When starting a WordPress blog, here’s everything I usually do (and use)

Want to know everything I do when starting a WordPress blog? In this Niabusiness post I am going to take you through the process I usually go through before starting a blog. I will show you the things I do – help you through the process of going from having no blog of your own to launching your brand new blog on the web.What I do when starting a new WordPress blog: Here's everything I usually do (and use)

Note that this post is to help you not to miss on any of the important steps necessary if you want to launch your blog with no hitches.

If you want to know more about some of the things I mention in the article, click on the various links sprinkled all over the article. Some will take you to more in-depth WordPress guides within Niabusiness.com. Some will take you to external resources.

 Note: This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on something I recommend and purchase it, I will receive a commission for the sale – at no extra cost to you. 

Just use this post to guide you through the process of creating a new blog. You can use it to create your own checklist – and tick off items on your list the moment you complete them.

If you just want the tutorial where I go about how to install WordPress, click or tap on the following links:

  • How to install WordPress on the root of the domain
  • How to install WordPress on a subdirectory
  • How to install WordPress on a subdomain

Also give these a read:

  1- Themes: GeneratePress (PRO) | Astra (PRO) | Hestia (PRO) | Kadence (PRO) | OceanWP (PRO) | Neve (PRO) | Genesis (PRO). Page builders: Elementor (PRO) | Gutenberg Blocks (PRO) | Beaver Builder (PRO). Plugins: Yoast SEO (PRO) | Rank Math (PRO) | All in One SEO (PRO) | WPForms (PRO) | WP Rocket (PRO) | MonsterInsights (PRO) | OptinMonster (PRO) | Bloom (PRO) | Advanced Ads (PRO). All Plugins You Can Buy | All Themes You Can Buy
  • Where should I install WordPress? Root, subdirectory or subdomain
  • How to install WordPress plugins
  • How to install WordPress themes

The bare minimum you need to execute on what I am about to share

An idea of what you want your blog to be about (the kind of content you want to publish / the audience you want to attract / what you want to give them / what you want them to do) and the name you are going to give your blog – the domain name (mine is Niabusiness – with a category targeting people who use WordPress site to publish content on the internet). More below.

Money to register a domain name. So around $8 to 10 US Dollars if you are thinking of registering a dot com domain (like mine Niabusiness.com) for at least a year. More details below.

Money to pay for a shared hosting plan. So, around $20 to 144 Dollars a year of you want to pay for web hosting for the whole year. More details below.

Knowing what I want my blog to be about

How do I go about this? Usually I just take a pen and a piece of paper and list topics:

  1. that could be turned into a book if I were just a traditional author that doesn’t blog
  2. relate to popular items on sale on classifieds websites and online shopping sites
  3. that I would like to share my thoughts in evergreen niches such as personal finance / money, business / investing, love / dating / relationships / marriage, jobs / career / side hustles and parenting
  4. based on what I read on other blogs, newspapers, magazines, books, ads or ebooks
  5. surrounding discussions I participate in on social media, online forums or Q&A sites such as Quora, Stack Exchange or Reddit
  6. surrounding things I want to know more about
  7. in sectors / markets where I want to hopefully create a service or product one day
  8. related to the items in my house – items I have bought
  9. related to things I see out there in the real world whenever I go for a walk (in town, city or rural areas)
  10. related to things I see on the news
  11. related to things I see in movies, TV series
  12. related to things I struggle with personally or things I know others struggle with

Once the step above is complete, I take one topic and just think of things people would want to know on the topic. So, I list questions someone would want answers for on the topic. I come up with article titles that can be easily turned into tutorials. I usually target at least 25 – 50 good blog post ideas.

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At this point I also start to think about products and services that I can write about that are related to the topic. These usually come in handy if later on am recommending products / services necessary for a reader to complete various processes I detail in my tutorials.

