Starting a Blog the Easy Way

Updated from March 12, 2019

Decided to start a blog? Great!

I wish that I had someone  helping me
when I started blogging. This is why I
am writing this article, to help you
with how to start a blog or update
your website.
*As of this update more people will be interested in starting a website & working online. I am on self imposted isolation because of the COVID-19 virus so  *I have extra time to help people out.
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. This is so much more important than just a pretty site. Why?

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. This is as simply as I can explain it. Doing so is not.

I am including 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 pages, 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 the blog page.

STARTING A BLOG THE EASY WAY

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, 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.

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 mixed up.

WordPress.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 Needs a self-hosted platform. It is free and includes themes, layouts, and
add-ons. Many other platforms do not provide all of this.

You need a web hosting account (various types such as HostGator, GoDaddy, BlueHost, SiteGround.) I have tried each of these.

A Self-hosted Platform (that is hosted by SiteGround) Runs a Blog on Your own Domain.

My domain is:  marketingofflineonline.net 

This is very customizable WordPress site, with hundreds of free themes plugins which add functionality. Your site has a domain name. Like your address online. I purchased my domain from namecheap.com Your domain is your own unique address of your blog on the Internet.

Domains  Some hosting companies offer domain registration services. Some people keep their domain name with the domain registrar company, separate from the hosting account, for a good reason.

Your domain should be purchased from a company that specializes in domains only. Makes sense, that is their only business. Your domain will always be accessible, even if you change hosting companies. Kind of all your eggs in one basket idea. I don’t have to go back to a hosting company I have left to change my domain. Just much simpler to use a domain company.

Hosting Accounts

Some of you 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.  ( resigned up  for 4th year) I was previously using Hostgator, but as the years went by, support deteriorated, and I cannot by 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. So Glad I did!!

Web Hosting

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 decided on a web hosting account.  I recommend SiteGround ) 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, is 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 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
http://marketingofflineonline.net/ sample-post

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. For more premium types of you can see many sites such as the one I have on my site:  Themes page. Beautiful sites with good prices.

I purchased Thrive Themes who recently added Thrive Theme Builder . 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 such as
Shows how to connect your email marketing tool of choice
to the Thrive Themes Dashboard so it can be used with
different Thrive Themes products.

Branding Setup
Make some overall branding design choices for your site.
Our Smart Colour Technology makes changes one-step easy.
Also in the tutorial includes setting up a dark/light
logo design as well as a favicon design ( small icon that
appears in browser tabs)

See the Website from Scratch tutorial video to
help you quickly build a WordPress site that will turn
heads AND converts using nothing but Thrive Architect +
Thrive Builder tools.

As of March 2nd, 2020 Thrive Theme Builder is available
exclusively to Thrive Theme Members
Watch the video to see how you can create a professional
looking, conversion focused WordPress website for coaches.

Shapeshift
Includes 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.

Thrive Themes Website Builder

 

“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

2 Videos below  -How the finished site looks & Step-by-step

How to Build a Conversion Focused Website – Step-by-Step

Thrive Themes to Join Link 

 

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.

Mocha Child Theme Studio Press

You can later 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

– 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 to do more with my site. Why it now looks so different from the original Mocha theme.

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.

Url example (http://marketingofflineonline.com/themes) at the top is what you can save with Ctrl C move to where you want it to appear and hit Crtl V.

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.

Plugins

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.

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.

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  ( my affiliate link ) You can start for free. Great support! Supported through Thrive Themes as well.

Conclusion

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.

Build your own website or help friends and family that need a new site ASAP. Stay Home, Wash Your Hands and Stay  Safe.

I hope that you feel more comfortable starting a blog now, and you are welcome to visit Marketing Offline Online for more info and you can sign up on my Contact page for a 20 min chat for Free.I have extra time but you will need to book a time on the contact page.

To your blogging success!

Kathryn,

About Kathryn Maclean-Racicot  http://www.facebook.com/marketingofflineonline
A Social Media Campaign specialist using Facebook, Twitter Pinterest & Instagram

“PS – if you enjoyed this post, please comment ( under the title) Thanks”

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. It’s not a bad idea to start a blog on blogger if newbie will only focus on blogging, but if you plan for a long term Business, WordPress is the best choice because WordPress is best use for marketing and collecting subcribers and leads. But to start a blog with WordPress a newbie needs to pick the right web hosting a so far Siteground is the best choice which do not make your WordPress site slow.

