free. Or if you have a domain name already from Namecheap, select ‘I have a domain name.’

name-your-domain

Now you need to put all your information here.

account-information

After you have completed filling in your information, scroll down a little, and you can see other information such as Account plan, Hosting, Setup and other fees.

But hold on here. Wait for few seconds, and you will see a popup offering you a discount up to 65%.

discount-bluehost-for-bloggingceo

Just click on ‘claim savings,’ and you will see updated price information as below.

payment-information

Bingo! That’s a huge saving. $95.40 isn’t bad enough to start your first blog.

Now add your credit card information, click on ‘submit’ and complete your registration.

payment-now

Note: You can also pay with ‘Paypal‘, click on ‘more payment options’ right above the credit card information.

Step 4: Install a WordPress Blog Now:

Installation is quite easy. It will take you only a few minutes to setup your first blog. Just log on to your new Bluehost Account and click on ‘WordPress Tools,’ then click on ‘New Install.’ Choose the Domain without ‘www,’ leave ‘Path’ blank and fill in other information.

installing-wordpress

CAUTION: This is important, and most new bloggers make this mistake. Never create an easy to guess username and password. Always use the strong one.

Once you click on ‘Install WordpPress.’ Your installation will begin, and you will receive a successful message like below.

installation-completed

Now you can see how easy it is to install WordPress on your very first blog?

Next, log in to your ‘WordPress Dashboard’ by putting this URL into the address bar. ‘yourdomain.com/wp-admin.’

Replace ‘yourdomain.com’ with yours. Enter your username and password and log in.

login-to-wordpress

Setup Your Professional Email Address:

I suggest you create your professional email address since you are going to use this email with multiple sign ups at different services later. So it is better to set it up right away.

Log in to Your Bluehost Control Panel and click on ‘Email’ button, then ‘Email Manager.’

setup-email

Here you need to click on ‘Create a New Email.’

create-a-new-email

Now finally create a username and a secure password; and click on ‘Create & Finish.’

create-email

Once you are done, you can check your email here at login page of Bluehost.

Step 5: Customize Your Blog Now:

Next, you’ll need a beautiful layout with a bunch of amazing tools that can take your blog to the next level.

So let’s get started.

Getting Familiar:

After successfully logging in to your account, you can see your dashboard which will look something like this below. If you are new to WordPress, check out how it looks.

wordpress-dashboard

Understand the Basics:

Let me give you an overview of what options are there and what functions they’ve got.

  1. Dashboard: Quickly provides you with an overview of the recent posts, comments, activity and new, upcoming sections that are later added when a new theme or plugin is installed.
  2. Posts: Allows you to create a new post, create categories, add tags, and view all previous activities of them.
  3. Media: Any image, audio, and video posted, can be found here. It’s a library for all of the media files.
  4. Pages: Allows creating pages like ‘About,’ ‘Terms,’ ‘Contact’ and more. Add new pages or edit old ones.
  5. Comments: The beauty of a blog is that your readers can send you comments on your blog posts. You can check, approve, deny, edit or reply the comments in the comment section.
  6. Appearance: Quickly install a new theme, change the current layout, add widgets, make menus or modify your current theme codes. Don’t worry, I am going to show you step by step how you can do all of these later.
  7. Plugins: A beautiful area that you can tweak your blog and take it to next level. Add new plugins like SEO, Social or anything you like.
  8. Users: Want to add new users to your site? You can add an Editor, Contributor, Author, and another Admin who can manage some aspects of your blog. You can control all of this under ‘Users’. You can also edit your own profile from there.
  9. Tools: Here you can import and export your WordPress blog settings. This is mostly used in the transfer process or with some plugin’s configuration.
  10. Settings: It has everything like setting up your site structure, title and most importantly how you want your blog to behave. Don’t worry, it is very simple and I will show you what settings you should pay attention to.

Now let’s do some basic configuration of your blog.

Add New Categories:

You may wonder why are categories needed? Categories make your site more user friendly. Categories are necessary when creating posts. Simply put, you want your blog visitors to be able to find posts they are looking for.

For example, if your blog is about Football; you will want categories like these:

  • Dribbling
  • Skills
  • Long Shots
  • Short Shots

Categories are also great for your website’s SEO. You want to interlink your articles (where it makes sense) in that specific category. This shows Google that all your articles in that particular category are about that one subject. This makes you rank better.

Here is how you can add a category. Later I will tell you how to select it while posting. Stay with me here.

