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Have you always wanted to build a website?  Whether it was a website for personal use or to create a website for your business?  Or to start a blog that makes money?   

This free tutorial will show you how to create a professional website and start a blog on WordPress in 2019.

To skip the introduction and start with the tutorial, click here.

My name is Dylan Bergum, SEO strategist at Toronto Digital Marketing Agency, Two in TO Media.  I am going to show you how you can create your own website with blog and get your ideas to the world!

Creating a website can be overwhelming for many individuals, especially for those that aren’t tech savvy.  If you are one of these people, it is time to put those insecurities behind you because this free guide will teach those of any computer skill level to start their own website and blog in half an hour or less.

When I first started creating websites and blogs, I can admit that I made a ton of mistakes!  This is exactly why I made this blog post.  I want to help you to avoid the same mistakes as I did (especially when it comes to web hosting!).  I also want to create a value-providing guide on how to start a blog or website for beginners.  If you have any issues or questions please do not hesitate to send me a message.

What is a blog?

A blog is a website that focuses on written content from the perspective of an individual with the main goal of connecting with their readers.

Contributing to this blogger-reader connection is the fact that blogs have a specific theme.  For example, a theme might be skiing, hockey or dogs.  In addition, blogs commonly have a comment section, which allows readers to verbally interact with the blogger.

Blogs are a great source for networking, socializing and learning more about yourself or your interests.

 

Why should you start a blog? What’s holding you back?

A blog allows you to have your voice heard!  You don’t need to be an expert writer or make blogging your 9-5.  Blogs can be extremely beneficial for a number of reasons:

  • You can make money from HOME!
  • You can create a spotlight on yourself or your business
  • You can have your voice heard
  • You can create a community

The internet is always growing.  This means an abundance of opportunities for you to create your own website and get your blog out there.

Now let’s get started and I will show you how to build a killer website!

 

Create your website or blog in 6 easy steps!

  1.   Blog Concept and Name
  2.  Getting Your Website and Blog Online
  3.  Choose a Theme Template For Your Blog
  4.  Create Blog Content
  5.  Get Your Blog Exposure
  6.  Monetize Your Blog

1: Your Blog Concept and Name

The first step to starting your website with blog is to choose a topic that either interests you or that you are knowledgeable about.

This step may be easy for some and difficult for others.  But remember, you can literally blog about anything!

A few good methods for discovering your perfect blog idea include:

  • Your business:  Do you have a flower shop? A restaurant? A car dealership?  Feel free to blog about any of these niches.  You have an upper edge by being involved in the industry!
  • Hobbies or interests:  Do you love to travel? Basketball? Hiking? Have a favorite travel location?  Choosing a hobby or interest and relating it to a specific region or geographic area can help you attract a specific audience to your blog.  This is great because it helps you establish a deeper connection with your readers and create a stronger community that is most likely going to keep coming back to your content.  A good example of this would be a blog relating to “Basketball in Toronto” or “Basketball in Ontario”.
  • Your experiences:  We all go through a variety of experiences in life.  You can start a blog about your experience dealing with a specific illness or an engaging job like an ER nurse.  There are so many experiences we go through that we could tell never-ending stories! Use this to your advantage.
  • A branded blog about YOU:  You can also start a blog about yourself.  Blog about everything you deal with daily or any thoughts that come to your mind.  Let your personality shine through in your blog and people will naturally be interested.  Authenticity is great!

Once you have decided on a blog topic, it is time to move onto your blog name.  If you choose a blog about sewing, you could perhaps go with a name like “Sewing for Millennials” or “Sewing for Beginners”.

For a personal blog, you might decide to go with “Janice’s Blog” or “Blogging with Janice”.

Domain name

At this point you should have both a blog topic and a blog name.  Now it is time to chose your domain name!  An example of a domain would be /.  Here the domain name is Two In TO Media.

Use a domain name that relates to your blog niche and contains words or phrases that people interested in that niche can relate to.  This helps to ensure that your blog will be easily discovered and remembered by your target audience.

Now click here and type your desired domain in the search bar at the top of the screen.

 

If the domain is free you will receive the below message:

Sometimes it can be difficult to find an available .com domain name.  In this case you can then try for some alternatives.   If you are Canadian or your blog topic focuses on Canada/Canadians, you could opt for a .ca domain.  In the rare instance that neither a .com or .ca domain is available, feel free to register a .org or .net.

