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So, you want to start a WordPress blog? Great! I’ll show you how.
Blogs are great for businesses, entrepreneurs and people who love writing. If you are using it as a marketing tool to generate leads, blogging is a sure-fire way to:
- Showcase your expertise
- Gain credibility in your niche
- Spread your message
- Practice writing
- Build a portfolio
My blog also helps me get freelance writing jobs. It is an easy way for me to showcase my skills to clients.
Why a WordPress blog?
The short answer: because it is easy.
The longer answer: because you can easily integrate it with your website or, set up a website on WordPress.com.
The even longer answer: because with inbuilt themes and SEO plug-ins, you have control over the design, can optimise your digital content for search engines and have your own domain names. Just to name some benefits.
Let’s get started.
Set Up Your Account (5 – 10 minutes)
- Go to the WordPress.com website.
- Click on ‘Get Started’ (circled).
3. Complete the details following the instructions below:
What would you like to name your site? This will be displayed as the site title but you can change it later.
What will your site be about? This will influence the sorts of themes you will see as a priority. Again, this will not limit your options so don’t worry if you think you might change your mind later.
What’s the primary goal you have for your site? Like the previous question, this helps WordPress personalise your experience but is no way limiting.
How comfortable are you with creating a website? Choose your level.
4. Click ‘Continue’.
5. Enter some keywords to help WordPress give you ideas of domain names.
A domain name is your website’s address. For instance, mine is freelancewritingteam.com.
You will see a list of free and paid options.
Free domain names – you can select one of these to get started. But this will not serve well for SEO purposes (if you want your online content to show up in Google search results).
Paid plans – select the plan that is right for you. I started with a Personal so that I could have a custom domain name. Now I have a Business plan to have access to:
- All of the design themes
- Control over my design
- Plug-ins, especially Yeost SEO and JetPack (keeps content safe and gives me performance data)
6. Choose your domain name and click ‘Select’. This takes you to the plans page. You can either select a plan or ‘Start with free’ (circled).
7. Complete the details to create your account and click ‘Continue’.
8. Click ‘Continue’.
Congratulations – you have set up your WordPress blog!
Now you can start blogging. The great thing is that you can add as many blogs as you like under the same account by simply setting up a new ‘site’.
- From the menu on the left, select the ‘Add’ button next to ‘Blog Posts’.
- Give your post a title and create your content.
- When you are ready, press ‘Publish’ and your blog post will be live (you will need to have confirmed your email address to publish).
To set up your user profile, complete your details in the ‘My Profile’ section.
Controlling How Your WordPress Blog Looks
There are a number of ways to customise the design WordPress blog.
Themes are in-built design templates. You can customise certain elements if you are on a free or Personal Plan. For full control, you must have a Business plan.
- Log in to your WordPress.com account.
- From the left side select the ‘Themes’ button.
Here you have access to free and paid themes. You can choose to have a live demo before activating on your site.
Each theme has further customisation options. These can vary from theme to theme.
Installing plug-ins (only available on the Business plan) are a great way to have further control over your website’s design.
Some that I use are:
- Akismet Anti-Spam – a great way to protect your blog from spam.
- Hummingbird – as I have used WordPress.com to create my entire website, this helps me compress files to speed up load times.
- JetPack – allows me to view my site’s performance, enable sharing on social networks and customise my design.
- Reading Time WP – to display an approximate reading time above posts.
- Redirection – this helps me keep my links tidy and re-direct any links that I have changed.
- Title Remover – I use this to hide titles from my website pages.
- Yeost SEO – a great tool that helps me optimise my pages and blog posts. Includes connection to Google tools like Analytics and Search Console.
I hope this has enabled you to get started with blogging. WordPress.com is a powerful tool that provides much more than a blogging platform. This has been a quick run through but for a more detailed guide take a look at these 5 steps to set up a blog: