HOW TO START A SUCCESSFUL BLOG IN 6 STEPS (EVEN IF IT IS 2020

So you’re interested in starting a blog?
Blogs are a great way for you to promote your career or business, advance a cause, or share your hobbies.
They’ve even become big business: the most successful blogs pull in millions of dollars a month.
In this article, we’ll show you exactly how to start your own blog.
We’ll walk you step-by-stepthrough getting a domain name, choosing a blogging platform, installing your first WordPress theme, and creating your first blog post.
We’ll also provide tips on how to get blogging ideas, how to use social media, and how to make money with your blog.

What’s Your Blog About?

What do you want to blog about? And why? If you already know, feel free to jump ahead to theStep-by-Step Guide.
If you haven’t figured out what you want to blog about, ask yourself:
  1. What do you enjoy spending time doing?
  2. What do people compliment you on?

How To Start A Blog

You’ll need about 20 minutes or so to create and launch your blog. Let’s get started!


Step #1 – Choose a Blogging Platform

To start your blog, you need a blogging platform for your site. A blogging platform is an online software service that makes it easy to create a blog and manage your content.
While there are lots of platforms to choose from, we think WordPress is the best. If you’ve already picked WordPress, move ahead to Step #2.

WordPress: The World’s Most Popular Blog Platform

WordPress is the world’s most popular blogging platform for good reasons.
It’s:
  • Easy to use
  • Fast to set up
  • Endlessly customizable.
You can use “themes” and “plugins” to customize your WordPress blog.
  • Themes are visual designs. Choose from thousands of options.
  • Plugins add features to your blog. Examples are an event calendar, photo gallery, computer games, email newsletter forms, and recipe cards.


wordpress themes
On the WordPress.org website you can browse the thousands of free and commercial WordPress themes.

Did we mention there are over56,000 plugins to choose from?
Just like your favorite burger joint that lets you build your own, WordPress lets you create a blog with the design and features you want.

Sounds Good: How Much Does It Cost?

WordPress is free. But not all themes and plugins are free. Still, you get a great deal.
You’ll need to pay for web hosting. Web hosting is the service that gets your blog online so others can see it.

WordPress Alternatives: Top Website Builders

You may have heard of website builders, like WeeblyWix orSquarespace.
Like WordPress, these platforms enable you to quickly create a professional-looking blog.
How do these site builders differ from WordPress?
  • With site builders, web hosting is “built in.” You can’t choose your web host. You can’t switch to a different one in the future.
  • They don’t have as many customization options as WordPress does.
The vast majority of bloggers — particularly successful bloggers — choose the flexibility of WordPress


Step #2 – Sign Up For Web Hosting

To get a WordPress blog, start by signing up for web hosting.
We recommend Bluehost. Here’s why:
  • They’ll instantly create your WordPress blog for you.
  • Everything about Bluehost is beginner-friendly.
  • You get 24/7 support.
  • Plans start at only $2.95/month with our exclusive discount link.
  • There are no contracts.
  • Bluehost’s server speeds arefast. (No one likes a slow-loading blog page!)
wordpress bluehost

Wait, How Do I Get Help With My Blog?

Good question. Most web hosts don’t provide any assistance with websites. But you can sign up for something called “WP Live” through Bluehost.
WP Live gives you access to WordPress pros who can answer questions, help you fix problems, help you customize your blog, and advise you on growing traffic. You can cancel WP Live at any time. Use it when you need it. Cancel it when you don’t.

Signing Up Is Simple

Click through to Bluehost with our special discount link.  Then begin to scroll down the page.
Click on the green “Get Started” button.
bluehost get started
Fill Out Your Information
  • The first screen you’ll see will ask you to choose adomain. You can skip this for now if you like.
  • The next screen will ask you for contact and billinginformation.
  • And it will ask you to pick a plan (“Package“) from the drop-down menu (highlighted in yellow below):
bluehost discount
Choose the Basic Plan
If you’re just getting started with your first blog, we recommend the Basic Plan.
This is the lowest-cost plan. It gets you everything you need plus goodies like automatic updates of the WordPress software and a free domain name for a year.