Other options might be to add small variations to your desired domain such as changing “CookingForCanadians.com” to “MyCookingForCanadians.com”.

2: Put your Website and Blog Online

Now you have your blog topic and name, along with domain!  The next step is to put this blog online.  Don’t worry, this is actually SO EASY!

You will need two things for this part.  One is the web host and two is the CMS or content management system that you build the website on.  You can almost always get these two things packaged together in one.  I will show you how to do this shortly.

The web host puts your website/blog online for the world to see.  We will be using Web Hosting Canada.  I both use and recommend this host for all my clients due to the following reasons:

  • It is up to 3x faster than competitors (speed is important for SEO, along with bringing and retaining traffic on your website!)
  • It has 24/7 assistance
  • It has Canadian Geolocation
  • It has 1 click install of WordPress
  • It has built-in security

Click here to use Web Hosting Canada today and take advantage of their current sale prices.

There are many blogging platforms out there but for ease, popularity and customization, we will be using WordPress.  WordPress will also be referred to as our CMS or Content Management System. 

 

1.  Navigate to the top left of your screen and select “Hosting & Servers”

And then select “Canadian Web Hosting”.

2.  Here it depends on the type of website you are creating.  I imagine most of you following this tutorial will be starting a simple blog or website, therefore I would suggest the “Pro” plan.  If you are planning a more advanced website, I would suggest “Enterprise”.

3.  Now you can chose your billing cycle.  The longer the billing cycle, the less you will pay over the long term.  Web Hosting Canada lets you cancel free of charge at any time, so don’t worry about the duration. 

At the bottom of the screen, type in the domain you had chosen earlier and click “go”.

Next, click “Add to cart”.

Finally you will have the option of choosing some add-ons.

I highly recommend the “SSL Certificate + Dedicated IP Address”.  This is extremely important for search engine optimization because Google is slowly phasing out from search results, websites without an SSL.

An SSL certificate will add “HTTPS” to your URL.  This creates an extra blanket of security for your website by encrypting sensitive information.

I also recommend “Enterprise AntiSpam”. 

Now you are all set up with your domain and hosting!

 

4.  WordPress Installation and Login.

Simply install and login to your WordPress.

To login to your WordPress, go to //www.myblog.com/wp-admin to display your login screen (replace “myblog” with your own domain name).

3: Choosing a Theme Template

Now that you are logged into the WordPress administrator, you can choose the design you want for your website and blog.  This is the step where you will actually design your own website!

You might have a specific idea in mind and WordPress is great for this because it is so customizable.

From the WordPress dashboard you will hover over “Appearance” and then click “Themes”.

Once you are in themes you will have the option to choose from a variety of free themes.

For my own websites I use the Divi theme.  Divi is a paid theme that offers a variety of features that free themes do not and also looks much more professional and custom.

Divi is extremely easy to use compared to other paid builders and you don’t need to know much of any coding to use it.  Many small businesses use Divi for these very reasons.

Divi is amazing because:

  • It it a drag and drop builder
  • It is all purpose
  • It has tons of modules for texts, maps, blurbs, sliders and more
  • It has tons of layouts
  • It is very customizable

For example, if I have a restaurant or want to start a blog on restaurants, I can choose the following layouts through Divi:

 

In order to install the Divi theme,  click here and select “Join to Download” in the top right corner.

Full Disclosure: Web Hosting Canada and Divi compensate me when you purchase through the above links, so my services are free!  If you have issues setting up your blog with this tutorial, just send me a message and I will help you.

Please note: Once downloading Divi, I recommend speaking with Web Hosting Canada online chat support to help you install your Divi theme. 

Now you simply choose the access type of your choice and click “Sign up Today”.

From here the process is straight forward and Divi even provides a video tutorial from start to finish on how to install your Divi theme.  The video is provided below!

Once again, if you have any issues, Divi and I are here to help!

How To Install The Divi Theme

Now back to customizing our theme!

After watching the video provided above, proceed to the “Appearance” tab on the sidebar of your WordPress Admin and let’s get started!

Once your Divi theme is installed you have the option to choose different layouts for each individual page of your website.  There are layouts for  “About Us”, “Contact Page” and more.

These layouts can also be easily customized to fit your own style.  Everything from the color of the website, header section size, font color and more.

