You may have a passion for writing, a skill you want to share, or you may be looking for a way to generate an extra source of income from home. No matter what your inspiration is, you can be successful as a blogger if you stay motivated. You’ll see that it may not be as complicated as you think to start a blog.
Through this is 100% beginner-friendly guide, you will learn how simple it can be to claim your space in the blogging world. Keep in mind, it may be simple, but it does require work.
Every successful blogger has one thing in common – passion. If you are passionate about your blog topic, you will keep motivated and add content consistently! Let’s dive in.
This post may contain links to affiliate websites, and we may receive an affiliate commission for any purchases made by you on the affiliate website using such links.
This is at no additional cost to you (in fact, in many cases you get a discount).
We do not promote products or services that we have used or tested, and truly believe in.
Covering the Basics
When starting a blog as an absolute beginner, there are some common terms you are going to hear, and you may be wondering what type of budget to expect to spend. Let’s cover that first to get you up to speed.
- Web Hosting – This is the terminology used to describe the storage space of your actual website files. Technically speaking, your files are stored on a server (aka, a computer) in a “data centre” specifically meant for websites. There are technically ways to host your website from your own computer, but they are highly technical and often times unreliable.
- Domain Name – The URL of a website (ie. www.google.ca)
- TLD (Top-Level Domain) – The extension of your domain name (ie. The TLD of google.ca, is .ca)
- WordPress – The most popular user-friendly software to create a website or blog. (it’s also, free!)
- Niche – By definition, it is “a specialized segment of the market for a particular kind of product or service.” In simplest terms, it is the primary topic of your blog.
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – This is the practice of meeting the requirements to help your website appear higher in search engine results.
Basic Budget Scenarios
There are many opportunities to spend more to upgrade certain aspects of your website, or tools when you want to start a blog. Here’s a sample budget for the first full year of blogging with the core basics.
- Web Hosting: $71.40/year (HostPapa’s Business Plan on Canadian servers)
- Domain Name: $0.00 (included with web hosting plan)
- Website Design: $0.00 (we’ll use a free WordPress theme)
- First Year Total: $71.40 (yes, this is in Canadian Dollars)
If this is too high of a commitment for you, we can look at a monthly plan with DreamHost:
- Web Hosting: $4.95/month (USD, DreamHost is not Canadian)
- Domain Name: (you cannot register a domain for less than one year)
- $6.99/year for a .com domain (USD)
- $16.95/year for a .ca domain (USD)
- Website Design: $0.00 (we’ll use a free WordPress theme)
- First Month Total: Up to $21.90 (USD)
- Monthly after first month: $4.95 (USD)
By the end of the first year you will have paid $76.35 USD (roughly $90-100 CAD) with the monthly option. I highly recommend opting for at least a 1-year plan with HostPapa for many reasons we will get into in more depth later.
If you have any questions along the way, please drop a comment at the bottom of this post.
I always respond within 24 hours, but typically much sooner!
Step 1: Choose a Niche
A blog niche is a specific topic you will focus on throughout your blogging journey. Finding the right niche is one of the most crucial steps when you want to start a blog, as it will be the foundation of your content.
Depending on who you are, coming up with that perfect niche to blog about can be the easiest or toughest part of getting started. You may already know what you want to blog about, or you may know you want to start a blog but you don’t know what to write about yet.
Start by making a list of your interests. Don’t limit yourself to what you think would make a good blog niche, just jot everything down. Think about your hobbies, skills, routines and habits. What do you read about, listen to, and watch regularly? What are some significant things you’ve accomplished in the past?
Once you think your list is complete, start running back through your list for good blog niches. Your perfect niche could already be written on your page, or it could stem from something you’ve written. For example, perhaps you’ve written “fitness” as an interest – you can branch this out into great niche’s such as “everyday home fitness” or “crossfit moms.”
The most important factors in choosing a successful niche are:
- Your Interest & Experience on the Subject
- Size of the Niche Audience
- Competitors in the Market
- Monetization Potential
Your Interest & Experience on the Subject
You must be passionate about your chosen niche. You will be regularly posting new content, and it’s important that you won’t run out of interest or ideas.
If you have a passion for the topic you’re writing about, you’re more likely to continue putting in the time and stick with it.
