Blogging, a new kind of passionate online money making platform. In my previous article, I detailedly have written how I became a blogger and my blogging journey since 2008. As a full-time blogger since 2012, I gained knowledge in the subject, passed so many hurdles and now successfully entering into the 6th year with ahead of a lifelong journey.
To be honest, blogging is not for everybody. I’m saying this in the second paragraph of the article, this field is for enthusiastic people who always hungry to learn new things and knowledge. Many people started and stopped blogging in the early stages. The main reasons are lack of time, and many feel it is a quick and simple way to earn money. In reality, it needs your 100% effort, a great dedication, and passion for learning and time.
In this article, I covered the basics of WordPress blogging, how to select a perfect domain name for your business and what are the aspects you need to consider when buying a hosting service.
What do you need to start a WordPress blog?
First, you need to setup 2 most basic things.
- A domain name ( your site name, for example, rahulvithala.com)
- A good hosting account to install and serve your blog.
In this tutorial, I’m covering the below points.
- How to register a domain name
- How to choose best web hosting
- How to install WordPress
- How to change your WordPress theme
- How to install Plugins
- How to write your first blog post
- How to make money from your blog
WordPress – A blogger friendly Content Managment System
There are plenty of platforms out there capable of letting you run your own website or blog. However, WordPress is the most popular and blogger friendly CMS. It’s simple to use, stable and fully cross-browser compatible.
While its a proven fact that WordPress is the king of all the Content Management Systems, and when you are starting a blog, there is no better choice than WordPress to host it on, there are also some glaring errors that you need to steer clear of.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from a few tips to help you get your new site up and running quickly, and ensure that you have the easiest time building your online presence.
How to choose a right Domain name for your blog?
Choosing a domain name is a bit tricky. With the increasing pace of business establishments and use of the internet as a source of promoting themselves to reach larger markets, it has become a challenge to choose a unique domain name for newer businesses.
A domain name highlights the products which the business offers and it is the first thing which attracts a new website visitor towards the domain.
Pick a right keyword to match your business
If you are planning to buy a perfect domain name for your business or blog then you must consider keyword rich domain name.
Why we have to go with a brandable domain name or keyword specific name?
The reason is simple, a random domain name like popuopo doesn’t add any value to your domain or make any sense to the search engine. These kind of domains are 0 value to your audience and search engines. If you seriously want this domain name for your business then you have to build the brand reputation to the domain name from the scratch.
For example, Mashable is the best example of the generic domain name with huge publicity. The success of this domain did not come over a single night. Pete Cashmore developed and managed this site and created its own brand value in the market.
Coming to the keyword rich domain take Engadget as a great example. This domain contains “gadget” keyword in its name and the first time user will aware this site is related to gadgets news and topics.
Nowadays it is very hard to get a suitable and targetted keyword domain name, many great domains are already taken and some are available as premium ones.
So, make sure to pick a meaningful domain name that matches your blogging niche or business.
Pick a Short Name
A short name is easy to remember. Keywords are important but don’t go with a too much lengthy name which makes the domain name forgettable by the audience. Keep it short, simple and easy to remember.
It Should Be Easy to Remember
If a domain name is easy to remember, then there couldn’t be anything better. The more simple and attractive your domain name is, the more visits and views are expected. Big companies own domain names which are simple to remember and attractive. It could be a catchy line or unique phrase which matches best with your business portfolio.
.COM .ORG or Other Extensions
If you are planning to promote your products as a “brand,” then it is more desired to have a .com extension with your domain name. This is not only more common and easier to remember but also denotes the name of a well-established firm. Other extensions such a .net and .org are also suitable, but higher preference is won by the .com extension. Apart from this, nowadays country-specific extensions are also offered, for example: .ca, .uk, etc.
Free from hyphens and other symbols
Never go with a domain name which contains hyphens, and other symbols. When you use symbols or hyphens in your domain name it just leaves a wrong impression. Also, your audience may feel your domain name spammy and may lose your visitors permanently.
Protect the Name
As it is desired that the domain name is different from others, and someone else doesn’t own the same name with a different extension, you should try to purchase the same domain name with the other extensions as well. It ensures your privacy and rights to own that specific name for your particular business.
