How To Start a Blog in 2021 and Make Money (Easy-to-Follow Steps)

by | Updated on July 19th, 2021

→ a Comprehensive Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners ←

How to Start a Blog - a Comprehensive Step by Step Guide for Beginners [Updated for 2021]

Do you want to learn how to start a blog?

Below, you’ll find one of the most comprehensive guides on the Internet for starting your own, profitable blog.

We’ll show you how to choose your perfect topic and blog’s name, get your blog online and set up, along with what you need to know to create your first blog post.

By the time you leave this page, you’ll have learned how to promote your blog to get some traffic, and create a plan for making money with it.

You too can start your very own blog – and, monetize it for making money, as a good side income – OR, maybe even a thriving online business.

How to Start a Blog (and Make Money) in Easy-to-Follow Steps

Disclosure - Some of the links on this page are affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you decide to buy a product or service I have recommended.

How to Start a Blog – Table of Contents:

  1. Choose Your ‘Perfect’ Blog Topic (your blog’s niche will impact your whole business)
  2. Find an Available Domain Name (this will be the name of your blog)
  3. Get Your Blog Online (your web hosting account – the home for your blog)
  4. Design Your Blog with a Free WordPress Theme (create the visual design of your blog)
  5. Install Essential WordPress Plugins (add vital plugins for functionality)
  6. Basic WordPress Functions (getting to know your WordPress dashboard)
  7. Creating Your Must-Have – Core pages (most common pages used by bloggers)
  8. Writing Your First Post (turn your ideas into shareable blog articles)
  9. Learn How to Promote Your Blog (To Include: driving targeted traffic to your site with SEO)
  10. Create a Plan for Making Money with Your Blog (do I really need to say more?)

* Already have the topic (niche) for your blog, and your blog’s name (domain name) ready to go? – Click Here to choose your web hosting and get your blog online.

OR…

Click this Link for a 60% off Discount Coupon for Web Hosting

Read to get started?

I’m here to show you that you can start, and have a successful blog on virtually any topic.

Worried that You’re NOT a Techie?

Not a problem!

The majority of bloggers don’t understand the First Byte of programming language. The developers of the blogging platforms know this and have created the CMS (Content Management System) to be super user-friendly.

So user-friendly that my mother, at age 78, used to operate a WordPress-based blog for her Bed and Breakfast, which has since been sold.

What’s the reason I’m telling you about my mother’s blog? To let you know how easy it is to operate one.

You see… my mother is the type of person that can open her laptop, turn it on and login to her email account, all without any curse words spoken… well, sometimes.

Moving on…

Starting a Blog can be one of the easiest ways to build your own website – And, it’s very quick, easy and inexpensive to set up.

How do I get started?

I know that starting a blog can appear overwhelming and intimidating to say the least, but with today’s computers, and the Internet, anything is possible.

Creating your own blog has never been easier, a few clicks of the mouse, minutes later, there’s your website.

Whether you are 12 years old or 82 years young, you can have your own blog up and running in no time. And, I’m here to show you how easy it actually is.

I promise – it will be simple, I hate the Technical Jargon too!

Step #1: Select the ‘Perfect’ Topic for Your Blog

To start a blog and be successful as a new home-based business owner, you have to select the right topic for your blog.

You’re going to want to make sure you start your long journey as a blogger on the right foot by picking a niche that kicks A$$.

When it comes to topics, most people are motivated by money and select a niche that has the best potential for brining in the cash.

Don’t do it!

Select a topic that provides the most value for your readers, regardless of the money potential.

Why?

Because, the niche you select needs to be one you are most passionate for, or have experience in.

Learning everything you possibly can about your chosen niche will be much easier if you’re writing about a topic you enjoy, and that you can provide a ton of value for.

The secret is to focus on providing value to your readers, and everything else will follow – including the money.

Giving your audience value will mean more traffic, more traffic means more money.

When choosing your topic, providing value should be on TOP of Mind – your MAIN focus.

Niche selection is one of the most crucial steps in your process – because, the topic you choose, could be the difference between failure and success.

Let’s break this down…

First, let’s make sure to pick a niche that you are the most interested in — one you are passionate about.

Second, you need to make sure your chosen niche has enough of an audience — topics people are searching for.

To Learn More about Choosing a Niche, follow the link: How to Find Your Niche – The Crucial First Step to Make Money Online.

Continuing On…

Let’s say you already have a topic in mind for your blog – so, let me ask you a couple of questions:

Do YOU Enjoy This Topic?

If you don’t have a love for the subject you choose, it’s going to show in your writing style.

Whatever topic you pick, you’ll need to have a natural curiosity for it, if not, running out of ideas to write about is going to become your reality.

Most importantly, you won’t be able to consistently create content that will build your audience.

Do YOU Have a Passion for This Topic?

Passion is key when it comes to sharing your knowledge with the world. Choosing a topic that you are passionate about makes the process of creating a successful blog – and making money from it, much easier.

As long as you are writing about topics that you are genuinely interested in, your passion will shine through, and keep your readers interested, which in turn will create a group of loyal followers.

If you want to start a blog for the purpose of creating a home-based, profitable business, you NEED to find the passion that burns with-in you!

Ask yourself the following questions…

  • Can I talk about this topic for years to come?
  • Do I feel an excitement about helping people on this subject?
  • Is this topic something I think about often?
  • Can this blog (business) become my life’s work?

Something to remember – no idea, no matter how good, is truly unique.

But, you have one thing others don’t have… unique experiences. You also have a voice like no other, along with a personality that will attract others similar to you.

Are There Other Blogs Doing What You Wanna Do?

Of course there are. One thing to keep in mind is that if there are others out there doing what you want to do, that shows that there is a market for it.

Do a quick Google search and you’ll probably find a half a million websites using the same topic as you’re interested in.

Don’t overthink this Too Much – I’ve wasted several years LEARNING instead of DOING! The BEST thing YOU can DO is JUST GET STARTED! Take Action and Learn as You Go!

Still a little frustrated about finding your Niche – follow the link for my in-depth article: How to Find Your Niche – Crucial First Step to Make Money Online.

How to Find Your Niche – Crucial First Step to Make Money Online

Step #2: Finding Your Blog’s Name – Your Domain

Your domain name is what people will type in the browser address bar to get to your website. It’s your website’s address on the internet.

This will become your identity for many years to come – and define your blog, and what you stand for.

Although this is an exciting part of the process, don’t spend too much time on your domain name, because you can always change it later.

But, here are some additional thoughts when choosing your domain name:

  • Is it brand-able?
  • Is it user-friendly?
  • Is it easy to pronounce, remember and spell?

Branding

Branding is one of the most important aspects of your business. It’s what creates emotions and thoughts within your customers when they hear or see your business name.

It’s crucial that these thoughts resonate with your ideal audience.

Branding, in its most simple terms, is what people think about or say when you’re not around.

Will your chosen domain name represent, in a nutshell, what your business is about?

Example: johneengle.com, is all about helping people navigate the exciting world of blogging. To start, grow and build a profitable blogging business.

If you are having trouble coming up with a name, you can use the domain name generator tool like NameStation to produce a lot of ideas at once.

Domain Name Generator - NameStation

Once you find a domain name that interests you, use one of the links below to see if your chosen name is available.

NameCheap.com
GoDaddy.com

If your name is not available, try to find a variation that works. One thing to keep in mind is to go for a ‘.com‘ extension if you can; and also, avoid getting a domain with dashes between words.

Spammers like to use them because they’re easily created. They can just take any set of words and put dashes between them to make a domain that isn’t already used.

– The moral of the story, don’t use them, because the search engines don’t like them.

If you still cannot come to terms with a domain name, don’t let that stop you. Find a name that you can be happy with for the moment, then change it down the road when you find your dream name.

If you haven’t already done so, attempt to buy your personal name in a ‘.com‘ extension. You may wanna use it in the future.

If the name you like is available, you can:

  • Buy it from the registrar, OR
  • Register it through your web hosting account (which will save you time & is recommended)
NOTE: If you buy your domain through a registrar like GoDaddy, you’ll need to redirect your new domain name to your hosting account, which could take upwards of 24 hours to take place. If you register it with your hosting account, you can begin working on your blog right away.

Next Up – Finding a Home for Your Site…

Step #3: Choosing Your WordPress Web Hosting Plan

If you haven’t heard of “Web Hosting” before, it’s a storage space for your website. A Web hosting company is an organization that leases memory space on its servers.

You’ll be paying a small fee to keep your blog up and running on the Internet.

– My advice?

Keep it simple and cheap. Sign up with shared hosting.

What’s the Most Cost-EffectiveOfficially Recommended by WordPress.org – with a customer satisfaction rating at 98% – Hosting for WordPress?

– SiteGround!

See what others are saying about SiteGround – Read the unedited, SiteGround Reviews by real SiteGround customers – 1000+ Real Customers Sharing Their Experience!

They’re one of the top recommended WordPress providers by WordPress.org – and, one that I’ve been using for about 4 years now – and highly recommend.

SiteGround Hosting includes:

  • A 30 day Money Back Guarantee
  • Very helpful & highly trained WordPress experts, available 24/7
  • A FREE SSL (HTTPS) to encrypt your blog (so Google knows it can be trusted)
  • DAILY Backups – Your site is backed up daily (so you’ll never lose any of your data)
  • A FREE Content Delivery Network (CDN), so your site loads fast from anywhere in the world (you’d pay an extra $9.99, or more per month if you purchase a CDN separately)
  • FREE business Email accounts for your newly found, home-based business

I could go on, but you’ve heard the most important highlights!

