How to set up a profitable WordPress blog. Step-by-step guide for beginners (cheaper than GoDaddy)

Hello, folks! Welcome to the thrilling, pulse-pounding world of setting up a WordPress blog!

I know what you’re thinking: “Setting up a blog? Thrilling? Really?” But trust me, by the time you’re done with this guide, you’ll be as pumped up as if you just bungee jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge. Only this time, you won’t be drenched in the cold San Francisco Bay.

Setting up a WordPress blog is like setting up a new house. There are many rooms (pages), various pieces of furniture (widgets), and the all-important decor (themes).

And the neighbors? Well, they are your loyal readers, eager to peek into your blogging abode.

But don’t worry, you won’t need a hammer, a drill, or a single nail for this DIY project, just your willingness to learn and maybe a cup of strong coffee. (I recommend a latte. It makes the process feel more like a charming European experience and less like you’re fighting with an obtuse piece of software.)

So, fasten your seatbelts, grab your mouse, and prepare yourself for an adventure that will catapult you from the cozy confines of your computer chair to the dazzling digital frontier.

By the end of this guide, not only will you be a savvy WordPress whizz, but you’ll also have the newfound skill to impress your friends, acquaintances, and anyone who you want to mildly impress with your digital prowess.

Remember, the only thing standing between you and your blog becoming the next internet sensation is this guide.

So, let’s dive into the WordPress wonderland and start crafting your corner of the internet universe! Don’t forget to keep your sense of humor at hand, because we’re going to make this process as fun as a ride on a roller coaster (and hopefully not as nauseating).

So let’s get rolling!

That was cringey but thanks anyway, chatGPT

I’ll add one more thing. This is how I set up all the blogs in my PIG farm that make me a full-time passive income from affiliate marketing.

This method is perfect for beginners with no WordPress or blogging experience. We’ll be using faster, cheaper and gooder hosting than GoDaddy too.

We’ll need $13 – $20 to get started, which will cover our domain and hosting for a year. This will be enough to get a basic blog up and ranking on Google.

1. Choose a niche

What are you blogging about? What are you selling?

I’ve already written a bit about this in another post.

Once you’ve established whatever you’re going to be blogging about, move on.

If you’re still short on ideas, go for a walk or take a shower.

2: Get a domain from Namecheap

Before we do anything, we need a domain.

I always use Namecheap. Why? Because it’s cheap.

We don’t need a .com. There’s no advantage to having one apart from to flex 💪 on peasants with .net, .co and other ‘lesser’ TLDs (Top Level Domains).

Since I enjoy flexing on peasants, I will be purchasing the .com this time around but seriously get whatever you want. I’ve seen all kinds of TLDs ranking for all kinds of keywords.

.com matters more if you’re growing a brand, but guess what? We’re not doing that because we’re just making a blog.

A blog doesn’t need a brand and if you have one then you risk appearing too corporate to build rapport with your readers.

Add your domain to cart and go to the checkout.

We have the options for free domain privacy and premiumDNS. I always take the privacy option because I’m not building a brand and I don’t want to get doxxed more than I’ve doxxed myself already.

We don’t need the PremiumDNS or VPN or WordPress hosting or any of that other stuff so just get the domain for one year for now.

Now we’ve got our brand, spanking new domain we need to point it at our hosting server (which we haven’t set up yet but let’s do it now anyway.

Click manage under Domain Registration.

Click CustomDNS.

Enter:

ns1.symbolhost.com
ns2.symbolhost.com

Click the green tick ✔️ (the amount of times I’ve forgotten to do this FFS!).

Now our new domain is pointing at Symbolhost’s servers. We don’t have that set up yet but that’s the next step.

3. Set up hosting on Symbolhost

Get a hosting package from Symbolhost. We’re using them because they’re fast, cheap and good.

The $10/year newbie package is absolutely fine; you’re not running Facebook or Amazon so no need for anything fancy.

3. Install an SSL certificate

Now that our hosting is live and we’ve pointed our domain at the server, the next part is to install an SSL certificate.

This gives our domain an https:// prefix rather than plain old http://. The ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’.

Why do this? Because Google likes it.

Log into cPanel.
Click on Let’s Encrypt SSL under Security.

Scroll down to Issue a new certificate and click Issue next to your domain.

Click Issue on the next screen.

4. Install WordPress

Alright, bloggerneers, now we’ve got our domain, hosting and SSL certificate set up and most of the boring chores out of the way it’s time to get to the fun part.

Go to the WordPress Manager in CPanel.
Click Install.
Choose ‘https://’ and whatever your domain name is. The latest version of WordPress should already be selected. Don’t click Quick Install, we’re not done yet.
Name your blog and give it a site description.

Choose an admin name other than ‘admin’.

Click the blue key to generate a random password.

Enter your personal email address.
Don’t choose any plugins.
Don’t choose any themes.

Click Install.
You can see your new WordPress blog live at your domain now.
Click the /wp-admin/ link and log in with the username and password that you chose when you installed WordPress.

5. Install GeneratePress

Now we need to install GeneratePress, a WordPress theme that’s fast, cheap and good.

I use the premium version for all my blogs, including this one, but the free one will do for now.

Click Themes under Appearance, and click Add New.
Download the theme .zip file from the official website and install it by uploading it here. Then click Activate.
Now GeneratePress will be your active Theme.
Visit your site to check it out.

Yes, it’s very basic but it’s the perfect starting point for a new blogger.

When we want our blog to look fancier we get GeneratePress Premium and install a template from the site library.
You can play around with the colours and fonts under the Appearance > Customise menu in the WordPress dashboard, but for now we’re going to leave it as the default.

6. Set up your permalinks

Next we’re going to change the way our blog structures our links.

I prefer mine to be like this: domain.com/category/post-name because it makes it easier to organise the content.

Set it up like this: /%category%/%postname%/ and click Save Changes at the bottom.

7. Publish a post

Congrats, you’ve got your first blog up and running. Now it’s time for the grindy part; publishing content.

Publishing content is one thing but publishing content that sells is another. Unfortunately that’s a whole new can of worms that I’m not going to fit into this guide, but it’s coming soon™.

Publishing SEO-optimised content that ranks on Google is another kettle of fish that I’ll also cover soon™.

For now, let’s just focus on getting our first post published.

Posts, by the way, are distinct from pages in WordPress jargon: posts are your articles, reviews and other content, while pages are for legal stuff and contact forms.

Hover over New in the top bar and click Post.
I generated some drivel with chatGPT but you might want to put some more time and thought into your post.
Enter a category for your post. I usually set my categories up as ‘Articles”, ‘Reviews’, ‘Reviews’ and so on.

You can set up your categories under Posts > Categories in the WordPress dashboard.
Next add your tags. Tags are more specifically related to what your post is about.
Click save draft before publishing.
Check your URL looks right and then hit the blue Publish button.

Congrats, you’ve set up your first WordPress blog and published your first post. It’s going to be a long grind but the first step is the most important.

In future posts we’ll learn how to:

  • Ensure Google is indexing our posts
  • Set up Google Search console and check our performance on the search engine
  • Customise our GeneratePress blog
  • Install and track traffic with Microsoft Clarity
  • And most importantly . . . make money with affiliate marketing.

So stick around.

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