Ready to make some BIG money in your business?
Today you will learn how to start a blog for your business, step by step!
If you are not blogging, you are leaving money on the table!
No matter if you are B2B, B2C or a one man show, having a blog is proven to be the best and cheapest way of acquiring highly targeted customers.
According to HubSpot, 79% of companies that have a blog have reported a positive ROI on inbound marketing efforts.
Marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13x more likely to get positive ROI.
However, don’t hesitate for too long because this industry is growing exponentially. In only 3 years, number of bloggers has increased by 31%.
The sooner you start building your audience through a blog the better!
Active blog has allowed me to get highly targeted visitors across several of my web properties and build highly engaged email lists and very lucrative businesses.
Blog is a perfect place to understand and pre-qualify potential customers before sending them to a sales funnel.
It’s also great for placing targeted offers in order to acquire leads and e-mails from potential customers.
I want you to understand, in society being a blogger is very underestimated because most people associate blogging with creating an online journal and self-promotion.
But its far from that!
If you know your audience well enough, you will have easy time narrowing visitors through sales funnels and monetizing your blog.
Off course this requires additional education on your side (this blog is the perfect place to learn more about turning blog into sustainable business).
If you have a good strategy in place, blog can be the perfect starting point for your new business or for increasing an existing one. No matter if you are selling software, physical products, services or doing affiliate marketing.
[Tweet “Treat your blog like a business from day one!”]
In this post, I am going to guide you step-by-step on how to setup a blog from ground up even if you have never done anything “techie” before.
You don’t have to be a programmer or spend a fortune to create a beautiful, mobile-friendly, high converting, fast-loading and SEO ready blog.
In the next 1 hour you are going to have a fully functional blog that will look like it was built by a PRO 🙂
By the end of this post you are going to:
- Choose and register a domain name
- Setup a web hosting account
- Install the WordPress platform
- Find and install beautiful and mobile-friendly (responsive) WordPress theme
- Install and configure essential plugins
- Publish your first piece of content
What is the cost of starting a blog?
You will need a domain name and a web hosting account.
Please don’t use any free hosts because it’s simply pain in the ass!
Web hosting industry has evolved so much that you can get reliable and fast hosting with professional support for just a couple of bucks per month.
Compared to potential of what a blog can bring you, investment in web host and domain name is dirt cheap.
You will need:
- Web hosting account – starting from ~4$ per month using SiteGround (use this link to get the cheapest price)
- Domain name – FREE when you buy web hosting from SiteGround
The blogging platform that we are going to use is called WordPress, which is 100% FREE.
Do you know what TechCrunch, MTV News, Sony Music, BBC America, Bata, Nokia, eBay and Beyonce have in common?
They all use WordPress.
WordPress is a CMS (Content Management Software) that powers over 74 million websites, which is about 18.9% of all websites in the world.
Yes, there are many other great platforms, but we are going to focus on WordPress because of flexibility, ease of use, frequent updates and number of available plugins.
Once you setup a web hosting account, you are going to use 1-click install software called Softaculous to install WordPress platform.
The installation is done literally in less than 1 minute!
Once the WP platform is setup and configured, you are going to learn how to choose from hundreds of beautiful ready-made themes. Off course, some themes are free and some are paid.
There are hundreds of great free themes, so don’t think that you are limited in any way.
Take a look at these websites that are built using free WordPress themes:
For example this blog is using a free theme called Sparkling and it looks awesome 🙂
You can find theme designs for any type of business: personal blog, service, local business, eCommerce store etc.
The beauty of WordPress is that you can design it in a way so that it doesn’t even have to look like a blog. That is why so many local business use this platform.
Plugins are WordPress add-ons that give additional functionality to a blog. Again, most plugins are free, however there are some advanced and complex plugins that are paid.
Currently you can choose from over 30.000 plugins.
This blog uses only free plugins, which is more then enough to get what you need in terms of functionality in order to create a high converting blog.
At the end of the post I will give you a list of recommended plugins that I personally use across my web properties.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Choosing and registering a domain name
- Setting up with a web hosting account
- Installing WordPress
- Choosing and installing a theme
- Installing plugins
- Publishing your first post
So let’s begin…
Video version of this tutorial:
Choosing and registering a domain name is the first step when creating a new website.
Domain name is an address which people use to access a web site.
Every domain has two main parts: name and extension.
Google = name
.com = extension
Some of the most popular international extensions are .com .net .org .info
If you are targeting local audience you can use local extensions such as .us for United States or .co.uk for United Kingdom.
Because of a limited number of available domain names from the mentioned extensions, recently many new extensions have been released for registration.
Now you can register a domain name with extension such as .club .travel .newyork .pro .repair .fashion
You want to choose a domain name that is memorable, relevant and that has at least one keyword related to your blog subject.
