How to Start a Blog 2017 [Ultimate Guide]
So you want to learn how to start a blog, that’s a smart move! Anyone can do this, even if you have no web design or programming experience, using simple software you can install in minutes.
The benefits of starting a blog in 2017?
It’s a great way to share your personal thoughts with the world, about a passion you have for a certain topic, you can grow a following of loyal readers & can also be financially rewarding, by selling advertising space to related companies.
Below you will find a series of tabs, that will allow you to navigate your way through this tutorial. The tabs are placed in order of importance.
INTRODUCTION: How to start a blog 2017!
Welcome to the introduction of how to start a blog, the ultimate guide.
Now, before we get started, if you look above the video, you will see the different tabs that you can click on, to navigate through different sections of this tutorial.
You will be able to watch each video tutorial (when available) OR follow through the text and screenshot walk-throughs on each tab. Implement each section in the order that I’ve placed them in the tabs, as I’ve placed them in order of importance, so it makes it easier for you to follow along.
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What’s Included For FREE?
- WordPress Installation & Configuration ($199 Value): I will install and set everything up, including settings, plugins, pages, social media buttons, SEO, contact forms, widgets, newsletter, analytics and webmasters. Everything will be ready to rock and roll, so all you have to do is login and start blogging.
- Premium WordPress Theme ($50 Value): Choose from a wide selection of the best premium, responsive WordPress themes that on average, cost around $50 each, saving you money and time, as I will also install and configure the theme for you, based on your specifications.
- Logo Design ($49 Value): First impressions count, so I will have my logo designer create you something to suit your color scheme and personality. Having your own unique logo will help you stand out.
- Skype Strategy Session ($99 Value): I have 10+ years of experience, building and marketing websites online. We can discuss niche selection, keyword research, marketing strategies, revenue generation, list building & more for 30 minutes, so you have a clear plan of action moving forward.
To request this exclusive FREE bonus ($397 Value), please contact me here.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Share anything you are passionate about: Most new bloggers will find it far easier to blog about something they have a real passion for, although not all passions are created equal, so if you intend on making money from your blog, you will need to make sure there are plenty of products or services you can recommend and active advertisers related to your passion.
- Build a community of like-minded people: You will be able to attract and build relationships with many people who are similar to you, or have the same passion. Creating your own community of fans and followers, who have similar interests is a very spiritually rewarding experience and can also be financially rewarding if you decide to monetize your community, by recommending products or services you are happy to put your name to.
- Become an authority in your niche/market: To stand out in a very noisy world, it can be hard to establish yourself in your niche. By providing ongoing value on your blog and building relationships with other bloggers and your own subscribers, this will enable you to build authority much faster than it would if you never started a blog in the first place. When people with authority mention your blog, this grows credibility too.
- Generate an income part-time or full-time: This is one of the main reasons why people start a blog in the first place, but you will soon realise, it’s not so easy, especially if you are starting a new blog with financial gain as your sole intention. Although it can take a while to earn anything significant, the potential is unlimited, with some blogs earning a six or seven figure yearly income. However, the shocking truth is that most blogs will never make anything at all, so you must be dedicated to providing massive value to your target audience, for nothing in return to start with.
- Domain name & web hosting: Although you can get a free blogs on a sub-domain with Blogger or WordPress, these free blogs lack the functionality of a self-hosted blog. If you are serious about this, then you MUST have complete control over the asset you will build over the coming months. The cost of your domain name and web hosting ultimately depends on which provider you are willing to trust. I recommend you go with iPage, as this works out to be far more affordable at around $30 for the first year, which includes a free domain name registration, excellent features, great support & is newbie friendly to manage.
- Premium WordPress theme (optional): If you are anything like me, then a free theme is just not going to cut it. You want something with added functionality, which enables you to create something more unique, just like you and your personality. There are literally thousands of premium WordPress themes to choose from, with the average cost of the best themes at around $50, which is well worth the investment. Head on over to themeforest, my favorite WordPress theme marketplace, which has a directory of 1500+ themes, ideal for WordPress bloggers.
- Newsletter (optional): Although this is optional, I strongly urge you to start this as soon as possible, as this is the asset that will generate you the most revenue, when you decide to start monetizing your community. I recommend AWeber, which is simple to integrate with your blog, and will allow you to provide ongoing value, update your subscribers with new blog posts and also to promote offers you recommend, which is related to your target audience. You can signup here for a 30 day free trial, then it costs $19/month for up to 500 subscribers.