Your interest and experience will be reflected in your writing, and your readers will feel your passion. If you don’t actually have an understanding of what you’re righting about, your readers will not take you seriously.
Size of the Niche Audience
Google Trends is a great resource for finding how many people are looking for your potential niche. Try searching your niche, keeping it as brief as possible. Example: If your potential niche is “keto meals” just search those two words.
Don’t only look at the number of people searching, but also the overall trend. Does it seem to be on a down-ward trend? If so, you may want to rethink your niche.
Competitors in the Market
Google can help you with this one, too. Do a quick search on Google to see how many results come up.
The sweet-spot you’re looking for here, is between 1 million and 50 million results. I know, it sounds like a lot, but trust me. If your key words come up with less than 1 million results, then your topic is likely “too niche” or just not profitable at all. If there are over 50 million results, it’s going to be a lot harder to break into this market and get your blog to the top of the page.
Try broadening or narrowing your niche to get into this “sweet-spot.”
There are several different ways to monetize your blog. You will have to determine which methods you plan to use to generate revenue from your blog, while staying on-niche.
- Affiliate Marketing
- Google AdSense
- Sponsored Posts
Other avenues could be direct product sales (either physical or virtual products) if you have a product to sell.
We’ll cover these topics in more depth later, but for now just think: are there products on amazon.ca that your readers may be encouraged to purchase? Are there businesses who may want to pay for you to blog about them?
Step 2: Choose a Domain Name
In this section, we are just going to find a domain name, but don’t buy it yet! We will buy our domain name when we purchase our web hosting. You can buy a domain name from one company, and hosting at another, but this adds technical complexities and you typically will get a free domain name with 1-year hosting plans.
While your domain name is the address for your visitors, it is also a huge piece of your brand. While the content or design of your blog may shift and change along the way, your domain name should remain the same throughout the course of your blogs activity. So no pressure, but it’s gotta be perfect!
Your domain name choice may feel obvious right away. If your blog has a short and unique name, you may be able to turn it right into a domain name. Most of the time, this isn’t the case. It’s like finding a good Gmail address, it can be hard to find and you probably will have to get creative!
Keep it Short and Sweet
Shorter domain names can be harder to lock-down due to their popularity and ambiguity. I can tell you, without having to look it up, that food.com is already taken.
Don’t let it discourage you! It may take a couple of searches before you find a domain name that works for you. You want your domain name to be easy to remember, easy to spell, and easy to connect to your blog.
Choose a Simple TLD
Always go with a .com or .CA domain name, whenever possible.
If your target audience is specifically Canadian, choose a .CA domain name. Canadians are 4x more likely to prefer .CA than .com websites for shopping when they have a choice. (Source: cira.ca) Adversely, international visitors will likely not be drawn to your blog with a Canada-specific TLD.
If your audience is not specifically Canadian, choose a .com domain name. This is the easiest TLD for the average visitor to remember. You are free to choose from many different TLDs, but these two are absolutely the top recommended for Canadian bloggers.
One thing to keep in mind, is .CA domains are typically more expensive than .com domains.
Is it Available?
With millions of websites live and running today, many domain names are already spoken for. Use a domain checker to search for available domain names before you commit yourself to a domain name.
I found one! Now what?
You can register your domain name with any domain registrar – however, we recommend registering your domain name with the same company as your web hosting. Especially for beginners, this simplifies everything. Plus, most web hosting packages offer a free domain name when you purchase web hosting.
If you register your domain name with one registrar, then want to change web hosts later, you can absolutely do that. Some web hosts offer free domain name transfers, others will charge you a transfer fee. Either way, you do not need to transfer the domain name when you’re transferring web hosts – although this could get confusing and a little bit more technical.
Step 3: Set-Up Web Hosting
Now, let’s get to the fun part and start getting things set up! For the sake of this guide (and to stay true to our heritage!) we are going to walk through setting up with HostPapa. HostPapa is Canadian, and offers everything you’ll need to get started.
We reviewed the Top 4 Web Hosting Companies, if you want to compare.
If you opt for a different web host, your options may be a bit different, but the premise will be the same. Keep in mind most non-Canadian web hosts often list their prices in USD.
Choose a Plan
Navigate to HostPapa’s website. You’ll see discounted rates for using our affiliate link.
