Top marketers agree that a blog is one of the most important and effective content marketing tactics. A blog forms the core element of most successful content marketing strategies, regardless if you are promoting your business or personal brand.
If you are anything like me, you have a voice and are passionate about your career or personal interests, but starting a blog sounds like a big time and money investment.
I had a series of questions that prevented me from starting a blog, such as:
These are probably the same questions and misconceptions most of us have about starting a blog.
I am glad to tell you I was wrong. I would like to share with you one of the best decisions I ever made, to start blogging and share my passion for my career in marketing. In a previous post, titled “Inbound Marketing 101 and Why Your Business Needs a Blog“, I explain inbound marketing and the importance of a blog.
To help guide you through the process, I will provide some background information on WordPress, a three-step overview, and walk you through each of the steps to get your blog started in minutes.
One of the largest blogging and website platforms in the world is WordPress. WordPress is used by 24.3% of all the websites with a market share of 58.6% according to Web Technology Surveys as of August 2015. WordPress is used by people just starting out, top bloggers, and even large corporations such as The New Yorker, Time Inc., and Reuters Blogs.
My blog was built using WordPress, and it has been a very easy way to start a blog or a website with a limited number of steps. Starting a blog has been a great way for me to grow and develop my personal brand with a worldwide presence on the web.
Installation of WordPress gives you a website, a blog, and a complete content management system to quickly and easily add or update content on your site. Plugins are built into WordPress providing additional extra capabilities used to enhance the capabilities of WordPress. Plugins much like apps on your smartphone are being continuously built and updated by a host of developers around the world. The benefit of plugins means that you don’t need to turn to your developer or incur an additional cost to add a new feature.
Here is a three-step overview of the process you will be following:
There are several hosting companies around, but one that I have used from the beginning and highly recommend is Bluehost. Bluehost has been the only hosting service officially recommended by WordPress, not to mention the top recommended hosting service for their platform for more than a decade. I can highly recommend Bluehost for the same reason as many others out there.
Bluehost sets themselves apart from the other web hosting companies based on my experience for several reasons:
If you signup through this tutorial, you will get web hosting at the introductory price of $3.49/month for 36 months and a free domain name for a year!
A hosting account is where your blog or website will “live” and is a server in the cloud (i.e., a remote computer). It may sound complicated, but it’s not essentially you are renting this space to install the WordPress software and manage your blog or website.
In step one, I recommend Bluehost, but there are hundreds of hosting services available.
To get started, go to Bluehost’s home page and click “Get Started Now”
New Domain Name
If you don’t already have a domain name, you can purchase one from right in the signup process, and the best part is, it comes free with your new hosting account purchase.
Existing Domain Name
If you already own a domain name, you can enter it here, and you will just have to go through a few extra steps to make sure you get your DNS pointed to Bluehost.
Select the Hosting Package Options
Shared hosting is the normal selection I recommended earlier with pricing options for 12, 24 and 36-month terms. You will get a lower monthly rate and save more money with a longer term option. For example, by choosing a 36-month hosting term, you can get the great introductory rate of $3.49/month that is being offered currently.
There are a couple other offers to consider at sign up at your discretion. I know it is a small additional cost, but I recommend the Domain Privacy because it allows personal information to be kept private on WHOIS databases. I also recommend Site Backup Pro to ensure your site is backed up in case of emergency.
After completing the billing information click next, this will bring up the screen to create the password for your account. Bluehost through the Password Generator offers help to create a strong and secure password, or you can create your own.
This completes the sign up process, and you can get started installing WordPress.
After logging into your account, the Bluehost dashboard comes up. All you do is click on the WordPress icon illustrated in the image below.
Click the green install button.
Select the domain you registered earlier in the process or the existing domain you brought over. Then, click check domain.
On the next screen check the “Show advanced options” box and fill in the title, username, and password. The title will be the name of your blog. The Admin Username and Admin Password will be what you use to login to the WordPress dashboard to select or update your theme, add plugins, and do your blogging work plus a host of other options.
Bluehost installs WordPress on your server and shows you the install progress until completed.
Click on the “View Credentials” button to navigate to the Admin login page for the dashboard.
Click on the “Admin URL” hyperlink located below the green box. Enter your WordPress login information from Step 10. After logging in, this will take you to your dashboard where most of your work is done. The dashboard is where you will select or update your theme, add plugins, and post your blog plus a host of other options.
You have now entered your WordPress Dashboard. Avoid doing anything else here and focus on setting up a new theme or download an existing theme for your blog. I would suggest looking through some of the free themes offered to suit your needs. If these do not suit your needs then here are three of the most popular premium (pay) theme providers:
After purchasing any of the premium themes from the list of theme providers, return to your WordPress dashboard and click “Appearance” > Themes > Upload a New Theme. Here you will upload the .zip file of the theme you just purchased.
Configure your selected theme following the setup features provided by the company/person who developed your theme. Click on “Appearance” in the sidebar of the dashboard to upload your logo, change colors, add pages, and more.
I plan on doing another blog covering plugins and other WordPress tools for SEO, social media, mobile, analytics, and image sourcing. Until then, I wish you the best of luck as you enter the world of blogging.