- WordPress Installation (5 minutes): Once your domain has successfully been registered and has connected to your web hosting, the WordPress installation process should only take you around 5 minutes, even if this is your first time. Web hosting providers such as iPage have an installer which makes things simple. All you need to do is click the WordPress icon in the members area, add a few settings and click install. iPage will then automatically install the files and connect your database, then spit out the login details at the end. Job done!
- WordPress Configuration (20 minutes): The amount of time this takes will ultimately depend on how many unique options your theme has. If using a free theme, your options are pretty much limited, but if you take the wise option and invest around $50 in a premium theme, you can spend hours playing around with all the added functionality, which is fun in itself, although allowing around 20 minutes to do the initial configuration is more than enough to get started.
- Newsletter Integration (20 minutes): There is 2 options when it comes to building a newsletter. You can do it free by installing a feedburner plugin which will automatically update feed readers with your latest posts OR you do it the smarter way and integrate AWeber, which gives you far more control and allows you to broadcast blogs updates automatically, as well as individual promotions, which is where most of the money will be made. It can take around 20 minutes to setup AWeber and connect to your blog.
- WordPress handles everything: As we are using WordPress as the content management system and a pre-designed theme, you will not need any web design or programming experience. If you can work a computer and mouse, you can manage a WordPress blog. Creating pages and posts is as simple as clicking a button, as WordPress handles everything else, including the coding and design.
- Step by step videos & screenshot walk-throughs: I’ve created these video tutorials and screenshots to give you a clear path from start to finish, so you have the knowledge of how to do this yourself in less than 1 hour. Just follow each step in order and by the end, you will have your own blog, ready to share your thoughts with the entire world.
- Done-For-You: If, for any reason, you don’t want to spend the time completing each step yourself, then I offer an exclusive bonus which is explained above. I will complete this entire tutorial for you, so all you have to do is login to WordPress & start blogging. This bonus is exclusive to readers of Webmaster Warriors only, so please contact me to request this today.
- Not for a while: The type of blog and niche you decide to create your blog around, will ultimately determine how quickly you are likely to see an income and how much income you are likely to generate. I have noticed that review style blogs will earn much faster than an average blog, as people find you when searching for information related to specific service and provider they are already interested in. There is a far much quicker route to the sale with review blogs, rather than your average blog that most people create. You should expect to wait around 3 to 6 months before you see any income at all.
- Follow your passion: I do mention that it will be easier for you to create a blog around a topic you have at least some interest in, otherwise you may go mad, especially if your writing about something you don’t care about. Not only will readers feel your frustration within your writing, but you will give up long before any success is achieved. This can be a bad thing though, as your passion may not be commercially viable, when it comes to monetization, so do your research. If your passion is “underwater basket weaving”, then forget it and think of something more popular.
- Build an email list: You should be building an email list from the very start, as this will be the biggest asset you have as a blogger. The more people that find value in your content, the more people will listen to your recommendations in the future, which is where the biggest amount of revenue will comefrom. At Webmaster Warriors, we offer a free eBook download, in exchange for an email, which then places our readers on the inner circle newsletter. You can do something similar, very easily. By offering a lead magnet, you can attract your exact target audience to your newsletter, on a regular basis
- Income generating ideas: Once you have built a community around your topic and have an email list of 100+ subscribers and deliver consistent value, you can then sprinkle in some promotions that offer discounts on specific products or services related to your topic, that would add value to the lives of your subscribers. Throw in a couple of bonuses, start the countdown timer and watch the sales come rolling in. You can promote related products from affiliate directories such as ClickBank, any product on Amazon within the Amazon Associates program, or simply place Adsense adverts on your blog, if you have enough daily traffic that is.
I have created a free eBook that reveals 100+ ways to get more website traffic, which is a valuable resource and something I wish I had, when I first started out. The secret is to pick just one traffic generation strategy to start with and then master it like a ninja, otherwise you will become overwhelmed trying too many different strategies and will end up with poor results which will frustrate you.
Take my advice and stick with ONE method for now and I promise you, after 30 days of implementing that strategy daily, the traffic will start to trickle in. Keep at it for several months and it will snowball into massive amounts of traffic. The best part is, many of my favorite traffic generation strategies are completely FREE, so you don’t even need an advertising budget to kick things off.
Here is a few proven ideas to get you started:
- YouTube: Think about your target audience. What do they want to know? What interests them the most? What are their frustrations, pains, needs & desires? These are the questions you need to ask yourself and research. Once you know the answers, you can create short presentation videos that offer your solutions that provides value to your target audience and upload these to YouTube.
