So, you want to start a blog with WordPress? Great, it’s a fun activity that you’ll get a lot of value from. You could also earn money from it if you do it right. In this step-by-step WordPress blog tutorial, I’ll show you how to set up your blog and start earning money straight away.

This post is part of the Blog Cogs ten-part Start Blogging With WordPress Today tutorial.

  1. Start Blogging Today with My WordPress Blog Tutorial
  2. Choosing the Right Domain Name for Your Blog
  3. Registering for a Bluehost Web Hosting Account
  4. How to Install WordPress on Your Domain
  5. Optimizing the WordPress Settings
  6. Installing WordPress Plugins
  7. Install These WordPress Plugins Now!
  8. Choosing and Installing a WordPress Theme
  9. SEO Optimize Your WordPress Blog Posts
  10. Improving Your WordPress Blog Security

What You’ll Learn in This WordPress Blog Tutorial

If you follow this ten-part WordPress blog tutorial, I’ll show you how to:

  • Sign up for a web hosting account and choose a domain for your blog.
  • Install WordPress on your domain.
  • Set up WordPress for optimum performance and monetization potential.
  • Install plugins and learn which ones to install right away.
  • Choose a theme and customize your blog.
  • Make your blog rank highly with search engines (search engine optimization or SEO).
  • Keep your blog secure.

But first, a word about WordPress.

An Introduction to WordPress

WordPress began life as a blogging tool in 2003 as a joint effort between Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little. Over the next 13 years, WordPress has evolved into one of the most popular platforms for creating blogs and websites.

WordPress is based on the PHP scripting language and MySQL database management system. It is backed by a parent company, Automattic, which offers various WordPress-related services and products such as VaultPress, JetPack, VideoPress, WordPress VIP, and Gravatar. The WordPress software is released under the GPLv2 (or later) license from the Free Software Foundation.

WordPress is hands down the best web publishing platform out there. The stats speak for themselves:

  • WordPress is used by more than 26.4% of the top 10 million websites (as of April 2016).
  • WordPress is the most popular blogging system in use on the Web, powering more than 60 million websites.
  • Some of the biggest brands in the world use WordPress to power their websites: TechCrunch, The New Yorker, BBC America, MTV News, Fortune, Blog Cogs!

I’ve used WordPress for many years and find it to be simple and intuitive to use, but it also gives you the option to get your hands dirty and mess with the code. Does that sound scary? It shouldn’t, and you don’t have to, but it’s the best way to customize your blog. Anyway, that’s a long way down the road. For now, let’s look at the two different versions of WordPress: WordPress.com and WordPress.org.

The Difference Between WordPress.com and WordPress.org

Before I give you the simplified version, here’s how WordPress describes the differences:

WordPress.comWordPress.org
Focus on your beautiful content, and let us handle the rest.Get your hands dirty, and host your website yourself.
Premium hosting, security, and backups are included. You can even upgrade to a custom domain, like YourGroovyDomain.com.You’ll need to find a host, and perform backups and maintenance yourself. We offer VaultPress for security and backups.
Choose from hundreds of beautiful themes. Make it your own with Custom Design.Install custom themes. Build your own with PHP and CSS.
Integrate your site with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other social networks.Install a plugin, like Jetpack, to enable sharing functionality on your site.
Popular features like sharing, stats, comments, and polls are included. There’’s no need to install plugins.Install plugins to extend your site’’s functionality.
Personal support and the WordPress.com forums are always available.Visit the WordPress.org support forums for assistance.
You must register for an account on WordPress.com and abide by our Terms of Service.No registration with WordPress.org is required.

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is a free blogging platform that allows anyone to create a blog for free.

When you create an account with WordPress.com, you’ll get a web address like myblog.wordpress.com and your blog will be hosted on the WordPress server. This option is perfect for hobby bloggers and those not interested in making money from their blog.

There are many limitations in terms of managing your blog with WordPress.com. You can’t install custom themes or third party plugins. The benefit, however, is that the WordPress team takes care of managing your blog’s architecture, security, and back-ups.

WordPress.com is good for:

  • People who want to keep a personal blog.
  • Businesses requiring a simple platform to advertise services or make announcements.

WordPress.com is bad for:

  • People who want to make money from their blog.
  • People requiring complete control over their website.

WordPress.org

WordPress.org is a complete solution for people who want to make money from their blog. It is also suitable for promoting small businesses and selling digital or physical products.

To use WordPress.org, a copy of WordPress is downloaded from the official download page and installed on your own hosting server. Or, as we’ll see later in this guide, many web hosting services offer one click installs making the process incredibly simple.

WordPress.com and WordPress.org have similar interfaces (the WordPress dashboard), WordPress.org, however, has none of the limitations of WordPress.com. You can create a custom theme, install third party themes and plugins and monetize it any way you like, such as affiliate marketing, paid adverts, AdSense, or paid reviews.

Basically, if you’re serious about blogging, making money, and realizing your dream of living the laptop-life, a self-hosted WordPress.org blog is what you need.
If you're serious about living the laptop-life, a self-hosted WordPress blog is what you need. Click To Tweet

If you already have a WordPress.com blog and you want to switch to self-hosted, the post below will tell you everything you need to know:

Next: Choosing the Right Domain Name for Your Blog

I hope I’ve convinced you that a self-hosted blog with WordPress.org is the best option for making money from your blog. You’re probably eager to start posting content, right? Slow down, there’re a few things you need to do first, like choosing a domain name for your blog. Click the button below to move on to part 2 of my WordPress blog tutorial.

Choosing the Right Domain Name for Your Blog

About The Author

Cogmaster

David is the founder and editor of Blog Cogs, a blog about making a living from blogging. Learn more about him here.

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2 Responses

  1. Tarun Kumar

    Okay so.. what if i want to blog about politics and events around the world and my take on it?.. i dont actually want to sell anything AND i want to just get some money blogging. which platform would suit me best?.. you said wordpress.com was more for hobby blogging and wordpress.org for people who actually want to sell a product/service.
    This leaves me in a dilemma.

    • David Borrowdale

      Hi Tarun. If you want to make money, even if you don’t have a product to sell, self hosted wordpress.org is the best option. You can make money on a wordpress.com site but your monetization options are very limited as is your control of the appearance and functionality of your site.