Are you sick of seeing the word, “FREE” yet?

Yes, there are cheaper hosting companies out there (by $2 a month), but they don’t include the FREE CDN, FREE eMail accounts for your business, and daily backups of your site.

And, these other hosting companies that are cheaper by only $2 a month ARE NOT known to be as FAST, Frustration-Free and Trouble-Free as SiteGround.

Do you know why you see all over the Net, other bloggers advertising this 1 particular hosting company – the one that has the color Blue in its name? Because this company offers a higher commission if someone signs up through their affiliate link.

I CAN’T GO FOR THAT – I want the best, most secure, most reliable, frustration-free and fastest web hosting for my followers, and SiteGround is it!

Remember the old saying – You Get What You Pay For!”

My REPUTATION for HONESTY is EVERYTHING TO ME, so I wouldn’t consider tarnishing my name by guiding you down the wrong path.

I personally use SiteGround.com, because:

  • SiteGround is Engineered for Speed, Built for Security, and Optimized for WordPress
  • Your site will run faster than most other hosts (which is a big deal to Google)
  • Their support agents are helpful & available 24/7 by Phone, Chat or Ticketing support

What’s a measly $2 per month if it gives YOU piece of mind, along with fastest, most secure and reliable web hosting for the money – along with all those extras?

If you want to get started now and save BIG on web hosting, you can get it for as little as $4.99 a month, through my partner link below.

To be honest, you really don’t need any fancy web hosting at this stage. Once you have over 10,000 visitors per month, you can consider upgrading, and SiteGround will scale with you.

Click Here to Get Your 60% OFF Discount Coupon ←

Once you land on SiteGround’s site – choose your plan

Choose Your WordPress Hosting Plan - SiteGround

Once you’ve chosen your plan, enter your domain – this is where you can register your domain – as previously mentioned.

If you’ve already purchased your domain from somewhere else like Godaddy.com, type it in where it says, “I already have a domain.”

Choose Your Domain Name - SiteGround

Add Your Account Information

Add Your Account Information

Add Your Payment Information

Add Your Payment Information

NOTE: If you decide to change your plan to the next one higher, click the gray button next to the word ‘Startup‘ – as shown in the image below.

Same with the Data Center – choose the one closest to where you live.

For the Extra Services – it’s not necessary, and you can always add it at anytime, down the road, if you choose.

But, if you are up for the most security possible for your site, go for it!

SiteGround Purchase Information

Confirm that you have read the Terms and Conditions – Click PAY NOW!

Confirm that you have read the Terms and Conditions - Click PAY NOW!

Now that You Have Your Hosting – It’s Time for the Next Step

Creating Your Blog – Installing WordPress

Time to Install: a Few Minutes

To install WordPress – first you’ll need to access your Customer Area.

After you signed up for your WordPress hosting package you should have received all the necessary information you need to login via the email you typed into the form.

When you login to your Customer Area for the first time, you’ll be prompted to Start a New Website on your account.

Click on the Set Up Site button and follow the steps:

  1. Select the Start a New Website button
  2. Then select the WordPress button and follow the prompts
  3. Browse the extras, then click Finish to complete the installation

Watch the first minute of the SiteGround video for the Easy-to-Follow instructions

For security purposes, when prompted for a Login Username and Password, DO NOT use ‘Admin‘ (which is the default name), as your Username – this is a target for hackers.
If something unexpected were to happen during your setup with SiteGround, contact their Technical Support (you’ll need to be logged in to get their help).

– Talking to a person by phone would be better than using the chat window, all for the reason that you can have the person on speaker phone, while walking you through a process.

– If you live in the United States, you can call 1.866.605.2484. SiteGround will have access to your account which will help solve any issues you may have.

That’s it… you are all set up and ready to go with WordPress!

You can now go to the front page of your site by clicking on the ‘Proceed to Customer Area‘ button, and check out the newly installed WordPress application.

But… Before You Do!

I Have a Question?

Did you register your domain name with SiteGround while signing up for Web Hosting? If so, you are good to go, no further steps are needed. You can follow the link and go to Step #4. Installing a FREE WordPress Theme

If your domain name is registered with another source like GoDaddy.com, you’ll need to point the Nameservers from your domain registrar to the SiteGround server.

It sounds complicated, but it’s Super-Simple to do.

I’ll use the example for GoDaddy.com.

Virtually any registrar is similar to GoDaddy. If it’s not obvious when you log into another registrar account, you’ll need to contact their support to help you point your domain to SiteGround.

For now, let’s walk you through pointing your domain from a GoDaddy.com account.

If your domain name is registered with GoDaddy.com, head on over there now.

NOTE: If your domain is not registered with them, follow along with the instructions below to get an idea for what you need to do with whomever you have your domain registered with.

Go ahead and log in to GoDaddy…

The first page should be your Products.

Find your domain name and click on the ‘DNS‘ link – as shown by the arrow.

Find your domain name and click on the 'DNS' button

The DNS Management page should appear as follows.

GoDaddy DNS Management Page

What you’ll want to do is to scroll down the page until you see Nameservers.

Click on the Change button.

GoDaddy DNS Management Page for Custom Name Servers

After clicking on the Change button, you’ll then land on the “Connect My Domain to a Website” page, as indicated below.

Click on the, “Enter my own nameservers (advanced)” link, as shown in the screenshot below.

Connect my nameservers to my domain name - Godaddy.com

This will go to the following page to where you’ll add your custom nameservers from SiteGround, as shown below.

Add custom nameservers at GoDaddy.com from SiteGround

Before you can add your nameservers to the boxes in the image above, you’ll need to get them from your Site Tools dashboard in SiteGround.com.

  1. Click on the link, SiteGround.com, which will open a new tab or window
  2. Log into your account from the ‘Login‘ link in the upper right hand corner
  3. Once you’re logged in, click the ‘Websites‘ link from the main menu above
  4. Then click the Site Tools button under your domain name, taking you to your blog’s dashboard

The nameservers that you need to add are shown in the lower right corner under IP and Name Servers, indicated by the arrow.

Please don’t mind the blacked out part of the nameservers – I have to have some privacy.

SiteGround.com, Site Tools dashboard for johneengle

With your mouse, highlight and copy each individual nameserver, one at a time (do not include the numbers in the parenthesis), and paste them in the nameservers box as shown in the image below.

Add your custom nameservers from SiteGround, as indicated by the arrows

When you are finished adding the nameservers in the box, be sure that the nameservers say “NS1” and “NS2”, as indicated in the image, then click on the ‘Save‘ button.

That’s it!

NOTE: It can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 24 hours for the Nameservers to find their way to the SiteGround server, but your part is done.

– If something were to happen while you were adding the custom Nameservers at your Domain Registrar, you’ll need to contact their support.

The Techie Stuff is Over – Time to Be Creative with Your Site…

It’s Time for the Visual Design of your Blog…

Step #4: Choosing a WordPress Theme

Now that you’ve got the installation complete, it’s time to start designing the look and feel of your new site.

Let’s start with your WordPress theme…

What’s a WordPress Theme?

A WordPress Theme is: “a collection of files that work together to produce a graphical interface design for a Blog. These files are called template files. A Theme modifies the way the site looks and functions, without modifying the underlying software.”

Now, for the Non-Techie Version

A Theme is the “Face” of your blog. It’s the overall, what I call, look and feel of your website. It’s what your visitor’s will first see when they come to your site.

One of the greatest parts of owning a self-hosted WordPress site is that you have full control in virtually every aspect of what you do with your site. You can change what it looks like, how it functions, improve on its performance, or virtually anything else you can imagine.

Here’s one of the main problems with a site that’s so versatile… plain and simple, TOO many choices!

Right now, the subject we are on, is a Theme for your site, and there are thousands upon thousands of them to choose from.

If you were NOT born with a Tech Gene, you’re going to want to look for a theme that’s adaptable and easy to work with… what I call, user-friendly.

Before we begin, let me be clear about one thing… the content that you write on your blog matters more than anything else.

It wouldn’t matter if your site is one of the ugliest on the Internet, if you have great content, you’ll get repeat visitors.

The opposite is also true… you can have the most beautiful site on the planet, but if the content sucks, your visitors will say to themselves, hmm… beautiful site, then turn tail and run, never to come back.

That said, you have a couple of options when choosing a theme, the Free version or the Paid version.

A Free theme can give you a basic beginning.

A good place to start would be the Free themes that WordPress.org recommends. They have a large collection of themes, with some of them having the option to upgrade to the premium, paid version.

For most newbies, this is more than enough to get the ball rolling, especially if money is tight.

Watch this WordPress Starter video to SEE HOW SIMPLE IT IS…

Free WordPress Themes

Now let’s walk you through the first option – choosing a Free WordPress.org Theme.

To start, log into your blog if you haven’t done so already.

If you are logging into your account for the first time, follow the prompts, as per the video above, to complete your WordPress setup.

If you decide to change your blog’s theme, follow the information below…

Select a theme that looks great and fits your needs.

While in your WordPress dashboard, click on the ‘Appearance‘ link from the left side, then the ‘Themes‘ link.