Any of the plans are likely to be sufficient for getting started. HostPapa offers a 30-day money back guarantee (domain names are not refundable – if you get a free domain name, you’ll be charged $14.99 for it that if you cancel within 30 days. You’ll still own this domain name for the year, in case you decide to come back to it later).
Here are some key difference between their plans:
- Starter Plan
- Host up to two websites on one plan. If you do want an additional website, you will have to purchase an additional domain name. (Chances are, you’d be doing this later down the line, not now)
- 100 GB of storage space, this is plenty for most blogs. If you find it’s not enough, you can upgrade very easily at any time.
- 100 email accounts (ie. email@example.com)
- Business Plan
- Host unlimited website (same as above, additional domain names would cost extra)
- Unlimited storage space (the starter plan likely has enough storage space for your needs, but sometimes you just don’t want limits)
- Unlimited email accounts
- 2x CPU resources (this means a faster website)
- Business Pro Plan
- Same as Business Plan, but with 4x CPU resources (much faster website)
- Automated Website Backup (if anything were to happen to the server – which is rare – you would have a full website backup. More importantly, if you accidentally make an irreparable mistake on your website, they can restore a backup for you)
- Domain Privacy (personal information for the person who owns a domain is publicly available without Domain Privacy – .CA domains include the option for Domain Privacy for free already)
Overall, my recommendation is always the Business Plan, because I loathe having any restrictions. Ultimately, you can upgrade or downgrade your plan at any time, so don’t stress too much over it.
Click on GET STARTED > under the plan of your choosing.
Scroll down to see your order details.
Choose the billing term of your preference. The shortest term offered is 1-year, but you’ll notice as the length of your term increases, your price decreases. Another thing to keep in mind, is after your first term, your plan will renew at the regular price ($10.99/month for Starter. $15.99/month for Business. $25.99/month for Business Pro).
You’ll find their “website essential” add-ons can add-up rather quickly. You can un-check all of the add-ons if you want and get started just fine, but here are my recommendations if you are just getting your start in blogging:
- Protection Power Website Security – Scrap it. HostPapa already offers the basic security features needed. If you start to grow your traffic or sales exponentially, you can revisit this later.
- Automated Website Backup – Keep it. $19.95/year is a small price to pay for this peace of mind. Hopefully you’ll never need it, but I see it as “insurance” just in case.
- Single SSL Certificate – Scrap it. If you’re starting a blog, their Free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate is sufficient. If you plan on selling products and accepting credit cards directly from your website, then you should keep it.
- PapaCare+ – Scrap it. HostPapa offers amazing support as it is, and this is a substantial added expense.
Once you’ve chosen your billing term, server location and website essentials, click NEXT STEP >.
Add Your Domain Name
Type your desired domain name into the box, click GET MY DOMAIN then ADD AND CONTINUE >. The system may skip you right past this step and to Account Details, that’s fine.
Hopefully by now you already know what domain name you want, and if it’s available. If it’s not available, HostPapa will let you know the name is taken, and make other recommendations.
Enter your personal information here, followed by your payment information.
Before clicking PLACE YOUR ORDER > be sure to double-check your options on the right hand side.
- Is the number of months accurate for the term you wanted?
- Is your domain name spelt correctly? (if you make a mistake, you will have to purchase a new domain name)
- Are the Website Essentials what you wanted?
- Does the total seem accurate?
If it all looks good, go ahead and PLACE YOUR ORDER!
You may get a handful of emails from HostPapa for the various aspects you registered for. Most importantly, look out for “Welcome to the HostPapa family!” which will contain your Client ID and Password, to log in to the Dashboard.
Step 4: Install WordPress
WordPress is the top Content Management System, with endless possibilities for customization, without having to know a lick of code. Best of all, it’s 100% free for life, and most web hosts make it super easy to install automatically.
Log In to cPanel
Your cPanel is the hub to control everything within your new hosting package. It’s very powerful, but can appear a bit overwhelming at first glance.
From your HostPapa Dashboard, click on My cPanel.
Some neat things you can check out are:
- Subdomains – Create subdomains (ie. sub.yourdomain.ca)
- Email Accounts – Set up email accounts @yourdomain.ca
- Forwarders – Forward email send to @yourdomain.ca to another email account
- Awstats – Gives you some helpful statistics about your visitors
I won’t be covering these topics here, but feel free to have a peek at them!
