The blogosphere is an ever-growing force that will continue to gain credibility across many fields. According to Tumblr, in January of 2016, there were 275 million blogs registered on their site alone.
Over three million blog posts have been sent out today. Without a doubt, this means that blogs are not going anywhere anytime soon. And while you have many hosts to choose from when starting a blog, WordPress is arguably the best site to use, for a variety of reasons listed here.
If you’re reading this, however, you already know that WordPress is the right host for you. The question is, therefore, how do you go about setting up a WordPress blog from scratch? It might seem like a daunting task, but don’t worry.
You won’t have to learn HTML coding or web design to create a fantastic, user-friendly blog.
Take the plunge
After signing up for an account and choosing a name for your site, you’ll choose a theme or pre-packaged design for your vision. Many of these are completely free, and the wonderful thing is that you can pick which look is best for you based on your field.
Are you a photographer wanting to highlight your aesthetic prowess? Pick a portfolio styled theme. If you want to crank out news faster than CNN, select a newspaper-like format. The possibilities are colorful and (nearly) endless.
Most themes will allow you to adjust its colors and fonts. Many also let you upload a header photo, background, as well as a logo, should you have one. Play around with different adjustments until you get the right feel for your site. You can always change it later if you decide to revamp your site.
Make sure the name of your site is displaying correctly, and that your tagline properly summarizes what your blog will be about. Next, you may choose to create new pages. Your blog will only have one page to begin with- the homepage- but most blogs have additional pages for sections like contact information, a biography, and so on. Be sure to label each in the simplest way possible, and try to limit your number of pages to a reader-friendly number, like four or five.
Become familiar with widgets
As WordPress described, “Widgets are add-ons that give your blog more functions and content. They do everything from highlighting your archives to displaying Instagram photos to counting down to your wedding day.” Widgets assist you in displaying pertinent information on your toolbar- like a map of your office location or a biography section. You may already have an “about me” page, but it helps to put a small, visible bio about yourself on the side of your page. A photo and small blurb about your mission or philosophy will allow readers to quickly get a feel for who you are, enticing them to read more within your blog.
Get linked up
Allow WordPress access to your social media accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, so that each time you post on your blog, your new material will automatically appear across your platforms. You want to work smarter, not harder, after all. The other part of linking up is following other blogs in your field. Get to know other people (i.e. network) through WordPress, and also get a feel for what others are doing with their blogs so that you can decide what you want to emulate, and also what you want to avoid.
Formulate a plan
While it might be oh-so-tempting to send out your first message to the world before you’ve completed any of the above, as the author of this article has admittedly done, it’s best not to get ahead of yourself. Formulate a plan of what kind of content you want to publish, and what demographic you want to reach. Research topics, titles, and keywords so that you’re not writing the same thing thousands of bloggers have already written about.
After all, you want valuable information that is unique to your audience. Problogger recommends that you have at least ten posts written before going public with your blog, but other successful bloggers have had upwards of 30 or 40.
The idea is that the reader should get a well-rounded idea of who you are and what you write about without having to wait several days for your second post. After all, if someone sees your site and doesn’t subscribe to it the first time, chances are that they won’t be back.
Perform quality control
Don’t just revise and edit for spelling grammar mistakes (you’d be surprised how many people don’t do this). Make your content visually appealing by adding in quality photographs (that you have the right to use) and breaking up the monotony of paragraphs. Engage the reader by asking them questions and making them feel involved.Engage your readers by asking them questions and making them feel involved. Click To Tweet
Lastly, add in the proper tags for categories and keywords. Then, do one more spell check and set your masterpiece out to the world. Congratulations, you’ve just put together not only your very first WordPress post but an entire blog as well!
If you need some guidance as to how to complete any of the above steps, see WordPress’s super helpful beginner’s guide. And if you want to avoid messing up your future potential as a blogger, refer to Boost Blog Traffic’s article on stupid mistakes that you don’t want to make while launching yourself in the blogosphere. You (and your readers) will thank you later.
Have you set up a WordPress blog before, and would you offer any other advice? Did this article cover what you were hoping to learn? Please leave your comments below!