Best place to buy Domain names
Now it is the time to buy your first domain name for your blog. If you want to purchase a domain name, you are going to choose a domain registrar first. A domain registrar offers buying and mostly selling domain names for a fixed price. Almost all domain registrars come with similar policies with some unique feature.
Here is the list of popular domain name registrars.
How to choose a right host for your Blog?
If you are planning to host your website, you have to consider certain factors while choosing a web host company. The companies would assure you unlimited disk space, unlimited bandwidth, and email. But, you got to ensure that the company gives you round the clock support.
When it comes to web hosting, there are so many technical terms involved. Some of these may be confusing if you do not understand them. Unfortunately, since some unscrupulous web hosting companies know this, they use these terms to hide their actual value when selling you a cheap web hosting solution. This results in you getting less value for your money.
To avoid this, these are a few of the main terms that you should get a good grasp of. These include the terms Bandwidth, Shared Hosting, cPanel, Uptime, and FTP. In this post, we will examine the meaning of these terms so that you can be able wisely to select an affordable web host for your site.
Here are few tips to be considered:
This term refers to the amount of data that your host account can allow you to transfer at any one time. What this translates to is that the more bandwidth you get with your hosting account, the faster your website will load. It is important that you ensure that any person who visits your website gets a great experience in terms of website loading speed and without any downtimes. This means that the more bandwidth you get, the better the hosting solution. The smaller it is, the faster you will use it up, hence slowing your site speed and locking some visitors off your site.
When you buy a hosting account, you are either given your own server solely for you and your website (a dedicated server) or you are given a section on a server that also hosts many other websites (shared hosting). Shared hosting is the most common form of cheap web hosting. You should note here that as much as you are sharing a server, no one will be able to access your side of the server. Unfortunately, if one of the sites you are sharing the server with gets a spike in traffic, or it loads up many bulky files, your site speed is also affected.
Uptime & Downtime
Both uptime and downtime, as you may have gathered from the names themselves, mean the time a website is either online (uptime) or offline (downtime). A good web hosting solution is one that can guarantee as close to 100% uptime as possible. You don’t want people trying to access your website only to find it unavailable.
This is a user interface that is commonly used by most hosts to help manage websites for their clients. When you buy a hosting account, the first thing you see is a cPanel when you log in. From here, you can then work on your files and build your site.
Hosting is the base upon which the website runs. Any error on the hosting part and your site go for a toss. Thus, hosting with a good firm can help your business grow. The cost is one factor that has to be calculated. There are companies that offer low prices, but they might compromise on features and services. Hence, opt for budget-friendly hosting companies that are both cost and service effective. Liberty VPS offers premium services at reasonable prices.
A web hosting issue can occur anytime, and you need a team who can assist you immediately. You cannot afford to lose steps to your website in the name of hosting error, can you? When you choose a hosting firm, ensure that they have a dedicated telephone line, a live chat option, an email Id and so on. This will help you to reach the team in case of emergencies. The LibertyVPS net has a dedicated technical team to support the clients.
The web hosting firm should be technically sound. A lot of changes take place every day and updates must be regularly done. If you have a WordPress site, your hosting provider must know all the technologies and plug-in that is compatible with WordPress. You can check if they are using Linux or Windows-based server, the version of PHP they are using and the database. This will help you to assess the company in a better way.
Needless to say that safety matters a lot for a company. None can afford to leak the information or data. There are firewalls and other security measures provided by the web hosting company so that the information is protected. You can check if there are any added security services offered by the firm. Paying the extra money for the safety reasons is never a waste. Liberty VPS provides premium level security services.
Shared, dedicated or cloud lines
This purely depends on the traffic that your website draws. If you are running an e-commerce site, you definitely need reporting on the website. If it an additional site, you can opt on sharing basis. You can check with the web hosting company about the space and the lines that they offer.
Thus, there are several factors to be considered while choosing your web host partner. One cannot afford to take risks when it comes to the operation of a website. A well-reputed firm will understand your needs and will take care of your hosting issues.
