***UPDATE*** Check out my latest post – How To Make A Profitable Blog Step By Step for a quick and simple tutorial on making a beautiful blog that will make you money in 2017 and BEYOND!
I am going to teach you how to make a blog. A blog that stands out, that looks AMAZING! A blog that allows you to represent who you are, what you are about and what is important to you! A blog that also has the potential to make you money!
For those of you who want to watch the video on how to make this blog click here or scroll all down the page to the first video you see!
Why would you want a blog? There’s a million reasons. It’s fun. It’s your own thing, something you build for the world to see. Most importantly it allows you to showcase whatever it is you want to talk about. Let’s say you’re a great hunter. You love to hunt, all these different aspects of it and you’re pretty damn good at it. You don’t even have to be that good, but you’re good enough that you can teach those who don’t know shit about hunting (lol). Then a blog is your platform to not only help others learn how to hunt, it will also get people you didn’t expect INTERESTED in hunting, and one of the bi-products of all of this is it will make you money!
How will it make you money you may say? Well, let’s continue with the hunting analogy. If this were a hundred years ago, people would go to you, your house or wherever it was you hung your hat for the majority of the day. Those who wanted to be a better hunter, those who wanted to learn how to hunt in the first place. They’d say, Bob, well he knows how to hunt, so I will go to him for advice. They go to you and ask you what should guns are best for hunting, what gear is best for hunting etc. You of course, would refer them to the products you believe in. Fast forward to today. The place you hang your hat at is online. A blog. They ask you for this advice, and you point them in the right direction. The difference? You are an affiliate of those products you point them to. You advertise them on your site and you get a commission every time someone makes a purchase through one of your affiliate links. I will teach more about affiliate marketing later in this series on this exact webpage. For those just itching to know right now though, click here.
That is just one of the hundreds of ways to make money through your blog. And trust me, you and anyone else on this planet can become an affiliate for almost anything you want to sell or any product you believe in. I will show you the way. Stick around for this ENTIRE blog series and you will see the many ways you can start earning income from your blog!
But the most important thing about blogging is not the money. It’s the lifestyle it can provide you because you will be making money passively, doing what you love, and providing you time to focus on whatever else you want to! And it is FULFILLING. Being known as an expert or influencer within your niche is a great feeling. When people look up to you and respect what you do, and FOLLOW you, your words, and emulate you. There’s no other feeling like it.
So I’ve broken this series down into a few major parts. Let’s get into part one, creating your blog!
Part 1 – Let’s Get Your Blog Up & Running
We are going to break part one down into 8 steps. These 8 steps will have your blog up and running in about 1 hour worth of work.
These 8 steps are:
Step 1 – Picking A Domain Name
Step 2 – Website Hosting
Step 3 – Setting Up WordPress
Step 4 – Picking Your Theme
Step 5 – Creating Your Logo
Step 6 – Fixing General Settings
Step 7 – Downloading WordPress Plugins
Step 8 – Customizing Your Site
Step 1 – Pick A Domain Name
This is important. You generally want to pick a pretty damn good domain name right off the bat. What I mean by that is you want to think this through, as you have to pay for your domain name. It is one of only 2 things you have to pay for. The other one, don’t worry I will give you my personal promo code so you can get a percentage off.
When I come up with a domain name, I think of what it is exactly I want this blog to be about. Think long term. Trust me when I tell you I’ve made the mistake of just buying domain names, and in the end everything I had planned for it changed, and you kind of have to work around that domain name. You don’t want that, you want it the other way, the domain name to WORK FOR YOU! So I guess the real first step is coming up with your niche. What exactly do you want to talk about in your blog. Once you’ve done that if you are still having a hard time coming up with a domain name, check out namemesh.com for help on generating one.
Once you’ve got your domain name chosen, write it down. Actually generate more than one, generate a few, just in case the one you originally want is already taken. Now write down all those domain names and put them to the side.
Step 2 – Website Hosting
There are quite a few web hosting platforms out there. Many of them are very good, great even. I personally use HostGator. They’re reliable, reasonably priced, and their customer service is unparalleled.
The first thing you will do is go to hostgator.com. From there, you will click on the big yellow button that says Get Started Now! The plan you choose is up to you. If you are strictly doing just one blog, I suggest getting the hatchling plan. Especially if you are just starting off, it’s all you need, because the other plans raise in price due to them allowing you to have more than one domain for them to host.
You should be under the Register A New Domain tab
Input your domain name > Choose a hosting plan > Enter your billing info > Use promo code MIKEALONZO23 for $19.99 off any plan (my affiliate link so I get a commission for helping you) > Agree to terms of service > Check Out
The second thing you will do is go to your email inbox. From there you will see a letter from HostGator with all your login credentials. You will use that information for the next part.
