In this simple, step by step guide you will learn how to start a WordPress blog in 2019, even if you’re a complete beginner and have never started a blog before.
You don’t need any previous web design experience, you certainly don’t need any expert programming experience and you definitely don’t need to pay anyone anything to do it for you (I will even setup your blog for you for FREE if you want).
Even if you have ZERO experience right now, you can use this simple guide to start your very own blog on your own domain & server in the next 10 mins.
Starting a blog from scratch and growing it all on your own can be daunting at first, especially if you are a beginner. But it’s far easier than you think.
No matter whether you want to:
- Build authority in your market
- Sell more products/services
- Document your personal journey
- Make passive income on the side
By the time you reach the end of this simple step-by-step tutorial, you will have discovered the topic you want to blog about, registered the domain name of your new blog, launched your very first live WordPress blog online and published your first blog post.
Before we move on, I just want to first let you know that…
- I’m NOT a professional blogger who has generated millions
- I DON’T have any web design skills and don’t need any
- I’m NOT a ninja programmer who can code in my sleep
- I’m certainly NOT an expert at marketing, SEO or social
Yet (with my lack of tech skills) I’ve still managed to start and grow simple blogs that generate passive income online in my spare time (while working night shifts).
I have also built hundreds of WordPress websites for myself and for small business owners across the globe over the last decade, as WordPress is so simple to use.
You don’t need super powers to start a blog, all you need is the desire to get the ball rolling and learn some basics, plus some level of interest in your blog topic.
To put this into perspective, If I can learn how to start a blog, ANYONE can do this, which means EVERYONE who follows this guide can too, including YOU!
So let’s get started.
Pick Your Blog Topic
Before you even think about starting your blog, you need to make sure that your not going to be the only one reading it, as some blog topics are more popular than others.
The more people that are interested in a specific topic, the more opportunities you will have to not only attract a decent amount of readers, but also have a better chance of making money from it (IF that’s what you want to work towards).
For example: You would not get very far blogging about underwater basket weaving, as not many people do that or spend much money on it. Is that even a thing?
Where as if you focus on a topic related to health, wealth, love or happiness then you are going to find there is a massive amount of people who are searching for solutions to specific problems in thousands of sub-topics.
It’s a good idea to blog about something you have some level of interest in or experience with, but if there’s not much activity in that topic online, then it’s not entirely necessary to do that.
I have created successful blogs in the past based on topics I have ZERO experience in at all and simply had other professional writers create the content for it as I knew nothing about it, all because the topic was extremely popular and profitable.
If you cannot find a popular topic you are interested in or have experience with then you can still learn how to start a blog and can hire affordable writers to create optimised content based on keyword research that we will cover later in this guide.
The more focused you are with your topic selection, the easier it will be for you to find success with it, although the more focused you get, the smaller your potential audience will become, so you need to find a good balance.
It’s also safe to say that the more interested you are in the topic, the easier it will be for you to stick with it, as it can take at least a few months before you start gaining some traction within search results, which is completely normal.
When I pick a blog topic I never go too broad, but I also don’t go too narrow on the topic to make sure there is plenty of sub-topics to work with when creating content.
The topic of this blog came quite naturally to me as I’ve personally built 100’s of WordPress blogs and websites as well as implementing WordPress Optimisation for myself and 100’s of clients over the last decade as a freelancer.
I came up with WP Nation as I wanted everything to be laser focused on helping beginners learn how to use WordPress exclusively and there is a load of sub-topics such as SEO, security, hosting, themes and plugins that I can create content around.
Here’s a list of ideas you can use to research potential blog topics, so you know the topic you choose has legs and is worth starting a blog about.
If you can find a few online communities such as Forums, Facebook Groups and Subreddits that have several thousand members then there is a good chance that your topic is popular enough.
A good selection of different products on shopping sites like Amazon and eBay that have hundreds of positive reviews is a good indication that people are spending money in your topic.
If you can find a ton of freelancers on popular freelance directories and companies who offer services related to your topic then that is also a good indication that your topic has a healthy audience of buyers.
Search online for blogs, podcasts and YouTube channels that are related to your topic. If you don’t have a hard time finding any then that’s a great indication that you have an opportunity in your chosen topic.
It’s not necessary to cover ALL 4 of the above areas before you decide on your blog topic, but if you can cover at least a couple then that will be enough proof that it’s worth focusing on.
It really does not have to be any more complicated than that.
Free VS Paid Blog Hosting
When you first start a blog, you may be tempted to search for free blog hosting and that’s how a lot of people start as they don’t know the issues this can cause.
However, if you decide to skimp on your blogging venture by joining a free blog hosting platform, then you drastically limit your functionality and put the future success of your blog at risk.
The one thing you must keep in mind is that you NEED 100% control and ownership of your blog, so you are free to customise, develop and monetise your blog in any way you decide, WITHOUT limitations set by free blog hosting sites.
With free blog hosting sites, you have the following problems.
#1: You will have limited theme options chosen by the platform and may not be allowed to upload your own theme, when there are thousands of premium themes.
#2: You will not be able to add extra functionality to your blog such as that provided by WordPress plugins such as SEO improvements, analytics and newsletters.
#3: You will have limitations on how you can monetise your blog such as been unable to sell advertisements to private advertisers making it harder for you to create a passive income.
#4: You will have platform branding (logos, links or both) and a sub-domain on the platform which you don’t own and makes it harder for readers to take you seriously.
#5: You are governed by their strict content guidelines and can lead to your blog been completely deleted without notice if you break rules or get spammed.
WordPress is my platform of choice and is the most popular blogging platform, although there are 2 different sides to WordPress which are WordPress.com (they host with limitations) and WordPress.org (you host WITHOUT limitations).
If you decide to choose WordPress as your CMS (content management system) like I have, then it’s free anyway, although I strongly recommend you host the software on your own server, giving you 100% control over design, content and functionality
Don’t get too caught up or overthink which blogging software to use as you really cannot get any better than the WordPress CMS, it’s friendly for beginners and you can literally build anything you want WITHOUT web design or programming skills.
The best thing about WordPress is the fact that there is a global community of developers that have created tens of thousands of amazing premium themes and plugins that allow you to bring your ideas to life, there really is no limitations.
Here’s a few facts about WordPress:
- WordPress is free and open source
- WordPress is available in 68+ languages
- WordPress has more than 55,000 free plugins
- WordPress powers more than 34% of all websites
- 11,700+ premium WordPress themes on *ThemeForest
- WordPress is utilised by Governments across the globe
- WordPress is used by thousands of schools & universities
- The Rolling Stones, Beyonce & James Bond use WordPress
- WordPress has more than 60% CMS Market Share (W3Techs)
I really do hope that by now you have all the facts you need to be convinced that the best way to start a blog is with a self-hosted WordPress blog, just like the website you are reading right now.