When you get to the Themes page, click on the ‘Add New‘ button, as shown by the blue arrow in the screenshot below.

WordPress Blog's Dashboard Themes Link

On the next page you’ll find the Featured themes WordPress recommends – as shown below.

Here’s a quick guide to help you choose a theme:

  • Preview the theme – Preview the demo by clicking on any of the images to get an idea of how it will look, the layout, and if it seems to be user-friendly for customizing.
  • Look at the Stars (Ratings) – Since most beginner bloggers will choose a Free theme, seeing how they rate the theme will give you an idea to the user-friendliness of the theme.
  • Read the Description – Most of the Free themes will come with a short description of features and functionality. Reading the description will help you to figure out if the theme matches your specific needs.

You can click on any of the themes to preview them, or as an option, you can take your search one step further and click on the ‘Feature Filter‘ link, as shown below, to match certain criteria.

Your WordPress Blog's Featured Themes Preview Page

On the next page you can choose different features and layouts to narrow down your search.

Once you’ve check-marked the boxes that you want, click on the ‘Apply Filters‘ button, as shown below, to bring up the available themes matching your criteria.

Your WordPress Blog Theme's Filter's Page to Narrow Down Your Search

Once your page loads from your filtered choices, click on any of the images that suits your fancy to see the available preview.

Once your page loads from your filtered choices, click on any image that suits your fancy to see the available preview

If you can’t seem to find a Free theme from the WordPress dashboard, try not to be discouraged.

  • You can either, settle on one that you like, even though it may not be perfect without some modifications, OR…
  • Invest in a Premium theme, which will usually have many more features and are more user-friendly than the Freebies
NOTE: Once you install a theme, it may not look quite right, because you still need to add content, photos, menu bar links, etc. AND, you can always change your theme in the future without losing any of your content, images or videos.

If you like what you see, and you would like to install your chosen theme, click on the ‘Install‘ button at the upper left corner of the browser window – as shown by the Hand.

Once the theme installs, the Install button will change to an ‘Activate‘ button, which you can activate it or wait for later if you wanna keep browsing themes.

The Themes Preview Page

If you’re not going to activate the theme now, click on the “X” button in the top left corner to exit the page.

To activate any of your chosen themes, revisit your Themes page by clicking on the Appearance link > Themes link.

Once on the Themes page, hover over the image of the theme that you would like to active, and click on the ‘Activate‘ button.

In your WordPress Dashboard - How to Activate a Theme

To customize your theme, click on Appearance > Customize from your sidebar.

This will bring up a box on your left side with a Menu of areas for Customizing – as shown in the screenshot below.

Just play around with the different links, which will show you a live preview of your changes.

Once you’ve made some changes, the faded Published button – indicated by the blue arrow – will turn green. If you like what you see, click on ‘Green‘ button to save the changes.

When you’re ready to exit out of the Customizer, click on the “X” in the upper left corner.

A couple of things…

  • If you click on the Customize link from your Dashboard, it will automatically bring up your Home page
  • Make only 1 modification at a time, so if you need to bring it back to it’s original state, you’ll remember what you did

Your WordPress Dashboard - Theme Customizer Page

If you’d like to Customize a particular Post or Page, go to your live site. While on your chosen post/page, hover your mouse over your site name in the upper left hand corner.

From the dropdown menu, click on ‘Theme Customizer‘ link. This will bring up the Customizer boxes as shown in the screenshot for the post/page you’re on.

Something to keep in mind – each theme will have different customizable links.

If you don’t like what you see, go back to the Add New area in your Themes page and search for other themes to play around with until you find one that you can work with.

– If you’re looking for another option for a Free theme, the Astra theme is: super fast, popular and comes highly recommended.

Click on the image to visit their website

Free theme that's popular and comes highly recommended

Premium WordPress Themes

If you are anything like me, you will not want to spend a bunch of time learning one theme, then down the road, deciding to upgrade having to learn another. I have always been the type of person to find a happy medium, as it’s said.

So… when I first started blogging in 2009, I decided to invest in a premium theme… one that I can learn and grow with.

After almost 10 happy years of using the same theme, I finally decided to switch to the most popular theme on the planet for bloggers.

Why, because it’s extremely versatile and super user-friendly.

One of the greatest advantages of owning a premium theme is the support you get, if you need it.

Here it is… the most powerful, easy to use theme for WordPress: Elegant Themes.

WordPress Divi Theme by ElegantThemes - Join 767,154 Empowered Web Design Professional & Business Owners

The Cost: $89 (but, you get 87 themes to choose from, plus Marketing plugins, all for 1 Price)

This blog, johneengle.com is running on the Divi Theme!

Here are the Elegant Theme highlights

  • Divi Theme, the most popular WordPress Theme on the planet ~ BuiltWith.com
  • Divi comes with a visual drag & drop page builder – design anything you can imagine
  • Monarch software – a Social Sharing plug-in that’s customizable and looks great
  • Bloom software – a simple, yet functional APP for building your email list
  • Extensive Library of Video and Written Tutorials for every module of your themes and plugins
  • The Divi theme receives regular updates and support, making it easy to stay secure

This may seem like a high cost right now, but the clear advantage of Elegant Theme’s and their Marketing plugins are that they’re an ‘All-in-One’ package price.

Elegant Themes (Divi in particular), are the perfect package (The Ultimate Toolkit) to get your home-based, online business up and running. It’s the main reason they have become the most popular company building themes on the market, with over 767,154+ paying customers, and counting.

When you head on over to check out the Divi theme, be sure to watch the video on the Elegant Themes Home page.

The bottom line:

If you are wanting the most user-friendly solution that will last you for years, and doesn’t require the Tech Gene, then Elegant Themes are your ticket to Stardom.

You can check them out Here.

Another premium theme supplier that many popular bloggers use and come highly recommended, is StudioPress (not as user-friendly). Like ElegantThemes, StudioPress themes are professional and designed for speed and beauty as well.

Step #5: Installing WordPress Plugins

Now that you have your theme figured out, it’s time to continue the customization process using WordPress plugins.

A plugin is an Add-On feature for your website that implements code within your blog to create a specific function.

With 50,000+ FREE WordPress plugins available, there are plugins for everything you can imagine, from search engine optimization, to tracking visitors to your site using Google analytics, to Contact forms, to collecting emails from your readers.

The problem is, the Internet is littered with articles about “Essential” and “Must-Have” plugins, which can cause overwhelm for the newbie blogger.

When a new blogger is excited about all the options available, they will install TOO MANY plugins, which will slow down their new site to a crawl.

So, to help you cut through the Internet overwhelm – here is my list of essential plugins that will cover all the categories needed to help you get your business up and running.

Now, of course you can add any plugins you’d like, but, ONLY install the essential plugins that your business needs – to keep your site from becoming slow and sluggish.

9 Essential WordPress Plugins to Get Your business Up and Running

  1. Akismet Antispam – Protect Your Site from Spam
  2. Wordfence Security – Firewall & Malware Site Security
  3. W3 Total Cache – Performance Caching
  4. UpdraftPlus – FULL Site Backup
  5. MonsterInsights – Google Analytics Dashboard
  6. WPForms – Contact Form
  7. SocialWarfare – Social Sharing
  8. Rank Math SEO – Total Search Engine Optimization
  9. Thrive Leads – Email List Building

1. Protect Your Blog from Spam (Akismet Anti-Spam)

Akismet - Protect your blog from spam

Akismet checks your comments and contact form submissions against our global database of spam to prevent your site from publishing malicious content.

You can review the comments spam that it catches under your blog’s Comments section, admin screen.

2. Firewall & Malware Site Security (Wordfence Security)

Wordfence Security - Anti-virus, Firewall and Malware Scan

Wordfence includes an endpoint firewall and malware scanner that were built from the ground up to protect WordPress.

Their Threat Defense Feed, arms Wordfence with the newest firewall rules, malware signatures and malicious IP addresses required to keep your website safe.

Rounded out by 2FA and a suite of additional features, Wordfence is the most comprehensive WordPress security solution available.

  • WORDPRESS FIREWALL – Web Application Firewall identifies and blocks malicious traffic. Built and maintained by a large team focused 100% on WordPress security
  • WORDPRESS SECURITY SCANNER – Malware scanner checks core files, themes and plugins for malware, bad URLs, backdoors, SEO spam, malicious redirects and code injections
  • LOGIN SECURITY – Two-factor authentication (2FA), one of the most secure forms of remote system authentication available via any TOTP-based (Time-based One Time Password) authenticator app or service

Non-Tech Talk Interpretation: It’s a Bad-ASS Security plug in

3. WordPress Performance Plugin (W3 Total Cache)

W3 Total Cache - WordPress Performance Optimization

W3 Total Cache (W3TC) improves the SEO and user experience of your site by increasing website performance and reducing load times by leveraging features like content delivery network (CDN) integration and the latest best practices.

W3TC is the only web host agnostic Web Performance Optimization (WPO) framework for WordPress trusted by millions of publishers, web developers, and web hosts worldwide for more than a decade. It’s the total performance solution for optimizing your WordPress Website.

Note: If you set up your account with SiteGround, as your web host (as recommended), and use the Cloudfare CDN, the W3 Total Cache plugin is not necessary. SiteGround comes with its own caching plugin, and it takes only a few minutes to set it up.

