If you haven’t started your blog post check out https://techtrusted.net/2019/04/22/how-to-start-a-blog/ first!
After starting your blog these are the things you should do from here to get you truly up and running!
1. Choose the theme for your website.
The theme of the blog is essentially how it looks to people visiting. There are a ton of free themes you can choose from to find the design that you desire and be happy with it!
To find free themes to choose from and to try out simply log in to your WordPress website and then in the left column click Appearance and then the button that says Add New. You will now be presented with many themes to choose from, and you can choose from a vast array of themes. You can also type in blog to find themes specifically for blogs.
Take some time here and choose one you really like and think would fit your personality, idea and your brand. And don’t worry about having to pick the perfect one, you can always go back whenever you like and change the theme again – quite fun to play with these!
There are also many premium themes for WordPress that cost a bit of money but as a result of this you get access to extra functions and on hand technical support.
2. Install a few plugins that will make your life easier and improve your blog.
Plugins are small programs that you install to your WordPress website. Many of them are free and some of them are premium plugins that usually cost a bit of money (fortunately none are too extortionate).
To find and install a free and WordPress-approved plugin to your website first click Plugins in the left column on your website that you are logged into. And then click the button that says Add New.
You will be presented with plugins that are Featured at this time but you can also see what plugins are most popular (these tend to be installed on millions of websites and are obviously helpful for many people).
5 of my favorite plugins from the past 10+ years:
- Akismet Anti-spam. This one puts the spam comments that people try to add to my blog posts right into the virtual trash bin. An absolute necessity because comment spam can quickly get out of hand.
- W3 Total Cache. This plugin helps your website to load faster and to put less stress on your webhosting account. This is important because many people are using smart phones to browse the web nowadays and if your website doesn’t load quickly for them then they are likely to move on to another website. It’s also an essential plugin if a piece of your content goes viral. If you don’t have it installed at such a time then your website is likely to crash and most of all those potential new readers and fans will only see an error page. I’ve been in that situation and it’s not fun at all – you miss out on SO many people.
- Wordfence Security. This plugin protects my website from being hacked (such attempts are more common than you may think).
- WP Forms Lite. An easy way to set up a contact form where readers can contact me and that keeps the spam emails far away from me.
- Easy Social Share Buttons. A really flexible plugin for adding social media buttons and many more things related to social media to your website. It’s not free, but you only have to make a one-time payment of $19 to use it for many, many years. They also just look extremely nice!
3. Experiment a bit.
Experiment a bit with style of your website.
- Try different colors and design options.Do you want to a colorful blog or a minimalistic one? Do you want plenty of things in the sidebar or maybe you don’t want a sidebar at all?
- Get design inspiration from other websites. Have a look at some other websites you admire and use some ideas, but DON’T steal.
- Add a logo to the top of your website. I created mine using Canva. But you can pay someone at Fiverr a couple of dollars to do it or use free graphics- and photo-editing software.
4. Create your first piece of content (likely an article)
Now that you’re done with the initial technical setup it’s time to start publishing your own content on the website. This is what truly makes your website unique and special! You!
A handful of guidelines for creating that content that have worked well for me are (these examples are for mainly for blog posts):
- Focus on creating value. This is the most important thing. Because it’s what people that come to your website want. Now, what is value? It could, for instance, be practical tips and help. Or something funny. Or something exciting and entertaining. Just ensure that what you offer is value to people – MOST ESSENTIAL THING – trust me.
- Focus on your passions. When you create content based around what you are passionate about you’ll be enthusiastic. This is what makes you interesting to readers. Passion is shown through your writing. You’ll go the extra mile and put in that extra work that helps you to make a great impression. You won’t tire or get bored so easily. And all of this will help you to create really good and value-filled content.
- Create content around the topics that your audience is most interested in. Answer a common question from your audience and/or the people in your life in a blog post. Or share your biggest challenges or problems that you’ve had so far (on this website I address challenges I’ve faced, products I’ve tested and tell you what I’ve learnt!)
- Add an image or a few to your first blog post to make it even better. I use Unsplash to find free and very high-quality images for my blog posts.
- Proofread your post out loud. It may sound a bit strange but reading the post out loud is an old journalist tip that will help you to more easily find mistakes in what you wrote. This is really useful and will help you identify many small errors you make (and don’t realise).