The third thing you will do is login to your Cpanel (Control Panel). Click on the link that says Your Control Panel in your letter from HostGator. Make sure it opens in a new tab, because you will use the info from this letter to sign in. Login with your username and password from your email.
Step 3 – Setting Up WordPress
WordPress is one of the most powerful platforms and most popular platforms used for content creation. Basically this is the platform that allows people like you and I who have absolutely no or minimal coding/programming knowledge to create amazing websites. Too many people use WordPress so if you want to know the who’s who, click here.
First you need to scroll down your Cpanel to the section that says “Software”.
Second click on the clock that says QuickInstall.
Third click on the middle option that says WordPress. Fill in your domain name and press NEXT. From there you will be asked to fill out some info. The title of your blog (you can always change later), first and last name and most importantly your email address, and admin username. Keep track of this username because if you lose it, you will have to reinstall WordPress and start over. Click Install Now!
Now go back to your email inbox there will be a new letter from HostGator with your WordPress login credentials. You can always go to your WordPress admin site by typing http://yoursite.com/wp-admin
From there login with your credentials.
Step 4 – Picking Your Blog Theme
I want you to have an AMAZING looking blog. There are a few key things to know when designing websites. Look at the major companies, apple.com, ford.com. Minimalist, clean, well spaced, not too cluttered, mostly white background. This allows for better functionality and reading by the end user (reader/customer). This makes the products/services/content stick out better and more attractively. So when picking your theme we want something that will incubate that same formula, and really make your blog look professional, clean and attactive!
We will be using the “Blogim” theme. From your WordPress Dashboard, hover over Appearance, and click on Themes. Depending on your version of WordPress you would either press the “Add New” button or “WordPress.org” Themes button. It will take you to a new page and from there you will type in the search bar Blogim. When it comes up, press the Install button.
Once it is done unloading, press the blue button/link that says Activate.
You are well on your way my friend to a beautiful website. Now let’s make a logo.
Step 5 – Create A Logo
Go to logomakr.com. Here you will be able to make an absolutely free logo! It’s easy to use, I use it myself on this site and ALL my other sites. There’s an instructional video on there, but I’ll give you a few tips for an effective logo. You want simplicity. Again, tying in with a clean yet attractive looking website, you want a simple logo that sticks out in people’s minds but is not confusing. You want it to be sized at 250px by 250px. You will also want to make sure the colors blend well with the rest of your site.
Once you’ve finished creating your logo do not forget to save it to your hard drive. Then you will want to save the credits, so you can give credit where credit is due. You will make a page on your site that credits all the content/work you got from other people/sites. With you logo in your download folder, or somewhere on your computer, go to your site’s homepage, but make sure you are still logged in through you wp-admin. So make sure you are at http://yoursite.com/wp-admin. From there click the Customize button. Then click on Site Identity. You can fill out your site title and tagline while you’re in here.
But more importantly you want to upload your logo (if you want a logo in the header) and more importantly you are going to upload your logo into the Site Icon. You want the logo in your Site Icon so whenever someone goes to your website, that tab on the upper left of their browser will show your logo. That makes it more professional and more legit. As far as the logo in your header section that is up to your preference. Some people just want the title up there, some just the logo, others want both.
Step 6 – General Settings
If you didn’t already do this at the end of the last step you will want to change your site title and tagline. This can be done after clicking Customize when on the front end of your site (front end refers to the area that people see when on your site as opposed to the back end which is the dashboard area, etc. of your WordPress site). From there you will be given the option to write your Site Title and Tagline. Now you want it short and to the point, this also goes on tab of the browser when you or others are looking at your site. It is also part of the meta description, or description that is officially public in search results such as from using Google or Yahoo.
Now let’s go to the Settings area of your WordPress dashboard. If you are still on the front end of your website hover over the site title and click on the dashboard option. From there hover over settings and click on General. This is another area where you can also change your site title and tagline. Just make sure the work you had done earlier is the same as what you see now. The only thing I would change in this section is the time zone (if need be). It’s up to you if you prefer the date format to be different, I personally like it to be Month Day, Year. Save changes when you are done.
Next hover back over settings and click on Reading. (Don’t worry about the Writing section for now, all’s good until further down the road when we want to get a professional e-mail to match this website). Now for this blog, which I’m making as a pure blog, I would keep the Front Page Display checked off as “Your Latest Posts”. What this means is right when users go to your site, http://yoursite.com it will be a straight display of your latest posts. We will be creating your blog so it shows the image of the post as well as an excerpt and a link to read more. It depends on your preference as to how many blog posts show per page, but 10 is a good starting point. For the Syndication Feed you can keep it the same, but I prefer to put it at 5. This is the feed (rss) people can get if they so choose of your blog. It’s a feed of your recent posts that they download directly from your site. Save settings.