Google+ Hangouts are even better as I’ve noticed them rank instantly on YouTube search and also rank much higher than uploading a video the standard way. There are plenty of tutorials on YouTube that will show you how it’s done, so get learning and then implement.
- Blog Commenting: Make a list of 10 or 20 of the most popular blogs related your target audience. Add their blog feeds to your own feed reader and every time the blogger updates their blog, read it, understand it and submit a substantial comment with your real name and add your website URL in the correct box.
Once your comment is approved, people who find value from your comments will be curious to check out your blog which is linked to your name. The secret here is to make sure your comments add value to the post, otherwise it will backfire. This also helps to build links which can improve search engine rankings of your own posts within the major search engines, sending more targeted traffic directly to blog posts you create.
- Forum Participation: There are popular forums for almost ANY topic you can think of, so you can join these forums where your target audience hangout. When people ask questions, reply with your own opinions. The secret here is the same as blog commenting, you must add massive value to the forum and to the people asking the questions.
You can also create your own forum thread with mini-guides to help people overcome specific issues related to your topics. After 14 to 30 days of providing regular value to the forum, you can then add a signature link on your replies, which can link back to your blog. Include a strong call to action, so people are curious to check out your blog and join your own community.
How to Start a Blog 2017, Part 2: WordPress Installation
Before you can start installing WordPress, you will first need to register a domain name & order website hosting, otherwise your blog will not be found online. You can use free blogging services from WordPress directly, although lacks the features of a self-hosted blog, such as unable to install required plugins.
I used to recommend HostGator, although in the past 12 months, their overall server security is poor (my WordPress blogs hosted with this provider are hacked regular), support response times are shocking and in all honesty, their services are not ideal if you have no experience with web hosting.
This is why in 2017, I recommend iPage. The control panel is much more simple to use, you get more features and extras than you will ever need & their support is top notch. Open iPage in a new tab to follow along >>
STEP 1: Register Your Domain
When you load their website, you must click on the orange, “Sign Up Now” button & will then be presented with the first step. You have 2 options:
- Register a new domain: iPage web hosting plans include a free 1-year registration for .com, .net, .org, .biz, .info, .name, .co.uk, .org.uk, .ca, .us, .de, .be, .club, .co, .space and .website domains.
- Use a domain you already own: If you already have a domain, then select this option and enter your domain in the box you already have. You will have to change the nameservers on your existing domain, to the ones provided by iPage (ns1.ipage.com & ns2.ipage.com). Contact your domain name provider for assistance.
Before you register the domain, take some time to think about the name you want. It does not necessarily have to include a keyword you want to target and is not the best practice.
The best domains are either your name, or something that can be used as a brand. Get creative, use your imagination, try and register something that’s easy to remember, has a personal meaning behind it, or something related to your own personal story.
Once you have decided on the domain you want, enter in the box and click “Check Availability”. iPage will then do it’s thing and see if your domain is available to register. If not, keep trying other domains until you find one your happy with, that’s available.
STEP 2: Enter Billing Info & Reduce Default Fees
When you find an available domain, you are now moved on to the billing section. As default, iPage set the billing to 2 years, so you can reduce this to bill for 12 months within the drop down menu shown in the screenshot below. You can also de-select domain privacy to save $9.99, unless you want to keep your information private.
Secondly, iPage also automatically select 2 add-ons (shown in the screenshot below) which include Advanced Site Protection and Performance Accelerator & Daily Site Backups, that although are useful for your website, you don’t really need them to start with, so you can de-select these as well and save a further $45.85. This would bring the total price to just $28.66 for the 1st year.
Once you have filled out all the billing information and selected your type of payment, which is either PayPal or Credit Card, then you can scroll down to the bottom and click the “Check Out” button to complete your order.
STEP 3: Access The Control Panel
After payment has been confirmed, iPage will setup your account instantly and send you an email, including an invoice and information you need to setup a password, in order to gain access to the control panel.
It can take a while for the domain name to be registered and connect to the iPage nameservers, so I personally recommend that you load up live chat over at iPage and ask them to push the domain through the registration queue. They will usually register the domain there and then, so it speeds up the process.
Now you have the username in the welcome email sent from iPage, you have set up your new password as instructed in the email and your domain is fully connected to the server, you can now login to the control panel and start the WordPress installation process.
