How to Start a WordPress Blog in 2020 (Ultimate Guide)

So, you want to start a blog – and use WordPress to do so?

To start a WordPress blog and turn it into an online business that generates you passive revenue each month you’ll need years of coding experience and a ton of money if you want your blog to succeed.

That’s a lie.

To generate a ton of organic traffic to your blog and earn money from affiliate marketing you’ll need an IQ of at least 160 and straight A’s in high school.

Also a lie.

Would you like to know the truth?

Starting a WordPress blog takes around 15 minutes and requires no prior coding experience and no Einstein IQ.

If you have just 15 minutes right now, I’ll personally teach you how you can start a WordPress blog and turn it into your own little online business. If you want to know more about how to make money blogging, read my guide here.

Find your niche

I’d suggest you find out which niche you’d like to write about before we dive straight into setting up your brand new WordPress blog. If you’re in doubt which niche to choose, I’ve come up with 7 very profitable niches.

The boring stuff

There are a couple of things that we need to get out of the way such as choosing a domain, finding a web hosting provider, and setting up WordPress. After that, we’re going to get into some of the fun stuff of having a blog.

Choosing a domain

Throughout the years I’ve heard a lot of people stating that “the domain name with make or break your blog”. This is not the case.

Your domain name doesn’t have a direct impact on your SEO score. And as long as your domain name is relatively easy to remember and sounds freaking awesome when you say it out loud, you should be more than fine.

My favorite domain host

Personally, I purchase all my domains through GoDaddy since they have an incredible support team that can help you with just about anything. I’m 90% sure that they’ll even order McDonald’s for you if you ask very nicely.

When choosing a domain name you can almost go ham. There are, however, some super simple guidelines that you should keep in the back of your head when selecting the domain name for your next WordPress blog.

1. Stick to the popular .com extension if possible

Do you want to know something that’ll blow your mind? There are more than 1.500 different domain extensions that you can choose from.

But hold on before you go bananas with all the different extensions.

A good rule of thumb is to stick to a domain extension that people feel familiar with. It builds trust which – in return – sends more traffic towards your site.

stick with popular domain extensions

That’s why my domain is called ‘jakobstaudal.com’ and not ‘jakobstaudal.rehab’. Wouldn’t you have hesitated to click the link to this blog post if my domain name was ‘jakobstaudal.rehab’? I think so.

2. Keep it short and simple

The actual domain of your blog has no impact on your rankings on Google as long as you don’t spiral out of control.

Your click through rate (the number of views / the number of clicks) might take a hit if your domain name looks sketchy which is why you want to keep it simple and not overly creative.

You also want people to remember your domain name for when they return which is why it shouldn’t be 30 characters long but as short and recognisable as humanly possible.

optimal domain length

My domain name is honestly just my full name with a .com extension. Does it get any shorter and simpler than that? I don’t think so.

3. Avoid using any symbols

As mention before, you should try to keep the domain as simple and short as possible. That’s why the use of hyphens, numbers, and other symbols shouldn’t be used in your domain name.

It’s not a dealbreaker if your domain contains a hyphen, but take a look at the difference of my domain if it contained a hyphen:

  • jakobstaudal.com
  • jakob-staudal.com

It looks far better when the domain name doesn’t contain any symbols, and it’s easier for your audience to remember your domain name instead of them questioning the position of the hyphen.

4. Use a domain generator

There are around 1.7 billion websites in the world, and every single website takes up one domain. Chances are that you won’t be able to get your desired domain.

In that case, I’d strongly recommend you to try out a domain generator like instantdomainsearch.com.

Let’s say you’d like to purchase the domain ‘jakobstaudal.com’. I’m currently in possession of that domain, and you wouldn’t be able to purchase that exact domain. However, if you search for the domain in the domain generator, you’ll receive a series of similar available domains.

Domain generator

You’ll see that the domain ‘thejakobstaudal.com’ and ‘myjakobstaudal.com’ is available. This can be done with any domain and inspire you if you feel stuck because your desired domain is unavailable.

Remember that your domain isn’t everything. When you start a WordPress blog you want to allocate no more than 30 minutes to an hour finding the ideal domain name.

Choosing a hosting provider

When choosing a hosting provider you should, first of all, find out what type of hosting you’re looking for. You might want to consider the cheapest option if you’re just starting out.

This blog runs on a Managed WordPress Hosting plan by Kinsta due to their speedy servers, security, and amazing customer support.