Another settings change I like to make is to change the way your post url’s are written. By that I mean by standard publication on WordPress your blog posts (articles) will come out like this: http://yoursite.com/2016/11/04/sample-post/. Which does not look good aesthetic wise, and is not really good for site’s SEO. Instead I prefer, http://yoursite.com/sample-post. So check off the circle that has Post name next to it. Save changes.
Step 7 – Download Plugins
Now we are going to start having some fun. At the very least we will be downloading the plugins or functionalities that will allow your site to do some amazing things. These plugins will also allow for you to mold and create your site to your vision and a whole lot more! Just thinking about it excited me. This blog site of yours is going to look AMAZING!
For each plugin we are going to download you must first hover over Plugins in the WordPress dashboard and click on “Add New”. I will list off all the plugins you need to download in the following paragraph. Go through them one by one, by entering the title of the plugin in the search bar (within the add plugins page). Once you find the plugin you are looking for hit the Install Now button.That same button will turn into a blue “Activate” button. You can click that once it does so, but then you will have to go back to the add new plugins page, and you will have to keep doing that until all these plugins are downloaded. I suggest once you’ve hit the Install Now button, and the “Activate” button pops up, DO NOT press it. Instead search for your next plugin and install it. Continue that for all your plugins until you’ve completed the list below. Once you finish the last one, then you can press activate. It will take you back to the plugins page and the last plugin will be activated. As for the rest, you will simply check each one off in the box provided to the left of each plugin. Then you will go to the scroll bar that says “Bulk Actions” and click on it. Then click on Activate and all your other plugins will be activated.
The list of plugins are as follows:
Simple Contact Form Plugin – PirateForms
SiteOrigin Widgets Bundle
Page Builder by SiteOrigin
These are just the basic plugins we will be downloading for now. As this “How To Make A Blog” series progresses, we will be updating and continually improving our blog/site. But these plugins will get your site up and running and looking stunning in no time!
Step 8 – Customizing Your Site
This is the EXCITING part for me. Because now you will see your website truly take form. It’s a glorious thing. Once you finish you will be left with not only a sense of fulfillment, but of pride. This is YOURS, your work of art. On top of that it’s addicting, straight up. I could do this for FREE. Hell I basically am (lol). However add on top of the fact that this is going to showcase your talents, skills, knowledge, etc. and make you fucking MONEY! What more could you ask for?
So first off let’s add some pages. In the beginning these pages are all you need to add. Over time as you come up with more content, such as events, or products to sell, or different sections or galleries, etc. you want to showcase, then you will create more pages. Until then all you need is the home page (posts page), the about page, the contact page, and let’s go ahead and create a few pages for your different categories.
First off let’s create your About Page
In your WordPress dashboard hover over Pages and click on “Add New”. It will take you to the Pages section and from there you will see a button that also says “Add New”. Press that button. Title this new page About. You will see three tabs, Visual, Text, and Page Builder. Click on Page Builder. Now we are going to add 2 rows. You do this by pressing the “Add Row” button. In the Set Row Layout section replace the number 2 with a number 1. Then click on the button that says Insert on the lower right hand button. Repeat that action one more time.
Now you will see two empty rows in front of you. Click on the Add Widget button and then choose Site Origin Editor. You will see it pop up in one of your rows. Hover over it and click on “Duplicate”. Put one of those widgets in the empty row and leave the other one in the row it’s already in.
In the first row, click on the site origin editor widget. It will take you inside the widget. From there click on the “Text” tab. Copy the following: <center><h2>Your Name</h2></center> . Now paste it into that widget and press the blue button that says Done.
Now open up your second site origin widget located in the second row. Click on add media, then click on the Upload Files Tab. Then press the Select Files button. Choose whatever image you’d like and in the alignment section scroll to center. This will center your image. Then click the button that says “Insert into page”.
Underneath your image you will type your About Text. Of course this is up to you as to exactly what it will say. However once you are done with it, highlight your text and click on the Align Center symbol. Then press the “Done” button. Under “Page Options” checkmark Hide Page Title and Set As Full Width. Now click the blue “Publish” button. After that click on the link that says View Page. You now have your About Page!
Now let’s create your Contact Page.
