I started my first blog in February of 2010 — just about 10 years ago.
At the time, I had no idea what the Hell I was doing.
Those close to me would say, not much has changed.
I started my blog on WordPress.com, which was a big mistake — as it’s nearly impossible to make money with a WordPress.com blog.
I published 300+ blog posts before learning this. Please learn from my mistake.
There are two types of WordPress blogs;
WordPress.com – You don’t have to pay for any software, or pay for hosting. However, you are severely limited in what you can/can’t do. You have very little control. If you’re looking to make money form your blog, this is NOT the option.
WordPress.org – is self hosted, meaning you are responsible for the hosting (don’t worry, it’s super cheap). This gives you much more control and complete customization.
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Why Use WordPress to Start a Blog
There are several reasons I recommend using WordPress. First, I have been a user since 2010. I have built 30+ websites using WordPress over the years, and ran 4 or 5 WordPress blogs with over 1,000 published blog posts across all of them.
I speak from many years of experience.
I am not going to blow sunshine up your ass and say it’s an easy platform to master. It is not that difficult, however, there is a bit of a learning curve.
Then again, that goes for any piece of software. The blog portion is quite similar to using Microsoft Word. It’s really very simple to write, edit, format and publish blog posts even if you have the technical know-how of a donkey.
35% of the internet is powered by WordPress.
Some of the most successful companies in the world use WordPress as thier Content Management System (CMS). Companies like NBC, CNN, TechCrunch, the NFL, Best Buy, and UPS.
These are just a small handful of Fortune 500 companies who use WordPress.
If they trust it, I think it’ll do exactly what you need it to do (and a whole lot more!).
How to Start a WordPress Blog
The hosting company I recommend is SiteGround.
Here are a few of the reasons why i recommend using SiteGround for your WordPress blog;
- Get started for less than $4/month
- 100% up time since 2014!
- FREE website transfers, setup wizard & so many beginner-friendly features
- Fantastic support
- 30 day money back guarantee
A lot of bloggers recommend Blue Host, as it pays out more money than most hosting companies. However they conveniently leave out Blue Host’s sub-par customer service, and and slower load times.
Don’t believe me?
Here is one customer tweeted out;
Here is what another tweeted about SiteGround;
When choosing a hosting comapny, customer support is the #1 thing to base your decision on. The last thing you want, is to have to sit on hold while your website is having issues.
Trust me, over the years I have had to frantically call my hosting company (I used Host Gator at the time) when my website was down/acting up. When your website is down, it can be a nerve-racking experience.
I imagine, like defusing a bomb in the middle of Times Square.
Might be a bit dramatic, but you get the point.
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Below is a Step-by-Step (with Pictures!) Tutorial on how to Build a WordPress Blog
Let’s cover some if the popular terminology, to get you up to speed;
Domain – Your website URL. Mine is www.totaldads.com
Website Hosting – This is where your website files are hosted. Yeas ago, someone shared this analogy with me, and I’ll never forget it.
Your website is the house, and the website hosting is the land your house sits on.
Website Platform – There are many, many website builders out now. The popular ones are WordPress, Wix, Squarespace & Weebly.
5 Steps to Start a Blog
1.. Choose your website hosting company
This is a crucial step, as you don’t want to go to cheap as the phrase you get what you pay for applies.
I highly recommend going with SiteGround for the reasons I mentioned above, and it’s the exact host I use for the website you’re currently on.
Grab SiteGround for $3.95/mo (normally priced at $11.95/mo) through this link (price could go up at any time).
*For this special price, you need to pay for a year in full (all hosting companies work this way).
2. Choose your plan
When getting started, the StartUp plan is more than enough
3. Register a domain
You’ll want to come up with a memorable, easy to remember, domain.
I am a slight obsession with two word domains, like www.totaldads.com.
This is a step that some take three months to ponder.
I don’t want you to take that long. However, I do want you to put some thought into it, as picking a domain is paart art, and part science. Recently, I recorded a video titled 8 Domain Name Hacks – How to Find a Good Domain Name for Your Blog.
4. Review & Complete
Fill out your personal information, and at the very bottom (image below), there is an optional SG Site Scanner. This is not required, I do not purchase this, but it’s completely up to you. If you’re worried about your site getting hacked, it would be a wise investment.
5. Install WordPress
Once you login to your Customer Area for the first time, you will see a pop-up asking you if you want to Start a new website on your account. Select that option and click on the WordPress button.
A new section would appear where you should enter the login information for your new WordPress application. Once you are ready click on the Confirm button.
Next, choose what Enhancements you wish to add to your account – if you want to add any. When you are ready with this step – click on the Complete Setup button.
That’s it! You can now go to the front page of your site and check out the newly installed WordPress application.
Now, the fun begins.
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How Design Your WordPress Blog
There is no to go out and hire an expensive website designer.
You have a few different options here;
You can use a free theme, and learn how to use it with YouTube tutorials. When I got started with WordPress in 2010 (all self-taught at YouTube University, btw), they did not have the plethora of choices that are available now. There are literally thousands of free (and paid) website themes for your brand new WordPress blog.
You can hire someone on Fiverr and get a nice looking site done for less than $100. Over the years, I have had good luck finding WordPress designers on that site.
Check out Fiverr here and search for “WordPress Designers” or some variation of that, and sort by ranking.
You can purchase a theme from one of the many websites. I have used Theme Forest in the past, with great success. The Total Dads website is built on Astra. which I really like, as they have quite a few great looking starter (free) themes.
Elementor is a page builder that came on the scene a few years ago. It’s wildly popular and relatively simple to use.
That is what I use to design my landing pages on this site. No need to spend money on monthly landing page software when it can all be done inside WordPress.
Below is a video on how to design landing pages using Elementor;
Wrapping It Up
Follow the simple instructions laid out above to start a WordPress blog in less than 30 minutes.
The set up part is the easy part. It’s the consistency part that terrifies people.
A big reason why I recommend blogging about something you truly enjoy, as there will be times you want to
kill the whole world call it quits and throw in the towel.
One last thing, I HIGHLY recommend installing Google Analytics (it’s FREE and super simple) on your brand new WordPress site. I recently recorded a video on the importance of Google Analytics. It shouldn’t take you more than 5 minutes to install it.