Do you ever feel like everyone you know has their own personal blog? Perhaps you’re wondering what the appeal is and why somebody would want to share their personal details with the whole world.
The truth is that a personal blog has many benefits:
- It allows you to share your passion and hobbies and connect with others who have the same interests.
- It gives you the opportunity to share your skills and knowledge and impress potential employers.
- It’s also an excellent way to establish a personal platform if you’re a budding author or a writer.
- Finally, a personal blog can be used as a way to update your friends and family on what’s going on in your life, especially if you live in a different state or country.
If you’ve been toying with the idea of starting your own blog with WordPress, but have no clue where to begin, you’ve come to the right place.
In this post, we’ll walk you through the process of how to create your blog with WordPress, how to choose your domain, set up your site, customize it, and how to install additional plugins to make the most out of your site.
Why WordPress Is the Best Blogging Platform
There are several platforms out there that allow you to start a blog. However, in a sea of platforms, the best choice is WordPress. Here are a few reasons that make WordPress land at the top of the heap.
1. Ease of Use
WordPress is very easy to use. The admin dashboard where you’ll spend the most of your time writing and editing blog posts has a friendly user interface. It has easy to use links in the sidebar that help you find your way around your site, install new themes and plugins, manage your site’s title and description, and more.
The post editor itself resembles MS Word so you’ll have no problems adding headlines, paragraphs, inserting an image, making your text bold, and making your post looks nice.
2. Thousands of WordPress Blog Themes and Plugins
With WordPress, you never have to worry about your site looking like someone else’s. There are thousands of professional WordPress blog themes that can be used for any type of website. From business to personal blogs, you can find a WordPress theme for any niche imaginable.
Discover more of the best WordPress blog themes in our hand-curated selection:
Another beauty of WordPress is the fact that there are numerous plugins available that allow you to integrate sharing buttons, link your social media profiles, allow readers to contact you, and much more.
3. Open Source and Free
WordPress is open source and free. This means you are free to download it, install it on a hosting server, and modify it—all without having to pay a dime. While it’s true that you have to buy a domain name and a hosting plan, the yearly cost is significantly less than what some other blogging platforms charge.
Moreover, those platforms, often are very restricted in terms of what you can and cannot do; from customizing the site to the type of content you publish. And if they decide that they no longer want to provide that service, your blog and months or years of your hard work could disappear along with them.
Another point in favor of WordPress is the versatility of the platform. Thanks to the plethora of plugins, you can take your blog and turn it into an online store, a membership site, a learning platform, and so much more.
In fact, some of the biggest companies and popular websites like the Walt Disney Company use WordPress to power their websites.
5. Large Community
There is also a large community around WordPress. From numerous blogs that cover all things WordPress to official support forums, theme marketplaces, and WordPress developers; you can find answers to most of your WordPress-related questions with a simple internet search.
How to Choose a Domain for Your WordPress Blog
Now that you know why you should choose WordPress, it’s time to cover the technical and practical steps involved in creating your own WordPress blog.
The first thing you need to decide on is the domain name for your blog. If you already know the topic of your blog, it’s a good idea to choose a name that’s related to it. However, keep in mind that if you want to expand your blog to include other topics in the future, your domain name might not make much sense later on.
For example, if you decide to start a blog on gardening and opt for a domain name gardeningadventures.com but later want to blog about books you love, you could cause a disconnect with your visitors. Imagine coming to gardeningadventures.com and seeing reviews and posts about latest books you’ve read. Chances are your readers will get confused and leave.
Alternatively, if you know you want to blog about a variety of topics, then choosing your own name might be a better choice. This allows you to start blogging about a certain topic but doesn’t restrict you if you want to expand your topics later on.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning that there are a variety of domain extensions that you can choose from. The most common one is .com as that was one of the first available extensions and people are very used to it. However, if the name you want isn’t available as a .com extension, another good choice is .me extension. Considering you want to start a personal blog, nothing is more personal than a domain name ending in a .me. It’s also very popular with personal blogs.
Which WordPress Hosting Plan Should You Choose
Once you’ve settled on your domain name, the next step is to research a hosting plan. This is where you will install WordPress and make your blog available online.
There are a ton of options when it comes to hosting companies. Some of them offer affordable shared plans where your website is hosted on a server along with hundreds of other websites. With a shared hosting plan, you are also responsible for keeping your site up to date, updating WordPress, themes, and plugins, and ensuring that your blog is secure.