STEP 4: Installing WordPress
As soon as you login to the control panel, you will see a selection of icons that allow you to navigate through all the features provided with your web hosting package. You will need to click on the WordPress icon, located under the “Website” section, as highlighted within the screenshot below.
On the following screen, simply click the install button to move on to the next stage, which is selecting the domain name and directory where you want WordPress to be installed.
Ensure you select the domain you have just registered and not a sub-domain shown by iPage. If your domain is not visible in the drop down menu, then you must first wait for your domain to be fully registered and connected to the iPage nameservers.
Leave the directory section blank, so your blog homepage can be accessed from the main domain. If you want your blog to be accessed from a domain such as www.YourDomain.com/blog then you should enter “blog” in the directory section, although it’s highly recommended to leave this section blank. Now click “Check Domain”.
Once iPage has tested the install location is OK, you will then move on to the next step. Select “Show advanced options” and it will expand. Then you can enter your site name in the first box. The username and password is automatically generated and are secure, although you can change these to something you can remember. This will be the username and password to access your WordPress admin panel.
After you have entered all the required information, you can then accept the terms and conditions of the GPLv2, then click the “install now” button to proceed. At the top of the following screen, you can see the progress of your installation.
After the installation is complete, you must click the “View Credentials” button, located at the top right of the next page, as shown in the screenshot below.
Scroll half way down the page and you will see the notification center, click the “View” link on the right hand side under the “Action” tab to proceed.
Congratulations, you have just successfully installed a WordPress blog. You will now see all the information you need to access the administration panel for your blog. Copy and paste this information into a text file and save this on your computer, so you don’t forget.
STEP 5: Access WordPress Admin
Now that’s all done, you can visit the “Admin URL” you just copied and login to your WordPress admin panel (shown in the image below), with the username and password you have also just copied from the previous step, so you can start setting up other aspects of your blog.
If you run into any issues what so ever, then all you have to do is load up live chat over at iPage (support response time is less than 1 minute) and ask for assistance. The support team is always on hand to walk you through the setup process, so you are not alone on this.
Please visit the next tab at the start of this tutorial, to learn the best way to set things up inside your WordPress admin panel. I cover the best plugins to install, how to create pages, posts & categories, how to install a different WordPress theme + other useful tips to get you started on the right foot.
Now you know how to start a blog, but this is only the beginning of your adventure. If you have any questions, please post in the comments section below.
How to Start a Blog 2017, Part 3: WordPress Settings
When you install WordPress for the first time, there will be default settings and plugins added by the software itself, and also plugins that your web hosting provider recommends, I like to start from scratch.
You navigate the WordPress admin panel from the menu in the left hand side, once logged in. Take your time to go through each section to get familiar with what options are available, as you may want to change specific settings depending on your own personal preference.
STEP 1: Change General Settings
The first thing I do is head on over to the general settings section.
Now I will now ensure the following is complete:
- My site title & tagline is correct (some themes use taglines)
- My WordPress Address & Site Address include www. on both (my personal preference)
- An email is entered for admin purposes, like new user notifications
- Select “anyone can register” in the membership section
- Set new user default role to subscriber
- Set your timezone (useful when scheduling posts)
Once you have finished adding your own settings, click the save button at the bottom of the page before you proceed, so all changed settings will be saved. If you added “www.” on to your URL’s as I suggest, you will be returned to the login screen and will need to log back in again.
STEP 2: Change Discussion Settings
As you add more content in the coming weeks and start growing the amount of readers who frequent your blog, some people will start a discussion with you, but on the other hand, the more popular your blog becomes, the more spam this will attract.
Spammers will sometimes attack blog posts with comments, in an attempt to generate massive amounts of backlinks to their websites from your blog. I do recommend installing the Akismet plugin to reduce spam (recommended in the best plugins tab above), although the setting below will protect your posts even further.
Before comments are displayed on your posts, you want to manually approve them. In order to ensure you have this setting, head on over to the “Discussion” section, underneath the “Settings” menu tab.
Scroll down the page to the “Before a comment appears” section and select “Comment must be manually approved”, then select the save button at the bottom.
STEP 3: Change Permalinks
By default, your URL structure will not be search engine friendly. The links to your posts and pages will initially look something like this: http://www.YourDomain.com/?p=123
To make your URL structure more search engine friendly, so you can include keywords related to each post within the URL, you will need to change the permalinks to “Postname”. Your URL structure will then look something like this: http://www.YourDomain.com/your-post/
In order to achieve this, first click on the “Permalinks” section, underneath the “Settings” menu tab.