Brainstorm Domain Names
Your domain name is like the address to your house, without it no one will be able to find your home, this is the same for your blog. Without a domain name, no one will be able to find your blog and read it. A domain name is something you will need to start a blog that you own.
The name of your blog has to mean something to you, it has to represent the vision you have for your brand, the topic you decide to focus on and the specific audience you want to attract, but don’t spend too long dwelling on this as you must be constantly moving forward.
Besides all the above, you need to make sure the name you choose is available to register as your domain name, as this will be the web address people will visit online to read your blog.
When you setup the web hosting for your blog in the next step, you can register a FREE domain name, so it’s best to use the domain name generators below to simply brainstorm your blog name and to see if the domain is available to register right now.
You’re going to really enjoy this part of your blogging journey, as you now have the chance to get your creative juices flowing, to find the perfect name for your brand spanking new blog.
This part of the process used to drive me absolutely barmy as every time I thought of the perfect domain name, someone else has already beaten me to it and used to take me ages to find a domain name that was actually suitable and available.
That’s why I want to share few websites with you that will make your life easier and give you instant access to hundreds of domain name ideas for your blog that are available to register right now, so you don’t have to spend too much time on this.
Domain Wheel has an excellent algorithm that picks up related topics with creative suggestions: “sounds like”, “rhymes with”, random but related suggestions. You have the ability to select the domain name extensions that you want to include in the search.
Panabee is a simple way to search for domain names. In case the perfect name is already taken, you get a ton of suggestions inspired by your original ideas derived from phonemes, syllables, abbreviations, suffixes, prefixes, and popular domain trends.
Namelix will help you generate short, catchy names instantly. The more specific your keywords, the better the results and you can prioritise a shorter name, having a specific keyword or domain extension. You will surely find something worth using here.
NameMesh is known as the domain name generator for the perfectionist, so if you are looking for a ton of domain ideas that are currently available to register then this tool will spit out domains by the hundreds in categories such as short, fun & SEO.
By using the blog domain name generators above you can quickly find the perfect domain name without having to check the availability one by one and once you have found one, you can now get a free domain name on the next step.
Setup WordPress Hosting
Think of web hosting as the land you would need to acquire if you were to build your own house. Without the land, you would have no where to build your home, the same goes for your blog – without web hosting you will be unable to build your blog.
With the web hosting for your blog, you will be renting a server (on a monthly or yearly basis) that is connected to the internet and this is where all your files will live online (WordPress software, images, text), allowing them to be found by search engines and your audience.
I recommend the WordPress web hosting provided by Bluehost, which offers you all the features you could ever need to start building your blog on a solid foundation and is a provider that’s been recommended by WordPress.org for more than a decade.
Here’s an overview of Bluehost’s WordPress web hosting features:
Upon creation of your WordPress Hosting plan, Bluehost automatically installs the latest and most secure version of WordPress. You simply login and start adding content.
Bluehost keep your WordPress Hosting plan secure even after account creation by keeping your account up to date everyday, improving the overall security of your blog.
Build with confidence using a WordPress staging environment. This helps you test any changes to your website before making it visible to search engines & your visitors.
FREE Domain Name
When you join any WordPress hosting plan, Bluehost will give you a FREE domain name registration for one year along with other freebies including advertising credits.
With the above features, you no longer have to worry about installing WordPress as Bluehost will do this automatically for you and will send you the login details for your WordPress admin panel once the installation is complete.
The Basic plan is designed to offer you the space to create one blog only and if you are a beginner, then this plan is ideal when you are just getting started to test the waters. To get the best price, you must commit to 36 months, although this is optional when you checkout.
There is always the option to upgrade your plan at a later stage if you feel the need to add more blogs or websites for yourself, family members, friends or clients as once people know you can build them, you will be cranking them out like a boss.
Step-by-Step WordPress Web Hosting Walk-Through
STEP 1: Head over to Bluehost.
You will first need to head on over to the correct page on Bluehost that lists the shared web hosting packages that are optimised specifically for those that want to start a blog or website using the WordPress content management system.
If you want to install WordPress yourself from within the Bluehost control panel then you can order standard shared web hosting on Bluehost, although this tutorial is for beginners and the WordPress hosting allows you to get WordPress installed for you, plus it costs the same.
This is the most quick and easy way to learn how to start a blog, even if you have ZERO experience and have never done this before.
If you click the “Choose Plan” button as shown on the image above, this will scroll you down to the 3 different plans available for the WordPress blog we are going to build in this guide.
STEP 2: Select your WordPress hosting plan.
The plans you will find are called “Basic” (ideal for hosting just 1 blog), the “Plus” plan (ideal for hosting unlimited blogs and websites) and “Choice Plus” (which offers additional features such as CodeGuard Basic Backup).
Once you have decided on the plan that’s best for you, simply click the green “Select” button as shown in the image above to move onto the next step.
STEP 3: Select blog domain name.
In the previous section we discussed how you can find suitable domain name ideas in bulk that are available to register, so you already know that the ones you are interested in are actually available to register right now.
Now it’s time to make your final decision and enter the domain name you want to register for your new blog. The domain registration comes free with any WordPress web hosting package you buy from Bluehost for the 1st year.
In the first box you see in the image above you would enter the domain name without the extension (.com,.net,.co), you then click the downward facing arrow on the box to the right to select your domain extension, now you can click the “next” button.
If you already have a domain name registered with another company then you would leave the first box empty and enter your existing domain within the box to the right with the title “I have a domain name”.
All you need to do if you are using an existing domain name is change the nameservers on your domain (within the control panel of your domain registrar) to the ones on Bluehost.
STEP 4: Create your hosting account.
The domain name you have decided on should be available to register as you have already researched available domains in the previous section of this tutorial and that will be confirmed by Bluehost on this step, as shown below.
As you are new to Bluehost, you will need to create your account as this information will be used for ownership of your domain name and your contact details will be required to send you invoices and welcome emails.
To make the creation of your account even easier, Bluehost offer a Google single sign-on feature that you can use to speed up this process by clicking on the “Sign in with Google” button as shown in the image above.
STEP 5: Hosting package info and extras.
The cost of your web hosting can be massively reduced if you commit to a longer term with Bluehost, with the cheapest requiring a term of 36 months which is reasonable if you are serious about building your blog.
At the time of updating this post, if you were to commit to 36 months, you can reduce the already discounted monthly fee by 40% from $4.95/month, down to just $2.95/month, so it’s worth thinking about the benefits of long term.
When you click the drop down selector on the account plan within the “package information” section, you can select a 12, 24 or 36 month hosting term and as mentioned previously, the longer you decide to commit, the more discount you will be rewarded with.
In the “package extras” section, you will find a selection of optional extras that you can order to improve your experience, although the only one that is really necessary in my opinion is the “Domain Privacy Protection”, so your personal information remains private online.
If you don’t add “Domain Privacy Protection”, then your full name, address, phone number and email will be made visible online, so anyone who searches your domain name on a website such as whois.net can access it, where as with this option, the details are replaced with information from Bluehost.