Managed and Unmanaged Hosting
Hosting comes with 2 plans. Many popular hosting services like Bluehost, Hostgator, Godaddy, and Siteground offers managed hosting for users. In managed hosting, everything is managed by the hosting service provider. Coming to unmanaged hosting the user need to take care of everything like site errors, updates, server-side issues and much more. For bloggers, it is always advisable to go with a managed hosting plan.
Personally, I used many hosting services for my blogs. Some are managed and some are unmanaged services. For a newbie blogger, I suggest Siteground hosting service. Siteground founded in the year 2004 and successfully serving more than 800,000 domains World Wide.
How to install WordPress?
Installing WordPress on Siteground hosting is a pretty simple process. Log into your Siteground account dashboard and go to cPanel.
In the cPanel, check WordPress icon in the Autoinstallers section.
After clicking on the WordPress icon a new page loads with installation option. Here click on “Install”.
In the next screen, you have to select the domain name from the drop-down menu. Here you can set your blog name, site description, admin username, account, and email. After entering all the details just click on “Install” button at the end of the page.
That’s it. Now you installed WordPress on your Siteground hosting.
How to change your WordPress theme?
Choose the Right Template
One of the best things about WordPress is the number of high quality, professionally designed Premium WordPress Themes out there. You’ll find themes designed for virtually any need, from personal blogs where a light, fun feel is needed. You’ll find polished, professional themes ideal for corporate blogs. You’ll find tech themes for gadget and technology blogs. Start off right and invest in a high-quality theme that reflects both your personality and the purpose of the blog.
Use Tags Correctly
How to install Plugins?
Plugins offer valuable utility and benefits to you, the site owner. You’ll find SEO plugins, XML plugins, optimization plugins, database backup plugins and tens of thousands of others. It can be a little overwhelming at first. Take a look at the contents of WP Jetpack and determine what functionality you want beyond what’s offered there. Then, search for the appropriate plugins and sort them by rating (they’re rated with stars). Don’t go overboard right away, though. Only add a few plugins at a time and then learn how to use those tools before you start installing others.
Tips for maintaining a WordPress Blog
Keep Your Sidebar Neat
WordPress blogs offer several different options where sidebars are concerned (and that will vary from theme to theme). Sidebars are used to house gadgets and other tools that offer better functionality to your readers. However, it’s vital that you avoid the urge to overpopulate your sidebars (that goes for the header and footer regions too). Use that space judiciously, and make sure that your widgets and gadgets are displaying properly. Don’t crowd the space, either. It’s better to have some blank space than to overwhelm your readers with “doodads’.
Stop Unwanted Trackbacks and Pingbacks In WordPress
Trackbacks and Pingbacks are spam comments generated by spammers. They are not regular visitors to your blog, they create Trackbacks and Pingbacks by automated scripts. Just one script is capable of spreading Trackbacks and Pingbacks to a number of websites.
They do Trackbacks and Pingbacks for link building if you have a high PR and Alexa rank for your site you will have a high risk to get a ton of Trackbacks and Pingbacks.
WordPress provides a simple option to get rid of Trackbacks and Pingbacks. To avoid spam comments simply head over to your WordPress Dashboard and go to Settings > Discussion page and under the default article settings uncheck the box next to ‘Allow link notifications from otherstep will help you to avoid trackbacks and pingbacks for new articles.
Tweaking the Editor files
Are you a programmer of sorts? And are you sure you are a darn good programmer? If the answer to either of the questions is negative, why on earth would you be fooling around with the Editor files on your WP folder. Folks with no knowledge of codes should not even bother opening these unless they have a reliable developer in close vicinity. Simply go to your FTP settings and make these files Unwritable so that whenever a novice tries to use his non-existent expertise with those PHP files, he can’t save the settings.
Speedy Loading Times
And I fail to understand why. I have sleepless night whenever I see a page on my website taking ages to load and make sure to determine any reason responsible for it. Slow loading times are nothing new on Internet, and there are reasons afflicted by us only. When we have installed way too many plugins that are eating up most of the resources and causing the servers to crawl whenever your website is being accessed, your visitors will experience achingly non-responsive website surfing.
