How to create a blog step by step for free with WordPress

Cómo crear un blog Bien, Paso a Paso y Gratis

A blog is the base of a content marketing strategy.

Thanks to it, it is possible to achieve extra visibility in the search engine to find business opportunities and to develop other parallel actions like e-mail marketing or customer loyalty.

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If a blog still isn’t part of your digital project, check out this guide on how to easily create a blog, so you can have your content platform ready in just 30 minutes.

You may be interested in: How to write a perfect post in WordPress

What content management system to choose for a blog (CMS)

Nowadays, there are many free options to create corporate blogs, webs, and e-commerce sites.

WordPress is the most popular one, followed by Blogger, Drupal, Joomla, Ghost o Medium.

We prefer WordPress due to its simplicity, versatility, the big developers community that supports it and ease of use for any project.

Additionally, 30% of websites worldwide are created with this system.

How to create a blog with WordPress

The process is extremely simple:

  1. Download WordPress from the official site.
  2. Upload files to your server and decompress them.
  3. Create a MYSQL database and a user to manage it.
  4. Install WordPress

First of all, let’s clarify an important aspect:

¿Subdomain o Subfolder, what is the best option?

Subdomain or Subfolder? Which is the best option?

When creating a blog you have the option to do it under a subdomain of your domain, or in a subfolder named /blog/

The most common option to use is the second one, since all the contents are going to be linked to the domain absorbing more power and authority to position in the search engine. 

However, it can be interesting to use a subdomain to separate it from the principal project.

Advantages of creating a blog in a subfolder

  • It unifies the management of the web and the blog into a single CMS.
  • It facilitates positioning.
  • It is almost a standard, it facilitates accessibility through logical navigation.

Disadvantages of subfolders 

  • URL matching (you cannot create two identical URLs for different purposes)
  • You must plan the structure of URL and categories well to avoid cannibalization.
  • If there is lack of control, it can affect the tracking and distribution of the Page Rank (PR) throughout the web

Advantages of subdomains 

  • They facilitate the creation of structures by languages, shops, franchises, etc.
  • They allow us to create identical URLs to those of the root domain  (watch out with cannibalizations)
  • Greater control of the internal PR

Disadvantages of subdomains

  • They start from scratch as a new domain for positioning.
  • They multiply the management of different CMS.
  • Higher cost of management and maintenance resources.

As you can see, both options are valid. Depending on your goals and future development you must choose the most appropriate alternative.

Starting here, the process of creating a blog is exactly the same.

Updating WordPress files

Once you have decided if you will install the blog in a subdomain or a subfolder, you will only have to upload the CMS files to your hosting through a FTP client like Filezilla or by using the file manager through a web that facilitates the hosting.

If you chose a subdomain, this will have its own root folder, which will be accessible from the subdomain that you configured in the management panel.

On the other hand, if you chose the directory option, you will have to upload the files to it, which will probably be found in the same main directory of the hosting.

Although it is advisable to use “blog” as the name of the directory, you can use any other name like “magazine”, or “news”, depending on the content orientation.

If you upload compressed files, they will decompress in a folder named “WordPress”. You will have to move the files from this folder to the one that you created for the blog, and delete the previous one.

Creating a database and a user

Creating a MySQL database

This is the most complicated step you will encounter when creating a blog.

You will only need to access the MySQL Database section and create one with the name that you want. If your hosting works with cPanel, you will find it here:

Once inside, choose the name you want and save the changes.

With this you will have created the database in which WordPress will save all the information in your blog.

The next step is to create a user who has access to this database.

To do it, you will find the fields at the bottom of the page.

Creating a database user in WordPress

  1. First, choose the username and password (take note of them, we will need these to install the blog), and click in “Create user” to confirm.
  2. Choose the user and the database that you want it to manage. Click in “Add.”

That’s it. Simple, right?

Okay, now let’s start the installation of WordPress to create a proper blog.

Installing WordPress

Without  a doubt, the easiest process in the world: access the blog URL and you will land in this page:

Installation template in WordPress

Important: Uncheck the “Allow search engines to index the site” box to prevent it from indexing on Google for now (WordPress installs demo content that you must delete before).

Then, just complete the empty fields, and when you install it, you will be asked for the name of the database, its username and password.

The process will take less than a minute, and when finished, you will have created your blog.

Finished!

Basic Configuration of a blog with WordPress

The first thing we should do is create a robots.txt file and upload it to the folder where we have the blog installed.

WordPress automatically generates one, but it is better to have our own to edit it as we like.

With it, we are telling Google which parts it shouldn’t track to save time and avoid indexing contents of the Admin area.

To start, copy and paste these lines and upload and paste them to your hosting:

User-Agent: *

Sitemap:

Disallow: /wp-admin/

Disallow: /wp-includes/

Disallow: /wp-content/plugins/

Disallow: /wp-content/themes/

Allow: /*.js$

Allow: /*.css$

Disallow: /?s=

Disallow: /search

Disallow: */feed

Disallow: */feed/

Disallow: /feed

Disallow: /feed/

Disallow: /comments/feed

Disallow: /feed/$

Disallow: /*/feed/$

Disallow: /*/feed/rss/$

Disallow: /*/trackback/$

Disallow: /*/*/feed/$

Disallow: /*/*/feed/rss/$

Disallow: /*/*/trackback/$

Disallow: /*/*/*/feed/$

Disallow: /*/*/*/feed/rss/$

Disallow: /*/*/*/trackback/$

Disallow: *?replytocom

 

Later on we’ll specify the URL of the sitemap.

