Let’s create a blog!
Today I’m going to show you how to setup a professional blog. I’ve been blogging for years on EdgeofDavid.com. I’ve made thousands of dollars from blogging by simply helping people solve their problems.
This blog you’re on now receives about a thousand visitors a month and makes a a few hundred dollars.
It’s not my main source of income obviously nor did I ever intend to be a “pro blogger” but for a personal blog where I simply write about my life and travels it’s cool to have it as a part time income.
Click here to start your blog here then follow along with the video and tutorial below!
People usually assume I’m some wannabe pro blogger or YouTuber. The fact is that this site and my travel YouTube channel is really done just for fun as a creative outlet.
I’m the founder of WebsiteCreativePro.com – and a few other websites that make me money from affiliate marketing, advertising and product sales in addition to doing freelance.
I’ve helped thousands of people start their blogs and websites:
Blogging when combined with a traffic source and an email list is a powerful asset because when done right, it’s basically a walled garden that makes you money.
Let those YouTubers and Instagram models have there fun, their platform can die or be taken way from then at any time.
I’ll take blogging and an email list any day over social media because you can own it and control it.
That’s not to say you should not use social media to grow your blog or business. You should, but your business should not ONLY be Instagram. I know there are exceptions but generally speaking:
Social media is good for your ego, blogging is good for your bank account.
Start Your Blog
Ready to start blogging? You’re here, let’s do this.
To create a blog you’re going to need a few things:
- First you’ll need a domain name
- Second you’ll need a web host
- Third you’ll need to install WordPress
Step 1 – Get a Domain Name
A domain name is the web address for your blog. My domain name is edgeofdavid.com. You’re going to need to come up with a good, catchy domain name. This is up to you. Go for a domain name that is 1 to 3 words long. Shorter domains are generally better. Also go for something brandable.
Getting the domain right is a difficult thing for some, but it’s your brand and it’s going to be the name of a long term project you’ll be under taking, so take the time to come up with something you’re happy with.
When you’re ready to register your domain name, you have two options:
1 – Get the domain name through a web host
2 – Get a domain name at a domain name registrar
We’re going to do the second option. Many bloggers will recommend a particular web host and say that you can get a “free domain name”, but that is only partially true. It’s free for the first year, but every year after you’re paying an inflated price because the web host will tack on a small fee in order make a profit.
Instead we’re going to save money and use a domain name registrar and get a domain name at the lowest cost. My registrar of choice is Namecheap. You may be more familiar with another registrar called Godaddy, but Namecheap has better prices.
Please note, you have to renew your domain name every year, so the savings you get at Namecheap will really add up over time.
Namecheap is just cheaper. You want to pay $10.98 a year or $19.99 a year?
How To Register a Domain Name with Namecheap.
Step 1: Search for your domain name using the search box on the Namecheap.com homepage. Try to get a .com as it’s the most popular extension. Most .com’s are going to be $10.98. Sometimes you’ll find a premium domain name which will be sold at a much higher cost.
I used to own JuiceBoxCreative.com. It’s available now to register but it’s a premium domain going for hundreds of dollars.
Just find a good .com for your blog.
Step 2: When you find a domain that is available to register, simply add it to your cart, click the big red button that says “view cart” and proceed to checkout. You’ll need to create a Namecheap.com account in order to purchase. Don’t worry, the domain name will be saved in your cart.
Step 3: Once you’ve finished creating an account, it’s time to confirm your order and purchase:
On this page you can choose how many years you want to register the domain name for. I suggest 2 years.
If your blog sticks around, renew it for more than that. WhoisGuard is free with your domain name.
WhoisGuard protects your privacy. By law, all domains have to have public information on who owns the domain name, a contact email, and when the domain name was registered.
WhoisGuard keeps your information private and is free with Namecheap.
Step 2 – Get a Hosting Account
A web host is what makes your blog live for everyone to visit. Without a web host you don’t have a website.
I highly suggest you get your hosting account with SiteGround.com. They are one of only 3 web hosts recommended by WordPress (the most popular blogging platform in the world).
I’ve used both Blue Host (which is another recommended web host by WordPress) and Host Gator and I can say that SiteGround simply out performs both those web hosts in site speed, customer service and site up-time.
