How to Start a WordPress Blog

Wondering how to start a WordPress blog for yourself? Do you want to make a professional career in blogging, WordPress is clearly the best platform to start with. 

To create a blog in WordPress, first, you need to find a good domain and hosting. After that, you need to install WordPress on the server. Next, you can pick a blogging theme and start adding blog articles.

The process of getting started in WordPress may look like an overwhelming task. It’s not as complex as it seems. With a proper guide, you can easily get around how WordPress works and start creating your own blog with no coding required.

Here, we’ve created a step-by-step guide to help you create your own WordPress blog easily. We’ve included everything you need to know from the setup process to optimizing and monetizing your blog.

Let’s get started!

Step 1. Why Start Your Blog in WordPress?

Blogging in WordPress
Blogging in WordPress

There are various ways to start making your blog on the web. You can code your website from scratch, hire a professional with programming knowledge or you can go for website builders that need the least coding knowledge to start.

WordPress is one such website builder that lets you make a website or blog easily and quickly. It’s the most popular content management system (CMS) tool which controls over 37% of the total websites on the web. A CMS is a software that lets you create, manage, and publish content online. 

WordPress comes in two flavors of WordPress.com and WordPress.org. WordPress.com is a fully hosted platform that lets you make your WordPress blog on its own servers.

WordPress.org is an open-source self-hosted platform. You must find hosting and install WordPress by yourself.

For a detailed comparison, you can check out our article on WordPress.com vs WordPress.org. We’ll be talking about WordPress.org as the blogging platform in this article.

You can easily start creating every type of blog like personal, travel, lifestyle, and many more using WordPress. You can make any type of blog as you want. Aside from that, here are the top reasons why we suggest WordPress as the best blogging tool.  

Top Reasons Why We Suggest WordPress

  • It’s the most popular blogging platform which controls over 35% of the total websites online.
  • It’s very easy to use and beginner-friendly.
  • Comes with tons of free and premium plugins that allow you to add any functionality you want. 
  • There are thousands of free and paid themes you can choose from and make your site beautiful and attractive.
  • Easily optimize for SEO, speed, and performance.

The most important point is that it’s a self-hosted service which allows you to use your domain name and your choice of hosting service. We’ll be talking about both of them below in the article. To understand better you can quickly check our article on domain name vs web hosting.

It might seem like a disadvantage at first. You have to take care of hosting and domain name yourself and pay for it however that is far from the truth. Having your choice of the domain name and hosting service means that:

  • You’re in complete control of your site.
  • The domain name is yours as long as you pay for it.
  • You can display ads and monetize your site and get the full benefit with no cutback.
  • You get to design, control, and make rules on how your site operates.

All these should be more than enough reasons to prove why you should start your blog in WordPress.

Step 2. What Do You Need to Start a Blog in WordPress?

Now that is all about why WordPress is the best blogging platform you can go for. And as we talked before, WordPress is a self-hosted open-source platform. This requires you to take care of hosting and domain name yourself. So, what are these hosting and domain names, and how to get around these to start working on your site?

i. Domain Name

A domain name is a unique address or name for your website which helps visitors identify and get to your blog or your site. It’s a gateway to the internet and people can search up your domain name to locate your site.

For example, google.com is a domain name for Google. Likewise, facebook.com is the domain name for Facebook and youtube.com for YouTube. You might see a pattern here. Domain names are more often the same as the name of your site or your company as sitenerdy.com for our SiteNerdy site.

Domain Name Example SiteNerdy
Domain Name Example (sitenerdy.com)

They are also called site addresses. Users can type it into their browsers’ address bar and easily get to the corresponding site. Choosing a good domain name for your blogging site is clearly very important as it’s your internet identity.

Tips for Selecting Best Domain Name

  • Getting a domain name that corresponds to your site name or company.
  • Getting a short yet catchy name.
  • Using a name that reflects your purpose.
  • Avoiding the use of numbers and hyphens.
  • Using popular extensions like .com.

You can also use different domain name generators on the web to help you generate domain names for your site.

Ok, so you’ve figured out your domain name but what next? You still have to check if it’s available and register it to your name. That is where the domain registrar comes in.

Domain registrars are the companies that allow you to register a domain name for your blog or site. They’re Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) accredited businesses and they allow you to buy and register domain names.

Registrars like Namecheap, Bluehost, GoDaddy, and more allow you to check the availability and the price for your domain name. You can easily register the available domain name of your choice. For more detailed information, you can check our article on what is a domain name and the best domain name registrars.

ii. Web Hosting

Example of Web Hosting
Example of Web Hosting

The service that provides you with the ability to upload your site on the internet is web hosting. It’s an actual location where your site data is stored and can be viewed and accessed from the internet. Your website is stored on servers situated at a remote location. Those files are accessible through your website domain name.

Web hosting is very crucial for your site to appear on the internet and be accessible by other users. Different hosting service providers provide you different technologies and services you need to host your website. They store and facilitate your blog or site data and provide technologies like processor, bandwidth, storage, and database to get your site online.

There are many different web hosting service providers like Bluehost, HostGator, DreamHost, and more. They have varying packages and options to choose from for your site hosting purpose.

Choose a web hosting service depending on the resources you need to host your site. Most importantly, there are some tips to keep in mind while selecting the best hosting service.

  • Select appropriate bandwidth according to expected traffic.
  • Estimate your storage space needs.
  • Compare and contrast different hosting services and get the best.
  • Select the server according to location. Servers near your physical location can help you cut down on latency and improve performance and speed.

You need to look into the long-term cost and efficiency before getting yourself web hosting. There are also different types of hosting you can get so proper research is very crucial to get the best result. For a more detailed explanation, you can check our article on web hosting.

iii. Getting a Domain name and Web hosting

You can get domain names for your site by going through different domain name registrars and looking for a plan that satisfies your requirement. Then you can get yourself a domain name. You don’t actually buy a domain name rather register it for a fixed set of time however you can extend the duration each time the subscription ends.

You can get yourself a web hosting separately too from different web hosts like Bluehost, DreamHost, and more. However, you can also find both domain name and web hosting in a single package and save some money and time along with it.

