Niche Marketing Starter Series Part 2 – Creating a Blog

Posted by: Scott Alexander on February 14, 2013 Under: Starter Series

Resources
- Hostgator

Hello. Welcome to part 2 of our Niche Marketing Starter Series.

In part 1, we talked about picking a topic for your blog and how you have to pick a topic that you’re passionate about. All of the metrics and guidelines for picking terms don’t do a lot of good if you get bored and drop your blog after only a couple of weeks, so you have to pick something you’re passionate about.

This week, we’re going to continue creating our blog. We’re going to walk you through the steps of purchasing hosting, what you need to look for, what you need and don’t need. We’re going to install your blog using WordPress. We’re also going to teach you how to create your first post and page and how to set up a basic theme.

Now it’s time to start building our website. Before we do anything, we need to get a host. Hosting is not exciting; it’s pretty boring. The thing is, you have to have a host or nobody can see your website.

There are hundreds of hosting companies out there. I choose HostGator for a couple of reasons. First, they have live chat. I’ve never had a problem with them. They answer all my questions. The other thing is HostGator has one-click installs. That makes it easy to install your blog without having to do FTP and all this other stuff on your server.

It’s very simple. Anybody can do it. You can visit HostGator or you can also use your own host.

Under HostGator, there are a couple of hosting plans to choose from: the hatchling, the baby, and the business plan. For most people, I recommend you go with the hatchling plan to start out. The biggest difference is it allows only one domain name. The other hosting plans allow more domain names.

The other difference is there’s no dedicated IP address. The hatchling plan doesn’t have one. For the baby plan, you can purchase an extra dedicated IP address for a couple of bucks a month. For starting out, it doesn’t matter. I would just stick with the cheapest plan. You can always upgrade later.

Once you get going, you can enter your domain name that you want to buy. “Triforceswimming.com” is the name I’m going to purchase. We’re going to stick with the smallest plan: the hatchling plan. I’m just going to start with month to month. You can always choose to go longer if your website does well. Fill in all the payment information.

As you scroll down the page, there are a couple of important parts. First is domain privacy protection. Basically, it’s so people can’t look up and see who owns your domain name. It’s $10/year. You can do it if you want; don’t do it if you want. It depends on your industry.

SiteLock notifies you if your website’s been hacked. It’s not going to stop you from getting hacked; you will get hacked. But this will let you know when it happens so you can fix it as quickly as possible. It’s $15/year.

I would say that for beginners, this is not needed. You can always add it in a couple of months once you figure out what you’re doing. We’ve got other things we want to do, so we don’t really need this right now.

Keep scrolling down to see the total. The total for now is $22, comprised of domain name for a year and monthly hosting. Click “Create Account.”

Once you’ve created an account, you’re going to get an email. It might be a bit confusing. Here’s how it will look:

First up, you have your billing account. This is only for payment, contacting tech support, and interacting with HostGator. Any time you need to interact with HostGator directly, that’s how you’re going to do it.

Below your billing account is your hosting information. This is the actual server where your website is going to be hosted. It’s not the same as HostGator’s site; it’s a different location. It’s a different server, so it has a different login.

Copy your password because it’s a very complicated one. Click the link to your control panel.

You’re going to login using your username and password. Don’t worry about the name server and IP stuff unless you’ve registered your domain name somewhere else. If you’ve registered it through HostGator, you don’t have to worry about this.

Once you login to the HostGator control panel, this is what you will see:

Again, they’re trying to push SiteLock, which is a great idea. I’d recommend it, but not initially. Give it a month or two. Figure out what you want then get it.

Pretty much you don’t need most of the things on the page. There a couple of important ones for you, such as “Email Accounts.” This will set up email accounts. You can then check your email through here or through Outlook. There are instructions on how to set that up when you create your account.

You’ll probably want to change your password. Get rid of that ugly password.

Scroll all the way down the page. We’re looking for “Quick Install.” Click on that. Once “Quick Install” loads, we’re going to use WordPress.

WordPress is one of the many platforms to choose from. But it’s the most popular. It has a lot of plugins and you can do a lot with it very, very easily. So we’re going to choose WordPress. Click “Continue.”

We want to install it in our root directory, so I’m not going to type anything in the box after the URL.

Under admin email, put in your email address. Under blog title, I’m going to type “Triforce Swimming.” For admin user, I’m just going to call it “Admin.” First name is Scott. Last name is Alexander. Click “Install Now!” That’s it. WordPress is installed.

Now I’m given a generated password. I’m going to keep and remember this. I’m going to change it soon. Above the username is a link to login.

