I am from Serbia, and here it is not so common for people to have their own blogs, like it is in the US. Well, I have been in this business for a few years, and since most of my work revolved around SEO, marketing, HTML, CSS and building up other people’s websites and their presence I have been covered with work and most of my friends never took the time to understand what I do. Well, all of that changed after I started this blog, now I have a dozen of forgotten friends calling me day and night asking how to do this and that and how to get started basically, how to make money online.
My usual response is to tell them to go to my blog and they will find everything there, if I haven’t written it I placed a link to other blogs that have. I mean why is it so hard for people to do their own research? Well, if that wasn’t so many marketers would be out of their paychecks which they get from online courses and webinars. So I decided to write a short crash course on how to start a blog, it will consist of 5 steps which I will publish in the course of the next week or so. The course will consist of:
- Blog Topic Research
- Getting Some Content Up
- Creating Social Media Accounts
- Promoting Your Blog & Building Your Presence
- Keeping Your Blog Running Until your Achieve Success
In this introduction we will cover the very basics:
- How to buy a domain and hosting
- How to choose your WordPress Theme and set your blog
Getting your domain and hosting is rather easy. I’m not going to talk about choosing a domain and doing research, that would take too much space and time all over again. If you want to learn about that subscribe to my mailing list and you will get my 10 Step SEO Tutorial and Practical SEO Keyword Bible eBook.
Domains are cheap, average $10 per year, so what it comes down to is choosing the hosting company and plan. My recommendations are Hostgator and DreamHost, but I also heard great things about BlueHost so it might be worth checking out, haven’t tried them but they can’t be bad since everyone is talking good things about them. If you are aiming for one single blog with low budget you might consider Hostgator’s lowest plan that includes on domain and hosting for $4.95 a month, which is really a bargain. If you want unlimited disk space and storage plus unlimited domains go for DreamHost. I looked over BlueHost and they seem to offer the same deal as DreamHost for $6.95 a month, which is amazing if it’s true, so if anyone uses BlueHost please leave your comment below and share your opinion.
Your choice of the hosting provider will depend on your needs and your plans for your blog or blogs. That is something you will have to think for yourself, options are here so choose.
Choosing a WordPress theme is another matter. Like with almost everything online you have two options, a free WP theme or a premium WP theme. The difference is the possibility of customization and also design and performance. There are plenty of great free themes out there, so if you are new go for a free theme of your choice, something that suits your blog topic or go for a simple white theme. Don’t go for 100 color themes or funky backgrounds. Once you are ready you can try premium themes like mine here, which is Thesis theme or you can go for Woo themes or other premium WordPress themes.
And now comes the hardest part, setting up your WordPress blog. Once you go into your hosting account you will find one click setup function that will let you install your WordPress blog with one click of a mouse. After that you will be given a login link where you will setup your basic info like the blog’s name and your password, all of which can be changed later.
I won’t tell you how to create a post or how to upload images; you can find all of that in WordPress tutorial. I will tell you about a few plugins you need to install on your WordPress blog. The most important plugin if you don’t have a Thesis theme is the SEO plugin, the choice comes down to All in One SEO Pack and Platinum SEO pack. When you create an HTML page you need to place three important things besides your content and those are the Title Page, Meta tags and Meta Description. These two plugins allow you to create these for each of your pages, so make sure you install them and use them each time you post something on your blog.
There are plenty of plugins that I use, but I am an advanced user, you probably won’t need a fifth of those plugins, so what you also need is Akismet plugin. This plugin is used to stop SPAM comments, a really useful plugin that will save you time and keep your blog 99% clean of SPAM. I also recommend installing Do Follow plugin as that will motivate more people to visit your blog and to leave comments as well as installing KeywordLuv plugin which allows your users to place their name and their keyword while using the keyword as their anchor text.
Once you have your blog setup, all plugins installed, your theme tweaked to your liking you are ready to research your topic and start getting some content up and work towards your goal.
Please leave comments below and ask any questions you might have and give any opinions or suggestions on the subject. And please don’t tell me that this is actually a 6 step tutorial, I know!
About The Author
Zarko Zivkovic is the founder and CEO of Practical SEO and also a passionate blogger. All of his free time he dedicates to his Practical SEO blog and giving free advice as well as participating in the blogging community.
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