4. Backup Plugin (UpdraftPlus)

UpdraftPlus - WordPress Backup Plugin

UpdraftPlus simplifies backups and restoration. It’s the world’s highest ranking and most popular scheduled backup plugin, with over two million currently-active installs.

Backup your files and database into the cloud and restore with a single click!

Backup into the cloud directly to Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3 (or compatible), UpdraftVault, Rackspace Cloud, FTP, DreamObjects, Openstack Swift, and email.

Note: Just like I mentioned for the W3 Total Cache (W3TC) plugin, if you set up your account with SiteGround, it’s not necessary to use this plugin because SiteGround does daily backups. If you’re the type of person that likes max protection, or are looking for peace of mind, go for it.

5. Google Analytics Dashboard (MonsterInsights – Google Analytics Dashboard)

MonsterInsights - Google Analytics Dashboard Plugin for WordPress

We believe that it’s easy to double your traffic and sales when you know exactly how people find and use your website. MonsterInsights shows you the stats that matter, so you can grow your business with confidence.

MonsterInsights has over 2 million active installs, showing the popularity of this Google Analytics plugin for WordPress.

This free Google Analytics plugin shows you all of your relevant information directly inside your WordPress dashboard.

All you need to do is connect the plugin to your Google Analytics account to find out which articles are grabbing the most attention and how long the reader stays on your site.

Sign up for your free Google Analytics account right here.

6. Contact Form (WPForms Lite)

WPForms - Drag and Drop Form Builder for WordPress

The creators of the plugin believe that you shouldn’t have to hire a developer to create a WordPress contact form. That’s why they built WPForms, a drag & drop WordPress form builder that’s EASY and POWERFUL.

WPForms allows you to create beautiful contact forms, feedback form, subscription forms, payment forms, and other types of forms for your site in minutes, not hours!

7. Social Sharing Plugin (Social Warfare)

SocialWarfare - Social Sharing Plugin for Professional Social Marketers

Get more social shares which can lead to more website traffic with the best WordPress social sharing plugin! Built by a group of social media marketing experts and world class developers who are obsessed with performance. Learn more at Warfare Plugins.

Most WordPress social sharing plugins slow down your site, are not attractive, and don’t work the way you would hope. Social Warfare share buttons are both lightning fast and beautiful.

Not only will it never slow down your website like other sharing plugins, we give you the most attractive share buttons available that look great no matter what screen size or resolution.

8. BEST WordPress SEO Plugin (Rank Math SEO)

RankMath - The Swiss Army Knife of WordPress SEO

SEO is the most consistent source of traffic for any website. Rank Math was created to help every blog owner get access to the SEO tools they need to improve their SEO and attract more traffic to their website.

For the longest time, I was a die-hard YOAST SEO plugin fan. I recently changed over to Rank Math and am more impressed with it than virtually any plugin I use.

If you happen to use Yoast SEO plugin on your site, Rank Math has a 1-Click import feature. With a single click of your mouse, Rank Math can import all your settings from Yoast SEO & Yoast SEO Premium. The transfer is instant, and you don’t lose any SERP rankings as a result.

Rank Math has an Easy-to-Follow Setup Wizard that practically configures itself. Rank Math features a step-by-step installation and configuration wizard that sets up SEO for WordPress perfectly.

Rank Math has so many powerful features that, if I were to list all the abilities of Rank Math, this page would be another 3 feet long.

Way to many to list – you’ll have to check it out for yourself.

9. Email List Building Plugin (Thrive Leads)

ThriveLeads - Email List Building Plugin

Here Are 4 Big Benefits:

  • Design & Deploy – Thrive Leads combines every type of opt-in form you need in one single plugin and gives you a simple drag-and-drop editor to create the perfect design every time
  • Advanced Targeting – Get a massive conversion boost by showing relevant, highly targeted offers to your visitors based on posts, categories, tags and more. Build hyper-targeted and profitable lists
  • A/B Testing Engine – Thrive Leads comes with a highly advanced but very easy to use A/B testing feature. Easily increase your conversions and use the plugin to automatically increase your conversion rate
  • Actionable Reporting & Insights – Thrive Leads gives you a simple overview over the most important metrics. See exactly how your opt-in forms are performing over time and where your most valuable traffic comes from

The Thrive Leads plugin is not free. It costs $67 on its own, or you can choose the $19 per month (paid annually), which would get you immediate access to ALL 10 of their amazing Thrive Themes plugins. It’s definitely worth checking into.

If cost is a concern, consider the free version of Sumo, which has some great features, but includes company branding.

Visit the ThriveThemes site to see the forms you have at your disposal.

108,759 – Enthusiastic Users Can’t Be Wrong…

Here are some of the features:

  • Drag & Drop Contact Form Builder
  • Pre-built Form Templates
  • Mobile Ready, SEO Friendly and Optimized for Speed
  • All the Fields & Features that You Need to Succeed
  • Surveys & Polls
  • Membership and Default WordPress Forms
  • Easy to Customize and Extend
  • Payment Form, Donation Form, Booking Form, and More

How to Install a WordPress Plugin

Now that you have recommended WordPress plugins to get you started – let’s walk you through installing them.

Installing a WordPress plugin is simple.

Under the ‘Plugins‘ tab, click on the link, ‘Add New‘.

Once you get to the ‘Add Plugins‘ page, you’ll have 2 different options for installing a plugin.

You’ll either:

  1. Search for a FREE Plugin – You can enter the name of the plugin you’d like to install in the ‘Search Plugins…‘ field (this will show you FREE Plugins from the WordPress repository), OR…
  2. Upload a 3rd Party Plugin – You will click the ‘Upload Plugin‘ button if you purchased a 3rd party plugin like ThriveLeads

How to Install a WordPress Plugin

Option 1 – Searching for a FREE WordPress.org Plugin

Once you’ve entered the name of the plugin you are searching for, the page will refresh itself showing you the plugin, along with other plugins with a similar function.

Next, click on the ‘Install Now‘ button as shown below.

Installing a WordPress Plugin

Option 2 – Installing a 3rd Party Plugin

To upload a 3rd party plugin to your WordPress blog, you’ll need to:

  1. Click on the ‘Upload Plugin‘ button from the ‘Add Plugins‘ page
  2. Click on the ‘Choose File‘ button as shown below and grab the file from your computer
  3. Once your file shows next to the ‘Choose File’ button, click on the ‘Install Now‘ button

Uploading a 3rd Party Plugin

Activating Your WordPress Plugin

There will be one more step to get your WordPress plugin to function – you must Activate the plugin.

Whether it’s a FREE WordPress plugin or a 3rd party plugin that you uploaded, the function is the same.

You can activate the plugin directly after you Install it, by clicking on the ‘Activate‘ button as shown below.

Activate your WordPress plugin after the install

Or…

If you happen to be on the ‘Installed Plugins‘ page, you can click on the Activate link as shown below.

Activate your plugin from the Installed Plugins page

Step #6: Basic WordPress Functions

Let’s cover some basic WordPress functions…

If you’ve been wondering why my dashboard is the color of aqua blue, instead of the ugly, default color black, I’m gonna tell you.

If you want to change your dashboards, theme color, click on ‘Users‘ from your sidebar, then ‘Profile‘. Once you are on the Users Profile page, click on any of the ‘Admin Color Scheme‘ options which will change the color, without leaving the page.

WordPress Users Profile dashboard

If you like the color you chose, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the ‘Update Profile‘ button. Wa-La!

WordPress Posts and Pages

Posts and Pages – the heart and soul of your blog.

We’ll be covering how to create a Post and Page, in greater detail, in the upcoming sections.

WordPress Posts

To find previously published or draft Posts…

Hover over, or click on the ‘Posts‘ link on your sidebar, you’ll see: All Posts, Add New, Categories, and Tags.

Once you have Posts Published or in Draft form, they’ll be listed under the ‘All Posts‘ link.

On the All Posts page, you can click any link above, example: ‘Published‘, which will separate those already live on the Internet, compared to those waiting to be published (in draft form).

Your list of articles on this Posts page will show: the Title of the Post, the Author, Categories of the article, Tags, Comments, and the Date the article was written, or last modified.

This page can also show other features a plugin might add to this list of articles, I.E., Social Shares or SEO Details, etc.

Add New – is pretty self explanatory – add a new post, using this link.

Categories – will show a list of Category Names that you created when you added your post. It’s a way of placing your Posts into different subjects or topics, like a folder.

This page will also show the number of posts under any particular category. If you were click on the Number, under the column Count, it will open a new page with the posts listed under that specific category.

Tags – are smaller in scope and are focused to specific topics. Think of them as keywords used for topics discussed in a particular post. Under the Tags page, you’ll find a list of tags you added when you published a post.

Similar to Categories, you can click on the Number under the Count column to see which articles are attached to that particular tag.

WordPress Pages

A Page is static and won’t use Tags or Categories, it will simply have content for informational purposes.

A few examples for a page would be: Recommended Blogging Tools & Resources page, the About the Author page, Contact Form page, Terms of Service or maybe even your Home page if you choose to set your blog up that way.

Finding your list of Pages, whether draft or published, is similar to Posts.

From your sidebar, click on Pages > All Pages – to get to your list of static pages.

The ‘Appearance’ Link

This is a menu option that in turn will be one of the most important areas for the design of your blog.

