Categories
Blogging Productivity & Work Writing

How to set up a blog on WordPress Business

A pictures of a hamster setting up a blog on WordPress Business
gif via slothhilda

Pro Tip: Before we begin, if you just want to start creating a blog right now, get started with a free site on WordPress and be on your way to publishing in less than five minutes.


If you’re going to use your blog for business, then you should be using the most robust tool that powers 30% of the internet: WordPress.

Like most people, I set up a free blog on WordPress before upgrading to premium. However, I quickly realized that I wanted more advanced tools including unlimited storage to upload as many photos and videos as I wanted, built-in SEO, plus the ability to install third-party plugins like Google Adsense to monetize my site.

So I went all-in on a WordPress Business account and I’m never going back!

If you’re still having doubts about paying money for a blog, especially if you’re just starting out, I would highly recommend you start a WordPress blog for FREE to see if it’s for you. Also, this post may contain affiliate links. Please see the disclosure for more info. 

Create a stunning website

“Everyone should write a blog, every day, even if no one reads it. There’s countless reasons why it’s a good idea and I can’t think of one reason it’s a bad idea.”

Seth Godin

Yes, a business account can be pricey (remember, you can always start with a FREE plan or the inexpensive personal plan on the pricing page) but upgrading is worth every penny. Here’s what you get with WordPress Business.

You get access to all the premium WordPress themes with the plugin customization of a .org account, along with your own custom domain name, site monetization, SEO tools, and simple payments. And if you ever run into difficulty or have any questions, WordPress live support is a chat button away. Seriously, I’ve contacted the priority support team on issues from design, to button creation, to slight tweaks on my sidebar widget to the smallest problems in spacing and the Happiness Engineers almost always have a quick solution. No waiting time!

If you’re SERIOUS about blogging and turning it into a legitimate business, then level up with a WordPress Business account.

Why choose WordPress over Squarespace, Weebly, or others?

I’ve tried all the writing platforms (Squarespace, Blogger, Tumblr, Weebly, Wix, etc.) but none of them were built for handling a ton of blog content. As bloggers, we need quick and easy tools to find and edit hundreds of posts. And there’s no better platform for cataloging all your posts than WordPress. Because us bloggers can get uber-detailed, you can also snag a .blog domain name instead of the usual “.com.”

WordPress also never goes down. It can’t afford to — it powers 30% of the internet! Like Facebook, rest assured that WordPress stays up all day and night so you won’t lose precious visitors or revenue.

Even more, WordPress Business comes with the Jetpack plugin, which among site stats and gallery/slideshow tools, also guarantees your site’s safety so it never gets hacked.

Jetpack also backs up all your content, plugins, and settings automatically with a Business account so you can rest easy. As an additional bonus, Jetpack uses advanced CDN technology to speed up site loading times for image-busy sites like mine. You don’t want people clicking away from your site because an image took too long to load! Video loading is speedy too.

Access to popular third-party plugins

My site is jam-packed with so some awesome plugins. Again, you can only get access to plugins as a WordPress Business account or you can go through the self-hosting route. Here’s a list of plugins I use every day and why:

  • Pretty Links: This plugin shortens your affiliate links to something short and memorable and on-brand. For instance, here is my affiliate marketing link for WordPress as processed through Pretty Links: https://wellsbaum.blog/Wordpress (it originally looked like this: https://wordpress.com/create/?aff=7193). Pretty Links also gives you click stats as well so you know exactly how many people are engaging with your affiliate links.
  • Mailerlite: Mailer Lite is free and an easy to use email software for up to 200 subscribers. It contains automation tools so you can email folks specific content after they opt into your email. You can also set up a pop-up via Mailerlite that prompts folks to sign up for your email.

My other favorite plugins include Ad Inserter for Google Adsense, Paypal Donation Pro, and the Popups Premium Plugin.

Conclusion

WordPress Business is a no-brainer for a professional blogger looking for all the features, especially when it comes to hosting and plugin installations. With WordPress, everything is all in one dashboard. You don’t have to go back and forth between your hosting providers like Bluehost, Namecheap, or GoDaddy if you have any issues. WordPress also offers the chance to monetize your site; you can even run its ads along with Google’s to maximize traffic.

