I’ve been blogging on various platforms for almost 8 years now but up until this blog I never actually owned my own site. Starting a blog was hands down the best decision I made. It can be a bit confusing at first and require time and money investments but if you’re serious about blogging, it’s so worth it! Here I am going to share with you the basics of starting your own blog on WordPress.
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Choosing a Blogging Platform
If you want to take blogging seriously and potentially turn it into a profitable career then you need your own platform. Avoid using free services such as WordPress.com, Tumblr, Blogger, etc because you don’t own that content. Technically the server still owns your content so you’re at risk of getting your profiles deleted or content being taken down. That’s why you want to use WordPress.org! I know it’s kind of confusing because wordpress.com and .org sound identical but couldn’t be more different. If you want to learn more about the differences between them you guys can check out this blog post.
WordPress.org lets you create your own website and you own it completely. It’s not free and it is an investment but if you are serious about blogging this is the route you want to take. When I first started blogging I grew up on Tumblr throughout my whole teen years and then I turned to a wordpress.com site and finally a year ago I got my own site!
Choosing a Hosting Provider
So creating a wordpress.org site is technically free but you need a web hosting provider which is the part that costs money. Without getting too technical a web host is basically space where your website lives, without a host, there is no website.
There are many different servers to choose from but I use Siteground! I did my research and asked some of my blogger friends their opinions and almost all of them recommended Siteground and I don’t regret my decision. It is very easy to use and has tons of great features.
There are 3 different options to choose from but I choose the basic StartUp one for $6.99/month. It’s perfect for one website and beginners and the screenshot below shows everything included. If you guys want more details about how Siteground works I can definitely do a blog post about that in the future. If you have a wordpress.com blog already it’s very easy to transfer all your content to your own website. So no need to start over or rewrite blog posts!
*MONEY SAVING TIP: If you join Siteground and buy more than 1 year you get it at a cheaper introductory price! For example, I bought 2 years at once and got it for a total of $94.80 instead of $167.76. I would definitely recommend buying at least 2 years at the same time to save money!
Choosing a Domain Provider
A domain is your URL, and something very important that you want to take some time to think about. What are you going to blog about? What are you known for? Your URL can be anything but make sure it’s easy for people to remember! Mine is simply, “zarasblog” not super creative but when I first started my blog, I didn’t niche down enough to make it very specific. If you know for sure you’re going to blog about skincare make your URL about that. You can also just use your first and last name which lots of big bloggers such as Aspyn Ovard do.
For my domain provider, I use Godaddy and it’s my favorite. I got my URL for less than $20 a year and it’s very easy to implement into Siteground!
Choosing a Theme and Plugins
WordPress gives you a ton of theme options to choose from, my favorites are “Blossom Beauty” and “Olsen Light.” Some people will recommend you to buy a theme and not use the free ones but honestly, I don’t completely agree. Paid themes do look a lot better however, If you’re trying to save money I would stick to a free theme. I’m very content with my current theme and it’s the free “Olsen Light” one!
Plugins are also very useful (and mostly free) to optimize your site! You want to make sure to get the important ones but don’t have too many because they do slow down your site. Some of my favorite ones are:
- Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights: This is a great tool to study your Google Analytics insight.
- Official MailerLite Sign Up Forms: Lets you put and customize subscribe forms at the end of your blog. Very simple and easy to use.
- Pin It Button On Image Hover And Post: Let’s people easily pin your blog posts onto Pinterest.
- SiteGround Migrator: If you previously had a free WordPress.com site and are switching to WordPress.org and using Siteground as your hosting provider you need this plugin. It transfers all your data and old blog posts and does all the work for you! Very easy and quick.
- Yoast SEO: I love this plugin! It’s a great beginner’s guide to SEO and tells you how to optimize each blog post so it ranks well on Google.
Choosing an Email Marketing Platform
One tiny regret I have when I first started blogging was not making and utilizing an email list sooner. I was told by countless bloggers that the #1 mistake is to not start utilizing email marketing from day one and I always brushed it off. But, they’re right!! So take it from me, start your marketing list NOW. Since blogs don’t have a “follow” button you need some way to retain your readers and having them subscribe to your newsletter is the best way!
There are a few different options to choose from with the most popular being Mailchimp, ConvertKit, and Mailerlite. I first started off with Mailchimp however after doing some research and talking to other bloggers I realized Mailerlite was better for me! It’s user-friendly, customizable, and cheaper. You can have up to 1,000 subscribers with a free account. Mailchimp on the other hand is $49.99/month for 5,000 subscribers while Mailerlite is $30/month for 5,000 subscribers. Mailerlite is also a better option if you’re just starting off however if you’re a big business Mailchimp could work better for you. If you try the free version of either out and realize you don’t like it you can always switch to the other platform and both transfer your subscribers over as well.
There is a lot that goes into blogging but these are the top few basics to begin with. It might seem confusing or intimidating at first but keep in mind that it’s a process and if you’re truly passionate about blogging, it will be rewarding at the end! If you guys want to know anything about blogging or future blog post requests feel free to let me know.
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