This way we’ll prevent Google from indexing internal searches, RSS feed URLs and dynamic URLs from answers to comments.

If you create a subfolder that you don’t want Google to track and index, you just have to add a new line Disallow: /name-subfolder/

Setting up friendly and permanent links

Here you will specify the format that your will have the URLs of your blog.

Go to Settings> Permanent links, and then indicate “Name of the entry”

This way, when creating post and pages, WordPress will use the title to create the URLs separated-by-hyphens-like-this-phrase.

Then, you can edit them to optimize them by making them shorter or including relevant keywords.

If you want the URLs of the post to hang from the category they belong to, choose “Custom Structure” and type this:/%category%/%postname%/

SEO Optimization of  WordPress

For this task, we’ll use one of the most common plugins: Yoast SEO.

With it you can specify what types of content will be indexable, set templates for meta title and description or preview images when sharing on social networks.

To do this, select from the menu: Plugins> Add new, and write the name to find it and install it from the WordPress repository.

Installling Yoast SEO

Once done, you will have a new menu: “SEO”, in the WordPress admin area.

Access it and configure the most important options for web positioning.

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Basic Yoast SEO Configuration

Since the plugin can vary in appearance, we will list the most important settings:

  • General> Features: activate everything but the last one (Security: no advanced settings for authors)
  • General> Webmaster Tools: here, you can connect the blog with Search Console and other search engine panels.
  • Appearance in the search engine> General: specify if you are a Person or Organization, the name and image of your logo.
  • Appearance in the search engine> Content types: here it is important to only have active Entries and Pages. You can specify the meta title and description that will show by default
  • Appearance in the search engine> Media: activate the redirection of attachment URLs to the attachments themselves (very important)
  • Appearance in the search engine> Taxonomy: to start, select No for categories and tags. This way you will avoid indexing it until the structure of the blog you have in mind is clear as well as knowing if it is worth it or not to position with content feeds. It seems silly, but this way you will avoid making your users, Google and your developers crazy in case you eliminate them and have to manage redirects.
  • Appearance in the search engine> Files: deactivate Settings of author files by date. Here, customize the meta title and description of 404 error pages.
  • Appearance in the search engine> Bread crumbs: you can deactivate them if the template you already use includes them, or customize it to your liking. Then, you just have to add this code line in the header.php (consult your developer)
  • Social: here, indicate the URLs of the profiles in the company’s social networks, as well as the default image that will be displayed in the preload in case it doesn’t have a URL. In the Twitter tab specify if the preview is done with summary or with summary and large image (recommended)

Categories and tags

As we indicated before, it is better not to use or index them until your content strategy is clear and you have enough articles for them to be truly useful to the user.

It is useless  to create categories and tags, if they are just showing one or two posts.

The only difference between them is their internal management system, but regarding positioning their possibilities are the same.

Categories are generally used to organize the post regarding general thematic lines, while the tags are used to group content on specific themes, temporal ones, or content characteristics.

Essential Plugins to create a blog with WordPress

The pluggins increase the features of a website made with WordPress.

Now that you know how to create a blog, it is time to tune it up with free and paid programs.

Akismet: installed by default in WordPress, it prevents spam in comments and contact forms. You just have to activate it and follow the instructions to get the API.

Contact Form 7: this is the simplest plugin to create contact forms.

Caché Plugins: optimizes loading speed with a more ecstatic preloaded version. The most common ones are WP Super CacheW3 Total CacheWP Fastest Cache or Wp Rocket (paid). The decision to use one or the other will also depend on your hosting features.

KK Star Ratings: It is essential because it increases visibility in the search engine, since Google is able to recognize this structured data.

Jet Pack: watch out with this one. It offers many applications since it’s an “all in one”, but it is very tedious to use. The Photon function is great to upload  JS and CSS images and files of the WordPress core from its CDN. It also has a very powerful subscription model, unlimited and free, which is ideal to start.

TOC+: this is the plugin to create indexes at the beginning of your post. Google also recognizes it very well and can highlight internal links of a post in the SERP.

Shortcodes Ultimate: This plugin allows you to insert different design elements within the post, such as buttons, color notes, accordions, tables with tabs or columns.

Keep in mind that the less plugins you use, the lighter you plug installation, so analyze what you need before going out of control installing lots of plugins.

Blog templates in WordPress

Templates for WordPress

Perhaps this part is where more time is usually wasted at the beginning, so we’ll leave it to the end because the most important was all of the above.

If your blog is integrated with the corporate website it will be more complicated to find a design that fits both sides, whereas if you did the installation separately in a subdomain or folder, you will have more flexibility.

In any case, it will always be necessary to adjust the template to customize it according to your corporate identity and necessary functions. That is why it is essential to have web development professionals who help you with this.

You can start searching in the free WordPress template repository, but we recommend that you buy a professional one in Theme Forest or My theme shop, both for support and for  updates, features and SEO optimizations.

Finishing the creation of a blog

Even though this is an extended article, you may have realized that developing a blog is really simple, since you do not need to know how to program a single line of code.

By just knowing the steps and practicing a little, you can speed up the process, polish the mistakes usually made at the beginning and start your editorial calendar right now.

By now, you may be interested in discovering the new trends in content marketing to get ideas to feed your new blog.

In next articles we will advance other questions about security, optimization on page, loading speed or extension features.

But if you can’t wait, we’ll answer any questions in the comment section below 👇👇

Oh! and don’t forget to subscribe to our blog to receive the latest content 😉


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Roberto Gorraiz
CEO en AgenciaSEO.eu, experto en Marketing Online y en Estrategia Digital
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