How To Start A Blog – Step by Step Beginners Guide

So, you want to create a blog but unsure of the order of steps you need to take or what platforms (online companies) you should use? 

Have no fear, you have come to the right page that offers all the information and a step by step guide you need to start your own blog.

Let’s begin…

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Introduction:

Blogging has now become the new way of life for many people across the world. Some choose to blog as a hobby (which in my opinion is a bit of a waste) while others blog to earn money and work for themselves.

Blogging is an amazing way to write about topics you enjoy, topics you know that you want to share with the world, or even a way to document a journey. The reasons and possibilities for choosing to blog are endless.

Now, imagine being able to do all this and have a full-time income, what could be better?

Step 1: Account Security

All the software and platforms you are going to subscribe to will need you to create an account.

When creating your usernames and passwords for these accounts, make sure:

  1. They are complicated 
  2. Usernames should never be your name and surname unless it’s required.
  3. Both your usernames and passwords should be long (at least between 10-15 characters), have uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and if allowed, punctuation marks.

All this extra time you take to make complicated usernames and passwords, help protect your accounts from being hacked.

Beware you will have many, many usernames and passwords you are going to need to remember.

To keep track of your usernames and passwords, you have 2 options:

Option 1: Using a password manager like Roboform.

Roboform is a subscription-based company that allows you to save all your passwords securely in one place.

They also help with password generation and they use a single click login method to make your life easier. No more having to type out your entire username and password every time you need to log in to any of your accounts.

They are supported on all devices such as Mac, IOS, android, windows, and all major browsers.

You can also access your passwords offline.

Option 2: Write your passwords down. This is not the most secure way but it is cost effective if you are on a budget. Once you start earning, then you can switch to option 2.

Create a table with the name of the company, username, email address, and password you used to create the account. Each time you create a new account, you will add those account details to your table.

Many companies, not all, have the option to add 2-factor authentication. I highly recommend you use this feature as it adds that extra layer of security when logging in to your accounts. It’s super easy to set up and convenient to use.

Step 2: Banking

Many of the subscriptions you will be paying for monthly or yearly don’t always allow you to pay through PayPal but rather with a Credit Card. If you don’t have a credit card, don’t be alarmed you do have options.

Option 1: If you are under the age limit to be eligible for a credit card, then you will need a parent or someone willing to use their credit card to pay for your subscriptions and you pay them back.

Option 2: Many people think that having a credit card means that you have to be working, this is not accurate. The bank will be more interested in your income, not your occupation. However, you will have to be earning enough to be eligible to have a credit card. If you do earn an income but not enough, your 2nd option would be to ask a family member or friend you trust and who has a good credit score to co-sign your application.

Option 3: This option is for those over the age of 18, who can’t find someone to co-sign their application or who earn no income. Your best option in this case and my favorite option is to apply for an app-based bank account such as N26. I have been using N26 since I started my blog and never looked back. Some of their best features include:

  1. They offer a visa debit card that operates like a credit card except unlike a credit card, you can only spend money that you have deposited.
  2. There are no hidden costs. This means there are no overseas transaction charges, no minimum balance or maintenance fee.
  3. The signup process is super easy and can be done at home online.
  4. You are eligible to send and receive payments, connect the card to your PayPal account and so much more.

Step 3: Your Blogs Niche

If you didn’t know, this is THE most important step in your planning process so don’t skip this step unless you have already done some planning and have already chosen your niche.

You need to take a few moments (to be honest, it took me a few days) to think about what your niche is going to be. Essentially your niche will be your blog’s topic so anything and everything you write about on your blog will be based on the topic you have chosen.

Don’t take this step lightly or rush through it because it will be your bread and butter. Without knowing what your blog is going to be centered around will be the number one reason why your blog will fail and you will generate no income. Trust me, you don’t want this!

The list of niches (topics) you can choose is endless. Make sure whatever you do decide, you enjoy that niche because you are going to have to write about it.

Also, look to see if there are a large number of people also interested in that niche. It doesn’t help you spending time and energy writing articles nobody is interested in reading about. Make sure it’s exciting, current if possible, or can be easily updated to stay current.

Make sure your chosen niche is profitable. If your goal is to generate an income from your blog then you are going to have to monetize. You will need to do research on your chosen niche and find out what you can promote to sell or better if you can create your own product.

I’ll explain more about monetization in a later step but for now, you just need to research if there are possibilities for you to do so, if not, choose a different niche.

To help you decide, I have listed the top 15 most profitable niches:

  1. Digital Marketing / MMO
  2. Health
  3. Beauty
  4. Weight loss
  5. Exercise
  6. DIY
  7. Travel
  8. Pets
  9. Sports
  10. Cooking / Baking
  11. Fashion
  12. Parenting
  13. Technology
  14. Fishing
  15. Wedding

You can always go more specific within your chosen niche and choose a sub-niche to focus your blog on.

The options are limitless, just don’t forget to make sure you always have something to write about no matter what niche or sub-niche you decide.

Step 4: Finding A Domain Name with Namecheap

At first, once you have chosen your niche you probably would have a few website name ideas pop into your head.

Now, this is where the process can either be quick or very frustrating (unfortunately for me, it was the latter).

The frustrating part happens when you go to search for your name idea. Unless you are extremely lucky, you have a 90% chance the name you want will be taken.

This is where you will then have to be strategic and try to think outside the box when it comes to creating your domain name.

Choosing your domain name is not difficult but more time-consuming in finding one that is available, in your budget, and most importantly one that you are happy with.