Hover over to ‘Post’ and click on ‘Categories.’

add-new-category

Now just create a category name, give a slug (same as name), write a few words about what’s it all about and click on ‘Add New Category.’

add-categories-now

Update Your User Profile:

Here comes another interesting part. You can just present yourself in your blog. A simple bio data appears at every post you create.

Here is what you can do, click over to ‘Users’ and click on ‘Your Profile.’

users

Here you can see a First, Last and Nickname, update them and select which format you want to show publicly.

names-in-wordpressNow you can add additional information about yourself in ‘Biographical Info’ area.

bio-in-wordpress

After when you have added your personal information, hit ‘Update Profile’ at the bottom.

Display Your Pic in WordPress:

There is no way to add your picture in WordPress. But there is an easy way:

  • Gravatar makes it easy for you. Here is what you need to do.
  • Remember we created an email address using Bluehost account above?
  • Register with the same email at WordPress.com
  • Log in to Gravatar.com
  • Under My Gravatar tab, click on ‘Add New Image’ and upload your pic, crop and then finish it.
  • Once you add a pic, you can see a message asking to rate your pic. Use ‘G’ rated one like below.

gravatar-setting

Now once you have done all of these steps, go back to your profile in WordPress and use the same email you have used at WordPress.com. Your pic will appear there.

Setup Permalink Structure for Optimization:

By default, Permalink structure is ugly looking. We can set it up to look more professional and clean. Read more about permalinks.

To set it up, navigate to ‘Settings’ and ‘Permalinks.’

settings

Choose ‘Post Name’ and hit ‘Save Changes.’

postname-permalinks

Step 6: Customize Your Blog Design with Themes:

Mainly in WordPress, your blog is created using a theme. There are plenty of WordPress Themes available for free. However, I would like to discuss something important here.

Secret #3: Theme Plays a Vital Role

It doesn’t matter if you have quality content on your blog. But if your theme is poor, you might not get any attention of your visitors.

Here are some key points you need to consider while choosing a theme:

  • User Friendly
  • Fast in Loading
  • SEO Friendly
  • Responsive
  • Up to Date
  • Ads Widgets Optimized

If you want to build a business online and you are serious about your blog, always go for premium paid themes. Why?

Free themes usually don’t get updates. Why would a developer upgrade an item for free since she/he is getting nothing from it?

I always go with paid themes. I like to use a Genesis Framework. It is lightweight, well coded, fast, they have many plugins specifically made for Genesis users, customer support is great, and there are plenty of tutorials online.

This blog is done by using Genesis. You can check out Genesis themes here at Studiopress.

You can also check a list of other best WordPress themes.

How to Install a Theme:

Once you have purchased a theme from StudiopressThemeforest or MyThemeShop or Magazine3, hover over to ‘Appearance’ from the sidebar and click on ‘Themes.’

install-theme

Now click on ‘Add New’ from the top.

add-new

Now click on ‘Upload Theme.’ Next ‘Choose File’ and then ‘Install Now.’

add-new-paid

Once you’ve installed it, click on ‘Activate’ and congratulations as now you have a paid theme installed.

activate-a-wordpress-theme

What Else Do You Need:

Well at this point, since you are just a beginner here, I’ll help you configure different settings on your new blog.

Let’s start with a logo. Your blog will not look professional if you don’t have at least a basic logo.

Add a Logo:

If you don’t have a logo at this stage, don’t worry. You can get one at Fiverr for as cheap as $5. Go to Fiverr and enter ‘Logo Design’ into a search box.

You’ll see all the sellers offering logo designs. Choose a seller with good ratings and always check out their previous work too.

Adding a logo can be different in all themes since every theme has its own functions/options.

Additionally, sometimes theme options are under ‘Appearance’ or even separately on the WordPress dashboard.

Here is what you need to do. Hover over to ‘Themes Options,’ Select ‘Header Styling,’ Click on ‘Upload,’ choose your logo file, upload it and finally click on ‘Save Changes.’

add-new-logo

At this time, you don’t need to worry about how your blog looks. Just stay with me and let me configure some more settings for you. Once you complete all these steps, you will be closer to finishing your blog.

Step 7: Configure Plugins to Supercharge Your Blog:

Here comes the most important part for completing your site. Plugins help with adding additional features like having contact forms, increasing site speed, securing your WordPress blog, social integrity and most importantly optimization for better search engine traffic.