Step #4 – Set Up Your WordPress Blog

When you sign up for hosting and choose a domain name, Bluehost automatically “installs” WordPress. This means that your blog has been instantly created for you.
To access your blog from your Bluehost dashboard, you can click on “Log in to WordPress” button on the dashboard home page. (Or you can click “My Sites” and choose “Log in to WordPress.”)
bluehost login wordpress

Your WordPress Login information

You’ll receive WordPress login information by email. This includes your:
  • Username (“admin” by default)
  • Password (whatever password you entered)
  • WordPress Login URL
    (This will look something like like http://blogging.com/wp-admin/)
Note: You can log in to your WordPress site directly (without using the Bluehost dashboard) if you like. The WordPress login page will look like this:

How To Use WordPress Dashboard

After login, you’ll see the WordPress dashboard. This is where you can alter the design of your blog or add new content.

In a few short moments, you’ll be ready to create your first blog posts or pages, like your contact page or other “must have” pages.

Basic Settings

Good news: WordPress works great right out of the box – even if you do nothing else!
But there are 2 simple adjustments you should make.
a) Check Your Blog’s Name
You chose this when you installed WordPress – now’s your chance to make any changes. In Settings > General, customize your:
  • Site Title (eg, Blogging.com)
  • Tagline (a strapline displayed below the logo in many WordPress themes)
b) Set Up Your Permalinks Preferences
“Permalinks” are the “permanent links” of your blog posts. Because each one contains (by default) the title of the post, they can help search engines, like Google, find and understand your blog posts more easily.
You have a few options as to how they display.
In Settings option of the left-hand menu, go to Permalinks. They’ll be set to “Plain”.
We suggest you use:
  • Post name” (eg, blogging.com/sample-post/)
Whatever permalink structure you choose, be prepared to stick with it. If you change it after adding content to your site your original links may become “broken.”

About WordPress Themes

“Don’t focus on having a great blog. Focus on producing a blog that’s great for your readers.”
Brian Clark, Copyblogger
WordPress has countless free themes to choose from to get your blog live ASAP.
Your choice of WordPress theme allows you to get creative, and make your blog look and feel just like home.
The good news is WordPress makes it super-easy to chop and change your WordPress theme. You can change it every day of the year if you want to!

How to Choose a WordPress Theme
So: should you use a free theme or pay for a premium WordPress theme?
  • New blogger? Use a free WordPress theme. You’ll be able to experiment to find out what you like.
  • Experienced blogger? Upgrade to premium themes and expect to pay anywhere from $29- $99. (Check outGenesis by StudioPress.com,Envato Elements, andElegant Themes)
wordpress theme
Twenty Seventeen is a popular free WordPress theme. 
How to Install a New WordPress Theme
WordPress makes it simple to alter the theme of your website:
  1. From your WordPress dashboard, go to Appearance > Themes > Add New
  2. Now you’ll see all of WordPress’s featured themes. You can choose one of these or search for the names of themes you’ve heard about.
  3. To narrow your search, use the Feature Filter to select the layout, your desired features, and your blog subject.
  4. Once you find a theme you like, you can preview it with your content. If you don’t have any website content or the plugins necessary for the theme, this preview might not look like anything like the final product.
  5. Once you’ve picked a winning theme, just clickInstall then click Activate, and you’re done!
All of your blog content will appear in the new theme, and you shouldn’t need to do anything else to get the new theme up and running.

How To Customize WordPress With Plugins

You can use plugins to add features to your site. 
Plugins are extensions that add features and help unleash the power of WordPress. Popular plugins do things like:
  • Improve SEO (making your blog appear higher in the search engines)
  • Speed up your site with “caching” (makes your blog load faster)
  • Add fancy forms
How to Install Plugins:
  1. Click Plugins Add New from your WordPress dashboard
  2. Check out the featured plugins on this page for the most popular options.
  3. Use the search function to find plugins for the specific features you want to add to your website.
  4. When you find a plugin you like, just click Install Now.
  5. Activate the plugin and you’re good to go!
Three Free WordPress Plugins You Need
In our opinion, there are three “must have” WordPress plugins that every blog should have. Go ahead and install these for your blog right away.
On the WordPress dashboard, go to “Plugins”, then “Add New” and search for them by name.
  1. Akismet, to prevent junk comments filling your blog. It’s free and built by the same team that made WordPress, Automattic.
  2. WP Super Cache, to speed up your blog. It’s also by Automattic.
  3. Yoast SEO, which makes it really easy to optimize your blog for search engines.
The free version of Yoast SEO is fine – you don’t need Yoast SEO premium.
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