Starting a WordPress blog can be very intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be (Even if you’re not that tech-savvy). It’s actually a LOT easier than you think.
I’ve put together what I have called “The Ultimate Step by Step Guide to Starting a WordPress Blog” to walk you through the process, from start to finish.
I’ve also created short videos for each of the steps so that you can see exactly how to do it for yourself.
What do you need to start your WordPress blog?
Before we jump into the tutorials, there are only three things that you actually need:
- Your domain name for your blog
The domain is what is commonly referred to as your web address or url. That is where people will find your WordPress blog. In my case my url is www.bradbrown.co. Yours can be whatever you want it to be (as long as it is still available), for example yourbusinessname.com or yourblogname.net
- Web hosting account for your WordPress blog
This is where your website will physically live. Think of your blog as a series of Microsoft Word documents. Each page of your blog is it’s own document. Those files need to be stored somewhere and that is why you need a web hosting account to host your blog.
- An hour of uninterrupted time
This is probably the most difficult of the three steps. Seriously though, that is all you are going to need to get your WordPress blog published on the internet. Set aside 60 minutes where you can focus on just doing this and I promise you, together, we’ll get your blog going.
Ready to get your blog started?
Great, let’s jump right in. You’ll see I’ve divided this guide into four modules. The lessons in the first module will get your WordPress blog up and running. Modules two through four are building blocks that will help you turn your blog into something you can be proud of.
I want you to think of this process as you would if you were building a house…
…Think of module one as the foundation. Module two is the bricks and mortar and interior decorating to strengthen your WordPress blog and to make it look great.
Module three is the all the internal wiring you can’t see, but allows your house to function optimally. Module four will show you how to turn your home into a business if you’d like to.
In all there are 18 videos, as well as a handful of worksheets and checklists, that I’ll guide you through. Be sure to bookmark this page so that you can return when you want to continue with the lessons.
If you’d prefer to download all the videos and handouts, I’ve made them available to download through Dropbox. Simply click here to have the download link be sent to you.
Module 1: The Foundation of your WordPress Blog
This is lesson 1 and is simply an overview of everything I will cover in this training. It will give you a fair indication of how everything fits together and why I do things the way I do.
It is not crucial that you watch this video but it will give you a solid foundation to launch into this online training with.
In lesson 2, I talk you through the process of selecting a web host for your new website. The first thing you’ll need to do is register a domain or URL. Over the years I have used many different website hosting companies (Some are unfortunately better than others). Here are a couple that I recommend:
Web hosting for your WordPress blog
Important 2020 Update: I no longer use Afrihost as their support has deteriorated over the last few years. Here are the two web hosting companies I now recommend:
Bluehost (Recommended to get started)
WP Engine (This is what I currently use)
NOTE: I believe in 100% transparency. If you sign up with Bluehost using my referral link, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. In fact, they are running a great deal on hosting (With free domain registration) that will save you money. I would get this commission for recommending most WordPress blog hosting companies, but I only recommend products that I personally use and believe will add value to users of this tutorial. I also use Namecheap and WP Engine to host some of our busier, commercial websites.
Let’s go ahead and sign up for a hosting account now. Simply click on this link to open Bluehost in another tab on your browser. Go ahead and click on the green button:
On the next screen select the package you’d like to purchase (I’d recommend the basic – You can always upgrade later if you need to. Once you’ve made your selection you’ll be prompted to choose a domain for your WordPress blog.
Once you have selected your domain you will be taken to the checkout page. On that page, you will be given the option to purchase a few ‘extras’ (The boxes are checked by default). If you would like to purchase them you can but in all honesty, I think they are overkill – Once again you can always upgrade at a later stage.
Now that you have signed up for your web hosting account you should have received an email with details of the account as well as the details on how to log into your new website’s control panel, or Cpanel as it is more commonly known.
Now that your WordPress blog hosting account is set up, it is time to install WordPress onto the server. The video below explains exactly how to do that:
How to change the look of your WordPress blog
You have now built the engine that will drive your blog, so to speak. Now comes the fun part, making it look exactly how you want it to look. Watch the video below to see exactly how to do it.
Where to get themes for your WordPress blog
As I explained in the video, there are various places to get themes for your WordPress blog. There are many free themes available within the WordPress repository. I personally prefer using premium (Paid for) themes because the code tends to be cleaner and they therefore work better. The creators of the premium themes keep them updated better so that reduces security risks.
Divi Visual Page and Theme Builder
The theme this website is built on is called Divi. I can safely say that it is THE BEST theme I have ever worked on. You are able to customise EVERYTHING on the site to exactly the way you want it to be. You can check what Divi can do and try it out for free here.
