How to start a WordPress blog if you’re a newbie

Blogs are powerful.

It’s ‘s almost a given that businesses, entrepreneurs and freelancers in any field wanting to make it in the digital world need to start a blog. In fact, those who have a blog can generate 126% more leads than those who don’t have a blog, according to an article on HubSpot.

This post will take you through eight simple steps to show you how to start your own blog.

So let’s start:

1.) Go to WordPress.com and choose a blog type.

Before you dive in. Ask yourself: What’s my niche? What’s my industry? Is it fashion, media, education? This will help you choose a blog type in the options. If your blog type is not in the options, don’t worry. Choose something that’s the closest to it. Don’t spend so much time thinking about it. 

2.) Choose a layout (you can change later).

Pick from the three layout options available in the next step.

This gives WordPress an idea of how you want your content to be presented. Based on this, WordPress.com will show you many different themes to choose from.

3.) Choose a theme (or look of your blog). 

Choose a theme. These themes have different layouts, fonts, and color palettes.

4.) Choose a domain.

A domain name is your web address, and what people would type in their browser to find your blog. For example: writinginmyunderwear.com.

So, after you first visit WordPress.com, choose a domain for your blog. This can also and more likely be the name of your blog.

WordPress.com offers a free domain if you let them attach a snippet on your web address, such as: writinginmyunderwear.wordpress.com. If this is a problem for you, you can have them remove it for a small fee. When you type in your desired domain name, WordPress.com will show you those options and fees.  

5.) Select a blogging plan.

Blogging can be free. But, if you’re looking for something fancier – perhaps you want something customized or you want to use your blog to start a business, consider the other plans. Choose a plan here.

Remember, you can stick to the free plan and then change it later (something I did).

6.) Choose a name for your blog.

Choose a name for your blog. Think about something that is easy to remember and that conveys the purpose of your blog.

Your content will be what matters the most to your readers though. So, don’t fret over a name. The name of your blog can be your own name. It can be Writing in My Underwear, really.  Sure, it makes sense that your domain name is the same as your blog name but, that’s not always true or required.

7.) Write, damn it, write!

Content is the meat and potatoes of blogging. 

If you want readers, if you want to make a profit blogging, make sure you’re writing regularly and that your blog posts are long and packed with value for your readers.

8.) Choose quality over quantity.

It’s great if you can blog every day. But, if you can write a  well-written, 1,000-2,000 word blog just once a week, even better.

Why?

Google is doing its best with all their recent algorithm changes to ensure that quality content is valued higher than content that’s stuffed with keywords, that is short (300-500 words) – and is of low quality.

Google likes long form content up to 2,000 words or more.

Advice from someone who’s been there, (me).

Break up big text into bite-sized paragraphs, and offer value in your writing.

Read, The Elements of Style, by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White. If you really want to write, and write well period, buy this short book for $5 bucks. Totally worth the investment.

Sweet bonus tip…

Finding awesome, high resolution images to go along with your blog posts will be frustrating if you don’t know where to look in the first place. I’m here to the rescue. Go to: unplash.com

You’re welcome. 🙂

You can use any photos at Unsplash.com, and do what you please with them. All photos published on Unsplash are licensed under Creative Commons Zero which means you can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos for free, including commercial purposes, without asking permission from or providing attribution to the photographer or Unsplash.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick guide. Now, go and start that blog already!

Think you may need help? Feeling stuck? Need a writer? Hit me up. I can totally help you!

People don’t read anymore

I hate it when folks say that people don’t read anymore. That’s not true. In fact I believe people read more than ever.

Content and social search has grown to become one of the most powerful tools available for learning, discovering and enriching our lives.

Business are now targeting customers through the web with powerful websites and tools that we use everyday such as Facebook and Twitter.

People read emails.

People read e-books.

People read online news.

The list goes on.

People are just looking at screens to read.

In fact, we have so much content in front of us that we’re better off with less of it.

And that’s where we find ourselves today.

People are overwhelmed with information. With all the noise, standing out as a business or entrepreneur takes talent.

That why as writers we need to keep it simple, especially if we are writing for digital platforms.

Keep it simple. I give this advice to clients when they hire me to write something, design a website, or when a friend asks me to take a look at their resume. I say, “keep it simple.” But don’t misunderstand me. Simple does not mean of less value.

Keep it simple but rich.

It was Einstein who once said, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” And, I agree.

So, get it straight: People do read. Maybe even too much.

What type of freelance writer are you?

If you write blogs and articles to engage and inform readers, it’s not the same to write a landing page. Writing copy for an ad is definitely not the same as writing a press release.