You need to be happy with the name you buy because this will be your website’s name for the foreseeable future.

The top 4 tips to keep in mind when creating your domain name:

  1. Try to keep the name short. Two to three words are best.
  2. Always use a .com as this seems to be the most common and easy top-level domain
  3. Try not to use any numbers or abbreviations, this makes it more difficult to remember and type correctly. Keep it readable and simple
  4. The easiest domain name to choose would most likely be your name. Using your name is more tailored to personal blogs but can be used as a branded blog. Make sure you are comfortable with having your name public before deciding.

After having researched many domain registers, I believe Namecheap to be the best domain register.

I have listed the top 4 reasons why Namecheap is one of the best:

  1. Their domains are affordable, checkout is simple and the dashboard is easy to navigate.
  2. You get a free lifetime “WhoisGuard” privacy protection service which prevents anyone from knowing your name, address, phone number, and email from when you register your domain. Just remember to click auto and renew this feature.
  3. They also offer free DNSSEC security. This gives your website visitors protection from any fraudulent activity that may occur
  4. Great 24/7 online support available through live chats which are reliable, convenient, and very helpful.

To keep all your accounts with the same email address, I recommend you create a new google email account with the same name as your domain name you have bought. This new email address will count as your business email and be used with all your subscriptions relating to your website.

Step 5: Sign up to SiteGround

So by now, you should have already decided on your niche and registered your domain name through Namecheap.

Now you need hosting…

Hosting is similar to an external hard drive where your website will “live” and all your website files are stored. When visitors visit your website, your files are retrieved through your hosting provider. Without a hosting provider, you will be unable to create your website.

SiteGround is an amazing hosting provider. They are simple to use, easy to implement, cost-effective, and supported by WordPress. Their support center is open 24/7 and the staff are friendly and efficient but most importantly is that they do daily backups of your website that you have access to.

This is important because should something go wrong while you are creating and editing your website such as certain pages haven’t been linked correctly, or you are struggling with a 404-page error and not sure how to fix the problem, you can restore your website to the last backup before the problem occurred.

It’s literally like an undo button.

As a beginner and someone who might not be familiar with coding would normally encounter more problems and errors just because you will be trying to understand and navigate how to implement certain features.

Siteground offers 3 different hosting plans you can choose from but I recommend you go with their Startup Plan (This is a great plan for beginners)

All their plans come with a free SSL certificate, just remember to turn it on.

An SSL certificate is a digital certificate that enables an encrypted connection and provides authentication for your website.

This certificate is very important because it prevents your website from data breaches, phishing, and many other threats to you and your visitors. Once you enable it, you will notice a small lock before your URL in the search bar.

When you checkout, I advise you to also buy the SG Site Scanner SiteGround offers as an extra layer of protection for your website. This is an optional add on so you can always buy it later however it’s best to have safeguards in place from the beginning.

An SG Site Scanner simply scans your website daily for any malware issues on your website that might occur from redirects, hacking, URLs being blacklisted, and more. You will receive weekly updates on these scans.

Step 6: Connecting your Domain to your Hosting

  • The very first thing you are going to do is log in to both your Namecheap and SiteGround accounts.
  • On your SiteGround account, click “manage account” and then look for “Account DNS”.

Here you will see 2 nameservers listed with similar IP addresses.

Example:
ns1.siteground****.com
ns2.siteground****.com

These are the 2 nameservers you will be copying one at a time and pasting into your Namecheap account.

  • Keeping that siteground page open with your nameservers, go to your Namecheap account you have logged into and click the “Domain Name” link on the left-hand side of the navigation menu.
  • Once here, you will have a list of the domain names you have purchased.
  • Find the domain name you want to connect with siteground and click ”manage”, this will take you to the domain management page.
  • On the domain management page, go to the “nameservers” row, click the “Custom DNS option”.
  • From here you need to copy your nameservers from siteground one at a time and paste those codes in Namecheap next to the custom DNS, once you are done, click “save”.

Don’t be alarmed if it doesn’t work immediately. You need to wait at least 8 to 24 hours for it to be activated so that your website can be live.

Step 7: Installing WordPress on SiteGround

WordPress is a free software used to create a website.

The process on which to install WordPress on SiteGround is easy through their step by step setup wizard:

  1. First, you are going to login into your SiteGround account and go to your client area. On the front page, they will ask you if you want to “set up site”, click this button.
  2. You will then have the option to either select “Start new website” or “Migrate Website”, you click the select box under “Start new website”.
  3. You will then be asked to choose your application, click the select button under the “WordPress” option and where it says installation details, create a complicated password with your business email. Once you have done this, click “continue”.
  4. You will then be asked if you want to add any enhancements to your account, when you are done, click “finish”. That’s it, WordPress is installed.

When you go to your website’s front page, you will notice a theme has automatically been chosen for you if you have not installed or selected a theme of your choice yet.

Step 8: Buying and Installing a Theme

A theme is a template and the foundation layer of your website. Themes determine how your website looks when it comes to the style, fonts, color scheme, etc.

Why buying a theme over using a free WordPress theme is in your best interest:

When you installed WordPress you would have noticed and as I mentioned in step 7 that WordPress automatically places one of its themes on your website. This theme comes free with WordPress.

