If you have pondered at the idea of creating an online business and being financially free then you are not alone. In fact over 130,000 people search how to make money online each month!
To make money online, you need traffic and to gain traffic firstly you will need a premises, a place you can call your home, a blog! Now Some people cower away at the idea of creating a blog or a website but..
There is no need to be scared, setting up a blog is much less technical than you might actually assume, in fact as you begin to create your first blog, you will probably have wished that you had started sooner.
We have created this ultimate guide on how to create your very first blog, we will walk you through step by step, through every detail you NEED to know, so by the end of this tutorial you will be armed with the skills to go blogging crazy!
Free Domain Or Paid Domain?
Before you even begin to create your first blog, You will need to know whether you want to run a a blog on a free domain (shared hosting), such as wordpress.com or whether you want to run a self hosting blog.
For us using a free hosting blog service is not the way to go. It is far better to own your own blog and host it yourself, this gives you complete control and is much easier for branding.
Choosing a free domain might save you a small amount of money but at some point you will want to migrate it onto self hosting, which is a pain in the ass to do!, so why cause issues for yourself when they are not needed?
Stick to your own domain, create your brand, don’t piggy back of a shared domain! With that being said let’s move onto the next step.
Deciding on a domain name.
Now is the time to pick a domain name, assuming you already know what topic your blog will be about, if your struggling with your niche selection then this niche selection guide should help
Once you know what to blog about, you need to decide on your blog name, Your business name.
Don’t rush this part, make sure you take some time to decide on your brand name. Avoid EMD’s(Exact Match Domain) at all costs, They are much harder to rank these days and unless you want to be bitch slapped by an angry google Panda! Use a brandable domain! Don’t know what a EMD is? This post from Niche Profits explains why you shouldn’t use EMD’s anymore.
Purchasing your domain and hosting it, made easy.
After spending sometime deciding on your brand name, it’s time to go and secure it, head over to Namecheap and secure that domain. Always try to get the .com version,unless you are setting up a local domain IE .co.uk if you was targeting the UK market. If you want to keep your website registration details hidden from the public, add the Whois protection. You now own your very first site awesome stuff!
Setting up hosting.
Now to find a place for your site to reside, a hosting service. We recommend Hostgator, it’s simple to set up and costs start from $6.36 a month on the baby plan, which should be all you need. You can find Hostgator here. Register an account with them and set your domain that you just bought up. The great thing here is that Hostgator has a simple one click install feature for WordPress.
After registering check you emails for your C-panel login details and your dedicated name servers.
Head back over to name cheap and change the name severs to the ones you received in your email, you can find the option to change them under manage domains>Transfer DNS to Webhost.
Now Log in to C-panel using the details you was given and from here choose the quick install feature install, then click to install WordPress
Should you run into any issues you can speak to the support team 24/7 via the live chat feature. Make sure to set up a strong password for your site to increase security and reduce hacks, more on that later. Write your username and password down and keep it safe.
Setting up your WordPress blog, not as technical as you might think.
So far you have decided on your site name, purchased your domain and set up the hosting as well as install WordPress, you are making great progress, now comes the technical part; setting up the WordPress blog but don’t worry it’s not as difficult as you might think!
To log in into WordPress you have to access the admin directory of the site. We do this by adding /wp-admin at the end of the domain name. So if our domain name was www.doggieslippercraze.com, to access the admin directory we would go to www.doggieslippercraze.com/wp-admin.
Feel free to jump on that niche, I hear slippers for dogs is a very lucrative niche
Enter your username and password details and Hey Presto, your in the WordPress dashboard.
From here you’ll need to tweak a few settings. Head to the settings tab on the left and from there go to general. You should change the tagline field here, otherwise it will stay as the default “ Just another wordpress site” which you don’t want.
Once that’s changed head over to the permalinks in the settings tab, oh and remember to click save! Under common settings tick the custom structure box, and set it to category/postname.
So it should say /%category%/%postname%/
Remember to save again. Now every time you submit a post or page for you blog and put it in a category, WordPress will display the URL for that page/post with category/postname.
This makes it’s much easier for the search engines to locate and rank your posts/pages that you create. But to make our sites super optimized for the search engines for that we need to install a plugin, which brings us to the next point.
Plugins, Plugins and More Plugins.
Now don’t let that title scare you away, You aren’t required to know any programming skills or technical knowledge of any kind. In fact all the coding and wiz kid stuff has already been done for you, all you need to do is install them and configure the settings easy stuff
Firstly, what are plugins?
Plugins are programs or software that will improve the functionality of your WordPress blog( most of the time) There are literally thousands of plugins available, Free and paid, some are essential and great and some are bad and can actually cause adverse effects on your blog.