Other extras are simply bought based on your own personal preference, although most of what is on offer here, the same features can be achieved using the free WordPress plugins we will be installing later, which are related to improving SEO, Security and Backups.
STEP 6: Hosting agreement & payment.
To finish things off you simply enter your payment information, make sure the ticks are activated by clicking on the small boxes as shown in the image above to accept all agreements and then click the green “submit” button that you will find further down the page.
If you want a different method of payment, then you can click the “more payment options” link as shown in the image and this will give you a different options.
You would select the second box if you do not want Bluehost to send you emails related to additional special offers, new products or services, although if you leave this unchecked, you can revoke your consent anytime by the unsubscribe link in the emails Bluehost send you.
STEP 7: Bluehost onboarding.
Once your payment is complete, you will now be placed through a simple step-by-step on-boarding process from Bluehost, which will help you setup the most basic settings for your new account and your WordPress blog.
First up will come the confirmation that your payment was successful, the details of your purchase will be sent to the email address you entered when you completed the signup process earlier and your receipt will also be visible below.
To setup your new password that will be used to access the Bluehost portal, you can click on the green “set password” button as shown on the image above.
Double check that the domain name you registered is listed correctly within the “Domain Name” section at the top and then choose a suitable, hard to crack password that you are most likely to remember.
Bluehost require a password of at least 8 characters that must include both numbers and a special character, so keep that in mind when trying to create yours, as the green tick icons must be visible before you are allowed to continue.
That is pretty much all there is to do on the first stage of the Bluehost on-boarding process and once you have hit this point, you can click the blue “go to login” button to gain access to your new hosting account.
When you login to Bluehost, they will automatically select the hosting login option and enter the domain name you registered when you created your account, so all that leaves you to do is enter the new password you created earlier and click the blue “Log In” button to proceed.
You are now on the WordPress section of the Bluehost on-boarding process where you can setup the basic settings for the new blog you are starting in this tutorial.
First you can choose the name for your blog, which would usually be the domain name, then you add a tagline that will be visible in search engines (something that explains what your blog is about).
Click the selector that says “Do you want a blog?” and select that your blog displays blog posts on the homepage as shown in the image above (we can change all of these settings in future when required, so it’s not too important right now).
You are not creating an online store in this specific tutorial, so leave that selector unchecked and now you can click the blue “continue” button to move on.
So Bluehost can recommend the best plugins and extensions for your website, you will now see a simple quiz to give Bluehost a better idea of what you are trying to achieve with your new blog, so they can customize your experience.
As you are learning how to start a blog, the first option which is “share my ideas, photos, stories or videos” will more than likely be the best option and then choose how comfortable you are with creating websites.
On the last stage of the WordPress on-boarding process, you are given the option to choose from a selection of free WordPress themes that Bluehost think are suitable for your blog.
Although in this tutorial we can click the “skip this step” link as shown in the image above (unless you find something you really like and know how to edit it), as I will show you how to install and setup my favourite blogging theme (the one you are looking at right now).
Congratulations, you have now finished the process of registering your domain name, setting up web hosting and installing WordPress on your domain, I bet that was far easier than you thought, am I right?
To quickly move onto the next step in this tutorial, you can click the blue “WordPress” button on the top right of the Bluehost portal, as shown in the image to access your WordPress admin panel.
When you login to WordPress for the first time, it will look like the image shown above and is where you will manage every aspect of building your new blog including themes, plugins and content which we will cover later on.
STEP 8: Additional Hosting Information.
When you first setup your domain, hosting and WordPress, your blog will not be available online when you visit your domain name right away, as it can take some time for the domain to be registered and connect to your new hosting.
If you do visit your domain name right away, you may see something like this:
When I created this tutorial and went through the exact same process, my new domain was available within less than 30 minutes, but even if the domain is not yet connected, you can still access your WordPress admin and edit your site on the temporary domain without any issues (as shown above).
If you followed this tutorial exactly, then you will know when your domain name is registered and live online as when you visit your domain name, it will load the default “Coming Soon” page as shown in the image above.
PLEASE NOTE: The above “Coming Soon” page will only load for your website visitors until you launch your blog from within the Bluehost Portal, which we will do later on, after we have a few posts.
When you are logged into the WordPress admin panel and you visit your domain name, you will NOT see the same “Coming Soon” page as you are “Admin”.
You will see what your website really looks like before you go live to the public so you can get everything setup correctly. You will see the default theme that will look the same as the image above (if you followed me step by step).
STEP 9: Ensure SSL Is Activated.
SSL is important for your blog as it increases overall security and trust with both your visitors and also the search engines as any information sent to or from your website is secured.
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private and integral.
Besides this, if you don’t have SSL activated on your domain name, most web browsers on both desktop and mobile will show your website as “not secure”, which stands out on your blog visitors browsers and can put people off.
If you have any areas on your website that requires people to enter information such as comments on posts, registering an account and contact forms, then you must have SSL to protect your blog visitors.
A great thing about Bluehost is the fact that they automatically activate SSL for you within a few hours after creating your new web hosting account, so you don’t have to make any complicated changes.
To check if SSL is active on your domain, simply type in https:// before you enter your domain name and if you see the green padlock in your browser, then SSL has been setup by Bluehost correctly and no further action is needed.
If you still don’t see the green padlock after 24 hours, then all you need to do is contact live support over on Bluehost and their friendly team will be able to get that setup for you pretty quickly, without any complications.
Step 10: Create Custom Email Address
Having your own custom email address on your own domain name looks far more professional than a free gmail or hotmail address and to prepare for creating our contact forms later on, we can create an email now.
You will first need to head on over to the Bluehost portal (the link for this can be found in the welcome email sent to you after your purchased your WordPress web hosting) and click the “Advanced” option in the bottom left of the screen, as shown in the image above.
Now you are in the cPanel section of your web hosting management, so just scroll down the page a bit until your reach the “EMAIL” heading and then click on the “Email Accounts” link.
Bluehost will have already created you an email address by default, but we will not bother with that one and will create our own by clicking on the blue “create” button, as shown above.
Now you can select the username that will be your email.
I like to use “hello” which would make the email “email@example.com” on the test domain I’m using for this tutorial, or even my name as the username so it looks something like “firstname.lastname@example.org” which is more personal.
Once you have decided on the username for your email address, you can then enter the password which has to be a minimum of 5 characters. The password strength can be a maximum of 100, so the closer you can get to that number the better.
If you want to select the amount of storage space for your email then you can do so from the option below the password, but 100MB is more than enough for me as I don’t save emails for long periods of time, although this is based on your own personal preference.
After going through the settings, click the blue “create” button to create the email address based on your options, as shown in the image above.
The next screen that loads will display the new email address that you just created, so what we can now do is try logging into the email to make sure it can be accessed.
You can access this mailbox by clicking the “check email” link on this page, but Bluehost will log you in automatically, when we want to check the username and password is working correctly manually, so follow the guide shown below.
