Running your own blog means freedom. Whether as a money-spinning side hustle, or as a way of keeping in touch and sharing your news, an independent blog website lets you define your message in a way no branded social platform can.
When you are starting your first blog, there are so many choices to consider. We will help you navigate the options to get your first blog online — and even monetize it too.
This guide to starting a blog will explain the advantages of blog hosting platforms for everyone, from beginner to pro, and the steps necessary to get up and running with a domain, a managed blog, and some content-creation ideas thrown in for good measure.
If you have looked into starting your own website recently, you have probably encountered the enticing marketing messages from website builders like Wix or Squarespace. A few clicks and you'll be set. But the ease of use they promise comes at a cost. You will be limited to the customizations they allow, and they will take a cut of your revenue.
For maximum flexibility and control, you have to consider a content-management system (CMS) that gives you ownership of the look-and-feel of your site and of the data generated by your visitors. There are many choices of CMS, but one of them towers above the rest in terms of resources available to manage and customize your blog, and that is WordPress.
WordPress has become the standard for bloggers everywhere. With a wide variety of themes and plugins, customization is a big draw. The dashboard on WordPress does not require a steep learning curve and you can be up and running in minutes.
SEO implementation is also a key goal for any blogger, especially just starting out. To improve search results, WordPress offers many solutions that are direct and automatic to ensure your work gets noticed.
Don’t forget the free themes! Hundreds of free themes are available to suit your topical and aesthetic needs. If you’re a photographer, a scientist, a political wonk, there’s a theme for that.
You must include your Social Media profiles into your new blog for the highest level of sharing possible. Make it easy for your readers to Tweet your articles. With just clicking one button from your WordPress blog, a reader can share via LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and more. Implementing this feature will show you’re current with internet trends and communication style while increasing your numbers.
The benefits of a managed WordPress blog, especially for beginners, are massive. When talking about a fully managed WordPress site, it’s about all aspects of tech taken care of for you, the blogger, so you can start publishing without hassle.
EasyWP is a fully managed WordPress hosting that takes care of it all. From installing WordPress, to the more complicated tasks such as setting up SSL, providing backups, caching and support. You can choose from different pricing tiers to suit your needs and change at any time if your content becomes more technically complex, or your blog audience expands exponentially.
Why not try a free EasyWP trial? You can set up an account and get up and running a few easy steps Just pick from the simple plans: Starter, Turbo and Supersonic. Next, you’ll need to start thinking about your domain name.
One of the most important decisions you have to make is your domain name, i.e. your .com or .info or .org address. This will often be people's first impression of your website. Your domain name should reflect who you are and what your website is about.
EasyWP allows you to set up your site with either a registered Namecheap domain, external domain, or you can use thea temporary domain that comes with your EasyWP plan — that you can change once you’re ready to go.
Finding a good domain is part art, part science, and part luck. A lot of people can relate to the experience of trying to come up with domain names for an idea with friends around a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. Let your minds wander. You don't have to give up on silly-sounding ideas right away. There might be ways to make them memorable and easy to say out loud.
If you plan to build your audience globally, make sure there are no offensive words in languages other than those that you know. This can be done directly with native speakers from your targeted markets if you have access to them, or you can use services like WordSafety.com.
A theme in WordPress is the visual layout and styling for the overall look and feel of your new blog. While you can always change it up, it’s great to start with choosing one you feel comfortable with not only aesthetically but technically too. The theme is the main design of your website, whereas a template is the layout of each page within that theme.
When it comes to blogging, the favorite theme of the last few years is Divi, but there are many others that are similar but can stand out from the norm. Choosing a free theme to get started is a great idea, especially since these themes are very simple to set up and there are so many on offer. Using EasyWP, making your blog an eye-catching site is a breeze.
Once you have set up that new website, it will appear in your list of blog websites on your EasyWP account page. Tap it to open the blog details and then tap on WP Admin. This opens the WordPress dashboard for the blog. This dashboard is 100% standard WordPress. All the possibilities that make WP such a powerful platform are there. But we will start simple for this overview with the creation of a first post in a desktop browser.
At the very top of the page, there is a bar of tool icons. Hover over the big + in that toolbar and hit Post. You have entered the Block Editor. Take the time to read the four startup tips, and then click the field where it says Add Title and start typing.
Navigate to the next area with Tab key or the mouse and start writing your entry. When it's time to add a picture, hit the square "+" icon in the Block Editor that appears on that line when you mouse around, or on lines between two paragraphs (NOT the + to add a new post in the WP toolbar at the very top of the page).
Choose Image as the type of block, and then either upload an image file, choose an image already used, or paste a link to an image file publicly available on the internet. Experiment with other kinds of blocks. Preview it in a new tab whenever you want. There is a Save button, but your draft does get auto-saved by default.
When you are done, hit Publish and visit the website: your first post is live!
Your next steps will include customizing your site from the WordPress dashboard, and creating more content.
The pressure will be on to keep your blog fresh. Your first posts will probably come quickly. Start writing about things you know and love. The unique perspective you have can be enough to draw people to your writing.
If you get stuck and run out of ideas for things to write about, try these methods to come up with new topics:
For more in-depth guidance on keeping things fresh and interesting, check out our piece on how to generate blog ideas your audience will love.
After you have made your new WordPress blog beautiful and you have started filling it with interesting content, it is time to think about how to build your audience and make money.
This is where you will want to unleash the power of WP plugins. For every revenue model around a blog, there are plugins to make it easy to execute.
If online sales is your plan, the WordPress ecosystem is rich in options to help you lay out a webshop, manage sales, accept payments, and do your book-keeping. The undisputed leader of the eCommerce plugins is WooCommerce, which covers all these and even helps with shipping.
If you are mainly interested in WordPress as a platform for blogging about the things you love, you can make money by running ads or affiliate links. The easiest way to get started running ads on your site is with a Google AdSense plugin. Plugins like Thirsty Affiliates make it easy to add the affiliate links to your posts.
You have to grow your audience for ads to make sense. Search engine optimization is your friend. And there is more than one plugin for that. Yoast is the most popular SEO tool for WordPress. And as you get more serious in blogging and aim for a larger audience, you need to take advantage of content optimization tools to increase the performance of your content and to beat your competition.
Starting a blog doesn’t have to be an overwhelming technical process. You can make all sorts of design and content decisions, and get to posting in minutes with the help of a managed WordPress platform like EasyWP.