200+ comments. Darn good for answers.
Hi, I’m Greg Narayan.
That’s a picture of my first MacBook and the WordPress book I read on one fateful train-ride home that got me into blogging. It was taken in Chinatown, NYC circa 2013.
Fast forward 4 years now and I’ve built around 50-75 blogs, a few of theme quite successful. My goal is to teach you how to make a successful blog too.
A blog is like a painting – our 5th blogpost is better than our 1st and we all have a unique style. There’s no one way to do it right.
My first blog was a terrible mess of all my ideas but it taught me how to be online, write what people wanted to read (and didn’t), recruit other writers and organize things like images and ads on otherwise white blog space.
However within all the worries and stresses of creating a blog and putting yourself out there there are also many consistencies: strategies which always work and will help you create a beautiful blog with a growing, loving audience with whom you can blog for a living.
I hope to share these strategies with an up and coming blogger like you on this page!
How to make a WordPress blog – a complete beginner tutorial
That’s me looking all skeptical like you might be now. Don’t worry, this page is no fluff and I would never waste your time. It’s the real deal.
First off, in this web 3.0 world, I know that you want information fast. This page used to tell you things like personable, be giving and be a risk-taker but you already know this stuff from real life. To deliver you good information fast, I put by best advice on how to create your blog into this video (and regularly replace the video with my newer guides).
This video is called Create a WordPress Blog – 2017 – Make Any Kind of Blog and will show you:
✓ How to easily use WordPress.org with your own domain name
✓ The advantages of self-hosting
✓ How to setup Google Ads (Adsense) and how to get accepted to their program as a publisher (what you want as a Blogger)
✓ How to setup Google Analytics in a couple steps and track real blog visits
✓ What posts to right when you launch
✓ Where to get amazing images, how to edit them and touch them up, etc.
✓ How to create tons more like:
- A blogpost: Hello, world!
- A basic image/photo: Uploaded to WordPress and fitted nicely in the blogpost
- A URL link: To help you click back to Dear Blogger or over to HostGator, where setup begins
- A new theme: The whole design has been changed to a theme called Patchwork 1.2.1 (just one of thousands of free themes out there)
- A plugin: To add Facebook, Twitter, and +1 buttons to the blogpost for convenient sharing
✓ And that you really can make just about any kind of blog you see on the web or follow already
The video is 3 whole hours so I know that it might take some folks a night or even a whole week to get through. If you’d rather not watch, I’m going to cover the 5 most important areas of blogging below. I’ll give you a taste of everything, like a large sampler platter appetizer at your favorite restaurant 😉 You’ll have to ask for some specifics though.
How to make a blog that’s worth a large amount of money
Disclaimer Time: Blogging doesn’t have to be for a living.
But as you start a blog I bet you’re at least considering the chance that the blog you make might be become widely popular and worth a lot. It’s only natural.
If you’re the type of envisions blogging for a career, maybe making the next Huff Post on ________ or selling a blog someday you need to follow 3 steps.
- Use WordPress
- Blog every week
- Make your blog topic very specific at first
So let me explain those three things and why they are necessary.
1. Use WordPress
WordPress.org, or WordPress for short, is my favorite blogging software. I recommend it to everyone because when you make a blog with it you are instantly on the playing field with the likes of Forbes, Katy Perry, Tech Crunch, Tim Ferris Blog, Time.com, and thousands more. WordPress powers over 26% of the web’s most popular 10 million websites so it’s a no brainer to use them. It’s free to use, you just need to get a domain name and self-hosting space.
Sure, it was fun trying to get by with the free blog-hosting sites like Blogger and Tumblr was fun back in the day, but:
- You don’t get your own domain name, and that “.blogspot” or “.tumblr” is a constant reminder you don’t own your blog and that it can be taken down by someone else. I’m all about owning up to my work and this just wasn’t enough.
- You’re limited to how it’s all designed and monetized. Free blogs just look like free blogs, but WordPress.org (aka WordPress) can be made to look like the NewYorker.com, Beyonce.com, TheFourHourWorkWeek.com or any number of popular websites.
When I realized getting a domain and hosting (all you need to “self-host”) was just as easy as making a purchase on Amazon – but a whole lot more fun – it was on.
Once you make a WordPress blog you will understand. You’ll know how to make a real blog/website and will tell everyone and recommend it to everyone. Trust me.
2. Blog every week
This advice is more stylist than techie. The best way I can put it is this, when you create a blog you should pick topic you can write about every week. You can take any topic like “best cameras” and cover new angels, trends, photographers and such every week. You could write about stocks or work out tips every week. You could even right about your life every week. As long as you start excited and stay excited. Pick one of those topics you just write on and your fingers fly across the keyboard as your head nods and your foot taps away.
