Creating your first blog from scratch is such an exciting thing. It can also get so overwhelming if you start to think about all the steps it takes to build a full website. In this post, I’m going to take you through the steps to follow to create and launch your blog from scratch!
I’ll show you everything you need to do to get your blog fully launched! All you’ll have to do after that is start creating content!
I hope you’re excited. Now, here’s what we’ll cover.
- How to register a domain name
- How to host your site
- Downloading WordPress
- The difference between wordpress.org and wordpress.com
- Picking a theme
- Settings permalinks
- The plugins to install right away
- Setting up Google Analytics
- Linking your website to Google Search Console
Here’s the deal. At this point, I don’t want you to think about anything else besides following these steps. When getting started, it’s so easy to get distracted and waste days or even months focused on the things that seriously DON’T matter right now.
- How to choose a logo. I used to spend hours looking at pretty logos online.
- Which domain name to choose. Yes, you’ll have to think about a domain name but don’t let this step take longer than a day because you’ll never move forward if you stay stuck here. I’ll give you some tips on how to set up a domain name quickly below. Also, you can change your domain name later and redirect your old one to the new one!
- Colors and branding. You can change your colors at any time. Don’t waste your time on this. Believe me, your blog branding colors will change. I changed my first website’s branding colors at least 4 times. It’s always going to be work in progress.
Get the important tasks done now!
Set Up Your Your Domain Name And Hosting
Your website domain name is the address of your website. For example, this website’s domain name is www.sofiahabity.com. Yours will be similar: www.domainname.com or www.domainname.ca.
Hosting is where your website content and resources exist. If the domain name is the address, the hosting is like the house where the content (furniture) exists.
To set up your domain name and hosting, click here. I use Siteground to host both my blogs and I’m extremely happy with them. I’ll show you exactly how to sign up to Siteground and set up everything. (I don’t recommend Bluehost – which is a hosting company all bloggers promote. I explain why below)
You can get started with the StartUp plan (which is very affordable). After you click on Get Plan, you’ll be redirected to register a domain name. Images below…
It’s so easy to upgrade later on when you reach the plan threshold. In fact, I’m still on the GoGeek plan despite going well over 100k on my other blog!
Bluehost Disclaimer: SO many bloggers promote Bluehost because they have a good affiliate program. I actually hosted my first website with Bluehost. It was a terrible experience. My blog was taking forever to load. It was down all the time. I waited almost 40 minutes once to get to their customer service. And they tried to just upsell their higher plans despite having just a handful of blog posts. It was a joke and I don’t know why people keep promoting them.
If you’re serious about your online business or your blog, start with a good hosting company like Siteground. They’ll support your growth and you can rely on them when you have technical issues. It takes me about 5 seconds to talk to someone on their customer service chat whenever I need help with anything. And my blog has never been down!
Once you choose your plan, the next step is to register your domain name. If you want your blog or business to be under your name (just like this blog), you can register under your name. The search box will let you know if that domain name is available.
Don’t be surprised if your first domain name idea is not available. You may have more luck if it’s your name. If you’re registering a brand name, try to come up with something unique. Just don’t waste too much time on this step.
And you’re done! You just registered your website.
A lot of people get confused about the difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org. Here’s the simplest explication… With WordPress.org, you are hosting your website. You have ownership and control over your website. If you can design it however you want. And you can move it to any hosting company.
WordPress.com is hosted by the WordPress company. This means you can’t move your website or make any advanced changes. In a way, they kind of own your content. You cannot move your website to a new host. You work within the boundaries of WordPress.com
I always recommend you host your own website and take complete control over your content. Especially that your website is where you’ll condust your business. You want complete control over that I hope.
Once you’re signed up with Siteground, the next step to download WordPress is to simply Click on Websites (inside Siteground), and click on Site Tools
You’ll get to this page. Click on WordPress and Install & Manage.
The domain you chose will show under Domain. Just add in your Admin information. These are the username and password you’ll use to login to your website admin area. Click Install.
Write your username and password on a sheet of paper. Please do. I have a whole page listing all my passwords. There is no way I would have been able to remember them all. As you start creating password for different applications and accounts, you’ll want to keep them on a password sheet.
Also, you want your password to be super strong! So strong even you can’t remember it easily. I usually write down the password first, then type it up.
To access the admin side of your website. Just type your domain name followed by /wp-admin. For example: www.domain.com/wp-admin
Congrats. Your Website Is Now Live!
Don’t worry. Nobody can find it. You haven’t shared it with anyone. And nobody can find it on Google. We’re going to have to link your website to Google next so it can be indexed and found.
When I started my first blog. I was a mess. I had so many different fonts and colors. But, the most important thing I did was to just get started.
Make as many mistakes as you can in the beginning. Don’t worry about people seeing it because until you start sharing your posts with Google, and sharing them on social media, no one will find your website. So this is a good thing in the beginning.
Setting Up Your Blog For Success
When you login to the admin area, under Appearance, Click on Themes.