To access any mailbox you have created, you enter your domain name in the address bar and add /webmail at the end. For example: My test domain is wptutorials.co, so I would type in https://wptutorials.co/webmail – the login screen looks like the one shown in the image above.
The full email address you created previously consists of the username and your domain, so in my example, my username would be email@example.com and the password is the one you created when creating this specific email address.
If you have entered the correct username (the full email address) and your password, you will see the screen similar to the one shown above which gives you 3 different applications to manage your email and the option to set one as default.
I personally like the “horde” email application as it’s easy to manage and displays far better when accessing on mobile, so if you want to use the same then you can click the “set as default” link underneath the “horde” logo, so when you login in future, it will automatically redirect you to horde.
After clicking the “set as default” link, it will change to a star icon with “default” text to let you know you have selected horde as the default email application, so now all you have to do to access your email is click on the horde logo to proceed.
Congratulations, you now have access to your email and can send and receive email to the custom email address you have just created.
Install WordPress Theme
One of the best things about owning a self-hosted WordPress blog is the fact that you now have limitless design possibilities as there are literally thousands upon thousands of free and premium themes to choose from.
Over on WordPress.org alone, there are more than 1,170 free WordPress themes to choose from, so if you don’t want to pay for a premium theme (which I recommend you do), then you still have a ton of choice.
However, with free WordPress themes on WordPress.org and independent developer websites, you may experience the following problems:
As you can see from the issues I listed above, the majority of them are due to the fact that the developers of free themes don’t update the themes code quick enough to keep everything running smoothly and most importantly, secure.
The majority of free themes are created to introduce you to the team of developers and to upsell you into their premium WordPress theme and plugin offers, so it can be frustrating.
With a premium theme from an active developer, you know that there is a team of WordPress experts working behind the scenes keeping it updated inline with all the regular security updates from WordPress themselves and plugin updates.
In this tutorial, we are going to be using a premium WordPress theme called Typology, which is a beautiful, minimal, text based theme which is easy to customise and loads super fast.
Typology is developed by meks, a Power Elite Author on ThemeForest (the most popular website for premium WordPress themes), has a ton of ravings fans including me and at the time of writing this, it is rated 4.96 out of 5, based on 114 ratings.
In my personal opinion, this WordPress theme is PERFECT for beginner bloggers who are learning how to start their first blog and have never customised a premium theme before.
What strikes me about this theme is that the focus is on the content, rather than having a blog full of images and adverts (which really annoys me), as your content is the reason why people visit your blog in the first place, don’t you agree?
Besides the fact that Typology is easy to customise with your own logo, favourite colours, fonts, layouts, it also loads super fast which your readers will love (the search engines will love it too) and it also loads perfectly on every single device.
It simply looks pleasing to the eye and looks beautiful with or without the need for images, so all you need to do is focus on the most important thing, useful content for your readers.
Step-by-Step WordPress Theme Installation:
As this how to start a blog tutorial is for beginners, I thought it would be a good idea to go through the entire purchase, download and installation process for the theme we are going to be using for your new blog.
Let’s head on over to the Typology listing on ThemeForest here to check out all of it’s awesome features, reviews and author awards, then when you are ready, click on the “Buy Now” button as shown within the image above.
You don’t have to use this particular premium WordPress theme, although if you are starting a blog as a beginner, this will be the easiest way to get started now as I’ve gone through quite a few of the customisation options below, to make it your own.
There are more than 11,700 premium WordPress themes on ThemeForest to choose from, so no matter what style you like the most, I’m sure you’ll find a good one.
Plus, you can use the same theme installation process you will learn here to install ANY premium WordPress theme you like, especially if you feel like changing your design and layout in the future.
Chances are, if you are new to blogging and WordPress, then you will not have a ThemeForest account, so you can now create an account as you’ll need one to buy this theme and access the members area to download the files after purchase.
The page on ThemeForest will then expand down below where you are asked to create a username and a password, as well as complete a reCAPTCHA security section, then click on the green “create account and continue” button.
Next up you can enter your billing details which is pretty much similar to any other website that requires your details to verify you are who you say you are when you send your payment, then click “save and continue”.
At the time of creating this guide, there are 3 available payment options on ThemeForest which include a Credit Card, PayPal or Skrill, so just click on the logo of the payment type you prefer and follow the instructions, then click “make payment”.
If you click on the “+Your Order” link, you will see the details of your order and allows you to confirm that you have ordered the correct theme before you send the total payment for the theme itself, a handling fee and the VAT.
Once your payment has been successful, you will see a page similar to the one above to let you know the payment is complete and an email has been sent with a confirmation along with your purchase receipt, although we simply click the “downloads page” link to proceed.
You will now find yourself within the “Downloads” section of your ThemeForest account where you can access all the WordPress theme files, documentation, license certificates and purchase codes related to the premium themes you have purchased inside this account.
As you account will be new, you will just see the Typology theme listed in your downloads section, so all you need to do now is click the green “Download” button and several options will popup, we will select the “Installable WordPress file only”.
It’s now time to log back into the Bluehost portal.
There are other ways to log into your WordPress admin panel, but this is the most beginner friendly way to build your blog right now, although I will add bonus tutorials within the FAQ section at the bottom of this page.
When you login, make sure that you are selecting the right blog domain, although with you been a beginner at starting blogs, you should only have one domain listed here, so if that’s selected, click the blue “WordPress” button on the top right to access your admin panel.
Once logged into WordPress admin you can hover your mouse cursor over the “Appearance” tab in the left hand menu and a secondary menu will appear, then click on “Themes”.
On this area of the admin panel you will see which theme is currently active, all the themes that are currently installed (generally all of WordPress.org default themes) and at the top of this page, you will find an “Upload” button, so give that a click.
Click the “Upload Theme” button at the top of the page and the upload section will appear below, then click “Choose File” and select the theme file you downloaded earlier which is found within the “Downloads” section of your computer, then click “Install Now”.
Allow a minute or so to allow the theme files time to upload from your computer to your blog and once the page reloads, you will see an “Activate” link at the bottom of the page which you can now click to activate the theme you just uploaded.
If you now visit your domain name, you will see that the theme is now successfully installed with the default logo, color and content, although is now ready to be customised with your own selection of colour, font, logo and content.
Install WordPress Plugins
Another one of my favourite features of WordPress (and every other WordPress user I would assume) is the fact that you can add extra functionality to your blog WITHOUT any coding required, just by installing the correct plugin.
On WordPress.org alone there are more than 55,000 free plugins and on CodeCanyon, you will find more than 6,900 premium WordPress plugins to choose from, which pretty much allows you to add any type of functionality you can dream of.
In this tutorial, the majority of plugins I recommend have free versions to download (apart from Thrive Leads for list building), although if you’re like me and you love the plugins as much as I do, you may want to upgrade to the premium version in future, but is not required.
Step 1: Delete Existing WordPress plugins.
