How to start a blog is just the first thing comes into the minds of an aspiring blogger. It’s the most common question answered every day by hundreds of experienced blogger. In this blog, I will start from scratch so that a novice may execute things quite easily and share my experiences of maintaining a WordPress blog.
How to start a blog?
How to start a blog, how to write a blog, how to become a blogger, what is WordPress Blog, these were the questions erupting in my mind as I thought to give a shot to blogging. As I have a commerce background and pursuing Chartered Accountancy, I was completely ignorant about the technicalities in building websites and blogs. I consulted many people, blogs etc. to learn blogging and the technologies used to run a blog.
I was flooded with advice. The knowledge I accumulated then were helpful as well as confusing. They were helpful, as I found leads on how to start a blog- their technicalities. And they were confusing because I was overburdened with technological alternatives. I was at sea about the utility of the software and their relevancy with the highly changing technological environment.
Today my thoughts are clearer, my knowledge is definitive and my experiences are more polished, which is why I can tell you how to start a blog. I have learned how to write a blog and garnered some special skills. In this blog, I am going to share my blogging experiences and technicalities to start a career in blogging.
WordPress Blog- The Platform I am using
I’d like to start from scratch. There are many platforms to start blogging, like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Blog Spot etc. and everybody has their own merits and demerits.
I preferred WordPress blog. Why? Because WordPress is the most popular blogging platform amongst the all. About 28% of the webs are powered by WordPress (as claimed by them). One vital advantage I find on WordPress blog is that they have the largest community of developers and coders dedicated to growing the platform and its related resources like themes, plug-ins etc. This makes their resources less costly or even free.
The installation of WordPress is not that tough. You simply have to download the zip file from wordpress.org and extract the same in your FTP server. If you are new to the blogging platform, it is advisable to take the assistance of software automated installation tools available with web hosting services. We followed the automation route. This ensures that your installation of WordPress in flawless and less clumsy.
Choosing the Theme
The very next job after installation is to enter your WordPress Dashboard with user id and password that you created while installation. You can reach this page by typing http://yourdomain/wp/wp-admin or http://yourdomain/wp-admin. Replace “yourdomain” with your site name.
On the Dashboard, you will find a menubar on the left-hand side. You go to Appearance>Themes. Here you have to choose the theme you want to run all over your site. A WordPress Theme is a collection of files that work together to produce a graphical interface with an underlying unifying design for a weblog. Every theme has its own features which can be customised at Appearance>Customize. After going to theme page click Add New. You can choose any suitable theme from the plethora of themes. Most of the themes in wordpress.org are free of cost. This is a vital advantage of WordPress.
Currently, we are using the Extra theme, which is a premium theme and has lot more features and advantages than a free theme. At the initial stages, you may start with free themes too.
When you settled with your theme, you need some plug-ins to make your blog efficient. Plug-ins are independent software that can run on any WordPress sites regardless of WordPress theme. Means, even if you change your theme your plug-ins will not be affected. Every WordPress site needs to include some basic as well as advanced features to make the blog efficient and lucrative. Here comes the necessity for a plug-in. But remember the usage of excess plug-ins in your site may slow it down and affects your search visibility and reading experience. So try to contain them as low as possible.
The Extra theme used by us comes with lots of basic as well as advanced features, containing us from using a limited number of plug-ins.
List of Plug-ins Used By Bihog.com
Here’s the list of basic plug-in we are using to run a successful blog:
- Yoast-SEO: This for your blog’s search engine optimisation. We are using Yoast SEO premium.
- Ad Inserter: Used for placing advertisements on the blog.
- Akismet Anti-spam: For blocking spam-comments.
- Bloom: Premium plug-in for capturing email subscription.
- Compress JPEG & PNG Images: To compress the size of the media files to speed-up their loading
- Jetpack by WordPress.com: It has multiple functions and usage.
- Monarch Plug-in: This is a premium plug-in, I use for placing social media buttons on the blogs for sharing.
- OneSignal Push Notification: Used for accumulating push notification subscriber and sending notifications on publishing and updating of blog posts.
- Revive Old Post: Useful plug-in for reposting your old posts (preferably evergreen posts) on facebook and twitter.
- Up-draftPlus: With this plug-in, you can take backup and restore of your site whenever required.
- W3 Total Cache: To create your blog’s cache files to improve site speed by optimising CSS and J-query files.
- Wp-sweep: WP-Sweep allows you to clean up unused, orphaned and duplicated data in your WordPress. It helps in a speedy loading of the site.
Widgets & Menus:
WordPress gives flexibility in choosing your side-bar elements. Some of the widgets are in-built and some are created by plug-ins. Apply them cautiously, as they make your site beautiful as well as slow. You may reach widgets at Appearance>Widgets
You can create Menus according to your convenience. Select your menu items as per your need. You can place your menu bar wherever suitable (option available with the theme).
For faster loading of the website, we use the Cloudflare CDN free version. It creates copies of your web pages and delivers it to its various servers located at different places of the world.
Your blog must include certain specific pages. They are an ‘About Us’ page to introduce your blog to the world, an ‘Advertisement’ page specifying your advertising rules and a ‘Contact Us’ page so that the world can connect you.
Hope I answered the basics of how to start a blog. Many people consider blogging in their first instances as a money-making instrument. I met a few people who think of making money the very first day they start their blogging. They are living in a fool’s paradise. Because if you go for money at the early stages of your blogging career, it will give you nothing but demoralisation. So, enjoy your blogging with delight, you will be greeted with bigger surprises.