This is where you’ll upload and customize your blog’s Theme, create menus and many other cool features.

The items under your Appearance Link will vary slightly depending on which theme you choose for your site.

The ‘Plugins’ Link

We discussed plugins prior to covering some basic WordPress functions, so you know what that link does…

You already know that plugins are for adding features to your blog, like a Contact page, social media buttons, design features, or search engine optimization tools, so we will stop there and move on to the next section.

The ‘Users’ Link

This is the area that has many different levels of permission for your site. The highest position is the Administrator, which has unlimited access to every part of your blog… that’s YOU!

Let’s say you wanted to have a person design your blog for you. You would add this person giving him certain permissions to modify your site.

If someone if offering to write for your blog, you would add them as a Contributor to start, moving them up the levels to an Author or Editor upon proving themselves.

MORE information about Users Roles: Beginner’s Guide to WordPress User Roles and Permissions

The ‘Settings’ Link

These are customization features similar to, how many articles you want to show on your front page, etc.

MORE Information about Settings: Beginner’s Guide to WordPress Settings: How to Configure Your Site

This may seem like a lot, and slightly overwhelming, but once you spend some time playing around with your newly installed blog, it will become second nature, easy and intuitive.

If you just can’t wait any longer to see what your site looks like right now, live on the Internet, click on your blog’s name in the upper left hand corner as shown in the screenshot below.

WordPress dashboard to Live Preview

Clicking on this link from your dashboard will give you the finished look of your site. It will be what others see live on the Internet when they enter your domain name or click on a link from a search or elsewhere, like social media.

NOTE: If you’ve modified a Post or a Page and haven’t saved it yet, clicking on the link above will create a Pop Up Warning box. The pop up will ask if you are intending to leave, giving you the options to Leave or Cancel your request, keeping you from losing all of your hard work.

Right now, your blog looks very plain. Keep in mind that it’s in the beginning stages.

To return to your dashboard, hover over your blog’s name in the upper left-hand corner and click on the link, or on ‘Dashboard‘ from the drop-down menu. Pretty simple huh?

How to return from a preview to your WordPress Dashboard

NOTE: The black bar you see at the top of your blog will not be seen by your visitor – only by you when you are logged into your dashboard.
For additional help with your WordPress dashboard needs, click on the following link: WordPress Tutorial for Beginners!

For Additional WordPress Dashboard Help - Visit this amazing WordPress Tutorial

Next, let’s move on to creating your Must-Have, core pages.

Step #7: Creating Your Must-Have – Core Pages

Depending on your site’s purpose and individual needs, you can ultimately decide what pages to add to your site.

But, the following are the most common pages found by bloggers using their site for a money making business:

  • Homepage Page“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” For Help creating your Home Page and what to include: How to Build the Perfect Home Page
  • About Page – The most traditional page on any blog is the “About us” page. The About page can be about pretty much anything: it can be about you, your niche, your passion, or your journey. Here’s some Help for your About Page: How to Create the Perfect About Page
  • Contact Page – A Contact page, in its simplest form, should contain a friendly invitation for visitors reaching out to you. At the minimum, your contact form should supply a field for a person’s email address, a brief subject line to describe the topic of their message, and a box for the actual message. Recommended Contact Form: WP Forms
  • Resources Page – This page can include recommended products and/or services that you provide, use or recommend. Here’s my Resources Page: Recommended Blogging Tools & Resources.
  • Privacy Policy Page – I’m in no way, qualified to give legal advice, so consult an attorney if you have any questions about this policy. I will cover creating a WordPress provided, basic Privacy Policy page, below.

Creating Your ‘Must-Have’ Pages

To create a new page, simply hover over the Page link, then click on the ‘Add New‘ link from the dropdown menu.

You’ll be taken to your Add New Page, Edit box where you can add your content – just like adding a new Post.

WordPress Edit Page Box

Similar to a Post, here are the basics of the WordPress Page:

  • Add Title – this is the title of your page – make it 60 characters or less for search engines
  • Edit box indicated by the cursor – this is where you’ll, of course, add your content
  • Add Media button – this is where you’ll add images to your page
  • Add Form button – when you have a form created – you’ll click on this button to add it
  • Save Draft button – this is where you’ll save your work in draft form to work on it later
  • Preview button – click this button to look at your page on the Internet (it’s not live)
  • Publish button – once you are satisfied with your page, click this button to make it live
REMINDER: If you’re new to WordPress, make sure to have the ‘Visual‘ tab checked.

– As mentioned before, the other tab, ‘Text‘ is much less, user-friendly for creating a page, you’d need to be familiar with basic HTML coding.

Here’s the article again for the Visual Editor. Using the Visual Editor

Creating a Home Page

If you’ve created a custom, static Home page, follow the instructions below to get it to show up on your blog.

Question: Is your Home page live for the world to see?

– Your Home page will need to be published for this to work.

From your links on the left sidebar, click on Settings > Reading.

When you get to this page, under Reading Settings, next to Your homepage displays, you’ll see 2 circles. You’ll want to hover your mouse over and tick the ‘A Static Page‘.

Doing this will allow you to use the dropdown menu to select the page you intend to use for your Home page.

Once you are done finding the page you intend to use, click the ‘Save Changes‘ button.

Click on your site’s name link in the upper left hand corner to see your Home page live on the Internet.

WordPress dashboard Reading Settings - Add Home Page

Creating Your About/Contact/Resources Page

Similar to creating a Home page:

  • Create a New Page
  • Add the information you’d like
  • Preview the page
  • Publish the page

If you need to find your Pages, use the link on your sidebar Pages > All Pages. Your drafts and published Pages will be listed there.

Creating a Basic Privacy Policy

WordPress comes with a built in, basic Privacy Policy page, which you can find under your sidebar links, by clicking Settings > Privacy.

Once you are on the page, read the basic Privacy Setting information. If you are ready to creae your policy, click on the ‘Create‘ button, which will automatically create a basic Privacy Policy page.

If you happen to have a policy page created, you can find it under the dropdown menu. When found, highlight the page, then click the ‘Use this Page‘ button, as indicated by the blue arrows.

If you’d like to see a short summary of a basic Privacy Policy, click on the ‘Policy Guide‘ link at the top.

WordPress Privacy Policy - Create a Basic Policy

On this page you’ll find short summary’s of information that should be provided. These sections include:

  • Privacy Policy Guide Dropdown Menu: Suggested information that should be provided
  • WordPress Dropdown Menu: Information compiled from your theme and plugins

WordPress Privacy Policy Page - Basic Policy Guidelines

Allowing Your Pages to Be Seen

When you publish a Page, it will not automatically show up on your blog. You’ll need to add your new Page to a Menu bar, your Footer, or wherever you’d like people to click on a link, to see it.

To Add Pages to your menu:

To add a page or multiple pages to your menu bar, visit your menus page by clicking on Appearance > Menus from the left sidebar. This page will be where you’ll create your menu.

The first thing you need to do is to make a Name for your Menu in the Menu Name box.

Example: my menu’s name is a simple one – Main Menu as seen in the image, but you can name it anything you’d like to.

WordPress dashboard - Create a New Menu

Once you are done naming your menu, click the ‘Create Menu‘ button as shown.

The next page is where you’ll add pages to your newly created menu.

To Add Pages to your Menu:

Click the ‘View All‘ tab, shown by the blue arrow, under the Add Menu Items box, to see all your site’s pages.

Select the pages you want to add from the left column, then click on the ‘Add to Menu‘ button.

WordPress - Add a navigation page menu

Once you’ve added the pages to your menu, scroll down the page, under Menu Settings you’ll see Display Location. Checkmark where you’d like your menu to show on your site – as shown by the blue arrow in the image below.

Once you’ve check marked your location – click on the ‘Save Menu‘ button.

WordPress dashboard Display Location for your menu

NOTE: If you’re not sure of the location this menu will be displayed, try saving your menu in different locations and visit your site to see how it looks.

For a Complete Tutorial to Add a Navigation Menu – Visit: How to Add a Navigation Menu in WordPress (Beginner’s Guide)
For a Complete Tutorial to Add Navigation within your footer – Visit: How to Edit the Footer in WordPress (Step by Step)

Step #8: Writing Your First Blog Post

It’s time to start writing blog posts. But, before we do, let’s cover some basics for creating the perfect blog post.

Taking the ideas from inside your head, and turning them into words on the screen – then sharing them with the world.

The best content will feel personal and approachable, and will feel like it was written just for your reader.

Most Bloggers write informal, in a laid back style of conversation, as if talking to their best friend over coffee.

Your audience will be looking for your authentic self, your own writing style, in your own voice.

You’ll want your blog, your content, your writing voice and your brand to feel like home to them.

If you’ve gotten this far and are still unsure what you want to write about, follow the link for my article: How to Find Your Niche – which will also help you research ideas for your blog article.

Creating Irresistible Headlines

Your headline represents the culmination of the finest, most attention-grabbing, interest-arousing statements you can muster.

Your headline MUST:

  • Stop your readers in their tracks – grab their attention and trigger an emotional reaction that leads them to click on your link
  • Be benefit-oriented – make complete sense immediately, and hint at a special something to soon follow
  • Let your readers know what your content is about – give a brief statement, using your chosen keyword phrase, letting them know what your article is about

If your readers are not curious or convinced with what is being offered – they will leave.

