how-to-create-blog-e1498046314305

How to create a blog or personal website with WordPress

I would like to share with you how to create the perfect blog.

In this post, I intent to provide you a step-by-step guide to start your blog or personal website without having much or any technical expertise.

Why do I need to create a blog / personal website?

Let’s take an example over here: Sharmila is a home maker and loves cooking various types of Indian dishes. She started cooking out of necessity at a very tender age but later on it turned out to be her hobby and passion. While observing her interest in cooking, her husband suggested her to share recipes through an online platform. Probably a blog or a personal website.

Thus Sharmila came up with her website about Indian Recipes & Fine Cooking and today her recipes are being watched by many cooking lovers across the world.

Millions of people like Sharmila are entering into the digital space to create a blog or personal website which portrays their professional portfolio, skills, hobbies & passion. Its your independent space where you can share what’s on your mind with the entire world wide web.

How much does it cost to start a blog / personal website?

Before we go ahead with the price estimates, we need to understand the primary components you will require to create your blog.
1. Pick a Domain Name &
2. Choose a Blogging Platform
3. Choose a Website Hosting Platform

1. Pick a Domain Name

Every blog needs a unique web address. This can be free or paid. Free ones are like:

HTTP://CREATIVEMOZ.BLOGSPOT.COM OR HTTPS://CREATIVEMOZ.WORDPRESS.COM

Note: Above 2 URLs are free blog addresses which I created in 2 different platforms and they are marked in red color for you to recognize. You may create a blog with a free address & hosting like this but as a rule of thumb, I would suggest you to avoid free blog addresses. Why? It’s because free blog platforms with a free blog address has its own limitations. Let’s review some of them:

  1. Free Blogs don’t give you the full access to your blog. It’s free after all with loads of free layouts/ themes to choose from.
  2. Your Free Blog may be turned off at any time. Believe me, I had created several blogs earlier and after sometime these blogs were removed by the blog provider for some reason or another.
  3. Free Blogs generally restrict you from putting ads in your blog. Thus you cant make money if your blog gets famous and you would like to run ads and make money.
  4. The blog address looks quite long and a bit confusing.

It’s free after all and you will always have to live with its own restrictions. If these restrictions don’t matter to you then you can go ahead and sign up for a free blog.

Below is a list of 5 hand picked free blogging platform where you can get started in a few minutes:

  1. Blogger.com (Owned by Google)
  2. WordPress.com
  3. Tumblr.com
  4. Wix.com
  5. Medium.com

If you are one of those passionate people who would like to build and scale a powerful money making blog, then you definitely need to take a unique web address i.e., A Domain Name

A domain name can be defined as something like:

In general, a domain name represents an Internet Protocol (IP)resource, such as a personal computer used to access theinternet, a server computer hosting a web site, or the web siteitself or any other service communicated via the internet.In 2015, 294 million domain names had been registered.

Got confused? In simpler terms domain name is your website address like www.creativemoz.com where “creativemoz.com” is a domain name and if any one types this domain name in their web browsers, they will reach this website.

[clickToTweet tweet=”How to create a blog or personal website for beginners” quote=”How to create a blog or personal website for beginners”]

How to choose a domain name?

Choosing a domain name is quite fun in itself. However you need to be clear about your objectives.

As a rule of thumb, there are 8 rules to follow while choosing the right domain for your business that works for better SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and Branding.

  1. Make it Brandable – Does it sound like a brand? Is it easily memorable by anyone? Is it Unique

  2. Make it easily pronounceable – Can you easily say the name? Are others easily able to guess how to say it on the first try?

  3. Make it as short as possible – The fewer characters, the easier to type, write, share and say.

  4. Get a .com domain extension – .com is still the most recognized, easiest to remember TLD (Top Level Domain) I’m not in favor of getting domain name extensions like .net, .biz, .co or country based extensions like .co.uk (United Kingdom), .ca (Canada), .us (United States)

  5. Completely avoid names that infringe on existing trademark or brand.

  6. Make the name instantly intuitive

  7. Use Broad Keywords when sensible, but don’t stress on too much keyword inclusions

  8. If your name .com domain name isn’t available, try adding certain suffix or prefix

Searching for your Domain Name? Try this search box below:[ajaxdomainchecker width=”500″ height=”300″ button=”Search”]

How much will a domain cost for my blog?

A .com domain name costs around $10/year. Many hosting companies add extra charges to provide additional features but you may skip them.

