How to Set Up a WordPress Blog in 2019 (Step-by-Step Guide)

Before I get into this guide on how to set up a WordPress blog, I want to tell you a story.

Back in 2015, I thought that to have a website and a blog I would need to learn how to hand-code it myself.

So glad I was wrong about that.

How to Set Up a WordPress Blog

However, I did not know that at the time, so I decided to set sail on my journey to learn how to code.

I spent about a month at an online course named Treehouse and started to get bored.

I am not bashing Treehouse; in fact, if you DO want to learn how to code, it is a great place to start. I did not fit in with their training.

I decided it was not for me.

Lucky, I found out about CMS (Content Management Systems) and in particular, WordPress.

Today’s guide is all about WordPress but not wordpress.com.

I will make a future comparison on wordpress.com vs. wordpress.org. However, today we are focusing on .org.

How to Set Up a WordPress Blog: What is Your Reason

People need a website (or in this case a blog) for different reasons.

Maybe you need to expand your business, and the best way to do that is by tackling the online world.

It could be because you see somebody else making a full-time income and it inspires you (like how I got inspired by Neil Patel).

It is rare. However, there are still creators who make content because they enjoy making it (I am the best example of this... hopefully).

Also, let me know in the comment section at the bottom why you want to start blogging.

The Amount of Time I Spend Blogging

There is a misconception that blogging only takes a few hours a week and you can make millions of dollars while sitting on a beach.

If you are looking for a "Get Rich Scheme," then this guide is not for you.

The amount of time you will spend blogging does depend on a few things such as:

  • The Amount of Experience You Have Had
  • How Many Websites You Run
  • If You Have a Team or If You are Solo
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    How Much Money Can You Invest in Outsourcing

However, you will not see any online success if you spend 2 hours a week working on your blog.

Usually, I spend as much time as somebody working a full-time job in the UK (About 40+ hours a week).

How to Set Up a WordPress Blog

That depends on what type of content I am creating and what the end goal of that content is.

Here’s how I spend my time:

  • Researching Keywords
  • Creating Outline for Content
  • Writing The Content
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    Finding Images, Videos & Other Types of Content to Add
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    Finding Information to Backup Statements Made
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    Tweaking Content to Build a Solid Internal Linking Structure
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    Editing The Back-end of My Site
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    Planning Future Content
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    & More

See, blogging can be much work. If you still think you are interested in hearing more, let’s get into setting up a WordPress blog.

Choosing a Hosting Plan

The most important choice you will ever need to make when you start a blog is which hosting provider you choose to host your site.

If you choose an unreliable hosting company or one that gives you slow performance, then you are screwed.

WordPress is free.

The catch to this is that you have to host the site on your own.

There are many hosting companies out there and millions of blogs telling you that this hosting company is better than this one.

I am not going to do that.

Instead, I am going to tell you about three different places to get hosting from & why I think they could be the best option for you.

You can decide which one you feel you would like to try out for yourself.

Bluehost

Bluehost is one of the more popular hosting companies out there.

They work with WordPress (who has personally recommended BlueHost).

They are a solid choice to go with for two reasons. It is cheap (their basic plan is $2.95/MO); however, you have to pay annually, and their cPanel is easy to use & get the hang off.

How to Set Up a WordPress Blog

I will mention that their customer service has seen mixed reviews and as a person who takes a companies customer service seriously, I would advise you to take that into account.

Wealthy Affiliate

I know, Wealthy Affiliate sounds weird for a hosting company. That is because they are not solely a hosting company.

I chose to add them in here for several reasons.

First, they offer training on how to earn money online (as their name suggests), they offer a keyword tool in addition to your training and 50 website storage.

How to Set Up a WordPress Blog

Finally, they have free SSL, protection against WhoIs and 24/7 backup & support.

The downside to Wealthy Affiliate is that they do not use a cPanel nor do they offer a CDN (Content Delivery Network) with their package.

I am currently hosting my site with Wealthy Affiliate.

I am not going to be hosting it there forever (again because they focus on teaching you affiliate marketing not hosting.), however, for now, if you want to see the quality of their hosting, look at my site.

