Updated from March 22, 2020 to August 01, 2022
This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase I will receive a commission. Disclosure
Have You Decided to start a blog?
Discovering the main elements every business website needs to get up and running is not easy.
- finding reliable web hosting
- /design / to accepting sales
- building an audience as you add them to your email list.
This I wish I had someone helping me when I started blogging over 10 yrs ago now. I just learned on my own through trial and error.
This is why I am writing this article, to help YOU with how to start a blog or update your website.
You probably have seen many beautiful blogs online and wondered if you could create something like them?
- Yes you can. You just have to learn HOW to do it.
When it comes to creating a website these days, you need to create a conversion focused website as well as an attractive individual site.
Your conversion rate is the percentage of visitors to your website that complete a desired goal ( conversion) out of the total number of visitors. A high conversion rate is indicative of successful marketing and web design: It means people want what you’re offering, and they’re easily able to get it from you!
- This is so much more important than just a pretty site.
Your website needs to take your visitors on a quick journey, from a simple intro to becoming a buyer. Also to show that you are the best person to help them solve their problems with your offers.
I have included a video on how to create a converting type of site & how to do this, step by step.
Blogs are frequently updated using articles, but a website contains features such as static pages that focus on certain types of content. Such as a home page, about page, business services page etc.
Blogs are more socially active with shares and comments. A website may also have a blog section with very good content that is updated frequently on a regular basis. Like this website you are now reading on my blog page.
What is the First Thing You Should Know About Blogging?
Something that I found very confusing when I started looking at blogging over 10 years ago.
I looked at the types of platforms available. I started a site on Blogger, with no comments and no engagement at all. This is a free site, there are many of them.
You do not own this site, Google owns Blogger. For more info on blogs WordPress, you can read my article I wrote on this subject.
My conclusion was that with 72 million active users using WordPress today, (more as time goes by) so I’d say that it is the best choice.
It is extremely customizable with hundreds of free themes plugins which add functionality, such as contact and subscribe boxes, even spam blockers for improving the performance of your blog.
More than any other type of platform, especially for people new to blogging WordPress is the way to go from the start. All professionals use WordPress for their sites.
Did You Know That There Are Two Types of WordPress Platforms?
It took me a while to sort this one out. If I can explain it simply for you. WordPress is open source, meaning that lots of people are working on this platform. It is free to download. However, it’s the two types that get new people mix up.
WordPress.com (Note the .com) is similar to the free sites I have mentioned. WordPress owns this platform so you can not monetize it for a business.
You are not allowed to advertise on most free blog platforms, which makes it hard to make money from blogging.
WordPress.org (Note the .org) Needs a self-hosted platform. It is free and includes themes, layouts, and plug-ins. Many other platforms do not provide this.
You need a web hosting account with (various types such as: HostGator, GoDaddy, BlueHost, ) I have tried all of these and I prefer…SiteGround for starting out. See why….
A Self-hosted Platform (that is hosted by SiteGround) Runs a Blog on Your own Domain.
My domain is: marketingofflineonline.net as well as kathrynruthmaclean.net
These are very customizable WordPress sites, with hundreds of free themes and plugins which add functionality. Your site has a domain name. Like your address online. I purchased my domain from hostgator.com Your domain is your own unique address of your blog on the Internet. (I had my domain sent to my present host)
Domains: Some hosting companies offer domain registration services. Some people keep their domain name with a domain registrar company, separate from the hosting account. Personal choice really.
Your domain will always be accessible, even if you change hosting companies.
Some may wonder if you should just opt for Wix or Blogspot (or something similar that’s free). You should always self-host and own your own blog.
By that, I mean owning your own servers and URL. Do not rely on other people. You don’t want your blog to disappear overnight. Own your personal assets.
(Update: I’ve since edited this post to recommend SiteGround. ( 5th year) I previously used Hostgator, but as the years went by, support deteriorated, and I cannot in my best conscience recommend anything owned by EIG (Hostgator, Bluehost )
I used Hostgator (owned by the same company that owns Bluehost) for 3 years, but never was happy with either! The support I found very frustrating on both of them. So when I could, I switched. I am So Glad I did!!
It normally costs $4 to $8 per month for a web space (hosting account), depending on the company you choose, and $12 to $15 per year for the name (domain).
The functionality and performance of your blog will depend on your hosting provider. When you have decide on a web hosting account. I recommend SiteGround ) my Affiliate link.
They help you to install the blogging software and set up a blog. Easy to do, but for someone new to all of this, SiteGround has the best support staff. I even had a phone call to see if needed help. Thanks, but no I did not. Sometimes it can take a day or so for the site to resolve to the correct address, ( the simplest way to put it.)
You Have Your New Site Up!
Your hosting company will send you an email with all the details for your new site. Be sure to copy all this information and keep it in a safe place. You will need to refer to it. I use a little notebook. Good tip!
When you log in for the first time you will see your dashboard or your admin panel. You log in with your username and your password ( from the email from your hosting company ).
You can also log into your blog by typing in the search bar www.yourblog.com/wp-admin/ using your username and your password.
Setting Up Your Site
- Get hosting
- Get a domain name
- Install WordPress
- Write your first post
- Install a theme
The first thing I was told to do was the change my permalinks.
To change your links go to settings:
Permalinks and use the following settings
USE _ %post name%
Changing your blog’s layout and design is a simple install of a new theme.
This is one of the most exciting aspects. This is where you are able to upload a whole new theme for your site.
