My name is Tom Munson (Some people call me Tommy). Welcome to my Blog called “Tommy Knows”. I have a lot of life experience in many eclectic interests that include things like Pizza (I am a Foodie!), Restaurateur, Health\Fitness, Gratitude, Healthy Eating, Writing, Poetry, Business Ownership, Sales Funnels and Digital Marketing. However, this is my FIRST blog post!
I am going to share all my 13 Lucky ways or key tricks and tips so that You will also NOT ruin your New WordPress Blog Site from the Get-go stage! It turns out that you and I can make some grave mistakes in our blogs inception that cannot really be rectified in positive ways after they have been done. After reading this blog I believe that You and I will be ready to move forward with a strategic game plan and confidence that we will succeed in developing a great readable Blog site.
I have never started my own blog, even though I love to write! Why? Mostly because I was always afraid that I would screw it up from the very start. So, I have basically studied on and off for a few years trying to understand both how to properly blog and how to avoid the many pitfalls I have heard about from avid bloggers.
I mean it all sounds simple! Find a blogging site, sign up for an account, give it a name and start writing!!! How ever there are a lot more things to consider, especially if you want to build a blog the correct way right from the very start!
Let’s say that you just go right to it from there and you start writing articles… lots of articles. And now you are months in, and you decide that there’s something you don’t like about your site and/or how it is being operated. Now, you’ve got lots of content written and some decent traffic. However, if you abandon your site now you will lose all that gained audience and traffic. After all that work no one really wants to start over with a clean slate.
So, then what is the correct way to build a blog? Well that like many questions it’s an, “It depends” answer. Most of it depends on what your goals are for the blog. Are you writing for fun? Do you want to build an audience? Do you want to monetize it? (IE Make money!)
For the sake of this Blog post I am going to assume its not just for fun. However, even if you built a Blog for fun there really is no reason not to build it out properly. So, this post is going to be me sharing my basic tips checklist of all the things I have learned NOT to do so that I won’t screw up my Blog site right from its inception.
#1. To WordPress Or Not to WordPress?
To WordPress or Not to WordPress?
Again, this depends on what our goal is. Because I am assuming that it may possibly be a money-making venture at one point as well as a labor of love, I am going to strongly suggest that you start with a WordPress base for your Blog.
Well I could go into the technical reasons as to why WordPress is a superior Blog hosting platform, but instead of boring us both, I’ll make one statement almost all successful Bloggers use WordPress and WordPress has the absolute highest amount of Blog Sites using it by far! FACT … according to WordPress 59.4 % of all Blogs use their platform to share content!
3 out of 5 BLOGGERS choose WORDPRESS! Enough said for me. I decided to go with WordPress and own and control my site!
#2. Create and Own YOUR URL
This second tip goes hand in hand with the first tip. One of the reasons why WordPress is so popular is that when you use WordPress it is on your own URL. This means that you basically have ownership of your site and its domain name. If you have issues with the business that you pay to host the site, then you can move it! It’s yours!
If you use one of the big-name Blogger sites. yeah, they may give you a Free domain, but its their domain and when you drive traffic to your website, it’s their traffic and they make the profit from your content. Like all business it’s a trade-off or a “Catch-22”. However, I do not think it is a very good one. WordPress is inexpensive to use, and a domain name or URL is basically about $15 a year to “own”. It should NOT be very hard to be able to profit enough from your content to pay for it.
#3. Don’t use a Junk theme
When I first started my site, I went looking for Hosting and I got down to deciding from A2 Hosting and Bluehost. I already had some advice from some good people, the more I looked into it they seemed fairly on par with one another. However, I got a great deal on price if I signed up for 3 years and paid fully upfront. So, I had to fork up some pretty good cheese just to get into the game. Because my site was not generating any money, I figured that I would just go with one of the Free Themes. However, I saw a great video by Miles Beckler that explained what he used and I because I respected his advice. I just decided to get the same theme he did. I am using Thrive Themes.
From what I have gathered if I were to use a weak, junk theme it would end up being one of the biggest mistakes one can make when starting a WordPress blog. It seems that the Theme that you choose is far more than just the visual appearance, but it is the base frame from which the. entire website is run. It is essential that it’s a powerful theme as any plugins that you add to your site have to be able to run hand in hand with one another. Plus, since I like the theme, I am NOT planning on making too many changes on it.