Some of the popular and cheap options are Bluehost web hosting for $2.95/ month with a free domain name and Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate for a year. And, DreamHost shared starter hosting for $3.95/month with free domain name SSL certificate, unlimited bandwidth, and traffic.

You can easily get these hosting and enjoy the free domain name you get by following a simple set of steps. We’ll take Bluehost web hosting services as an example.

Bluehost Web Hosting Company
Bluehost Web Hosting

Step 1:

Go to their website.

Step 2:

Go to their get hosting options and see different pricing plans.

Bluehost Pricing Table
Bluehost Pricing Table

Step 3:

Choose the best plan that satisfies your hosting needs.

Step 4:

Pick and get a domain name for your site.

Bluehost Domain Registration
Connect or Create Domain

Step 5:

Sign up and choose a payment plan for the service.

Bluehost Account Page
Setup your account

Step 6:

Choose the payment method

Bluehost Payment Information
Payment Method

Step 7:

Set up your hosting account from the site.

Step 8:

Wait till you get notified of your approved hosting plan and free domain name.

Following these easy steps will set up your hosting account in no time. The only thing you’ll have to worry about is thinking of a domain name that can also be achieved by domain name generators.

You are all ready for setting up your blog. Most of the hosting services also send you an email with steps on how to set up to get started. We’ll also dive deep into the setup process. Let’s move onto the step by step guide to setting up your blog.

Step 3. How to Start Setting Up Your Blog?

Your next step of action after getting yourself a domain name and web hosting should be to set it up and start customizing your WordPress blog for your first blog post. It might seem complex and hard to set up your hosting account, domain name, and WordPress but you don’t have to worry.

We’ll guide you through each process step by step. Once you’ve purchased your domain and hosting, you should be able to get into your web hosting account pretty easily via the login credentials you used.

Some send you login credentials via email whereas some require you to set them yourself. Either way, you must have strong login credentials and have it memorized or saved in some password manager.

We suggest you go with web hosting that comes coupled with free domain names. They link your domain and hosting automatically. You also don’t have to go to extra steps to set up the domain and web host separately. Now you can start with installing WordPress to get your site running.

i. Installing WordPress

WordPress Dashboard Page
WordPress Dashboard Page

Installing WordPress is pretty easy and fast. It doesn’t require much of your time and most hosting services provide you a step-by-step guide to installation in your email after you set up your account. Following the steps can help your setup and start using WordPress in no time.

Some hosting services like Bluehost, DreamHost, and more provide you with ‘pre-install WordPress’ options while you set up your account.

If you enable this option while setting up your hosting account then the web host will install the WordPress on your site and you don’t have to do anything. You can directly log into the WordPress dashboard.

However, some hosting providers don’t provide this option and you might even forget to choose the options. You don’t have to worry about that. You can install WordPress using the one-click install option or manually to your site.

a. Installing WordPress Using One-Click Option

Step 1:

For Bluehost, you can go to the MOJO Marketplace. However, it might differ according to the hosting services. Some require you to log in to their control panel like cPanel, Plesk, or its own control panel like DreamHost has.

Mojo Marketplace
Mojo Marketplace Homepage

Step 2:

Go to One-click Installs and click on WordPress.

Mojo Marketplace WordPress Installation
WordPress Installation on Mojo Marketplace

Step 3:

Click on the Get Started.

WordPress Installation Get Started
WordPress Installation Get Started on Mojo Marketplace

Step 4:

You’ll be prompted to a form that you have to fill with valid information. Fill up the information like protocol, domain, site location, name, and more. If you already have a database ready for your site then you can enter the name. But, if you don’t then you can just click on ‘Automatically Create Database’.

Mojo Marketplace Hosting Information
Mojo Marketplace Hosting Information

Step 5:

You’ll also be asked for the admin username and password and it’s crucial to have a very strong password.

Step 6:

After you are done filling the form, you’ll receive a confirmation email. Congratulations, WordPress is installed on your site. Now you can move on to the WordPress dashboard.

Step 7:

You can go to example.com/wp-login.php. You need to enter the login details, i.e. username and password.

WordPress Login Page
WordPress Login

With just those steps, you’ll be able to access the WordPress dashboard for your site which is the back-end of your website. You can upload files, create pages, write articles, etc. that appear on the frontend of your site where users can see it.

b. Manual Installation of WordPress

You can easily install WordPress to your site using a one-click install and pre-install method. In addition, if you want a more manual approach to it, then you’re in luck. It’s completely possible and we’ll guide you through it too. You just have to follow some steps as shown below to install your WordPress.

Step 1: Download and extract your WordPress file.

You can find the WordPress package from wordpress.org/download/. Download the package and extract it to your computer. Or you can click here to direct download WordPress.

Download WordPress
Download WordPress

Step 2: Create database and user

Create Database
Create Database

Chances are, your hosting provider will already set up a database for your site which you can check via the control panel. You can easily log into the control panel of your web hosting and easily create a database and user.

Create Database Users
Create Users

Step 3: Upload your files

Now you can choose where you want to install WordPress. You can directly install it to the root directory like yoursitename.com/ or any other. After that, you can upload your files from the WordPress directory (not the directory but contents only) that you extracted to the directory. You can achieve that by using a control panel for your web host like cPanel, Plesk, etc. Or, you can use an FTP client like FileZilla.

Step 4: Run the install script

Install WordPress and Select Language
Install WordPress

Finally, you can run the install script by adding ‘wp-admin/install.php’ after ‘yousitename.com’. You can start installing WordPress now. At first, you’ll get a welcome prompt and a reminder to remember your database details.

Welcome Screen of WordPress
Welcome to WordPress

Step 5: Fill the database details

Database Details
Database Details

Step 6: Run the installation

Run the Installation of WordPress
Run the Installation of WordPress

You have to provide all your site details and setup the admin account. Now, you’re done with WordPress installation.

Add Site Name and Email
Add Site Name and Email

Step 7: Check your site status

Your site should be live after the setup. You can check the status by quickly typing your domain name into your browser. If your site is online, then the browser displays your site. If it doesn’t appear, then there must be something not set up properly.