The “every week” part also means you need to publish on a schedule. It can be Tuesday mornings or Thursday afternoons or Sunday after brunch, and you can ask your readers, but breaking your schedule and not telling people why is a silent blog killer. People will be annoyed and won’t even tell you. It’s hard enough to follow blogs these days, and it’s your job as the author to be regular. This isn’t to give you pressure, it’s just to level with you. Imagine how hard it would be to watch your favorite sitcoms like Seinfeld or Friends if they were on at different times (okay maybe not that hard with Netflix and content sydication across networks, but you get the picture).
3. Make your blog topic very specific at first
Building a specific blog or a “niche-narrow” blog is important because a. people often arrive at your blog expecting one thing, like camera reviews or fitness guides or stock tips and b. it eases your load in that you only have to do one thing really well. Writing a blog about your entire life is the second blog killer. We all want to create a really busy blog and we’re tempted to put everything good we’ve done online, but this kind of randomness is only found on personal blogs that aren’t meant to become popular. Once you’ve acheived blogging fame in your specific, chosen niche and are a known expert on one amazing thing, then you can get all random. But not beforehand.
Additional reading (all my writing, kind of vain, but I like these ones)
THE Best Places to Blog (updated 2014 edition) – Survey ALL your options, it’s important. This ongoing list of 21 places to blog currently ranks #1 in Google for several competitive phrases and is well-worth your read. Plus if you comment, you may get some nice exposure 😉
How to Blog for Money – In one of the first guides I published here, we cover several legitimate ways to monetize a blog depending on where you’re at right now.
How Playboy Can Help Your Blog – For my first appearance at ProBlogger, I stole my roommate’s magazine to figure out how we can make our blogs irresistible too. It got pretty heated.
The Only SEO Your Blog Posts Needs – SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is hard for all of us at first. So in this post, we break down a few simple takeaways you can use to SEO your blog past others in your niche relatively quickly.
How I Got a Google PageRank 3 in 3 Months with Only 28 Backlinks – Building Google was tough; building PageRank is easy. This one is among the most read at the blog.
My readers constantly send me with little notes saying these articles broke down complex blogging concepts in an understandable manner. I’m positive you’ll find them useful.
How to make your new blog look beautiful right away
Beautiful images will invite people to explore your blog and join in on your adventure. If you don’t have time to take professional photos of your own, I recommend getting images from Pixabay. It’s amazing over there, they keep it all free and copyright free so you don’t have to worry, and most of the images are downright stunning for any kind of blog you’ll create.
For editing images, I recommend using Pixlr.com (free and like Photoshop) and Logomakr (free with icons for logos and graphics) for starters, then upgrading to PicMonkey (paid and what most professional bloggers and YouTubers I know use). Between these two resources you can add shapes and text to images, create collages, and create all the necessary graphics your blog tutorials will need! You’re welcome 🙂
How to get traffic to your new blog
Getting traffic is a necessary process on any blog in any niche. There’s no magic behind it either. You simply need to get people to your site. Real people reading your content. Of course, it helps to know where these people come from:
Google traffic – the best kind of traffic is Organic Google Traffic. People search for topics like “best time to travel to New Zealand” or “easy way to loose 5 lbs” and your articles come up. You’ll need good relevant titles on your articles and a few other seo tweaks like choosing a focus keyword. The good news is this beginner SEO becomes second nature after a few articles!
Social Media traffic – the second most valuable traffic source for your blog will almost surely be social media. Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are among the best. A random example, but you’ve got to see how much free Pinterest traffic the WordPress blog known as PinchOfYum gets!
Traffic from other blogs – when you guest post for other blogs and your article goes live, they’ll send you a surge of traffic. It’s your job to interest these readers enough in under 1 minute and capture these readers as email subscribers so they’ll become a part of your community too.
You’ll have to give your blog time to build healthy traffic. The screenshot above for example is just 1 year of traffic, about 500k visitors from 2016, but it took me nearly 4 years to reach this level. As long as you’re going up and don’t check the numbers too often you’ll be fine. 🙂
The most important step in creating a new blog that gets traffic is to focus the experience of my ideal reader. Put your self in their shoes. Then design your blog to provide exactly what that person would want to see, in the best order you can put stuff, so a reader has a really easy, amazing time on your blog. Creating a great user experience will definitely result in more shares. And as we’ve said since day one, it’s the readers who grow your blog for you! Think about all the links that get shared on social media. It’s us, the readers who grow blogs for them. It’s never the owner of Huff Post, CNN, Forbes, Buzzfeed, or another great blog doing the sharing him or herself, it’s the readers!
Demo blogs you can make today with our free tutorials
At the moment we offer 6 live blogs with complete setup instruction on YouTube. Click on the images to view the live demo blogs. Click on the titles to begin the tutorial.