    • Hi again Paul!
      Yes getting started online is hard for some as they don’t know what to look for in starting a blog. I started over 10 years ago with a WordPress.com site just to try it out. I did learn how to actually create my own sites and I prefer WordPress.org for reasons I stated in the blog post. Thanks for commenting!

  2. Hi Kathryn
    Well, there’s the post I wish I had read before I started my own ‘trial and error’ blogging journey! It would have saved me a lot of time and stress.

    I didn’t have a good experience with Hostgator, yet some others seem happy with it. I guess it’s knowing what to expect.

    One issue I still struggle with is blocking spam. I have tried many plugins, paid and free, but not Wp-SpamaShield which you mentioned, so I’m going to have a try of that and will report back in the support group you mentioned.

    Joy Healey – Blogging After Dark

    • Hi Joy,
      I know, me too that is why I am trying to help other bloggers who don’t know what I too learned the hard way.
      Some host sites are better than others, and some people experience different things with them. For me
      and you it looks like, Hostgator was one of the worst. Love Siteground!!!
      Blocking spam is an issue and I’m sorry that what I use is now not available as I learned in our group chat.
      Have you tried any of these I just Googled it. I also found the info on the plugin in question.
      https://wptavern.com/wp-spamshield-plugin-removed-from-wordpress-org-author-plans-to-pull-all-plugins-from-the-directory

      List of the Best WordPress Antispam Plugins

      Akismet. … Stop WP Comment Spam by Fullworks. … Anti-Spam Bee. … WP-SpamShield Anti-Spam. …
      WordPress Zero Spam. … CleanTalk. … Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin. … GoodBye Captcha.
      Thanks for your comments.

      • Hi Kathryn,

        Many thanks for your further anti-spam suggestions. Several of them I have already tried with no success. But at the moment WPBruiser is keeping spam to a minimum. I also spoke to my hosting company who are very good and the combination of whatever they have done, plus WPBruiser, has improved the situation considerably.

        Shame WP_spamshield was removed from the WP repository because I do remember it as one of the better solutions I tried.

        Joy Healey – Blogging After Dark

        • Glad to hear that your hosting is helping you out with WPBruiser and it’s improved the situation.
          I hired help one time to get rid of pages and pages of spam. Some time ago. Ant-Spam software is important.
          Thanks for your comments.

  3. Hi Kathryn,
    GREAT review with steps to take and suggestions. These are certainly the basics.. now on to content, right? Lots to discuss with content. There is LOTS surrounding us to use along with our own opinions and passions.

    • Hi Lesly,
      Yes it is the basics. People starting a Blog would only need the basics to get started.
      Content is a whole other world, lol. “Content is King” as they say. Adding our own opinions on the content is what makes it your individual passion. Thanks for your comments.

  4. Hi Kathryn,

    Awesome article. I love how detailed this article is. I think those who want to start blogging should read this article.

    • Hi Anglea,
      Nice to see you visiting the blog. I try to be as detailed as I can be, you never know the level of expertise your reader has.
      Thanks for your kind comments!

  5. It remains a good idea to start a blog in 2020 and I don’t see that changing.
    Great tips and ideas in this post.
    Regards Dexter

    • Hi Dexter,
      Blogs have evolved from the online diaries that they started off as.
      Blogging will evolve even further in the future.
      One day we will just voice- to -text our blogs rather than type them.
      Thanks for your comments!

  6. Hi Kathryn, you’ve got a well written post that speaks volumes! I wonder if there’s a place here to recognize the two sides of blogging? One side is the technical side as you’ve covered here, and the other side – creating relevant content that takes the visitor on the journey to becoming a buyer.

    • Barb Thanks for your comment. I do tend to write on the technical side concerning blogging. Creating the journey to become a buyer, I would include that in yet another technical side – email marketing which strangely is my next article. Is that weird? lol

  7. Definitely useful information. Thank you

  8. Oh My goodness. It would have been so helpful to have had all of this great advice way back when. The good news is that I can still get much benefit from it now, even all of these years later.

    • Hi Elise,
      I am glad you found this content valuable. When starting out there is so much to learn about blogging. My experience over 10 years of marketing can be helpful to even much-accomplished bloggers such as your self. We all have different experiences with varying skill sets that might help each other. Thanks for your comments.

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