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How To Start A Blog In 2024 [Step-By-Step]

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  1. The Basics Of Blogging [Start Here]
    8 Topics
  2. How To Research & Select A Blogging Niche
    3 Topics
  3. How to Come Up With A Blog Name: An Easy, Proven Formula
    8 Topics
  4. Choosing a Tech Stack [The Right Way]
    9 Topics
  5. How To Set Up & Configure Your Blog [Step-By-Step]
    6 Topics
  6. How To Create The Most Important Blog Pages
    1 Topic
  7. How To Create A Professional Brand & Design
    5 Topics
  8. How To Create Blog Content
    6 Topics
  9. How To Publish A Blog Post: Optimization & Going Live
    1 Topic
  10. How To Get Your Blog Noticed [Quickly & Effectively]
    4 Topics
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I think it’s safe to say that I’ve used pretty much every blogging-related tool, software, and subscription under the sun. I’ve spent a LOT of money on trying to figure out what’s worth the cost and what isn’t.

Granted, things have changed over the years. Ten years ago, the landscape was a lot different than it is now. Digital marketing has come a long ways, which means that software has too.

After years of testing and tweaking, I’ve finally found the perfect tech stack that I can confidently recommend to any new blogger looking to build a reliable foundation at an affordable price.

My Favorite Tech Stack to Build a Blog With

At the forefront of my mind when putting this tech stack together is reliability, scalability, and performance, while not forgetting about not breaking the bank.

I’ve tried to do this as cheaply as possible, but in some areas (like hosting) going cheap means having to deal with huge headaches that turn into much bigger issues than necessary.

Again, I’ve built this based on what I’ve seen successful, as well as having seen what has frustrated me. You’re saving years of experimenting by taking my recommendations here.

Core Setup: What Powers the Blog

Additional Functionality & Features

My Blog Tech Setup Explained In Detail

If you’re just looking to build a blog as quickly as possible, just get the recommendations in the links above. However, I know that some people might be interested in why I chose each recommendation, so I’ll give a brief explanation for each below.

1. Domain Registrar

I use Namecheap for all of my domain registrations. Unlike most other registrars that I’ve used over the years, Namecheap doesn’t seem to nickel-and-dime me at every turn.

screenshot of the Namecheap homepage

The prices are fairly affordable overall, but I like that what you see is what you get. Prices may go up every now and then, but it’s not like you paid $5 to register a domain and then it’s $30 when you renew in 12 months.

I hate GoDaddy for this reason. They market to beginners, but then raise prices substantially with time. It drives me nuts when there are much better alternatives on the market – like Namecheap.

I’ve also had good experience with their support team. They maintain 24/7 support, which is super quick and helpful when you need to talk to somebody.

2. Content Management System

If you’re starting a blog, WordPress.org just makes sense. It was initially built specifically as a content management system, but over the years, has evolved into so much more.

This platform is built with content in mind, so you’ll find that it’s easy to learn (we have a course that teaches how to use WordPress). But it’s so much more.

You can build eCommerce stores, forums, and so much more on it. In fact, this entire community is built on top of WordPress!

a vector graphic showing an illustration of the wordpress.org dashboard screen

What makes WordPress so great is that it is the world’s most widely-adopted content management system. Most of the world’s websites are built on top of this platform.

This means that there’s a HUGE network of themes, plugins, developers, and support specifically built for WordPress. I have never not been able to find a plugin or a developer to help me modify my site the way I wanted it.

3. Hosting

WP Engine is my go-to host for WordPress sites, and is what I recommend to beginners and experienced bloggers alike. It’s a fully-managed WordPress host, which means you’ll pay a little bit more every month to use the service, but trust me when I say it’s worth it.

a screenshot of the WP Engine pricing page

First, it makes creating a WordPress site as easy as a click of a button. You can literally spin up a blank WordPress site by clicking a button and then naming the install.

Once it’s live, you can begin developing right away. When you’re ready to install the domain on the site, that’s also only a few clicks. Same with SSL, backups, restoring backups, and more. They even have a plugin that will automatically update all your plugins for you. This alone saves tons of time per week.

In addition, it’s backed by amazing support that will help with pretty much anything directly related to the site. I’ve accidentally taken my site down or made mistakes that I can’t fix, but support was happy to reverse the changes and get my site working again.