Now you’re ready to login. The link you just clicked brought you directly to a WordPress admin panel login page. You can also visit the site directly by typing in your URL.

 

Right now, the site is kind of generic and plain. It looks like this. We’ll start taking care of that.

We’re now going to login and use the password that we copied and pasted.

First, we want to change that password. Under Users at the left-hand side, click “All Users.” The username “admin” will show up. Click “Edit” directly below it. Scroll down the page to enter a new password. We’re going to change the password to something we can remember better. Click “Update.” Now we’re ready to go.

Right now, we’re going to worry about a couple of links on the left: Posts and Pages. A post is a blog post. It’s typically in chronological order, always adding new content to the top. A page is a static page, such as your about us or contact us or other things that don’t change very often.

Let’s go to Posts on the left-hand side and click “All Posts.” You’ll see a generic post that just says, “Hello world!” Let’s delete this. It’s just an example post. You don’t need to keep this. Click “Trash.”

Now we’re going to add a new post, “Welcome to TriForce Swimming. This is the greatest triathlon swim site on the Internet.” Click “Publish” on the right-hand side.

If you visit your home page and refresh it, you now have your blog post on your home page. That’s it. First post down. This is easy.

Pages is similar. Click on “All Pages.” There’s a sample page. We can delete that. It’s just a generic one that came with the installation. Let’s add a new page with the heading, “About TriForce Swimming.” Then type “About us” in the body. Let’s save this page. Hit the “Publish” button on the right-hand side.

Refresh the site. Here it is, “About TriForce Swimming.” Click on it. There’s the “About us” that we typed before. So now we have created a page.

It’s a good idea – when you’re creating posts – to use categories. It’s to help keep you organized. You can add categories for anything you want. On the right-hand side, we can see the uncategorized category.

We’re going to add a category for drills. You can add this if you want, just all lowercase, “drills.” Leave the description blank for now. The category will be generated for you.

So the new category has appeared. Now we’re at “All Posts.” We’re going to re-edit this post that we created. We can come down to the right-hand side and categorize this post as being a drill. We’ll uncheck “uncategorized.” Let’s update it. So now, this is in the drills category. We can search on our website for just the posts belonging to this category.

Another thing we wanted to cover is under the “Appearance” menu. We’re going to cover specific themes and widgets.

The theme is the overall look of the site. This can be changed very easily. You can use one of the numerous free designs available or you can purchase one that’s anywhere from a couple of bucks to a couple of hundred dollars, depending on what you want or if you want it customized.

To change a theme, you go to “Appearance,” then “Themes.” I’m going to install a new theme. Click on “Install Themes.” There are a lot of options to search for, depending on what you want to do with your blog.

For right now, I’m going to select the very first theme. Click “Install Now,” then “Activate.” I’ll then return to my website and refresh it. That’s it. That’s the new theme we installed. Pretty simple. One click changes the complete look of the site.

That’s the about us page. I can go back and view the home page as well. This is now the new look of our site.

The other part we’re going to cover is widgets. Widgets are all the things that are on the sidebars. It could be on the left; it could be on the right; it could be on both.

In our admin panel, we’re going to go under “Appearance,” then “Widgets.” Now each theme is different. In this particular theme, all of the following options are in the primary sidebar on the right: search, recent posts, recent comments, archives, categories, and meta. So it’s recent posts, comments, archives, categories, and meta.

Now one thing I don’t like having is meta. I don’t like having the site admin links and all these. I don’t think it’s necessary. I’m going to take it from the right-hand side and drag it out of there.

It automatically saves. When I go back and refresh, it’s removed from the right-hand side.

Remember that when you remove the meta, you have to be able to get to your admin panel without the link. To do that, just add on the end of the URL “wp-admin.” Hit enter. It will take you to your dashboard.

We’re going to add a widget; a calendar widget. Just grab it, drag it, and place it where you want.

We want it right under search. We’re going to drop it there. That’s all we do. We drop and it auto saves. We’re going to refresh our page. Now we have a calendar widget. This is to look for posts by date.

That’s it. Your first site is created. You made your first post. You made your first page. From there, just keep adding, customizing, tweaking, and working on it to make it your style.

That wasn’t so bad. We got the blog created. We made a post. Things are coming along. We’re going to continue to add content. We’re going to add more features over the coming weeks. But I just wanted to get you started with your first post.

Next week, we’re going to cover theming. We’re going a bit more in-depth on how to start changing the style of your blog. But we don’t want to worry about that too much until we really get farther into it and figure out exactly how your blog is going to flow and what you want to do with it.