First of all, I always like to flush out the plugins I don’t want to use first, as when you completed the WordPress installation earlier, Bluehost will automatically install some plugins by default (from their partners).
To see which plugins are currently installed, hover your mouse cursor over the “Plugins” label within the left hand menu in your WordPress admin panel and then click the “Installed Plugins” label to see the list.
As you will have the same plugins installed by default (as we are both using Bluehost), you would first select all the plugins you want to deactivate, then select “Deactivate” in the top dropdown box and click “Apply” to do them all at once.
In the image above I selected Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights, Jetpack by WordPress.com, OptinMonster API and WPForms Lite to be deactivated as I don’t personally use these plugins right now.
Once you have deactivated all the plugins you don’t need, you can then select all the same plugins (including the “Hello Dolly” plugin), select delete from the drop down box at the top and click “Apply” to remove the plugins.
After deletion of the plugins you will now see that you currently have 2 active plugins which are Akismet Anti-Spam that helps reduce comment spam and the Bluehost plugin that connects your hosting account.
As your blog is just getting started, we can leave Akismet disabled for now until you start getting spam comments, as the more content you have indexed in search engines, the more spammers will be able to find your content and use automated software to try and build links on your blog.
Step 2: Required WordPress plugins.
When you install premium WordPress themes, the developers may integrate theme specific features that may require or work better with a selection of plugins that are either already developed or developed by the theme author.
After we finish installing the developers required and recommended plugins, the Typology theme will then unlock different theme options in the WordPress menu that we can access to customise your blog later on in this tutorial.
In our case, the Typology WordPress theme has 1 required plugin (Redux Framework) and 13 plugins that are recommended by the theme developer, so let’s install all these plugins to unlock “Theme Options” on the menu.
As you are already on the plugin page of the WordPress admin panel from the last part of this tutorial, all you need to do is scroll up to the top of the page and click the blue “Install plugins” button, as shown above.
Out of all the plugins recommended, I only use the “Redux Framework” (which is required) and the “Contact Form 7” plugin for the contact form, although to activate theme options so you can customise everything, we will need to install all plugins.
To install all the these plugins at the same time, just click the top main selector to select all plugins at once, as shown in the image above first, then select install from the drop down box above and click the “Apply” button.
Now you can see that all the required and recommended plugins from the theme developer have now been successfully installed and activated, so just scroll down the list to make sure there has been no issues with any of the plugins.
If you now click on the “Home” link underneath the “Dashboard” section of the menu on the left, you will now notice a new addition to the menu called “Theme Options” which we will be using within the next module of this tutorial to customise your blog.
Step 3: WordPress plugins I recommend.
Over the last decade, I have been through a long list of plugins that used to be valuable but were either abandoned by the developers or stopped performing their specific functions due to lack of updates (which is generally what causes the death of themes and plugins).
This list of plugins I recommend are the very best of the best and will help you grow your blog exponentially if you take full advantage of what features these plugins have to offer.
UpdraftPlus is my favourite backup plugin which allows you to save complete copies of your entire WordPress blog for free, so if anything were to happen, such as a plugin, theme or WordPress update failure that causes your blog to break, you can easily restore everything.
WordPress like any CMS can be vulnerable to things such as server crashes, hacking, security flaws, bad plugin or theme updates and insecure web hosting updates.
I generally make a manual backup of my own blog after I publish new content, so I always have an updated backup of my files including all content, plugins, uploads and the database, in case anything goes wrong.
No matter what problem you might face, UpdraftPlus allows you to clone and download your entire blog to an external source, whether this be online storage such as Dropbox or to your own computer for safe keeping (plus a copy on an external hard drive which is what I do).
Yoast SEO is a really useful WordPress plugin that allows you to manage all aspects of on-page SEO on your blog, which helps you rank your content higher in the major search engines such as Google (this means more visitors will find your content).
Wordfence is the most popular WordPress firewall and security scanner that includes an endpoint firewall and malware scanner that were built from the ground up to protect your WordPress against hackers that target this CMS.
The Threat Defence Feed arms Wordfence with the newest firewall rules, malware signatures and malicious IP addresses it needs to keep your new blog safe.
Rounded out by 2FA and a suite of additional features, Wordfence is the most comprehensive WordPress security solution available and is a plugin I recommend you install right away.
To learn more about all the features, head on over to the Wordfence Documentation hub for tutorials on all aspects of improving the security of your WordPress blog.
The a3 Lazy Load WordPress plugin is something I find of real value, especially with the type of content I create (long form content which ranks better in Google) as if all the images and videos on one post had to load at once, this would cause a real loading speed issue.
When I de-activate the plugin and try to load a post such as the this how to start a WordPress blog guide that you are reading right now, it takes a considerable amount of time to load all the images.
It’s less than a second when I activate the plugin as the images and videos only load one by one when a reader scrolls down, making long form content load much faster.
Easy Table of Contents is also another really useful WordPress plugin that is helpful for your readers, especially if you are creating long form content such as this post you are reading.
As there are many sections in this guide, it’s more user friendly for my readers if they have quick access to each section as and when they need it.
You may want to come back to this page as a reference in the future and it would be quite annoying if you had to scroll through everything to access middle sections.
That’s why I recommend you install this plugin and is simple to use.
YellowPencil Pro is a plugin I have come to appreciate more an more over the past 12 months as I’m not great at editing CSS manually via the WordPress theme editor and with this plugin, I don’t need to learn CSS either.
If you are not happy with the sizes, positions, spacing, colours and fonts on specific sections of your blog, then you can use the visual editor on this plugin to quickly and easily edit sections on posts, pages and custom posts.
This means you can make changes to your CSS without any CSS editing experience, without having to learn CSS and without having to hire an over-priced programmer to do it for you (which usually takes them seconds but charge a fortune).
As you are a beginner starting your first blog, I wholeheartedly recommend this plugin as I’m sure you will appreciate the CSS editing power it gives you and will reduce any stress caused by making CSS changes without any skills required.
Thrive Leads is my favourite list building plugin and makes it really easy for you to build an email list of subscribers (people who actually want to get useful emails from you about new content or promotions inside your very own newsletter).
When you visit my blog, you will see several different optin forms on my website where Thrive Leads is helping me build my email list, such as the optin forms that offer a free download of the Beginner Blogging Blueprint.
There are so many ways you can implement Thrive Leads on your own blog and it’s something you should not avoid as your email list is one of the most valuable assets you will grow from your blog.
Here’s a playlist from the creators that covers some of the cool features.
Later on is this guide you will find a section on creating a blog newsletter, in which I will take you through the installation and implementation of this plugin step-by-step, so you can start building your own list of email subscribers.
Even if you have ZERO list building experience, this plugin will make it happen.
I’m constantly testing new plugins that either make the blogging experience more productive or improve the user experience of my blog for readers, so I will update this section if and when I find something else worth sharing.
