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How to Start a Blog on WordPress

March 27, 2021

This post contains affiliate links from products and services I find valuable. If you click through and make a purchase, I'll make a small commission, which comes at no cost to you. This supports my small business. Learn more here. 

You want to use Pinterest successfully, but you aren’t sure how to start a blog.

Even if you do know what you want to write about or sell, you might not know exactly how to get started. You might even be wondering how everyone manages the technical side of things plus run a business successfully. And then there’s Pinterest too.

The overwhelm is real.

On Pinterest, a saved pin is one that leads to content (a blog post, a product, or a sales page), so you’ll need a website where that content will live. The power of Pinterest starts with valuable and inspirational content. Your pin images are the first thing people see on Pinterest, but the content is the gold.

And that’s where you’ll need to start. Without a blog or website, it’s difficult to use Pinterest for an income.

That’s why in this post, I will cover the basics of how to start a blog and get set up for Pinterest. These steps are easy to follow and will support your goal of having content and using Pinterest to promote that content.

And don’t worry–I’m going to discuss it step-by-step.

Decide on a Name

Before you go signing up for services, take some time to think about what you want your website name to be. If you don’t know what a domain name is, it’s the link you type in a browser to get to a website.

For instance, mine is happypindesign.com. I picked this name because “happy” is easy to remember and also an emotion I want to go for. One thing I regret about this name is that I wished I would have went with my own name. Unfortunately, someone has taken “michellebuck.com” and the entire site is in Chinese. But, I could have chosen something like “michellebuckdesigner” or “michellebuckcreates” as the name. Despite my name choice, I’m making the best of it.

So if you have the option of using your name, you might want to select this especially if you aren’t sure what your topic is going to be long term or if it will change over time.

You can also select your business name or a name that fits your brand. Once you have this, hop over to Name Cheap and swipe up the name that is available. (They also offer hosting and email, but I’ll get into that next).

The fee for this can start at around $8 per year, but it depends on the popularity of the name and also how many years the license is.

Register your domain name and keep the emails so you can refer to them later.

Note: This tutorial is going to cover how to use WordPress as I believe it’s the best solution. Other solutions you might want to look into are Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly.

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Start a Blog With WordPress Options

A website hosting service needs to accommodate your WordPress installation. You can’t just go to WordPress and use the free site. You need a self-hosted site which means you need a place for your website to live. That also means that your host needs to be up to par with the WordPress platform needs. WordPress.com is not the same as WordPress.org.

Confused yet? Let me explain.

WordPress.com is a free blogging tool. They do offer hosting and even allow you to use a domain, but you don’t have complete control over your site. In the case of adding affiliate links or ads, you might have to abide by their limits for your account. Not cool.

WordPress.org is the place that has the free WordPress plugin. You can install that plugin yourself but you’ll need to figure out which hosting service to use. There are many sites that allow you to download this from a control panel area once you pay for their service. Otherwise, you are looking at a bunch of tech stuff like FTP and installations, and who needs that? Bottom line: pick a hosting service that is the easiest and simplest to use otherwise you’ll be stuck with a bunch of tech issues. And make sure they work with WordPress.org.

Selecting a WordPress hosting service

There are plenty of cheap and “good enough” solutions for starting out. You can use Name Cheap, Blue Host, GoDaddy, or Host Gator and all of these are fine when starting out if you aren’t thinking long-term. But if you plan on getting a large amount of traffic and are worried about your site security, then pay attention.

You need a host that allows you to quickly and easily install WordPress, which is why I don’t recommend Namecheap or any other cheap platform.

Security and Spam Issues

Here’s why I don’t recommend going cheap to start. I used to always use cheap services like GoDaddy for my blogs. They did fine for the most part. But it wasn’t long before I realize the true cost of these services which was my time and energy being sucked right out the window. My sites were getting hacked and taken over, marked as spam, and other annoying and hard to deal with stuff. So after several years of this, I decided not to pinch pennies and went with Flywheel. Yes, they are more expensive and seem almost overpriced, but I can’t say enough good things about them.

start a blog with flywheel hosting

For starters, they have amazing customer service. The longest I’ve waited after submitting a help ticket is probably an hour. They also have the best security I’ve ever seen and I’ve never dealt with a single hack to my account. And can I just gloat about their daily backups? Even if you don’t know how to use the backups, the customer service people will help you out in a jam. You can even stage your site and prevent plugin errors. I also never have to buy security plugins or backup plugins, and I save money because I don’t have to invest in more plugins that will inevitably bog down my site anyway.

Even though I’m super happy with them, I realize that not everyone has the money to shell out to use them. So stick with what is in your budget, but if you can spare the extra cost, you’ll love it.

If you want extra security on your website but don’t want to use Flywheel, then I suggest using CleanTalk to protect your site from hackers. Hackers and spammers are prevalent on WordPress sites, so it’s best to put that in place immediately. You’ll also need to purchase SSL for your website too. Another reason I like Flywheel–free SSL!

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DNS Records

Depending on your host and the domain name provider, you might need to link up the DNS records. DNS is simply a way for the host and the domain name to speak to each other. The domain name is translated as an IP address. The DNS records consist of A NAME, TXT, CNAME, and other types of records. You’ll need to refer to your hosting service to get the specific directions for setting this up. For example, Name Cheap offers their instructions here and Flywheel has instructions at this link.

start a blog and use DNS records

Install WordPress

Some web hosts install WordPress for you while others require you to locate the installation on the control panel and install it. Either way, it shouldn’t be that difficult to install and usually consists of clicking a button and setting a password. Flywheel automatically installs WordPress and notifies you when it needs to be updated. You can use the Tiny Plan, which is $15 a month ($13 if you pay annually plus 2 free months), and get everything you need to get started.