Then you can select the the “Postname” option (as shown in the screenshot below) & click “Save Changes” to ensure the settings take effect. Now your URL’s will not only be search engine friendly, but can also help to improve the rankings of each post.
STEP 4: Delete Default Post & Page
You will notice when you first login to WordPress admin, that there will be 1 post and 1 page. You don’t need these and are there by default. To delete these quickly, right click on both the “1 post” and “1 page” links within the “At a glance” section on the dashboard, then open in new tab.
You can then click the “Bin” on both the post and page to delete these from your blog, as shown in the screenshot below. You delete both pages and posts in the same way.
How to Start a Blog 2017, Part 4: WordPress Theme Installation
If you are anything like me, then you will not be happy with a free theme, as they lack the features provided by premium themes. This website is powered by a premium theme called Flavor, purchased on themeforest.
Premium themes, although a little more difficult to use, have an extensive amount of additional features, that will enable you to create something special and unique to you. The theme developers give you usage instructions, so you can follow their documentation to set your theme up.
In this short tutorial, I will show you how to install a theme, so you can do this yourself in the future, if you download a free or premium theme online.
First of all, as this tutorial is focused on starting a blog, the theme you use should reflect that. Here is 1300+ premium wordpress themes, ideal for bloggers. Select one you like the most and it’s also beneficial that your theme has social media and advertising sections integrated.
Once you have downloaded the .zip file of the theme to your computer, you can then start the installation process, which is extremely simple. Head on over to the wordpress admin panel and click the “Themes” option, located underneath the “Appearance” menu tab.
Now click on the “Add New” button to proceed.
Click “Upload Theme”.
Now you can click the “Choose File” button and select the .zip file you downloaded to your computer from either themeforest, or which ever theme provider you purchased from. Then click “Install Now”.
You will now be able to activate the theme, so it becomes live on your blog. Click the “activate” link, as shown in the screenshot below, then visit your website to see the new theme installed.
You have now successfully installed the theme. After installation, you will also see an additional tab on your WordPress menu navigation, which maybe called something like “Theme Options”. This is the section where you can enter theme specific settings such as adding your logo, social media links, color settings, font settings and much more.
How to Start a Blog 2017, Part 5: Best WordPress Plugins
What sets WordPress apart from other similar software, is the amount of plugins you can install to increase the functionality of your blog. Not only can WordPress be used for blogging, but for any type of website you could dream of. You are only limited by your own imagination!
Here is a selection of my favorite plugins that I personally install on every wordpress installation:
- Akismet: Used by millions, Akismet is quite possibly the best way in the world to protect your blog from spam. It keeps your site protected even while you sleep.
- Comet Cache: An advanced WordPress caching plugin inspired by simplicity. Speed up your site (BIG time!) with an intelligent and easy-to-use cache.
- Contact Form 7: Simple but flexible contact form plugin. Allows you to embed forms that visitors can fill out to contact you. Form submissions are sent direct to your email.
- Google Analytics Dashboard for WP: Displays Google Analytics reports in your WordPress Dashboard. Inserts the latest Google Analytics tracking code in your pages.
- NextScripts Social Networks Auto-Poster: This plugin automatically publishes posts from your blog to multiple accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ profiles and/or pages.
- SumoMe: 12 FREE tools to grow your website and email list. Includes floating bars, slide in forms and welcome mats. This same plugin is used to grow our Inner Circle Newsletter on Webmaster Warriors.
- UpdraftPlus Backup and Restoration: Backup and restoration made easy. Complete backups; manual or scheduled (backup to S3, Dropbox, Google Drive, Rackspace, FTP, SFTP, email + others).
- Wordfence Security: This plugin provides free enterprise-class WordPress security, protecting your website from hacks and malware.
- Yoast: Improve your WordPress SEO for increased search engine rankings, Write better content and have a fully optimized WordPress site using Yoast SEO plugin.
Although you have access to over 40k free plugins on the WordPress plugin directory, if you want something special with advanced features and functionality, then you can find more than 4k premium WordPress plugins over at Code Canyon.
How to install WordPress plugins:
First of all, click the “Add New” option, located underneath the “Plugins” menu tab.
If you have purchased a premium plugin, then you can upload the .zip file (the same as you would with a premium theme), by clicking on the “Upload Plugin” button, click choose file on the next screen, select the .zip file you purchased and then click on install now.