I also go on Google Search, YouTube Search, Facebook Search, Pinterest Search, Quora Search and Amazon.com and type the topic / main keyword / search term in their search fields and hit Enter to see what content already exist around the topic.

  2- Domain registration: Namesilo | Namecheap. Web hosting: HostGator | WP Engine | Cloudways | Bluehost | DreamHost. Email marketing: Mailerlite | Brevo | Mailpoet | ActiveCampaign. | More Domain Registrars | More Web Hosting Companies

This process also helps me discover / know blogs already on the internet that will be similar to mine. I get to see some of the popular content on the niche / topic I want to write about – and save a file on my laptop or smartphone containing a list of said posts.

Once I have tens of ideas for blog posts, I check with various keyword tools to find even more ideas.

So I just pop in a few search terms in some free keyword tools to find even more ideas I can create content around.

I usually just rely on tools such as:

  1. Google Keyword Planner
  2. UberSuggest
  3. Keywordshitter (discovered this recently. It is so good. Give it a try even if you have an established blog already)
  4. Small SEO Tools Keyword Suggestions Tool

But remember you can also give other paid tools like Ahrefs, Semrush, KWFinder, Long Tail Pro a try. I once used Ahrefs to do bulk keyword research and liked it very much.

Once I have a list of ideas to write blog posts on I usually jump to the next step if I haven’t yet figured out what to name my new WordPress blog.

Coming up with a domain name for my WordPress blog and registering it

To come with a domain name for my blog, I usually just play with words to see what I like, what I think makes sense or what captures what my blog is about in the best possible way without stuffing the domain name with too many keywords.

Sometimes I just go for something that is memorable even if it makes no sense… even if someone can’t tell what my blog is about by just looking at the domain name.

When choosing a domain, you will probably end up registering:

An exact match domain like BestDogcollars.com, BestPowerbanks.com or CheapestWebHosting.com. Domains like these usually convey immediately what your site is about. They are specific about the topic you cover on your blog.

A partial match domain. These domains usually have just one keyword or two in the domain. For example WebHostingHub.com, ThemeForest.net, FitSmallBusiness.com or Problogger.com.

Or a brandable domain. Still these can have a keyword they are targeting in the domain yet still be considered strong brands. You see this a lot even in the WordPress space with:

  • Web hosting companies. For example HostGator or Bluehost.
  • Domain registrars. For example Namesilo or Namecheap.

More examples of brandable domains: Greatist.com, BuzzFeed.com, Mashable.com, Etsy.com, HubSpot.com or Buffer.com.

Look at your web browser history if you want more ideas before you go through with the domain registration process. Look at the names of the sites you often visit for some inspiration. It doesn’t matter if they are blogs or not.

Also remember that there are tools online that can help you come up with domain name suggestions for free. All you have to is key in a few words, select some combinations made available by whichever tool you end up using then see what suggestions they come up with that can actually be turned into a domain name for your blog.

Find them on Google, Bing or Duckduckgo search engines by typing domain name suggestion tools. Click on the various search results to try two or three tools.

Should you register a domain name with your first and last name (for example JohnDoe.com / JaneDoe.com / MichaelHyatt.com / MelRobbins.com / BrianTracy.com / Yaro.blog / Abraham.com / SethGodin.com / AmylynnAndrews.com) if you are starting a blog?

If it is a personal blog, yes. If it is a blog where you just want to delve on a specific topic and later turn the blog into a thriving online business (monetized with ads, affiliate links, ebook sales, online course sales, freelance services or other products) maybe it’s a good idea not to use your names in the domain.

Once you have settled on a name to register for your blog go to a domain registrar like Namesilo or Namecheap and register your blog’s domain name.

If you like to use one provider for both domain registration and hosting you can just go directly to the websites of companies such as HostGator.com, Bluehost.com or Interserver.com – and get your domain name registered with them.

For dot com domains I like using Namesilo. You can also register other domain name extensions with them such as .co, .org, .net, .blog among others. See the list of all the extensions on their site here.