Now while many free themes are good and do everything you need them to do as far as having a functioning website, it’s not a long term solution, and here’s why:

  • You will have limited options when it comes to widgets, sliders, templates, etc. This is because the developers who create the themes earn a very small income therefore the effort put into creating the free themes is low.
  • It’s not going to look professional. What I mean by this is that free themes tend to be boring in their appearances and lack that “WOW ” factor you want especially when you are building traffic to your website. Every visitor is important and you want to make a good first impression.
  • You do not receive great technical support. If you are a 1st-time website owner or if you don’t know anything about web development, you are going to need support. Free themes tend to have more online forums with answers to popular questions but you will be struggling to make updates and changes on your own.
  • Free themes can decide to no longer have updates or even discontinue the use of the theme. This will be an absolute nightmare because your entire website would be lost and there would be no way for you to recover all your data.

This is why paid themes are better choices.

There are many themes available today that you can buy. My 2 favorites are Elegant Themes and Flatsome. Both are fantastic themes and both offer the 5 features listed below that you need to look out for:

  1. It needs to be able to integrate with WordPress
  2. If you are not a developer and don’t know anything about coding, then it needs to have a visual page builder integrated
  3. Theme continually receives updates
  4. Have great customer service and technical support
  5. Good security

Elegant Themes:

You can either buy the yearly access or lifetime access plans Elegant Themes offer.

The difference between the two is one is paid yearly and the other is a one-time payment.

With both plans, you get access to Divi (this is the visual website builder), Extra (extra category theme builder), Bloom (Email Opt-in Plugin), Monarch (Social sharing plugin), Hundreds of website packs, Unlimited website usage, and Risk-free guaranteed.

The yearly plan also allows you access to product updates and premium support as long as you pay your subscription. If you opt for the lifetime access plan, yes, you guessed it, you get lifetime updates and lifetime support.

Both plans are great however I would suggest you invest in their lifetime access and pay one time for the theme.

This plan will save you a lot of money in the future. If you calculate how many years it will take you to pay off the lifetime access plan and then never have to pay for the theme again is a bargain considering you will be using the theme for many many years to come.

The other reason is that you will have peace of mind knowing that no matter what, you will always have the theme with lifetime updates and support.

Installing Elegant Theme:

Elegant Themes has made it easy for you to download and install their theme through your WordPress dashboard.

To start the installation process:

  • Click here, and buy one of the membership plans they offer
  • Once bought, in your membership area click the “downloads” tab on the left. Here you will be presented with a variety of different features you can download, find the Divi Theme, and click “download”.
  • Their theme will download in a zipped file under your downloads section on your PC
  • Now login to your WordPress dashboard.
  • Click on Appearances > Themes. This will take you to your themes page.

You will notice that there are 1 or 2 other themes already available to you. These are just the free themes that come with WordPress.

  • At the top of your theme pages click “add new” and then click “upload theme”
  • You will then be directed to a new page with an upload link. Click “choose file” which will open so you can browse your PC. Find and select the “Divi.zip” file which should be under your downloads that we did in point 2.
  • Once the file has been selected, click the “install now” button
  • The page will reload and your theme should be fully uploaded. All you need to do now is click the “activate” button for this theme
  • Well done, your theme is now activated and live.

Flatsome Theme Forest – Multi-Purpose Responsive Woocommerce Theme:

This theme is a one time purchase and includes future updates and 6 months of support from UX-Builder. There is an option to extend your support to 12 months for an additional cost.

Flatsome is a great theme, just keep in mind that when you purchase this theme it can only be used on one website. This would mean every time you want to start a new website, you would have to purchase a new theme for that new website.

Installing Flatsome Theme:

Before you can install the theme onto your website, you will need to follow the steps below:

  • Click here, and buy the theme.
  • Once bought, staying on that page, you will then need to scroll through the list of different themes and find the one you purchased (Flatsome Multipurpose responsive woocommerce theme). Next to it will have a green button that says “download”, when you click this button you will have 4 options on what you would like to download, click “all files and documentation”
  • These zipped files will be saved in your downloaded section on your PC

A quick side note – when you purchase your theme, you will receive an email with your unique API Key, flag this email and keep it, you will need it later.

An API key is an application programming interface that authenticates who the users are, developers, or the current calling program. Different platforms use this unique API key in many different ways.

  • Now you need to unzip the file you just downloaded and open the themes file folder. In this folder, there will be 2 zipped files. One will be Flatsome with the latest version and the other Flatsome-child. You will be installing both.

The reason you will be installing the child theme, as well as the main theme, is because it will be in your child theme that you will be making your changes and customizations so that when the main theme ever has updates, the changes you make in the child theme won’t be touched.

  • Now login to your WordPress dashboard.
  • Click on Appearances > Themes. This will take you to your themes page.

You will notice that there are 1 or 2 other themes already available to you. These are just the free themes that come with WordPress.

  • At the top of your theme pages click “add new” and then click “upload theme”
  • You will then be directed to a new page with an upload link. Click “choose file” which will open so you can browse your PC. Find the Flatsome Folder and open the theme files folder with the 2 zipped files. Select the main flatsome file and install. The other alternative is to drag and drop the zipped file if you find that option easier.
  • When the file has been selected, click the “install now” button.
  • The page will reload and your theme should be fully uploaded, don’t click “activate” instead repeat the process in steps 7-9, only this time choose the flatsome-child file and install.
  • Once the Flatsome-child theme is installed and uploaded, click the “activate” button on this theme as you will be using the flatsome-child theme to make changes to your website.

You would now have been automatically redirected to the Flatsome setup wizard after you activated the flatsome-child theme.

