Blogging can be a personal thing or a commercial thing. You may be just wanting to blog to record your life or your children. You may be blogging to build a business and make a passive income online. We have done both. I started playing with blogs over 10 years ago for a personal reason and three years ago we launched Wyld Family Travel and later Wyld Child Travel.

There are many ways you can make an income through blogging:

  • Advertising
  • Affiliate sales
  • Sponsored Content
  • Online Courses
  • and much more.

BUT first, you need a website. Do you know how to go about making a successful and professional looking website that will attract readers and potential customers to your website?

Maryanne from Mum on the move talks about what she likes about blogging
As a mother to two young children, I like that I can be flexible with my timings to fit in with their schedules. Running your own blog is definitely a steep learning curve with so many new skills to learn and you need to be a jack-of-all-trades: It’s not just about writing; you also need to learn SEO techniques, social media marketing, photo editing, monetization techniques, basic HTML, how to pitch to brands… but I like that you can learn all these skills and that there are so many options and scope to take it in the direction that you want to – whether you want to focus on affiliate income or working with brands; focus on your articles or your social media, etc. 

We have outlined below what you need to know and how you need to go about getting your presence online today. The sooner you start the better. You will find information on:

  • Choosing a blogging platform
  • Choosing a domain name
  • What you need to do next to get started

How to start a blog and make money

Choose a domain name

The first step in how to start a successful blog is choosing a blog name. Your domain name should represent your website and be your address for people to find you. It is important because:

  • It’s your “first impression” to website visitors. Make sure it explains your site quickly
    • People click through sites quickly. Make sure people can quickly assert what your site is about.
      • It affects your rankings in search engines
  • Your domain name should be related to your site. If your site is about food the domain should be something like healthyfood.com or something related to what you are writing about
  • It defines your brand so make sure it is something you will be happy with 5 years down the track
    • We have a friend who has a website she started when her kids were babies. They have since grown into children. She found the name no longer suited the reality and had to change everything. This was a major setback for brand recognition. It also cost her money for a website developer to change it
  • Make sure the address is easy to spell
  • A domain much like hosting costs you money to register every year. You can buy a domain off your host.

Check below to see if your website name is available⇓

2. Which blogging platform should I use?

There are many options out there to start your blog,

  • WordPress,
  • Blogger
  • Winx
  • Etsy
  • and many more.

You will find nearly all the best blogs are created with WordPress. We use and recommend the WordPress platform for Wyld Family Travel, our family travel blog.

What is WordPress?

WordPress is software you can use to create a beautiful website or blog. It is the easiest and most flexible blogging and website program for beginners. To function, WordPress has to be installed on a web server, which would either be part of an Internet hosting service or a network host in its own right.

Why should you use WordPress?

  • You can make many different types of websites
    • Blogs
    • Chatrooms
    • Photography Portfolio’s
    • Business websites
    • Job boards
  • WordPress supports numerous media types
    • Video
    • Audio
    • Images
    • Documents
  • WordPress is easy to learn and easy to find answers
    • There are thousands of forums
    • Facebook groups
    • Help is easily found through thousands of website articles
  • You can personalise your website with themes and plugins
    • There are thousands of free themes that form the foundation of your site
      • There are 5000 free and paid themes for WordPress
    • Plugins help you run your site easily without having any coding knowledge
      • The first plugin you should download is Yoast SEO
      • There are 45,000 free plugins for WordPress
    • Premium themes such as Elegant Themes that we use present a professional highly customisable feel.
  • It takes care of SEO (search engine optimization) for you
    • Generates Meta Descriptions
      • This is what the people see under the title when displayed in google search
    • Makes Title tags available
      • Title tags such as H1 and H2 are important for SEO.

23.9% of all websites on the internet use WordPressClick To Tweet.

 

 

Why you should NOT create a free WordPress website!

  • You will be stuck with a domain name that looks cheap and unprofessional
    • It will read like something like this www.mywebsite.wordpress.com
      • This will show people you are using a free platform, it portrays a feeling that this is a hobby site.
  • You can’t control what you don’t own
    • Your blog is hosted by WordPress on their computers. If you don’t follow their terms and conditions your site can be shut down at any time
  • Size limitations of your Website/Blog
    • Pictures, videos, blog posts all take up space. Once your site reaches 3 Gig it is full when it is on WordPress computers
      • Self-hosted websites using WordPress framework can be much larger
  • Customisations are limited
    • Not all file types are allowed
      • There is a limit on the file sizes that can be uploaded.

Kerri from Our Globetrotters talks about what she likes about blogging

“Blogging gives me the opportunity to share my thoughts with my own creative freedom. I love writing, but freelancing can be so restrictive and in line with a clients needs; a blog doesn’t have to play to any rules and conform – it’s my own little slice of the internet”

If you are serious about creating a blog and website that you want to present professionally self-hosted is the way to go straight from the beginning. It’s true you can migrate to self-hosted later on but it can be a hassle. Our site at Wyld Family Travel went from Blogger to WordPress. The two were not compatible with the same fonts and image resolutions. This caused a lot of extra work to create a cohesive look through the blog.

 

What is a WordPress theme

A WordPress Theme is a collection of files that work together to produce a graphical interface with an underlying design that creates the look of your website. These files are called template files. A theme modifies the way the site looks, without modifying the way it runs.

 

3. What do I do next to get started?

 

You need to find a hosting company that specializes in WordPress installations and hosting. “Not all hosts are created even” that’s for sure.

  • Bad hosts will do the following
    • Cut access to your site when too many people try to access it
    • Unhelpful customer service
    • Sign you up then try and make you pay extra for features that should be free

There are some excellent hosts that pride themselves on delivering a great product and customer service. To save you the time and the confusion in wondering we recommend you use Bluehost.

Bluehost is easy to use and have the following features

  • One-click WordPress installation, which makes it easy for you to get started.
  • They’ve been officially recommended by WordPress.
  • Hosting plans start at $3.95 per month.

 

Now let’s get on with it and create our website. We are on the way to blogging and making a passive income online. You will find the following process on both our recommended hosts.

  • Sign up with a web hosting.
  • Choose the hosting plan (you can pick the cheapest one)
  • Pick a domain name for your blog.
  • Complete hosting registration.
  • Install WordPress, log in and write a blog post.

This process should not take any longer than 15 minutes to complete. Now get ready and start writing your first post on your new website!

Look out for our extended step by step version of this process coming soon

 

What is a WordPress Plugin

A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are uploaded seamlessly in your WordPress Blog.

 

 

How to write my first post:

To start writing posts in your WordPress blog, simply click on the Posts -> Add New link from your Dashboard. You will be redirected to a page where you can create your new article.

Before you hit publish don’t forget to
  • Make sure the URL is short and relevant to what you have written about
  • Check your spelling
  • Is your meta description catchy and make people want to read your post
  • Are your pictures clear and highlight your writing
  • Check your analysis to see if you can improve any

Click the Publish button once ready and your post will be immediately visible on the front page of your blog!

We hope this has shed some light on how to start a blog with WordPress. Look out for upcoming articles comparing BlueHost to Siteground hosting, best premium (paid) plugins for your website and social media tools to help you grow your audience.

Just remember blogging success does not happen overnight. It is often long hours put in before and after your normal day job for little return at the start. I am fond of saying blogging is more a marathon than a sprint.

 

Part 2 is now available” A step by Step guide to creating a blog with Blue Host” is here check it out today

 

 

 


 

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