Step-by-step process of creating a blog.
#1. What Should I Blog About?
You’ve come to the conclusion that blogging is your thing, and you are ready to start the hard work.
As you sit there thinking about how fun it will be to write everyday, you realize that you are intelligent in many areas, so which one do you pick?’
Pick a topic that you are passionate about, that you can share unique information about. You want to pick a topic that you can write valuable information on, because your readers won’t come back if you are just giving them run of the mill info.
Google likes unique content, so make sure you pick a topic that you can write about without having to go to Google.
Now that you’ve picked your topic…
#2. What Should My Domain Name Be?
You want a domain name that describes your genre perfectly.
When you start searching, it is really useful to have 3 or 4 phrases to work with. For example, if you are starting a site on how to make a PB&J, you’d probably want to start with “peanut butter, jelly, PB&J’s, sandwiches” etc. Then mess around with words until you have something you like.
Once you get a few ideas of what you may want, remember these tips.
Make sure your domain is unique. You don’t want to name it something similar to a popular existing site.
Check for availability. I use ‘instantdomainsearch.com’. All you have to do is type in the domain name you are thinking of using, and they’ll tell you if it’s available, and if not, they’ll give you some suggestions for similar things. Here, I’ll make it easy. Click on the picture below and it’ll open the website in a new window.
Use ‘.com’ domains if you are looking for name recognition, branding, or google search traffic. Try and find a domain name that isn’t hard to understand or remember. You don’t want to pick something that uses a word like “onomatopoeia”, which most people won’t be able to spell.
You also don’t want a domain that is difficult to type and remember, such as “qvpz3s5zx”.
For example, if you have a site like “todayhaspower.com”, it is fairly simple, and a catchy phrase to remember. If you have something like ”laptops-tablecloths-chipsanddip.com” no-one is going to remember that long enough to tell their friends how much they enjoyed your site. The shorter the better. Also, the shorter the domain, the easier it will fit on business cards, etc.
When someone hears the name of your website, they should be able to make an accurate assumption of what is going to be there. For example, instantdomainsearch.com, autotrader.com, hotmail.com, etc.
One last thing to check before you purchase your domain, is that you aren’t infringing on a copyright.
#3. Should I host my own site for free, or buy a service?
I recommend always using a hosting company. If you host your website on something like blogspot (a free service), you don’t have a lot of room to grow. You are on a site with a million other blogs, and if you ever decide to move your site to your own domain, you’ll lose at least part of your blogspot audience.
Also, Google gives more love to blogs that are hosted and have their own domain name. The real question then becomes, what hosting company should I use?
You see commercials for GoDaddy, you see people with affiliate links plugging BlueHost, HostGator and GreenGeeks, but which service is the best?
I will not even link to the other hosts or join their affiliate programs. I am under contract with GreenGeeks on some sites but will be switching every site to HostGator. Period.
Personal experience. After working on dozens of sites, it is clear that HostGator is the bomb.
The customer service that HostGator has is the absolute best in the entire industry. They have walked me through a number of glitches without treating me as if I’m an idiot.
Here is a comment from a customer left at webhosting.com:
“When I was with HostGator’s shared hosting (from November 2010, to February 2011 – when my sites got too big for shared hosting, and I wanted more control) it was amazing. Support tickets were answered within 10 minutes, sales/billing tickets were answered within 30 minutes-an hour…they treated me like I was a lot more than just a dollar amount. I have had shared hosting with them, as well as a VPS. I had 0% downtime with them throughout the months I was hosted with them.”
Exactly my point.
The HostGator Shared Web Hosting plans include:
- Unlimited disk space
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Free Sitebuilder
- Easy to use Control Panel
- 1-Click Script installs
- 4,500 Free website templates
- 45-day money back guarantee
- Fully staffed technical support available 24-hours a day, every day
I am certain that you will be as satisfied with their service as I am.
#4. Install WordPress
I’m going to walk you through installing WordPress with HostGator.
Once you login to your cPanel, you are going to scroll down to the Quick Install icon.
Then, you are going to click on ‘WordPress’.
Then click ‘Continue’.
Now you will get a screen that looks like this:
You will need to fill out the application URL. For example, if you have more than one site, you need to make sure that you put in the URL for the one you are creating right now. Then fill out the other fields (the e-mail, blog title, and first and last name can be changed later in the dashboard).
Once you’ve done all this, click ‘install now’.
When it is finished installing, you should see something like this.
Congratulations, WordPress is successfully installed.
#5. Choosing and Installing a Theme
Now for some fun. Choosing a WordPress theme. There are so many themes, you can really let your creativity run wild! I use http://WordPress.org/extend/themes/ to search through their archives of free themes.
You can also get paid themes such as: Thesis or Elegant Themes, but this really depends on what the vision for your blog is. Free themes can only do so much. Do some research per your genre to see what will work for your application.
Now that you have your theme picked out, how do you get it on your site?
Well, first things first. You have to download it to your computer. When you find your theme on WordPress.org, there will be a box on the right hand side that says Download. Click on it.
Now you will see the file downloading.
It will usually show up on the bottom left hand corner of your screen.
When you click on it, it will take you to your download folder. It will be named whatever showed up at the bottom of the screen (twentytwelve.1.1.zip, for example).
Make sure the file says .zip at the end. Another way to be sure it’s a zipped folder, is when you are looking at it in your downloads, you should be able to see a ‘zip’ on the file. It will also say ‘Compressed (zipped) folder’.
Now that you have your theme downloaded and you’re sure it is in a zipped file, go ahead and log into your WordPress account.
You’ll see on the left side a little tab that says “appearance”. Click on that.
Then you’ll see ‘Install Themes’.
Click on upload.
Then, all you have to do is choose the zip file, and click install now.
Once it is installed, you will see this screen:
Click activate, and you are all set with a great WordPress theme!
Of course now you must put your awesome content on it.
I will be adding strategies from time to time on how you can increase traffic, social presence, etc.
Let me know if there is something else you would like to see, and I will work on it.