Update:

I am no longer hosting my websites at Wealthy Affiliate. My new hosting company is WPX Hosting.

WPX Hosting

WPX Hosting is my most recommended provider to join.

Sure, they might be a little expensive for some beginners (staring out at $24.99/MO), but it is worth the money.

How to Set Up a WordPress Blog

With super fast loading times, free site migration from any other hosting provider and incredible support & protection it is my & should be your number #1 choice.

Quoting from RankXL

"Aside from super-fast speeds, the service I’ve received from Traffic Planet (WPX Hosting's previous brand name) has been like nothing I’ve experienced elsewhere.

Ask them a question about their live chat and see for yourself. Someone responds almost instantly.

I’ve been using Bluehost for a long time without any problems, so I’m not going to say they’re a terrible option and you should transfer your sites immediately."

Unlike Bluehost, you can pay monthly for those who can not afford to pay a yearly fee, and unlike Wealthy Affiliate, they do offer a fantastic alternative to cPanel.

They published a quick explanation of what admin platform they use so check it out.

How to Set Up a WordPress Blog

Currently, I do not have anything negative to say about WPX Hosting. If you have had a difficult time with them, please share them in the comments below.

If I get enough people complaining about something in particular, then I will happily add that to this section.

Getting a Domain Name

For those who have no idea what a domain name is, it is the name you type into your browser to land on a website.

For example, this website is www.outrankn.com.

Google’s domain name is www.google.com.

Wikipedia’s domain name is www.wikipedia.org and so on.

Bluehost offers a free domain name with any package that you decide to use whereas Wealthy Affiliate & WPX Hosting does not offer a free domain.

You can purchase a domain for around $15 a year which isn’t so bad but having a free domain for a year is enough for people to choose BlueHost.

Installing WordPress

The next step is to install WordPress.

First I am going to explain how to install WordPress on Bluehost then Wealthy Affiliate.

I’d recommend reading the BlueHost version if you are going to be using any hosting service that provides a cPanel.

Installing WP (Using cPanel)

Once you purchased your host, scroll until you find the “Website” section. You will notice that there is an install WordPress or 1-click install button for WordPress.

Click that, and you will be sent to a page where you can download WP to your domain name.

After entering your details such as:

  • Username
  • Site Name
  • Password

WP will start installing if anything pops up asking if you want themes, plugins or anything of that nature, ignore it.

How to Set Up a WordPress Blog

Image Taken From: journeyofanarchitect.com

You can (and will be) updating that later.

Once the bar has gone to 100%, you can give yourself a high-five because you have just created your very first website.

You will notice that you are information (Site Login URL, Username & Password) will pop up on the screen.

Go to that URL and use your login details and you are in!

Update:

Installing WordPress with WPX Hosting is similar to Bluehost, but since they do not use cPanel, it is slightly different.

You can read their guide on installing WP using their service here.

How to Install WP (Using Wealthy Affiliate)

Once you have made your account, you will get messaged by:

  • Carson or Kyle (The Owners)
  • The Person Whom You Joined Through
  • Other Members of The Community

You can leave those messages for now and focus on your website.

To purchase your domain, you need to be a premium member. Assuming that you are let’s move on.

Once you have purchased your domain name, it is time to move over to their site builder.

How to Set Up a WordPress Blog

There are four steps to installing WP:

  1. Choosing Which Domain to Install WP Under
  2. Naming Your Website (Usually The Same as Your Domain)
  3. Choosing a Theme (Just Choose a Random One)
  4. Install WP

That is all there is to it!

Choosing a Theme

The main thing that sets your website apart from the millions of sites out there is how it looks.

Google is known for having a simple logo (that changes based on events throughout the year) and having a search bar underneath.

Instagram has a simple image of their app on the phone with a sign-up/login section right next to it.

Even Gary Vaynerchuk has a bunch of cool features on his homepage. 

How to Set Up a WordPress Blog

The list goes on.

In WordPress, they use theme templates to change the look and feel of your site.

Most are free, but there are loads of professional extension that you need to purchase.

In this example, we are going to download a theme called GeneratePress.

In your WP admin area, go to Appearance >> Themes >> Add New (Located at the top of the screen).