Scroll down to navigate to “WordPress Toolkit” or search for it at the top of your cPanel account. You should see a screen like the one below, then you’ll want to click Install.
You’ll be given some options for your installation. These should be pretty straightforward.
- Installation path – You’ll want to select “https” if available, and make sure the right domain name is selected. If you’re installing WordPress on a subdomain or in a sub-folder, you’ll want that to be reflected here. For the sake of this guide, you will want to select your primary domain, without a sub-folder.
- Website title – The name of your website or blog. This can be changed later, if you’re still unsure about the name of your blog.
- Plugin/theme set – You can play around with these later, but for now choose “None”
- Website language – Likely you’ll want to select “English (Canada)”, but choose the language most appropriate for you
- Version – Make sure to select the “(current)” version
- WordPress Administrator – This will be your information to log in to your WordPress Admin area. The default username will show as “admin_” followed by random letters and numbers. This is because just “admin” as a username is not secure. You can change this to whatever you’d like, but it shouldn’t be easy to guess.
- Database – The values here do not need to be changed. They are all randomly generated for security. This will create what’s called a MySQL Database, which stores all of your website information.
- Automatic Update Settings – The default values here are also fine.
Now, let’s click “Install”! This process will take a few minutes, be sure not to close the page before it’s finished. Once it’s complete, you’ll see the screen below;
You can select “No, thanks” because we will Install plugins and themes from the Admin page!
Log in to WP Admin
To log in to your WordPress Admin area, you can either click “Log in” from your WordPress Toolkit, or just navigate to yourdomain.ca/wp-admin
You’ll want to bookmark this page to come back to it more easily. We’ll come back to this page shortly to install our Theme!
Step 5: Choose a WordPress Theme
Your Theme will be the starting place of your blog’s entire design. There is no shortage of Themes available on the internet. As a beginner, you’ll want to start with a theme that generally looks the way you’ll want your blog to look. There are plenty of Free and Premium Themes available online.
Free WordPress Themes
You can find thousands of free themes on WordPress’ official website. WordPress has a very strict review process for free themes to be listed in their directory, so I recommend only downloading free themes from WordPress.org.
WordPress’ theme directory can also be found in your WP Admin panel, which you’ll see in the “Installing Free Themes” section below.
Premium WordPress Themes
If you have some extra budget and want to splurge on a Premium Paid Theme, I highly recommend Envato Market. Premium Themes tend to offer more flexibility than Free Themes, however in most cases, you can find a free theme that suits your needs.
Premium Themes will often have different site editors, which can tend to give you more powerful customization options without coding.
I’ll walk you through installing my absolute favourite free theme, Neve. Neve is a Free Theme with Premium Options – what I love about these kinds of themes, is that they can grow with you. If you start raking in the dough, you can pay for additional functions, but they are just amazing on their own.
As with most Free Themes with Premium Options, Neve comes with multiple different demos and starter sites, making it extremely flexible for any niche. Check out their different demos here. We’ll be starting with the Fitness Trainer starter site.
You don’t have to use Neve, all Free WordPress Theme installations will follow the same steps. Check our Resources page for other top recommended themes.
Step 6: Install WordPress Theme
Head back to your WordPress Admin Dashboard (reminder, that can be found at yourdomain.ca/wp-admin), go to Appearance > Themes.
This screen will show you the Themes you currently have installed – likely just a few of WordPress’ default themes, which they create annually. From here, you’ll click Add New at the top.
Using the search bar on the right, we’ll search “Neve.” The first theme that should come up is the one we want here. Hover over the thumbnail, and click Install.
Once it’s installed, the “Install” button will switch to “Activate” – go ahead and click “Activate” once it is installed.
Step 7: Customize Your New WordPress Theme
Now that we’ve installed Neve, we can choose our Starter Site and start customizing it to exactly how we want it.
Importing Starter Site
From the page after Activating the Neve theme (seen below), we will click “Try one of our ready to use Starter Sites.” (If you already navigated away from this page, go to Appearance > Neve Options, from your side menu.)
You will be prompted to Install and Activate the Cloud Templates & Patterns Collection plugin (specific to Neve Theme). Once you Install and Activate the plugin, you should see a page where you can choose your Starter Site.