You might have to go through the process again or check control for any apparent issues. WordPress community is also always available for any queries you might have. Now, before you move onto choosing blog themes and customizing your site, it’s important to set up SSL for your site.

ii. How to Add SSL?

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the standard security technology to establish a secure connection between the web hosting server and the browser. It ensures that the information passed between your site visitors and the site is encrypted and safe.

SSL Icon
SSL Icon

Adding SSL is quite easy. Some of the web hosts like Bluehost and DreamHost also provide you with a free SSL certificate when you register for hosting. Let’s move onto the steps you should follow to add an SSL certificate to your site.

  1. Go to the control panel of your web host.
  2. Search for SSL/TLS certificate tab under security or general depending on the control panel.
  3. Click on the Add certificate button.
  4. Choose the option you want, preferably the free option.
  5. Select the certificate and you’re good to go.

You’ll be shown a success message and your site will have a padlock icon in front of your web address. This padlock signifies that your site is secured. In the absence of an SSL certificate, the site will often show a ‘not secure’ message before the web address.

After you are done with setting up your site you can now move on to customizing it.

Step 4. Choose a Blog Theme and Start Customizing It

Themes are an easy way to customize and change how your blog looks. It allows you to make your site attractive and elegantly present your content. WordPress provides you with tons of themes that you can choose to make your site unique and fit your niche. You can also customize and control them to determine how your content looks on the site.

You can check our article on what is a WordPress theme to know the detailed information about themes.

i. Choosing the Best WordPress Blog Theme

WordPress Themes Directory Page
WordPress Themes Directory Page

Many themes are optimized for different types and niches. Choosing the theme one that fits your niche is very important while setting up your blog. As they determine the structure and style of your blog, it’s important to get the best theme for your blog.

The most important thing that you have to be careful about is figuring about your blog niche or type of blog and going with a similar theme. You need to know what content you want to write about and present in your blog. If you have figured out your blog niche, you might get a suitable theme. You don’t need to spend a longer time on customization.

You can considerably cut down on time for customization if you go with the theme that fits your niche. For example, if you want to start a blog as an author, you can get tons of themes that are optimized for the author. Some have built-in features that allow you to showcase books and sell them. However, if you go with a simple one then you might have to start by adding those pre-existing features to that theme.

WordPress has thousands of free and premium themes that cover almost every kind of niche you want. Themes like Astra, Soledad, and Ashe blogs are pretty famous for blog themes.

You can check out our article on ‘how to choose the best WordPress theme’ for more information.

We would like to suggest Astra free WordPress theme. It’s an easy to use and user-friendly theme. You can design every kind of a blog using its powerful page builders like Elementor and Beaver Builder.

After you choose the best blogging theme, you can now move onto installing it and start customization.

ii. Installing WordPress Themes

You can install the theme of your choice to your WordPress site with some simple steps.

Step 1: Login into your WordPress dashboard

WordPress Dashboard
WordPress Dashboard

Go to your WordPress dashboard from yoursitename.com/wp-login.php and login with your WordPress credentials. You’ll be redirected to the WordPress dashboard after login.

Step 2: Go to Appearance>>Themes

Themes Section in Dashboard
Appearance>>Themes

From the WordPress dashboard, select the Appearance tab on the left side and go to the Themes section. WordPress comes with preinstalled themes like Twenty Twenty. You’ll see all the installed themes and buttons to add new themes in this tab.

Step 3: Click the ‘Add New’ button or ‘Add New Themes’ box

Add New Theme
Add Themes

You can click on the ‘Add new’ button on the top or ‘add new themes’ box on the bottom of pre-installed themes to move onto the next step of adding your theme.

Step 4: Browse through and search for themes of your choice using the search bar

You can look for a theme from its featured, popular, latest, and favorite section. Or, search up the theme of your choice and preview it or install it.

Step 5: Click on the ‘Install’ button

Search and Install
Search and Install

Your theme will start installing on your WordPress.

Step 6: Click on the ‘Activate’ button

Activate Theme After Installation
Activate Theme

Go over to the themes tab and activate your theme by clicking on Activate. Your theme will be activated. You can see it as your active theme on the Themes tab.

This is all you need to activate the theme of your choice for your WordPress blog. Chances are they look a little simple and bland, however, you can make it exciting and customize it further using WordPress.

iii. Customizing WordPress Themes

By customizing your WordPress theme, you can make your site different from other sites. Most of the WordPress themes allow you to customize it heavily and make it unique to your brand. In the case of the Astra theme, it provides you control over almost every part of the site for further customization.

WordPress Theme Customize
WordPress Theme Customize

You can add new widgets and buttons, change existing positions, and play around with colors to make your blogging site different and unique. Let’s start with a simple guide to what the basic customization ability the WordPress provides.

a. Add Site Title and Logo

Add Logo in WordPress
Add Logo in WordPress

Let’s start with going to Appearance and over to the Customize option. Appearance is probably the most favorite menu during the customization process. You can access most of the customization features from here.

Customizer Site Identity
Customizer Site Identity

On the Customize screen, you can see a range of options to select. Go to the Header and then to Site Identity to start with the site title and logo. You can see options to add the site logo and favicon there.

Adding Logo from Customizer
Add Logo from Customizer

You can upload or drag and drop your pre-designed site logo image file of the suggested pixel of ‘180×60’ and you can also add a site icon for the site. WordPress offers a live customization feature that allows you to see the changes in real-time.

If you scroll a little down, you can see the section for adding your site title. You can add your name, blog name, or name of your choice for the title.

Site Title and Tagline in WordPress
Add Site Title and Tagline

Click on the Publish button at the top left and your changes are permanently saved until further customization.

Publish Button in Customizer
Publish Button

b. Choose a Color Scheme

Having a color scheme that fits your site logo or content type helps you establish an elegant site.

Astra Theme Color Option
Astra Theme Color Option

From the Customize window, you can now head over to Global.

Colors Settings of Astra
Color Settings

Go to the ‘Color’ options. Next to ‘Base Colors’ to change the base color for your site. You can change color for texts, themes, backgrounds, and more from there.

