Having set up The Lazy Society blog around 12 months ago, which generates organic daily traffic, I believe that I’m now suitably qualified to guide newbies into kick-starting up their blogs the easy way. There’s been a lot of fine-tuning along the way, having tried different hosting providers and overcoming security and performance issues. Here are my 6 recommendations from lessons learned below.
I’ve calculated the total set setup time to be around 45 minutes from start to finish, but this may vary depending on your keyword research and planning time.
1. Do keyword research into your niche
Estimated time: 10 minutes from my experience, but it’s important not to rush this step. Selecting the right niche and keyword planning is critical for the success of your blog.
Before starting a blog, keyword research into your chosen niche using the Google Keyword Planner tool. If you are struggling with ideas, think of what you are most passionate about and focus on this topic. Come up with at least 5 to 10 keywords and topics that you can confidently write about next over 3 to 6 months.
2. Register your domain name with GoDaddy
Cost: $6.95 per year but they have a deal on this.
Estimated time: 5 minutes
Having tried many domain name providers, I’ve found GoDaddy to be the cheapest and most reliable domain name provider going around. You can secure a new domain for as low as $6.95 for a year, which should give you sufficient time to see if your blog is working. If you are struggling with a domain name, use the Name Mesh tool and enter keyword ideas. Using keywords in your domain will help your blog rank better with Google and other major search engines.
3. Get web hosting with SiteGround
Cost: $4.95 per month StartUp plan
Estimated time: 10 minutes. May take a bit longer for your site to point to the DoDaddy domain.
Having tried a few hosting providers over the last 12 months (GoDaddy, HostPapa, Hostinger), SiteGround has proven to be the most reliable and cost-effective. The website experienced growing pains with Hostinger, where it was running slow on their Premium plan, especially installing the WooCommerce plugin. Once I switched over to SiteGround (GrowBig plan similar price to Hostinger), the website ran very smoothly, and there were no more issues. SiteGround makes it very easy to install WordPress, point your domain name, and set up email. Just follow the bouncing ball and if you run into any trouble with setup, use the chat feature to hook up with their support staff, who are very punctual and friendly.
4. Make your blog secure by enabling SSL
Estimated time: 1 minute
Search engines no longer tolerate unsecured websites and will rank them lower. Make sure you make your blog secure by enabling SSL within SiteGround in 3 easy steps:
- Go to Site Tools, select Security, and SSL Manager
- Select ‘Let’s Encrypt’ from the Select SSL dropdown field.
- Under Manage SSL, you should now see a record created with a status of Active. Click on the Action button and select ‘Enforce HTTPS’.
Easy as that and your blog should be fully secure.
5. Increase blog performance with Cloudflare
Estimated time: 5 minutes
Running your blog via Cloudflare improves site performance and speeds up loading times using multiple data centers located around the world. Cloudflare is free to activate and protects security threats against your blog, acting as a giant Virtual Private Network (VPN). It’s effortless to activate Cloudflare via Siteground via Site Tools > Speed section. Select the Cloudflare option, click on ACTIVATE FREE and follow the easy steps.
6. Give your blog a boost with these 6 plugins
Estimated time: 10 minutes
There are so many plug-ins out there that promise a lot. I’ve done my research over time and gone with the best so here is what I’d install on the back of a brand new WordPress installation.
- Yoast SEO – An all-in-one powerful SEO solution that can help you make your blog as search-engine-friendly as possible. You can easily optimize your posts for keywords/keyphrases, internal and external links, and a preview of your posts in Google.
- Akismet Anti-Spam – Best way to protect your blog from spam and keeps your site protected at all times.
- WP-Optimize – makes your blog fast and efficient by cleaning up the database, compresses images, and caches pages.
- GA Google Analytics – Adds Google Analytics to blog so you can monitor website traffic from your WordPress admin area. You don’t need to log into separately to Google analytics.
- Easy Table of Contents – Automatically adds a user-friendly table of contents to each of your posts.
- Sassy Social Share – Easily enable your visitors to share content over 100 or more social media and bookmarking services. This plugin is also very mobile-friendly.
Check out this cool hack for an easy way to drive traffic to your blog.