This is Part 2 of a 2-Step Guide. Part 2 shows you how to start a business blog on a brand new website. If you have an existing website you’ll need to read Part 1. 9 Steps to Add a Blog to Your Website.
Congratulations! You’ve decided to start a blog for your business. Or maybe you’ve decided to start a blog like this one, (Simply Hatch), to build a business and make some money from blogging.
Part 2 Start A Business Blog.
Blogging builds business traffic.
Blogging is the number one way to attract traffic to your online business. Why? Because search engines such as Google love great content.
You can’t optimise a business website for search engines unless you have content to optimise! Makes sense? All the techniques of using keywords, related keywords, anchors and site links simply won’t work without content.
A business blog is the most logical way to produce lots of lovely content. Attract traffic to a business blog and drive it to your eBay or Etsy store or to an existing eCommerce website.
Convert your blog to an eCommerce store with WooCommerce
Looking to build an eCommerce store? You can easily convert a WordPress blog into an eCommerce store using WooCommerce.
Convinced? This post will walk you through setting up your business blog.
Step 1. Decide on a blogging platform
A blogging platform is the software you use to publish your content on the internet. I recommend using WordPress. WordPress is an open source Content Management System (CMS) and it’s by far the most popular. By a long way.
What’s CMS you ask? It’s just a type of software that creates and organises your website. Think of it as a file that keeps your pages in order.
Almost 30% of all websites run on WordPress and if you just consider business websites, that percentage is a lot higher. It’s free to install, launch and upgrade and it’s extremely versatile. There are thousands of plugins, (software add-ons), you can use to do just about anything. WordPress is amazing.
Step 2. Register a domain name
A domain name is the URL used to access your site. Mine is www.simplyhatch.com. If you have an existing business you’ll want to choose a domain name that’s the same or similar. I chose my business name at the same time as my domain name so they match (Simply Hatch Limited and www.simplyhatch.com). With an existing business, you may not get an exact match.
I recommend using GoDaddy to find and buy your domain name for the simple reason you can set up your domain on WP Engine automatically.
Pick a .com extension if you live in the US or if you intend to trade Worldwide. If you only intend to trade in the country where you’re based, get the extension that’s relevant to your country. For the UK, that’s .co.uk. I normally buy both .com and .co.uk and redirect the extra domain to the one I’m using.
You need to come up with a name that’s memorable and preferably not too long. Avoid domain names with misspellings, numbers or hyphens. These types of domain names are hard to remember.
When you’ve got your domain name move onto step 3.
Step 3 Choose your web hosting
If you think of the domain name as your address, the hosting is the house that you rent to live in. It’s the home for your website. Your website will be stored on servers at a physical location and accessed by the internet.
I use WP Engine to host simplyhatch.com. It’s not the cheapest but it ticks all three boxes on my checklist: speed, reliability, and security. Slow websites deter customers big time and will also affect your standing with Google. You really want your website to be listed in Google search results and for this speed is one of the key indicators.
You’re serious about your business right?
Read this first How To Choose The Best WordPress Hosting In 2019 to find out which hosting provider is right for you. I recommend SiteGround if you’re setting up your first blog as a side hustle and WPEngine for an existing business.
Step 4 Sign up for WP Engine
This is straightforward but there’s a couple of things you could be unsure about so I’ll give you a run through.
Click on the link and choose the Startup plan.
Hit the get started button and you will see this form:
The annual payment gives you 2 months free. I suggest you take the annual plan. If you’re serious about blogging, (and I’m sure you are), you need to stick at it for 12 months to start getting big results. The other options you can leave unchecked. You can always add another site later and the FREE version of Google Analytics works just fine. GeoTarget is a good feature but it’s unlikely you need it from the word go.
Scroll down and add your contact details.
The Data center is important. Make sure you select the data center closest to where your customers live. For example, if you’re targeting the UK change the drop-down selection to the United Kingdom.
Note that the Account name will be the name of your first site. Add your domain name here.
The rest of the form is your billing details. fill it in, tick to agree to the Terms of Service and hit the big button Create my site.
Step 5 Install WordPress (Go And Make A Coffee)
I couldn’t decide what to call this step. You don’t have to do anything. Unlike most other hosts, WP Engine will set up your website and install WordPress for you. All you’ll have to do is reset your WordPress password.