CAUTION: I advise you to please check and review the plugins before you use them. Some plugin developers may harm your blogs.

Check the plugin’s compatibility with your version of the WordPress, check the plugin’s rating, and skip the plugins that have not been updated for years.

Don’t worry about which plugins you should upload. I have recommendations for you right here:

Most Important Plugins:

Here are the most relevant and useful plugins I use myself and you should too.

  1. Yoast SEO: All in one SEO Solution plugin for WordPress that gives valuable analysis, optimization tips, XML sitemap settings, Webmaster Tools functionality and much more (5+ million installs).
  2. Wordfence Security: Ultimate Plugin that provides incredible security to your WordPress blog from hackers (2+ million installs).
  3. Contact Form 7: Very simple, easy and flexible contact form generator plugin (5+ million installs).
  4. Jetpack: Connects self-hosted blog to WordPress.com to get useful features. In fact, it comes up with one in all complete solution, for optimization, security, analytics and more (4+ million installs) Read More
  5. Shortcodes Ultimate: Supercharge posts with unique, useful and unusual designs and layout. Help to embed eye-catching notes, points, highlighters, dividerd, colored boxes etc. (700,000+ installs).
  6. Social Pug: Helps to add decorative social sharing buttons to posts and pages (40,000+ installs).
  7. WP-Sweep: A very helpful to optimize your database and contribute reducing unwanted, additional and useless tables and information. Such as revisions, trashed comments, duplicate items, etc. (50,000+ installs).
  8. Pretty Link Lite: Amazingly converts affiliates links into nice links and allows tracking (important for affiliate links). 200,000+ installs.
  9. Wp Subscribe Pro (Paid): Simple and powerful to collect email subscriptions on your blog. It also supports all the main Emails List Providers like Aweber, Mailchimp, GetResponse, etc.
  10. WP Rocket (Paid): Want to speed up time load? Check out my Blog Load Time here. I am using the same plugin to optimize speed (250,000+ installs).
  11. Imagify: Reduces image file sizes without losing quality to make images open faster (80,000+ installs).

I am using all of these plugins for every single blog I own.

How to Install a Plugin:

I will be showing you how to install a plugin and setting up some of them.

To install, navigate your mouse to ‘Plugins’ and click on ‘Add New.’

plugins

I’ll show you how to install ‘Yoast SEO’ and later will show you the configuration part of it. I’m sure that the rest of the plugins you can easily install yourself. Let’s begin.

Search for ‘Yoast SEO’ in the search bar. Now click on ‘Install Now’ as you can see below.

install-yoast

After installing, click on ‘Activate.’

activate-yoast-seo

You can apply the same process for every plugin I have shared above. These plugins will not only make your blog faster and secured, but also more optimized.

Step 8: Write Your First Blog Post:

Here comes another important step, you need content on your website. Why? Your blog posts will drive traffic to your site.

You need your blog posts to be unique, don’t just rewrite someones article in your own words. That’s not unique. Or even worse, just blatantly copy someone’s work.

Do a proper research, add value to your visitor and link out to other authoritative blogs.

If you hire out writers, you can use Copyscape to check for plagiarism.

Before I continue to teach you how to create or write your first blog post, let me show you how you can find topics to write about. Here is a little trick I do when finding topics in my particular niche.

The easiest way to find thousands of blog post ideas is using Quora. Every single day, there are thousands of questions that are asked on Quora.

Secret: Thousands of Article Ideas:

Quora is a question/answer website. You can quickly search for great topics there so let’s dig in.

Let’s say my website is about an ‘iPhone’. Simply write ‘iPhone 7’ in the search box to see what questions people have asked.

quora-find-articles

I clicked on the first result ‘Topic: iPhone 7’. Later I saw many other questions people asked about an iPhone 7.

quora-search-result

By observing this question, I quickly realized that many people are interested in ‘best iPhone apps’. So I searched for this exact keyword at Semrush and found that this keyword has high potential.

best-iphone-apps-overview

I selected targeted country to ‘US’ and found that this topic is being searched for 14,800 times with $5 CPC. CPC means Cost Per Click, advertisers are paying approx. $5 per click for this keyword).

Obviously, it’s a great keyword. But furthermore, not only I could write about this broad topic, but also I could quickly get other relevant topics by clicking on ‘Phrase Match’ next to ‘Overview’.

phrase-match-for-iphone-apps-result

Now I can quickly list down other app topic ideas such as:

  • Email
  • Free Music
  • Games
  • Camera

My topics would be like ’10 Best Email Apps for iPhone’, also ’15 Best Camera Apps for iPhone 7′ and so on.