You may see one to two themes there, but you can add a new ( theme look ) by changing the theme. There are over 2,000 professionally designed and customized free themes.
I use plugins from Thrive Themes added to my original theme. They update these plugins a lot. Excellent company. See more on my site.
Beautiful designs, powerful features, and the freedom to build anything you want. WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time.
There are several ways to get WordPress. The easiest is through a hosting provider, but sometimes tech-savvy folks prefer to download and install it themselves.
I purchased Thrive Suite Membership recently. Once saved it will automatically apply across your theme templates and designs using Thrive Themes Builder Setup Wizard to get your new theme designed fast: With such features as:
Connect Your Email Marketing Service
Typically done with an email marketing tool…
Shows how to connect your email marketing tool of choice
to the Thrive Themes Dashboard so it can be used with
different Thrive Themes/Suite products.
Make some overall branding design choices for your site.
Our Smart Colour Technology makes changes one-step easy!
Also in the tutorial – wizard – setting up a dark/light
logo design as well as a favicon design.
See the Website from Scratch tutorial video
Quickly build a WordPress site that will turn heads AND converts using nothing but Thrive Architect + Thrive Builder tools.
UPDATE Now Thrive Suite.
Watch the video to see how you can create a professional
looking, conversion focused WordPress website for coaches
Shapeshift is Included in Thrive Builder
This is the first conversion focused, multi-purpose
theme built with and for Thrive Theme Builder. As
a member you get exclusive access to this theme as well
as the Thrive Theme Builder product.
“This is not a highly produced video but just me and my webcam because I wanted to get this into your hands as quickly as possible.”- Hanna Thrive Themes
Video below -How the finished site looks & Step-by-step
Inside your site or the back office
Themes are found under Appearance on the left sidebar. Across the top of the page, you also see Popular/ Latest Favorites/ and if you click on Feature Filter /you can choose the features that you would like, such as two columns, right sidebar, and subject -blog.
Mouse over a theme and get a details & Preview. If you like it you simply click install. Once your theme is installed just click Activate.
You can purchase a paid theme that has more options to it such as my site which is a Studio Press Theme created on a Genesis framework. This was my previous theme before purchasing Thrive Themes Membership.
– MOCHA child theme which I purchased and installed much the same way as a free site except the location to upload the theme would be online at the Studio Press site.
So with your new theme installed ( you just have to upload it – say yes to installing, click activate,) You can change your theme any time you like with all of your content intact.
I simply added Thrive Themes/Suite to do more with my site. Why it now looks so different from the original Mocha theme. There are millions of changes I can do with Thrive Themes.
Your First Post These are general popular page types:
- Welcome or home page
- About me page
- Blog page
- Contact page
These static pages will be accessible from tabs on the top of the site, (usually sometimes down the side of the page,) depending on your theme.
To install a page Click on Pages in the left sidebar. To install a page Click on Pages in the left sidebar. A pop-up box appears Add New – Enter a title ( you can always change it)
Put your mouse on the big window and click it. Start typing your first post. You can save your post as a draft or publish your content live. Also, you can schedule the post to be published later or make the post private for certain people to see it with a password.
Posts are generally set up under the blog page and go from new posts with older ones under them. Works the same as pages to set up basically. For more on the purpose of your blog post.
Under Appearance, you will find Menus
These control your pages. You set up your pages there. You will see the menu structure, drag and drop pages, very easy to do. Remember to save.
To add functionality to your site upload plugins.
Additional features such as:
- contact forms
- spam blockers
- SEO (search engine optimization) friendly
- newsletter sign-up forms
Just move your mouse over “Plugins” in the sidebar and click “Add New”
There are thousands of plugins. Sometimes they do not play nicely together and then you have a problem that your hosting support will have to help you with. Been there done that.
My last count was 14 plugins that all are ok and that give me a range of things from a broken link checker, to comment mail, Google Analytics, Social Share buttons and backups, wp-spam shield and Yoast SEO for writing articles.
One Plugin for Comments on Your Blog
( Yes you do need comments! )
When people come and visit your blog they will leave a comment. You will want to read and reply to these nice people. You just comment and it is sent back to them.
Generally, these are a delight to read, unless you get spam. These are sometimes strange comments like my cousin said to visit you blah blah they just don’t seem right, and generally you get a ton of them all at a time or over a long period of time. You need to have a plugin to prevent this type of spam believe me I know!!
You can see which comments WordPress has labeled as spam. Delete which comments you don’t want. One of the best spam blockers I have found is Wp-SpamaShield. Does an excellent job. Find it in your plugins back office.
My autoresponder Mailer Lite to add subscribers You can start for free. Great support! Supported through Thrive Themes as well. Used for my New Site. KathrynRuthMaclean.
I upgraded to Active Campaign for my MarketingOfflineOnline site. ( my affiliate link ) for my courses that I will house there.
When I started out blogging, I had no idea what I was doing. I purchased a very expensive website with all the basics and learned by trial and error.
On my journey of over 10 years online I have met many groups of marketers and bloggers that have been very helpful along the way.
Build your own website ASAP. I have a FREE course coming soon.
I hope that you feel more comfortable starting a blog now, and you are welcome to visit Marketing Offline Online site as well as my NEW site KathrynRuthMaclean for more info.
Sign up on my Contact page for a 20 min chat for Free. I have extra time on Thursdays, but you will need to book a time on the contact page.
To your business success!
New Site: kathrynruthmaclean.net
“PS – if you enjoyed this post, please comment. Thanks”