For this tutorial we will choose the “Restaurant Blog Page”, which will give us the following:

See how easy that was? Now all you need to do is add your content to the blog.

In order to add text, just click the grey circle with the + sign.  The sign will appear when hovering over the general area with your mouse:

Following this, type “text” in the search bar within the module box and select the “text option.  

Now you will have a text box as shown below, which allows you to write any sort of text you like. 

If you want to add an image, simply search “image” in the module box and it will then allow you to input any images you would like within your blog post. 

Extra: Install Plugins

If you have any sort of knowledge regarding WordPress then you might have heard about “plugins”.  A plugin is essentially a software that offers specific functions or features to your WordPress website.

Check out this blog post for more in-depth information regarding WordPress SEO tips.

Plugins are important for maximizing your SEO potential which will bring and retain traffic on your website.  I personally recommend the following plugins:

Yoast SEO: The best overall plugin for SEO.  This will improve your search engine rankings and user experience.

Smush: Compresses your website’s images in order to improve your loading speed.

WP Super Cache: Improves website speed by caching your pages.

WP-Optimize: Cleans your WordPress database to keep it running smoothly.

Sucuri Security: Protects your website from malware and other threats.

Child Theme Configurator: Allows you to easily create a child theme for your website.  This protects you from potential issues when your theme updates.  I recommend anyone using WordPress themes creates and builds their website on a child theme. You can read more regarding child themes here.

UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore: Creates backups of your website in the event your website crashes.

To add a Plugin, navigate to your WordPress admin dashboard and hover over “Plugins” and select “Add New”.  From there you search for the desired plugin name and install and activate.

4: Create Blog Content

The hardest parts are now over with!

If you have made it this far, you should have the following:

  • Hosting set up
  • WordPress installed
  • Divi theme installed
  • Theme template installed

Now I will show you how to easily create a blog post each time you want to draft content.

In your WordPress dashboard,  navigate to the sidebar on the left and hover over “Posts”.  Once there, click “Add New”.

This will bring you to the screen below where you can then input a name for your blog within the “Add title” box.

After inputting your page title, simply select “Use Divi Builder” and you will be able to search for the exact theme you would like to use for your blog.

You have three options when it comes to your blog post theme.  You can build one from scratch (not recommended), use a Divi theme, or clone an existing page on your website.  

Once you have decided on a theme for your blog posts and use it consistently, I would suggest always using the “Clone existing page” option.  This will let you select the same format as a previous blog post and then all you have to do is change the content and images.  

If you decide to draft your whole blog within Divi and not publish right away, please remember to select the “Save Draft” option in the bottom right corner.  Selecting “Publish” will publish your blog on your website, which would allow viewers to see it before it is completed.

5: Get your Blog Out There

In my opinion, if you publish great content you won’t have to do much self-advertising of your blog and it will gradually make itself known.  However, when you first start your blog it is definitely important to get your name out there.

The most viable option for beginner bloggers is to post the blog link on social media profiles.  This includes a post on Facebook or Twitter, which your friends can comment on and share.

You can also advertise your blog post on your Instagram account.  Simply paste the link to your blog in your Instagram profile and then create an Instagram post (maybe post the image included in your blog post).  In the caption simply direct your followers to click the link in your profile to see your latest blog post.

Another good option is to be active on forums relating to your blog topic.  If your blog is about horses, you might consider joining a forum relating to horses and creating a thread with your blog and link.

Email marketing is another fantastic way for you to keep in constant touch with your readers and to create a community.  With email marketing your readers will be notified each time you create new content.  I will be doing a separate blog post on email marketing in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

6: Monetize Your Blog

Now to answer your most pressing question: How do I start a blog and make money?

A website or blog is full of opportunities to make extra income for yourself.  When first starting out, don’t expect to make a whole lot or to make any at all.  This will come in due time as you create good content and establish your blog within your niche.

Once blogging you can create, advertise and sell your own products, get paid to write reviews on products which you publish on your blog, sell advertising space or affiliate marketing.

I won’t get into detail on these different monetization techniques, but will be publishing more blog posts regarding these in the near future. 

You can use all of the above to start your own blog business!

Anymore Questions? 

I hope you found value in this tutorial and learned something new.

If any of my instructions were not clear enough or you run into any issues, please feel free to send me a message here and I will personally get back to you!

 

 

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