For other hosting services, you’ll need to look into how they handle the WordPress installs. I believe Bluehost and GoDaddy require using the Control Panel to access the download. It’s easy enough to click the button and install it.

WordPress Themes

Themes are the look and feel of your website. They basically fall into three categories: Easy, Professional, and Builders. For awhile I was using Genesis which might fall into the Professional category because a lot of businesses use this for their themes. Genesis is the framework and then child themes work “on top” of the framework. It requires a lot of know-how that most beginners find frustrating. If you use Flywheel, it comes with some Genesis theme options to pick from for free.

The Easy themes are usually inexpensive and simplistic. They work for a while, but might not have everything you want. Sometimes they can end up being frustrating to use simply because they have so many problems and conflicts. I would say anything that comes pre-installed on WordPress falls into this category. They have very few bells and whistles and customization is next to zero.

Builders are made for those with limited HTML or WordPress experience, but I also think they are just much more simple to use overall. I use Thrive Themes which is a builder. I pay a yearly fee and have access to the builder as well as a bunch of other tools for marketing like Thrive Leads, Thrive Headlines, and others. Another option is Elementor, which is free.

In my experience with Thrive themes, I still had to learn how to use the platform. Every theme has a learning curve, it’s just that some platforms are easier to use than others.

Do a little research and find a theme that best suits your needs for your blog or website.

Start a Blog with Plugins & Customizations

I personally don’t care for the plugins that come with WordPress, such as “Hello Dolly” or “JetPack”. I uninstall those right away. Jetpack has known conflicts with many other plugins and I don’t think you need it.

You’ll definitely need an SEO plugin. I started off with YOAST but it ended up causing issues with my theme. Now I use All in One SEO and it works fine.

WordPress is using Gutenberg as the post editor and I happen to hate it. You can play around with it and see if you like it, but if you end up not liking it, try the Classic Editor. It gets rid of Gutenberg and allows you to simply type in the editor. If you don’t know what Gutenberg is, it’s a way for you to use blocks in your editor so you can drag and drop, move items around, and so on. Some people love it and others like me, can’t stand it.

You can use other plugins to make your website your own. If you ever run into issues, try to deactivate your plugins and then activate them one by one to see which one is causing the issue.

Here are my favorite plugins:

301 Redirects Pro – if you change a website link, this will redirect your link to a new page that looks good to the Google gods

All in one SEO – helps you use keywords to rank higher

Classic Editor – Removes the buggy Gutenberg plugin and allows you to type without the hassle

WP Tasty Pins – Use for adding Pinterest pins to your posts with keywords, links, and titles

Short Pixels – images used on your post can slow down your website. Use this tool to minimize the file size so that the pages load more quickly.

Create Your First Blog Post

When you have all your plugins up and running, then you can create your first post. Use researched keywords to make your posts rank well. In addition, brainstorm catchy titles that use emotional and power words. If you installed the All in One SEO plugin, then you’ll see how well the blog post ranks. Follow the prompts to fix any errors.

To start a blog post, go to the sidebar of WordPress and click on POSTS and then ADD NEW. You’ll get the Gutenberg editor or the Classic editor, depending on your choices. You’ll need to enter a title at the top of the editor. Search up a headline using the Coschedule Headline tool.

start a blog headline analyzer

A blog post should be anywhere from 1,200-2,000 words. The longer the post, the better it can rank on Google. Add in images that are relevant to the post. Also, include a title and fill in the alt tags for better ranking posts. Use categories and tags to add in your keywords too.

I always like to break up my blog posts for readability so consider using bullet points, headings, sub-headings, and other elements to make your content easy to read. Add in images and email sign-up forms to break up the text as well. When you have proofread and adjusted the content SEO, publish the post.

Create Pinterest Pins for Your Post

Now that you have content ready to go, you can create 5-10 pins for your post. You can create your images in Canva, Adobe CC, Visme, or any program of your choice. For sizing guidelines, check out this post. Once you are done creating the images, save them to your computer so you can pin them to Tailwind or directly to Pinterest.

Upload the images to your post using the Tasty Pins plugin. You can them or place them in the post if you prefer.

Upload Pins to Tailwind

Upload your 5-10 images to Tailwind and schedule them using 7 days intervals to no more than 10 boards each. I like to place the first image on day 1, the second image on day 2, and so forth. This prevents my pins from looking like spam and getting me banned and makes for a better user experience.

Upload Pins to Pinterest

If you don’t use Tailwind, then you can still schedule your pins using Pinterest. Upload the image to Pinterest by going to CREATE and then CREATE PIN and then browsing to the image from the screen. Enter in the Title and Description, as well as the alt tags keeping in mind your keywords. Select the board you want to post the pin to. You might want to track this in a spreadsheet noting the boards you are saving it to as well as the date and time.

Select the button that says “publish at a later date” and then choose the date you want to schedule the pin for. Save the pin when you are done.

Pinterest Pinning FAQ

Find out more about SEO for Pinterest with the following link:

Other Ideas to Start a Blog

Now that you have a general idea of how you can create content and pins, try creating other images for your pages, shop items, and more. When you first start out, you can create 3-4 categories and then create content for those categories. Design a lead magnet that will capture your audience and place sign-ups for those on your category pages, in the specific posts, and in your sidebars, if you use them.

You’ll need an email service to capture email subscribers. Check out Mailerlite or Convertkit. Place opt-in forms for your email list in your blog posts, headers, and sidebars.

So now you have a blog set up and ready to go, how do you plan on using it? Let me know in the comments!

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About the Author

Pinterest graphic designer and digital strategist for business owners and change-makers who want to be seen and heard.

Michelle Buck

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