Paying for web hosting for my WordPress blog and installing WordPress

Go for a web hosting company that is known globally for it’s services such as HostGator, Bluehost, Cloudways, Squidix, Dreamhost, TMDHosting, In Motion Hosting, InterServer, WebHostingHub, Media Temple, WP Engine, Kinsta, WPXHosting, A2Hosting, Hostinger, JustHost, Digital Ocean, Amazon Web Services, LiquidWeb, Rackspace, Flywheel, WPMU DEV, iPage, GreenGeeks, Fatcow or HostMonster, ResellerClub, NameHero, Hostwinds, Hostpapa, Bigscoots, Black Chicken, Fasthosts or IONOS.

Or go for a less known hosting company popular in your country. I use HostPinnacle for this blog.

Or host your blog with companies that when they first begun were know mostly for the ease of service they gave to new clients looking to register domain names. So, companies like Namesilo, Namecheap maybe GoDaddy too.

In the list above, I have used HostGator and InterServer. I like HostGator Baby plan.

Know that:

It is okay to start your blog with a shared hosting plan – any Starter hosting plan by Bluehost, HostPinnacle or HostGator such as Hatchling or Baby plan will do.
You can start with one web hosting company and switch to another one later. So, don’t waste a lot of time going through this process. Once you have done research and found a hosting company you like, even if it is not one mentioned in this post, just go with them. Pay monthly or yearly.
It is better to pay hosting for the whole year, so that once your blog is set up, WordPress is installed (and themes and plugins configured), you can just focus on writing new articles, publishing them on your blog and promoting them.
You can get a Bluehost or HostGator hosting plan for less than $145 annually. Or get InterServer hosting for around $60 a year. Or get a HostPinnacle Starter hosting plan for about $20 a year.

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For more about pricing, read:

  • Buy HostGator shared hosting for WordPress (price review)
  • Buy Bluehost shared hosting for WordPress (price review)
  • Buy Cloudways shared hosting for WordPress (price review)
  • Buy Interserver shared hosting for WordPress (price review)
  • Buy HostPinnacle shared hosting for WordPress (price review)

Changing nameservers: pointing my domain name to the web hosting server from the provider I use

This only applies whenever you register a domain and pay for hosting from two different companies.

When I register a domain name with Namesilo and pay for hosting on HostGator for example, I will wait for the email from HostGator with my nameserver details.

Once I get it, I log in my Namesilo account, select the specific domain I want to change its nameservers from the dashboard, click change nameserver and then just copy paste the nameservers in the email sent to me by HostGator before saving the changes. The email usually contains your cPanel username and password as well.

After doing this, I just wait for a minimum 30 minutes to at most 24 hours (the time it usually take for domain propagation as per most emails from web hosting companies).

After say one hour, I log into my cPanel dashboard and start working on building my blog (installing SSL, installing WordPress and creating an email with the domain name in it).

Installing free SSL certificate to my WordPress blog

Before installing WordPress I install a free SSL on my domain using the free Let’s Encrypt SSL option in cPanel. I click on the option, and click Issue next to the domain I want to create a new SSL for. It’s a process that just takes a few seconds.

More details here: How to install SSL for WordPress blog.

Do note that:

  • having an SSL certificate installed on your blog helps with trust in the eyes of your visitors and search engines as well
  • securing communication between your blog and visitors devices using Let’s Encrypt SSL is free. Take advantage of it
  • you can pay for an SSL if you want. Check on your hosting company’s website for more details (for the types of certificates they sell and how much each cost per year)
  • for some hosts, like HostGator (and this is not in every case) require new customers to contact support (via chat) to get help adding an SSL certificate to their domain names. It is still free. This is only done in cPanel accounts that don’t have the Let’s Encrypt SSL option.

Creating an email for my WordPress blog

I like to install WordPress on my domain name when I already have a new email created for my blog.