SiteGround is currently the web host I use and love. Unlike other bloggers who recommend one web host but then use another, I actually use SiteGround because they provide a great service. What I like most is how fast my websites load.
Load speed is critical for SEO because Google has publicly stated that your website needs to load under 3 seconds or a user is likely to leave your website before it finishes loading. What this means is that Google wants your website to load fast, so use a quality web host like SiteGround.
How To Get a Share Hosting Account With SiteGround
First, visit SiteGround and purchase a “web hosting” package.
You may notice an option for “WordPress hosting” but you can safely ignore this.
WordPress hosting is a managed solution where they don’t allow you to have access to CPanel, the backend of your website. CPanel is where you can check stats, create emails, and do all sorts of helpful things.
You want CPanel so go with the better and cheaper “web hosting” option:
With SiteGround, you have three options:
Go with the “GrowBig” option, Why? It allows you to have multiple domains first off, so you can have 2 or 3 websites on this one account. With StartUp, you can only have one website. GrowBig also offers premium features to help make your website fast.
The next step is to click the orange “get started” button. You’ll be on this page:
You can either register a domain name with SiteGround or use a domain you already registered.
If you’re properly following along with this tutorial you’ll want to click on I ALREADY HAVE A DOMAIN. Type in the domain name you registered over at Namecheap.
Once finished, simply input your payment information and that’s it! You got yourself a hosting account with a fantastic host, SiteGround.
Step 3 –Connect Your Domain Name To Your Hosting Account
Check your email, the web host will send you a welcome email with your account info. It should look like this:
These are your Nameservers for your account. All you need to do is copy and past these nameservers into your Namecheap account. What are nameservers exactly?
Nameservers map an IP address to a more logical and memorable name. Much the same way your phone maps names to numbers so when you want to call Mike, you just select “Mike” in your phone.
*Sidenote, if you bought your domain name through SiteGround you can skip this step and move on to step 4, setting up WordPress.
Go to your Namecheap account. You want to go into your domain name list and click on the manage button for the domain name who’s name servers you want to change.
Scroll down to where you see Nameservers.
Change it to custom DNS. Then copy and paste in your namerservers from SiteGround. Nameserver 1 goes on the top row and nameserver 2 goes on the bottom row.
When finished click the SMALL GREEN CHECK MARK to save. Done!
Step 4 – Install WordPress
Let’s install WordPress! WordPress is the most popular blogging software in the world and it’s completely free to use. To install WordPress takes a few minutes and a few clicks.
Go to your welcome email from SiteGround or just visit SiteGround and log into your hosting account. It will look something like this:
Click on “my accounts” then you’ll want to click on the red button that says Go To CPanel. Click “proceed” if a security pop up appears.
Find the auto installer for WordPress (it’s called WordPress) under “autoinstallers” and click on it.
You will be looking at a dashboard where you can install WordPress for your blog.
Simply click the small “install now” button. Here you can choose where to install WordPress.
First, make sure you have https:// selected.
You get a free SSL with your SiteGround account. You want SSL over non-SSL because search engines, namely Google give an SEO boost to websites that are secure.
Next you can choose the domain, it should be your primary domain (the one you got from Namecheap).
Last, you can choose the directory. Leave this blank as you want to install WordPress on your root domain as it is called.
Underneath this you’ll see more settings:
Here you can give a title to the homepage of your blog as a short site description.
You can change this latter in WordPress so no need to stress over this now.
This one is important.
For the admin account, use an admin account name that is memorable for you as it will be your user name to log into your website.
Same with the password – Secure, but something you could remember so you can log into your website when at a cafe.
To log into your website all you need to do is visit YourWebsite.com/wp-admin to log into the backend of your website.
5 – Install a WordPress Theme
Good work! You just setup a WordPress website. The first thing you’re going to want to do is design it so it looks cool. For that you’re going to need a WordPress theme.
For this you have two options, free and paid.
There are quite a few good free themes out there. I do suggest you get a premium theme as theme makers have an incentive to provide a top quality theme in a way free themes do not. But there are still some good free themes.
