One of the most common questions I get is “How do you start a blog for affiliate marketing”? Put things on hold for the next 15 minutes and follow the three steps below. You’ll be up and running with your own blog before you know it.
In this post, I aim to show you how to start a blog and get you affiliate marketing / blogging career rolling! I want this to be as easy as possible for you, so this guide will be simple. Going through the process step by step.
What We Will Cover:
- Domain Name and Hosting
- Installing WordPress
- Setting Up Your Blog
How To Get a Domain Name and Hosting
What name would you like to call your blog?
It seems like a simple question but it can really rack your brain trying to decide on that “perfect name”. Decide on a few very simple names for your blog. Simple names are easy to remember and type in the address bar, plus your first pick may already have been claimed by someone else.
I would suggest you think about your niche and what direction you want to take your blog and list a bunch of keywords on paper:
- What do you love?
- Are you a thought leader in a particular field?
- Do you like doing it a certain way?
- In a certain place or area?
- What are your personal values?
Once you have thought of some potential name combinations, we need to find a blog hosting service (most hosting providers will include a free domain name). So head over to Bluehost, GoDaddy, NameCheap, 123reg or WebAfrica to name but a few and see if your domain name is available.
Once you find a domain name that is available, you’ll need hosting. Hosting is like renting space on the web to display your blog.While there are free hosting providers available, there are restrictions on what you can do on your site. Basically free services are not recommended.
When you’re asked to pick your hosting plan, I’d suggest the cheapest plan available as you can always upgrade this at a later date. Linux based hosting is recommended for WordPress over a Windows platform, if you have the option. If you have the funds available, pay the first year up front instead of monthly, as it’ll save you quite a bit of cash.
Also, be sure to use good, strong password! I personally use Norton’s Password Generator for this. Just be sure to keep a note of all your passwords for future reference. Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox or similar cloud based storage are good for this.
There is no need to be intimidated by WordPress. WordPress is the gold standard in blogging CMS platforms, powers about 60% of the web and is quite intuitive and VERY EASY to use. Now just follow along to install it on your new website.
First, you will need to log in to your hosting account (check your email at this stage as you should have an email with login details). After you have access to the administrator tools (or Cpanel for the more tech-savy users).
Here are the Next Steps:
- Click on the option to install WordPress
- When you get to the next step, leave Installation Preferences and Advanced Options at their default settings
- Deselect the recommended plugins and themes box — we will deal with that stuff in a bit
- Click complete at the bottom of the screen
Congratulations! At this point your website is now live. I’m excited for you, how does it feel to officially have your own blog? Remember to record your new WordPress password and login.
Type your Login URL into your web browser. You’ll see a login screen like the one below. Enter your Username and Password you copied down from the previous step.
Now, you might be going insane with blogging by this point, so feel free to change the name of the site to anything you want. Settings -> General. Then click save.
It’s time to select a theme that best represents who you are! WordPress has thousands of free themes to choose from within WordPress. You can scan through them within your WordPress Dashboard (Appearance -> Themes -> Add New).
If you’re looking for a premium theme (which is recommend but not essential when staring out), check out these options:
Once you have found a theme that you like, install it and activate it.
Setting Up Your Blog
Having a readable URL is very important, not only for your human readers, but search engines as well. So it’s reomended that we setup this structure up before we dive into creating your first blog post. Next you should head over to the left side of your screen and choose (Settings -> Permalinks).
There are some Common Settings that you can choose from to get your started, but you do have the ability to create your own custom URL structure should you wish.
- Select the custom structure option, and copy this into this into the box: /%category%/%postname%/
There are so many plugins available for WordPress, below I have compiled a list of the top plugins I regularly use on my sites.
Askismet – Installed by default, Protects your blog from comment and trackback spam.
Yoast SEO – The first true all-in-one SEO solution for WordPress, including on-page content analysis, XML sitemaps and much more to help readers find you on Google.
W3 Total Cache – Free caching and site performance optimization plugin for WordPress. [How to configure this plugin]
Wordfence Security – Secure your website with the most comprehensive WordPress security plugin. Firewall, malware scan, blocking, live traffic, login security & more.
Google Analytics Dashboard for WP – This Google Analytics for WordPress plugin enables you to track your site using the latest Google Analytics and allows you to view key Google Analytics reports within WordPress.
TinyMCE Advanced – Enables advanced features and plugins in TinyMCE, the visual editor in WordPress.
Social Warfare – This plugin adds all the popular social buttons to your blog so that viewers can quickly and easily share your content.
Pretty Link Lite – Shrink, beautify, track, manage and share any URL on or off of your WordPress website.
To install plug-ins, here are the steps to follow:
- Click “Plugins” from the lefthand side menu bar.
- Choose “Add New”.
- You can browser the WordPress repository for.
- If you already have the plugin save on your computer, click “Upload Plugin”.
- Activate your new plugin.
- Do these steps with each plugin you want to add.
Setting up Google Analytics (Free)
Knowing how your audience interacts with your website is crucial for your success. The best way to know your audience is through your traffic stats and this is what Google Analytics provide for FREE.
Google analytics allow you to keep track of:
- Who visits your site
- What they do when they are on your website
- When they visit your website
- Where did they arrive on your website from
- How they interact with your site’s content
Step 1: First you would need to create a Google Analytics account. To do this, visit Google Analytics Signup Page.
Step 2: Install (if you haven’t already) Google Analytics Dashboard for WP and setup Google Analytics on your blog. Follow the instructions in the video below:
Publishing your first blog Post
Creating posts in WordPress is a piece of cake. (Posts -> Add New).
- There is a clearly marked box for a title. Try something like this: “Hello There! Welcome to the blog.”
- Type some content in the main window
- Maybe even attach an image (Add Media).
- Style your blog post they way you want.
- When you are happy with everything, click Preview
- Now click Publish!
Okay now come up with a blog schedule, whether it be posting once a day, once a week or once a month, be consistent and stick with it. Creating a wildly popular blog is not something that happens overnight, so don’t be discouraged by this. The reality is that persistence over a period of time is the key to success.
Don’t stop here, keep trying to improve upon your writing and photography skills. Great dialogue and interesting photos that make readers want to share your content and it also keeps your followers coming back for more.