In fact, it is such a good host that I require it as a prerequisite before I take on a client through my agency, TrendlineSEO. I will migrate the client off their current host and onto WP Engine simply because of the features, efficiency, ease of use, and support that it offers.

In short, it’s a host that is VERY easy to use, but also packed with features that save SO much time. You do not get this with a cheap host. It’s definitely worth the small additional cost in the long run.

4. WordPress Theme & Framework

Another secret weapon in my arsenal is GeneratePress Premium. This is actually a WordPress framework that’s built with ease of use and performance in mind. And it shows. It’s incredibly fast, lightweight, and modular.

There are a ton of themes that are already pre-made and ready to import once you install it. These are very well-designed and look incredibly professional.

A screenshot of the GeneratePress site library

They’re also super easy to modify, which allows you to start with a good foundation, with the ability to customize pretty much everything to make it uniquely your own.

On top of that, there’s a HUGE amount of documentation tat your fingertips when something goes wrong. I don’t think I’ve ever run into an issue that I’ve had with GeneratePress that I wasn’t able to find a solution to after searching their support forum.

On top of that, the development team is incredibly responsive and helpful if you are a GeneratePress Premium subscriber and need help.

5. WordPress Plugins

I also use a few plugins in addition to the items above:

Site Kit by Google

Site Kit by Google is an easy way to monitor a blog’s performance and search engine presence. It integrates various Google services, including Analytics, Search Console, AdSense, and PageSpeed Insights, directly into the WordPress dashboard.

This means I can easily track visitor behavior, site traffic, and page performance without having to install conflicting third-party plugins or deal with placing code in my header. Once set up, it’s fairly hands-off.

Akismet

Blogs get a lot of spam. Like… a LOT. Once the bots find your blog – especially when it gets more popular – you’ll notice the same. That’s where Akismet comes in.

This plugin has been a lifesaver in helping prevent and manage spam comments on my blogs. It automatically checks all comments and filters out those that look like spam, then automatically deletes what it flags.

The plugin is actually incredibly efficient in distinguishing between spam and genuine comments, which saves me a ton of time and frustration of having to constantly delete hundreds of low-quality spam.

Gravity Forms

Gravity Forms is a powerful form creator that allows me to create and customize forms with ease, thanks to its drag-and-drop interface. It’s easy for beginners to use, but scalable for the future.

It appears simple at first, but once you start playing around with the settings, there’s a lot more than this plugin can do if you need it to. For example, I recently set up a fairly advanced series of multi-page forms that were powered with Gravity Forms’ conditional logic feature.

It also comes with spam-fighting features like hidden honeypots, Recaptcha integration, and more. Contact Form 7 (a very popular form plugin for beginners) is great, but this is way better.

Rank Math Pro

If you ever hear the plugin “Yoast”, turn the other way and choose Rank Math Pro instead. I used to use Yoast on my blogs, but it went through a series of changes that I didn’t like. Constant price increases and countless technical bugs led me to Rank Math Pro and I haven’t turned back since.

Rank Math is a very robust SEO tool that helps me optimize my content, manage keywords, track rankings, and much more. It also has a very powerful redirection feature that I use a lot during site audits and content pruning.

It’s super simple to set up, and even easier to use. If you’re looking for a great SEO plugin, definitely make sure to give this a try.

Imagify

Imagify has been crucial in maintaining my site’s performance and loading times, especially as visual content became a more significant part of my blogs. It automatically optimizes images upon upload, reducing their file size without compromising quality.

This has not only improved my site’s speed but also the user experience, particularly for readers accessing my blogs on mobile devices. The ability to bulk optimize images also saved me considerable time when I first installed the plugin.

WP Rocket

WP Rocket is, without a doubt, one of the best caching plugins I’ve used to speed up my WordPress sites. Its user-friendly interface allows for easy setup, and it offers a range of optimization features beyond caching, such as GZIP compression, database optimization, and lazy loading for images.

What sets WP Rocket apart is its ability to deliver noticeable improvements in site speed without requiring technical expertise, it an easy choice when trying to figure out how to improve a site’s performance and SEO.

Key Takeaway

When properly combined together, this tech stack gives you a nice-looking, professional website that loads quickly and is easy to maintain. It offers a high level of customization and scalability, essentially future-proofing your blog.

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