Having a keyword in domain can help you with relevancy on search results. However, Exact Match Domains (EMD) don’t work anymore. Which means that if you register howtomakemoneyonline.com you won’t rank for the term “How To Make Money Online” solely because you have registered that EMD.
By having your own custom domain name you will be able to setup a custom email address.
For example: firstname.lastname@example.org
It looks more professional compared to free gmail or yahoo email address.
Another thing to consider when choosing a domain name is trademark violation.
You don’t want to register a domain name that contains a registered trademark of a well known brand such as LEGO or FaceBook.
Even if you register FaceBookMarketingHacks.com or LEGOforsale.com the brand owners will contact you and request that you push the domain name to them.
Once you have found a domain name that is available for registration, note it down, because we are going to register your new domain name for free when ordering a web hosting account. With SiteGround you get free domain name registration when you purchase any web hosting plan.
Web hosting is a storage space on a special web server where website files are hosted.
Web sites can not be hosted on a local computer, because in order for a web site to be accessible through world wide web it needs to be hosted on a special web server.
Luckily you don’t need to buy or rent a whole server, you can just rent a small part it.
This is called Shared Web Hosting.
It basically means that on a single web server multiple different web sites are hosted at the same time. Hence the name shared.
The more traffic a website has, the more server capacity it will require. That is why large web sites are hosted on dedicated web servers.
As a beginner it’s more than enough to start with a shared web hosting plan. Later as your blog grows you can upgrade to more advanced hosting solutions such as VPS or Dedicated Server.
I currently use 4 different web hosts across multiple of my web properties. However, SiteGround is my favorite in terms of reliability and support.
Avoid free web hosting services, its pain in the ass! Not worth your time! You wont get any support, storage and bandwidth is extremely limited, no one click installs, usually they charge extra for services such as custom email address and web mail… And the worst of all, most free web hosts inject special scripts into websites in order to sell advertising space and link placements directly on your website.
For about 50 dollars you will get 1 year of reliable web hosting and a free domain name (10$ value) – which is only about 4 dollars per month.
So lets start…
Head over to SiteGround, click on See Plans and chose a web hosting plan that fits your needs.
If you are just starting out and want to build only one web site then choose StartUp plan. Keep in mind that you can upgrade anytime.
On this page enter a domain name that you want to register or if you have already registered a domain name somewhere else then select “I already have a Domain”.
However since you will get a free domain with any hosting plan, I highly suggest that you take advantage of the offer and register a new domain name for free.
Hit proceed button.
If a domain is available for registration you will be directed to this page.
Simply fill out your personal information and create username and password for your SiteGround hosting account.
Enter payment information. This web site is 100% safe!
Here you have to select in which country you would like to host your website. Choose a country that is closest to your target audience. If you are going to build a website that is going to target people in Germany, Belgium and Netherlands then choose a web server that is located in Amsterdam. If you are targeting people in the US then choose Chicago USA.
This is because website will load faster and Google takes into consideration where a website is hosted when ranking sites on their search results. The closer your web site is to your audience the better.
At the bottom of the page agree to the terms and conditions and click Pay Now button.
Once you have paid for the invoice your web hosting account and domain name will be setup and registered.
You will receive an Order Confirmation email.
To start managing your new account, log into Customer Area at siteground.com/login and click on the My Accounts tab from the main menu.
To access your new account cPanel, go straight to the My Accounts section and click on the cPanel button.
That’s it! You have registered a domain name and setup a web hosting account.
Now the fun part begins! Lets create your first blog!
I already have a domain name, what should I do?
Log in to your SiteGround cPanel dashboard and on the first page in the left column you will see Name Servers information.
Just copy both of the name servers and paste it into the name servers fields at the domain registrar where you have registered your domain name.
This will point the domain name to SiteGround web servers. Basically, name servers tell to which web server to link a particular domain.
Login to SiteGround’s web hosting account cPanel dashboard and locate Softaculous link:
Search for WordPress and then click Install:
Under Software Setup, choose whether you would like to install WordPress on www. or non www. part of domain. This is totally up to you.
Choose a domain name on which you would like to install WordPress platform.
Then you need to specify in which directly you would like to install WordPress. If you want to install directly in the root directory of a domain then leave In Directory field blank. However, if you would like to install it under domain.com/blog then type blog under In Directory field.
Under site name and site description, enter the name of your site and short description on what your site is about. You can change this information later.
Then create a Username and Password for admin area. You are going to use these credentials to access the WordPress platform.
Under Admin email enter main email address that is going to be associated with this WordPress website.
Then I highly suggest that you select and install Limit Login Attempts. This plugin will limit the number of login attempts if you fail to provide accurate admin credentials when trying to access WordPress Admin dashboard. This adds an additional layer of protection against hackers. That is why its important to remember Username and Password that you have previously created.
Click Install button and WordPress website will be installed!
Simple as that.