“Explore” – our newest deluxe blog for 2017 | Start tutorial
“Beginner” – huge logo, icons and easy email subscription | Start tutorial
“Sydney” – one page professional business website loved by many | Start tutorial
“Delicious Coffee Shop” – sell just like Amazon with your own online store | Start tutorial
“Comfy Animals” – our best eCommerce tutorial from 2016 | Start tutorial
“The First Try Blog” – the blog that started the demos | Start tutorial
Personal aside: Know that I wouldn’t have taken months hand crafting each demo blog and website if I didn’t truly believe it could inspire you to start blogging.
The best place to self host a WordPress blog. Period.
If you’re going with WordPress.org like I do, you need some place to get you a domain name and host all your files and keep them secure. As with most things in life, you have a million options.
For example, you could host everything from your own computer like Evan Williams of Blogger or Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook once did.
Or, you could get the most expensive host with lots of security features and warranties baked in. This might make you feel safer (but why are these back ups needed in the first place?)
You could even hire a web developing company to host your site from their own server space and build it out for you. You’ll have to call someone to make any changes, but it’s still a good option.
Really, if you’re like me when I began on WordPress.org, you probably want something basic and cheap that works long-term (FLUFF NOT INCLUDED, TYVM), which is why I recommend going with a basic shared hosting plan from HostGator.
HostGator is what I’ve used since the day I got serious about blogging, and I trust their servers with 10-20 of my blogs and websites at any one time. Their customer service is world class and they’re the kind of place that’s ideal for beginners and advanced bloggers alike.
That’s said, do your homework.
If you do get setup with HostGator, you can use my coupon BIGBONUS for 50% off your domain and hosting. At 50% more than the standard discounts, this is the best HostGator coupon you’ll find and I’m proud to allow my readers to use it. It’s valid only for a limited time.
Check out what just a few people had to say:
And I’d love to hear from you too!
Disclaimer: If you do decide to sign up at HostGator and use my links to get there, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. The cost is actually less because I’m able to offer you several discount coupons. Either way, this commission helps keep this blog free for a growing audience. So if you do click my affiliate link before signing up, thanks for your support. Drinks on me!
I’d write down beginner tutorials perfect for post-launch stages…
Whether you go WordPress, Xanga, Tumblr, LiveJournal, Drupal or whatever, here are some articles to kick everything off for you. These words form the pillars of the blog’s content and I deem all five essential for any new blogger hoping to dominate online:
- 10 Urgent Tasks After Your New Blog Goes Live
- How to Create an Everlasting About Me Page
- What is a Brand?
- What is Google Plus?
- High Standards: When is a Post Good Enough to Publish?
Our Free Community eBook (just a party favor)
If you’ve made it this far, I want to introduce you to my newsletter and more importantly to bounce rate. Bounce a blog stat we definitely should talk more about but definitely do not want much of, because it’s the number of times people land on our blog and leave without clicking on anything.
Way back in summer 2012, right before we launched, I did an extensive case study on one of my other blogs to reduce bounce rate. The eBook explains it all, but here’s what happened:
For the past year or so, I’ve been giving away my eBook Bye-Bye Bounce Rate for free to new subscribers. My plan was to start charging for the book after 1000 downloads, but now that we’re nearly there, I’ve said screw it. The book will always be free.
Save your money for the important stuff.
Pop in your name and email to get everything (it’s free):
You also get Blogging and Life – an ongoing digest of my struggles and successes in blogging. Please note this is a new project so there may be some kinks still yet but I can say the stuff I’ve already written is powerful as heck. If a strategy helps me, you’ll hear about it.
Connect with us: 5 outlets for more blogging questions and answers
I guess this is the point where I say “Like my page” or something cheesy, but unlike other bloggers who bombard readers with these messages, I’ll never do that. Instead, I’d like to point you to my social media outlets in case I’m not here when you have a question:
I believe in same-day responses. None of this waiting forever crap, because I’ve been on the asking side, desperately needing a fix for my own work, and it stinks.
Lastly, I’d stick around to help
Because the worst thing that can happen when you buy a product, even something you love, is that feeling of “oh crap” I’m stuck, with something I don’t know how to use.
I want you to know:
I drop by every morning, and often times in the afternoon, from mobile, from my buddy’s, even at the dinner table to help out with blogging questions. I love helping out but that doesn’t mean I know everything either. I ask you guys for help all the time. So, where you can, join in! No gurus here, just a guy like you who was lucky to find his niche early on and a tribe of followers. So I’m curious, what will you find?
I hope you’ll join in, and look forward to chatting!
To Great Blogging,
Greg Narayan – The Blogger
p.s. If you found this page helpful (and have a Google account) please click on the “PLUS ONE” button below. I’m running a case study now to see how much “+1s” impact Search results, and even with just the support so far, the results are fantastic. Stay tuned because I’ll be posting on this soon…Thanks for joining in!