I just released my article on how to maintain your blog which is great for those who are already on their journey of sharing their voice with the world. What about those of you who are looking to get into blogging because you too have a voice to share? That is exactly what this article is about. This article is for those who want to start a WordPress blog. After writing some articles on this website, I finally came up with a good set that can be used to show you how to start a blog. I feel that my many years of being a full-stack developer and using WordPress made me realize a lot of things. One of those things is that building websites for a living is very rewarding as I get to help people make their mark online. Now, I feel like I want to help you too. So go through this article, there is a lot of preparation that needs to be done before you even get your blog setup. Yes, there is some tricky technical stuff involved because it is the web after all. Hopefully with my help, you can make sense of how to get your voice online. Best of all, you will have your very own website without having to use anyone else’s. Your articles will be much more professional and impressive if you have them published on a website of your very own.
Find Your Expertise Niche
Every blog is about something. We all have that one passion in our life that we live for and do every day. What is your passion in life? What is the one thing that you think about every day and know more than anyone else? Is this one thing that you know more than anything else in life, something that you want to share with the world? Then this is the topic that you will choose for your blog. Do not worry, you do not have to be the best at whatever your chosen topic is. Writing articles that people want to read and rank on Google requires more than your knowledge about the subject.
Show Your Personality, Something that a Robot Cannot
You also need to have some kind of personality that shows through your writing. This makes even the most mundane or technical topics interesting to read. Inject something witty in your writing every now then so that people know that you are human. This also helps people know that they are reading something that an actual person wrote and not an AI robot. I wrote an article that talks about AI generated content and paraphrasing. Long story short, using a robot to write your articles has some strings attached to it. Mostly my issue with using robots is the lack of human feeling, emotion and sometimes empathy. Robots do not tell a story, just spit facts out. Paraphrasing at least re-writes your existing content but I still like to write by hand. I just gave you a quick summary of my AI article but get the full details over there.
Write Down a List of Blog Article Topics in a Spreadsheet
Once you know what you want to write about, write down a list of about five or ten article titles that you want to write about. I have yet another article that talks about using Google Docs and Spreadsheets as free alternatives to the paid Microsoft Office. Using a spreadsheet to organize your articles will help you see what kinds of topics you can come up with. At this time, you should create a column to assign categories for your articles. Right now, we are just brainstorming and seeing what kind of content we can write about before you even write your first article. Do not worry about writing articles just yet because there is a reason why you want to focus on your article list first.
Keyword Research: Knowing What People Want to Read and Catering to Them
There are a couple of ways to approach what you are actually going to write. You can write about whatever you want on your blog. You can choose the topics and focus on what interests and matters to you the most. You should of course because it is your blog and you can write about whatever you want on it. This is great, your blog, your voice right? Every writer needs a reader right? We are not the only ones who are going to read our blog. We should re-visit our articles and review them to make sure that they say exactly what we want even after they are published, but there is another reason. Hopefully, you will not be the only reader of your own blog.
Every Writer Needs a Reader: What Do Your Readers Actually Want to Read From You?
You need readers to come read your blog. So how do you know what your readers want to read? You need to do some keyword research when coming up with article topics. There are some options including SEMRush and Ahrefs. These help you learn what keywords in your field have the most search volume and what people are searching for. So you can get some good ideas from here. You could also just start writing some articles and use Google Search Console and Google Analytics will help you hone your article topics because they will collect your web traffic from your users. So you will know which of your articles perform the best based on your readership.
Get a List of Related Article Topics That You Can Link Together
So the reason why you want to get a list of article topics first is because you will want to link them together later on when you actually write them for SEO. This helps search engines know which of your articles are related. This is basically telling search engines that you talk about one subject in one article and you continue expanding upon details of that subject in another linked article. If you come up with similar topics to link to each other, you also help your users read more articles on your blog. So preparing your list before you write any articles ensures that you stay within your niche and that you become creative later on how to connect them together. Make sure to use anchors in your links if you want to point people directly to a section of the article that you are linking to.
Write a Few Articles First Before You Even Create Your Blog
Now that you have a list of articles to write about and which similar ones will link together, you are ready to start writing. This could be hard at the beginning since you have just started and do not know what article topic to write first. How do you decide what should be your first article? You can start off with a general introduction article where you can get a light overview about your niche. You can talk about what kinds of topics you are going to cover in your niche. Write a few articles first before even creating your blog yet. You will want to see what kind of writing style and personality you want to exhibit before you publish any articles. This will give you a chance to find out how you want to present yourself to the world before you actually do. Writing a few articles will allow you to link them together and give you some practice on getting used to relating your article togethers using your SEO keywords.
Thinking of What Your First Article Should Be? Try Introducing Yourself
You can also give a little bit about your background and how you came about choosing your topic. There is no right or wrong of where to start. It does help to reveal something about yourself so that you can establish yourself as an authoritative expert in your field. So be sure to talk about your qualifications, experiences, degrees and anything else that will impress people and make them want to read your articles. Establishing credibility should be something that you do at the beginning because you are introducing yourself to your audience for the first time. This is a good time to set the stage and with your impressive background and qualifications, people are more likely to believe you and read more of your articles.
Do You Have Your Domain and Web Hosting Yet?