And this is where the bounce rates leap to new heights. So, only for the health of your site’s traffic, install those extra plugins. Besides, Google doesn’t like slow websites, if that may convince you to get going. Even if you have deactivated a plugin, that doesn’t mean it won’t have any effect on your site. Its files are still stored in the WP folder, and affecting your site’s speed.
Update WordPress theme Regularly
No matter if WordPress is screaming loud enough through its clear-cut message on your dashboard that you need to upgrade your theme to the latest version, you just won’t listen! It is very important to keep updating your theme whenever the theme creators launch an update. Updates help your site work with greater seamlessness and remove all the patchiness. Moreover, there are loads of hackers out there trying to break into different websites. The upgrades make sure that the algorithms of your site are equipped with enough firepower to protect your website against any such attempts.
Allow Search Engines Index Your Site
Granted, Google gives you this facility, but why would you want to use it, and for what? The best chance your website has of receiving organic traffic is through search engines like Google, why would you like to blow that chance up. Unless your website contains plagiarized content at every length and breadth, and you do not want Google to glaringly point it out, there is absolutely no reason convincing enough to make you opt for the no-index option.
Use of Tags
Many people (and tons of “authority figures”) think of post tags as just another search engine optimization tool. While they can work as keywords, that’s not really the intended purpose. Tags are designed to make it easier to find specific posts related to the topic. By clicking a tag, your users should be able to view all the posts that are tagged with that particular word. Use these correctly and don’t just jam them in there for SEO benefits. It’s all part of giving your readers the best possible experience.
Use the Post Scheduler
One area where bloggers struggle most is posting on a regular basis. If you don’t use the tools made available to you, it can certainly be a huge inconvenience. However, WordPress offers a post-scheduling feature. Essentially, you just type in the post and select the time and date when you want it to go live (don’t forget to save it). You can put in as many posts as you want at one time and then schedule them to post automatically over the course of a month or longer. That gives you a much-needed break from having to write a post every few days.
If you are studying for your masters in social work online, then you are probably no stranger to using your mobile device when searching for student information. So, if you have ever tried to access a non-mobile friendly website using your smartphone or tablet, you’ll know just how frustrating it can be if the content doesn’t fit well on your screen. Be sure to give your blog readers the best experience by opting for a mobile-friendly web design. If you’re setting up your blog on WordPress, you’ll be glad to hear that most of their free web templates are responsive.
Do Something Interesting
If the traffic to your student blog is suffering, then it could be because your content simply isn’t interesting enough. As a student blogger, you will not only have to compete against other students who blog but also against the bigger, popular student websites offering tips and advice.
Social Media Promotion
Using social networks such as Facebook and Twitter to promote your blog is one of the best ways to gain a larger followership for yourself. Sharing your blog posts on social media will encourage your friends to have a read and you can begin to build up more followers if you set up an online profile specifically for your blog, rather than using your personal one. Before setting up on social media, come up with a brand and logo for your blog so that you can be consistent!
Engage Your Readers
Another simple way to encourage more traffic to your student blog is to engage with your readers. For example, you can use social media to do this through polls and surveys, competitions on your page, or simply responding to comments and messages. Try to involve your readers as much as you can, for example, asking them for content suggestions.
Offer Solutions to Problems
When ranking your blog, Google and other search engines not only look at things such as user-friendliness but also the standard of content that you provide. If you’re simply writing blog posts about your day-to-day life as a student, you may still get some readers, but your results will be much improved if you aim to offer solutions to common student problems. ‘How-to’ guides and other instructional types of content are some of the most-read online today!
For many people, Blogging is new and hard. All you need is a great passion towards developing a blog, good knowledge in the niche you opted, a lot hell of patience. Patience is the key to the blogging.
Getting off on the right foot is essential for any WordPress user, whether you’re blogging for personal reasons, run a company blog, or are using this platform for your official website. The tips above will help make getting started that much easier with this powerful platform.
Rome cannot be built in a day. Like same, a great blog cannot be built in a day.
Whether you are an employee, business person, student or housewife. Anyone can do blogging with a good knowledge of their favorite subject and time. Dedicate some time to blogging and make yourself as a successful blogger.
That’s all for now. In the next article, I will come up with a detailed guide to earning money from blogs.