How to Set Up a WordPress Blog

A bunch of themes will show up, but you are looking for GeneratePress.

Type GeneratePress into the search bar on your right and download the first theme you see by clicking the install (then activate) button underneath the theme’s preview.

Now you have an awesome theme that can help you design your new site!

Installing Plugins

Plugins are the features on your site that helps to make your site feel more unique.

You can have anything from plugins that allow you to have a full online store to plugins that only load your images after the users have scrolled to a certain point on the webpage (Lazy Load).

Installing plugins is the exact same as downloading themes.

How to Set Up a WordPress Blog

Instead of repeating myself, I am going to give you a list of some must-have plugins.

  • Akismet Anti-Spam
  • Imagify
  • W3 Total Cache or WP Rocket
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    Yoast SEO
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    OptinMonster or WP Subscribe
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    Any Social Sharing Plugin
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    WP-Optimize
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    All-in-One WP Migration
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    WP GDPR Compliance

Make sure you have everything on this list if you are planning on building a blog or business site.

If you want to have an online store, then add WooCommerce to that list.

Creating Your First Piece of Content

Now we get to the good stuff!

Creating content is the best way to build any form of customer or fanbase on the internet.

It’s vital that you have a solid content marketing plan.

Before you go through all of that, you need to create your initial pages like your About page, Contact Page & Home Page.

To create pages that stand out, you will need to use a page builder like Elementor or Thrive Architect.

To create a post/page, go to your WP admin section and go to Post >> Add New or Page >> Add New.

You can add the title of the page and either publish or save as a draft on the right-hand side.

Depending on what plugins you have, you will also notice different sections underneath the text box.

If you have Yoast SEO installed, this is what you will see.

How to Set Up a WordPress Blog

I’ll soon have a guide on adding content to your post using vanilla WP and with page builders like Thrive Architect.

Getting Your Site Ready for SEO

SEO is where you get the majority of your traffic.

Google received over 40,000 search queries every second according to Quora.

Google Received Over 40,000 Search Queries Every Second

Click to Tweet

That’s over 1.2 trillion searches each year.

Imagine getting just 0.01% of that going to your website each year (which is 100 million).

How to Set Up a WordPress Blog

I already mentioned the plugin Yoast SEO, which is my favorite plugin for SEO. However, there are others that can be as good.

One misconception among new marketers is that Yoast SEO does your SEO for you when that isn’t the case.

Yoast’s plugin only helps you optimize your content for SEO.

You still have to do the work yourself.

Fortunately, I have written a complete guide about WordPress SEO.

How You Can Monetize Your Blog

After a few months of having your blog, you start to notice that you’re slowly getting more and more traffic each month.

Your next step is thinking about how you can start converting people into customers, subscribers or whatever you want them to become.

Remember that you’re running a business here, don’t expect to become the new Casey Neistat and have a ton of money.

I will soon have an in-depth guide on monetizing your business with WP, but for now, I will talk about the basics.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate Marketing is the practice of selling other people’s product or service for a commission.

It is how I started making money online.

For example, if you have ever read a blog, listened to a podcast or watched a video and bought an Amazon product by clicking the link in the description then that person made an affiliate commission.

Another real-life example would be when we (my fiancée & I) told her mum about a company called Tails (A dog food service).

When she signed up, we got little extra food and some bonuses. That’s affiliate marketing.

Selling Your Own Products

The only way for you to make the most out of blogging is by selling a product of your own.

Selling things like:

  • T-Shirts
  • Ebooks
  • Regular Books
  • Courses
  • Mentorship

Those are just a few things that you can sell.

There are always a ton of different tools that can help you prepare your product and help with your product launch.

FAQ About Building a Site with WP

Are There Any Differences Between WordPress.org vs .com?

Do I Need to Understand Code to Use WordPress?

Where is The Best Place to Find Images?

What Are The Best Themes to Use?

Learning More About WordPress

WordPress is a massive part of the online world now, and there are many things to learn about it.

There are loads of blogs that can help you understand more about WordPress and how you can improve your online business even more (my blog being one of them).