To download one of the 40k free plugins in the WordPress repository, you can search the plugin name on the top right of the plugins page, to locate the plugin before you proceed.
After locating the required plugin, you can now click on the “Install Now” button. WordPress will then automatically download the plugin to your server and install on your blog.
You can now click “Activate” and the plugin will be live on your website.
Most plugins will have their own administration panel, so after installation, check your menu for the additional tab, as shown in the screenshot below.
How to Start a Blog 2017, Part 6: Pages & Posts
STEP 1: How to create pages
First of all, click the “Add New” option, located underneath the “Pages” menu tab.
Now you will find yourself on the page editing screen. Enter your title in the first box. The permalink or URL structure will automatically build itself based on the title (SEO Optimized). Then enter your page content in the section below the permalink.
Once you have entered all the content for that page, you can then click the publish button, so it becomes live on your blog. This can be found on the top right hand side of the page editing screen.
STEP 2: Keyword research for posts
Creating a post is similar to creating a page for the most part, although as a blogger, you need to get into the habit of writing content related to specific keywords, people are actually searching for, especially if you intend on generating any search engine traffic and also income in the future from either Google Adsense, affiliate programs or private advertisers.
The first step in the process, would be to do some simple keyword research to see what topic you can base your article on, for this, we shall head on over & login to the Google Keyword Planner.
Click on the option that states: “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category”.
To make this as simple as possible to start with, enter the topic of your blog, select your target country and then click the “Get Ideas” button.
This is optional, however, if you click on the “keyword filters” option, underneath the “customise your search”, you can find excellent keyword opportunities that not only have a certain amount of people searching for them each month, but also have a certain type of competition. The lower the competition, the easier it will be to rank in the search engines.
On the screenshot shown below, I have set the tool to show me keywords that are searched a minimum of 500 times per month and have a competition level of low and medium.
After clicking the “Get Ideas” button, you will then be presented with the results. There is two tabs that display at the top, “Ad group ideas” and “Keyword ideas”, I always click the keyword ideas tab to see the full list of results.
Now you have many different topics you can write about, related to your topic, that you know people are searching for in Google. You can now create a new post on your blog, that is optimized for one of the keywords you just researched.
STEP 3: Creating & Publishing Your Posts
Once you have a list of keywords, you can now get to work creating a piece of content for every keyword, that offers massive value to your readers.
A 500 word article is not going to cut it in today’s blogging landscape. Look at this article for example, it has more than 5000 words, it goes into detail and is valuable to the people who read it, you should aim to deliver the same level of quality.
You can either write this SEO optimized content yourself, or you can outsource this to a professional writer. There is many options available to you, especially to outsource the content creation, but in all honesty, if you want to be a blogger, do it yourself in your own words & hopefully you will enjoy it as much as me.
To outsource your content creation, simply search Google for “freelance writer” and you will have plenty of options to choose from, especially from freelancer communities such as People Per Hour, Freelancer, Odesk and so on.
If you are writing this yourself, then you can do this from the post editing screen. First of all click the “Add New” option, located underneath the “Posts” menu tab.
You can now choose a keyword from your list and integrate this into your post title, permalink (URL Structure) and content, as shown in the following screenshot.
If you have installed the Yoast SEO Plugin as recommended on the “Best Plugins” tab, then you can follow the recommendations of the plugin, as it will automatically test your page and let you know what’s missing (located at the bottom of the post editing screen). Simply enter the keyword you want to optimize for within the “focus keyword” section.
As you can see from the following screenshot, there is still work to do.
Any recommendations in orange or red should be fixed according to the tips displayed on the plugin, to improve the on-page optimization, so the post is search engine optimized for the focus keyword you selected from your research.
After implementing these, now all or most of the settings are shown in green.
You also enter meta tags on the Yoast SEO Plugin, which is the text that will display within your search engine listing, this must also include your focus keyword. Spend some time to create meta tags that entice people to click on your listing. Text that sparks curiosity will have a better click through rate than any old text!
STEP 4: Adding Images
Some themes use the featured image and may display this throughout your website, although some do not. If your theme supports featured images, then simply click the “Set Featured Image” link, which can be found in the right hand column, near the bottom of the page.
Now you can drop the image file or click “Select File” to browse the files on your computer to add an image you have downloaded. You can find royalty free images on Google that are related to your post, you can create your own, or hire a freelance web designer to create unique images that only your blog has (highly recommended).