2. Choose a Blogging Platform

I think you need to be clear with your hosting requirements in terms of technical expertise, budget and scalability for the blog before you make the final choice.

In this blog, I’m emphasizing the use of WordPress as a CMS (Content Management System) to power your blog or personal website.

Why WordPress?

Here are top 5 reasons why we choose WordPress:

  1. Famous for 5 minutes Free Setup – WordPress is an open source blog management tool that’s FREE to use & easy to setup.

  2. It’s Beginner User Friendly – WordPress was created in 2003 with a single bit of code to enhance the typography of everyday writing. With that said, If you know how to use Microsoft Word, you already know how add your own content.
  3. Small or large site? Awesome for everyone – WordPress allows users to install multiple helpful features into your blog / personal website. This is done by installing integrate the use of multiple plugins and tools.

  4. It’s Responsive – Your blog / website will instantly be responsive right from the beginning, thus looking great on desktops, mobile or tablets. And you do not have to hire any web developer to get it done.
  5. Huge Support for Developer Community – WordPress is powered by millions of websites today and it’s easy to find QUICK help whenever you require it. Still not sure? Go to YouTube.com and you can find loads of DIY (Do It Yourself) videos for all the nitty-gritty about WordPress.

Below are some of the top branded websites being powered by WordPress:
Top Brands Using WordPress

 

3. Choose a Website Hosting Platform

If you know how to configure a website in a dedicated or shared web server, then you can just go ahead and download the WordPress installation files FREE of charges and get started. You may also use SSH for Linux based servers to directly deploy & install WordPress files and initiate the setup process.

If you are beginner with limited technical experience and trying to create your website with a limited budget then go for Managed WordPress Hosting. Managed WordPress Hostings is a custom hosting solution provided by many hosting providers which handles all the technical issues of configuring and troubleshooting issues in the web server while you can concentrate on your blog writing.

Below is a list of 5 hand picked managed wordpress hosting providers where you can get started in a few minutes and of-course with a reasonable budget:

  1. Wordpess.com – With $2.99 /mo, you can launch a website with a FREE custom domain name & 6 GB storage space in web servers specially built to host wordpress powered websites. You can also get email & chat support from WordPress team to maintain your blog hassle-free.
  2. Godaddy – Godaddy offers Managed WordPress hosting with prices starting at $3.99 /mo and includes 1 FREE domain name and 10 GB storage.
  3. Netfirms – With unlimited disk space & bandwidth as USP, Netfirms offers affordable WordPress hosting with prices starting at $4.45 /mo including 1 FREE domain name.
  4. Hostgator – Hostgator provides Managed WordPress hosting service at $5.95 /mo including 1 FREE domain name and 50 GB of storage. It also includes 1 GB automated backups which ensures that your website data stays backed up even if you aren’t tech savvy.
  5. Amazon AWS – Amazon offers WordPress hosting solutions for $40 /yr i.e., $3.33 /mo. Their hourly plans might sound very expensive to you as a beginner. So you can get started with a monthly or annual plan.

Installing WordPress

There are two possible ways to install WordPress, and I love the 2nd one because its easy and hassle-free.

1. Manual Installation of WordPress

Here’s the quick version of the WordPress Installation instructions for those who are already comfortable with performing such installations.
a) Download and unzip the WordPress package if you haven’t already.
b) Create a database for WordPress on your web server, as well as a MySQL database user who has all privileges for accessing and modifying it.
c) Find and rename wp-config-sample.php to wp-config.php , then edit the file wp-config.php and add your database information.
d) Upload the WordPress files to the desired location on your web server:

  • If you want to integrate WordPress into the root of your domain (e.g. http://example.com/), move or upload all contents of the unzipped WordPress directory (excluding the WordPress directory itself) into the root directory of your web server.
  • If you want to have your WordPress installation in its own subdirectory on your website (e.g. http://example.com/blog/), create the blog directory on your server and upload the contents of the unzipped WordPress package to the directory via FTP.
    Note: If your FTP client has an option to convert file names to lower case, make sure it’s disabled.

e) Run the WordPress installation script by accessing the URL in a web browser. This should be the URL where you uploaded the WordPress files.