In your WordPress Dashboard hover over + New and click on Page. For the page title enter Contact. Now hit the “Add Row” button and change the number 2 to a number 1. This will make it just a single column instead of 2. Now press the blue “Insert” button. Now press “Add Widget”. Choose the Pirate Forms widget. Then hover over that widget and press Edit. You can put whatever you’d like in the title, something catchy perhaps or simply, Contact. Then fill out the text below if you’d like to say a few words to those who are about to contact you. Click on the blue “Done” button when you are finished. Now check under page options both the “Hide Page Title” and “Set as Full Width” boxes. Then hit Publish! You can then “view page” to see how it looks!
After that we will create a couple pages for your different categories.
Well we don’t really have to create these pages as WordPress will automatically do that for you. We do however have to create the categories themselves, and then after that we need to put a link to each one in your Menu. So from your dashboard, hover over Post and click on “Categories”. Now for an example I will create 3 different categories. I will do Food, Travel, and Life. You of course will replace those three with whatever categories you believe you will be writing about in the future. Now if you don’t know your categories yet, you can skip this section. And you can always add them later when you know what categories you want to write in.
So for the first category, Food, type in Food in the Name section. Do the same in the slug section. However make it all lowercase in the slug section (First letter uppercase in the Name section). Keep parent at none. If you would like to add a description of that category you can do so in the box provided. For the purpose of demonstration I will add the following: All things food. From healthy to just plain tasty and everything in between!
Click on the blue Add New Category button when done. Repeat this action for each of your categories. So in this demonstration I will repeat this action for Travel, and then for Personal. In the future whenever you are making a blog post, you will check off the category that it belongs to and it will automatically show up on that Category page!
Now let’s head over to the front end home page. Do this by hovering over your site’s name and clicking on Visit Site.
Let’s fix your navigation (menu)
While on your site, click on Customize. Then click on Menus. Press Add Menu. Name it Main Menu. Under Menu Locations check off “Main Menu”. Then go back and press Add Menu again, and this time title it Social. You will then check off under Menu Locations “Footer Menu”.
Now go back and click on Main Menu. Press Add Items, Click on Pages then select “Home”. After that, click on Categories and select “Life”, “Food”, and “Travel” (or whatever you named your categories). From there click on Pages and select “About” and “Contact”. Press the Add Items button again. Press the Save and Publish Button. Now close out the customize menu. Voila there is your main menu!
Now let’s go back into the customize Menu. Click on “Social Account”. Add your Facebook and Twitter accounts if you so desire. Then press the back arrow, press Menus, and press Social. Now the first Facebook and Twitter account you added will be located in the upper right hand corner of your site pages. This social menu we are doing now will be on the bottom right hand corner of all your pages. Press “Add Item” and then for each social account you would like to add press Custom Links, and add your url and coinciding link text. For example: URL – https://www.facebook.com/yourpage | Link Text – Facebook. Then press Add To Menu. Continue to add for each of the social accounts you would like displayed on your pages. When finished, press the Add Items button once more. Then press Save And Publish. And close out the customize Menu. Your site is starting to look pretty damn good now!
Let’s put the finishing touches on this blog
Go back into your customize menu. Now it’s up to you and you should mess around with the colors and figure out what you really want, depending on the mood/theme of your blog, all that good stuff. It’s just up to you. But for the sake of this demonstration I will show you the colors I believe work well. Again, within your Customize menu, click on Styling, and then click on “Colors”. For the background color I always choose White. It gives your website a professional and clean look, and allows for the content to be the primary focus of attention. After choosing white for Background Color, click on Main Color. For this demonstration I will choose the following color code: #d9b310 . That’s gold color. Again, you should spend your time here, experiment and find the color that works best for your style and your theme depending on the content and mood of your blog!
Now let’s go back to your Customize menu and let’s customize the main sidebar which is seen on your front page. Now if you like it the way it is you can keep it that way. However I will say, your sidebar will change over time. Once we get further into this series and learn more about affiliate marketing, placing ads, advertising your own products/services/content, then I will show you proper and effective placement of those items on your sidebar. Right now you really have no content yet to put in your sidebar, so we’ll just fill it for now. But again, it will be changing over time based on what you feel is most important for your readers to see.
I would prefer to delete ALL of the widgets already up there except the Categories widget. If you’d like to follow along you can do the same (don’t worry you can always add them back if you’d like). So in order to do that you will go that first bar, click on the down arrow and press Remove. Repeat that action for all the widgets you’d like to remove. Now let’s add the widgets we want. So, in the customize menu click on “Widgets”. Then click on “Main”. I like to have a search bar up there, in case people want to find something specific. Press the +Add a Widget button and find “Search”. Click on that. Press the Add a Widget button again and let’s add an image of you which will link to the About page. So after pressing the Add a Widget button, press Site Origin Image.