You can skip this setup process and do the setup later in the flatsome menu in your WordPress dashboard however I highly recommend you do it now rather than later.

So let’s get started:

  1. The first thing you are going to be asked is to add your code. Remember when I told you to flag and save the email you received after purchasing your theme with your API key, this is the code you will be using. Simply copy the code from your email and paste it in the “purchased code field”.
  2. Now you will be given the option to rename the child theme however my advice to you is to keep the default name they give which is Flatsome child, so just click “create and use child theme”
  3. You will now be asked to install default plugins that are included in Flatsome. Add all the plugins they suggest and then click “continue” because you can always remove or add plugins you want in your dashboard under plugins later.
  4. The next step allows you the option to use flatsome theme demo content for your website. You want to do this because you are setting up a new website. It will be super helpful to have everything already in place for you to edit what you want to keep or remove. This is also why I advised you to install all the plugins from the previous step because if you haven’t, the demo content might not work properly. Make sure all the boxes are checked in the item list and then click “Continue”.
  5. The next step will ask you to upload a logo of your choice, if you have not yet designed a logo, don’t worry, click “skip this step” as you will be creating your website logo in the next step of this guide.
  6. To finish setting up your flatsome theme click “agree and continue” so your theme can be activated and ready to use.

A logo is a small graphic design placed in the header of your website.

Your logo dimension will all depend on the theme you are using. Going with the themes I recommended in Step 8, here are the approximate dimensions for each theme:

Elegant Themes:

Full banner – 468 px (width) by 60 px (height)

Horizontal layout – 250 px (width) by 150 px (height), 350 px (width) by 75 px (height) or 400 px (width) by 100 px (height)

Vertical layout – 160 px (width) by 160 px (height)

Flatsome Theme Forest:

Horizontal – 400 px (width) by 84 px (height)

There are two different options you can take when creating your website logo:

Option 1: Create your logo yourself using an online company like Canva. They have a drag and drop system to create custom designs with a variety of different templates including logos, posters, cards, Instagram stories, and loads more.

Canva offers a free and Pro version.

The free version is great for only creating simple designs because you have limited access to their photo library, illustrations, fonts and elements.  You are able to upload your own images or buy images premium for $1 each. When downloading your designs, you don’t have the option of having a transparent background or being able to resize your current design. 

The Pro version of Canva gives you access to their complete selection of over 60million photos, illustrations, icons and elements.  

Canva Pro also allows you to also download your designs with a transparent background if you wish as well as have the option to resize your designs where as with the free version, this will not be possible. 

If you do struggle to find an image you like on Canva you can also download your images from another platform to upload and use. Always remember to only use copyright-free images that are free for commercial use and no attribution required. Companies such as Pixabay and Picmonkey are great to use to download free images.

I highly recommend creating your own logo as it allows you to get in touch with your creative side. It also gives you experience should you need to create designs later on as your website grows.

Option 2: Outsource your logo. Fiverr is a great place for outsourcing work.

You simply pay someone to create your logo for you by giving them detailed instructions on what you would like in terms of size, color, fonts, etc as well as your website name should you choose to use it in your logo. Their minimum price starts at $5. Remember the more credit and good ratings a designer has the more you will pay but then the designs will be a lot better.

Once you have created your logo and downloaded it with a transparent background you will need to upload it onto your website.

Step 10: Plugins

WordPress plugins are usually free and are PHP scripts/code that either help to enhance or add new features to your website.

There are a couple of plugins you are going to need to download and install that almost everyone who owns a website uses.

Below I have listed the names of each free plugin and why you would need it:

  • Yoast SEO – This plugin helps you implement SEO on your website quicker and more effectively. Yoast will scan your website and give you a list of guidelines on what you need to change to improve your website’s SEO so that you can gain more traffic. You can edit your meta descriptions in the settings section of the Yoast SEO plugin and choose what you would like Google to index such as posts, pages, or both.
  • WP User Avatar – This plugin allows registered users to upload and choose their own picture they would like to be shown whenever they like, comment, or send an email on websites.
  • WP Meta and Date Remover – When you create and post on your website, the articles you post will be dated along with the author. This plugin allows you to remove the Author Meta and Date from your posts and pages.This is something you want to do because collecting the data can become a problem in the future. If a visitor is looking for information, they will likely either read the most recent dated article or an article with no date. Dated articles lose their relevance the longer they age.
  • WP Content Copy Protection & No Right Click – Anyone who has a website knows the amount of time and effort it takes to write articles. This is why it’s so important to prevent people from being able to copy and use your information for their gain. This plugin prevents anyone from right-clicking and copying your work or using “CTRL “ C on their keyboard.
  • WP AutoTerms – This plugin helps you generate free legal pages for websites.
  • Table of Contents Plus – If you create very long articles with many subheadings, a table of contents is very helpful to your readers. This plugin automatically creates this table of contents for you to help your readers know the overview of the content or easily click on a section they are most interested in reading.
  • Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights – Reading and understanding data received from your website will help you to know what people are enjoying and what they are not. This plugin allows you to easily track your website and receive data from google analytics on the number of visitors and pageviews you are getting.
  • AddToAny Share Buttons – Many themes have a social sharing feature installed however if you don’t have that feature with your theme or don’t like the social sharing widget then this plugin adds share buttons to your website so people can share your articles to social media.