NOTE: If you make a promise with your headline, make sure you over-deliver with your content.

And, by all means, speak the truth, Do Not lie or mislead with your headline just to get them to click on your link.

Here is a FREE Headline Analyzer tool to help you come up with a strong headline: CoSchedule Headline Analyzer

Additional Headline Information: How to Generate Powerful Headlines – Guaranteed to Arrest Attention and Arouse Curiosity!
[thrive_leads id='37608']

Turn Your Ideas into Shareable Blog Posts

If you haven’t written a blog post before, you’ll need to become familiar with this form of writing.

Blog posts are supposed to be more personal, as if you are writing to your best friend.

They have their very own format.

Blog posts:

  • Use a conversational tone
  • Have scannable content and is easy to read
  • Have short paragraphs
  • Have links to other helpful content
  • Have images to help tell the story

Let’s take a look at each one in more detail.

Using a Conversational Tone

Your readers will want to visit your blog for you and your voice. They will want to hear from you as if you are speaking directly to them.

When you write your blog post, for the purpose of a conversational tone, act as if your friend is sitting across the table from you enjoying a nice cup of coffee.

What tone would you use, what would you say to this specific person?

Writing for the Web

Studies have shown that the majority of Internet readers will SKIM articles.

Readers on the Web have so much going on in their lives, that they don’t have much of an attention span.

Because of this, the majority of your readers will skim your article first. If you get their attention with your outline, the chances are good that they will go back to the beginning and read your article.

One way to break your content up for easy skimming would be to use header tags as an outline for your content.

WordPress uses the Header tags to serve as an indicator to the levels of importance of each section of your article.

These HTML header tags, denoted as h1, h2, h3, h4 etc., are an easy way to format your text and organize your page’s structure.

NOTE – Important for WordPress – The H1 tag is only to be used once in a POST, and is already used by default as the Headline/Title of your Post – DO NOT use an H1 tag in your article’s content.

The h1 header tag will ultimately be the most responsible reason for a person to visit your article. The h2 header tag will be for subjects that are sub-sections of the h1. The h3 for sub-sections of the h2 tag and so on.

– Format your article with short headlines to create an article storyline.

While you are breaking up your content for the skimming public, be sure to create bulleted and numbered lists to greater emphasize your information.

The whole idea is to remove the blocks of text, giving the skimmers an idea of what your content is about and making it easy for them to read.

Creating Short Paragraphs

Break up your paragraphs into short chunks of information, with no more than 2 to 3 short sentences, and 4 lines of content or less ~ Less is More!

Make it skim-mable, easy to read and absorb.

Use Links within Your Content

Have external links for the reader to click on to learn more, giving the person a choice to absorb more information.

  • You can send them to related articles for additional information, like I’ve done with my links
  • You can send them to a helpful article on another person’s site
  • You can link to resources that will help your readers with solving their problem
NOTE: If you have information on another site you’d like to share, make sure the site you send your reader to is a trusted site, not an unreliable or spam site. Just be careful who you link to.

To avoid any link errors, open the page you want to link to and copy the URL directly from the address line in your browser – then be sure to test it.

Use of Images within Your Content

Be sure to use high-quality images within your content.

You’ll always want an image towards the top of your post to give a visual idea of what your content is about.

Many bloggers like to use images to help break up their content, and show information (like a screenshot of Google Analytics).

Let’s Get to Work – Writing Your First Blog Post

If at any time you need additional help with writing your first post, visit my in-depth article: How to Write Your First Blog Post.

For now – let’s cover the basics for your first post.

Moving On…

Before anything else, you’ll need to decide what your first post will be about.

Your first blog post should be about anything you want, but I’ll recommend that you keep it simple, so you don’t overwhelm yourself with the details.

One cool thing about using WordPress is that you can change literally anything after you’ve published your post, so don’t worry too much that your first post isn’t perfect.

So, what will your first post be about? You could:

  • Let your audience know why you decided to start a blog?
  • Introduce your blog topic – what your blog will be about?
  • Go all in and start creating content on any topic you choose, with many more to follow?

Let’s Begin…

NOTE: If your Edit box looks nothing like the image below, then you’re probably using the Gutenberg Block editor created for WordPress 5.0 and above, released in December of 2018.

I’m OLD School, so I like what I’ve been using for years, which is the Classic Editor shown below.

You have 2 options here:

  1. You can learn more about the new block editor by clicking on the following link for a Block Editor Tutorial, Or…
  2. You can install the Classic Editor plugin, which will return your Edit box to the original look of the Edit box from the past, which is the one I prefer

If you like the Classic Layout, grab the plugin to make it happen. Click on ‘Plugins‘ > ‘Add New‘ then type in Classic Editor in the Search Box.

To Add a New Post

To add a new post, simply hover over the Post link from the left-side navigation bar in your dashboard, then click on the ‘Add New‘ link from the dropdown menu.

You’ll then be taken to your Add New Post, Edit box where you can add your content.

Below is the Classic Layout – simple, easy to use and easy to learn

The use of this Post Edit box is pretty self-explanatory and simple to use once you get the hang of it.

WordPress - Showing the Basics of the Edit Posts Box

The Basics of the WordPress Posts Edit box – as indicated by the blue arrows:

  • Add Title – this is the title of your post – make it 60 characters or less for search engines
  • Edit box indicated by the cursor – this is where you’ll, of course, add your content
  • Add Media button – this is where you’ll add images to your post
  • Add Form button – when you have a form created – you’ll click on this button to add it
  • Save Draft button – this is where you’ll save your work in draft form to work on it later
  • Preview button – click this button to look at your post on the Internet (it’s not live)
  • Publish button – once you’re satisfied with your post, click this button to make it live
NOTE: If you’re new to WordPress, be sure to have the ‘Visual‘ tab checked, indicated by the blue arrow, to make sure you have all of the elements (Heading tags, Bold, Italize, Bullet points, etc.), at your disposal.

The other tab, ‘Text‘ is much less, user-friendly for the beginner, you’d need to be familiar with basic HTML coding.

For help using the Visual Editor, which are all the icons directly above the edit box, click on the following link: Using the Visual Editor

One of the best methods to start your draft would be to create an outline. This would essentially be a map of your blog post.

To do this:

  • Figure out the headline you’d like to use and write it in the box where it says, ‘Add Title
  • Think about what you’d like to say – figuring out what the topic of your blog post is all about
  • Write down any Headings and Subheadings to break up your content into different subjects (creating a storyline for the skimmers).

Once you’re done, look over the outline to see if it tells a story, using your Headings and Subheadings.

Is everything on topic? Does anything need to be rearranged?

Adding Helpful Links within Your Content for Additional Information

Adding internal and external links that go to helpful resources will give your reader a choice to absorb more information.

  • Internal Links: Send them to articles on your site
  • External Links: Send them to articles on other blogger’s sites

One practice, which is search engine optimization friendly, and will keep your readers on your site longer, is to include internal links to more of your content, as shown in the screenshot below.

First blog post internal and external links.

In order to add a link to your post, highlight the wording you’d like to use for your link then click on the link symbol (as shown in the screenshot below), which will create a pop up window to add your link.

Adding a link to your first blog post.

Linking to Outside Sources

If you have additional information on someone else’s website you’d like to share, and you want to link to them, be sure it’s a site you can trust.

NOTE: In order to stay in Google’s good graces, make sure the site you send your reader to is a trusted site, not an unreliable or spam site. Just be careful who you link to.

Adding a Category for Your First Post

By now, you should have an idea for the Category that your article belongs in.

For a New Category – click on the blue hyperlink, ‘Add New Category‘, in the red oval. This will open a new box below the link to add your Category name – as indicated by the blue arrow. Once you’ve added a name, click on the ‘Add New Category‘ button.

If your blog post fits within 2 categories, that perfectly fine.

Just be sure to Tick the category circle with your mouse (as shown next to the category, ‘Blogging Basics‘), in the image below.

Which ever category has the circle filled in will be considered the primary category for your blog post.

WordPress Posts Edit Box - Add a Category to Your Post

If everything is good to go, it’s time to move to the, drafting of your article, phase.

Before you do, it’s time to save your work. Click on the ‘Save Draft‘ button as indicated by the blue arrow in the image below.

Periodically, save your draft as you go, so you don’t lose any of your work.

WordPress Posts Edit Box - Save Draft button

Doing OK? If you need more help creating your first blog post – visit my article: How to Write Your First Blog Post

Adding Images

When you’re ready to begin adding images to your article, place your cursor and click your mouse where you want the image to appear, within your article.

While your cursor is blinking, click on the ‘Add Media‘ button at the upper left side of your Edit box, as shown in the image below.

WordPress Posts Edit Box - Add Images to Your Post

This will create a Popup window for you to find your image within your computer to add.

NOTE: Be sure to not have images larger than 1200 pixels in width (I never go larger than 1000px width), and have them compressed for the Web.

You sure don’t wanna bog down your site with large images.

Adding Images to Posts – Additional Information: Inserting Images into Posts and Pages

Is Your First Post Ready to Go Live?

Before your post can be seen by the public (I know, scary right?), you must publish it within your WordPress blog’s dashboard.

For a Check-List to publish your masterpiece, visit: How to Publish Your Blog Post

– If you are ready to make your post Live for the world to see, click on the ‘Publish‘ button on the right-hand side.