#4. Back up your Blog
I was advised by my host to do a Backup of my blog as soon as I downloaded my theme! Why?
Well here are a few of the reasons that I have uncovered. Basically, I could do something stupid myself and screw it up!! No!!?? YES!!! I surely can! It is also a possibility that the Host company could have a breakdown that destroys the data on your site. I use A2 Hosting and they do keep a backup of my site as well! I am backing it up again just before I post this first blog! Its always a better idea to be extra safe than sorry!
#5. Set up your site with WordPress.org
This probably should have been first on my list as it is an easy mistake for any of us Newbies to make! I just figured that WordPress.org and WordPress.com were the same thing. WRONG!
If you want to have a blog that you both completely control and that you can make money with, then you need to set it up with WordPress.org. Seems that although WordPress.com is a site that allows uses of the WordPress dashboard to manage and control the site, they also host your site at no cost. There seems to be a benefit to your site hosting being free, however, it completely ruins any real monetization efforts you can make to make it a profitable and desirable business.
Once you setup your free site there, you are given a domain name will be something like this.
On this site and in this manner, you are not the owner of your URL it’s a WordPress owned URL that your name is attached to. They also don’t really have many of the features of a WordPress.org site such as many other features available on self-hosted WordPress sites. I had my website up in running in a few minutes using A2 Hosting and they had a free version of WordPress that was pre-optimized and automatically downloaded for me all for free because I paid for my hosting there!
#6. Don’t Forget to setup permalinks
To properly build a site, you should set up your permalinks right at the very beginning!
Well whenever you write a new post, WordPress will automatically generate a web address (URL) for each web page. WordPress uses a certain default format for that URL every time. However, it uses a confusing number scheme that doesn’t really make sense to much sense. Default URLs look like this:
However, this is simple to change. You can customize the URL for any post or page right at the point of creation.
To do it get in your WordPress dashboard and up on the top right-hand side of the screen you can see what the auto-generated URL is. Just click there to change it.
You can decide to just change the format for your permalinks. Here’s how you do it:
First, on the left side of your screen, in the WordPress dashboard, click on the “Settings”
Second, look for and click on “Permalinks”
Third, choose a setting other than the default. This will still format for you automatically, but it will not be non-sense numbers.
Do This BEFORE you write and publish your first post!
If you don’t do this before then any posts that you create will have default settings.
#7. Limit Your Plugins
Being a rookie to WordPress I must rely on sound advice and know myself. I tend to overdo things. When I used to paint cars to resell I would have it painted just about exactly how I wanted it. But I would try to put just a little more paint here and there. THEN, it would drip. I would overdo it and must completely redo parts of the paint job causing me hours of work that was unnecessary. The worst thing about it was I always knew when I was approaching that point and almost always screwed it up! From what I have read and general commonsense the more plugins that a site has, the more likely you will be to run into technical issues. I am already at 10 and I am trying to limit myself. So, my goal is to stay under 20 plugins in 2020! Hopefully with age has come not only more wisdom, but also self-control!
#8. Use a Spam Blocker
Although I have not experienced it. A client of mine recently told me that he gets over 150 spam comments a day! Yes, I guess he counts them! I am grateful that A2 Hosting has a free Spam Blocker that they also gave me for using them for Hosting my site.
It is a plugin that is called, Anti- Spam
Spam just completely makes your site look junky and non-cared for in my opinion. Nowadays there are a lot of Bots being used to post spam comments on your site with links back to their site. This is one of the many, many ways that people are trying to fool Googles algorithm into bring more traffic to their site.
So, get a Spam Blocker! It is just not worth allowing when you can avoid it.
This crap to be done to your site if you are trying to build a nice user experience!
#9. Use a Fast, Quality Host
Although I touched upon it a little bit earlier, choosing a site host is definitely an important decision. I am sure there are both many bad hosts and many good hosts out there. I had used GoDaddy in the past for my business websites and was never really satisfied with them. When I looked into it I found many of the technical reasons why some people were saying to stay away from them. So, when I started this, I decided to look for a good site. One that was reliable and had fast speed. I started searching Google for reviews, but it seemed that many of them were affiliates that were pushing their Host more because of their check than the quality of the sites. Now I should state here that I have nothing against Affiliate marketing if the seller uses said product and believes in said product. Although I am NOT currently an affiliate marketer, I do plan on doing some Affiliate selling once I know all the products that I believe in. It is a little too early on some things for me to make a sound suggestion, but others tools and software I do know that I like and/or love at this point that I will be soon willing to do reviews on and explain why I like and suggest using them.