Next, you should add your focus keyword within the “attachment details” after it’s uploaded (which is usually the title of your post based on your keyword research), to improve the on-page optimization of your post & also the optimization of the image, which makes it more relevant to the post.
You can also add images inside the post itself, by placing your cursor in the position where you want the image to display (by clicking your mouse inside the content editing section) & then clicking the “Add Media” button at the top of the page.
The steps to adding the images after that, is exactly the same as adding a featured image, although there is extra options within the “attachment settings” and can be used to resize the image or align it. I usually display the image at full size and align either center or right of the content. After entering your preferred setting, click the “Insert into post” button.
If your images are too large, it will cause the images to load slowly on your website and will annoy your readers. Try to reduce the actual size of your image using something such as Resize Your Image and then compress through Tiny PNG to reduce the file size of your image. By installing Comet Cache, as recommended, this will also speed up the loading speed of images too.
STEP 5: Adding Categories
As default, the only category on your blog will be “Uncategorized”. You will need to add your own categories, based on the topic of your article. You may need more than one, as you should expand your categories into the many different sub-categories within the topic you decide to blog about.
On the post editing screen, you will see the option to create new categories. Simply deselect the existing category, click “Add New Category”, enter your category in the box below and then click “Add New Category”.
To create sub-categories after creating the main category, simply enter the sub-category name and select the “Parent Category” within the drop down box underneath.
STEP 6: Adding Links In Posts
There may come a time when you want to create a link inside your posts. This can be useful if you want to link to other pages on your website related to the existing post (good for SEO), OR you might want to link to external websites. All you need to do is highlight the text you want to link and then click the link button, as shown below.
You can then insert the link destination. I usually select the “Open link in a new tab” option, as the reader may want to come back to the original article. You can also click the “Or link to existing content” drop down menu & select existing content to link to.
How to Start a Blog 2017, Part 7: Contact Forms
You should add the option of allowing your website visitors to contact you. If you don’t then you may miss out on partnership opportunities, that will certainly come your way, when your blog becomes increasingly popular.
If you have already installed & activated the Contact Form 7 plugin & also created a contact page, as recommended, then all you need to do is add the shortcode for Contact Form 7, into the contact page. Here’s how it’s done.
First of all, click the “Contact Forms” option, located underneath the “Contact” menu tab.
There is a pre-configured contact form already created by the plugin called “Contact form 1”, click on that to open up the settings.
You can now copy the shortcode displayed on this page. This is the code that will display the contact form when added into the text section on the page editor.
Head on over to the pages section from the left hand WordPress menu as we have done before, click on the contact page link to edit, then paste the shortcode into the text section and click update.
When you visit your contact page, you will now see the contact form embedded into your page, similar to the screenshot shown below.
Always test your contact form before you move on, to ensure you are receiving email when you complete and submit the form. If you come across any issues, contact your hosting provider for assistance.
How to Start a Blog 2017, Part 8: Adding Widgets
99% of themes you come across, whether it’s free or premium, will have widgets integrated, where you can place a wide selection of additional content such as recent posts, categories, social media links and even “html” code, such as code used to display advertising banners.
In order to change or rearrange your widgets, click the “Widgets” option, located underneath the “Appearance” menu tab.
You can now press and hold left click on any block (Each block has it’s own specific function) and drag this over to the widget section on the right, then release left click when you are happy with it’s position. Different themes will have different amounts and locations of widgets.
If you want to add a banner to your sidebar that links to your sponsors or affiliate programs, drag the “Text” block over to your sidebar, then enter the code used to display a banner. You can learn how to use the code shown to display banners here. Click save, and the banner will now display in your sidebar.
How to Start a Blog 2017, Part 9: Your Navigation Menu
Visitors of your blog will want a simple way to navigate around your content, this can be done by adding a menu into your theme. Most themes will display pages you create in the main menu as default, although some may not. If you would like to create or rearrange your menu, here’s how it’s done.
STEP 1: Edit Existing Menu
You may find that your theme has automatically created a menu for you, so all you need to do (if you wish to do so) is edit that menu, rearrange, add or delete menu blocks, depending on your personal preference.
First of all, click the “Menus” option, located underneath the “Appearance” menu tab.
On the left hand side, you will see the options to add pages to your menu. You can either add pages you have created, specific posts, custom links or categories. Select the ones you want to add and click “Add to menu”.
If your theme has a drop down menu function, you can add these by dragging the blocks on the right hand side, into the position you wish this to display. Press and hold left click over the block, then drag the block underneath the menu item you wish this to be under, then position slightly to the right to activate the drop down, as shown in the screenshot below.