Plugins that help with the speed of your website:

  • Smush – Images on a website and significantly reduce the loading speed of your website. This plugin helps to automatically compress any images you have or future images you upload to help with increasing your site’s speed.
  • WP Speed of Light – This plugin helps speed up your website. It’s beginner-friendly and comes with several detailed options to help optimize your WordPress website.
  • BJ Lazy Load – This is another plugin that lazy loads different sections of your website at different times to help with the speed of your site.
  • Async JavaScript – This plugin eliminates render-blocking Javascript in your content which adds another feature to increase your website’s speed.

Plugins that help with your site security:

The internet is continually crawling with bots, hackers, and malware viruses. It’s important to keep your site secure to prevent you from becoming a target.

There is far less risk when you implement all your security from the start as you have little to no content on your website however as you grow the security on site will become more necessary. Having your security setup will be one less concern for you.

Below is a list of security plugins you need to download and activate to protect your site:

  • Limit Login Attempts Reloaded – With this plugin you can set the amount of failed login attempts to your WordPress dashboard which adds another extra layer of security.
  • WP Security Question – This plugin enables you to add an extra layer of security to your WordPress login by allowing you to create a unique question and answer only you would know.
  • WP Hide & Security Enhancer – Anybody who visits a website can see the source code of that site by right-clicking and select “view source”. This plugin hides important source codes you don’t want people to be able to see such as the plugins you use, theme, and content management system. This also helps with the security of your website from cyber attacks and hackers.
  • Wordfence Security – This is the ultimate plugin for everything security-related on a website. It enables you to add 2-factor authentication when logging into your WordPress dashboard/admin area. Every time your WordPress is logged into, you will receive a security notification of this activity. This is very helpful especially if you receive a notification your WordPress has been logged into but it wasn’t you.This plugin also blocks malicious code and hackers from getting into your website.
  • WP Hide Login – Your WordPress login url will be visible to anyone who simply types your website URL into the search bar followed by /wp-login.php

This is a huge security threat to your website as your WordPress url login is the entry into your wordpress dashboard where you can create posts, pages and change the layout and appearance. It’s also known as your admin area.

If your url login is easy to find, you open yourself up to hackers as it will be a lot easier for them to guess your username and password once they have found your wordpress login url page.

What this plugin does is allow you to easily change your login url to anything that you want. Make sure it’s cryptic enough and just like your passwords, has letters and numbers in it.

Eg:
Old login url – www.domainname.com/wp-login.php
New login url – www.domainname.com/htp56Lm9t

Don’t forget to bookmark your new login url page so you won’t lose or forget it.

Step 11 – Increasing website speed

Site speed is a very important metric and one every website owner pays very close attention to.

A great user experience is what gives you great conversions and a lower bounce rate. Bounce rate simply is a calculated percentage of how long a visitor entered and left a website. The goal is to have visitors stay on your website for as long as possible.

Site speed also helps you to rank higher on google as you will have more traffic on your site. If you have a slow site speed, this will dramatically decrease the user experience and conversion rates you are aiming for.

Time is valuable and nobody wants to browse a website that is running slow.

To test your site speed, you can use google’s page speed insights test that’s completely free. All you need to do is type your website url and Google will analyze your site’s speed. The results will show the desktop speed as well as the mobile speed. For optimal speed you want both to be at least in the green.

There are several plugins as I mentioned in the last step that helps to improve your site’s speed. Install and activate these plugins.

Step 12 – Mandatory Pages

When it comes to owning a website, there are several legal pages and software you need to implement to make sure you are following all legal laws.

In this step, you will be implementing a Contact Form, Terms Of Conditions page, GDPR, and Disclaimer Page.

Contact Form:

Having a contact form on your website is optional.

There are a few reasons why someone might want a contact form:

  1. To allow their readers an easy way to contact them.
  2. Contact forms are a lot safer when it comes to keeping your email address hidden. This prevents spammers from being able to access your email address.
  3. It also helps to retarget leads through email marketing.

There are a however a few reasons why someone might decide not to have a contact form on their website:

  1. They do not want to be flooded with promo ads and spam emails from bots. Even though there are ways to prevent this issue, many spam emails still tend to happen.
  2. It generates more administration because the contact form collects personal information. This information then falls under the GDPR law meaning you will have to have a privacy policy in place on your website. I explain GDPR in more detail further below.

If you decide to use a contact form, wordpress has a free plugin called “Wp forms”. This form also enables you to choose what fields your readers fill out on the form.

There is also a paid version of Wp forms where you can choose between 4 different plans. Each plan will give you access to many extra features the free version doesn’t.

I recommend you go with the paid version of Wp forms so that legally you can comply with the GDPR compliance of the collection of personal data by tracking the consent of the visitor that uses your contact form. 

To install the “Wp form” plugin, login to your wordpress dashboard.

  1. Click “Plugins”, from there click “Add New” and search for “Wp forms”
  2. Find the plugin and click “Install”.
  3. Once it’s installed you can click “Activate”

After you have installed and activated the plugin, follow the easy to use setup wizard that takes you through the process of how to create your form.

Terms Of Conditions Page:

This legal page is created for your protection. It is a legal written document that lays out the rules and conditions for your visitors when using your site.

Should a customer choose to take you to court for whatever reason, this legal page can help protect the content on your website that is rightfully yours. Make sure the content in your terms and conditions page is individually tailored to your website.

There are two options you can create your terms and conditions page:

Option 1– Use a free plugin called “wp auto-terms” which uses a setup wizard to help you create your terms and conditions agreement.

This plugin is user friendly and you can customize the information to your website.