The WordPress post environment is also minimalist and clean so you can ward out distractions while you write your stellar post. Above all, one of the main reasons I joined WordPress.com instead of WordPress.org was to be part of a thriving community of creators and interesting people who also use it. Because your content will appear in the WordPress Reader to make it more discoverable, this community will be the first to become your subscribers, fans, and brand advocates.

Wait no more. If you’re serious about blogging, set up your blog with WordPress Business today. Focus on your content and let WordPress handle the rest.

Click here to build your site today!

How to start a WordPress blog, in 3 steps

A kid at a computer setting up a blog on WordPress Business

1. Register your domain name.

You can click here to purchase a domain name and create a WordPress blog, then proceed in following the steps outlined below.

A picture of a laptop with URL being typed about how to set up a blog on WordPress Business

Think about your own name or brand name you’d like to use for your site. It can be fun, serious, or just catchy and easy to remember. Also think about the domain name (.com, .blog, .church. biz) you want to append to it. I went with .blog as in WellsBaum.blog because I wanted folks to know that I focused on creating interesting content in a blog format. But .COM always works fine as the default, assuming it’s available for the name you choose.

Keep in mind that if you opt for the Personal, Premium or Business plan, your domain name will be free. Again, the best deal is still signing up for a Business just because of all the added value (Google Analytics, max asset storage, install 3rd party plugins) but Premium or Personal may be best if you’re looking for blogging basics. You’ll be billed yearly.

Wordpress pricing and plans for blogs

2. Choose a theme

WordPress has hundreds of themes to choose whatever your blogging goals are. You can choose a theme that focuses on text, text + images/videos, or goes right to a fancy sales page. You can even set your site to a landing page instead of a blogroll if you wish. My recommendation is to pick a clean and visually stunning template so you don’t scare your readers away. After all, content is king!

A pictures of WordPress.com templates for your blog

3. Install Plug-ins

If you register for a business account, now you can install all the additional plugins that will help your blog gain maximum exposure.

  • Pretty Links: This plugin shortens your affiliate links to something short and memorable and on-brand. For instance, here is my affiliate marketing link for WordPress as processed through Pretty Links: https://wellsbaum.blog/Wordpress (it originally looked like this: https://wordpress.com/create/?aff=7193). Pretty Links also gives you click stats as well so you know exactly how many people are engaging with your affiliate links.
  • Mailerlite: Mailer Lite is free and an easy to use email software for up to 200 subscribers. It contains automation tools so you can email folks specific content after they opt into your email. You can also set up a pop-up via Mailerlite that prompts folks to sign up for your email.

My other favorites include Google Adsense, Paypal Donation Pro, and the Popups Premium Plugin.

A screenshot of WordPress plugins

The Recommender

If you're an artist, photographer, writer, etc., I highly recommend creating your own blog and publishing something new every day (read my post on how to set up a FREE blog on Wordpress).

Categories
Arts Creativity Writing

To dare is to blog

A gif of hands on keyboard typing away

A blog helps you solidify your thinking. But the practice of blogging is both a freedom and a constraint.

It’s liberating to say whatever you want, even if no one reads it. How dare someone discovers you! At the same time, there’s a fear that what’s written isn’t polished enough to be published.

But that’s what blogs are: rough drafts. They’re good enough to get started.

Blogs are the blank piece of paper, a sandbox where people work out ideas. They are full of contradictions and imperfections.

The fear is that your words may be wrong or misunderstood. No one likes to be called out. But that’s also part of the excitement—the ability to catch someone’s criticism.

Bloggers are already naked. They can even blog in their underwear. Bloggers notice and give other people something to chew on and discuss. They provide a spark, not the answer.

Bloggers raise their hand before they are ready. They pick themselves, professionals, past success, or not. They have a long-term willingness to figure it out all out and mix and mash the world of ideas even if only a handful of people notice.

The Recommender

If you're an artist, photographer, writer, etc., I highly recommend creating your own blog and publishing something new every day (read my post on how to set up a FREE blog on Wordpress).