Base Color of Astra
Base Color of Astra

c. Change Fonts

You can also change font style, size, weight, height, and more while customizing your theme. For that, you can go to Appearance>> Customize. Then to Global.

Typography Option of Astra
Typography

You’ll be able to see the ‘Typography’ section. In Typography, you can change both the base typography (fonts) for your blog and change how your heading (from H1 to H6) looks.

You can choose different font styles, sizes, and more.

Font Settings of Astra Theme
Font Settings of Astra Theme

Similarly, you can customize other different aspects of your site. WordPress provides you with tons of customization options and features that can take a lot of time to go through. But checking them and playing around with them yourself will help you learn more about it.

Although the customization differs according to the theme you use, it’s pretty easy and you can start customizing it with no problem for almost every theme.

Step 5. Adding Blog Posts and Pages

After you’re done with customization, you can start adding articles to your blog. Having content on your site on top of good customization is going to make it livelier and more attractive. However, before you add your first blog posts or content, you need to know what are the types of content you can add on your WordPress site.

You can have 2 types of content on your WordPress site.

  1. Pages
  2. Posts

Posts and Pages mostly differ on the use. Pages are used to display static content of a site like the about us page, landing page, contact page, and other pages that don’t change frequently. Whereas posts are those dynamic contents like articles, daily updates, news, and more that can often change and are affected by date.

Pages can be added once at a start and mostly don’t require any update unless some major changes in the company. In contrast to the pages, as a blogging site, you’ll constantly be adding and updating new articles, reviews, and blog posts on your site. You’ll be mostly spending your time adding blog posts to your WordPress blog rather than pages.

However, you need to have some basic information on adding pages to get started with a beautiful blogging website.

i. WordPress Block Editor

WordPress Block Editor
Block Editor

WordPress comes with its easy to use block editor for adding both posts and pages. Often called ‘Gutenberg Editor’, it’s also known by ‘Block Editor’, ‘WordPress Editor’, and ‘WordPress Block Editor’. So, don’t be confused if these terms are used interchangeably.

WordPress Block Editor is a block-based editing area. That is to say, every content and media can be edited in the form of a block. You can add heading and title of your content using specific ‘Heading’ blocks, paragraphs of information using ‘Paragraph’ Blocks, and image or media using ‘image’ block.

Gutenberg Image Block
Gutenberg Image Block

You can add a variety of content using the specific blocks. These blocks also come with their own set of controls for customization like color, width, and alignment. This allows people with no technical knowledge to edit them individually and add their blogs beautifully to the site.

Adding pages and posts to WordPress is very easy and pretty similar too. Let’s move on to how easy it’s to add pages, posts, and different aspects of a website to make your site functional.

ii. Adding Posts

Posts are all the articles, informational content, and reviews that your blog is based on. They are often changing with time and new information. Moreover, these are important parts for a blog website and you’ll be spending most of your time adding new posts or updating previous articles for your WordPress blog.

Adding and updating these posts is very easy and takes no time if you follow the simple steps below.

  1. Step 1: Go to your WordPress Dashboard.
  2. Step 2: Go to Posts >> Add New
Add New Post in WordPress
Add New Post in WordPress

You’ll be prompted to a WordPress editor which allows you to add content in a block-based style. This has 2 main sections: Content Area and Settings Panel.

Adding Posts in WordPress Blog

You can add all the content you want in your article in the Content Area in the middle. And you can use the settings panel on the right to edit and change how it looks.

‘Add Title’ area is for the title of your post. We’ve added ‘Your First Post’ as a sample post for the demo.

Just below the title, you can start writing your content, adding headings, images, and make your article interesting. As you start writing, you’ll see it as a Paragraph block in the settings panel. This means you are currently working on a paragraph block.

a. Content

If you want to change it to anything else, then you can type ‘/’ in the text area.

Types of Content Blocks
Types of Blocks

It will give you a drop-down box of every available block on the editor like page break, image, video, heading, and more. Or clicking the small ‘Plus sign’ will allow you to do the same.

Add New Blocks Using Plus Sign
‘Plus Sign’
  • If you want to add images to your post, then you can add the image block. Click on the ‘Upload’ button or ‘Media Library’ and then you can drag and drop images from your computer or choose the already existing image in your WordPress library.
  • Separating your content by headings is possible by simply adding a Heading block which allows you to choose the heading from H1 to H6.
  • There are other various blocks that you can add according to your requirements.

You can also easily move to another block by ‘Enter’ or choose where to add the block in the content by selecting blue ‘Plus’ in between contents. You can again choose what kind of block you want to add.

If you’re proficient in coding, then WordPress block editor also allows you to add custom HTML and code to further customize the layout and how each block works.

It offers wide ranges of choices like common content blocks, formatting, layout elements, widgets, and embeds. You can easily add these different blocks and widgets together in your content to make it interactive, interesting, and informational.

b. Publishing Post

After you’re done with adding all content elements and changing up the settings from the setting panel, then you can move onto configuring Documents Settings. Go to the Document tab in the settings panel on the right.

Post Published Section
Adding Posts

You can see lots of options to configure and manage your current post. It also gives you the option to make it visible to the public, your site admins, and editors or have it protected by a password. You can also choose when to publish the content and schedule it according to your need. Adding your featured image, editing your permalink, and many more are also available in the Document settings.

Publish the Post
Publish Post

After you have finalized everything, you click the ‘Publish’ button to immediately publish or schedule publish the content.

c. Editing Post

You can view all your posts from the ‘Posts >> All Posts’. If you need to update the already published article, then you can edit them from the ‘Edit’ link below the article title.

Editing Post in WordPress Blog
All Post

Quick Edit’ allows you to quickly edit the title and slug of your article. Changing its category, adding and removing tags, changing published status and editing date is also possible using ‘Quick Edit’.

Quick Edit in WordPress Blog
Quick Edit

After you’re done with some quick and simple edits, click on the Update button to update the article with new information.

Quick Edit and Update Posts
Update Quick Edit

However, if you need to edit the article to optimize it or update it with new information, you can do that by the ‘Edit’ button. It takes you to the same page editor as adding blog posts.