Under Image File press Choose Media. Let’s use the same picture you used in your About page. Click on it then press Set Media. Put image alignment at Center. Then title it “About Me” or “Get To Know Me” or anything you’d like to put there. Change Title Position to Above. For Destination URL press Select Content. Choose your About page. Then press the blue link that says Close.
Now I’ll just reiterate we don’t have much content yet to put up there, so I will add a map. In the future though we will be adding some ads, and other things items that will not only accentuate the look of your blog, but earn you money as well! So for this demonstration we will just fill it up with stuff that you may or may not keep. So we will now press the Add a Widget button again and this time choose Site Origin Google Maps. You can then enter your city, or if you’d like a specific address, it all depends on you. I personally work from home so I just always put Dallas, Texas. Then hit the + Settings and check off the box that says Draggable. This way, especially for mobile, when people go over the map they aren’t stuck scrolling through the map, as opposed to what they more than likely are trying to do, which is just scroll through the page. Press close.
Let’s add one more widget for now. Press the Add A Widget button again and this time select the Calendar widget. Title it Blog Posts Date or whatever you like. Press the blue close link, then hit the Save and Publish button.
Here is the order I will put my widgets in from top to bottom: SiteOrigin Image, SiteOrigin Google Maps, Search, Categories. You can arrange as you please! You have yourself an amazing looking blog now, all set up and ready for your content! It may be bare now, if you don’t have any actual posts yet, however once you start putting in your posts and images, and more content this blog site will look professional, clean and stunning!
A Few Extras
Go to your WordPress Dashboard and from there click on InstaShow in the lower lefthand corner. Under connect to instagram press Authorize In Instagram. Login to your Instagram account. Click the Authorize button. You will then be taken back to the InstaShow settings page. From there under Installation click on Sizes. For this grid I will choose to use 3 columns and 2 rows. You can set yours as you please. When you’re done press Get Shortcode. Highlight the code in the box. Copy it (Command + C on mac, or Cntrl + C on windows).
Go back to the front end of your site by hovering over your site name and clicking on Visit Site. Now press the Customize button. Click on Widgets, then click on Main. Click Add a Widget. Add Site Origin Editor. Paste your shortcode into the space provided. Press the blue Close link. Now depending on where you want your Instagram Feed to show in your side bar you can drag that widget bar (Site Origin Widget) wherever you’d like. I will place mine in between the Image and Maps widgets. Hit Save and Publish when you are done.
Now we will want a sidebar for your posts as well. From your WordPress dashboard hover over Appearance and click on Widgets. You will see the “Main” widget bar and underneath that the the “Single-Page” and “Single-Post”. For this demonstration we will make the “Single-Post” widget area the exact same as the “Main” widget area. We don’t have to worry about the “Single-Page” widget area for now.
You will simply look at your “Main” widget area and copy that list of widgets. So, you see the first widget is Site Origin Image. So from there you will scroll down until you see that widget, press it, then press Single Post (this will check it off) and then press the Add Widget button. Do the same thing for each widget you see in the “Main” widget area, that way your “Single Post” widget area will be an exact clone of it. Again, in the future you will customize based on the content and ads you will be showcasing on your site! After putting in each of those widgets in your “Single Post” widget area we must now customize each widget.
You will follow the exact same process you did in customizing your Main widget area. Just follow those same steps except this time you will be doing it from the backend and in the “Single Posts” widget. Don’t forget to hit the Save button after customizing each widget!
Now for the final tweak, let’s fix the author box, which is the box at the bottom of each of your posts, which shows your profile picture, name, bio, and social links. From your WordPress dashboard, hover over Users and then click on Your Profile. From there you will fill out the info for your website, Google +, Twitter username, and Facebook url. Also provided is space for your biographical information. Then underneath that is the section for your profile picture. In order to change that you will click on the blue link that says Gravatar. From there you will create a wordpress.com profile, if you don’t already have one. Just follow the instructions, confirm profile in your email, and then upload your image. This will be the image for your Author’s Box!
For those who want a more visual tutorial, I’ve provided this exact step by step process in the YouTube video below!
This is an ongoing series so we will be adding a lot more content to your blog, and I will be showing you how to maximize it’s potential. I will be showing you how to monetize your site, optimize it for search engines, and incorporate different social media platforms into it. In addition to that this series will go over effective blog post formats, writing techniques, creative techniques, marketing, getting traffic, and so so so much more! This is such an exciting time in history and in the world, because it is easier than ever to not only make money online, but to create a lifestyle where in you are doing what you LOVE! To stay up to date, sign up to my mailing list in the sidebar to the right, or through the newsletter button in the footer!