Last updated on August 1st, 2018 at 07:02 pm
Congratulations, you’ve started a self hosted blog…now what?
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The truth is that setting up a self hosted blog is the easy part. The hard part is growing the blog.
I know what you’re thinking, WordPress isn’t easy. Well don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with the techie part in my free 7 Day WordPress course.
I still remember that very day when I set up my very first blog. I felt like pulling my hair out. I had no clue what I was doing.
Back then, the tech stuff didn’t come easy for me. Now, I am pretty good with it, but it didn’t happen overnight.
After sitting on the couch with my laptop for 8 hours, I was so proud of myself. I had finally installed WordPress all by myself. Of course that’s all I had done, I had no clue what to do next.
I was basically clueless on what to do after installing the software. If you’re just starting a blog, then I want to make sure that you focus on the important things at the beginning, so you can focus on growing your blog.
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No I am NOT talking about design or branding. While that is important, the truth is that when you first hit publish your blog, no one is going to see it. Unless, you already have a following.
Most of us who start a blog, are starting from scratch. This means that we’re completely unknown online. We haven’t built up any trust or no one really cares about us.
So we have to work hard at growing our blogs to start attracting visitors. It doesn’t happen overnight, but with hard work, people will start to find you.
Related: Motivate Yourself as a new blogger
Before you start focusing on growing your blog, you first need to do a little maintenance.
5 Things to Do After Installing A Self Hosted Blog
I know that you’re excited about getting started blogging. After all, the sooner you start the sooner people will find you. That’s how I felt when I started my blog.
All I wanted to do was start publishing content, after all, that’s how you grow your blog. Right?
Yes, a blogger is going to need a lot of content. That’s why so many people will tell you to choose a niche you love. You’re going to have to do a lot of writing in that niche.
However, I am just going to assume you’ve already chosen your niche. If you still need helping finding a niche or want to learn how I find the keywords for my posts, I use this tool.
Today, I want to focus on those little tasks that most new bloggers overlook. You might not think they’re important, but they are.
Don’t Rely On Your Hosting Backups
Most new bloggers never start thinking about backups until it’s too late. I recently had a client who was hacked and they wanted me to back up their site. They were hosting their site with GoDaddy and weren’t sure if they had a backup or not.
So when I contacted GoDaddy about their backup plan, they didn’t have one. Yes, GoDaddy had a backup, but it was over 2 months old. Not only that, but they charged them $150 to access that 2-month-old backup.
They had to pay GoDaddy and the worst part is that GoDaddy just uploaded the zipped file onto their server. Their support didn’t even restore the backup for the client. They had to pay me to restore their old backup.
It doesn’t matter if you’re hosting your site with GoDaddy, Hostgator or SiteGround, you need to have your own backup plan.
It’s a great plugin and many people use it. I’ve created a video tutorial on how to set it up, you can watch it here.
Choosing A Reliable WordPress Theme
When you first start your blog, you’re going to be tempted to start with a free theme. That’s okay, if you don’t have the funds to invest in a quality theme.
However, I would recommend starting with a premium theme. If you’re going to be managing your own blog, you need a support system. Someone you can turn to when you have questions.
Related: Choose A WordPress Theme
Most free themes do not have a support system. I use Genesis for my blog. It does come with a learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, I am sure you’ll love it.
I have used both of those page builders on some of my client’s sites. They are extremely easy to work with and both of them have a great support system.
Setting Up Your Blog Configurations
In my opinion, WordPress is one of the best blogging platforms. However, it is not set up to start blogging right out the gate.
One of the reasons that people love using a self-hosted blog, is because they get to do things their own way. No one can tell them what to do.
If you want to customize your footer credits, you can do that. Maybe you want to add a favicon to your blog, guess what you can do that.
No matter what you want to do to your self-hosted blog, you can do it. If you don’t know how to do something, you may have to hire a WordPress expert to do it for you.
Unfortunately, there are some blog configurations you need to make before you start blogging. The great thing is that once you configure these settings on your blog, you can start publishing fresh unique content on your blog.
Install Your Plugins
One of the mistakes most new bloggers make is they try to use so many plugins right out the gate. I am guilty of it too. We see this awesome plugin that does something and we feel that we need to add it to our blog.
I know that it can be tempting to try to use so many plugins on our blog. However, I recommend starting with the very minimum and then adding more when you need to accomplish something else.
Everyone is different and will tell you which plugins you should start with. I know that sometimes it can help to see which plugins other people are using. I’ve linked to all the plugins, some of them are free and some are premium plugins:
- Yoast SEO
- Akismet Anti-Spam
- Broken Link Checker
- Backup by Blog Vault
- Easy Digital Downloads
- Gravity Forms
- Revive old Posts
- SG Optimizer
- Social Warfare
- Thirsty Affiliates
- Thrive Leads
- WP Smush
- WPS Hide Login
- Thrive Ultimatum
Related: My Favorite WordPress Plugins
I know that you won’t need to use the same ones that I do. However, as you can see, I am using 14 plugins on my blog.
Some people will say that I am using a lot of plugins, and that’s fine. I know that every plugin I am using plays an important role in running my blog.
When I started my blog, I was using a lot more. I have since then deleted some of the plugins and found ways to accomplish the tasks without the use of plugins.
If you run across a site that is doing something you love, you can use WP Theme Detector to see which plugins and themes a site is using.
Set Up Google Analytics
Growing a blog is hard work when you start writing content, you won’t really know what your visitors like. Sure you may have an idea since since you know who you’re writing for.
However, you will be surprised at how your audience reacts to your content. If you’re like me, the posts that you think people will love are actually not the ones that become your popular posts.
Google Analytics will help you understand what your audience loves. Plus as you start to get more traffic, you will be able to write more content based off of your most popular blog posts.
Here’s a tutorial I wrote that will help you set up Google Analytics on your WordPress blog.
I recommend setting it up from the start. I know you’re thinking it’s a waste of time, especially, since you’ve just set up your blog.
The great thing is that once you set it up, you won’t have to worry about it again. It’s best to do it now and then focus on other important things like growing your blog.
Final Take Away
Starting a self-hosted blog is exciting. You now get to have a voice online and eventually, you will grow a tribe that actually wants to hear from you.
Of course, it will take time, it doesn’t happen overnight. I’ve been blogging for 7 months now and I still find those days where I hardly get any traffic.
It can definitely get hard, however, I have to keep my why I am blogging in the back of my mind.
Push past those days when it feels like you’re wasting your time because no one gives a sh**. Keep writing, promoting and getting your name out there. It’s going to take work, but eventually, people will start visiting your blog and signing up for your email list.
Hand Picked Articles for You
- Dealing With Blogger Comparison
- My Weekly Blogging Duties
- How Much Does It Cost to Have A Self Hosted WordPress Blog
That’s really all the basics you need to know about starting a self hosted blog. Now the only thing holding you back is your imagination. Get on out there are start promoting your new blog so you can attract your tribe.
If you have any questions or would like clarity on some of the things that I have just said, please leave a comment below.