The more you will search on Quora, the more fresh ideas you can have for your blog posts.

This is the quickest and easiest way to find blog post ideas and see what people are looking for.

Need More? Brainstorm Topics:

I find it annoying when people are asking what to write about?

It all depends on your passion. Why do I emphasize the word ‘passion’? Because when you are crazy about something, you search and read and then read some more to get every little detail about that topic. It makes your posts detailed and informative, and you’ll stand out from other  bloggers.

Let’s say; I am a huge fan of ‘WWE,’ I know when new shows are coming on, also I know who is the best wrestler, who has been in ‘hall of fame’ and which fight has been the best fight ever of ‘Undertaker.’

If I am not mistaken, it was ‘Undertaker VS Yokozuna Casket Match’ 😉

You can see why I have so many ideas about ‘WWE’? It’s because I’ve never missed a night without watching it.

So, it’s easy enough to find topics that are hot in your niche. Now you just have to find your passion.

Few More Tips to Analyze:

Think about what excites or informs your readers. Or what solves their problems and what are your audience’s needs and wants. If you figure that out, it’s easier for you to come up with topics your audience appreciates.

  • Example: At WWE, the audience looks for brutal actions of ‘The Shield’ and funny performances by ‘Dean Ambrose’.

Research what discussions your visitors are looking for.

  • Example: Who will be the next ‘World Heavyweight Champion’?

Figure out what your readers love in your niche.

  • Example: Goldberg returned and defeated Brock Lesnar in 1 minute 24 seconds.

Focus on Trending.

  • Example: Who will face Undertaker at Wrestlemania 33?

I hope you got the idea. Now let’s move on creating your first post.

Add a New Post:

To write a new article, Click on’Posts’ and then click on ‘Add New.’

add-new-post

You will be taken to the editor area where you can start adding new articles. It’s pretty simple, just like ‘Microsoft Word’.

editorial-area

Write a Title:

At first, enter the title of your topic you are going to write about and edit your permalink with a focused keyword like mine.

add-title

Tips: Write a catchy title that attracts your readers. Also, edit the permalink and put your main focused keyword there or with some additional words like ‘Keyword+2017’ or ‘Keyword+secrets’. It can be anything you want and you think would best describe your topic.

Start Writing & Formatting:

Now add your text in the body area. You can do some formatting as well such as making some of the text bold and adding some headings.

formating

You can format some texts to headings by selecting them and clicking on ‘Paragraph’, then choosing the heading level such as ‘heading 1 to 6.’

Important Advice: Write at least 1,500-2,000 word articles since most bloggers are focusing on long and detailed posts.

If you are not sure how long your articles should be for a specific topic, do a Google search on that particular subject and look at the top 10 results. Check out those articles and their word count to get an idea.

Add a Link:

It’s recommended to add references to other sources. Linking to quality and relevant resources makes your site more valuable and it also increases user experience.

Additionally, It makes your blog look more authoritative. Linking is also a major factor for SEO (later in this post I will explain). You can create a link to a text such as ‘click here’ or any text you want to be linked.

Select some text and click on ‘Link Option’ from the toolbar.

insert-a-link

Now click on ‘Link Option’.

link-option

Add your link and choose ‘Open link in a new tab’ and you’re done here.

add-a-link

Advice: Don’t link to unauthentic articles. Only link to proper and useful resources.

Add an Image:

Your content looks more professional and exciting when your visitors see some visuals like pictures or infographics.

To add a picture, click ‘Add Media’ and upload a new image there. You can either upload or drag and drop your image.

insert-image

Important: Don’t forget to add ‘Alt Text’ which is a major ranking factor in Image SEO. Also, you can resize your image or link it to external sources like we did for a sample text.

Optimize Your Articles with Yoast:

Once you have completed writing your first article, you need to check a few important things under Yoast SEO plugin. This SEO plugin will show you if you missed or completed On-Page SEO factors.

Add these four elements in Yoast:

  • SEO Title.
  • Slug.
  • Meta Description.
  • Focus Keyword.

These elements will determine how Search Engines will treat your article. You can find these options at the bottom of your article area.

yoast-plugin-preview

The plugin will automatically show you which factors you have missed so you can quickly fix it or improve it. Try to get as many green signals as much as you can. If you don’t get it all, don’t worry. 70 to 80 percent is good enough.