If you want to start a blog and need more information, here are a few marketing blogs to follow.

Before I leave, here are a few questions that some people ask about WordPress and their website.

If you have any questions about blogging or online marketing, then feel free to comment down below or use my contact page to get in touch with me directly.

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  • Rogier Giersthove says:

    Awesome post!

    I haven’t used WPX Hosting before; however, I have heard great things about it. I currently host my site with Wealthy Affiliate, and it’s pretty good for me.

    I like their support it’s fast and helpful.

    Regarding cPanel, I have never heard of it, is there any need for one?

    • Editorial Team says:

      Hey, Rogier,

      Here is a helpful link from WPBeginner but to quote them on the most important line of that content:

      “cPanel is a web-based hosting control panel provided by many hosting providers to website owners allowing them to manage their websites from a web-based interface.”

  • Derek Marshall says:

    Hi Anthony,

    Great and highly detailed post in regards of starting a blog, As a blogger, I gotta say you hit the nail bang on the head here..blogging ain’t no part time passive kind of thing. It is a Lot of work, a lot of hard work to begin with. To achieve a livable income the average blogger invests 2-3 years of their spare time to build that blog up!

    I am pretty interested in in WPX hosting, lightening quick! as is Wealthy Affiliate hosting (800ms for my site 700+ posts!, content heavyish!).

    You got more info on WPX? since you mentioned them..

    • Editorial Team says:

      Thanks for the comment, Derek.

      That’s awesome to hear that you have a site with 700+ posts and it loads so quickly. I will be publishing a WPX Hosting review of my own and comparing it to other services; however, until I can get around to creating that review, please feel free to look at this review on Blogger Passion by Anil Agarwal.

  • Dave says:

    Thanks for the article, Anthony.

    I enjoyed reading the FAQ at the end. Answered a few questions that I had while reading this guide.

    One question I didn’t see which I’d like to know is how to create a homepage?

    If I were to have a website using WordPress and I didn’t want to show my blog, how would I do that?

    • Editorial Team says:

      Hey, Dave,

      I will update the guide to add this in for future readers. To quickly answer it though it’s possible to have a WordPress website without even having a blog.

      Here’s how you set a homepage and a blog page:

      WP-Admin >> Settings >> Reading.

      Remember that these are pages meaning you have to make a page before changing these settings.

  • Furkan says:

    While I am deciding for a host, I consider the security a lot. 

    Since I am having a lot of issues with my current hosting provider and it does not protect my site from spams well. And I always have to deal with it, and it is just time-consuming. 

    Which one is the best for protecting the site? Wealth affiliate or Bluehost?

    • Editorial Team says:

      Thanks for another comment, Furkan.

      I have heard mix reviews for both regarding security, but I will say that Wealthy Affiliate does give you better protection than Bluehost.

      WPX Hosting is still my number one choice for anyone looking to get premium hosting. Wealthy Affiliate only becomes my number recommendation if you’re also looking for training on becoming an affiliate marketer.

      Hope this helps,

      -Anthony

  • Dave says:

    Hello there,

    I have been looking for the best plugins to start a blog with, and I saw Yoast SEO so many times, which gave me the hint that it must be super important.

    However, I saw someone else saying that it is better to go for SumoMe than to use Yoast. Do you agree and what can you say about this topic? 

    It is confusing.

    I’ll be waiting for your feedback.

  • Saurav says:

    Thanks for this fantastic guide, Anthony!

    That was an excellent comparison on why people shouldn’t just choose a hosting rather than Wealthy Affiliate. 

    I like the points you made about the benefits of the WA. My question to you is, how easy is it to go through the training at Wealthy Affiliate?

    I have been through a lot of training courses that was difficult to understand.

    • Editorial Team says:

      Thanks for the comment, Saurav. Wealthy Affiliate’s training is quite easy to pick up for beginners. 

      The downside is that people rush through the course and end up getting no traffic or rankings because of how quickly they did everything.

      As I mentioned in my article, there are plenty of reasons why you’d want to choose Wealthy Affiliate and plenty of other reasons to join Bluehost or any other web hosting service. However, WPX Hosting will be my number #1 recommendation for a long time coming