If you’re not using the same Starter Site as me, use the “Categories” dropdown at the top right to select “Free” to make sure you’re only looking at Free Starter Sites.
Hover over the thumbnail of the Starter Site you’d like to use and click Import.
You will be prompted to state that you are about to import a “complete site.” If you’re following this guide, this is the way to go. If you already have started making customizations to your website, this may overwrite some of what you have already done.
Since we haven’t customized anything yet, we are good to keep the default settings, scroll down and click Import entire site.
Once everything has imported successfully, click on Back to sites library to get us back to our WordPress Admin area.
Customizing Starter Site
Now, here we are. The base is ready for you! Take a peek at your website now – looks pretty darn good, eh? Probably not exactly what you want yet, but that’s YOUR website!
Let’s navigate to Appearance > Customize, from the sidebar of your WordPress Admin panel.
You are going to see a ton of customization options in here – this applies to absolutely any theme. I won’t go through them individually, but my suggestion is to go through every tab, one at a time, and make your changes. Don’t worry about the content itself at this point, just pay attention to the overall layout of the website.
When you’re done, click Publish at the top right hand side of the left menu. To get out of the Customize section, click the “X” at the top left.
Step 8: Install Plugins
Plugins provided added functionality to your WordPress site. You can find thousands of plugins on WordPress’ website. You don’t want to add too many plugins as it can slow down your website – plugins with multiple functionality is best!
None of the plugins in this step are required, so you can skip this step entirely if you’re in a hurry. I’ll go through five standard popular plug-ins that I would recommend for every site.
5 Must-Have WordPress Plugins
Most popular plugins have both free and premium options. The five I’m going to recommend you start with here all have outstanding free versions, and you do not have to pay for the premiums.
- Jetpack – WP Security, Backup, Speed, & Growth
- Smush – Lazy Load Images, Optimize & Compress Images
- Akismet Spam Protection
- Elementor Website Builder
- Yoast SEO
How to Install Plugins
Installing plugins really couldn’t be any easier. Some will have additional settings once you’ve installed them.
From your WP Admin dashboard, go to Plugins > Add New, on the sidebar.
Using the search bar at the top right to search for the plugin you are looking for, then click Install Now. Once the plugin has installed, click Activate.
Depending on the plugin, you may be redirected to a page for additional set-up options.
Jetpack – WP Security, Backup, Speed, & Growth
Some of the free features in JetPack include: Downtime monitoring, lazy loading images, social media tools, and statistics.
There are paid options of Jetpack to add automated backups, SEO tools, video hosting and more – but the free version is great as it is.
Once you install Jetpack, it will automatically bring you to the page with the paid features, but you can scroll to the bottom to select Start for free.
TIP: HostPapa has a WP Business Pro plan for $12.95/month which includes Jetpack Premium.
Smush – Lazy Load Images, Optimize & Compress Images
High quality images on your website mean large image sizes, which will ultimately slow down your website. Smaller devices (like mobile) need smaller file sizes – but if you build your website with mobile-sized photos, your quality will suffer on larger devices.
Smush will compress your photos automatically, for the device they’re needed for. This will optimize your page load times.
After installing and activating Smush, you’ll find a new option on the main menu of your WP Admin Dashboard. Here, Smush will guide you through step-by-step how to start optimizing.
Akismet Spam Protection
Spam is only of the things that honestly caught me off-guard with my first blog. It was just a personal blog and I just didn’t feel like I was “worthy” of spam.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case – plus, your blog is going to be way more popular than my first blog was!
Akismet is built by Automattic, WordPress’ parent company, so you know you can trust it.
TIP: If you opted to pay for a JetPack plan earlier that includes spam protection, I would skip Akismet just to limit the number of plugins on your site, since it will already have you covered!
Akismet should be already installed in your WordPress site, but we will still need to activate it.
Once you activate Akismet, it will guide you through the pretty quick set-up process. You’ll be prompted to the paid versions, but as always, the free version is still amazing.
Elementor Website Builder
WordPress has come a long way since the days I began with it. The Classic Editor is significantly more limited when it comes to functionality, if you’re not fond of coding.
Starting with WordPress 5.0, launched in December 2018, the default platform for editing pages and posts is now called Gutenberg. Gutenberg introduced block-style editing, and in simple terms is just more visual, and “drag and drop.”