StudioPress Premium WordPress Themes
Other themes that I have used (and continue to use on various websites) are the themes that are created by StudioPress. You can check them out here StudioPress.com.
NOTE: Once again, if you sign up using my referral link, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Creating posts and pages on your WordPress blog
It is now time to start creating some awesome content. That is why you wanted to get into blogging, right? The video below will explain the difference between pages and posts on your blog. I will also show you exactly how to create posts and pages.
After following those steps you should now have a fully functioning WordPress blog. Well done! Most WordPress blog tutorials leave it here but I’m not going to. There is still a lot you can to do make your WordPress blog look and function better.
Are you stuck? Need some Help?
If you get stuck at any point while going through this guide to creating your own WordPress blog then please join my free Facebook group. I am in there all the time answering questions so feel free to pop by and ask for help.
I also host regular “office hours” sessions where you can jump on a call with me to get the help you need.
The community within the group is also really engaged, so if I’m not around right away I’m 100% certain someone else in there will be able to help you and if not, they’ll point you in the right direction.
Module 2: Adding functionality to your WordPress Blog
In this module I am going to run through some of the behind the scenes stuff that will allow you to do so much more with your blog. I am going to dive a bit deeper in this module. These lessons will show you how to modify and change things to make your WordPress blog look and operate exactly how you want it to.
Plugins for your WordPress site can be a double-edged sword. They add a ton of functionality but they can also slow the performance of your WordPress blog down. Always make sure your plugins are compatible with the version of WordPress you are running. Also, ensure that your WordPress plugins are always updated. Having plugins on your WordPress blog that are not compatible or not updated can be a security risk.
As mentioned in the video, these are the plugins I use every time I set up a WordPress blog:
I know there is a LOT to go through in this online course. Feel free to come back as often as you like to go through the tutorials.
If you’re looking for a more convenient way to access the video tutorials, I’ve got some great news for you. I’ve made the entire Blog Builder Online Course as a digital download, free of charge.
Simply click on the button below to have the link to the Dropbox folder emailed to you.
Inside the Dropbox folder you’ll find all four modules of The Blog Builder. I’ve included all 18 videos as well as all the resources in one easy download:
Module 3: Driving Traffic to your WordPress Blog
Now that your WordPress Blog is set up and you know how to modify and change things, I’m going to show you how to track the visits to your website. The three lessons in this module will show you how to find out who is visiting your site and how they found it. It will also show you how to optimise your posts, so that they are easier to find on search engines like Google, and I will show you how to leverage the power of social media.
How to make money from your WordPress website
It doesn’t matter what the reason was for starting your blog. Whether it was to build a community or to spread a message that you’re passionate about, at some stage we all wonder if it would be possible to make money off of our WordPress blog. You may have heard of bloggers making huge money online and I am here to tell you it is possible.
I wanted to share this module with you to get you thinking about what might (and can) be possible. I hope that the five videos in this module really expand your mind and get you thinking “what if…”
Advertising is probably the easiest way to start monetising your WordPress blog. It is however important to note that in order to make a significant amount of money, your website needs to be getting a lot of traffic. Here are the links that I mentioned in the video:
Blog post with ad platforms
Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways to start turning a profit on your WordPress blog. Recommending products and services to our friends is something we all do, ALL the time. So why not get paid for it, right?
As mentioned in the video above here are the links to the websites mentioned:
The most extensive list of South African Affiliate Programs
Amazon (2020 UPDATE: I wouldn’t recommend Amazon anymore, here is why)
Sponsored posts are another way to monetise your WordPress blog (And social media channels) and it is easier than you think. As mentioned in the video above here is the link to the website I mentioned:
If you have any physical goods (or digital for that matter) that you would like to sell on your WordPress blog you’re going to be surprised at how easy it is. As mentioned in the video above here is the link to the shopping cart plugin I mentioned:
How to create an online course in South Africa
The best payment gateways in South Africa
Creating and selling your own digital products is THE most lucrative way I know to make money off of your WordPress blog. As mentioned in the video above here are the links to some of the digital products we’ve created:
Time to wrap the WordPress Blog Builder up…
I hope you found this step by step WordPress tutorial helpful. You now have the foundation to build a profitable business and start making money online (or off-line).
Don’t forget too that you can get access to all 18 Videos and Resources in a convenient Dropbox folder. To get access to the Dropbox folder click here.
Thanks for popping by my website. Don’t miss any of the video tutorials that I upload to my YouTube channel.
If you have any questions about making money online in South Africa, be in touch via Facebook or Twitter.