What FREE themes do I suggest for bloggers:
For free themes I like:
Kouki Theme (Free) – A minimalistic theme.
How To Install a Free WordPress theme
When you’re in your WordPress dashboard, go to: appearance >>> themes >>> add
Look through the themes to see if anything catches your eye (you can also sort by most popular).
To install click a theme and then click install. You can use the search function and put in the themes I recommend. For the Simply theme though, you’ll need to download it from Themify.me.
Once you install the theme, activate it and that’s it.
Premium themes cost money. Usually between $30 to $80 depending on the theme. It’s not a huge investment.
Premium themes have a lot more features and functions than a free theme. They tend to be coded better and you also get support for how to use the theme. Which is great if you’re just starting out.
As such, you’ll want to be using a premium theme after you out grow your free theme.
Here are my favorite premium themes:
Avada Theme – The best selling theme on Theme Forest for a reasons. It’s a theme that allows you to build any type of website you want without needing to know how to code
Ultra Theme – It’s an improved version of the Simple Theme. More features, more flexibility. If you like the Simple theme but want something that is a step up, the Ultra theme is an excellent choice.
DIVI – The Divi theme is another drag and drop theme that is outstanding in its ability to create any sort of website you want.
Sugar Blog – My favorite out of the box theme. It’s the theme I’m using for the blog you’re on now!
To install a PREMIUM theme:
First you need to purchase a premium theme. After you purchase a premium theme, you’ll be able to download the ZIP file to your computer. Next you’ll need to upload this ZIP file to your blog.
Go to appearance >>> themes >>> add new >>> upload theme
Choose the ZIP file you want to install (aka your theme) and then click “install now” to install the theme.
Leave it as a zip file after downloading it. You can only upload compressed ZIP files.
After you click “install now” your theme will be properly installed. Next you need to click “activate.” Take a look through the documentation your theme developer has created so you can start designing your website.
Step 6 – Make a Logo For Your Blog
You need a logo for your blog.
Logos should be small and simple. Avoid big complicated designs. Big logos make your website load slow, we want our blog to load as fast as possible.
Look at my logo – It’s just my head cut out and put next a cool font I found.
Look at the logo for IwillTeachYouToBeRich.com (a finance blog that gets millions of visitors a month):
It’s a tiny little baby logo 🙂 Kidding. Simple logos are best.
You can either hire someone to make your logo or make it yourself.
Do it yourself
What is Canva logos? It’s a free logo maker you can use right now to create something decent for your blog.
When you’re done creating your logo download it.
You may want to make the white part of your logo transparent. To do that you’re going to need an image editor like GIMP. Once you have GIMP installed upload your logo to it and click on the magic wand button. Then click on the white area. The white area will be highlighted.
Next go to edit >>> cut.
The white area should now be transparent.
Want to spend $20 to $40 and have someone just make you a decent logo like this one:
For simple logos like this, I suggest you use Fiverr. Fiverr is ideal for this sort of job as logos for bloggers are usually small and fairly simple. The logo above would cost around $40 to get as it would require a designer to spend a solid hour to create such a logo.
Step 7 – The Best URL structure for blogs
Time to setup your permalinks.
Permalinks are the URL structure of your blog post. By default, WordPress has your blogs permalinks set to YourWebsite.com/p=1234
This is a terrible URL because it tells you (and search engines) NOTHING about what the page is actually about.
Let’s change it to something more helpful and logical
How to change it:
Here’s how to change it:
Settings >>> permalinks
For blogs, the ideal URL structure is this:
It gives your blog a nice, SEO friendly structure. The second best would be to NOT have blog and ONLY have postname.
So example.com/blog/post name – Best
Example.com/post-name – Good
This blog uses the second only because I set it up years ago. Its a bad idea to switch permalinks on an established website as it’s one of the easiest ways to tank your SEO.
Conclusion – How To Start a Blog
Not too difficult right! Starting a blog is easy with SiteGround and this tutorial.
If you’ve been on the fence about starting your own blog, this guide (and videos) will help you set up your very own blog with ease in just an hour or so.
If you enjoyed this, consider sharing it. Also checkout my guide on how to plan, build, promote and profit from a website.