Sometimes I do this after creating my blog. But I find it just saves time to quickly create a new email that I will use as my admin email / use with my blog’s contact forms via cPanel > Email Accounts before I install WordPress.

For more on how I do this, check this article.

Installing WordPress themes and WordPress plugins to my newly created blog and configuring them

I do this via cPanel > Softaculous installer.

Once am on Softaculous, I choose WordPress, click on Install, select where I want to install WordPress (usually on the root and not a subfolder – for example having WordPress installed on Niabusiness.com and not Niabusiness.com/blog).

I enter the name for the blog, a username, password, admin email address and click install.

More details here: How to Install WordPress.

Installing WordPress plugins

I use the ones listed in my article Best free WordPress plugins to install on a blog.

Here are the main ones I think about when starting a blog:

  • All in One SEO
  • Contact Form 7
  • Broken Link Checker
  • Jetpack
  • IThemes Security
  • W3 Total Cache
  • Classic Editor

Do you need all these plugins installed when you start? No. You can start with just an SEO plugin to help with on-page search engine optimization and verification purposes (Search Console, Bing Webmaster, Google Analytics etc.) such as Yoast SEO or All in One SEO.

Do you need to install the Classic Editor or Disable Gutenberg plugins? No. If you are okay adding content to WordPress using the Gutenberg blocks editor just do it that way.

If you think using the Gutenberg editor slows the process of publishing a bit or if you aren’t still familiar with it, install and activate the Classic Editor or Disable Gutenberg plugins. You can deactivate them later on.

I also install Classic Widgets plugin for some of my blogs since the release of WordPress 5.8.

Installing WordPress themes

I can just rely on WordPress default themes when am just starting and within days switch to another theme after testing it on the WordPress installation on my laptop.

The default themes are

  • Twenty Twenty-Three (activated)
  • Twenty Twenty-Two
  • Twenty Twenty-One
  • Twenty Twenty
  • Twenty Nineteen

Which WordPress themes can you use right out of gate that are free, light and look great?

  • Generatepress
  • Astra
  • Kadence
  • SinatraWP

Use the search function inside WordPress dashboard (WordPress admin > Themes > Add New) to find more free good looking, modern themes that load up fast.

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Any ideas for great WordPress themes to buy for your blog?

  1. Generatepress Pro
  2. Kadence
  3. Astra
  4. Newsblock
  5. Avada
  6. OceanWP
  7. Kleo
  8. Sydney pro
  9. Acabado
  10. Trellis
  11. Blocksy

For more great themes, view and buy the bestsellers on marketplaces such as:

  1. ThemeForest
  2. Elegant Themes
  3. Thrive Themes
  4. Studiopress
  5. Mythemeshop
  6. aThemes
  7. Template Monster

For page builders, you can get yourself plugins such as Elementor, Beaver Builder, Thrive Architect / Visual Editor, Divi, Canvas among others.

Publishing the main pages to the WordPress blog I create

I type the content for these pages on MS Word, WPS Office or Notepad++, edit them and then just copy and paste the content to the WordPress editor before clicking Publish.

The main pages I create include the:

I usually add other pages later down the road.

Tip: you can also install WordPress on your laptop or desktop computer using XAMPP, edit your pages and posts on the installation on your laptop, schedule them to publish in an hour or two, export the XML file and then upload it on your main blog.

Publishing blog posts to my new WordPress blog

I usually write these at my desk on a laptop, wait a few hours, edit them then publish them on my blog.

Once I type a blog post in Microsoft Word, Notepad++ or WPS Office I just copy paste it to the WordPress editor and click on the Publish button.

Usually I aim to have 1 or 2 blog posts published on the new blog on the day I start it.

Note: Notepad++ is a free software you can use on Windows 10. I highly recommend you download and install it on your computer.

WPS Office is a free Android App on Google Play Store – that I highly recommend for typing blog posts on your smartphone. Download it.

