The ultimate guide to starting a WordPress blog
24 August 2020

If you’re looking to start a WordPress blog, you’ve come to the right place! Sure, it may look a bit dounting, especially if you’re not very technical when it comes to computers or the internet, but the truth is; it’s never been easier to start a WordPress blog.

The three main things you’ll need are:

  • About 30 minutes of your time
  • A domain name
  • A hosting provider

Getting a domain name

I’ve previously written a guide on how to buy a domain name.

You’ll essentially want to follow these steps:

  • Decide on a domain name and domain extension
  • Check if your domain name is still available
  • Buy your domain name

Where to host it

When it comes to finding hosting, you typically have two options; self hosted and managed hosting.

Self hosted

A self hosted installation means that you’ll arrange your own servers, and do the installation yourself. This will include setting up a server that can run PHP, spinning up a MySQL instance, and doing the WordPress installation yourself.

This will also require you to make sure that your server is secure, and always updated with the latest versions. You’ll also need to pay attention to your MySQL installation, making sure it stays up to date and secure.

Even larger companies find this difficult, and unless you’re en experienced devops engineer, I would recommend to leave this to someone more knowledgable. You might end up saving a few dollars, but you’ll be spending a lot more time on keeping everything secure and up to date. Not to mention that you might lose all your data in case something goes wrong.

Managed hosting

Managed hosting means that you’ll have a dedicated hosting service do all the work for you, they typically have an entire automated setup that allows them to spin up new WordPress instances within minutes, taking care of all the security.

They usually also offer additional features, like automated backups, caching, migrating your site, automated security updates, SSL certificates, …

I’ve written comprehensive reviews about some of these services, my top picks would be; Kinsta, Flywheel, WP Engine, Media Temple and SiteGround.

Choosing a theme

Choosing a theme for your new WordPress site can be difficult, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Here are a couple of theme directories to help you get started:

SEO

There are thousands of articles regarding SEO, and they’ll all tell you the same thing; content is king. That said, here are a few tips to improve your SEO:

  • Make sure images have a title and alt attribute.
  • Make sure every page has a title and description.
  • Have an up to date sitemap.
  • Set canonical URLs to avoid duplicated content.

I would personally recommend to install the Yoast SEO plugin, it’s the most popular WordPress SEO plugin.

Backups

The top managed hosting provides usually come with some form of automated backups, this is particually useful in the event that you lose some of your date somehow. With a backup, you’ll be able to restore your WordPress site to the backed up version.

Read more on WordPress backups

Security

Security is often overlooked by most website owners, but it’s very important to keep your WordPress installation secured. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Make sure you install all WordPress updates.
  • Set a strong password for every user.
  • Make sure you have SSL/HTTPS enabled.
  • Change the default admin username.

Updates

Some managed hosting providers will provided you with automated updates by default, if they don’t, it’s very easy to do so yourself. You’ll usually see a notifiction in your WordPress dashboard to alert you of any updates.