Starting an online blog doesn't have to be expensive. In fact, there are lots of options available for any budget, even for free.
Using the WordPress blogging platform is the most common option for new bloggers, and it doesn't have to cost you anything. If you choose to use this free option, you will essentially be blogging on a WordPress sub-domain. What does that mean? It means your blog will get placed on the WordPress domain name servers, and the name of your blog will be something like http://yourblogname.wordpress.com/.
This article is designed to help you set up your own blog. If you feel like this is too technical for you, remember you can always head over to Freelancer.com and hire a developer to help you set it up. Moreover, it’s not very expensive to hire an expert from Freelancer.com.
At some point you may feel like you are ready to upgrade from the WordPress domain and get your domain name; this is easy to do, and we will cover that later in the article. But first, let's set up your free WordPress blog following these easy steps.
Step 1. Get Started
The first thing you want to do is open up the WordPress website. In the top right corner, you will see a button called 'Get Started.' Click it now. Follow these next few steps to choose the layout of your blog, your theme, and your domain name.
Step 2. Choosing your blog layout
By now you should have arrived on a page that lets you choose the layout of your blog. There are four different options available to you.
- "Start with a blog" is the first option, and the most common option for a blog. This format will display your latest blog posts at the top of your new page, and display your older posts in descending order. If you are writing blog posts consisting mainly of text and a few pictures, this is the recommended format to start with.
- "Start with a website" is a good option if you want to introduce yourself to the reader before they start reading your blog posts. This can be a good way to lure in new readers, as newcomers can sometimes not know where to start when they see all of your posts. This option is also a good starting point for a blog.
- "Start with a portfolio". This option is excellent if you are a photographer, or just someone who is planning to display a lot of photos on your page. This format will display your blog posts in a grid layout on the front page, with each post being represented by a picture you have added. If you have many photos to display, consider this option.
- "Start with an online store" This option is most relevant for people who want to start a business blog, or an e-commerce store. This will let you either present your business on the front page, or present the products you are selling. If you are starting a personal blog, there is no reason to consider this option yet.
If you are not sure what to choose, keep in mind that all the settings can be changed later. Nothing is permanent in WordPress, and everything can be customized to your liking.
Step 3. Choosing a theme for your blog
The purpose of the WordPress theme is to display your content in a certain way. This is one of the many things that make WordPress such a user-friendly platform: you don't have to know anything about coding or CSS. All you have to do is choose from the theme templates WordPress have already designed for you. New themes are added every year, such as the theme "Twenty Seventeen," which came out in...2017.
Take a look at the themes they offer, and choose the one you like best. Again, everything can get changed at a later time, and you will even have the option of downloading additional themes later.
Step 4. Choosing a domain name for your blog
If you are new to blogging or website development, you may ask yourself "what is a domain name?” It is essentially your blog’s address on the internet, and just like in the real world it has to be unique or it would create confusion.
Finding a unique domain name can be challenging. Simply using your first name is probably not going to be possible, since someone with that name most likely already reserved it. Try to be a bit more creative. If your blog is going to be about the adventures of you and your dog, Plutosadventures could work.
If your blog is going to be about your newborn son, call it Elliotschildhood. This will make the blog name.
There are many options out there, so get thinking! Take time to brainstorm, and find the name most relevant for your new blog.
Buying a domain name
If you start with a sub-domain on WordPress, then you are borrowing that space from WordPress. If you want to own your blog, you will need to buy your domain name. You can do this through WordPress, but it is not the cheapest or best solution. Other domain name providers include GoDaddy.com or Webhostinghub.com.
If you choose to buy your domain name, it will appear like http://plutosadventures.com, or http://elliotschildhood.com. You will no longer see the WordPress extension at the end of the name.
You can always choose to buy the domain name later, and transfer the content of your blog simply. For now, WordPress' free option is a good way to get started.
Step 5. Choosing a plan for your blog
When you have selected the name you want, you will be presented with four options to continue. The first option is free, and you will not be asked to pay anything at all. As we have talked about, this option is good for beginners. It does not include a whole lot of features or benefits, but it is a good starting point. You will have access to the WordPress forums for community support, to be able to ask questions from other members.
The other options range in price from $2.99 up to $24.92 per month. Choosing these options will give access to a number of features, including live support from WordPress, advanced search engine optimization tools, and unlimited premium themes.
Step 6. Creating your account
The time has come to create your WordPress account. This will be the account that you use when you log in to work on your blog. Enter your email address (WordPress will use this email to send you messages and special offers).
- Then enter your username. Choose any username you can remember - this will not be visible on your blog.
- Next, choose your password. Make it strong and memorable. You do not want anyone to be able to access your website.
Within a minute, you should receive an email from WordPress. Open this email and verify your account. You are now ready to start working on your blog. Head over to this page, type in your account details, and there you go! You are ready to start creating the design and content for your new place on the web. If you are new to WordPress and web development, consider heading over to Freelancer.com, where you can hire a web developer to help you get started!
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