  • If you installed WordPress in the root directory, you should visit: http://example.com/
  • If you installed WordPress in its own subdirectory called blog, for example, you should visit: http://example.com/blog

[clickToTweet tweet=”Wordpress Installation Checklist for beginners” quote=”Wordpress Installation Checklist for beginners”]

2. Use Managed WordPress Hosting & Installation

I will be using Godaddy Managed WordPress Hosting as an example for hassle-free start up process. Below is the list of steps you need to do once you have purchased your hosting plan.

  • Log in to your GoDaddy account and go to My Products. Next to Managed WordPress Websites, click Manage.
  • Click on + Add Site button inside the section Setup your site
  • Choose the first Radio Button option I’m building a brand new site.
  • Enter your custom domain name which you have already registered with Godaddy or any other domain registrar. If you haven’t purchased any domain yet, dont worry, Godaddy allows you to continue with the setup process by using a temporary domain. In this case, I chose a temporary domain.
  • Choose a data center. In my case, I chose North America since I believe most of my visitors would be from North America.
  • The next step is to set up my desired WordPress User Name & Password which I will require to moderate and maintain my blog / personal website.
  • Click on Start Wizard to set up your custom WordPress installation
  • Choose the first option Website + Blog as Type and then enter the details of your desired Industry, Title & Tag Line. These fields are essential to setup WordPress but you can change them later.
  • Enter the contact details of your website. Your website visitors will use this information to reach you.
  • Pick your desired theme. For your convenience, Godaddy has created a set of WordPress theme which you can choose and install in your website for FREE. You can always change the theme later.
    Godaddy WordPress Themes
  • That’s all. Your Managed WordPress Hosting by Godaddy is ready to use. You can go ahead and click on the Posts at the left side bar and get started with your first blog post.
    Godaddy WordPress Managed Hosting

Isn’t that easy?

Most Popular Blog Topics

Honestly, you can start with anything you feel. It’s your own platform. Be straight, sober, descriptive and most importantly creative. Neil Patel in his blog post says that “Blogging with a purpose increases market share, consumer engagement, revenue growth, and ROI”. But that’s again for the advanced bloggers who want to go to the next step of scaling up and turning their blog or website into a money making machine. Below are some of the suggested blog topics which might interest you and your visitors and help you get started as a beginner.

  • Recipes
  • Parenthood
  • Beginner’s guides to anything!
  • Do it yourself stuffs
  • Life experiences
  • Products or service reviews
  • Family
  • Travel Experience
  • Charity
  • Music
  • Celebrities
  • Personal Stories
  • Jokes & Humor
  • History
  • Sports
  • Technology
  • Politics
  • Overcoming illness
  • Global Warming
  • Spirituality
  • Health Tips
  • Activism
  • Astrology
  • Myths
  • Photography
  • Making money online
  • Healing
  • Motivation

Looking for some good blogs? Try Blog Search Engine

[clickToTweet tweet=”Beginner’s guide for blogging ideas” quote=”How to find Blog Post Ideas for Beginners”]

Did you like article? Did it help you get started with the creation of your blog? Got some better blogging ideas? Add your comments below Or email me at rahul [at] creativemoz.com for assistance and I’ll be eager to hear as well as help you.

How to HTTP to HTTPS SSL Certificate

HTTP to HTTPS Migration Checklist for better SEO

In this information age, users have access to infinite repository of information. However, it has its own challenges i.e., Data Security & User Privacy.

Google added a blog post in its official blog on August 2014 & explained its take about Internet security and how it invested in making its services secure like strong HTTPS encryption by default. It further announced that users accessing its services like Gmail, Google Search, Google Maps & Google Drive will automatically have a secure connection to Google. Google also provided an in-depth guideline for webmasters about how HTTPS will also be considered as a ranking signal for Google Search Results.

Apart from security feature, HTTPS increases your visitor’s trust in the website and if you are running an ecommerce website or anything which deals with storage of user’s information, content etc.. then you definitely need to have a HTTPS website.

What’s the difference between HTTP & HTTPS?

HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) is an internet communication protocol which allows data communication over various types of device. In simple words, if you need to access Google.com through a web browser, you need to enter its address in the address bar as “http://www.example.com” Just incase you entered ONLY “example.com” in the address bar, your browser automatically interprets and adds “http://www.” to ensure that your computer interacts with Google’s server through HTTP mode.

