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How to Create a WordPress Blog

It is possible to create (start) a WordPress blog even if you’re not techie or geeky. However, know that it can take time if you’re not familiar with how websites work or this is your first time setting up a website or blog.

But it’s ok. Give yourself some time, take a deep breath and have fun with it. If you feel like you need help, our team is here to assist.

I speak from experience. In 2007, I created my first beauty blog without knowing a lot about websites. I created it using a blogging platform called. Blogger.com. Blogger websites are hosted by Google and usually have a xxxx.blogspot.com as a URL (or your website address). Over time, I needed my blogging website to do ‘more’.  Another beauty blogger recommend that I try using the self-hosted version of WordPress. She mentioned that WordPress made it easier to update my layout using a simple style sheet, manage my posts, upload my photos and so much more!

Over time, there have been other website and blogging platforms that have come out, but my favorite has been the self-hosted WordPress installation for my website management and to create websites for other entrepreneurs and small business owners.

How to Create Your WordPress Blog

And now I want to show you how you to create a WordPress blog using a self-hosted platform (such as Siteground.com).

Keep in mind. There is a difference between creating a blog on WordPress.com and using another host company and choosing a WordPress installation. (Click here for a side-by-side comparison from WPBeginner.com)

This post will contain affiliate links. If you click on the links and make a purchase, I will receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

How to create a WordPress blog in 8 Steps (using Siteground.com)

  1. Decide a name for your blog.
  2. Choose your web hosting package
  3. Register a new domain (or blog name such www.myblogname.com)
  4. Install WordPress
  5. Install a WordPress Theme
  6. Setup your WordPress theme (Widgets & Plugins)
  7. Create Content (pages and posts)
  8. Optimize for Search Engines (SEO)

The Techie Stuff

STEP 1: Choose a hosting plan

Siteground offers 3 WordPress Managed hosting plans that have everything to keep your website running fast and secure. You can see a complete comparison of features on the Siteground website.)

  • The StartUp plan is perfect for people with one website that are starting now
  • The GrowBig plan is a great value for money offer, including the option for multiple websites and the SuperCacher that greatly improves website speed. You can also transfer an existing WordPress here for free.
  • The GoGeek plan is perfect for people with e-commerce and larger sites, or more geeky development needs like staging and GIT integration

(You can always upgrade as your business and website visitors grow.  Keep in mind that these are special prices for new accounts. The renewal price will be at the regular-listed price on their website.)

Siteground Managed WP Hosting Plans

STEP 2: Register a new Domain name or attach an existing domain (one you already have somewhere else. We’ll talk about moving it later.)

You can register a new domain name or if you already have a domain with another company (that you want to move later), you do that here. A domain is the name of website’s URL or address. Choosing a name can take time because you want something that is unique to your blog (and that no one else has). Once you decide on the name, then you can click the “Proceed” button. If the domain name isn’t available (because someone else owns it), you will be instructed to choose another name.

Siteground Choose a domain page

STEP 3: Review & Complete your account setup with Siteground.

This is the step where you set up your Siteground account. You will need this information to access the ‘backend or inside’ of your website’s ‘matrix’, create email addresses (such as yourname@yourdomain.com) and monitor your website analytics.

siteground step 3 setup

 

Step 4: Install WordPress

To install WordPress using the SiteGround Wizard, first access your Customer Area. After you signup for our WordPress hosting package you will receive all the necessary information you need to login.

Once you login to your Customer Area for the first time, you will see a pop-up asking you if you want to Start a new website on your account. Select that option and click on the WordPress button.

 

siteground new setup wizard

A new section would appear where you should enter the login information for your new WordPress application. Once you are ready click on the Confirm button.

Next, choose what Enhancements you wish to add to your account – if you want to add any. When you are ready with this step – click on the Complete Setup button. (If you’re not sure what to choose, you can always come back to this later.)

sg startup hosting

That’s it! You can now go to the front page of your site and check out the newly installed WordPress application.

sg final set up

Step 5: Install a WordPress theme

After logging into your WordPress dashboard, you can install one of the many FREE WordPress themes that comes with your website or (you can upload another theme you have purchased from another company).

The first thing you need to do when you want to install a new WordPress theme is to login to your site admin page. Once there, go to Appearance -> Themes.

wordpress dashboard

 

Step 6: Setup theme according to the theme’s instructions.

All themes come with a different set of instructions so that you can have your website looking like the demo. Some themes come with a ‘1 click demo install’ option. If you find that you are in need of assistance setting up your theme, you can reach out to us and we can assist.

The Actually Blog Content (Creating posts and pages)

Step 7: Create content (pages and posts)

Each blog website consists of pages that don’t change much (such as an “ABOUT”, Contact, Services, etc.) and posts that are date sensitive. Your blog posts are centered around your topic of your blog.