– If you want to publish at a later date/time, click on the ‘Edit‘ link next to the ‘Publish Immediately‘ words and set your date and time, then hit schedule.

Step #9: Promoting Your Blog – To Include Driving Targeted Traffic to Your Site with SEO

Writing high-quality content, then optimizing it for search engines isn’t the only way to get traffic.

Although, believe it or not, only posting high-quality content on a consistent basis, is actually enough to succeed in any niche.

But, if you’re a person that would go batty, because all you did was continuously work on content, then I would recommend choosing at least one other form of blog promotion, from the list coming up.

You truly only need one core promotional method, plus one specific way (SEO) to generate traffic to build a highly profitable, home-based, Internet business.

Anything beyond that will most likely cause Overwhelm, increasing your odds to Give Up.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – THE BEST Targeted Traffic Method

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - THE BEST Targeted Traffic Method

One of the BEST, and most targeted methods for driving traffic back to your blog is Search Engine Optimization.

Search Engine Optimization, is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results” ~ Moz.com

Over the years, Search Engine Optimization has gotten Extremely targeted, via the search engine algorithms that the SEO engineers have perfected.

Although, SEO can take months to take effect for your site, IT IS Still the BEST targeted source of traffic for any person’s Internet-based business.

“Even Google has specifically stated that this is the Best Way to build an authority website. As long as you have the patience to do it right and not game the system, you shouldn’t have to worry about penalties. Simply post quality content consistently and you’ll move up the rankings.”

I don’t think I could have said it any better myself…

According to an article from SearchEngineLand.com“Organic search is responsible for 53% of all site traffic, paid 15% [Study].” The article goes on to say “According to BrightEdge, paid and organic search drive more than 70% of revenues for B2B and the other verticals.”

Wanna know what they say about Social Media? Before I tell you, promise me that you Won’t Kill the Messenger!?!?

According to this article – “Social media traffic referrals – The report has little positive to say about social media, which has been flat (at ~5% of traffic) since 2014 according to the company.”

We’ll cover Social Media, and its frightening statistic, coming up…

Back to SEO…

Did you know that there are MORE than 200 Ranking Factors that search engines take into account when ranking your site for their Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)?

Yup, you heard me right! These elements judge your blog to see if your website has the most accurate information to give to the people, searching for your specific topic.

Do you want your blog to be the authority on certain subjects? I KNOW I DO!

If you answered with a Resounding, YES, then you’ll need to learn as much as you can about search engine optimization.

What better person to learn from than Brian Dean of BackLinko.com?

Even though you see a question mark at the end of that sentence, it’s not a question – it’s a fact!

Here’s his Definitive Guide To On-Page SEO In 2021, which is a good place to start your SEO journey (you may need to fork over your email address to receive his guide, but it’s worth it.)

In his in-depth on-page SEO article, he’ll cover:

  • On-Oage SEO basics
  • How to Optimize your Content for SEO
  • How to Optimize your Title and Description tags
  • Plus, much more…

Besides learning the importance of SEO – NEXT, we will be discussing 2 important elements necessary to help find your place within the search engine results.

You’ll learn:

  1. Keyword Research – identifying Keywords, creating high-quality content around those keywords
  2. Meta Tags – filling in your vital Meta Tags to gain traffic from the Search Engine Results Pages

Keyword Research – Done Wrong Can Make or Break Your Entire Business

Promoting Your Blog - Perfecting Keyword Research

Ok, don’t freak out – not knowing how to do keyword research isn’t going to break your business, per se’.

What I’m referring to is, if you are relying on receiving traffic to your online business, and you don’t do proper keyword research, you probably won’t get too many eyeballs to your site.

So, I guess in a nutshell, if you don’t know how to find the right keywords for your business, not getting any traffic, could actually break you.

“Learning how to do keyword research is a fundamental SEO task that involves identifying popular words and phrases people enter into search engines. When you know what people search for, you can focus content around those topics.” ~ Moz.com

To repeat: Keyword research is a fundamental process of finding keywords to put within your content which will lead readers back to your site.

Sounds easy, right?

I’ve discussed keyword research briefly in one of my articles: 11 Time-Tested Digital Marketing Strategies to Catapult Your Niche, but if you’re looking for the in-depth article about the subject, I’m going to refer you back to Brian Dean of Backlinko.

Here is his in-depth article: Keyword Research – The Definitive Guide for 2021

SEO Meta Tags

Meta Tags provide information about the webpage in the HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language – the code that makes up your web page) part of the document. These tags are in a specific area of your Source Code (what search engine robots read) that contain information about your website.

There are two very important Meta Tags that you need to add information for, each and every time you write a piece of content for the Web; the Title tag, and the Description tag.

If you took my advice and are using the RankMath SEO plugin, open up your WordPress blog to one of your posts and follow along.

Once you are in your Posts Editing area, scroll down to your RankMath SEO Edit Box, then click on the blue ‘Edit Snippet‘ button – as shown in the image. This Edit button will create a drop-down box to add your information.

WordPress - RankMath Meta Snippet Edit box

If you are wondering what the green, button looking thingy, below the blue arrow, that says, “Make Money Blogging” is – that’s whats called a Focus Keyword.

In other words, typing your main Keyword Phrase within this box will give you an impression of how well you’re doing for on-page, keyword optimization, among other things within your article.

As you can see by the information with all the green check marks, this article is doing quite well for on-page optimization.

Need to Learn More about Meta Tags? Visit: Meta Tags for SEO: A Simple Guide for Beginners

Moving On…

The Title Tag

The Title Tag is an element found in the section of the HTML code of your web page. They’re displayed on the search engine results pages (SERPs) as the clickable headline for a given result, and are important for usability, SEO, and social sharing.

The Title Tag is quite possibly the most important consideration when trying to improve your search-engine rankings for a particular keyword or keyword phrase.

Search engines use the text contained within the Title Tag as a primary factor to determine what the content of your web page is about.

Search engines will display the Title Tag at the top of each item in the search engine results page (SERPs).

Because the attention span of a human is less than a Goldfish, a well written Title increases the odds of your searcher clicking on your link to visit your article.

Like a headline that needs to attract visitors while on your blog, the Title Tag should consist of the most attention-grabbing, interest-arousing statements you can muster.

Make sure to limit your Title Tag wording to 60 characters or less, because most search engines will not display any more than that.

Below, you’ll find the Meta Snippet Edit Box after clicking on the ‘Edit Snippet‘ button as spoken of above.

As you can see by the blue arrows, there are the 2 boxes to type in your Title and Description. This information will then be on display within the Search Engine Results Pages.

WordPress - RankMath Add Title and Description into the Edit box

NOTE: If you look at the screenshot on the right side of the Title box and the Description box, you’ll see numbers indicating the quantity of characters used for your Title and Description.

Once you have typed in your Title and Description, you can use the Close Editor button below the Description box.

The Description Tag

You should optimize each and every Meta Description Tag on your web site, because as previously mentioned, the Meta Description Tag is an important part of the display information that visitors see when your site is listed in the SERPs.

Even though the Meta Description Tag is not important to search engine rankings, it’s extremely important for gaining user click-throughs from search engine result pages (SERPs).

These short paragraphs are the author’s opportunity to create a few compelling sentences describing to searchers exactly what the given page offers, compared to what they’re looking for.

Try your best to limit the Description of your post to 160 characters (most search-engines use the maximum of 160 characters in their search results pages).

The ultimate goal of your description should interest the visitor enough so, they will click your search-engine results, link.

We’ve Covered SEO – Now Let’s Move On To Promoting Your Content

At this point you’ve learned the importance of SEO and how to go about getting it done.

Promoting your content is a way of saying to your potential reader, hey, “I’ve created some amazing stuff here for you to take a look at. And, it might even solve your [problem], or give you the [Desired Result] you’ve been wanting.”

I know, I know, it reads kinda weird, but you get the point.

Let’s get busy, and take a look at some ways you can start getting the word out about your amazing content.

Let’s Start with Friends and Family

A good place to start to get the word out about your new journey, is to include your friends and family.

Who better to support you and spread the word than those that love you (or like you a lot).

If you are a social media surfer, admit it, you are, be sure to let your friends on the Social Media sites know what you’re doing.

Your mom, dad, brothers and sisters love you, hopefully enough (come on, you gotta chuckle), to help you spread the word about your newly found passion.

OK, so you are a social media addict, the next section is for you, maybe.

Social Media Marketing

It’s recommended to figure out if Social Media is truly a good fit for you and your business.

Do you recall earlier when we were talking about SEO, about where it mentioned in the article, “Social media traffic referrals – The report has little positive to say about social media, which has been flat (at ~5% of traffic)…?”

– Give or take 5% traffic – those metrics suck!

Yes, a lot has to do with how well a person promotes, their followers and how engaged they are, etc., but, on the average, Social Media is not known for driving huge amounts of traffic to the average blogger’s site.

If you were trying to build a lifestyle-based brand, then you might just have something to gain from social media.

Examples of niches that could work well with social media are Food, Fitness, Supplements, Beauty and Fashion, to name a few.

More often than not, if your niche doesn’t fall within something similar to the niches mentioned, your time might be spent better, focusing on SEO, improving your writing skills, or rubbing virtual elbows with influential bloggers.