HTTPS on the other hand is similar to HTTP but adds a layer of secure communication over HTTP. The main motivation of HTTPS is authentication of the visited website and protection of the privacy and integrity of the exchanged data. If you try to enter “google.com” only in the address bar of your web browser, it automatically interprets and adds “https://www.” before “google.com”

You can also notice the text “Secure” along with a lock which ensures that your interaction with the website is safe & secure 🙂

SEO Sitemaps & Robots

How to get your website indexed instantly at Google using Sitemaps & Robots.txt

One of my friends met me a few weeks back and showed a website showcasing her newly launched coffee house business. It was clean and crisp website filled with loads of images and adequate information about their shop which also included their menu items and I was impressed by the entire presentation. I was told that the website contained 15 static pages with approx. 45 high quality images and its been almost of a month they went online but surprisingly it was NOT indexed by Google.

Being novice towards the digital marketing or SEO, my friend asked me the following questions:

  1. How long does it take to get my website indexed at Google?
  2. Do I need to contact Google by email or phone in order to get indexed?
  3. Does Google charge money in order to get indexed in their search engine?
  4. Is Indexing depending upon the total number of pages in the website?
  5. Some of their high resolution images were sized more than 1MB. Did that prevent Google from getting indexed?

There are thousands of startup businesses across the world which enters the digital world on a daily basis and they also come across a similar number of queries while getting indexed at search engines like Google or Bing.

How to check if your website is indexed in Google?

Firstly, you DO NOT need to be technically savvy in order to find out whether your website is indexed in Google. Just open http://www.google.com in your web browser i.e., Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome or anything else and enter the query “site:yourfullwebsitename” like for example “site:creativemoz.com” or “site:http://localhost:8888/creativemoz.com” Once you search with this query, you will find a list of all the web pages in your website being currently indexed at Google.

In my friend’s case, Google showed this following statement:

“A description for this result is not available because of this site’s robots.txt”

Now I got the answer to my friend’s first question 🙂 It so happened that while developing the website, the web designer had accidentally created a robots.txt file in the web server and had written a small piece of code which had been blocking Google to index the website. This was done because the website had loads of placeholder images and text content and the web designer did not want Google to index the website with those junk or irrelevant content and hamper its first impression about the website.

So! What’s next?

We immediately removed the piece of code which blocked Google from indexing the website and then went ahead to create a sitemap.xml which helps in speeding up the process of getting indexed almost instantly.

What is sitemap.xml? How does it help in getting indexed in Google?

According to Wikipedia, Sitemap.xml is

A Sitemap is an XML file that lists the URLs for a site. It allows webmasters to include additional information about each URL: when it was last updated, how often it changes,and how important it is in relation to other URLs in the site.This allows search engines to crawl the site more intelligently.

A sitemap is like a blue print of a building which provides information about the number of rooms, doors, windows and all the structural details of navigating across the entire building. For search engines, it is a file which is .XML in format like you have your documents saved in Word and is .doc format. This file contains the list of the URLs in the website which obviously includes the homepage of the website and has to be updated whenever you add or remove any web page from the website.

How do i create sitemap.xml?

If your website contains 500 or lesser number of webpages (not counting images or videos) then I would suggest visiting https://www.xml-sitemaps.com/ I’ve been creating free XML sitemaps from this website since a long time and its very easy to create the sitemap here. You just need to execute the following steps in order to get it done:

  1. Enter your full website URL and some optional parameters in the form provided in the form provided at their website.
  2. Press ‘Start’ button and wait until the site is completely crawled. Takes a few seconds if you have a website containing lesser than 50 webpages. Will take longer time if you got a big website.
  3. Once your sitemap file is created, you will be redirected to the generated sitemap details page, including number of pages, broken links list, XML file content and link to a sitemap file.
  4. Download the sitemap file using that link and put it into the domain root folder of your site. In most of the cases, its inside the “public_html” folder in your website hosting.
  5. Then Go to your Google Search Console account and add your sitemap full URL. For example: http://www.example.com/sitemap.xml

Got a big website with more than 500 web pages? No worries. They do have paid plans which allows hassle-free creation of XML Sitemaps for more number of pages.

Sitemaps.xml in WordPress Platform

Below are some of the plugins that I love and trusted while developing sitemap.xml files in WordPress.org platform and they are FREE to use:

  1. XML Sitemaps by Arne Brachhold – https://wordpress.org/plugins/google-sitemap-generator/

    This plugin has been rated as the best WordPress plugin This plugin was developed to create a XML sitemap file which can be compatible to various search engines like Ask.com, Bing.com, Yahoo.com and of-course Google.com
  2. XML Sitemap by Yoast – https://wordpress.org/plugins/wordpress-seo/

    I like this XML Sitemap plugin because of its advanced features which lets you choose the types of web pages you want to be indexed i.e., Web Pages or Posts. Its easy to use control panels can be handled by anyone without having much technical expertise. The Yoast SEO plugin also goes the extra mile to take care of all the technical optimization and foremost helps you write better content. Yoast SEO forces you to choose a focus keyword when you’re writing your articles, and then makes sure you use that focus keyword everywhere.