Bad plugins can lock you out of your blog!
Download the essential the following plugins, and put them all in the same folder on your desktop, best to label the folder plugins
You now need to install the plugins, which takes only a few clicks of your mouse.
See the tab on the left called plugins, hover your mouse over that tab and click the add new setting. Click the upload tab above the search field. Click choose file to locate the plugins folder on your desktop.
Install the first plugin, WordPress will automatically install the plugin for you, once it’s installed click activate, you will need to do this for all the plugins in the folder.
Let’s configure those plugins!
-Optimizing our on-page
Now we want to make our sites, super optimized so that Google can befriend us and send us lot’s of visitors as time progresses. Head over to the SEO plugin on the left hand side labelled SEO.
You may notice there is a lot of setting within this plugin, but don’t sweat we only have to tweak a few of the settings the rest can be left at default.
Click the general tab, and scroll down, you will see fields to fill in the verify meta details for Alexa,Google,Bing,Pinterest and Yandex.
Click the links to set up those accounts and enter your verify meta links into the fields and click save changes.
Now head to the titles and metas , and tick the boxes shown below in the general tab.
Next choose the home tab and set the meta description for your site.
Move across to the taxonomies tab and tick to no index the meta robots for the tags page.
Your blog is now optimized so that Google can find it and send you lots of traffic.
- Don’t be foolish, back up your blog
Of course running a successful blog isn’t always fun and can bring in adverse effects if you don’t plan for potential security threats or errors caused by WordPress and plugin updates.
We need to address those concerns now before we even begin building our blog and adding content. The first thing you should do is set up a regular backup of your blog.
Navigate to the BackWPup plugin settings and click add new job.
In the general tab set the archive format as a zip file. Now decide where you want the backup to be stored to, we prefer it to be sent by email but feel free to choose which ever option suits you the best.
If you choose email you will have to enter the email address you wish the backup to be sent to, It’s a good idea to set up a separate email for your WordPress backups.
Move over to schedule, click start job and select wordpress cron, now set how often you want the plugin to back up by choosing the basic option and selecting how often you want to back up your blog.
We set it to daily since we’re quite active on our blog and need daily backups. Feel free to set it to something different depending on your schedule. Don’t forget to save settings!
Finally swing over to files tab and make sure the option for backing up plugins is ticked.
- Hackers are no fun, let’s do our best to prevent them!
With your Back up complete, now it’s time to make our sites more secure and harder to hack. The last thing you want to do is spend months and months building a blog, to later find out because of minimal security your blog has been hacked and it takes hours to rectify not to mention stressful!
Trust us we have been there and you don’t want to experience it!
Move to security on the left hand side and click on dashboard. Now if you scroll down the plugin will recommend all the changes that need be done in order High Priority, Medium Priority and Low Priority.
Deal with the High Priority items since these are essential for increasing your security. You don’t have to worry about the backup selection since we have already set up a backup using BackWPup.
When you change the admin user, you will be logged out of WordPress and will need to log back in.
Let’s face it, social media is evolving hugely and you would be a fool to not include a social media share bar!
Before we do that though, we need to understand what social networks our target audience is actually using, there is no point including a Facebook share button if our target audience use Google+.
To do this we need to do some market research, Head over to google.com and collect a list of the top blogs in your niche, to do this create a search for “most popular ___ blogs”. Fill in the blank with your niche. Most often you will find that the first or second result will normally be a directory site listing the top blogs in your selected niche.
If you do not see this then you will have to find blogs manually by shifting through the results. When you have collected a list of 5-10 blogs, visit the sites on the lists and look for the social signals on the site. You should begin to see a trend which should point to one social platform being the most popular, take note of which one that is and make sure to include it on your site.
I can see that Facebook seems to be the most popular social signal, followed by Twitter.
One you know that Head over to Digg back in the WordPress dashboard and click Global Config settings. From here you should enter your Twitter details.
If you don’t have a twitter account then go create one. With your twitter settings done, move over to the normal display option and tick to enable it.
Now select all the social signals you want to add to your site, After the content, remember your market research you just did? Make sure to include the social signals from your research.
Set the social signals you do not want to use as none. Don’t forget to save your settings!
Now your blog is fully optimized for social signals, when ever you create an awesome page or post( which we know you will ) your visitors can spread the word which brings in more targeted traffic for you!
- Adding Affiliate Links.
Adding affiliate links is essential if your wanting to make affiliate commissions. The problem you will find is when you are given an affiliate link, the link itself will be very long and will contain lots of mixed up numbers and letters.
This does not look good, so we want to mask out affiliate links to look like part of our sites. We do this with pretty link, head there now.