Update Post in a WordPress Blog
Update Post

You can easily change up any information and ‘Update’ it after you’re done or save it to draft.

iii. Adding Pages

Pages help give information about the company and allow you to connect with your visitors easily. Most of the websites have similar types of pages on their site like About page and Contact page. These are probably the most important pages on a site.

You can easily add these pages by going over similar steps as adding posts.

Go to the Pages>>Add New tab from the dashboard.

Adding Pages in WordPress
Adding a Page

You’ll be taken to the block editor and you pretty much follow the same steps as adding posts to make your pages. Firstly, you can start by adding a title and insert everything you want with the help of specific blocks.

Adding Pages in WordPress
Adding Pages

Similar to adding posts, after you’re done making your page, you can publish it straight away or have it scheduled. You can also change the visibility to public or private.

iv. Adding Navigation Menu

Although a blogging site doesn’t require many pages, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t add pages. However, if you decide to have multiple pages on your site, you must have a navigation menu to allow viewers to easily navigate to other pages.

You can easily add a navigation menu by going onto ‘Appearance >> Menus’ from the dashboard.

Adding Menus in WordPress
Menus in WordPress

Then select a page you want to add in the navigation menu and add its menu name. Click on ‘Add to Menu’ and your page will be connected to the navigation menu.

Adding Menus in WordPress
Adding Menus

You can easily arrange them in the order that you want by dragging. Click on ‘Save Menu’ to save it.

After the menu is created, you need to select a menu location to display the menu. The most common menu location is the header area. You can select the menu location from the same page, usually at the bottom area. 

v. Adding Widgets

Widgets are the small snippets of code that are used to add features to your website’s widgets area. Generally, websites have a footer and sidebar as their widget areas where you can add different widgets to make your site easy to use.

WordPress allows you to easily add some of the important widgets like a search bar, calendar, and more. Some of the themes and plugins you come with different widgets that can help you increase the functionality of your blog. For example, the WooCommerce plugin comes with many widgets like Product Filter, Cart, and more.

The number of widgets you have might vary according to the type of blog you’re starting and what plugins and themes you have. However, adding widgets to your widget area is often the same. So, you can follow simple steps to start adding widgets to your blog site.

Firstly, go to Appearance >> Widgets from the WordPress dashboard.

Adding Widgets in WordPress
WordPress Widgets

You can see all the available widgets on the left side and all the available widget areas on the right side. These widget areas often differ from one another according to the theme you’re using. As for Astra, these are the widget areas you can add widgets in.

Adding Widgets in WordPress
Adding Widgets

If you want to add any widgets like a search bar, audio player, etc. you can drag and drop it to the widget area.

Drag and Drop Widgets in WordPress
Drag and Drop Widgets

Or, you can also click on the particular widgets, for example, the audio player widget, and select where you want to add it. Then click on ‘Add Widgets’ to add it.

Adding Widgets in WordPress
Add Widgets in Widgets Area

You can easily add any widgets you want to the available widget area.

Step 6. Configure Your WordPress Settings

It’s wise to configure your WordPress according to your need, preferences, and functionality. Proper configuration allows your site entities to function better and set how it appears to your visitors.

WordPress offers extensive configuration ability which you can access from its settings. There are some settings you might want to configure if you’re just starting. We’ll be talking about them but you can check others out yourself or play around with them in your backup.

Configuration WordPress
Settings in WordPress

Firstly, you can access all the configurations for your WordPress under ‘Settings’ from the WordPress dashboard.

i. General Settings Configuration

Changing your site title, tagline, or admin email is all possible from the general settings. To configure them, you just have to go to ‘Settings>>General’ from the WordPress dashboard.

General Configuration in WordPress
General Configuration

You can make lots of major changes to your site from here. Things you can do from here are:

  • Change site title and tagline.
  • If you’re changing your domain name, you can do it from here. However, if you don’t have a registered domain name, then it might crash your site and we don’t recommend this.
  • Configure membership registration authority and new members’ type.
  • Change your time zone and language.

All your changes will be saved after you click on the ‘Save Changes’. We suggest you go through all the changes carefully and not meddle around with it much before you save the changes. Having the wrong configuration can crash your site so you have to be cautious of changing these settings.

ii. Permalink Configuration

Permalink is a unique address for particular posts on your blog site. Every post and page have different permalinks which work similarly to web addresses as an identity to the post.

Permalink has a domain name of your site before a unique address which is called a slug. For example, in our site sitenerdy.com/how-to-start-a-wordpress-blog/, the slug part is /how-to-start-a-wordpress-blog/ and domain is sitenerdy.com.

What is Web Address
Domain Name

You can easily edit your permalink in WordPress. Firstly, you have to go to ‘Settings >> Permalink’ from the WordPress Dashboard.

Permalink in WordPress
Permalink Configuration

WordPress allows you to choose the display pattern for these slugs and edit them accordingly. They have different options for you to choose from like displaying slug with:

  • Post ID
  • Day and post name
  • Month and post name
  • Post number
  • Post name
  • Or custom

Permalink readability is important for good Search Engine Optimization (SEO) too. Your visitors and search engine can easily access and understand your content using a readable permalink. Also, going with a post name format to display your permalink helps your site have good SEO and rank better in search results. Therefore, you have to be cautious about your permalink for better SEO.

After you are done, ‘Save Changes’ will commit your change. However, you can still change your slug for each post before you publish it.

iii. Search Engine Visibility Configuration

It’s important for your blog to always have better search engine recognition and visibility. However, when you’re just starting your blog and have not properly designed or ready for publishing, you must disable the visibility.

This visibility configuration is available from the ‘Settings >> Reading’ section in WordPress. You can search for the ‘Search Engine Visibility’ option and discourage the search engine to index your site.

Search Engine Visibility
Search Engine Visibility

You can also configure what your site homepage is and how many posts can a Blog page display from the Reading section.

After you’re done with all your configuration, clicking ‘Save Changes’ will commit those configurations.

These are the most important configurations you have to check while you’re getting started with your WordPress blog. But there are also other configurations which you can check and change according to your requirements.

  • You can manage all your comment section settings including approval, display name, and other in the ‘Discussion’ section of the ‘Settings’ tab.
  • Change the default post category and format in the ‘Writing’ section.
  • Image sizes and scaling in the ‘Media’ section.
  • And change your privacy policy in the ‘Privacy’ section.

Going through those settings will help you uncover all the functionality so we recommend you go through it once.

Step 7. Optimize Your Blog for Better SEO, Security & Speed

While having a slow loading and unsafe website is scary to think about, it can especially affect you when you’re just starting out. For better recognition and good search engine ranking, your site must have proper SEO, security, and performance optimization.

Although having an elegant design and consistent content is important, you also have to be cautious about how your site performs for your users. Users visiting your site expect your page to load fast, perform better, and be secure.

Moreover, search engines love a site with optimized speed and security and rank you higher in search results. This is crucial to get more traffic and grow your site so optimizing your blog for better SEO, security and speed should be on your top priority.

So how can you optimize your blog to not lose out on good search engine ranking? Well, there are some things you have to follow.

i. Use Keywords

After you know what you’re writing about and what is your targeted keyword, you have to include it often and have a good keyword density. Having a good density of keywords can make your content stand out. Besides, search engines also love them and rank you better.

You must include them in the most impactful places like:

  • Title
  • Headings
  • Introduction
  • Conclusion
  • Meta description and slug

ii. Optimize Your Images and Media Files

If you’re not optimizing your images, it often will slow down the site and take a huge amount of time to load. Optimizing your images and media files can take away the load time when users visit your site.

Smush Pro Popular WordPress Plugins
Smush Pro

Most importantly, you should upload your image files in a JPG format. And, you should also limit your usages of Gifs as they are larger and slow down your site. Finally, try to host your media on a third-party service like YouTube and SlideShare.

iii. Include Keywords in Medias

Including important keywords on your images and media’s filename and alternate text can help gather good keyword density. Similar to the 1st point, it helps you rank up keywords and works as a good search engine optimization.

iv. Use CDN

If possible, it’s important to use a Content Delivery Network (CDN). Its main function is to help your server files load faster by storing them in the cache. Therefore, using CDN for heavier media and images can help you increase your site load time considerably.

v. Go for Dedicated Hosting

Although shared hosting is cost-efficient, it can have an impact on your site load time and performance in the long run. If your web hosts server resources are all clogged up, your overall site speed will be considerably slower.

In addition, you might also be vulnerable to a security risk if any other site in shared hosting is attacked. As your web host is not responsible for the security, this can especially have a huge impact.

vi. Implement Cloud WAF

Web application firewall (WAF) secures your site by filtering different spambots and malicious agents trying to infiltrate your blogging site. These spambots can also clog up your server resources which can slow down your performance. However, implementing a WAF can help you avoid it and optimize your blog’s security and speed.

vii. Using the Best WordPress Optimization Plugins

WordPress offers you a wide range of free and premium plugins. Its free plugin directory has more than 58,000 plugins which also include various speed, security, and SEO optimization plugins. Using authentic and popular WordPress optimization plugins can help optimize your blogs to work faster and have better SEO optimized content.

For more information about SEO optimization, check out our article on ‘How to optimize your site for better SEO’.

We’ll also talk about the best WordPress plugins you can use in your blog for better functionality and optimization in the next section.

Step 8. Best WordPress Plugins and Tools for a Blog

WordPress Plugins
Plugins Directory

When you’re just starting out with your WordPress blog, your blog will have the least number of functionalities. However, WordPress comes with a wide range of plugins that you can use to add functionality and features to your blog.

Those WordPress plugins are a piece of software that adds features or extend features of your WordPress site. Every plugin comes with a different set of features that you can add to your blog.

Some plugins help you optimize your site for better SEO, security, speed, and more whereas some extend your design capability and function. For example, WooCommerce plugins enable you to add eCommerce features to your blog.

i. Best WordPress Plugins

Some of the best WordPress plugins and tools that you can add on your blogs are:

1. Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO Free WordPress Plugin
Yoast SEO

Ranking better in search engine results helps your site gather more traffic and grow. We already talked about why SEO is important. So, how can we easily achieve good optimization in our blog content? That’s possible by Yoast SEO which is one of the most popular SEO WordPress plugins.

Yoast SEO provides you with your SEO score and guides on how you can improve them to make your site visible to a wider range of audiences. It provides you features like checking readability and SEO score, improvement suggestion, and a color indication for your SEO level.

Pricing: Free and Paid versions available.


2. WP Super cache

WP Super Cache Popular WordPress Plugin
WP Super Cache

A popular WordPress plugin, WP Super Cache stores your most visited place as a static page which helps it load faster for the visitors. It helps increase your site load time and provides a good user experience.

Moreover, search engines also prefer a speed optimized blog and will rank your blog better. WP Super Cache Provides a fast cache feature that you can use to optimize your site’s load time.

Pricing: Free and Paid version available


3. Wordfence

Wordfence Popular WordPress Plugin
Wordfence

We all know how cyber attacks are on the rise. Your WordPress blog is also vulnerable to many cyber attacks especially if you don’t have any security measures implemented. Luckily for us, WordPress has many different security plugins that you can integrate into your WordPress blog.

Wordfence is one of the most popular WordPress security plugins that protect your blog from attacks like forceful login, spam flood, and more.

Pricing: Free and Paid version available


4. WooCommerce

WooCommerce WordPress eCommerce Plugin
WooCommerce

Official eCommerce plugin for WordPress, WooCommerce powers over 28% of all online stores on the web. If you’re starting a blog relating to eCommerce, then WooCommerce will provide you with all the eCommerce features that you need.

It allows you to add features like cart, showcasing your products, and many more in your blog. It also works with most of the WordPress themes and is very easy to install.

Pricing: Free


5. Akismet

Akismet Popular WordPress Plugin
Akismet

Spamming is sending unwanted and unsolicited messages in bulk. Every kind of blog or site is prone to spamming in the form of comment flooding or unwanted advertising. It can really affect the speed of your blog and user experience for the visitors. Therefore, you need to deploy plugins to control it and we suggest you go with Akismet.