RSS, mRSS, and Atom 1.0

If you have a blog with an RSS or Atom feed, you can submit the feed’s URL as a sitemap. Most blog software is able to create a feed for you, but recognize that this feed only provides information on recent URLs.

  • Google accepts RSS (Real Simple Syndication) 2.0 and Atom 1.0 feeds.
  • You can use an mRSS (media RSS) feed to provide Google details about video content on your site.

Text Sitemaps

If your website’s sitemap includes only web page URLs, you can provide Google with a simple text file that contains one URL per line. For example:

http://www.example.com/file1.html
http://www.example.com/file2.html

Guidelines for text file sitemaps:

  • Encode your file using UTF-8 encoding.
  • Your text file should contain nothing but the list of URLs.
  • You can name the text file anything you wish, provided it has a .txt extension (for instance, sitemap.txt).

Sitemaps for Websites powered by Google Sites

If you’ve created and verified a site using Google Sites, Sites will automatically generate a sitemap for you. You cannot modify the sitemap, but you can submit it to Google if you want to read the sitemap report data. Note that your sitemap might not be displayed properly if you have more than 1,000 pages in a single sub-directory.

  • If your site is hosted at Google Sites, your sitemap URL is http://sites.google.com/site/yoursitename/system/feeds/sitemap
  • If you created your site using Google Apps, your sitemap URL is http://sites.google.com/yourdomain/yoursitename/system/feeds/sitemap

A well structured Sitemap can do even more than just becoming a blue print of your website. A well planned and documented sitemap file can inform the following types of information to search engines which can further help your website get better rankings:

  1. Informs the full webpage address (i.e., URL): <loc>http://www.example.com/mypage</loc>
  2. When a particular page was last changed: <lastmod>2017-03-02</lastmod>
  3. Frequency in which the page is updated: <changefreq>monthly</changefreq>
  4. What priority the page has in relationship to other pages on the website: <priority>1</priority>

Google Search Console also informs you about the total number of pages you have submitted and how many are being currently indexed through your Sitemap file.

 

With that said, I would like to add that Sitemaps are just one of the way in which you as a website owner or webmaster can inform Google about the number of pages in your website. However, Google bots might crawl through your website and automatically fetch a list of web pages in a website based upon its inter linking.

Getting back to my Friend’s Questions

  1. How long does it take to get my website indexed at Google?
    A: Earlier it used to take up to 7 days. These days, you can expect your website/ blog to be indexed within 72 hours if you haven’t blocked it using robots.txt & have created and uploaded the sitemap file properly in your web server.
  2. Do I need to contact Google by email or phone in order to get indexed?
    A: Sign up using a google email account i.e., gmail account or incase you have Google Apps email to Google Search Console (previously known as Google Webmasters Tool) and submit your website over there.
  3. Does Google charge money in order to get indexed in their search engine?
    A: No, not, never. Google never charged anyone for getting their website or blog indexed in their search engine.
  4. Is Indexing depending upon the total number of pages in the website?
    A: Yes, if you have a big website with thousands of pages, then you need to wait for sometime to get all your pages indexed. Interestingly you can see the progress details at Google Search Console. So you can learn if Google bots are facing any issues while accessing the sitemap file or indexing your web pages.
  5. Some of their high resolution images were sized more than 1MB. Did that prevent Google from getting indexed?
    A: No. Google and other search engines love high resolution images which are properly tagged with Alt Tags. Having said that, I would personally advise the website images to be in JPG or JPEG format if they don’t contain any animated content because JPG or JPEG files generally smaller in file size and will consume lower disk space of your web server. Also try to accommodate your images within 1 or 2 MB size to make it browser friendly, mobile/ tablet/ desktop device friendly and will take lesser time to load for users having lower internet speed.

Liked or Disliked this article? I would be eager to know your feedback. Do feel free to comment below if you have any queries about getting indexed in Google or any search engine and I will be happy to revert back to you.