There are also hosting companies that offer dedicated servers or Virtual Private Servers where you get an entire server for yourself. While a dedicated server is great because you usually get more disk space and more allowed traffic, the truth is that those plans are often too much for beginners unless you are comfortable with managing an entire server by yourself.
How to Install WordPress
If you decided that you want to use a shared hosting plan, you’ll need to install WordPress before getting started on your site. The good news is that most hosts nowadays offer a one-click installation of WordPress so the whole process is quick and simple.
When you sign up for a shared hosting plan, your hosting company will send you a welcome email which has the login information for the hosting dashboard. In most cases, this will be a control panel called cPanel. They will also send you a link to your cPanel so you just have to click on it and use the provided username and password to login.
Once you are in your cPanel, look for an icon that says One-Click WordPress Install or One-Click Installers. Locate WordPress and press the Install button. On the next page, enter your site title, description, username, and password for your site. Then, click the Install or Finish button and wait for the installation to complete.
Choosing the Best WordPress Theme: Free or Paid
We mentioned earlier that there are thousands of quality blog themes available for WordPress. While you might be tempted by the prospect of a free theme, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Free themes are usually limited in terms of features and functionality. You can customize them to a degree but you don’t have control over all the options. Another downside of free themes is the fact that if you run into problems or want to know how to change something, you won’t get support from the theme author.
Paid WordPress themes, on the other hand, offer a lot more bang for your buck. You will be able to customize almost every aspect of your site such as colors, fonts, margins, headers, backgrounds, and much more.
You’ll also get all the functionality you need without having to research how to do it with code. Lastly, if you need to know how to do anything with your theme, the theme author will be there to answer your questions and point you in the right direction.
How to Setup Your WordPress Theme
After you’ve settled on the blog theme you'll use, it’s time to install the it on your site. To begin, go to your WordPress dashboard and use the username and password you set during the WordPress installation to log in.
Navigate go to Appearance > Add theme. Find the zip file of your purchased theme and upload it to your site, then click Activate to make the theme live on your site.
You’ll be prompted to install required WordPress plugins so click the link to do so. Once all the plugins have been installed, let’s see how you can customize the WP blog theme to reflect your style and personality.
For this tutorial, I am using the New York WordPress theme which features a minimal and elegant blog design and plenty of customization options through the Yellow Pencil Plugin.
To customize the theme, go to Appearance > Customize.
On this screen, you can set the main background color, add a background image, and more. If you want to style individual elements such as fonts and colors, go to Appearance > Yellow Pencil. Here, you can change the fonts and colors for your paragraphs, headings, links, control the width of your page or post, and much more.
When you’re done customizing the styles, head back to your dashboard and create an About page and your first post. Here’s how.
In your dashboard, navigate to Pages > Add new. Enter the page title, enter your text, and when you’re ready to click on Publish. To create additional pages, simply follow the steps above.
In a similar fashion, let’s create our first post. Go to Posts > Add new. Here, enter the title of your post, add the post content, add any images you have, and click on Publish.
As a final step, go to Appearance > Menus. Click the button to Create a menu, name it and click Create Menu. Now add all the pages you created previously, select a location for the menu, and press the Save menu button.
Helpful WordPress Plugins for Bloggers
Now that your WordPress blog theme is set up, it’s time to add some plugins that will help you take your site to the next level.
A few must-have plugins include a sharing plugin so readers can share your content on social media and help you grow your traffic, an SEO plugin so your site can rank better in search engines, and an email newsletter plugin so you can gather email addresses from your readers and grow your email list.
Easy Social Share Buttons for WordPress is an attractive social sharing plugin that can help you increase your shares, grow your social media profiles, and drive more traffic. It includes sharing icons for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and more as well more than 28 possible locations to display it on your site.
This is an easy-to-use SEO plugin that will help your site rank better in search engines. You can create SEO-friendly post titles and meta descriptions, generate a sitemap for your site, notify search engines about changes to your site and much more.
Ninja Popups for WordPress will allow you to create beautiful popup forms for your site that you can connect to email list providers such as MailChimp, Aweber, Constant Contact, and others.
You can offer a free download to your readers in exchange for their email address so you can establish a more personal relationship with them. The WordPress plugin includes tons of premade templates and an easy to use drag-and-drop editor.
Start Your Own WordPress Blog Quickly
Starting your own WordPress blog has never been easier thanks to a huge collection of high-quality WordPress themes, and great WP plugins. Use our guide to create your WordPress blog and start sharing your hobbies and knowledge with the world.