It is a free anti-spam plugin for WordPress. It checks the comments and form submissions on the site and filters out any spam or malicious content.

Pricing: Free for personal use and Paid version available too


6. UpdraftPlus

UpdraftPlus Popular WordPress Plugin
UpdraftPlus

There is always a chance for loss of data due to an accident or malicious attack. You always have to be prepared for the worst situation to not let those accidents hamper your efficiency. Therefore, it is important for you to periodically backup your blog and also avoid any accidental deletion of data.

For this purpose, UpdraftPlus is one of the most popular and loved WordPress backup plugins. It can easily backup all your blog files in a remote or cloud location. You can also easily restore them in no time and get back to work.

Pricing: Free and Paid version available


7. WP Forms

WPForms WordPress Form Builder Plugins
WPForms

It’s important your blog has different types of forms that the users can use to communicate with you or share their feedback. Forms like contact forms, feedback forms, subscription forms, etc encourage visitors to share their feedback or connect with you.

And, you can use WP forms, which is one of the best WordPress contact form plugins to add those forms to your blog. You can easily make those forms using simple drag and drop features. Adding elements like checkbox field, combo box, sliders and more to your form is easy too.


8. JetPack

JetPack
JetPack

A plugin package for WordPress, JetPack comes with different extensions. It includes features to secure the site, optimize site performance and images, and add social sharing links to your post.

It is a one-stop for plugin with different necessary functionalities like site stats, performance, security, and more.

Pricing: Free


9. WP Rocket

WP Rocket Most Popular WordPress Plugins
WP Rocket

As a premium caching plugin for WordPress, WP Rocket, comes with features like database cleaning, lazy loading, Domain Name System (DNS) perfecting, and many more. It helps you increase your site performance and speed and is very popular among premium plugins.

Pricing: $49/year


10. Smush

Smush WordPress Plugin
Smush WordPress Plugin

It’s important to add images and media to your blog to make it interesting and fun to read. However, adding a large size image can affect your site load time. However, Smush helps you compress the images to make your site load faster.

Smush is a WordPress image compressor plugin that automatically compresses your images and eliminates the manual hassle for compressing. It also doesn’t reduce the quality of your images while compressing and optimizes it using advanced compression algorithms.

Pricing: Free and Paid version available

ii. How to install WordPress plugins

These plugins bring lots of different functions and services on the table. So, how do you get the best of the functionalities from them and install it to your WordPress blog? That’s what we’re going to do here.

To install your plugins, go to ‘Plugins >> Add New’ from your WordPress dashboard.

Adding Plugin in WordPress Blog

You’ll be able to see every WordPress plugin from the official WordPress repository. You can search for any free WordPress plugins from its repository that you want to install.

Adding Plugin in WordPress Blog
Search and Install Plugins

And, click on ‘Install Now’ to start the plugin installation.

You can click on ‘Activate’ to activate the plugin right away.

Adding Plugin in WordPress Blog
Activate Plugin

However, for premium or custom plugins, you need to upload the plugin from your system by clicking on the ‘Upload Plugin’ button. After that, you can follow the same step to install it.

Adding Plugin in WordPress Blog
Upload Plugins

Now that you have them installed, you can activate them or see what plugins are already installed from the ‘Installed Plugins’ tab in the ‘Plugins’ option. You’ll see every installed plugin and choose to either ‘Activate’ them or ‘Delete’ them.

Step 9. Finalize Your WordPress Blog for Deployment

Once you have designed your blog using the theme of your choice, added basic functionality to your blog using plugins, added your first blog post, and configured required settings, then you might think you are ready for deployment. However, there are still some small steps you have to follow before you deploy your WordPress blog.

You have to finalize your blog by refining and correcting small things that can have a big impact on the quality of content. Things you have to cover before you deploy your blog are:

i. Proofread Your Content

Although you write your content with full concentration and try to make the least mistakes, some faults are bound to go unnoticed. However, these small faults can affect your content quality. This is why proofreading is crucial.

Re-reading your articles, using different tools to check your grammar like Grammarly, or consulting with an expert is important to make your content as flawless as possible. You should always proofread your article to avoid any unnoticed mistakes.

ii. Check Images

Images break off blocks of paragraphs to make your site look interesting and fun to read. However, in the process of adding and optimizing your images, there are high chances to accidentally delete or add wrong images. Adding images without optimization and of big dimensions can also impact your blog.

It can make your site load slower and reduces your blog quality. Therefore, you have to always recheck your images and optimize them if possible. Luckily, there are many different plugins you can use to optimize your images or minify them like Smush, Imagify, etc.

You also have to check for your image titles and alt tags before you publish your site.

iii. Test Responsiveness and Mobile Scalability

Mobile-friendly and Responsiveness
Mobile-friendly and Responsive

For capturing a large number of audiences, your blog must work well with a wider range of devices. More than 50% of internet lurkers are mobile devices users. If your blog is not responsive and lacks mobile-friendliness, then you’ll be missing out on a huge number of potential visitors.

Having a responsive and mobile-friendly blog not only increases your range but search engines also prefer those sites. Therefore, it is crucial your blog is responsive and works well on a variety of devices.

You can easily check for the responsiveness of your blog by resizing your browser by narrowing and widening it. You can also use Google’s Mobile-friendly test to test the mobile-friendliness of your site.

iv. Check Browser Compatibility

Compatible With Browsers
Compatible With Browsers

Your site should not only work on different mobile platforms but also on different browsers. Your site might work perfectly on a couple of browsers but, many people use different kinds of browsers. If your blog lacks compatibility with those browsers, then you will be missing out on many audiences and potential traffic.

Although making your blog compatible with every browser out there might not be possible, you have to make sure at least the popular browsers like opera, edge, safari, and more run your site perfectly.

Some sites and tools like Browsershots, Turbo Browser Sandbox, and more allows you to check your blog’s compatibility with different browsers.

v. Check WordPress Configurations

You must check all your configurations one last time before deploying your blog. Some of the configurations were done prior to finishing your blog so they might need chances. You can easily check them from the ‘Settings’ tab.

You also have to remember turning the search engine visibility on which we turned off during configurations. Go to the ‘Reading’ section from ‘Settings’ and just untick the ‘Discourage search engines from indexing this site’. You also have to re-check all other configurations.