It’s definitely an improvement, but there is something better. Elementor.
Elementor is referred to as a “front end” editor, meaning you’re getting a more realistic idea of what your published page or post will look like, as you build it.
As with everything, Elementor has both free and paid versions.
Once you’ve installed and activated Elementor, you will see an “Edit with Elementor” button on pages you haven’t used Elementor on before. Once we start building pages with Elementor, this will flow more naturally.
NOTE: For the remainder of this guide, I will not be using Elementor. While Elementor is one of the most popular website builders, it’s not default with WordPress, so I want to ensure this guide works for everyone. If you do (and I hope you do!) opt to use Elementor, most of the steps will be very similar, but will just look a little different.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will be a crucial part of your growth in popularity. We’ll chat more on this later, but for now let’s at least get our plugin in place.
SEO is a complex art – I absolutely hated it needing to learn it, but Yoast SEO makes it easy to learn in a simple way as you go.
You’ll be guided through with every page and post you create, making sure you’re using enough of the right keywords, your headings are set up properly, you have a safe amount of external and internal links in your post – everything!
On top of that, the free version still creates an XML Sitemap for you – which is essentially just a map of your website that search engines use to find your content.
Once you install and activate Yoast SEO, you will notice a new item in the top toolbar in your WP Admin Panel.
Hover over this and click “Notifications” to see the “Start SEO data optimization” option to finish the basic set up of the plugin.
Step 9: Set Up Static Pages
Most blogs have a combination of Pages, and Posts. Posts are your blog posts, which should be posted pretty regularly.
Pages are typically more individualized than Posts, and typically you would have a number of standard pages that you may update regularly, but generally would remain the same.
Two basic Static Pages most blogs have are:
- Home Page
- Contact [Us/Me]
First, let’s go over how to edd/add/delete pages in WordPress.
Working with Pages
To see all of your pages, in the WP Admin Dashboard go to Pages > All Pages.
To edit a page, hover over the page name you want to edit, and click Edit. This will bring you to WordPress’ Gutenberg block editor page.
Here, you can directly edit the text on your page, re-arrange sections, add sections, add photos – you name it!
Once you click on a “block” or section, you will find more options on the right-hand side will appear. Here you can customize many features including colours, background, sizing etc.
To add a block or section to your page, click the + in the top left hand corner, and you will see all of the blocks available to you. There are a ton of different ways to combine sections/blocks together to create exactly the look you want – it just takes a bit of playing around to realize just how powerful it can be.
For the landing page of your website, you can either choose to create a page, or display your most recent posts.
From your WP Admin Dashboard, navigate to Appearance > Customize to bring you back to the Customizer view. From here, go to Layout > Homepage Settings, and you will see the option to either choose your landing page (a static page) or display your latest posts.
While this page could seem fairly obvious, I wanted to show you the simplest way to include a contact form on your Contact Us page.
The Contact Form 7 plugin is the most popular contact form plugin available on WordPress. Best of all, it’s ridiculously simple and completely free.
Once you’ve installed and activated the plugin, you’ll see a new “Contact” section on the sidebar of your WP Admin Dashboard. Let’s add a form together.
Navigate to Contact > Add New.
It will automatically populate the bones for a basic contact form, which could be perfectly fine for you as is. Let’s add a title, then select the “Mail” tab above the form.
The settings here, are what will happen when someone fills in the contact form. Again the default values could already be perfectly fine, but you can adjust them as needed.
Once you have your form how you want it, click the Save button on the right.
Now go to the Edit view for the page you want to add the form to. Click the + in the top left to add a block, and find “Contact Form 7” under “Widgets.”
You’ll be prompted to choose the contact form that you’d like to place, then click Update in the top right to save the page. Et voila, your contact form is live!
Step 10: Create WordPress Posts
So your blog is up and ready, your static pages are in place, your design is looking amazing – now lets add that content.
From your WP Admin Dashboard, head over to Posts > All Posts.
Delete Default Posts
You’ll see a list of the posts you currently have. One should be “Hello World” which is the default starter post that shows up with any new WordPress installation. If you used a theme with a “Starter Site,” you may see other pre-populated posts here, too.