  • Creating posts – From the wp-admin panel (inside your WordPress dashboard) go to Posts -> Add New.
  • Creating pages – From the wp-admin panel (inside your WordPress dashboard) go to Pages -> Add New.

Step 8: Optimize for Search Engines (SEO)

Optimizing your website for search involves using words in your posts that your website visitors are likely to search for in relation to your topic.

In conclusion

You have everything you need to start your WordPress blog. If you need help, feel free to reach out to us or your favorite web developer.

If you prefer a video tutorial to walk you thru the steps, the interwebs do not disappoint. Here is a handy (25-minute tutorial).

 

Also, please note: Siteground continues to upgrade their website to make it easier for website owners to manage their websites. Coming soon in 2020, Siteground will be updating the client are and site tools.

Happy blogging!

Top 10 Secrets to Boost Your SEO

Everyone wants to be number one, especially when it come to search engine rankings. “Ebony, I want to get on the first page of a Google search. Can you do that?”

Well, I’m here to tell you that, yes, it’s possible to appear on the first search page. And, no I can’t promise that it will happen. In fact, anyone that makes that blanket promise to you is probably (ok, most definitely) lying. Or, at the very least, just trying to make a sale.

The truth is, search engine rankings are in constant flux. One month, you beef up your content to be found for a certain keyword and you’re flying high. Unfortunately, your competition notices this, and they start beefing up their ranking, too. The struggle is real.

So, how can you ensure that your content gets seen by search engines and, more importantly, by humans that want to read your content?

No promises here, but I’m going to give you my top 10 secrets to help boost your SEO ranking. Follow these and you’re likely to be in good shape. Maybe not first page “good shape,” but at least you’ll have a fighting chance.

MY SEO Secrets Revealed

1. Use Synonyms
Google is pretty smart. If your website is selling art supplies, there’s no need to repetitively use the phrase “art supplies” over and over again. Actually, this will hurt your ranking. Instead. mix it up, just as you would if you were describing your site to a friend (think: tools for artists, arts and crafts, etc.)

2. Blog and Blog Some More
Having useful content for search engines to crawl is super important. It allows your audience to find you using several different search terms.

Be aware, though, that even if you blog twice per week, it may take up to six months for search
engines to really start favoring you. Regularity is key!

3. Don’t Use Too Many Tags in Your Blog Posts
Most of us use platforms like WordPress, where we can categorize our posts. However, putting your blog posts in too many categories can confuse search engines, and your site will likely get left out of the party.

Streamline your tags/categories and just stick to one per post.

4. Promote on Social
The more traffic your drive to your site using social, the more Google will favor the pages viewers are navigating to.

Think of it this way: Google is a business. What is the goal of any business? Isn’t it to give their customers what they want?

Looking at it like that, the more site traffic you have to a page or to your site, the more Google will realize that you’re giving its customers what they want.

5. Stop Using Canned and Stuffy Keywords
Most of us know that keyword stuffing is long gone. It’s spammy, awkward, and it just doesn’t work.

However, some people still have the mindset of using keywords in a very calculated formula. With more and more voice searches performed every year, though, it’s easy to see why keywords need to take a more relaxed approach. So stop thinking like a computer and start thinking like a human.

That’s all any of us wanted when the whole keyword world began, anyway, right?

6. Link to Reputable Sites
Your reputation is usually only as good as who you hang out with. And that’s true online, too.

Linking to reputable sites (and referencing the site or company name) can go a long way to building your reputation as a reliable business.

7. Improve Your Time on Page Stats
Google uses a tool called “RankBrain.” Basically, it measures the amount of time a user spends on your page.

Let’s say your art supply store ranks number three in a search. If your customers click on the search result for your site and spend several minutes there, it’s likely that Google will bump you up in search engine rankings.

How do you increase the time users spend on your page? You need to create relevant, customer-focused content. Use this customer focus calculator to see how your site ranks.

8. Use Long-Tail Keywords
Examples of short keywords are: “art supplies” or “art tools.” Examples of long-tail keywords include: “art supplies in Charlotte, NC” or “cheap supplies for new artists.”

Using long tail keywords may reduce the number of page visits you get, but it will also boost your ranking for those long-tail keywords, since your content will be more targeted to a specific audience.

9. Make Sure Your Site is Mobile-Friendly
Last year, Google announced its switch to mobile-first indexing. Since 60% of searches are performed on mobile, this change was really inevitable.

Use this tool to make sure your site is mobile-ready. https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly

10. Get Yourself on YouTube!
Finally, you’ve probably noticed I’m a little obsessed with creating video content. So, if you’re a little obsessed with watching videos, we’re a perfect match.

In fact, YouTube is now the world’s second-largest search engine. If you’re not maximizing your time on this giant platform, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to boost your search engine rankings.

How to Create Your YouTube Channel 

There you have it! My top 10 secrets for boosting your SEO ranking. Now go forth and rank!