Note: Don’t overuse your keywords. It’s okay if that section remains red.

yoast-live-analysis

Add a Category & Featured Image:

Select your right category from the sidebar and add a featured image.

To choose a category, check the right sidebar and choose the correct one.

choose-category

A featured image is a thumbnail which appears in archives, on a front page or a sidebar. To add a thumbnail/featured image, check the right sidebar and click on ‘Set featured image.’

set-featured-image

This process is the same as we did when adding a media image.

add-featured-image

Once you have uploaded a thumbnail, click on ‘Set featured image.’

Finally, you can hit ‘Publish’ button to quickly make your article live on the internet. Also, you can ‘Preview’ your post first to make sure everything looks the way it should be.

publish-your-article

Congratulations on your first blog post! You’ve done all the necessary steps so far. Your blog is optimized and ready to start ranking.

Important Writing Tips:

In order to get engagement from your readers; you should focus on delivering unique and helpful posts to your audience to build trust. Don’t copy someone else’s articles.

I’ve seen many bloggers only focus on the look of their websites and forget about providing quality content.

Look, and design does matter too, but if you are selling crap under a gift wrap, it doesn’t make people happy.

Here are few quick tips to consider when writing articles:

  • Don’t copy others. Be yourself. You can get the ideas from other bloggers but add something unique from yourself or add a different twist or a point of view.
  • Write more than 1,000 words. However, it depends on the topic. Some question based keywords can be said with fewer words. Just check the top 10 results on Google search for your keyword and determine your article length.
  • Content should be in conversational, friendly tone.
  • Focus more on formatting. Add paragraph headings (H2/H3 etc.) and make short paragraphs, no more than 4-5 lines per paragraph.
  • The content looks more eye catching with nice images, sub headings and bullet points.
  • Content must be grammatically correct and error free.

Step 9: Create Pages (Contact Page) &  Main Menu

You also need to build some additional informative pages to your blog such as ‘About,’ ‘Terms,’ ‘Privacy Policy’ or a ‘Contact Page’.

To quickly create a page, click over to ‘Pages’ then click ‘Add New’.

add-new-page

Add your title and write a short paragraph.

contact-page-creation

You can aslo just use a contact form so your visitors can directly submit their queries in that form and get in touch with you.

Create a Contact Page:

A contact page is necessary for every blogger since your audience may want to connect with you and send individual messages, suggestions, or they may be interested in any service you are offering?

To create a contact page, install a ‘Contact Form 7‘ plugin. After that, click over to ‘Contact’ from on the left sidebar and click on ‘Add New’.

Give a title and click on ‘Mail’ tab next.

adding-a-contact-form

Under a ‘Mail’ tab, use your professional email address of your domain and ‘Save’ form.

email-setting-for-contact-form

After saving it, you will see a code that you need to add under the page where you want it to appear. Copy this code now.

code-for-contact-form

Next, open a ‘Contact Page’ under pages that you have just created, add the code and then hit ‘Update.’

put-code-for-contact-page

How to Create Menus:

You want to have a clear and proper navigation. To add menus, click over to ‘Appearance’ and click on ‘Menus’.

add-menu

First ‘ Create a new menu,’ name it ‘Header Menu,’ add ‘Categories’ or pages in ‘Menu Structure Area’. Finally, select ‘Main Navigation’ and hit save.

setup-menus

Step 10: Other Resources – Grow Your Blog

Right after starting your first blog, you need to do more things like growing your blog, increasing traffic, building links, socializing and much more.

So, here I will share you some of the resources that you can read and take your blog to next level.

Essential Security Settings:

Optimize Your Blog For Search Engines:

Make Money From Your Blog:

Increase Blog Traffic:

Conclusion:

I hope you found my article useful and you can start your blog now. I tried to make the guide simple, detailed, easy to understand, and with actionable steps you can take.

Find your passion and start blogging! All you need is hard work, motivation, dedication and of course creativity.

It may take 6-9 months before you slowly start ranking your blog. Don’t get discouraged by this. Most new bloggers don’t make any significant money in their first year.

Don’t give up, you can do it!

If you enjoyed this article, please share it with your friends and family.

 

About the Author:

umer iftikharMy name is Umer Iftikhar. I am a Web Developer, Blogger, Freelancer, Affiliate Marketer, Internet Entrepreneur and of-course a Lovable, Respectful and Helpful guy.




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