If you do choose to go down the path of Social Media as a form of promotion, one good strategy is to Choose 1 Platform to focus on.

Once you’ve become an expert with your chosen platform, add another one to your Promotional Tool Kit.

Word of Warning: Don’t try to take on multiple social media platforms at once, it will overwhelm you.

Start by figuring out what platforms your ideal readers hang out on – whether its Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or maybe even Twitter.

This is where you wanna start. If Facebook is your jam, each and every time you publish a new post, share it with a comment on your Facebook page, and ask for feedback.

If your blog is your marketing tool for your business, make sure to treat your Social Media time in terms of return on investment (ROI).

By ROI, I mean the platform you’ve chosen to market your genius to, should be able to send your visitors back to your site and convert them into Email Subscribers (which we’ll be talking about soon).

Having a million followers on a Social Media Platform is amazing, but if they don’t turn into raving fans of your work – who know, like and trust you, what is the point?

In the world of business, it’s better to be profitable, than popular. Go with what gives you the greatest reward.

If you happen to have a strong desire to use Social Media, there are plenty of Social Media Experts out there that can help you with techniques that will work for your platform of choice.

I am NOT one of these experts – I’m an SEO guy.

For More on Social Media – Visit: Social Media Examiner – Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle

Networking with Influencers

If you are not familiar with networking with influencers, this is a way of saying to schmooze with seasoned bloggers that have been around cyberspace for a while.

As it’s said in business, “it’s all about the relationships.”

Don’t look at other bloggers within the same niche, as competition.

Networking with other bloggers by linking to their site, or mentioning them by name, within a blog post, will put you on their radar.

When you do this, and I recommend you do, reach out to that blogger, and let them know you mentioned them in your article.

In your email to them, state what you said about them and if they feel it’s worthy, to please share it.

Thank the influencer for their time and that you’ll continue to share information about their site/posts or them in your future articles.

By reaching out to them and introducing yourself, you might just find out that they would make a good friend.

One of the coolest things about starting a new blog is that other successful bloggers love to be helpful.

If you are not feeling confident, or it’s just not time to connect with bloggers within your niche, that’s OK, at least follow and learn from them.

More about Influencers by Brian Dean of Backlinko: Blogger Outreach: How to Get Influencers to Promote Your Content for Free

Guest Posting

Guest Posting, also known as guest blogging, is writing content for another person’s site. This will help connect with their audience.

Not only will you tap into their already established audience, but Guest Posting will give you a link back to your new blog helping to boost your Domain’s Authority, along with sending new readers to your blog.

If you have an Opt-In Box on your site, which you should, this will also help you get more subscribers for your Email List.

Guest posting is one of the best ways to tap into that website owners audience, which could be huge.

More Information about Guest Posting by Neil Patel: The Ultimate Guide to Guest Blogging

Creating an Email List – From Day 1

Creating an Email List is probably one of the most powerful methods to keep your readers engaged and excited about your blog, and the work you are doing with it.

It’s also one of the greatest assets (income streams) for your blogging business. There are many people earning a good income with nothing but an Email List.

Here’s a fun fact you might enjoy hearing – for every $1 invested in Email Marketing, you can expect a $42 return. That’s a 4200% Return On Investment (ROI). Try doing that with the Stock Market.

Something else to know and remember – your email list is yours. No one can take it away from you.

With your Email List, you are in complete control.

Building your list will be a simple task once you have visitors coming to your blog.

In order to start collecting email addresses, you must sign up for an Email Service Provider such as MailChimp or ConvertKit.

For More about Starting an Email List – Visit: How To Create a Killer Email List From Thin Air (A Beginner’s Guide)
For More Information about Email Marketing – Visit: Email Marketing Made Simple: A Step by Step Guide [+ Examples]

Paid Traffic

Paid Traffic is a way of receiving visitors from platforms that you pay for.

Some common forms of Paid Traffic would be, Pay Per Click (PPC) for YouTube, Google, Yahoo and Bing, including Facebook.

Pursuing Paid Traffic requires money that you’ll pay to receive a ton of data, that needs to be interpreted. What do I mean?

I’m meaning that, dialing in on paid advertising takes time, there is not magic formula, at least not that I’m aware of.

Before you start wasting money, consider reading more about the subject.

Similar to Social Media, I’m NOT the guy to help.

For More Information about Paid Advertising – Visit: 5 Things You Must Do Before Jumping Into Paid Internet Advertising

Step #10: Create a Plan to Make Money with Your Blog

How to Make Money with Your Blog to Create a Passive Income - 9 Proven Strategies to Monetize Your Blog

We’re Here!

The Final Frontier – creating a plan to Make Money with Your Blog.

Up until now, I’ve written, over 15,000 words for learning How to Start a Blog.

We’ve covered:

  • Choosing the perfect topic for your blog and finding your blog’s name
  • Purchasing your Web hosting to get your blog online
  • Designing your blog with a WordPress theme along with installing the essential plugins
  • Some basic WordPress functions, then created your core pages along with your first post
  • Discussing methods to get traffic to your blog through SEO and other tactics

Man, we’ve covered a LOT! – Now it’s time to ‘Show YOU the Money‘!

One thing you need to keep in mind is, it’s not Just about Making Money.

Do you recall what I said in the beginning of this article?

“provide value to your readers, and everything else will follow – including the money.”

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – you must create useful and high-quality content, with your readers in mind. And, Over-Deliver!

When you write with your specific reader in mind, with articles that are helpful and problem solving, you’ll gain loyal readers coming back for more.

You’ll eventually become the recognized expert in your chosen niche, with a following of raving fans that will help support your blog.

OK, enough said…

Realizing that the whole reason you probably decided to start a blog was to make money with it – let’s continue on.

Instead of me writing a bunch of mumbo-jumbo about monetizing your blog for making money, right here, why don’t I take you over to my Money Making article that’s much more in-depth?

My Make Money Blogging article has some juicy information about Monetizing Your Blog to bring in the cash.

Don’t Panic, it’s not as long as this one. – – Is that a Sigh of Relief I hear?

Without further Ado, Here Ya Go – – – – WAIT!

Read the rest of MY Inspirational Stuff First – before you GO!

I’ll put the link at the bottom!

What’s Next…

Now that you are up and running, be sure to concentrate on a few things.

#1. Become an Expert at Your Style of Writing

Do you recall what I mentioned in, Step #7 under, Writing Your First Blog Post? Most Bloggers write in a very informal, laid back style of conversational writing. Their readers are looking for authenticity in the blogger’s writing styles; the person that has been there, done that.

Be Your Own Voice – Be an Authentic YOU!

#2. Become as Knowledgeable as Possible for Your Chosen Topic

Research, research, research! Do tons and tons of research about your blog topic.

Never stop educating yourself – commit yourself to learning as much as you can about business, marketing, and your craft.

#3. Start Building Relationships with Influential Bloggers

While doing your research, subscribe to at least 10 relevant blogs within your niche, so you can get a sense of what works to run a blog successfully.

At the very least, you should subscribe to their blog’s email list, download anything they’re offering, follow their podcast if they have one, along with legally stalking them on their Facebook page, Twitter account or Pinterest, and any other social media sites they hang around on.

Pay close attention to the bloggers that you are subscribed to, not just to their blog posts and their writing style, but also, very importantly, how they write emails to you.

Out of the bloggers that you follow, do you relate with any of their particular writing styles?

When you receive emails, do you notice any special form of writing compared to other blogger’s emails?

Do you like how they approach you in the email, are their emails lengthy, what is their closing style of wording, do they leave links to related articles at the end of the email. What is their call to action – is it, “Click Here to Learn More.” Do you relate to their style?

How do you feel after reading their emails? Do you feel pitched, as if they were trying to sell you something, or did the email come across more like they wanted to help you?

#4. Never, Never, Never Give Up ~ Winston Churchill

Don’t wait for anything, start writing – have fun with it.

Don’t worry about followers and subscribers at this point, just enjoy the ride!

Something to remember – you are a newbie blogger, just enjoy blogging, the subscribers and money will follow.

Don’t ever lose sight of your passion – AND, the reason you started your journey.

The beginning stages of blogging can be difficult at times… it may take you many months or possibly years to become proficient at the art of blogging, so try your best to focus on what matters and what your end goal is.

Remember… this is a marathon, not a sprint!

Good things take time to develop, grow slowly.

Difficulties, failures, and frustrations are going to happen, roll with the punches.

It’s a part of life and certainly a part of business.

Take one baby step at a time, building yourself a solid foundation as you learn… enjoy the journey.

“I’m not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward” ~ Thomas Edison

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. You MUST create High-Quality Content if you wanna get anywhere with your blog.

You MUST Over-Deliver – you must look at your content as, if I were reading this article, what would I learn from it? Am I missing anything crucial for the subject I’m covering?

– Here’s the link to my, How to Make Money with Your Blog – 9 Proven Strategies to Monetize Your Blog article.

Don’t Forget to SHARE this Post!

Category: Start a Blog

About the Author -

With a Deep Thirst for Knowledge, clocking countless hours of reading blogging, personal development and financial books, along with following and absorbing the plethora of information available from the most popular blogs on the Net, John will be discussing the many different methods bloggers have used to make money online following their passion. He will uncover the ‘WHY‘ that drives them and the steps they took to be successful in their own career path. If you want to be successful, do what successful people do!
Write for This Blog!

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