So far, I am very happy with A2 Hosting’s service, the price is good, and their support staff has been terrific! Like I said some people that I have come to respect have also said that Bluehost is a great host too.
#10. Use Automatic Resizing on Your Images
I have been working on uploading my images on my first Blog Post I am already having some difficulty with my images. It seems that they are larger than they appear in the mirror!
As I am uploading the images, they do not resize themselves on WordPress. I must admit that I don’t love that! But it is what it is. As you or I upload an image to a WordPress website, it will change the way the image is displayed so it will fit, but it also slows your speed down. Speed of uploading is highly important in this rush around world where the average person only has an attention span of 8 seconds. You can have a great blog post that you spent 5 days writing and 3000 words lobe, however, if the reader has to wait 2 minutes for your images to load they most likely will leave! So, we must resize the image FIRST before the reader has to wait. If it’s the right size, then your page will come up quickly and all the good things associated with that will happen. However, I decided to look for a tool to do this and now I have found one called Short Pixel and it looks excellent. Plus, you should also make sure that you are using high-quality images, or you will run into problems with them as you resize them.
#11. Content, Content, Content!
For anyone trying to build a blog post, from what I see from studying the Blog Posts that are successful they all have one thing in common. Lots and lots of content. You and I just absolutely must write great content. Brian Dean from Backlinko did a study that I read about and the average Number 1 ranked post on a Google search is just under 1900 words long. So that tells us if we want to rank high to shoot for about 2000 words minimum and from what I have researched it seems that up to 3500 words is probably even better, It seems that a lot of bloggers start their blogs by writing short content hoping to produce more volume of content so more people can read their posts. However, most everything that I read says this does not and will not work. So, I am going to try to make sure every post at least approaches the 1500-word mark. If you are looking to learn about SEO and backlinks Brian Dean from Backlinko shares some great information in a digestible way. I recommend checking him out! I also look forward to developing enough content that I can share it across many platforms and Backlinks will obviously be something that will help greatly then as well.
#12. Do Social Media Well
My theme that I have from Thrive Themes has a great plugin that has buttons to integrate many different Social Media sites right on my Blog Posts. Here I am trying to get this post done as I have been working on it about 5 times longer than I had anticipated and I realize now that I have not checked out any of my Social media links and I am probably going to post this without doing so! I would advise against this! I am sure many gurus out there already have advised against this, but at least I realize I should check. Hopefully, I will get this done in time that I can check before I post. But it really is my first post and I have no audience and Its funny, BUT on this first post you are kind of writing on faith. Faith that you are writing about something that someone will be interested in and read. Plus, that you have the tech side of the blog down well enough that you can communicate your ideas without any tech issues stopping you. Shares are an absolute must on if you are going to drive significant traffic in the beginning for sure, but really all the time. You need to have those Social Media badges working properly and I do know that. So far everything that I have used from Thrive Themes has been impressive. So, I am confident that I will be doing Social Media right on my Blog and have a good working Share system driven by Thrive Themes.
#13. Stay Positive and Keep the Course
Everything that I read about starting a post suggests that it takes a decent amount of time to develop a good-sized audience. I have taken this into consideration, and it has inspired me to finally write this first post that I have been procrastinating about for 3 months or years depending which way that you look at it. I already know that I will want to see traffic and comments right away However, I also see where that is probably not going to happen. So, I have already made a goal to post 50 posts minimum in the first 60 days of this Blog. The only way that I will get that done is by having faith in my ideas and system that I have set up in my head BEFORE even starting this blog. I suggest that anyone else that is considering starting one have a pre-made plan before starting and just clicking away. Kind of like raising your bench press amounts in weightlifting. Its all about adding a rep or two here and a pound or two there and then they all add up and before you know it you have added 50 pounds to your bench press weights. Do it like this for years and you are huge! Well I would love for this Blog to become huge, so here is Rep one! Like, comment, suggest and share if you would like! I would love to hear from you and would be most grateful for any shares! Thanks for reading.