How To Start A Personal WordPress Blog

Do you want to start a WordPress blog the right way? I know that starting a blog can be a terrifying thought specially when you are not geeky. I have decided to create the most comprehensive guide on how to start a WordPress blog without any technical knowledge.

The process is easy to follow whether you are 20 years old or 60 years old. However, if you need help, I’m always available, just drop your question in the comment section.

What do you need to start a WordPress blog?

There are three things you need to create a WordPress blog:

  1. A domain name idea (this will be the name of your blog i.e benjaminolaw.com)
  2. A web hosting account (this is where your website live on the internet)
  3. Your undivided attention for 30 minutes.

Yes, you read it right. You can start a blog from scratch in less than 30 minutes, and we will walk you through the whole process, step by step.

In this tutorial, we will cover:

  • How to Register a Domain Name for Free
  • How to Choose the Best Web Hosting
  • How to Install and Setup WordPress Blog
  • How to Change Your Blog Design Template
  • How to Write Your First Blog Post
  • How to Customize WordPress Blog with Plugins
  • How to Add a Contact Form
  • How to Setup Google Analytics Tracking
  • How to Optimize Your Website for SEO
  • How to Make Money From Your Blog
  • Resources to Learn and Master WordPress

Ready? Let’s get started.

Step 1. Setup

The biggest mistake beginners make when building a blog is choosing the wrong blogging platform. Thankfully you’re here, so you won’t be making that mistake.

For 95% of users, it makes more sense to use WordPress.org also known as self-hosted WordPress. Why?

Because it is free to use, you can install plugins, customize your blog design, and most importantly make money from your blog without any restrictions (see the difference between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org).

WordPress is also the number one website platform used by all successful blogs. To put in perspective, 34% of all websites on the internet use WordPress!

Now you might be wondering why is WordPress free? What’s the catch?

There’s no catch. It’s free because you have to do the setup and host it yourself.

In other words, you need a domain name and web hosting.

domain name is what people type to get to your website. It’s your website’s address on the internet. Think google.com or wpbeginner.com

Web hosting is where your website files live. It’s your website’s house on the internet. Every website needs web hosting.

A domain name typically costs around $14.99 / year, and web hosting normally costs $7.99 / month.

That’s a lot of money for beginners who are just starting out.

However, HarmonWeb users can get a free domain name and while they purchase hosting which means you can start a website for as low as 3,850 per year. You may want to check out how to purchase hosting on Harmonweb

Now that you know how to get you hosting and domain, let’s get started with creating the blog.

Step 2. Install WordPress

Now that you have gotten your hosting and domain, the next thing to do is install WordPress. I have talked about in some of my previous tutorials so I wouldn’t need to discuss it, here again. Click here to read more on how to install WordPress.

Step 3. Selecting Your WordPress Theme

The visual appearance of your WordPress blog is controlled by themes. When you first visit your blog, it will look something like this:

Default WordPress theme

This is not very appealing to most people.

Customizing the look and feel of your blog is by far one of the most exciting and rewarding part in the journey of creating your WordPress blog.

There are thousands of pre-made WordPress themes that you can install on your site. Some of them are free themes, while others are paid.

You can change your theme by going to your WordPress dashboard and clicking on Appearance » Themes.

Add new WordPress theme

Go ahead and click on the Add New button.

On the next screen, you will able to search from 7,400+ free WordPress

themes that are available in the official WordPress.org themes directory. You can sort by popular, latest, featured, as well as other feature filters (i.e industry, layout, etc).

Select a theme

You can take your mouse over to a theme, and you will see a Preview button. Clicking on it will open the theme preview where you can see how the design would look on your website.

Preview theme

The preview of your theme may not look exactly as shown in the screenshot, which is normal as you will get to customize and set it up later. What you need to look for is design, colors, typography, and other elements.

The best tip to select the perfect WordPress theme is to strive for simplicity in design. It helps you keep things clean and clear while offering a good experience to your users.

When you have found the theme that you like, simply bring your mouse on it, and it will show the Install button. Click on it and wait for the theme to be installed. After that, the install button will be replaced with an Activate button. You need to click on it to Activate the theme.

Install and activate the WordPress theme

Once you have installed your theme, you can customize it by clicking on the Customize link under the Appearance menu.

If you need help selecting a theme, then please refer to my guide on how to choose a WordPress theme

Once you have selected your WordPress theme, you are now ready to create your first blog post.

Step 4. Creating Your First Blog Post

To write a blog post, click on the Posts » Add New menu in your WordPress dashboard.

You will see an editor area where you can write your first blog post.

Writing a blog post in WordPress

WordPress uses a block-based editor where each element is a block. This allows you to create beautiful content layouts for your blog posts.

Once you’re done writing, go ahead and click on the Publish button on the top-right corner of the screen to make your blog post publicly available.

Publish blog post

On the posts screen, you will notice several other sections such as Categories and Tags. You can use these to organize your blog posts into sections. I have a great writeup on the difference between categories vs tags, which we highly recommend that you read.

Step 5. Plugins & Customizations

Once you have written your first sample blog post, you probably want to get started with adding other usual elements on your website such as contact forms, galleries, sliders, newsletter subscription form, etc.

To add all these additional features, you need to use plugins.

WordPress plugins are apps that allow you to add new features to your website (without writing any code).

There are over 55,000 WordPress plugins available in the free WordPress plugin directory alone. This means no matter what you want to accomplish, there is a plugin for it.

If you have read my WordPress For Beginners guide, you will see how to install plugins.

That being said, let’s take a look at how to use plugins to add some essential features to your WordPress blog.

How to Create a Contact Form in WordPress

Every website needs a contact form. It allows your users to email you directly. Since WordPress doesn’t come with a built-in contact form, you will need a WordPress form builder plugin to add a contact form on your site.

