Categories
Blogging Productivity & Work Writing

How to set up a blog on WordPress Business

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!

Note: 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
Categories
Arts Creativity Writing

To dare is to blog

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.

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.

Categories
Arts Creativity

Why you should build your own blog

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.

To blog is life

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.

Categories
Blogging Funny Writing

I weighed the prose and the cons

Letters to a young poet ✍️

Follow @wellsbaum on Instagram

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.

Categories
Arts Writing

What’s the difference between blogging and writing?

lauren-mancke-60627-unsplash

There is no difference between blogging and writing.

Blogging is the process of writing. The only difference is that appears on a website rather than in a formal publication like a newspaper or a book.

The best part about blogging is that it’s free. You can set one up right now on WordPress in a few minutes. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Advises Andrew Chen:

“Writing is the most scalable professional networking activity. Stay home, don’t go to events/conferences, and just put ideas down.”

Everything is a remix

You can change the world from your computer. The content doesn’t have to be original. Like a hip-hop track, you can sample but credit the source. You can share a link or a post a video and add some context. Show people what you’d think they’d like.

Blogging is the practice of writing, unpolished but still remarkable.

Blogging means more writing, more thinking, and more doing. It’s a  canvass for working out ideas but also a catalyst to building other stuff.

Categories
Apps Blogging

The difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org explained in simple terms

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see the disclosure for more info.

There seems to be a lot of confusion out there still between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.

Think of WordPress.com as the all-in-one site-building package that hosts all your content and design, pretty much everything! It’s a one-stop-shop that comes with WordPress’s own plugins like Jetpack and WooCommerce.

Keep in mind that Automatic is the company behind WordPress so if you see a plugin built by Automatic that’s essentially WordPress. 

Now, think of WordPress.org as half of the core essentials of powering your website. You still need somewhere to store all your parts!

WordPress.org is both the blog tool and software engine

WordPress.org is merely the software engine powering your site. For instance, you need a browser to access the web — whether it be Safari, Chrome, or Firefox. Similarly, you need a tool to blog just like you need a car to drive. That tool or vehicle is WordPress, the backbone operating system integral to the entire publishing ecosystem.

The other half of the blog engine is your host, the critical piece that houses all the data living on your site including your theme and all your posts and plugins. There are a plethora of companies offering their services as hosts — I recommend WPEngine.

So why choose with WordPress.org + self-hosted if WordPress.com handles everything?

One of the perks of going self-hosted is that you can make your website fully customizable. You can choose from over thousands of third-party plugins with apps like the SEO optimizer Yoast, special sharing widgets like Social Warfare or monetize your site with Google Adsense. You can see more plugins here

The difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org explained in simple terms

Keep it simple, get a WordPress.com Business account

What’s new this year is that you can use WordPress.com like a self-hosted site BUT only if you upgrade to WordPress.com Business!

Signing up for a WordPress.com Business account gets you the security of everything WordPress provides out of the box plus the ability to add from the 55,000 third-party plugins like those mentioned above so you can customize your site whichever way you want. Basically, WordPress Business is the best of both WordPress.com and WordPress.org in one place. 

I wrote a whole post on why upgrading to WordPress.com Business is worth every penny. Find it here

I hope the above explanation outlines the differences between WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org. Keep in mind also that you can still blog for free on WordPress. WordPress.com will always offer a version that will always be free!

Choose your WordPress.com flavor today!

Categories
Creativity Psychology Writing

Writing vs. blogging

sound of music
Let it all out

If you want to feel like you’re losing, write a book. If you want to feel like you’re winning, blog. With a blog, you can publish every day to get your hit of dopamine. A book is a practice in delaying gratification.

Writing or blogging is a matter of preference. Seth Godin publishes a blog post every day in addition to writing books and working on his altMBA program. Maria Popova is a blogger that specializes in digging through old print books to inspire blog posts but admits that she has no appetite to pen a novel herself.

The most important thing is to write and enjoy the practice, even if your writing never sees the light of day. You should write for yourself anyway. Just don’t write so hard in your turtle shell that you remember to be a human being.

“Those who work much do not work hard.”

Henry David Thoreau
Categories
Creativity Productivity & Work Social Media Writing

Why everyone should blog

Everyone should blog. You do not have to publish 500 words a day. You do not even need to post at all. In fact, writing comes easier when you can write for yourself, in private.

Use a smartphone journal like the Day One app or the ever-popular Morning Pages Journal where you write by hand. When it comes to blogging effectively, you have to be a little vulnerable. Don’t tell all but don’t hide everything either, especially if your advice will benefit the lives of other people.

“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

I have been blogging for years (click here to view my guide to setting up a blog on WordPress). It is harder to get an audience who cares to read your stuff today than it has ever been. You have to assume nobody wants to read your shit because he or she is busy or would rather be social networking or playing games instead. However, for those readers who do read your blog frequently, they have subscribed for a reason.

Luis Suarez has been blogging since 2002 and recently offered some advice about using your blog to reflect the real you.

“It’s all about having a meaningful presence and how you work your way to make it happen, to leave a legacy behind, to share your thoughts and ideas others can learn from just like you do yourself with other people’s vs. pretending to be who you are not…Just be yourself with your own thoughts and share them along! It is what we all care for, eventually. The rest is just noise.”

Luis Suarez

No, blogging is not dead

People like to say blogging is dead. But not only are new platforms emerging like Medium, but blogging is just writing. Words will always be a powerful way to say something meaningful, whether it is in print, online, graffiti, or the walls of a cave.

I started this blog so I could show the world what interests me. It is no surprise that what you read here is information I learned from other blogs. In other words, blogging acts like a canvass where you synthesize, remix and interpret in your words.

“Blogs are like ham­mers. They are tools for building stuff.”

Hugh MacLeod
Why everyone should blog
Art by Hugh MacLeod

Above all, blogging is free, what Seth Godin calls “the last great online bargain.” Blogging gives you a voice, and it is an excellent incentive to think in a world that just wants us to consume.

Blogging is a bicep curl for the brain. Write daily, and practice the art of conviction.

“Use your blog to connect. Use it as you. Don’t “network” or “promote.” Just talk.”

Neil Gaiman