There’s a couple different things I like to do when I setup my WordPress blog for the first time. After I pick a domain name, and start my WordPress blog with a SiteGround account I do the following steps to initially setup my website.
Step 1: Install Plugins
The plugins I install are:
- Yoast SEO
- Add Categories to Pages
- Page Links To
- Ad Injection
- Pretty Link Lite
Akismet I install to take care of any spam comments. You’ll need to register for an account which is pretty easy. Essentially, you receive an API code, which you put in the “Settings” area of the plugin, and then save. It will take care of comment spam from then on.
Yoast SEO is a plugin for improving your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It covers the basics, just follow its guidelines for optimizing a focus keyword phrase by doing such things as adding the targeted phrase to your subheads, titles, image names, etc.
Add Categories to Pages – I like to have my Pages display my articles based on the Categories that they belong under. So, for instance, I have an article about Climbing in Shelf Road under the Categories of “Colorado Climbing” as well as my Climbing Blog. Using this plugin I can associate the Articles with those Categories.
Page Links to – I use this plugin so that all I have to do is click the categories that an article should go under, and then the Page Link To plugin adds a Custom URL checkbox at the bottom of each Page. This is where I change the Page URL to the relevant Category. For instance, /colorado-climbing page is changed to the /category/colorado-climbing. That way the posts I tag under the each relevant category gets automagically displayed in each section that I check off for its category.
Ad Injection – This is a great plugin for automatically adding ads to my page. It inserts the ads at certain intervals in your posts based on where you decide to place the ads. I use mainly Google Adsense for this, as it changes the ad based on the user’s browsing habits. Adsense I’ve found to be the best paying CPM and CPC ad network out there. I use their “Responsive” setting for all the ads since the ads resize based on the size of the space available.
Pretty Link Lite – This is to make a prettier affiliate link that is associated with your website, rather than, say, a complicated Amazon affiliate link URL.
Step 2: Select a theme
I usually stick to one of the canned template themes, such as “Twenty Twelve”. It is a standard template that can be modified fairly easily to make your blog unique. Since it’s a Theme included with your installation it is fairly generic, with none of the fancy DHTML tricks that often look great, but are incompatible with certain browsers.
Step 3: Create my Main Pages
I like to start with the structure of my blog under topics that I plan to write on. For instance, I just helped my brother start a blog called happychelu.com. I asked him what topics he wanted to write about, so we added Pages such as “Travel”, “Lifestyle”, and “Food”. Of course, it’s also a standard practice to have an “About” page, as well as a “Contact Us” page.
Step 4: Start Writing!
A blog is only as good as its content, so it’s best to start creating content. I mean, this is the reason you got into this stuff, right? To express yourself on a property you own, rather than on someone else’s site such as Facebook, where they benefit from your content rather than you.
When I talk to people about starting their own blog they often go, “Well, I’m not really a writer.” And I go: “How many times do you update Facebook?” For most people, that’s at least once a day. What if, instead, you update Facebook with one of your blog posts. All of a sudden you are using Facebook to market your blog. Rather than just being a place to update your friends and family, it becomes a place to drive traffic to your blog, eventually resulting in online revenue.
I like to start with writing at least one piece of content for each Page. This is in order to have a complete website, with no missing pages. Whatever you do, do not launch until you have at least one piece of content per page. And don’t, under any means, have a “Coming Soon!” message on a page that you intend to someday add content to. “Someday” may never come. It’s better to just not publish a page until you have at least one piece of content for it.
There you go, a simple 4 step plan for starting your blog!
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