If you would like to delete any particular block, simply click the far right of each block to activate the drop down. You will then see the “Remove” link, click this to delete the block.
STEP 2: Create a New Menu
If you want to create an entirely new menu, click the “create a new menu” link on the menu management page.
Enter a name for your new menu & click the “Create Menu” button.
You can now add the pages as shown in the previous tutorial and make sure you select the location of that particular menu within the “Menu Settings” section. Some themes may have 2 locations or more, such as one for header, footer and secondary menu, so you can create a menu for each or use the same menu for a selection of locations.
How to Start a Blog 2017, Part 10: Installing Google Analytics
When you own a blog, you must have Analytics installed. This allows you to track all aspects of people visiting your blog. You will be able to see how many people visit your blog everyday, how they find your blog online & which posts people view the most. These metrics can then be used to improve your results.
In the best plugins section, I recommended the “Google Analytics Dashboard for WP” plugin, so it’s best to install this, as it will make the whole process much easier and quicker for you.
STEP 1: Signup For Google Analytics
After installing and activating the plugin, head on over and login to Google Analytics (you will need to create an account).
Once signed up, you can then fill out the required information. All you really need to fill out would be the Website Name, Website URL, Industry Category & Reporting Time Zone. Scroll down the bottom of the page and click “Get Tracking ID”.
After accepting the terms of service agreement, you are finished with Google. You will not need to copy the tracking code, as the plugin will take care of this, now you can move on to step 2.
STEP 2: Connecting The Plugin
First of all, click the “General Settings” option, located underneath the “Google Analytics” menu tab.
Ensure you are still logged into Google Analytics before you proceed. You can then click on the “Authorise Plugin” button.
Then click on the “get access code” link (while logged into Google).
Now you must click “Allow” in order for the plugin to fully connect with your Google Analytics account. This will not setup unless you allow permission.
Copy the access code and head back on over to the Google Analytics WordPress plugin inside your WordPress admin panel.
Enter the access code into the box and click “Save Access Code”.
You have now just successfully installed Google Analytics. The plugin has automatically entered the tracking code into every single post and page on your blog and will also be automatically entered into any new posts or pages you create in the future.
You will not have to login to Google Analytics to view the data, as the plugin displays the stats on your main dashboard, inside your WordPress admin area, as shown in the screenshot below, which is a nice time saver.
How to Start a Blog 2017, Part 11: Installing Google Webmasters
Installing Google Webmasters is an important step when setting up your new blog. It will show you metrics regarding your presence on the web, which keywords your blog ranks for and at what positions, along with giving you ongoing guidance on how to improve your online visibility in the Google search engine.
STEP 1: Verify Webmasters
First things first, you must head on over and login to Google Webmasters. Enter your domain into the box and click “Add Property”.
As you have already installed Google Analytics in the previous step, Google will recommend you verify using that method as default, so all you have to do to proceed is click the “Verify” button.
If you have installed Google Analytics correctly, as I explained previously, then you will see the congratulations message on the following screen. Now click “continue” to access the Google Webmasters Dashboard.
STEP 2: Submit Sitemap
Although I personally believe this step is not entirely necessary, as Google will crawl and index your posts and pages anyway, it will not harm to submit all your posts and pages to Google by submitting your sitemap inside Google Webmasters.
In the “Best Plugins” section of this guide, I recommended installing the Yoast SEO plugin. If you installed and activated that, then you already have a sitemap that will build itself, when you add new posts, pages & categories, you just need to know where to find it.
First of all, click the “XML Sitemap” option, located underneath the “SEO” menu tab.
Now you can view the sitemap by clicking on “XML Sitemap” within the “General” settings tab. You will see something similar to the screenshot shown below. Copy the section of the URL highlighted in the image and head back on over to the Google Webmasters Dashboard.
Inside the search console on the main page, you will see “Sitemaps” on the right hand side. Click on that button to start the sitemap submission process.
To complete the process, on the far right hand side on the next page, click on the “ADD/TEST SITEMAP” button. A box will then appear. Enter the URL section you copied from your sitemap page (as shown above) and then click the “Submit” button.
You have now successfully submitted your new sitemap to Google. Your posts and pages will soon start to be indexed in the search engine listing, although the amount of time it takes can vary.
Congratulations, you have now reached the end of this tutorial and now have the knowledge of how to start a blog in 2017. Did you enjoy this guide? Please leave your feedback or questions in the comments section below.