If you’re a beginning freelancer writer, and you still get confused at times, this article is for you.

PR Pro

According to an article in Forbes, a PR pro’s role is to “protect, enhance or build their client’s reputations through the media.” To do this, PR pros stage events, teach interviewing skills, and write. They write press releases.

And today, you’ll catch PR pro blogging too, and managing social media campaigns. That’s because PR pro’s have entered the social media landscape and they can’t only rely on their pitching abilities. Just a few years ago, PR pros depended on journalists to communicate their messages, but now, PR they have access to reach audiences directly using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and so on.

Copywriter

I like CopyBlogger’s definition of copywriting: the art and science of strategically delivering words (whether written or spoken) that get people to take some form of action. As a copywriter you’re not trying to protect, enhance or build your client’s reputation as PR pros do though copywriting can surely lead to that. But, that’s not the purpose. As a copywriter, you’re straight up trying to get a specific action.

Some “calls to action” can be: selling a product, a service, getting people to sign up for email alerts, or to raise money through a donation page. Copywriting can be used in a video for TV or the web. The point is that you are using persuasive language to drive a specific result.

Content Marketing Writer

Content marketers write blogs, email autoresponders for drip campaigns, social media posts, and newsletters to connect and engage with audiences. Freelancer.com describes a content writer as someone who “provides relevant information for products and services on a website.”

As a content writer you goal is not the PR pro’s goal which is to “protect, enhance or build their client’s reputation,” nor is it the copywriter’s goal which is to get readers to take some form of action. As a content writer, your goal is to inform, engage, and educate to build trust. Content marketers know that without value, true connection, and engagement, you can’t drive any results.

Mixing It Up

The PR, advertising and marketing fields have seen a completely different landscape from the last decade. And as writers in these fields it’s sometimes hard to tell what type of writing we are doing. But it is important to know what type of writing you are doing, so that you can successfully drive the intended results for your clients.

What I’ve noticed is that prospects looking for a writer more than often need a mixture of all three types of writing. Which is why I tell beginning writers to dedicate some time into honing their writing skills and allowing themselves to be versatile. For two reasons.

2. It’s all connected, but it’s not all the same.

In the world wide web everything intersects. PR, copywriting, and content marketing. PR pros have to blog and write newsletters at times. And don’ be surprised to catch a copywriter on social media. The internet is an enormous library and connecting with folks can take all three.

I’m not saying that you should take years of training in each area of writing. But, it’s a good idea to learn as much as you can about these connect and practice writing on your own.

2. It helps you narrow in on what you enjoy doing the most. 

Learning a bit of everything can help you figure out what type of writer you want to be if you don’t already know after this post.

So what type of writer are you? Or do you fiddle with all three? Why? I would love to know about it in the comments.

How dating and websites are the same

You’re getting website visits, but no one comments, shares or subscribes to your website.

Why is that?

If visitors stumble upon your site, or are redirected there through a link on Facebook, and they don’t dig your super awesome site, they will likely go somewhere else in search for information. First impressions are everything. The first impression is nearly impossible to reverse or undo.

So what do you do?

Date your readers.

Sure, this sounds off. But, if you treat your readers like you would someone you have a mad crush on, then you have higher chances of making a lasting impression.

Here’s how to start:

1. Make your Website Look Amazing.

Your website should look great and make a good first impression. Your website should at first glance be easy to read. It should also be visually enticing. You don’t have to have the best web design for this. You can find many inexpensive WordPress themes or some for free to get your site looking amazing.

2. Be Warm and Friendly. 

Write friendly things and find common ground with readers. Use clear, and conversational language so that your readers can easily grasp your overall message. Use short, strong paragraphs and abstain from jargon. Don’t turn off your readers with vague language and words you don’t use in everyday speech.

3. Be Generous. Offer something valuable to your readers. You can give free consultation in exchange for a sign up to your newsletter. There are endless things you can give to your readers: a cheat sheet on a topic you’re an expert on,  a free 20-minute phone conversation about about helping them solve a a problem, a short 5-day email course, a 3-page guide.

4. Follow up. 

You have a new subscriber. This person signed up to your newsletter. What’s next?

It’s important that you stay in touch. So keep in touch with a weekly email, or by simply emailing them and asking what made them sign up. From there, you can learn how to help your readers.

What I’ve discovered about growing up in the digital era is that at the end of the day, we are humans behind these machines. You have to show people love. Appreciate them. Be generous to them. Take the time. It really pays off to try.