Customise Your Blog
The Typology WordPress theme has quite an extensive admin panel that allows you to customise many aspects of your blog, which allows you to put your own spin on it.
All premium WordPress themes that are worth buying all have an extensive admin panel that allows you to change things, so always check the documentation of the theme you decide to purchase for your new blog, as each may be slightly different.
You can customise things such as logo, colours, fonts, header, footer, widgets, post layouts and more as you can see from the image above that shows the Typology theme options section of your WordPress admin panel.
Step 1: Create a simple blog logo
In my personal opinion, your logo is one of the most important aspects of your blog branding, as this is what people will recognise the most on your marketing materials.
Here’s a golden nugget for you, so please take notes.
When new people visit your blog, they may not consume your content right there and then (especially long form), so having an easy to recognise logo will work wonders when you implement specific marketing strategies, that we’ll cover in other tutorials.
For example: When you visit this guide, you first notice the easy to recognise logo, but if you get distracted and leave, you will notice adverts online with my logo (when visiting your favourite websites or Facebook), that will bring you back here.
The problem is, most people over kill or over think the logo design process and web designers over design logos too, so it looks like one big mess, when all you need is a simple text style logo without an icon that is sharp, clear and easy to recognise.
I’m personally not a logo designer but I created the logo for this blog you are reading right now (in just a few minutes) and every time I look at the logo I think to myself, that just works.
Want to know how I did it?
Click here to start a design on Canva, you will need to login or register an account if you don’t have one before you can access this, so I will leave you to do that as it’s simple enough.
Please Note: You will need a Canva Pro account to export your logo with a transparent background (required for your blog), although a free 30 day trial is available and can be cancelled once your logo is created, which makes it free!
You will see the “Custom dimensions” button on the top right of the page, so click that and a box will appear in which you can enter the custom dimensions of your logo canvas.
I entered 250 pixels width by 90 pixels high, so start with that dimension unless you have a little experience using Canva, then click the “Create new design” button.
When you first load the editor it will look something like the image shown above and your image canvas will be zoomed in to make it easier for you to edit (the amount it has zoomed in on the image shown is 356%).
For editing purposes, I like to put a background colour on the logo canvas so I have a better idea of how the logo text displays and the contrast of the colours, although this background colour disappears when we download the logo and select a transparent background.
The arrow on the far left of the image above is what you click to select the background colour options, you then click the “+ Solid color” link and then select a colour that is close to what you want as the background colour on your blog.
Once you select a colour, it will automatically add it to your canvas on the right and then left click in an empty space above the logo canvas to close the background colour menu.
Now click the “Text” option on the left hand menu, click the “Add a little bit of body text” option, this will automatically add some text to your logo canvas, then double click on the text you have just added to edit with the name of your blog.
After double-clicking the original text to change it to your own, you will then activate the text design options, including the font selector shown at the top of the image shown above in which I’ve selected “5Mikrodotz” although you have a ton of fonts to choose from.
On this specific logo I want to use 2 different colours on the same line of text for my example site (to duplicate the process of creating WP Nation logo).
To achieve this I will highlight the first 2 letters by first double clicking the text to highlight all text, then left click once, then left click and hold to drag the cursor over the 2 letters to highlight the 2 letters I want to change.
The colour selector for the text we are editing is available at the top, as shown in the image above and after clicking this you can select from one of the default colours or click the “+” button at the top left to choose your own HTML colour codes.
You can now use a selection of the “spacing”, “resizing” and “zooming” options to adjust the size of the text to fit the image canvas better than it is right now, as shown in the image above.
On the spacing section I use the slider selector on the “Letter” option by left clicking and holding the mouse cursor on top of the round button and then sliding left or right to increase or decrease the spacing of the letters to help it fit better.
To adjust the size, you can left click and hold your mouse cursor at all 4 corners on the text to get the positions right so it fills the image canvas, close to the sides.
I also use the Zooming selector at the bottom right of the screen to zoom out a bit for a better view as it can become difficult to adjust the size when zoomed in too close (on the image, I’m zoomed out to 200%).
Once you are happy with the position of your text, you can now click on the download button at the top right as shown on image, making sure you select “PNG” from the drop down selector and select the “Transparent Background” box, then click the “Download” button.
So let’s head on over to WordPress admin and upload your new blog logo.
You are already aware of how to login to your WordPress admin panel and I showed you earlier how to access the theme options for Typology, so login right now and click on “Branding”, which is the first option on the “Theme Options” menu.
Typology will ask you for 2 different sizes of your image as right now the default logos are plugged into the theme, so we need to replace these 2 images with the ones you create.
That’s why it’s important to get the starting size of your image canvas right from the very beginning, as you can then simply use a free online image resizer to create a duplicate of your image that is 50% of the original size, which is similar to what I did on WP Nation.
The original image that we created that is a size of 250 pixels in width by 90 pixels in height can be uploaded into the “Retina logo (2x)” section of Typology, where as an image that is half the size can be used in the standard “logo” section.
Head on over to Online Image Resizer, click on the “Upload an image” button and this will open a box to access your computer file and your logo should be located in the “Downloads” folder that you downloaded from Canva, select and click open.
After selecting the logo from your computer you will see your logo load further down the page, although it will look a bit weird as it has a transparent background, but that’s all good.
Next you will need to enter the number 50 into the box that is located underneath step number 4 that has the heading “Resize your image”, to reduce the logo by 50%.
Scroll down and click on “Resize Image”, the software will work it’s magic and in a second or two the box below will appear with an option to download your logo at half the size.
To finish this step off, go back to the “Branding” section of the Typology theme options and upload the smaller logo into the first logo section and the original larger logo into the Retina logo section, then click the “Save Changes” button at the top.
Visit the homepage of your blog to check that your logo has successfully uploaded to the theme, as shown in the image above but don’t worry about the background colour just yet.
As you’ve followed me step-by-step, you have already created your logo for a different background colour (same as Canva background), which we’ll now edit in the next step.
You can now see why it’s important that we create our logo with a transparent background as if we didn’t, it would not look as seamless as it does right now on the background colour.
Step 2: Edit the WordPress theme colours
We all have our own favourite colours and as you are using Typology, this means you can paint your own blog in any colour that exists, making it as unique as you and your style.
I have a daughter called “Sky”, plus me and my sons favourite colour is “Blue”, so I decided on “Deep Sky Blue” for WPN, as every time I visit my blog and see this colour, it makes me smile.
As you are already on the Typology theme options page, you can simply click on “Styling & Colors” in the left menu as shown on the image above, so we can change the header background colour where the logo is.
With us both having the default theme settings, you will see that the current background colour is set to #c62641, but as I have already selected “Dark Sky Blue”, I click on “Select Color”, then enter #00bfff in the box to change it.
If you want, you can use one of the preset colours within the palette at the bottom, but I would suggest choosing something unique or a colour that has some meaning behind it like I have.
Once you have decided on your colour, be sure to click the “Save Changes” button located at the top right and this will then save your changes.
