How to start a blog with WordPress

How to Start a Blog with WordPress

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Looking for the ultimate guide on how to start a blog or website with WordPress? Follow the steps in this guide to build a blog or small business website (including themes, hosting, design, & more) quickly and easily.

From a business perspective, it is important to keep blog or website design and development times short so that you can focus on getting traffic and making money.

WordPress Quick Start

Start a WordPress website right now.

Design considerations should take into account both time and cost to produce the best blog or website possible, in the shortest amount of time, for the least amount of money.

This guide will highlight the different ways to build a website with WordPress, help identify the right option for your website, list some of the best theme design services, and provide further reading for blogging, marketing and SEO.

Hosted vs. self-hosted

The first decision you need to make is whether or not you want to host your own blog, or use the hosted version. Here's what you need to know about each...

Hosted

Hosted WordPress sites are free, quick and easy to set up at WordPress.com.

Hosted sites have limitations that may not be suitable if you want to customize and improve the performance and SEO of the default platform.

However, tens of millions of bloggers use hosted WordPress sites for their blogs.

It's important to note that you can purchase a domain name for a hosted site, so that your blog builds up SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and starts driving traffic.

Self hosted

Self hosted sites (available for free from WordPress.org) require you to find a Web server, domain and hosting. This makes it slightly more difficult to get up and running. However, there are many excellent hosting services that cater for WordPress (discussed later), so don't be put off by the slightly steeper learning curve.

Self hosted sites give you complete Web design and development control, making it far more flexible and powerful option.

Self hosted sites can be customized using HTML, CSS, PHP, as well as various SEO techniques. Many millions of bloggers use self hosted WordPress.

Choosing between hosted or self hosted

Choose self hosted if you want more flexibility and control and don't mind a little bit of extra work at the start.

Choose hosted if you are happy with a basic blog and don't want to have the hassle of finding a separate Web hosting service.

How to create a WordPress blog

Creating a new hosted blog is easy, so I won't go into it in much detail here. Browse to WordPress.com, create an account, click Create a new blog, and follow the instructions.

To set up WordPress on your own PC (so that you can design and develop it before deploying to the Web host's servers), you will need to follow these steps:

  1. Download and install a Web server package (with PHP and MySQL). I recommend XAMPP
  2. Download and extract a copy of WordPress to the Web server root document (most likely in C:\xampp\htdocs).
  3. Rename the extracted folder to the name of your new blog or website (i.e. C:xampp\htdocs\myblog)
  4. Browse to http://localhost/phpmyadmin in your favorite browser
  5. Create a database with the same name as your new blog
  6. Click on the Privileges tab and Add a new User to the database you just created - with all permissions. Make sure you remember the username and password of the database user (you'll need it in the next step)
  7. Browse to http://localhost/myblog in your browser (be sure to change myblog to the name of the folder)
  8. Follow the installation instructions and supply the database, user and password as requested

If all goes well, you will be able to log in to your new website. You can create as many blogs and sites by repeating this process (just change the folder, database, user and password each time).

To install WordPress to a Web server, simply repeat steps 2 - 8 in the list above (step 1 isn't required since your Web host should already be a PHP, Apache, MySQL Web server).

WordPress domains and hosting

Buying a domain name for a hosted blog is easy. Go to Add a domain under the Store tab in the admin dashboard and follow the checkout procedure.

With a self hosted site the process is slightly different because you can pick and choose the best hosting service. Most hosting services also come with domain registration facilities, so you can do everything in one place.

Check out The best Web hosting services to find a high quality hosting service. You might want to start with WP Engine - a specialist WordPress hosting service.

Design, themes & templates

Having a bit of CSS (Cascading StyleSheets), HTML, PHP and other Web related skills and experience is a big plus when it comes to customizing and designing beautiful themes.

From a blogging perspective, a theme can help set the tone, look and feel of a website.

A professional, easy-to-understand, clean and lightweight theme can help convince readers to convert (buy stuff, sign up to a newsletter, etc).

The temptation is to go overboard with all the bells and whistles. Be careful not to overload your site or slow it down too much.

Google takes page load time into consideration when calculating where pages appear in search results, so fast pages are good pages.

The good news is that there are many great WordPress design services that can help you get exactly the look and feel you want without having to spend time fighting with code (good news if you're allergic to programming and Web development).

Blogging, marketing & SEO

Once your blog or website is up and running, it's time to start adding content and generating revenue.

The following articles and resources will help you master blogging, marketing and SEO techniques:

Phew! That's a lot to take in at one go. Take it one step at a time and you'll find the WordPress is an excellent platform for blogging and making money online.

Have you already started a blog? Share your advice, tips and experiences in the comments below.

Blogging traffic tips. Pic by duncan c

A lot of popular blogging techniques have died out as Google's search algorithms (and the rise of social media) have changed the content landscape of the Internet.

For startups and small businesses utilizing blogging as part of their content marketing strategy, keeping tabs on industry best practices can be a bit like trying to herd cats.

As a result, unfortunately, many people find themselves swimming upstream as their content fails to capture high rankings in search results, generates little to no buzz, and generally offers little to no return on investment (ROI).

Almost all businesses that have researched Internet marketing strategies are aware that high quality, engaging and relevant content is one of the best ways to drive valuable organic Web traffic.

The problem is that many people don't have the time or patience to build up a good base of content via blogging.

So what's the alternative?

Learn how to write a blog. Pic by icatus

Learning how to blog is an important business skill that can increase page rankings in Google and bring plenty of traffic to your website.

Start blogging

Blogging works! It doesn't matter if you are a college student thinking about making extra pocket money, or a entrepreneur looking to promote your brand.

It also doesn't matter what topic you decide to write about, provided it is a relevant to your niche and something you are passionate about and interested in.

Starting a blog is exciting, but it is also a medium to long term commitment (if you want to derive any real benefit from it), but if you have the drive to succeed there's no better time to start.

Learn how to make money from each and every blog post

Have you tried blogging with the goal of making money online only to find that no-one reads or shares your articles?

No blog traffic. Pic by stefanos papachristou

If you're creating great content on regular basis, but not driving traffic or engaging new customers then you need to understand what to change, before expen

Reach out to influencers to grow your blog. Pic by uncoolbob

If you're blogging regularly, using SEO, sharing content socially, sending out newsletters, marketing, and doing everything right without success, then I've

Proof that business blogging works. Pic by nicoleec

The vast majority (in the region of 95%) of all sites and blogs ever created fail to make any money at all - let alone a profit.

Niche blog ideas that are easy to start today

Choosing the most profitable topics that target valuable keywords to drive lots of juicy organic search traffic is quite hard - especially when you factor in

Video blogging (adding clips to a blog) can help to drive traffic, lower bounce rate, increase engagement and conversions, and generally improve SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and Internet marketing.

Video blogging also provides plenty of "different" marketing opportunities that written content can't - because it is a rich medium for communication.

Bloggers who rely on written content only may find their rankings in search engines suffering as Google continues to include more and more video results (especially from YouTube) in its organic search results.

why sharing content is bad for business

Content syndication (sharing stuff with permission) can be a great way for small businesses to get more website traffic.

website builders overtake cms

Drupal & Joomla are two popular CMS systems that offer powerful Web design and development features, and both have recently been overtaken in popularity

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