If you’re a beginner and have not read my previous article on starting blogging, I suggest to start with my article on how to start blogging first. It will help you understand the basics of blogging and how to choose it as a business to generate income. It will also guide you through choosing a profitable blogging niche, purchasing a domain name, and signing up for a hosting platform.
I will go through the essential steps while starting and setting up a blog in WordPress in this post. These tips for creating a blog on WordPress will help you to set up your blog right.
Why start a blog with WordPress?
WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS) for building websites. The best part about it is – it’s free. I’m talking about wordpress.org, not .com.
According to digital.com, WordPress powers over 35% of the web. WordPress is highly customizable with the use of its over 50+ thousand free plugins. Users make 70 million new posts and 77 million new comments each month.
Millions of people are choosing to start blogging with WordPress. They’ve got to be correct.
Besides WordPress, several other solutions that make building a website or blog easy are Squarespace, Weebly, Wix, and Shopify. These web design online software help build websites and blog quickly using their drag and drop building blocks. Most of these platforms are all in one (domain, hosting, and building) solution that consists of everything necessary for successfully bringing your website live. And these are perfect solutions for anyone who does not want to spend more time learning details and can invest.
How to set up your blog correctly?
As a beginner, you would want to set up your WordPress websites or blogs correctly, so it helps people to find them easily. If you’ve purchased the domain and hosting platform from the same provider, as I discussed in the previous post, why it is a wise decision to buy it together with Bluehost, you can go ahead to start installing WordPress. Installation is relatively straightforward. Every hosting provider has a post on their website explaining how to install WordPress.
If you didn’t purchase a domain name and hosting plan from the same platform, you might have been put into a 60-day lock when you cannot transfer the domain name.
It’s a bummer, but while waiting for the 60 days, you can start looking for content ideas.
1. Install your blog theme
Consider choosing a website/ blog theme based on your niche industry that is easy to handle and light on memory. There is a large selection of free blog themes available to download and use on your blog or website. Under WordPress, the themes tab is under the appearance section.
You can also choose a premium theme. Premium themes come with a price tag that ranges from less than $50 to hundreds of dollars, but they provide additional features and customization options. The premium themes will have features to add contents that would otherwise require a plugin. Therefore, your website will also boost loading speed.
2. The WordPress Site title and tagline
The WordPress site title and tagline are the first thing visitors will see after clicking a website or blog. The tile and tagline provide insights into your blogging business. They stay on top of the home page and catch everyone’s eye. Therefore, it is essential to select a site title and tagline that aligns with your content.
The site title reinforces the blog’s branding and style. It must communicate well with the audience. An optimized WordPress title and tagline should contain keywords that the blog wants to rank. It will boost the blog’s SEO.
3. Configure blog’s permalinks settings
Permalinks are web addresses to a page or post of a blog/ website. Every page or post published on the web will have a permalink. The long link often auto generated by WordPress itself contains two components: a domain name and a slug.
Permalinks are essential because it shows up in the search result. Therefore, it makes sense to add meaningful permalinks to every page or post published. It helps the reader and web crawler to determine what the article is about before reading it.
You should make every possible effort to optimize permalinks.
WordPress says a custom URL (permalinks) structure can improve your links’ aesthetics, usability, and forward compatibility.
The default permalink setup is terrible for SEO. It consists of numbers as a slug. The slug should contain the post name at the bare minimum and avoid using numbers in every possible way. You can set up permalink in WordPress under settings.
4. WordPress blog must-have plugins
Plugins are software developed by individuals or big companies to perform a specific task. These apps add additional features and functionality to WordPress blogs or websites. They play an essential role in expanding a blog or website’s capability. There are free as well as premium plugins. The following are some of my recommended lists of free plugins that you must have on your website. (Disclaimer: These are not the only plugins you should have).
a. Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO is a free (and a paid with added benefits) plugin for WordPress essential for search engine optimization. WordPress.org lists Yoast SEO as the number one WordPress SEO plugin. A blog’s SEO is crucial to reach potential readers/customers, and Yoast SEO can improve the chances of getting there.
