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2018 Update! I originally wrote the below 10 steps on how to set up a profitable blog back in 2010. Times have definitely changed, but the good news is now setting up a blog is even easier!
1. Pick your site topic, something you are knowledgeable and/or passionate about.
2. Register a domain name, preferably with your topic as keywords. I suggest a registering a “.com” instead of a “.net”, “.biz”, etc.
3. Set up a web site hosting account. The cheapest plan is usually all you will need until your traffic soars, and you do not need dedicated hosting at this time.
4. Build your site. Many domain hosting accounts offer WordPress installs with a click of a mouse. If not, you can download WordPress for free at WordPress.org.
5. Pick a theme. WordPress comes prepackaged with a generic blue theme. There are a variety of sites that offer free templates. The only downside to using free templates is that other sites are out there using the same theme, and the creators of the templates may insist you keep a link on your site to them (in exchange for their hard work of designing the theme). Or you can purchase themes, such as Thesis Theme, that are more unique and no reciprocal links are required
6. WordPress Mechanics. A few tips: Under Privacy, make your blogs visible to everyone. Under Permalinks, change the custom structure /%postname%/ which is the best structure for the search engines. I don’t recommend using the default as you don’t want a question mark (?) in the URL.
7. Now Add Content! Write what you know, how you feel. Try to add posts at least three times per week. WordPress allows you to program posts in the future, so you could simply blog once a week, but make it look like you are posting every day!
9. Get Visitors! First tell all your friends and family to visit your site (hopefully you have some of both). Then submit your site to blog directories and search engines.
10. Helpful Stuff. AddThis.com lets you add a button for easy bookmarking and sharing. StatCounter is a just want it says, a stat counter, and it’s free (select the “invisible” option). Plus check out my list of recommended WordPress Plug-Ins.