- Be patient and kind towards yourself.Your first blog post or video will most likely not be the best one you’ll ever do. Don’t beat yourself up about that. See it as a learning experience and focus on making steady progress and creating better and better content over time. It will improve and you will gradually get more traffic.
5. Create one social media account for your website (at first).
One big issue that plenty of new website owners run into is that they spend too much time on social media and too little time on creating new content on their websites.
They check their social media accounts 5 or 10 times a day.
And spread themselves thin over too many social sites. Be very careful and don’t do this.
A solution for the first challenge is to only check your social media once a day, at the end of your workday (no matter if you work on your website full-time or only for an hour in the evenings). This ensures that most of your focus and energy goes to creating content and planning for the future.
And a good tip for the second one is to only focus on one social media site at first.
Choose the one you like the most yourself and use privately. Or do some research and see what social site is the most important in your niche because this can differ quite a bit. If you’re for instance a food blogger then Pinterest is a big one and if you have a local website then Facebook may be your best bet.
I focus mostly on Pinterest for my social media presence. I like how you can add a link to an image and people click through. 90% of people have bought something from Pinterest….. just so you know….
6. Take 10 minutes to improve the security of your website.
This is something I would be smarter about if I were to start over again with my website.
Because it was something I didn’t pay much attention to in the past. And so my blog was hacked. And it was not fun. Plenty of stress. And a lot of work to set things right again. Really just sort out security earlier rather than later….
So I highly recommend installing the free plugin called Wordfence Security as I mentioned earlier. Very easy to install but will offer HUGE unseen benefits.
And also to do this:
- Be careful about password security. Do a bit of online research to find out how you can use a safer username and password for WordPress (and also for the other websites and apps you may have in your life). Write it on a trusty post it note and stick it somewhere!
- Keep your WordPress installation updated. Make sure to always have the latest version of both WordPress and the plugins you use on your website installed. You will get automatic notifications when you’re logged into your WordPress website if there is an update to install.
7. Create a Start Here page.
When people find your website for the first time via Facebook or Google search then they may be a bit confused. Tell them what you’re about!
So help them to get to know you, your website and what to do next by setting up a Start Here page. Then link to it prominently in your navigation menu to help people to get on the right track as you’ve intended for your website.
Here’s what you should have on a Start Here page:
- A brief summary of what the website is about and how it can help the new reader.
- A quick summary of who You are and your journey with personal development.
- A list of your most popular and best posts so that the new reader has something to move on to when he or she is done with this page.
- An introduction to my some other courses (if you have any at this point)
- Sign up forms for my email newsletter in two places on the page.
8. Start planning for your website’s future.
So you’ve found a look for your website. Improved the security. Joined a social media website. And created your first piece of content and a Start Here page. Your website is looking GOOD!
So what now?
I would suggest to plan for the future. Not just for tomorrow or next week. But for the next month or two. You can schedule blog posts using WordPress too.
I’ve found in my own life that when I had a plan then:
- I did a better and more consistent job.And that led to more readers quicker than before. Consistency and quality is KEY. Plus, if you want to make your website into something popular or into a part of an online business then you can’t just work on your website or post new content whenever you feel inspired once in a blue moon – you need to do it regularly.
- I didn’t have to scramble for new ideas or content to post. And that made things more fun and less stressful. That’s why you need to be interested and passionate at the same time as planning though.
So I would suggest making a rough plan for the next month or perhaps even the next 3 months. Find ideas for what you want to create content about. Study other websites and articles about building a better website and plan for what you want to implement from that on to your blog. Ideas, ideas, ideas!
Then you can of course revise and course-correct as you go. But to have a first rough plan helps to both get better results and have less stress in your life. That’s how you start to grow.
9. Don’t be afraid to spend a bit to grow.
During the first couple of years of blogging I only spent money if it was truly necessary. Don’t be like me – take some risks in life!
Not a good mindset if you want to improve your website and a grow your audience more quickly.
This doesn’t mean that you have to hire expensive consultants, developers or assistants. Many services online help this.
Only that it is in my experience smart to invest a bit of money from time to time into better webhosting, premium plugins and perhaps a course or a few books that can help you.
Because being stingy with money held me back, caused more headaches than was necessary and it made me spend way too much time on things that I could have spent a bit of money on to solve so that I had more time and energy for the things that truly matter. Spend a bit of money and achieve efficiency!