I usually click the “Save Changes” button after every single change, then visit my domain to check the changes have taken place before moving onto the next change and you can now see the changes in the image above.
As you can see the “Accent color” (This color applies to post title links when your mouse hovers over them, buttons and some other special elements) is still set to the default colour, so let’s change that now.
Scroll down the page on the “Styling & Colors” section that you’re already on, you can change that to the same colour as the header, so it looks consistent throughout the whole blog.
All colours are changed in the same way as the background we did earlier, so when you have entered your colour code, click the “Save Changes” button again and then visit your domain name to check it’s changed successfully as the image above.
Please Note: Just to clarify in my screenshot above, the blog post title example is blue as when I took the screenshot my mouse was hovering over the title, although it starts off as black until you hover over it, just incase you was wondering.
For the sake of this tutorial, that is all the changes we are going to make within this section to keep things easy, although there are other options you can play around with such as adding a gradient, image or video background, material or flat blog layout and more.
I understand there is a lot involved in starting a blog for beginners and can be quite overwhelming but just take one step at a time and you can always reach out to me if you have any questions or need help making changes to your theme.
Step 3: Add social media links
To be honest with you, I stopped using social media for personal use as it came to a point where it was just consuming all the free time I had with the constant notifications.
However, I do use it for business as that is where most of my potential readers hang out and is more than likely where you will build your first audience, without spending any money.
Here’s how you can quickly and easily add links to the social network accounts you create on the new blog you are starting, using the Typology WordPress theme.
Step 3.1: Adding social links in the sidebar
The Typology WordPress theme has two areas where your readers can access links to your social network profiles, so the first one we are going to do is the one in the sidebar.
Your readers can access your sidebar and links to your social media by clicking on the menu icon in the top right hand corner of your website, as shown above.
When it’s done, it can look something like the example above, although the links you add will depend on where you want to focus your social energy, so choose your platforms wisely.
As you have already installed the plugin that enables the social widget, all you need to do is click the “Widgets” link in the left WordPress menu, which is where you manage all the areas where your widgets display (sidebar and footer).
After the page loads, left click and hold your mouse on the “Meks Social Widget” block, drag it to the “Default Sidebar” section, then release left click in the position you want it to display.
As soon as you release the widget block into position, the widget options will open automatically, so now you can click “Add Icon”, then select the icon for the correct social network, then add a link to your social profile and click save.
To add more than one social network, just click “Add Icon” again and another set of boxes will appear for each one you want to link to and will automatically display in your sidebar.
The settings above the link options allow you to select the title, text intro, type of button you want (square, round, rounded corners), icon size and icon font size that you can adjust.
Step 3.2: Adding social links in the header
The Typology theme also has the option for your readers to access links to your social networks from an icon within the header, at the side of your main navigation menu (that we will add once you have created some pages).
Once you have set this up (which will only take a minute), it will look something like the image shown above, so let’s get to it.
When you login to the WordPress admin panel, select the “Menus” link underneath the “Appearance” section to manage all the theme menus.
Enter a name for the social menu and click the blue “Create Menu” button, as this menu will be specifically for the social profile links in the header only and the name of the menu will only be seen by you.
To add each link, click the drop down box on the “Custom Links” area, then add your URL and name the link according to the social network profile you are adding, then click “Add to Menu” and repeat this process to add them all.
Make sure you select the “Social Menu” option at the bottom of the page (as shown on the image above), so the theme knows what to display and in what order, then click the “Save Menu” button to save all changes.
The order of your links after you have added them can be re-arranged the same as the widget blocks, you simply left click and hold on the link block, then drag into the position where you want it to display, then release left click and save changes.
Once you have added all your social profile links and decided on which order you want them to display in, click on the “Header” link that can be found underneath the “Theme Options” menu section on the left.
On the “Header elements” section, select the box for the “Social icons dropdown”, click save changes, then visit your website and you will see your social profile links are available when you click on the icon in your header.
About social media platforms for beginner bloggers
Before you think about opening social media accounts for your blog on every single platform, you must have a game plan and focus on the one platform that will help you the most.
I decided to focus on YouTube, as sharing video tutorials are really popular in my topic and helps me reach my own goal of building a community of people who want to learn how to use WordPress to either start a blog or build a website.
There are so many different social networks to choose from but you don’t want to spread yourself too thin by trying to crack them all at the same time.
The best advice I ever got from one of my old mentors is to choose just one you enjoy the most and go all out to master it by giving 100% of your attention to that one platform only.
Once you have decided on the best social network platform for you, then you are best taking an online course on Udemy, so you know the basics to get the ball rolling and more advanced tactics you might need in future.
If you feel comfortable sharing videos, then create a YouTube channel that provides tips, tricks, tutorials or news related to your topic, then add links to related blog posts in the video description to attract new readers.
If you don’t want to create videos, then create a Facebook group with a name that would attract an audience targeted to your blog topic, then share tips, tricks, tutorials or news related to your topic in either text or image form.
Beginner bloggers who focus on just ONE social network will have far better results than those who try to update content on all the popular platforms, that is a fact!
Step 4: Add main navigation menu
Although you don’t have any pages right now to add to the main navigation menu (other than the homepage), we can still prepare the menu and add the homepage, so it’s ready for the pages we create in the next section.
Visit the homepage of your blog (making sure you are logged into the WordPress admin first) and click on the “CLICK HERE TO ADD MAIN NAVIGATION”, which will take you back to the menu editing section.
Now click on the “create a new menu” link, as shown in the image above, which will allow us to create a new menu for the main navigation.
Add a new name for the menu so you know which one to edit in the future when you have other pages to add. I have named mine “Main Menu” as shown above and once you enter that, click the “Create Menu” button.
On the left you can add items to the menu, although right now you have no pages, so we will click on the “Custom Links” option so it expands, then you can add a link to the homepage by entering your blog URL and the link text, then click “Add to Menu”.
Once you have added that to the menu, now you can select the “Main Menu” option, as shown in the bottom middle of the image shown above, then you can click “Save Menu” to publish on your blog.
If you visit your blog now, you will see that the main navigation menu is visible in the header and when you create new pages, you can add them to this menu so your most important pages can be accessed from the top of your entire blog.
Step 5: Create Important Pages
This section maybe different for you than it is for me, as you may not want to create the same pages as I do as standard, you may want to add additional pages based on what products, services or information you want to share.
What I do know is that beginner bloggers should have at least:
- Contact Page: So readers can get in touch with you easily
- Disclaimer Page: Limits your liability and protects your rights
- Terms and Conditions: The legal contract between you and readers
Any other pages you add are based on your own personal requirements such as “About Me” if you want to showcase your work to attract clients or “Resources” for things you recommend.
Step 5.1: Add new page
Let’s start this off by looking at how to create a page and add it to the main navigation menu, as you can use this knowledge to create any other pages you might need to add in future.