Finalizing WordPress Blog
Search Engine Visibility Configurations

vi. Test all Links

It is recommended to provide sources of all statistical data or facts. And an easy way to do that is to link it to the source data. However, sometimes the link you provide might be invalid because of site migration or other errors.

You need to avoid those problems by rechecking all links in your blog before deployment. It is also recommended to often check links after you publish your article and blog.

vii. Test Speed

All the visitors prefer a fast and swift experience when visiting a blog. Search engines also prefer faster and optimized sites and rank them better. So, you must test your blog speed and optimize it the fullest.

There are various tools you can use to test your blog speed like GTmetrix, Pingdom, and more. You can also use different performance plugins like WP Super Cache to make your site load faster.

viii. Check Backup

Finally, after you are done with every optimization and rechecks, you have to check if your site is backed up and secure. Having a proper backup means that you can come back to this point if any accident occurs.

You have to check if the backup is working and set scheduled backups for the future. There are many different plugins you can use to backup your site like UpdraftPlus.

Step 10. Market and Advertise Your Blog

After you have deployed your blogs, you’re done with the production process. However, the process of running a successful blog doesn’t end there. You need to be able to gather traffic and grow your followers.

You can’t just deploy your blog and expect people to stumble upon it. Marketting and advertising your blog and content is equally important too. You need to be able to attract people to your blog first.

Moreover, for a starting blogger, it can be very confusing to gather an audience and visitors. However, we’ll be talking about some of the ways you can advertise and market your blog to gather the starting traffic.

i. Email Marketing

Email marketing is a very popular method of connecting with new audiences and gathering traffic for your blog. You can update new content, product, or update your blog which encourages more traffic by email.

Plugins like Mailchimp also help you run different email marketing campaigns. You send emails in bulk to the number of email addresses gathered by subscription or contact form.

ii. Social Media Marketing

Social media is a huge platform for people to communicate, try, and learn new things. Around 3 million active people are on social media like Facebook and Twitter. This huge number of active users means a huge potential for gaining traffic.

Social Media Marketing
Social Media Marketing

You can use social media to market and promote your blog to a wider range of audiences. You can promote your content and link your site to your targeted audience if you can engage and interact with them on social media platforms.

iii. Blogger Outreach

Reaching out to reputed or influential bloggers for collaboration, partnerships, backlink acquisition or guest blogging is a great way to advertise your blog to different audiences.

You will be able to present your blog to different audiences or other party’s followers. This can help you increase your exposure and be recognized by a wider range of people.

iv. Paid Marketing and Promotion

All the previously mentioned methods are mostly ‘free’ methods to market and advertise your blog. However, paid marketing, as the name suggests, costs you money depending on the promotions.

You can pay for your content to be promoted on different social media. Promoting your blog on social media can help get huge exposure. However, because of the huge number of social media users, it can be expensive to promote your blog.

You can also advertise your blog in search engines. Search engines place your blog at the top as an advertisement for related keywords search. You need to pay per click (PPC) to market your blog. Although your site can get good traffic, with each click your cost also increases.

These are some of the methods you can deploy to advertise and market your blog. The easiest and effective of it can be paid marketing, however, it can be very expensive. But if your blog earning is high then you can easily deploy this method.

So how do you exactly earn for your blog to tackle the paid marketing expenses? Let’s talk about that.

Step 11. Monetize Your Blog

Starting earning money from your first blog is pretty much impossible. To have blogging as an income source, you need to be able to provide visitors with great content, updated information, and also be able to have a good number of constant traffic.

Although for a starting blogger it is very hard to start earning, it is important to know what can be different methods you can use to earn money off your blog.

Some of those methods are:

i. Advertisements

Although you can deploy PPC ads to your site, it is hardly marginal unless you have a huge amount of traffic. PPC ads get profitable and recognizable if you have traffic in lines of 10,000/day. For someone that is just starting a WordPress blog, it is hard to get.

However, you don’t have to be fixated on PPC ads only. If your blog niche matches some products that are looking for advertisement, you can negotiate for a good amount. Even, if you are starting out, you can advertise their product on your blog and make money off it.

ii. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing has been a pretty popular form of making money off your blog. You need to promote other people’s products and you can get a commission off it. If you are just starting and don’t have your product to promote, then you can do affiliate marketing to promote other products.

You need to have content that matches up the product and you can easily sell the affiliate products and gain commission on each sale.

iii. Google AdSense

Google AdSense
Google AdSense

Displaying ad is a common way of monetizing your blog. And, Google Adsense helps you with it. It is an ad network that shows relevant ads on the ad space of your blog. It analyses your blog and shows ads based on your content. And, with each view and interaction of users with ads, you get paid a certain amount.

You can apply for Google AdSense by offering your advertisement space. AdSense analyses your blog and displays ads on your blog once it meets its criteria. You will be paid according to their policies and interaction with the ads displayed on your site.

iv. Sell Products

If you are an eCommerce blog or a business blog, you can easily promote and sell your products. A blog with constant traffic can be an influential factor for the sales of any product. You can easily showcase the different services and products you provide and also write about your products in detail.

A detailed description and information about a product and influence your visitors or followers to buy the product which can help you generate some revenue.

v. Email Marketing

One of the most popular methods of making money off your blogs is email marketing. If you provide trustworthy and credible content, then you can gather a good number of followers and readers of your blog. You are also bound to get a good number of email subscribers.

With proper utilization of email marketing platforms like Aweber, you can easily promote your products and services to generate a good source of income.

You can also make money off your blog by:

  • Selling membership contents.
  • Sponsorships
  • Coaching
  • And more.

For more information, you can check out our article on different ways to make money online.

Conclusion

We assume this article was a helpful guide on starting your WordPress blog. We are sure that you’ll be able to start your WordPress blog easily following this step by step guide.

You can go through the article or any point in the article again if you are confused. You can also leave your question in the comment section. We’ll be happy to help you with any confusion.

Also, check out our article on the ‘Step by Step SEO guide’ to optimize your blog for SEO.

And, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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