If you do not have an actual domain of your own yet, I highly recommend that you get one. You can purchase a domain once you decide you want over at GoDaddy. Coming up with a domain is very hard because once you buy it, it will be the one that you use for your blog. So try to pick a domain that matches your niche and is something simple and short that people can both remember and type in a web browser. I usually get something called private registration with my domains so that they hide my information when people look up the owner of the domain online. This is to protect your privacy, which I believe is very important. If you are interested in learning about my thoughts on privacy and security, I have an article on that.
Web Hosting: Shared Hosting is Fine When Starting Out
After purchasing your domain, you will need web hosting for it. Most people start out with just some basic shared web hosting plan. I suggest that you look online for some good hosting providers. Make sure that you pick one that supports WordPress because this is what I recommend that you use for your website. Most websites should run off WordPress. This article focuses on a simple blog so WordPress should be perfect for your needs. In the very far distant future you might need to upgrade to dedicated hosting but that is very expensive and we are just trying to launch a blog on a “minimal” budget. I am not saying get the cheapest hosting out there. Just get something that falls within your budget and you should be fine.
Ready to Publish Your Articles? Time to Get WordPress
Now that you have your domain and webhosting, it is time to get your blog setup and publish your first set of articles. Your web hosting usually has a way for you to install WordPress on your website without you having to do too much. If not, then you need to head over to WordPress.org and download WordPress for free. You can then set up WordPress through FTP. Hopefully your web hosting will do this for you but the link is there as a plan B. Once you have WordPress setup, you can start to publish your articles. At this time you need to set up Google Search Console and Google Analytics immediately for tracking your web traffic. Next, I will tell you what WordPress theme and plugins to use.
WordPress Starter Pack: GeneratePress Theme and Starter Plugins
I wrote about the GeneratePress theme as my preferred theme for WordPress. This WordPress theme is minimal and only uses enough code to get a basic WordPress website up. So the speed scores are incredible. Sometimes you get perfect scores of 100 for both mobile and desktop using Pagespeed Insights. If you would like to learn more about Pagespeed Insights, I have an article on that too. As you can see, I wrote lots of articles before I created this pillar one. This really helps me give you only the important pieces to get your blog up and links to my other articles for details. This is why I mentioned earlier in this article how important it is to write on similar articles so that you can link them together.
WordPress Plugins: Here is My Blog Starter Pack
I have a list of plugins that I recommend when starting out your blog. These should help you get things up and running. Among those plugins include important ones that are meant to secure your website and optimize it. You may also choose to use other plugins as the needs of your blog grow. The best part about WordPress is that you can pretty much find any plugin that you need for free. WordPress has so much support that many people have created plugins free to use. Just be sure to update your plugins regularly as part of maintenance.
CloudFlare: You Need to Use this CDN
Another important part of running just a website in general is use a CDN (Content Delivery Network) this will make your website run faster. How a CDN does this, is that it serves your web pages from locations that are as close to your users as possible. So your web pages do not have to travel as far to reach your users. This helps with loading pages faster since they are closer to your users and helps with the user experience, which is a plus for SEO. I recommend CloudFlare as your choice of CDN. I noticed that CloudFlare works really well. CloudFlare offers caching and something called Rocket Loader, to defer your JS. This makes JS load and execute after the HTML is loaded, making page loading faster.
Make Sure That You Get a Free SSL Certificate from CloudFlare
CloudFlare offers a free SSL certificate if you do not want to get one from where you got your domain. No need to buy SSL certificates if you can get them from CloudFlare. SSL is necessary to encrypt your traffic and keep it secure and safe. Without SSL, it is possible to intercept the traffic that travels around your website. Due to the many data breaches that have occurred over the years, you need SSL. So use the one from CloudFlare if you do not have one already. Google takes security risks seriously because any website that does not use SSL, Google will flag with a warning to users. If users see this security warning before they go to your website, they might just leave and go somewhere else. So this is why SSL is so critical and I cannot stress it enough that you need one.
Maintaining Your Brand New Blog
Finally! Your blog is set up on WordPress. Congratulations! You have gone through all of these steps and now have your very own blog. May your brand new blog succeed and bring you tons of traffic and readers. Now, these are just some of the steps that you have to at least have to create a new blog. There could be so many more steps involved but I wanted to cover what I think are the core ones.
Now that your blog is up, you need to maintain it. This is the time to set up a schedule of tasks that you need to do to keep your blog up and running. I have a very detailed and thorough guide with a list of activities that you can use to maintain your blog. With this guide, you should have your bases covered in order to make your blog thrive.
After writing my blog maintenance guide, I only found it fitting to follow it up with another guide on how to start a WordPress blog. With these two guides, anyone who wants their own website should be able to create one. These guides were only possible for me to write once I had all of my detailed guides done. So that is why there are so many links to my other articles in those guides. I will end this article recapping what I talked about here.
First you need to know what you want to write about using your expertise and knowledge. Then you need to find out what personality you are going to show in your writing to make it interesting to read. Once you find your voice, write down in a spreadsheet a list of article topics. Figure out your categories now and do some keyword research to know what people want to read the most online. You will need to balance what you want to write versus what your readers want to read. Sometimes they match, sometimes they do not. This is where keyword research with Google Search Console and Google Analytics come in. Write a few articles or so that you can start linking them together and get an idea of where your blog will start out. Think about introducing yourself right away and provide your background and qualifications as a way to establish expertise and authority in your field. Get a domain, web hosting and install WordPress. Use the GeneratePress theme and a set of plugins that will get your blog ready for publishing. Get your web traffic tracking up and use CloudFlare as your CDN. Finally, maintain your blog to keep it healthy.