Now you can go to yourdomain.com/wp-admin link to access your WordPress Admin dashboard.
Enter Username and Password that you have entered during installation.
WordPress theme is a ready made template which determines the look and basic function of your site.
Currently you can find free or paid WordPress themes all over the place: directly on WordPress, ThemeForest, CreativeMarket…
Free theme is more than enough for getting started. If you have some basic CSS and HTML knowledge you can customize any theme easily.
However, as I promised, you don’t have to be a techie person in order to create beautiful and responsive website.
So today we are going to install something that doesn’t require any coding knowledge.
Once you are logged in to WordPress dashboard, head over to Appearance / Themes
Click “Add new”
On this page you can search from thousands of different themes. Once you found a theme that looks good in terms of structure and design simply click Install button. You can preview each theme by clicking on the Preview button.
Once a theme has been installed, click on Activate
That’s it! You have installed a new theme.
You can have multiple themes installed on the same WordPress platform. Installing a theme means uploading it to a web server.
On this dashboard you can switch between multiple themes that you have installed.
To switch to a different theme simply however over a theme and click Activate
Themes that I recommend:
- Sparkling by Colorlib
- Enfold (paid)
Plugins are add-ons that will give your blog some extra functions.
Keep in mind that plugins can slow down page loading speed.
Try to keep your page loading time below 3-4 seconds.
I highly suggest that after you install each plugin do a quick check on how it has affected page loading time. You can use GTmetrix to check page loading time.
Once you are logged in to WordPress Admin dashboard head over to Plugins / Add new
Then you need to search for plugins that you want to install. All of the plugins that I have mentioned below can be found and installed directly through this dashboard.
Once you have found a plugin that you want to install, simply click on “Install Now” button:
Once a plugin has been installed, click on Activate Plugin:
Every single one of these plugins has been tested on multiple websites and page loading time didn’t increase drastically. But please, install only plugins that you actually need and intend to use!
- Akismet – catches spam comments. It’s free, you need to register and get API key in order to use it
- Broken Link Checker – checks for broken outbound links on your website and notifies you through email
- Click to tweet – let users share certain quote from your website on Twitter
- AddThis social shares and recommendations – seriously the best free social share plugin!
- FooGallery – responsive image gallery
- Google Analytics
- Instagram feed widget
- jQuery Pin It Button For Images – Pin button when you hover over images
- Page Builder by SiteOrigin – Build post and page structure more easily
- Popup maker – for creating double optin and other popups
- Posts in Sidebar – Publish a list of posts in your sidebar
- Pretty Link Lite – Shrink, track and share any URL on the Internet from your WordPress website
- Q2W3 Fixed Widget – Fixes positioning of the selected widgets, when the page is scrolled down
- Yoast SEO – for on-page SEO solution such as content analysis, XML sitemaps, titles & meta customization
- Custom sidebars – allows you to create widgetized areas and custom sidebars. Replace whole sidebars or single widgets for specific posts and pages
- Contact Form 7
- Lazy Load – comes handy when you have lots of images on a single page. It loads images as you scroll down, so that not all images are loaded at the same time. This reduces server loading and speeds up your website.
Pssst, a cool trick…
If you want to find out which plugin or theme a WordPress website is using then head over to WPThemeDetector.
Simply enter a website which you want to analyze and hit enter.
After a few seconds you will get a list of plugins that website is using.
Once you have installed the WordPress platform, theme and plugins, its time to publish your first blog post.
From your WordPress dashboard page, navigate to Posts / Add New
On this page you want to add content and give your new blog post a title.
Then you need to categorize the new blog post. Simply Add New Category or select an existing category:
Then if you want, you can add images to the blog post. Click on Add Media button:
Then you can either upload images from your computer or select an existing image that you already have on web server:
Give your image a title that contains keywords that best describes the image. Hit Insert into post:
Once you have added titles, content, category and image you can go ahead and publish your first blog post. Simply click Publish button!
Here you can change URL of the post by clicking on Edit button. Off course if you click on the URL you will be taken to the live page of your new blog post.
How to make money with a blog?
There are literally unlimited ways to monetize a blog. But it mostly depends of your target audience. That is why its very important to define your target audience before even starting a blog.
But generally speaking you can use blog to:
- Collect leads (email, names, addresses etc.)
- Sell advertising space
- Affiliate marketing (recommend and pre-products from other companies in exchange for a commission)
- Offer guest posting for a fee
- Offer your own services
- Sell your own physical products
- Build a retargeting list which you are later going to advertise to through FaceBook, Google Ads…
Challenge begins now! You have 1 hour to build your first blog.
If you have any questions, feel free to drop a comment below.
Also once you are finished creating your new blog, post a link here in the comment section so we can give you some helpful critiques and traffic 🙂
If you enjoyed the tutorial or if you know someone who is thinking about starting a blog then click on one of these fancy sharing buttons 🙂