Option 2 – Use the company Iubenda for your terms and conditions page. This company also provides all the different policies in multiple languages connected to GDPR which is discussed below.

GDPR:

If you are unfamiliar with this acronym it means General Data Protection Regulation.

GDPR is a law that was implemented in the EU for all European citizens to have a better understanding of what companies and organizations do with their data. It’s a list of guidelines on how, when, and where personal information from anyone who lives within the European Union is collected and processed.

This law needs to be implemented regardless of where you live to protect yourself. If you have any operations or individuals from the EU visiting your site, signing up to your newsletter, commenting on your articles, or contacting you via your contact form, then you will need to adhere to the GDPR law as you will be collecting and processing that data.

The best company to implement the necessary cookie policy, privacy policy as well as any other policies you might need is Iubenda. This company offers subscription-based policies to help make sure your website is compliant with the GDPR law.

All their policies are written by legal professional lawyers in the EU and continually gets updated. They have many different policies to choose from, each one comes with its own explanation of the policy and who would need to implement it.

They offer two different bundles and each bundle allows for customization to add additional policies, not in that bundle or you can create a custom plan and select the specific policies you need for your website.

Disclaimer Page:

This page is just as important as your other pages. This page protects certain aspects of your site from legal claims.

Your disclaimer page makes your visitors aware that you are not liable or responsible for how they use your site or how the information, content, and products on your website affect them.

It also should include the use of third parties and if you get paid from anything they click and or purchase.

Make sure that you have your disclaimer on a page just like your terms of conditions and that it’s easily accessible. Create a smaller disclaimer banner, at least two sentences, and place it either before or during every post on your website.

Step 13 – Connecting Google Analytics

Google Analytics is free software provided by Google that allows you to see what data is being tracked.

It is important to have a google analytics account so that you can monitor your visitor’s activity on your website. This data can be anything from your overall website traffic or individual page traffic, bounce rate, geographical location such as the country the visitor is from, traffic from mobile or desktop, social platforms, and loads more.

It’s the most effective and free analytical way to help you improve your user’s experience and change what isn’t working or converting to what is.

For you to be able to have the data you will need to set up a google analytics account and connect it to your website.

  1. Go to the google analytics homepage and sign up by clicking “start for free” using your google account business email you created in step 3 for your website.
  2. Once you are logged in, at the bottom of the page on the left click “Admin”.
  3. Then click “Create New Account” in the drop-down menu in the Account column.
  4. Now you will be asked what you want to track and from where, make sure that you fill in the details under the “Website” tab only.
  5. I recommend under “Account Name” you write your brand name/website name so that when you end up having multiple websites in the future it is easier to navigate between them
  6. Once you have filled out the information correctly, click “Get Tracking ID” at the bottom of the page and agree to their terms of service.
  7. Now you will be presented with your Google Analytics tracking code. The tracking code would look something like “UA-xxxxx-x”. You can also find it by clicking “Admin” at the bottom of the page, then click “Tracking Info” and then “Tracking Code”.
  8. You are now going to copy and paste this tracking code ID into your website header.
  9. If you know how to embed code then you can copy and paste this tracking code ID in the header of your website, if not, I suggest you use the plugin Monsterinsights. This plugin will add the code for you in the header of your website without you having to do it yourself.
  10. To install the Monsterinsights plugin, login to your wordpress dashboard and click “Plugins”, from there click “Add New” and search for Monsterinsights, click “Install”. Once it’s installed you can click “Activate”
  11. Now that the plugin is installed and activated, go to Monsterinsights settings and follow the setup wizard. Important note, when you are connecting your website make sure you choose the right url for your website and choose “All Website Data” next to your url to complete the connection.
  12. To check that your website data is tracking, go back to your google analytics account and click “Real-Time” to see a live feed of how many visitors are on your website at that very moment. Side note, if you don’t see any visitors it would be because you don’t have any traffic to your website yet however in the future you will see the number of visitors.
  13. A good way to test if it is tracking and connected properly is to logout of your wordpress dashboard. Go to your website and click around it as if you were a visitor.
  14. Once you have done that, go back into your google analytics account and back to the “Real-Time” tab, refresh the page and it should show that there is 1 active user.
  15. All your website data through monster insights and all other data features will only start showing after 24 hours but real-time works immediately.

Step 14 – Google Search Console

This is a tool Google offers for free. What this tool does is allow website owners to see how their websites are performing in google search. Google search gives website owners information on what and when on their websites certain pages were indexed and crawled.

This tool also helps provide important information about your websites such as if there is anything wrong with any of your links or page errors.

To gain access to this information you are going to need to add your website and verify that you are the owner:

You are going to be using the same business email you used for your website and your google analytics account.

  1. Using your same business email and password, log in to the Google search console.
  2. Once logged in you will be asked to select a property type. You will have a choice between Domain or URL Prefix.
  3. You are going to type your websites url in the Domain property type and click “continue”
  4. You will then need to be asked to verify that you are the owner of the website property you want to track. There are a few ways of doing this. You will be given a few verification methods. Some of these include adding a meta tag, editing your DNS settings, adding an HTML file to your server, or connecting to your google analytics account. Whichever one you choose, you will be guided through the steps you need to take to complete the verification method.
  5. Once you have completed the steps and are verified, you will have to wait at least 24 hours, sometimes a bit longer before your data starts showing.

Step 15 – Website Indexing With Yoast

Before you can index your website and its pages you will need to submit your XML sitemap posts and sitemap pages to the google search console. You need to do this otherwise all your posts and pages won’t be indexed properly.

