Chances are good you've read my first post How To Start A Blog And Make Money [Part 1], but if you haven't, that's where you need to start.
Okay, now that we've got that out of the way, let's take a look at what we need to work on today.
You should have already printed out your Becoming A Blogger- Setting Up Your Blog Checklist, but if you haven't you can grab it using the link. We will start going down the checklist where we left off in Part 1.
WordPress Themes: WordPress offers many free theme options, which can be great when you're first starting out. They are easy to install and can be found in your WordPress dashboard under the Appearance Tab.
I'm not going to spend a ton of time talking themes. If you're serious about blogging at some point, you may be ready to drop as much as $1,500 on a good custom theme. If however you want to use a pre-made theme there are a few places I recommend. These themes are easy to customize and will usually range anywhere from $39-$100.
For my other sites, I have used Theme Forest for five wonderful years! I love Theme Forest and all of the Envato market shops because they have so much to choose from. If you are working on a niche blog, you could search food blog and find themes that could give your readers a recipe box and login to save your recipes and things like that. The possibilities are endless, and the designers are usually awesome and quick to respond to any issues you may have with the theme. Each theme will have step-by-step instructions to follow so you should be fine! If you ever need any help, though, I'm just an email or tweet away!
Total Cost: Anywhere from FREE - $1,500
WordPress Settings: These are the settings I recommend changing before you write your first post! After you start blogging making some of these changes can cause issues for your old posts.
General Settings: There are a few basic settings you need to change before you start blogging. You want to make sure your Blog Name and Tag Line are correct. If you didn't choose those when you installed, you would need to edit those now. You also want to make sure you have the right time zone.
Under Settings on the left-hand, menu select General (right underneath). You will come to a page like this. Be sure to edit the fields so they show your Blog Name and your Tagline. I really need to change my tagline. This is also a great time to go into Posts and Pages and delete the pre-written post and page from WordPress. It should say something like "Hello World" this is my first post or something like that. Please go ahead and delete those. I have been to business websites that are over five years old and seen those pages still live on the blog.
Permalinks: In this section you need to go ahead and change your permalinks. As you can see the default is set to an ugly permalink. https://faithfullyfree.com/p=123 <------- What is this link about? No one may ever know. No, seriously. You want to make sure that you have a pretty permalink. You want it to say something like http://yourblog.com/my-awesome-blog-post-title. See, I want to read that! Not only that but this style permalink tells Google and the reader what they can expect when they click your link.
Note: My dashboard may look a little different from yours. Under Settings choose Permalinks.
Unselect Default by selecting Post Name from the list. After making the change scroll down and click Save Changes.
These plugins are my personal favorites. There are thousands of plugins you can download, but don't get too crazy because they can slow down your site. I will continue to share my favorites on this page and in future posts but here are the plugins you need to download today. Your theme will may require plugins as well so be sure to read the installation pdf carefully.
Akismet - This helps prevent the bazillion spam comments you will get every day. You probably already have a few!
Yoast SEO - Most amazing SEO plugin ever! Take the time to read their blog and tutorials to learn how to use this plugin.
BackUp Plugin - You should get in the habit of backing up your WordPress blog. Even though your host should be doing regular backups. You don't want to leave your site in anyone else's hands. I made this mistake once, and it was not pretty. I ended up losing 100's of posts. Blogging Wizard shared a post earlier this year showcasing five great backup plugins. Some are free, and some are pretty expensive.
WP Super Cache - Helps optimize your site. Not super important for a new blog but as you add more content you will want to have this one.
SumoMe - This plugin adds social share buttons to the bottom of your post and as a floater on the side of your screen. You can customize it and even pay for extras. I've used SO many social share buttons, and SumoMe is my all-time favorite.
JetPack by WordPress - Should come pre-installed
I will talk more about JetPack and how I use it in another post. There are so many options with JetPack that you may want to take advantage of so spend some time checking it out.
NoFollow Link - Again, not super important now, but this will save lots of time when you start writing sponsored posts.
Google Analytics by Yoast - I love everything Yoast does. The end. No seriously, this helps you track your Google Analytics and you can learn a lot
about your traffic.
Co-Schedule - You won't need this one now, but keep it in mind for later. You can read my full review by clicking the link.
So what are you waiting for? Get to work! Then come back tomorrow for Starting A Blog And Making Money [Part 3 ]. We will finally complete that checklist and I'll probably give you another one to complete! 😉 Oh and YES we will finally get to the making money part!
*This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something using me as a referral, I want you to know that I truly appreciate you! Oh, and you rock!!