If you’re a business owner, there are so many reasons to start and maintain a blog. Not only is it a great platform for you to connect with your right people, it gives you a place to showcase your expertise, your work, and to gather new followers (and customers). Plus, it keeps you accountable. Your readers expect to hear from you regularly, so in that way, it forces you to keep creating new content.
Here’s a step by step guide on how to start a professional WordPress blog for your business, even if you’ve got a tiny budget and have no idea where to begin.
1. Choose a topic
As a blogger, you’ve got to have a niche that your content focuses on. Otherwise, readers can become overwhelmed or confused. Figuring out what you want focus on becomes easier when you remember that each of us has our very own set of talents, intrinsic gifts and personal experiences. This makes our individual perspectives one of a kind. Understanding what makes you different will help you chisel your ideal topic.
Leaning on that unique viewpoint, you can create content to attract your ideal audience. Share what you love, what you’re good at, who you want to help, and how you want to help (tutorials, series, etc.). Your genuine content and will resonate with the people you want to reach as it gathers legions of fans and followers.
2. Pick a Name
Next, it’s time to choose a name. Before you make any final decisions, do a quick search of the USPTO Trademark database to make sure the name isn’t trademarked by someone else. You wouldn’t want to invest time, money, and effort into starting something that has to be dismantled.
Obtain a URL
As soon as you’ve settled on a name for your blog, purchase the URL (and any variations you want to secure). I recommend opting for the privacy protection. This means when someone searches you on the ICANN WhoIs Database, they won’t get all of your personal information. In that way, it shields your personal information to help protect you from spam, scammers, and snoopers. By masking your information you’re adding an extra layer of protection to your identity.
Most companies charge extra for privacy protection, but not all. GoDaddy is probably the most well-known URL provider, but you’ll pay extra for privacy there (about $10 a year). Namecheap offers the privacy features as a free service, which is a nice perk. Plus, their domains start at $.88 each.
COST: 88¢ +
This may sound intimidating at first, but the complete guide on how to get WordPress up and running walks even the most tech-challenged people everything you need to know.
Choose a host
The job of a host is to house your blog and all of your content, making it available to the public. There are free platforms out there, but they’re restrictive and can hinder your growth and development. Hosting a WordPress blog is more affordable that you might think, and it allows you the luxury of plugins and additional features free blog platforms just can’t compete with. Best of all, you can get a great hosting plan (which includes customer service help that you’ll need when you’re starting out) for under $4 a month.
Reasons to opt for paid hosting include:
- Your blog will show up in search results much better.
- You get far more customizable options (like plugins and other features).
- You’ll have options to earn income (through marketing and ads).
- You’ll have a designated URL (http://yourblogurl.com vs. http:yourblogurl.blogger.com).
Not only does this make it easier for customers to remember and find you, it gives YOU (not Blogger) the search engine traffic to help your blog rank and grow.
I highly recommend Siteground. They’re the ideal choice for new bloggers because they offer everything you need to get started, and even do a lot of the heavy-lifting for you. In fact, I recently switched the hosting of the entire Mogul Mom website to Siteground, and so far everything has been seamless.
Some of the features that swayed me include:
- A Free Domain Name
- An easy-to-use Free Drag & Drop Builder
- Free Site Setup or Transfer
- Free Email Accounts
- WordPress Free Install
- WordPress Free Transfer
- WordPress Autoupdate
- WordPress Advanced Security
- 24/7 WordPress Related Support
If you want to give it a try, they offer a 30-day money back guarantee. AND, best of all, Mogul Mom readers save 60% OFF the regular $9.95 a month fee. If you use this link, you’ll pay only $3.95 a month.
Pick a theme
A professional (‘premium’) WordPress theme is a great one-time investment that’ll be exponentially helpful as you start setting things up. Again, there are free options out there, but again, they’re restrictive and offer little in the way of customization options or support. We chose a paid theme because the quality is clearly superior, it automatically updates itself, has great customer service, and has better security to help keep our content safer.
I suggest Elegant Themes. For a one-time fee of $69, you get access to all of their themes (currently 87 of them and counting), perpetual theme updates, premium tech support, and unlimited website usage. They’ve got a lot to choose from. Have a peek, here and see if anything strikes your fancy.
Get the editorial calendar plugin
Having a blog business plan and staying organized are essential to any blogger. This free WordPress plugin has made all the difference. It helps me choose blogging goals, create themed weeks, and plan seasonal or holiday posts. Everything is organized on a single place. I don’t know what I’d do without it. You can get it free, right here.
The easiest way to get this up and running on your site is to log into your WordPress dashboard, click the ‘Plugins’ link on the left side, and then click ‘add new’. It’ll bring you to a search screen. Just enter ‘WordPress Editorial Calendar’ and it should be the first thing you see. Click ‘install’ and you’re done!
Start a mailing list
Both Mailerlite and Mailchimp offer a free service for those just starting out. Both companies free plans have everything you need to set up an effective email capture form and start collecting subscribers. The templates are simple to use and give you need-to-know statistics like who opened, read, clicked, and deleted your emails. This will help you gauge how your content is resonating with readers so you can make any appropriate adjustments.
If you need some pointers on how to grow our mailing list, check out List Building 101. You’ll find everything you need to know to build an intentional, profitable marketing machine in 18 days or less.
COST: Free (or $9 if you purchase the guide I recommended)
Go to town
Congratulations! You’re all set up. All that’s left to do is to start creating great, valuable content. If you need some help on topics, I created Write Away, a free guide with 52 ready-to-use blog post prompts. Grab your copy, right here.
If you’re considering starting a blog, but aren’t sure if you need one, or where to begin, let this be your permission slip and your guide. Following these steps you’ll be able to quickly and easily set up your very own blog in about an hour, for less than $150.
What questions do you have about starting a new blog? Let me know in the comments.
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