When you first start blogging, you need to know the facts from the start. It can get overwhelming when you're standing in front of the facts and you feel completely lost. What to do, how to do it, where to start?
When I first started blogging, I was completely overwhelmed. I didn't know where to start. I never thought that blogging required more than just writing, and I found out everything the hard way. I'm now giving you these tips from my personal experience because I could have definitely used this kind of help when I started.
1. Set Up Your Website Cheap
Setting up a WordPress website from their platform starts at $48 a year. It's not a lot of money, but if you are not sure it's going to work or your funds are limited, you should look for alternative options.
And it was the same for me when I started, and I ended up creating three blogs until I found my niche. What I did, was getting my hosting and domain from NameCheap. I got everything for about $20, and the smallest hosting plan allowed me to host three domains.
From there, I just installed the WordPress builder on my desired domain and I had all the functionality, for a smaller price, and I'm still very impressed with the NameCheap support team. If you encounter any problems, they will help you in a matter of minutes!
2. Upload Your Sitemap To The Google Search Console
This is where may people have a very hard time. You first need to create an account, it's usually linked to your Gmail account, and claim ownership of your website. You have many options for doing so, and with WordPress, you will only need to paste their code into your Yoast SEO Plug-In(I'll talk about it in the next point).
After Google understands that you are the domain owner, you will need to upload a sitemap to your website. This can be done by clicking on 'Sitemaps' and submitting your .xml.
Again, Yoast has a feature of generating your sitemap, so it's not going to be hard.
The purpose of this sitemap is for your content to be found and indexed by Google. It will crawl and discover all the pages, then it will help them get found in the searches.
3. Get Yourself An SEO Plug-In
As mentioned, a Plug-In like Yoast will help you. It can generate sitemaps, help you verify your website and it will help you optimize on-page. As I said, there's more to blogging than just writing, and SEO is not optional as long as you want to rank.
The only problem with the SEO plug-ins is that they are slightly outdated. They work wonders for beginners and will make sure you optimize, but in time, if you are willing to learn, you will see there are many other things you should consider about your blogs.
Keep in mind that it's still an A.I. and you need to personalize your blogs according to your personality and voice. I wrote here about the Google algorithm and what you should know.
4. Don't Get Too Many Plug-Ins
A few plug-ins are good. They are useful, they help you stay organized, but too many of them will slow down your website. No one stays more than three seconds for a website to load.
My website worked amazingly with three plug-ins. I had Yoast SEO, WP Forms and MonsterInsight. The website looked good, it was functional and loading incredibly fast.
5. Optimize Your Images
This is something I see EVERY DAY. Blogs with amazing image quality, but incredibly long loading times. Of course, I don't stay around to see more if the website is not loading. My recommendation is that you compress your images, and they shouldn't be larger than 200kb.
I personally use Photoshop, because it's allowing me to edit, change the size, compress and export in the format I need. It works wonders for me and my clients. Of course, there are many other platforms and software you can use, so you'll need to do some research.
6. Choose A Customizable Theme
And I can't stress this enough! You need to be able to customize every aspect of your website. Your colors, your headers, and footers, the page width, EVERYTHING! And you need it to have a responsive design for phones and tablets!!!
Most themes don't offer a lot of customizable elements, so before you choose it, check the specs and see what you can do.
It's ok to change your theme a few times, especially if you're just beginning, but once you're set for launching, your mind should be made.
7. Upload A Favicon
A favicon is that little image that shows in the browser next to your website name. In order to give your blog an identity, you need to choose one for yourself. The best option is usually your logo.
I consider it a must, and if you don't have one, you can easily find a free logo creator online, such as the NameCheap Logo Maker and create a unique favicon for your blog. If you want more professional, you can search for a freelancer on UpWork or Fiverr.
8. Customize Your Permalinks
The permalinks appear after your domain, and link to your blogs. They are incredibly important for SEO, and the whole aesthetic will look much better with a custom permalink.
My recommendation is that you make it simple. From 'Settings', you can go to 'Permalinks' and choose 'Post Names'.
Your URL will look something like this:
It's simple and makes everything look professional.
Creating your blog doesn't have to be hard, but you need to follow some guidelines in order to get there. If you have any more questions, you can always comment here, or find me on Instagram, where I constantly post important blogging tips!