I usually type posts on the app as Memos so that once I send them from my smartphone to the laptop via Bluetooth / USB cable, I can just right click on a file to edit a post on Notepad++ installed on my laptop.

Submitting my WordPress blog to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster

To help with crawling and indexing of content on my new WordPress blog, I will submit my blog to Google Search Console (GSC) and later Bing Webmaster. I only do this when I have a couple of blog posts published.

On Google Search Console:

I use the Add Property feature to add the blog to GSC. I grab the verification code and add it to my blog (using All in One SEO plugin) then click on verify on GSC. You can use other plugins such as Yoast SEO, Jetpack or WP Webmaster to add the verification code to your blog.

I use the sitemaps section to add the sitemap for my blog to help Google crawl my blog better. I just type in sitemap.xml and click on the Submit button.

I use the URL inspection tool to request indexing for certain URLs on my blog (blog posts mainly) to expedite things a little bit. Do note that this is not necessary because eventually Google will find the content on your blog and index it.

Adding Google Analytics code to my WordPress blog or activating Jetpack Site Stats

To gauge how my content is performing, I usually add my blog to Google Analytics dashboard, copy the code and paste it on my blog.

I also enable Jetpack Site Stats as an alternative analytics tool.

Sometimes I use either one of these two.

With these tools I can:

  • check my top performing pages (blog posts and pages bringing in the most traffic)
  • check the countries people visiting my blog come from
  • check some of the links visitors click on my blog
  • check traffic sources / referrers (from search engines, social networking sites and other websites / blogs)
  • check the time people spend on various pages on my site

Creating social media accounts for my WordPress blog and verifying the blog with websites such as Pinterest

So, with the email address I create for my blog, I can create social media accounts for my blog on platforms such as Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram.

For Facebook pages I use my existing Facebook account. For a YouTube channel I will just use my existing Gmail address.

Creating a lead magnet to get email subscribers using a WordPress lead generation plugin

This can be a small ebook or guide in PDF format that I use as an incentive on my email optin forms to get my blog visitors to sign up to my email list.

Sometimes it can be a free email course delivered over the course of three days to one week.

For inspiration I usually just do my keyword research and then narrow in on a keyword that I can write about 2000 – 5000 words on. That then becomes the incentive I use to get people to subscribe to my mailing list.

Connecting my WordPress opt-in plugin to an email marketing service provider

I integrate for example a plugin such as MailMunch (which I use to collect email subscribers from sign up optin / forms I place in various locations on my blog) with an email marketing software such as MailerLite, GetResponse, Sendinblue or Mailchimp.

I can then use the email marketing providers to send email campaigns, deliver my lead magnets and to send email sequences (autoreponder series) such as a free email course to subscribers.

Submitting links to some of my articles on various platforms online

So, I share my content:

On Facebook groups I have joined that allow bloggers to share their content. Some are general, some are niche-specific some are only available to bloggers in specific countries.

i also share my content through some of the answers I leave on Quora – the question and answer site.

Setting Jetpack to autoshare new posts I publish to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

I enable and use the sharing feature on Jetpack to have my posts shared to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn whenever I click the Publish button.

This saves me a lot of time sharing to individual platforms one at a time every time I publish a new blog post.

Going back to my list of articles, writing more

Once I have done all the above, I just get back to writing more posts, publishing them, scheduling some and interlinking the posts whenever it makes sense to do so.

Thinking of starting your own blog soon? Read the following:

Niabusiness‘s guide to installing WordPress
How to register a domain name with Namesilo
How to buy web hosting from HostGator, Bluehost and HostPinnacle.
How to change your nameservers if you use two different companies for your domain and hosting.

Or scroll up to check some of the other articles I have linked to in this post.

Have something you would like to share with me? Share it in the comments section below. It could be a question, a suggestion or a tip that others reading this post could find useful when starting their own WordPress blogs. To more success.

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