Now click to add a new Pretty link. The “Target URL” section is where your affiliate link goes, this is the link given to you for the product your promoting.
Under the “Pretty Link” field you want to create the name of the new link in our case we have put “Slippers-on-amazon”.
Finally give the link a title so you know what it is and click create at the bottom.
So http://doggieslippercraze.com/slippers-on-amazon is a Pretty Link and will now redirect to our original affiliate link, Pretty Clever don’t you think
Setting up Analytics.
Getting traffic is awesome and when that time comes you need to be able to monitor the behavior of the visitors that come to your site, to do this you will need to set up Analytics on your site.
Head over to settings, then choose Google Anaytics. There is only one field to fill in, which is the Web property ID a unique code that is given to you once you set up your analytics account with Google.
Once this is verified you will be able to gain access to all the analytics data, such as visitor count, organic search data, most popular pages/post etc.
Don’t like the idea of Google knowing your data?, check out our recommendation for a free open source analytics platform
That’s it! you have completed all the back end settings that you need for your blog, you now have a super optimized, security safe social sharing machine!! Time to celebrate
Improving the look and structure of our blog.
- Installing a theme.
With the settings complete, it’s time to move onto the fun part, improving our sites design and adding content. Installing a theme is a simple process, there are literally thousands of themes some free and some paid, which option you decide is totally dependent on your budget.
If you can always opt for a premium theme over a free one if you can. Tom Ewer over at managewp.com gives you 5 reasons why you should opt for a premium theme.
If your short of cash for now, don’t worry, use a free theme for now, you can always upgrade to a premium theme later on once your blog starts making a profit.
To add a theme go to hover your mouse over appearance then choose themes. Click add new. From here you will see the featured themes, if you want to filter out specific themes, you can do that in the feature filter option.
When searching for a theme you should make sure that it is optimized for mobile devices, so pick a responsive theme. Here is a great article for 30 free responsive themes from premium.wpmudev.org
- Creating your contact and about page.
Now that your blog is looking dapper with it’s new theme, let’s begin adding some pages to it. We shall start with the contact page.
Head to contact and copy the short code text.
Next Go to Pages>Add new, this will take you to the WordPress editor. Using the WordPress editor is a piece of cake.
If you have used Microsoft word before then you will know how to use the WordPress editor. Give the page a title, since this is contact page contact me/contact us will work fine for the title.
Now enter some text for the contact page and paste in the short-code that you just copied.( make sure your in the visual editor )
Before you click publish, you want to add the title and meta description for this page, So give the page a title and enter a description in the WordPress SEO editor. Publish the page .
- Time to add your about me page.
Once again click pages>Add new Give the page a title, and write your about page. Give it some thought and structure the page. Your about page should include.
- Your name/company
- How your readers can benefit from reading your blog
- A interested story ( interesting for your readers not for you), don’t bore them with your life story
- Links to relevant posts or pages on your blog.
- Creating your first post.
To create your first post just click on the posts tab and select add new. Give the post a title and move down into the text editor. If you look above the editor you will see a tool bar of icons, if you click on the icon that says tool toggle, this will show another line of tools to use.
To add an image click Add Media>upload image. You can then set the title for the image, the alignment and decide whether you want to link the image and change adjust the size.
If you want to add a video from YouTube to your post, you will need the embed code, which you will find when you select the share option on YouTube.
To insert the video into your post, first move from the visual editor to the text editor tab, and paste the embed code in the required location.
It might be a good idea to mark the visual editor with crosses so you can find the location in the text editor, see video above if your unsure. When your post is written you can publish it or schedule it to be posted on a specific date and time.
We have now reached the final step to the ultimate epic guide for creating a blog, but what is essentially the most important step, setting up an email subscription service. Head over to Aweber and sign up for the $1 account. Once you have done that you will need to set up an email list and web form. Click create new list Edit your list settings, by filling in the required fields. After you list is complete, move over to sign up forms and click create sign up form.
Choose a template for your sign up form, and adjust the width size to 320px. Make sure to edit the text in the form to something that suits your subscription offer, something like “subscribe to receive insider info”.
Give the form a name and Save it.
Next head back over to your WordPress dashboard, click on settings>Aweber web form, this will ask you to log in it your Aweber account, once that’s done you will be given a verification code which you can now paste into the authentication code field.
Finally move to appearance>widgets and drag the Aweber web form into the widget area and select your list and webform from the drop down menus and click save.
You have done it!
We have walked you through how to create a super optimized blog that is responsive, secure, is social ready and set up with an email subscription service!
So what’s next? You have the skills and knowledge for setting up a blog, the only thing that is missing now is content, lots and lots of engaging content.
Content is king remember, grow your blog and grow your profit!
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