If you have pre-populated posts from a starter site, take a peek at them before you delete them. Sometimes there are added features that you can preview here that may have come with your Theme.
Otherwise, I like to start with a fresh canvas. You can either hover over the post(s) and click “Trash,” or tick the checkboxes and select “Move to Trash” under “Bulk Options” then click “Apply.”
Add New Posts
Click on “Add New” at the top, next to the heading “Posts.”
This will bring you to a familiar Gutenberg block builder page. Similar to creating pages, this will use block to create your post. Most of your blocks will likely be “Paragraph” or “Heading” blocks.
See this post about How to Write Engaging Blog Posts.
On the right-hand side, you will see Post settings and Block settings. As you’re working on your post, it will automatically switch to Block settings where you can modify your content accordingly.
Under Post settings you’ll find a number of settings for your post itself.
- Status & visibility – You can change the visibility of the post (Public, private or password protected), schedule the post to go live at a later date, or stick it to the top of the blog (think of it like “pinning” a post, it will always display first)
- Yoast SEO – If you have this plugin installed, you’ll see your SEO status here. I suggest going through the prompts suggested by Yoast SEO here on every single post; after you’ve finished writing it, but before you post it live.
- Permalink – This is the URL to this specific page. Once it goes live, you can change the permalink. (But don’t change this after you’ve started sharing the link!)
- Categories – Here you can assign a category to your post. I recommend always assigning a category to every post, and suggest trying to stick with one category per post, max two.
- Tags – Tags are similar to categories, but tend to be more specific. Think “hashtags” here, same idea.
- Featured image – What happens with this will vary based on your theme. Generally, it is displayed prominently at the top of your Post, and it’s used as the thumbnail when links to this post are on other pages throughout your blog.
- Excerpt (optional) – This is meant to be a very brief summary of your post. It can be displayed in places like your Archive or Categories page, followed by a “Read More” link guiding readers to the full post.
- Discussion – You can turn comments on or off here.
Every time I write a new post, I always click through every setting to ensure nothing is missed.
Generally, try to keep formatting as simple as possible. Try and stay away from manually adjusting fonts, font colours, font sizes.
Try and use the headings and paragraph fonts as they are, only making adjustments for bolding, underlining and italicising. To make adjustments, go into the Customize screen (from WP Admin Dashboard, Appearance > Customize) and adjust your overall font settings here.
This will keep things uniform across your blog posts, and make your life a heck of a lot easier if you change your theme in the future.
Step 11: Add Monetization Features
I firmly believe in building up your audience first, before trying to monetize your blog too heavily. The fastest way to scare away an audience is to harass them with inconvenient and flashy ad placements right off the hop.
Affiliate Marketing is a super effective way to slip monetization into any blog in a meaningful way, if you do it right.
See this post about 3 Ways to Make Money Blogging
3 Ways to Make Money Blogging
There are many ways to turn your blog into a passive income generator. The top three most popular methods are: Affiliate Marketing, Advertising, and Sponsored Content. You can start making money blogging pretty efficiently with these tools. It’s best to choose one revenue stream to start, then once you feel it’s steadily implemented into your…
Wow! You made it to the end. Congratulations. Starting a blog is simple, but certainly not easy. There is work involved, but it can be so rewarding.
Once you get going, you will likely be constantly making tweaks to your layout, formatting, and overall style. WordPress truly makes it so easy to make these changes as you go.
You’ll become a WordPress pro in no time, honestly.
I love to hear from people who have benefitted from my guides. If you have followed this guide, please contact me, I truly would love to hear from you. Whether it’s to show off your creation, or ask any questions.
This Post Has 2 Comments
This is SO helpful! It looked intimidating at first but really walked me through everything – THANK YOU!
I have a question! I went with a domain that wasn’t really my first choice… I’m still happy with it, but would have preferred one that’s already taken. Is the domain I wanted taken forever or is there a chance it could come available again?
Thanks for the great feedback, appreciate it! I’m so happy to hear you’re getting your blog up and running.
Domain names can be tricky. I would suggest getting comfortable with the domain name you’ve chosen, but all hope is not lost. You can do a WHOIS look up here to see when the domain name that was your first choice will expire.
If the website appears to be an active website, the owner will likely renew it before it expires. If the website looks dormant, the domain name should become available 80 days after it expires, so mark your calendar! 😉