Categories
Blogging Writing

One never stops blogging

An animation of typing quickly at the keyboard
gif by @gfaught

The act of blogging helps solidify your thinking. Like a fine-tooth comb, all your ideas, brain farts, and other collected artifacts will come together to paint a big picture of your depth and understanding. 

One never stops blogging, as one never stops thinking. Writing and publishing daily–whether it’s 50 or 500 words–is, therefore, a practice in stretching one’s thinking while also making them vulnerable. But by showing your work, your prime the pump of confidence.

One should expect to be a better blogger five years from now than they are today. What happens over that time period is not just a bunch of words to play with, but hopefully a sense of categorization and organization. After all, blog posts make good books.

The Recommender

If you're an artist, photographer, writer, etc., I highly recommend creating your own blog and publishing something new every day (read my post on how to set up a FREE blog on Wordpress).

Categories
Arts Creativity

Why you should build your own blog

A gif of legos, one replacing the other

The best thing about blogs is that they offer alternative thoughts. Unlike traditional publishers, a blogger is typically an individual who presents a unique, honest, and fresh opinionated perspective unmoored from the rules and requirements of journalistic prose.

Blog posts are typically shorter, lighter, and more digestible. They can get to the point in just a few sentences and paragraphs. Blogs are longer than 280 characters but short enough to consume in a minute.

Building your own blog is like owning your own piece of land on the web. Unlike Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter—you own your words. You’ll also take responsibility for them, which helps increase your confidence. By showing your work, you’ll inspire yourself and prime the pump to the life you want.

Blogs also act as tools for making other stuff. They are building blocks, ensuring the well never runs dry with ideas and rough sketches abound as you keep creating up for that breakthrough. There’s no reason not to start a blog, especially when services like WordPress and Tumblr allow you to make one for free.

As we seek to do things we care about, the blog is often the backbone to fueling our efforts. You just have to give yourself permission to start one.

The Recommender

If you're an artist, photographer, writer, etc., I highly recommend creating your own blog and publishing something new every day (read my post on how to set up a FREE blog on Wordpress).

Categories
Blogging Funny Writing

I weighed the prose and the cons

Letters to a young poet ✍️

Follow @wellsbaum on Instagram

The Recommender

If you're an artist, photographer, writer, etc., I highly recommend creating your own blog and publishing something new every day (read my post on how to set up a FREE blog on Wordpress).

Categories
Arts Creativity Culture Writing

Maria Popova: I loathe the term “content”

mariapopova_2-1.png

Brain Pickings blogger Maria Popova sat down with WordPress in the Own Your Content series to discuss evergreen ideas and rethinking the meaning of content.

Popova writes about timeless topics. “I am drawn to ideas that remain resonant across time and space, across cultures and civilizations.” If you read her blog, you know that she excels in digging up little-known gems from primary sources and combining them in an interesting way.

Her talent reminds me of what professor Kenneth Goldsmith of the University of Pennsylvania said about education in the internet era: “an educated person in the future will be a curious person who collects better artifacts. The ability to call up and use facts is the new education. How to tap them, how to use them.”

Maria excels in making old content relevant again. Following her blog is a direct line to her insatiable curiosity.

In this sense, then, it naturally inclines toward what you call “evergreen” — which I take to mean enduring ideas that hold up across the years, decades, and centuries, and continue to solace and give meaning undiminished by time.

Yet, she also dislikes the word content as it compels merchants to race the bottom in the form of attention-seeking missiles:

I loathe the term “content” as applied to cultural material — it was foisted upon us by a commercially driven media industry that treats human beings as mindless eyeballs counted in statistics like views and likes, as currency to be traded against advertising revenue. Somehow people have been sold on the idea that the relationship between ads and “content” is a symbiotic one, but it is a parasitic one.

While tech may be the cigarette of the century,  the internet does provide space for writers like Maria Popova to demonstrate combinatorial creativity in the name of the hyperlink. If used properly, the internet can be a learning machine rather than a propaganda tool.

The Recommender

If you're an artist, photographer, writer, etc., I highly recommend creating your own blog and publishing something new every day (read my post on how to set up a FREE blog on Wordpress).