If you’re curious about starting a WordPress blog in the most efficient way possible, have no fear, this guide is for you!
Note, keyword here: Most efficient way possible
Starting a blog can be very painful if you don’t know where to begin. You can go down many rabbit trails before you can figure out what in the world you are doing. Trust me; I’ve been there. And I don’t want you to go there. Because you might end up looking like me (see cat below) after a long night of troubleshooting why my blog was down…
My aggravating experience with starting a blog
Before I decided to hand over my hard earned money to pay for a domain and web hosting, I blogged on almost every free platform available. Xanga, Blogger, Tumblr, Angelfire, Geocities, Livejournal, WordPress.com… and the list goes on.
As you can see, I avoided paying for web hosting as much as possible because I had no money. It wasn’t until I finished paying my student debt did I start exploring the wonderful world of self-hosted blogs.
For context, enSquaredAired has been around since 2012, but I didn’t put in the time and effort to learn the basic foundations until 2016
The years between 2012 and 2016 were painful, likely because I went with a cheap web host. I had malware on my site a handful of times and dealt with technical issues on a frequent basis. My site was also very slow, and tech support never answered my questions. I can’t tell you the number of times I had to delete my site and start from scratch. Either that or pay more money to have my web host fix the problem.
It wasn’t until I learned the foundation about blogging that I finally got it right
Everything that you now see on enSquaredAired is the continuation of that point when I finally “got blogging.” The process still involved a lot of rework and going back to fix years of mistakes, but it’s getting less painful.
So here I am going to save you the pain of making newbie mistakes that cost me a lot of time and money from my countless blogging mistakes.
Understanding the foundation of blogging is very important
While you can find 394,029,929 blog posts about how easy it is to start a blog, they gloss through the fact that you’ll have questions at every step of the way.
Yes, you can start a self-hosted blog in less than an hour, but if you don’t think to understand what you are doing, you might find yourself paying for those hasty decisions later on when your blog grows.
Here are the steps that I will cover in detail in this blog post to help kickstart your blogging adventure
- Choose a name for your blog
- Register for a domain name
- Decide which hosting provider to use
- Choose a blogging platform
- Install the Genesis framework for WordPress
- Write your first blog post
Step 1: Choose a name for your blog
This step requires the most thought and care because if you choose the wrong blog name, you’re stuck with it for life. Ok, ok, maybe not for life but it’s a pain if you decide to change your domain name at some point.
Unless you are going to use your name for your blog, you should treat this name picking process as if you’re choosing a name for a business
Even if you don’t plan on monetizing your blog or you don’t care about building a brand, having that outlook will serve you well if you change your mind.
Questions to ask yourself when thinking about your blog name:
- What will you be writing on your blog? Is it about a sport, craft, travel? Are you trying to build a community or share your story? Consider incorporating those keywords into your website so that people will know what your blog is about from the domain name. With that being said, I made the mistake of picking a blog name where people struggle with the spelling and pronunciation. Yeah, blogging regret #1 on my part.
- Who is the audience? Is it for bloggers, entrepreneurs, parents, baby boomers? Consider including the audience in your name if you have this information
- What value does your blog bring to your audience? Are you trying to help them save money, or plan an epic birthday party?
- How do you expect your blog to grow in the future? Mindnode is a great tool to use during this brainstorming stage
Places to find inspiration for your blog name:
- A thesaurus
- Books, magazines, movies
- Different languages: For example, say I wanted to start a website to share my of dogs. Let’s start with ilovedogs.com. I can incorporate different languages like AmoreDogs (French), or AiDogs (Mandarin), ThuongDogs (Vietnamese) and play around to see how they might sound together. They all look horrible, but you get the idea
You can also try one of these name generators:
Consider how your blog name will sound when the words are combined
Blog names like www.thecoolaccountant.com read fine but imagine how an IT company like IT Scrap might look when someone types the name (i.e., www.itscrap.com).
Embarrassingly enough, my website is a perfect example of what you want to avoid. enSquaredAired can read as ens-quare-daired without context.
Step 2: Register for a domain name
Once you have chosen the perfect name for your blog, it is time to register it before someone else takes it! The simplest way to register your name is with the same company where you plan to buy your hosting package.
Step two and three can become one step if you buy your domain name and hosting provider at once place. If you decide to register your domain name with one company and buy your hosting package separately, you’ll have two steps to complete.
Step 3: Choose a hosting provider
If you want a hassle-free blog, you need to look for a hosting provider that will provide you with excellent support. Trust me when I say this, producing content is already a time sucker in itself, imagine having to troubleshoot the technical part of your blog. Here, let me give you some examples: hacked website, slow site speed, or the case of the disappearing blog. Yep, this all happened to me before I moved to my current hosting provider.
I finally pulled the plug and switched to Siteground after using a cheap hosting provider. I was so annoyed with my previous web host that I didn’t even wait until my hosting service ended. That meant I ended up paying for two web providers when I moved to Siteground in 2017, but I couldn’t be happier!
Really, the key things to consider when choosing a hosting provider is speed, reliability, cost and customer service.
Step 4: Choose a blogging platform
I’ll cut to the chase and tell you now that you won’t regret using WordPress as your blogging platform.
Most hosting providers will provide a tutorial on how to install WordPress. If your hosting provider is great, they will write clear and easy tutorials to follow (see Siteground example here). Of course, they will also be around to provide technical support as well.
If you’re not tech savvy at all and you don’t care about plugins or customization, Squarespace is a great alternative.
Step 5: Install the Genesis framework for WordPress
I was late in the game and didn’t discover Genesis until 2016. I did a massive amount of research and waited a long time before I bought this framework. Looking back, I realize now that the Genesis framework is the one thing I wish I used straight from the get-go. Not only is it well coded, but the structure reflects coding best practices, which is good for SEO. When it comes to WordPress updates, I never have to worry thanks to Genesis. You should read this post for more details on why Genesis is the foundation of a smart WordPress design.
There are also so many child themes to choose from with the Genesis framework (my child theme is the Foodie Pro Theme which you can click here to learn more).
Hopefully, you’ll find a theme that will grow with your blog so you’ll only have to buy a theme once. But if you change your mind and feel that the child theme you currently have isn’t for you, you don’t have to fret about a theme change. Transitions to a new child theme under Genesis is smooth, hassle-free, and of course, beautifully designed. Yes, you’ll have to put in a few hours to ensure a smooth changeover, but you don’t have to worry about anything breaking.
Step 6: Write your first blog post!
And that’s it! You’re ready to write your first post!
Comment below if you have any specific questions or things you’d like me to include in this guide! Let me know if you have any specific questions on Siteground, Genesis, or any other products that I use for blogging! If you recently joined the dark side (hehe), share your blog link below and share your blogging experience!
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