We recommend using the WPForms Lite plugin. It is a free version of the popular WPForms plugin, which is #1 in our list of best contact form plugins for WordPress.

Over 3 million websites use WPForms!

You can install the plugin by going to Plugins » Add New page and typing WPForms in the search box. Next, you need to click “Install” and then “Activate”. Upon activation, you need to head over to WPForms » Add New page to create your first form.

Adding a new contact form in WordPress

This will open the WPForms builder interface.

First, you need to enter a name for your contact form and then click on ‘Simple Contact Form’ template.

Simple contact form

WPForms will now create a simple contact form for you with all the required fields. You can click on any field to change it, or add a new field from the left column.

Editing your contact form

Once you are done editing the form, click on the save button at the top right corner and then exit the form builder.

You can now create a new page in WordPress by going to Pages » Add New and call it ‘Contact’. On the edit screen, you need to enter the WPForms block into the editor.

Add WPForms block to the editor

After that, select the form you created earlier from the drop down menu and WPForms will load a live preview of the form in the editor.

Select your contact form

You can now save and publish the page and visit it in your browser to see your contact form in action.

How to Setup Google Analytics Tracking

Google Analytics helps you see how many people are visiting your blog, where they are coming from, and what are they doing on your website?

It is best to install Google Analytics when starting your blog, so you can see how much your blog has grown over time.

First, you need to visit Google Analytics website and sign in using your Gmail account.

Once you are logged in, you can go ahead and sign up for a free Google Analytics account.

Google Analytics sign up

You will be asked to provide your information and website URL. After that, you will be presented with your Google Analytics tracking code.

You can stop here because we will be using a plugin to automatically fetch and add this code to your blog (along with setting up proper WordPress tracking).

Switch to your WordPress admin area to install and activate the MonsterInsights plugin. It is the free version of the best Google Analytics plugin for WordPress, and it is the easiest way to add Google Analytics on your site (trusted by over 2 million websites).

Upon activation, you need to visit Insights » Settings page to configure the plugin settings.

Connect Google Analytics using MonsterInsights

On the settings page, click on the ‘Connect MonsterInsights’ button to connect Google Analytics to your WordPress site.

Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the setup. Once done, you will be able to see your website analytics report straight from your WordPress dashboard under the MonsterInsights tab.

Website stats reports in MonsterInsights

How to Optimize Your WordPress Blog for SEO

Most beginners don’t optimize for SEO when creating a blog. SEO or search engine optimization helps users find your blog in search engines. If you want more traffic, then it’s crucial that you optimize your blog for SEO from the beginning.

To get started, first you need to install and activate the Yoast SEO plugin. It is the complete WordPress SEO plugin that will help you optimize your blog.

Upon activation, you will see a new menu item labeled ‘SEO’. Clicking on it will take you to the plugins settings page.

Yoast SEO settings

The plugin comes with a quick configuration wizard to help you walk through the setup.

More WordPress Plugins and Customizations

There are a ton of others WordPress plugins that you can install. Often beginners find it a bit overwhelming to search for the plugins they need.

Here is our expert pick of the best WordPress plugins that you should check out.

  • Backup – UpdraftPlus is the best WordPress backup plugin. You need to create regular backups of your website in case something ever goes wrong.
  • Security – Sucuri Security is a free security scanner for WordPress. We have a complete step by step WordPress security guide for beginners that will help you secure your blog.
  • Performance – We recommend using either WP Rocket (premium) or WP Super Cache (free) to speed up WordPress. For more on this topic see our article on WordPress speed and performance with step-by-step instructions.
  • Design & Customization – We recommend using either Beaver Builder or Divi page builder for customizing your homepage design, creating custom landing pages, or even creating custom themes (without writing any code).

Step 6. Making Money From Your Blog

Now that you’ve created your blog and customized it to your liking, you are probably wondering how can I actually make money from my blog?

There are a lot of different ways to successfully monetize your blog. However there is no such thing as a get rich quick scheme.

Don’t be fooled by the pictures of expensive cars and mansions because those are all fake.

Unlike other “make money online” articles, I have created the most comprehensive guide on how to make money from your blog using WordPress.

As long as you’re willing to put in the hard work and effort, you’ll reap the reward. Remember, there are no shortcuts.

Here are some of the best ways to make money from your blog.

1. Google AdSense

Google AdSense

Many bloggers make money by showing ads on their blogs. If you make a blog with monetization in mind, then Google AdSense is the best way to do this.

It is the largest advertising platform for bloggers and publishers. Acting as a middleman between you and the advertiser, Google allow advertisers to bid for keywords matching your content. This allows you to get the best rates possible for the ads.

2. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is the second most commonly used monetization strategy among bloggers. Basically, you recommend your favorite products / services to your readers, and when they make a purchase you get a referral commission.

The key to affiliate marketing is to recommend high-quality products and services that you already use and trust. There are plenty of affiliate marketing plugins and tools for WordPress that can help you make more money when promoting affiliate products.

3. Online Store

Add an online store to your WordPress blog

Many bloggers make money by selling things directly from their blog. This could be physical products, digital downloads like ebooks, artwork, music, and more. Some bloggers even offer consulting services.

I recommend using WooCommerce because it is the best eCommerce plugin for WordPress. It is also the most commonly used eCommerce platform in the world.

On top of the 3 methods above, you can do so much more with your WordPress blog. You can make WordPress blogs specifically for reviews, fashion blogging, food blogging with recipes, and more. Each of these blog types brings you more unique opportunities to make money.

You can also turn your blog into a membership site to offer premium content and courses.

In case you don’t find an answer to your question, don’t worry. Simply use the comment form to send me a message. I will love to help you in getting started with WordPress.

 

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