There are tons of hosting providers to choose from – which makes it difficult to figure out where you’ll get the most bang for your bucks.

My favorite hosting provider

I’ve written a post covering my 3 favorite managed WordPress hosting providers. I’m using that type of hosting to make my life as easy as possible and to direct all my focus to the writing part instead of the boring programming part.

I’m not lying when I say that I’ve probably tried every single hosting provider on the market. My experience tells me that

  • If you want a speedy website that’s easy to set up, use Kinsta.
  • If you want a cheap website that just works, use Bluehost.

Kinsta starts at $30/month and BlueHost starts at $3.95/month (current offer).

Setting up your blog using Bluehost (step-by-step)

The last step in the process to start a WordPress blog is to set up the website using Bluehost’s shared hosting plan. Navigate to Bluehost and click Shared Hosting.

Bluehost homepage

From there you’ll want to find the package section and select the package that suits your needs. For now, I’d personally go with the Basic package since you can upgrade at any time.

Bluehost Shared Hosting Packages

If you purchased the domain through GoDaddy as I did, just fill out the “Use a domain you own” field. Else, create a new domain and click Next.

Bluehost domain selection

The next page is where you’ll fill out all of your Account information, Package information, and Payment information. Fill it out as you’d like and click Submit once you’re done.

What’s awesome about using Bluehost is that WordPress is automatically installed so the rest of the process should be straight-forward. If you have any questions, just reach out to the live chat.

The fun stuff

Huray, now you’ve successfully purchased a domain name, found a WordPress hosting provider AND set up WordPress. Now it’s time to get into the fun stuff.

Customizing your new WordPress website and turn it into a blog.

Customizing your blog

When you created your WordPress website you received an email with login details to the WordPress administrator dashboard where you can customise your blog. It should look something like the one below.

WordPress dashobard

I’m from Denmark which is why my dashboard is in Danish but you should still get a general idea of how it looks.

Navigate to the Appearance tab in the left sidebar and click on Customize.

You’re then taken through the basic settings of your website which you should be comfortable using. Play around with them for a while and get to know them. It’ll make life much easier in the long-run.

When you’re done with that you want to choose a theme for your new blog. These can be found under Appearance by clicking Themes and then Add new.

WordPress themes

I’m using a theme by Rich Tabor called Tabor which I’m absolutely in love with. Choose the theme that you love the most and proceed to the Settings tab and click Reading.

WordPress reading blog posts

Take a look at the homepage of my blog. You’ll see an overview of all my latest posts instead of an actual homepage. If you think it looks super duper awesome, make sure that Your latest posts are ticked off. If you don’t want it, tick off A static page and choose the desired Front page and Posts page.

One thing that I can’t live without is the Yoast SEO plugin which takes care of all my blog’s SEO settings. To install it navigate to Plugins and Add new.

WordPress plugins 1

Just search for “Yoast” and install it. The plugin will take you through all the essential settings that your blog needs to rank on Google.

When that’s done you’re pretty much ready to go. Now, let’s take a look at how you actually publish your very first blog post using WordPress

Writing your first blog post

It’s easy to get caught up in the aesthetics when you start a WordPress blog. But remember that the most important part is to post some valuable content for your audience to read.

You’ve gotten so far already and it’s now time to write your first blog post and publish it. To do so, navigate to Posts in the sidebar and click Add new.

WordPress posts section

Here you’ll be directed to the post editor where you can write your blog post, change the featured image (image shown in your blog post overview), permalink, excerpt, etc.

WordPress post editor

If you scroll down a bit you’ll see the Yoast SEO editor where you can change the SEO title, Meta description, shared image, etc. This is the way your blog post is portrayed in the Google Search Results (also called SERPs).

Get to know the editor like it was the inside of your fridge (yes, I know you like food) and smash away on the keyboard.

Once you’re done with your post, click Publish in the upper-right corner. Your blog post is now public and will appear on the homepage of your site if you chose Your latest posts in the settings as I did.

When you get some traction and your monthly traffic increases, I’d suggest you take a look at my 12 favourite affiliate programs which will help you monetise your blog.

Conclusion

Now it’s time to explore the WordPress administrator dashboard and get a sense of how WordPress operates. It’s pretty straight-forward if you ask me.

Go ham and publish some inspiring and exciting content that I can read. Feel free to introduce your new blog in the comment section below.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me or leave a comment below.

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