Once you’ve made your coffee, you’ll find a couple of emails waiting for you in your inbox.
There will a super enthusiastic welcome email telling you WP Engine are building your blog.
Plus an invite to the WP Engine Portal. Accept the invitation, go in and have a look around. This is where your hosting is managed. You can check performance, take on-demand backups, manage your domain and access the StudioPress themes.
The Sites tab will list your site as soon as it’s ready. Meanwhile, click on the Themes tab. If you click on the thumbnails you access the demo sites for each theme.
As soon as your website is ready… tada! This email arrives in your inbox. Your WP Engine website has been set up and WordPress installed. You just need to log in and reset your password.
Step 6 Log in to your new blog
You’ll be logging into the backend of your blog. This is where you design your blog and write your posts.
At the top of the page, you’ll see a little house icon next to your username. Hover over the icon and click on visit your new website.
Not what you were expecting? WordPress installs a default, free theme when your new site is set up. You will also notice that your website address is http://www.mydomainname.wpengine.com.
Don’t panic! Correcting this is the next step.
Step 6 Connect Your Domain Name To Your Site.
This is easy if you purchased your domain name from GoDaddy. If you used any other company hop onto the live chat and the amazing WP Engine support staff will help you out. WP Engine also has a step by step guide you can follow.
Just remember that WP Engine has terrific support. If you get stuck at any time reach out to them.
Before you start make sure you have your login details for GoDaddy to hand.
- Go to your WP Engine dashboard at https://my.wpengine.com
- Go to Sites and click on your website name and go into Domains. Click the Blue Button to Add domain.
- You will get the message “Your domain is hosted at: GoDaddy. Tap next to login to your GoDaddy Account and begin the automated Domain Connect update process. Tap Next.
- You will be redirected to a screen asking you to login to GoDaddy. Login to GoDaddy
- After signing in you will be asked to confirm your connection. Confirm by clicking Connect.
- Once confirmed you will be redirected back to the WP Engine User Portal.
If you do get a failure message don’t panic. You can either delete the domain WP Engine has tried to add and start again or hop on Live Chat for some help.
Sometimes your website will start showing your new domain straightaway and sometimes it takes up to 24 hours.
Step 7 Get your FREE SSL certificate.
This is so important. You need your SSL certificate installed to get the secure padlock sign on browsers when customers visit your site.
- Login to your WP Engine User Portal. Go to the Sites tab, select your domain and choose SSL from the left-hand menu.
- Click the blue button Add Certificates.
- Click Get Free Certificates and select your domain.
- Tick the Terms & Conditions box and select Request SSL Certificate.
Your Free SSL certificate will take about 15 minutes to process. WP Engine will email you when it’s ready.
Pop back onto your SSL tab and you’ll see the Let’s Encrypt Certificate. Click on the drop down and select your options to match mine below.
Above the SSL certificate box are the general SSL settings. Tick the boxes to match mine.
Step 8 Update The WordPress and Site Address
Login to your WordPress site and select Settings from the left-hand menu and General from the submenu. Update your WordPress and Site Address.
Step 9 Install your StudioPress Theme
Login to your WP Engine User Portal and select the Themes tab. Choose from the list of 36 beautifully designed themes. Follow the get started guide to install your theme and start designing your business blog.
My BIG tip. As a new blogger, pick a theme that matches exactly how you want your blog to look. Don’t start trying to customise your theme – it will end in tears.
This site uses the StudioPress Breakthrough Pro theme. I haven’t changed anything. Just pick a theme that looks the way you want your blog to look and follow the StudioPress set-up guide for your chosen theme.
The StudioPress themes based on the Genesis framework are brilliant. Super fast to load, which is what you want for your customers. Just don’t try and run before you can walk – you can learn how to customise your theme later (or pay someone to do it).
These posts will help you along your blogging journey…
Better still, my Hatch A Blog course will save you hours of time and make sure your business blog gets off to the right start. You also get access to my private FaceBook Group where you get to ask away if you need any help.
It’s true you can find most of the information you need on the internet, but you have to dig deep and do a lot of testing to find out what works. My Hatch A Blog course has done all the hard work for you. Follow the course and get a head start setting up your blog and driving traffic to your site.