For first-time website owners using a plugin to help with creating your XML sitemaps and doing your meta tags makes the process a lot easier. By now you should have already installed and activated the Yoast Seo plugin from step 10, if not, now is the time to do that.

All websites and web pages that come up in your google search are indexed through your XML sitemaps. This means that those website owners have added either all or certain posts and pages on their website into google search.

Google will automatically crawl several of your website’s pages, posts, and categories once you have verified your website on google search console but often not all or sometimes not the ones you want.

This is why you need to manually choose what Google does or doesn’t index and follow on your website. This is done in terms of meta tags.

No-index meta tag – by inserting a no-index tag on a specific page or post, lets google know that those pages or posts must not be crawled.

No-follow meta tag – by inserting a no-follow tag on specific pages or posts, lets google know that any links on those pages or posts must not be followed.

The process below on how to create your XML sitemaps, upload them on google search console, and then index:

  1. Login to your wordpress dashboard
  2. Install and activate the plugin Yoast Seo. If you haven’t already, go to plugins, click “Add new”. Search for the Yoast Seo plugin and click “Download”. Once downloaded click “Activate”
  3. Now go to SEO > General
  4. Click on the tab “Features” and scroll down till you find “XML sitemaps” and check to see it is turned on and click “save changes”
  5. From here click the small question mark next to “XML sitemaps” and then click “see the XML sitemap”. You can also easily find your sitemaps by adding sitemap_index.xml at the end of your website’s url. You will notice you have many different sitemaps for different content. Usually, there will be a sitemap for posts, pages, categories, and author.

Below is how you are going to submit these XML sitemaps in your google search console:

  1. Login to your google search console in a new window
  2. In the left column of your dashboard under index, click “sitemaps”
  3. Under add a new sitemap, add the end part of your website url for posts and click “submit”
  4. Repeat the above step, only this time add the end part of your website url for pages and click “submit”. No need to submit the author and categories sitemap because it’s not useful information for Google.

Now you are going to need to submit your XML sitemaps to Bing:

  1. Sign up using your same Google account email and password as your google search console in the Bing Webmaster Tools
  2. Once you sign in you will have two options to submit your XML sitemaps to Bing. As you have already submitted your XML sitemaps to the google search console, the easiest will be to choose the option to import your site by clicking “Import” so it can be automatically done for you.

Both on Google and Bing your XML sitemaps for posts and pages have been submitted. You have the option to leave both these XML sitemaps indexed and followed for google to crawl however I advise you to set your meta tags for pages, categories, and authors to no-index and no-follow.

Oftentimes pages on websites don’t offer or provide value in the google search results as the content on those pages has no helpful information to the user that they can use such as your admin or login pages, about page, disclaimer, terms of conditions, and so forth.

Google is an informative and value-adding platform this is why I advise you to only allow Google to index and follow your posts which would contain all your articles and links that offer all the valued information google is looking for to recommend to the user.

If you choose to only have your posts indexed and followed would mean you need to stop google from indexing and following your pages. Yoast Seo plugin allows you to easily change your meta tags to your requirements:

  1. Login to your wordpress dashboard
  2. On the left in the menu, go to SEO>Search Appearance
  3. Click the tab “Content Types” and scroll down to pages
  4. Click the drop-down arrow and where it says “show pages in search results”, make sure it is set to “no”

Now all your pages on your website are set to the meta tags no-index and no-follow. If in the future, you have created a page that you do want to show up in google’s search results, you will need to change the meta tags on that specific page. Can do this by:

  1. Going to “pages” in the left menu of your dashboard
  2. Find the page you want to change and click “edit”
  3. Scroll down to the bottom of that page where the Yoast SEO box settings are
  4. From here, scroll down to “advanced”, click the drop-down menu and where it says, “allow search engines to show this page in search results”, click “yes”
  5. The next one down where it says, “should search engines follow links on this page”, click “yes”

You can do this method for every page you create that you want to change. You can also follow the above process to turn off the index and follow on certain posts if you wish.

Under SEO>Search Appearance you will have noticed there are different tabs. Below I explain what each tab means and its settings that you can turn on and off depending on your perseverance.

General Tab: Here you will be able to edit your title separator. Eg: hyphen(-), bullet(•), or a vertical bar(|). For your homepage, you can change the SEO title and meta description. Change the way your site looks in google’s knowledge graph

Content Types: Here you can change the meta tags for your posts and pages

Media: When you upload images to wordpress, there is a url attached to that image that is available. WordPress creates an entirely new webpage only for that image. It’s advised to disable attached URLs and rather have them redirect straight to the image itself.

Taxonomies: Taxonomies are grouped posts with the same relationship, eg: categories or tags.

Archive: Here you can allow different archives to show up in the search results

Breadcrumbs: This is a way to see users location on websites

RSS: Here you can add links back to your website at the end of your posts so that it proves to google you are the original content creator. You need to do this because many scraper sites simply copy content from other websites and use it as their own without linking where they got their information from. This might set you back in google’s ranking because they might be able to outrank you with your content.

Step 16 – SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a process in which you can increase the traffic to your website or webpage by using techniques, phrases, and keywords. What SEO does is try to figure out internet algorithms to depict people’s search behavior when on the internet.

This can be anything from what people are searching, what popular keywords are being searched, and which internet platform they most like to use.

You can either do this by using free traffic also known as “organic” traffic through different search mediums or opt for paid traffic.