You’ll see the default theme on WordPress. Here’s why WordPress.org is so great. You can choose any theme you want. And make as many changes as you want.
So when you get a theme you like, you can customize it as much as you want. There are free and premium themes. I recommend you get a premium theme that offers more customization.
This is the theme that I use for both of my websites and highly recommend. The reason I switched to this theme is that it’s super fast. Website developers have recommended this theme to me. As soon as I switched, my website got super fast.
I had no idea my old theme slowed my website so much. And you don’t want a theme that slows down your website. Page Speed is very important for Google.
If you choose GeneratePress theme, just follow their installation tutorial. It’s super easy. Once you Activate the Theme. You can now click on Customize (under Appearance) and play with your theme! I love this step because I get to play with colors.
Next, I’m going to show you how to set up your blog for success, including important plugins you need. And the first step is to navigate to the Setting section and click on Permalinks. Make sure you select Post name.
This is to make sure when you post your first blog post, the post title shows up in the URL.
Plugins To Install
Below are the first plugins you shoulder install and activate:
- Akismet Anti-Spam (Free)
- Insert Headers and Footers (Free)
- Wordfence Security (Free)
- Yoast SEO (Free)
To install these plugins, click on Plugins, then click on Add New.
When you add these plugins, make sure you activate them. There is not much work to do after you activate these plugins. The default settings are good enough for now. The only plugin I want to focus on next is Yoast SEO which will help us connect your blog to Google.
Setting Up Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a great tool to set up right away! It tracks your traffic and shows you where your traffic is coming from, as well as some additional advanced data you’ll use to grow your blog and business.
I can spend hours on Google analytics looking at all the data. You can learn a lot about your audience, the top-performing posts (so you can make more of them), and your best sources of traffic.
First, set up your account with Google Analytics.
Then, you want to link your blog to Google Analytics to start tracking. Install the plugin Insert Headers and Footers plugin.
Whenever you have a piece of code to insert into your website, you can add it easily with this plugin. Download the plugin and activate it.
Now go to your Google Analytics account, and click on Admin to get the code you need to insert into your blog.
Then click on Tracking Info, and click on Tracking Code
Now, copy the code underneath Global Site Tag. We’re going to insert that into the Header of our blog, and the plugin Insert Headers and Footers will help us do that easily.
Go to your WordPress site and go to Settings > Insert Headers and Footers (don’t forget to Activate the plugin, of course, otherwise it won’t show up).
Insert the code you copied from Google Analytics into the Scripts in Header. Don’t forget to save. And you’re done! Google is now tracking your traffic!
Connect Your Website To Google!
Google Analytics is for tracking your traffic. It doesn’t actually link your website to google.
When you start writing blog posts, you’ll want your website to exist in Google so it can be found.
Google Search Console will guarantee that your content will be found by google. That’s how Google will start to index your posts.
You can do this for free in Google Search Console. I’ll show you how step-by-step:
When you log in, you’ll see Add Property on the upper left side. If you already have existing websites, you’ll see a list of all your website. Click on the down arrow to add a new property.
Add your website domain address and click continue in the Domain box.
Google search console will give you a piece of code to connect to your domain name (it’s part of their domain verification process). Copy and head over to Siteground.
Go to your website account dashboard (Websites > Manage). Click on Domain: DNS Zone Editor. All you have to do is click on TXT, and insert the code into the Value box, and click Create.
Go back to Google search console and click on verify. Also, you may want to wait a few minutes for it to connect. The first time you click verify it may fail. Just try again in a minute.
Almost done…so now that we verified our domain name with Google. We just need to connect our site to it.
As I mentioned before, Yoast SEO is a great plugin that you’ll use to do that and that’ll help you optimize your future posts to be found on search engines. Go to Plugins > Add Plugins. Search for Yoast Seo. Click Install Now. And Activate.
Go to Pluggins > Yoast Seo > Settings. Click on General and Features.
Now click the question mark next to XML Sitemaps. And click on See the XML Sitemap.
Copy the URL of your sitemap:
Go back to Google Search Console where you’ll paste your website sitemap:
And just add in the extra text after your domain name.
And you’re all dont! Your website is set up for success! You can now start making content!
Just Get Started!
This post has shown you all the steps needed to set up your site and start blogging. You can spend some time customizing your theme and exploring all the sides of WordPress. In the Posts area, you can create a new post and start making content. Don’t wait for your website to look perfect to do this!
Listen, my first blog posts were very low quality. I had no idea how to write blog posts. They were extremely short and full of typos. I went back and fixed all those blog posts later on.
Also, no one ever complained about my posts because no one saw them.
During the first few weeks, unless you’re sharing your posts, they won’t show up on the first page of Google. Your blog is new, and Google doesn’t see it as an authority website and that’s normal and a good thing…
You can experiment and make as many mistakes as possible without people noticing.
Use this time to learn more about WordPress, explore the back end of your site, and most importantly, start creating content.
Share this post!