If you found this information useful, please share it.

Thanks!

Five Quick Ways to Make Over Your Blog and Website

blog makeover

Truth be told, I’ve made over my blog and website at least seven times since I started blogging in 2007. I started out with a maroon theme on Blogspot with a basic header, but no logo. Then decided that I wanted to keep the blog light and ‘airy’ and changed the color to a soft pink now with a new logo I created. At the time I was making all these changes, I was really just having fun testing out new blog tech tools. I eventually started helping others get their blogs started or giving them a blog makeover.

Since 2007, blogging designs have changed. With each blog makeover, I always included the use of the latest standards. I have realized that it’s ok and actually normal to have a website (blog) upgrade every year or two to stay consistent with current trends. For example, are you still using Windows XP or have you upgraded to Windows 8, or are you now on a MAC?

Here are a few ways to makeover your blog to stay with the current trends:

1:  Make Your Theme Responsive

This is probably a no brainer, but if you are still using the same theme or layout that you did 3 years ago, it’s time for a makeover. Get a blog theme that automatically changes (or responds) in size depending on what device a user is on.  How does your blog look on a phone, tablet and desktop. Most WordPress themes are now equipped to respond. It’s the new web normal.

 

2:  Add New Pics to the Home Page

Photos are selling point on any website. If your homepage has a slider option, add new slides to new blog posts on your site. If your blog is equipped to do this automatically, then you are already one step ahead of keeping the home page fresh!

3: Add an Email Signup Link after Posts

Add a ‘newsletter’ subscribe link at the end of each post so your readers can get tips delivered to their email. Use a service such as Mailchimp.com or ConstantContact.com to create simple emails and collect email addresses. Using your blog as a way to build an email list and grow leads for your services and products.

email signup screenshot

4: Update Your About Page

Are your goals are the as they were in a few years ago? If not, then why not update your about page to showcase what you are doing currently to highlight your skills and post new testimonials. Do you look the same as the photo on your about page? It might be time to include a new photo. Here are 10 great tips on how to write a good “About Page”. http://thestoryoftelling.com/10-rules-for-writing-about-me-page/

5: Update the Menu Bar with Only Relevant Links

The menu bar is a great way to showcase what categories and pages that you want to highlight. Take off the links that you want to de-emphasize. For example if you aren’t hosting any events, you might want to remove that link from your main menu bar.

So there you have it, just a few ways to update your blog and make it new. Why not take a few hours and update your blog. Then post a screenshot of your updates to your Facebook page asking your fans what they think of the update. If you need help with updating your blog, click here to schedule a consultation with me today.

How to Make Money Blogging

make money bloggingI get this question often: How do you make money blogging? I used to not know know how to answer that question because I looked at my blog as a way of sharing FREE information about beauty and style. This was many moons ago.

Anyhoo, I’ve woke up since the last moon and here are a few ways I’ve used my blog as a way to make money.

1. Place ads on your website. When someone clicks on it and purchases, you can get a commission from it. #affiliatemarketing

2. Charge companies to blog for them relating to their product and services. Some call this ‘ghost writing’. I call it charging for services rendered.

3. Get sponsors. For example, a company says, “Hey, would you take pics of my products and include them linking to my website so your readers can visit my site to purchase these.” You say, “Sure, you’d make an excellent sponsor. Would you like package A, B or C?

4. Host events around your blog topic. Charge other businesses to sell their products at your event.

I will admit that this isn’t always easy, however, you can get paid as a blogger. You just have to know what your worth is, what you want and go after it. Did you find this information helpful? Let us know on the Make Me Over, Eb Facebook page.

Blogger Tip: How to Get Media Credentials

As the Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2014 show approaches, I thought it was a good time to share tips on how a blogger can prepare themselves to get media credentials to attend the shows. The first NYFW show I attended as a blogger was the Tadashi Shoji Spring 2012 show (shown September 2011).

I was excited to get two tickets to the show, one for me and the other for my assistant. This was a big deal for me, since I considered myself a ‘little blogger from Columbia, SC’. I wasn’t sure if the PR gatekeepers  would let me in? (BTW, you have to go thru the PR companies to apply to a lot of the shows.)

My blogger friend, Jai, who has had success with getting credentials for NYFW shows, suggested that I apply to as many shows as possible and just go for it. Her advice worked, and I got tickets to at least 3 shows. Although, I haven’t been back to NYFW, I have attended several regional fashion shows , such as Charleston Fashion Week as press.

Although, it might be too late to get into an NYFW show, these tips will help you prepare for the next big show in NY or in your region. There are several things you need to do to prepare yourself before requesting medial credentials for fashion events.

How to Get Media Credentials

At the Spring/Summer 2012 Tadashi Shoji show

So did the tips help you? What is the next fashion show that would like to attend?