If you are here, that means you are beginning a career as a professional blogger. You are on the right track. But before proceeding, if you haven’t done so, you should enroll in the free foundation course, Setting Yourself Up for Blogging Success. If your goal is to have a successful blog, the foundation course equips you with meeting that goal.
Now that you’ve gone through the foundation course, it is now time to set up your new blog.
There could be a myriad of reasons as to why a person pursues blogging as a career. I was a WordPress consultant to businesses for 10+ before I gave it up. This blog was started so that I can share the knowledge I gained over the years. Maybe you find yourself in the same boat, or maybe you are blogging for passive income.
Whatever state you find yourself in, there are some key things to keep in mind:
Ready to start your blogging career? Follow the steps below to get started.
When most people register a domain, they register it with the hosting provider they choose. I advise people against it. For example, if you fall out of love with your particular hosting provider, you have to go through bureaucracy to have your domain transferred. This could also happen with domain registrar’s as well, but domain transfer between registrars is easier than transfers between hosting providers.
For this reason, I recommend that you buy your domain one place and your hosting from another. The domain registrar I recommend is Namecheap. They are one of the cheapest domain registrar’s you can find and their interface is simple and intuitive.
You have a couple of options for choosing a domain name. One, if you are your own brand (you are a consultant), then your domain name could be your name. Two, if your brand/niche is finance, you could create a domain that includes the word finance or use your name.
If you find it difficult obtaining the domain name you want, ask your family and friends if they would be willing to spend a few hours brainstorming with you.
Watch the following video on how to set up a new Droplet on DigitalOcean, install WordPress and add an SSL certificate.
After installing your blog, consider enrolling in the course, WordPress for Beginners. The course will help you get more acquainted with WordPress.
With every new WordPress site I set up, I install a series of plugins I believe are mandatory in order to make sure your site is humming along.
If you’ve taken the foundation course (if not, stop right now and enroll), you have seen the process of setting up this wonderful plugin. For your convenience, I am linking the video here, so that you don’t have to go back to the course: Yoast Seo Tutorial 2019 – How To Setup Yoast SEO Plugin – WordPress SEO By Yoast.
Now, this is the place you don’t want to get cheap. A badly designed and unoptimized theme could hurt your blog’s SEO. I recommend the theme GeneratePress along with the GeneratePress Premium plugin. On top of using GeneratePress, I highly recommend installing Elementor as well to use with an Elementor supported theme from GeneratePress’ Site Library. Elementor is a page builder and it is great for creating lead magnets and landing pages.
One thing that’s confusing to people when they first start out with WordPress is the difference between Posts and Pages. A post is dynamic, meaning that it can change more frequently over time. The content would change, the title might change, and the number of comments connected to the post might change over time. Pages are more static, you set it and forget it.
The About page is an opportunity for your readers to get to know you, and why you started your blog. The Contact page allows readers to contact you. They may want to tell you privately how much your blog has helped them or they may contact you for help.
Below are some other pages you may consider adding with explanations why:
Terms and Conditions – Users of your site must agree to the terms in your agreement in order to use your site, services or whatever is stated in your document. It is also there to hopefully deter abuse.
Affiliate Disclosure – If you are doing any type of affiliate marketing on your blog you need to disclose this to your readers so that they can make informed decisions. An affiliate disclosure is mandatory by FTC and other third parties such as Amazon.
Think of categories as buckets where your blog posts reside. Categories help your readers zone in on what topics are of most interest to them. Coming up with categories may seem difficult at first, but don’t get hung up on it. Come up with a few categories that you are clear on and you can add others at a later date.