There are several methods on how to implement SEO to get the most traffic especially if you are using free organic traffic. You can also use Yoast SEO that helps you to organize your articles so they are optimized according to search engine algorithms.

Below is a list of a few SEO tips to help:

To figure out which keywords are highly ranked or mostly searched use Google Keyword Planner. This is a free tool that provides you with data on any keyword you search such as the average monthly searches and competition.

  1. To start using this tool, click here. On the homepage click the blue button “Go to keyword planner”
  2. You will be redirected to log in to a google account. Here is where you will enter your email and password used for your google search console and google analytics account.
  3. Once signed in, you will be asked what’s your main advertising goal? Below the 3 options will be a link that says “Experienced with google ads?”, click this link
  4. Next, click “Create an account without a campaign” and click “submit”
  5. You will see a screen that will say “Congrats! You all done”, click “Explore your account”
  6. From here, on the top menu bar click “tools” and then click “switch to expert mode” and follow the instructions to complete the switch
  7. Once you have done that, on the top menu bar click “tools” again, under planning click “keyword planner” and you’re done. You can now search keywords without having to have an ads campaign or fill out any credit card details.

Also keep in mind to:

  • Try place the keywords you are ranking for in your title
  • The longer your article, the better. Don’t write articles less than 1200 words.
  • Make sure your articles have lots of helpful information
  • Structure your articles with an introduction, body (have 1-3 subheading paragraphs), and a conclusion.

Step 17 – Social Media

Social media platforms are some of the best ways to get traffic to your website. Many of these social media platforms include Instagram, Youtube, Pinterest, Facebook, and TikTok.

If you decide to choose social media as another traffic source outside of just google traffic to your website you need to decide if you are taking the path of a personal or professional brand.

The difference between the two is a professional brand is not about you being the face but your business will take the front seat. This would mean that all your social media content will be around what your brand is about whether it be a comedy, educational, or informational but not showing who you are.

A personal brand is about you being front and center by posting content with you in it.

Whichever you choose you need to keep the following in mind:

  1. Make a list of the social media platforms you feel your website and its content will be liked by the users.
  2. What type of content will you be posting that is related to your website’s niche. Eg: If your niche is about how to make money online then your social media content should be around talking and educating people on how to make money online.
  3. Once you have come up with your ideas and social media platforms, you will need to start uploading your content. To help build a good following, I advise you to follow similar accounts to your and comment something friendly such as, “Really like your content” or “Such a great idea”

Step 18 – Monetization

This is where all websites make their money. This can be done through ad sense, promoting digital and physical products through affiliate links from different online stores, email marketing or even creating your own revenue stream through courses or e-books.

Almost all your money usually is commissioned based through you applying to become an affiliate for many online companies.

Affiliate Marketing:

The term affiliate marketing simply means that you are promoting a product or service on behalf of another company. When are accepted as an affiliate you will receive a unique url that if someone buys through that link you will receive a commission for that sale

To see if the company you want to promote has an affiliate program, go to google and type the companies name, and next to it type affiliate program to see if they have a program you can sign up to.

All digital and physical products you promote on your website should always be based on your niche. Eg: If your niche is fitness, then you would promote affiliate products such as exercise programs or equipment, memberships, or fitness activewear.

Always make sure you read their terms and conditions before signing up to any affiliate program and always only promote affiliate products that you believe in, know are good products, or use yourself.

Adsense:

Adsense are advertisements you have allowed Google to run on your website. With every ad clicked and purchased, you will earn a commission.

Email Marketing:

This is a type of marketing through an email opt-in newsletter your visitors voluntarily choose to sign up to on your website.

It is a great way to connect and build a relationship with whoever decided to sign up for your newsletter. These emails that you send out are a simple yet effective way to promote your affiliate products through your links, tell them all about your latest posts, and promote your courses or books you have created.

There are free wordpress plugins such as ‘mail chimp’ however when it comes to email marketing, using a paid software is a better and safer option.

Paid email marketing software like GetResponse allows you to have access to far more built-in features, privacy, and a variety of data collected that you don’t get from free software.

GetResponse is a subscription-based online platform that helps you create opt-in and pop-up forms as well as landing pages with many different templates, tools, and an easy drag and drop builder.

The best part is that you have the option to automate your emails by creating a workflow to your specified filters and preferred actions.

Automation helps you to automate your email strategy based on your subscriber’s actions to the emails you have sent such as:

  • Retarget subscribers who didn’t open their email. This happens more often than you think because of the number of emails a person receives in a day, sometimes your email could have gotten lost among all the unread emails. By scheduling a system that all emails not read within a set amount of days can be retargeted to resend that same email.
  • Resend emails that were opened but no click-through rate.
  • Preschedule the date and times new emails should be sent and to which subscribers.

These are just a few examples as to why having your emails automated will increase your sales, leads, and revenue.

Email marketing has been ranked as one of the highest converting revenue streams online and automated email marketing has been known to increase click-through rate 2x compared to manually sending one-off emails to your subscribers.

Conclusion:

If you have followed this entire guide and implemented every step, CONGRATULATIONS!

You can now call yourself a blogger and you would have noticed the process is not as difficult as you might have first thought.

Now is when the hard work begins…

Creating your blog was only the platform you needed, now is the time where you will need to work hard, be dedicated, and remember why you took the time to start a blog in the first place.

I’m saying all this because building your blog, getting that traffic, and creating your social profiles is going to take time.

“Always remember to stay learning in order to Stay Earning”