You can create a new page from the left hand menu on your WordPress admin by hovering your mouse over the “Pages” heading and then clicking the “Add New” link.
Now you are on the page editing section where you can quickly and easily add text, images, shortcodes, HTML, lists and other “Blocks” that is built into the Gutenberg editor, which was recently developed and launched by the WordPress team.
At the top you will enter your page name, below you can click your mouse on the section where it says “Start writing or type / to choose a block” and can simply start typing text or type “/” without quotes to choose a block.
The “+” icon that I have pointed an arrow to on the left is what you can click to choose a block or you can select a block from the quick access menu which I have boxed in blue to the right on the image above to add a shortcode, image or text.
When you do click on the “+” icon a popup will appear that allows you to choose what type of block you want to create such as paragraph, list, image, heading, gallery, quote, audio, cover, file or video (these are within the common blocks section) and others are available below.
You may find it difficult at first to navigate your way around this page, but that’s completely normal, just check out a couple of Gutenberg WordPress Tutorials on YouTube, as you will need to get used to this editor when creating your posts in the future.
Side Note: Shortcode blocks are especially useful if you have plugins that integrate shortcodes, so instead of having to create and edit raw HTML code, you simply add a shortcode and the plugin enters the code (such as the contact form we’ll create)
After you’ve added the blocks for this page (text, images, lists or anything else), then you can either click the “Preview” button which will open your new page in a new window so you can check your changes, or click publish to make the page live.
After you publish the page, you can click the “View Page” link on the top of the page editing screen above the title, as shown on the image shown above.
Congratulations, you have just published your first page and this is live on your blog, although as you can see from the screenshot above, the page can not yet be accessed from the main navigation menu, so let’s take care of that.
Step 5.2: Add new page to menu
It’s important that readers of your blog have quick access to the main pages on your website, such as about me, resources and contact forms, so after creating a main page, don’t forget to add this to the main navigation menu.
On the image above, the left arrow shows you the location of the menu editing section of the WordPress admin panel, the top arrow allows you to select which menu you want to edit.
Under the “Add menu items” section you will see that the new page you just created is on the list, so simply select that and click “add to menu” and it will automatically move it to the right, underneath the “HOME” block.
Once done, click “Save Changes” to add the new page to your menu.
When you visit your blog now, you will see that your new page can be accessed from the main navigation menu in the header, making it easier for your visitors to switch between the homepage and other main pages.
Step 5.3: Create Contact Page
As your blog becomes more and more popular over time, readers will want to contact you for a variety of reasons which might include support, advertising or partnership opportunities.
So lets create a “Contact Page”.
We already installed the Contact Form 7 plugin in a previous section of this tutorial, so all we need to do now is visit the settings area of the plugin and change a couple of things to make it work correctly.
When we previously installed Contact Form 7, the plugin creates a new form by default, so to make this process quick and easy, click on the “Contact form 1” link, as shown above.
There is a shortcode to insert this contact form in a page (shown on the top arrow) in which you simply copy and paste into the content section when creating a new page and it will automatically load the html and settings of this form.
The section shown below (shown on the bottom arrow) is where you can edit the fields of the contact form to add radio buttons, check boxes, additional text fields, phone numbers, file uploads and more.
To keep this quick and simple, we will not edit the default fields right now, so when you do insert the shortcode in your contact page, your visitors will have fields to enter their name, email, subject and message, before submitting the form.
You will first need to click on the “Mail” tab, as this is the section of the Contact Form 7 plugin sections that allows you to choose where the emails are sent after someone fills out and submits the form and will look similar to the screenshot above.
If you remember, we created a custom email address in a previous section of this tutorial, so now we can put that to use and enter the email we created into the 2 sections shown in the image above, then click the blue “Save” button on the top right.
With the default settings on this section, you will be able to determine that the email you have received has come from your new blog and all the fields are in the correct place so you’ll be sent their name, email, subject and the message in the email the form sends you.
Once you have saved the new email settings, you can now copy the shortcode that will enable you to embed this contact form into a new page by left clicking over the text shown on the image above which will automatically highlight the shortcode, then right click and select copy.
Now you can add a new page as we have done before by clicking the “Add New” option under the “Pages section, enter a title for the page at the top and then right click over the text that says “Start writing or type / to choose a block” and select paste (that will paste the shortcode we copied earlier).
When you paste the shorcode, WordPress will automatically create a shortcode block as shown above, then you simply click “Publish” on the top right of this page to publish the contact page with the contact form embedded.
If you want to add text or images above the contact form, then click the title to activate the title block, then hover your mouse over the block near the bottom middle as shown above, then click the “+” icon to add a new block.
After adding any changes, always remember to click the “Update” button on the top right of the page so your changes are saved and published online.
After you have added all the blocks you want and updated the page, click on the “View Page” link to see the new contact page you have just created.
As you can see, your contact form is now successfully embedded on your new contact page, although can not yet be accessed from the main navigation menu as we have not added it yet, but let’s test that the forms works first.
Enter your details, as if you were a reader of your blog and was asking a question (using an email you already own), then click the send button at the bottom of the page to submit the form to the email we plugged into the contact form settings.
Login to the email client for the email address we created earlier on Bluehost and as you can see from the image above, the contact form has sent successfully.
As we know the contact form works, we can add this page to the main navigation menu in the header by going back to the contact page, hovering your mouse over your blog name in the top left and clicking the “Menus” link on the dropdown menu.
The contact page will be listed on the left hand side (underneath the “Add menu items” in the “Pages” section), so select that and click “Add to Menu” which will add the contact page block to the menu on the right, then click “Save Menu”.
If you visit your blog now, you will see that the contact page can be accessed within the main navigation menu in the header across your entire blog and you know it’s working correctly after the test we did earlier, so that is now complete.
Publish First Blog Posts
You may be thinking to yourself, “OK I have already started my WordPress blog and everything is online ready for me to start blogging, but what the heck am I going to write about” and that’s a normal feeling to have, but it’s far easier than you think.
Look at this blog you are reading right now, the content you will find here is based on questions that several people are actually searching in Google on a DAILY basis.
To attract your first readers and start building your own audience, all you need to do is figure out what questions people are trying to find an answer for in Google that are related to the topic of your blog, then you create content to answer these questions.
Frequently Asked Questions
However, if you read our tutorial first & get free 1-on-1 support from WP Nation, then you can start a blog in literally 10 mins and can start writing your first post.
A WordPress optimised web hosting service that we recommend that has actually been recommended by WordPress themselves for the last decade can cost as little as £3.25 per month, which comes with a free domain and there are tons of premium blogging themes that cost less than £50.
You must first focus on creating or outsourcing content that offers value to people and build a relationship with your readers, then you can start recommending products or services that you personally use that can help your readers achieve the same results that you have already proven to achieve.
WordPress is free, but It’s recommended that you host WordPress on your own server as this will improve security and remove any limitations such as limited theme and plugin choices, slower loading speeds and advertising restrictions.