A premium plugin can help get many things done, but a free Yoast SEO plugin has everything you need to optimize your site.
b. Google Site Kit
Site kit is Google’s official WordPress plugin that connects google analytics with your website or blog. It includes information on google analytics, page speed insights, and AdSense information. This plugin is essential that help grow your blog. The setup is straightforward.
c. Sign up forms
Signup forms are an integral part of a website or blog to build an engaged audience. It is used by all firms, big and small, for lead generation, conversions, and retention strategies. It helps to develop and grow an email list for a business.
A signup form should be short, clear, and easy to understand for visitors to take action. It does require to stand out and present a clear message. It should consist of just enough fields for a visitor to fill in.
Where do I put the signup form on my website or blog?
The location of the signup form does not matter if the visitor does not get lost to find it. Place it in the website’s header, within the body text, all the end, or even in the footer section. As a writer, you should make use of every optimized location to insert a signup form.
The signup can be a floating bar, a welcome gate, an inline on a blog post, or the sidebar. It is also a good idea to place it on the “About page.”
Few signup form builders are premium but also offer free services up to a certain number of subscribers. MailChimp, Convert Kit, and Mailer Lite are some of the good ones in the market.
5. Connection your blog to Google analytics
Google Analytics is a free tool from google. When connected to your blog or website, it gives valuable, insightful information related to your blog or website. Businesses use it to analyze the performance of their web content, average visitor time on the page, and bounce rates. Tracking blog traffic, demographic information, and visitor behavior help understand what is working and what is not working about the webpage. It helps to segregate the high-performing and low-performing posts and conduct experimentation and testing to improve overall blog performance.
Once the google Site Kit plugin is installed and configured with your google account to connect to the google search console, you can connect to Analytics by selecting the “connect more services “link in the plugin. The plugin will guide you through the setup process.
6. Prepare Site maps
Sitemaps are information about different pages and content on a website and how they are connected. You must submit your website’s sitemap to Google to enhance Google’s ranking process.
After all, we are all working to gain more views on our website, right?
If you have already installed a Yoast SEO plugin, creating a sitemap and submitting them to Google is easy. Click on the Yoast SEO on the left sidebar; once you log into your website’s dashboard, select the “Features” tab. The plugin will start creating sitemaps if you set “on” to the XML sitemaps (see snapshot below). (insert picture here)
The XML sitemap connects to Google through the Google search console. Log into your Google search console select the website under property, and click “Sitemaps” to connect the sitemap. Then enter the sitemap URL in the next step.
7. Create essential pages for your website/blog
A blog or website will have many pages to help visitors or users. The website is a gateway to your business, and you must set it up nicely for visitors. Your website must contain essential pages to guide the visitor. Depending on the niche you’re in, the list will change, but the following are some of the pages every blogging business or website must-have.
The homepage is the main page of the website or business blog. People see the homepage when they type your domain name on your web browser address bar. It helps the audience get to know you and your business.
The homepage is the first impression any web traffic will see; therefore, it is essential to make it simple, clean, and easy to navigate. It should contain well-organized links to your website and be appealing.
b. Header and footer
These are the top and bottom bar on the website that sticks with every page of your website. These are the two vital elements of every website. a potential customer or audience will always look at the header and footer for navigation. They consist of all the links to essential pages of a website.
d. About page
About page of a website discusses the story of a company. It helps establish trust and build the relationship between the business owner and the customer. It is the only page you talk about yourself and your business. The “Why” factor is usually discussed on this page. Every blog or website owner must use this page to maximum potential.
e. Contact us
The “Contact us” page is also one of the essential pages that every website must have. This page will have all the contact information related to the company. A potential customer or business collaborator always uses this page to contact other businesses to inquire about product or business opportunities.
It does take a bit of effort to set up your WordPress blog. Most of all, it takes hard work, consistency, and perseverance in your blogging business. You must set the blog correctly to succeed. You’ll make many changes once you get down to it, but the essential ingredients stay the same. You need content and a platform to take those content to the audience. Are you in the blogging business? Do you have any other must-have items on your list? Please share with us your tips and trick so that we can expand this list.