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From what I’ve been through (and what I wasn’t able to accomplish) for the past year trying to start this blog, I believe that it’s really wise to get clarity first on how you want to approach this blogging pursuit. Some bloggers are relentlessly saying that you need to hone in on your niche. Others say that you just need to give it a go if you really can’t figure it out at first and that you’ll have a better idea of your niche after you’ve been blogging for a while.

Whichever strategy you decide to follow, you need to stick to it and make sure to follow through with steps that your ultimate favorite blogger recommends. Otherwise, you’ll be pulled from all directions and you’ll never be able to start your blog. If you’re confused like I was, I’ve outlined below the steps you’ll have to go through in starting a blog:

I. Blog Planning

A. Blogging Goals

As with any endeavor, I agree with those who recommend that you should determine your goals for starting a blog before you even think of the technical aspects such as the blog platformblog name, blog host, blog themeemail opt-ingraphics designsocial media sharing/following and email marketing. Write down those goals together with the strategies that you intend to implement to make each goal a reality.

B. Blog Topic/Niche

After you’re somewhat clear on your blogging goals, it’s time to think of your niche or, simply put, the topics you’re going to write about in your blog. The following questions will help you to hone in on your blog’s niche:

  • What is your dream lifestyle 3-5 years from now? If you currently have a day job, do you wish to be an entrepreneur and be your own boss eventually? What types of business are you willing to venture in?
  • What topics (around 5-6) are you really interested in? Would you be willing to do exhaustive research on them? Would you be willing to write about them for months and years to come?
  • What types of advice or service do you freely give to family, friends or colleagues? Is it something that people will be willing to pay for if it’s available as a product such as an ebook or online course?

You should then limit your list to 1-3 interrelated blog topics to really focus on a very specific niche. Afterwards, come up with 3-5 blog post titles for those topics and write up the actual posts.  Try to write at least 1000 words for each of those topics.  Don’t worry so much about the structure.  You’ll be able to clean it up later on.  That’s the beauty of blogging.

This strategy will help establish if blogging is for you. As a blogger, you’re going to create a post on a regular basis for as long as you’re willing to put up the effort.  Might as well start doing it now rather than spend so much time figuring out the technical aspects and ending up not loving the actual content creation.

II. Blog Design (Structure/Components)

After you’ve completed your initial posts, it’s now time to think of the different components of your blog/website.

A. Logo and Favicon

Your blog’s logo and favicon are your blog’s identifiers. You can use the following web-based or installed applications to create them:

  • Canva
  • PicMonkey
  • Google Slides
  • PowerPoint
  • Apple Keynote
  • Photoshop

B. Opt-in Freebies

Freebies are products you create and give away to your readers for free in exchange for their email addresses. These can be as simple as a list of tips related to your niche or more sophisticated as a discount to your ebook, stock photos or even online course if you already have one.

C. Opt-in Form

The opt-in form is what you need to incorporate on ever page/post which will enable you to capture your reader’s email address. There are countless email marketing solutions you can try out such as Bloom or ConvertKit.

D. Post/Page

Posts and pages are essentially the same except that content on pages are rarely modified such Home, About, Contact and Disclosure/Privacy. Posts are basically the articles on a particular topic which you’ll regularly create and update.

For your first 3-5 posts, I suggest that you create posts on the following topics:

  1. Reasons for starting a blog
  2. How to start a blog
  3. Rundown of the bloggers who inspire you the most
  4. Review of products related to your niche or even your blog such as

E. Images

Aside from the actual content for your page/post, you’ll also need images for your pages and posts. You can also use these images for your social media posts in Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and other accounts you might have.

There are numerous sites that contain a plethora of royalty free images such as pexels or  unsplash. Once you’ve chosen your images, you can then modify / incorporate those into your posts and pages.

F. Social Media

For beginner bloggers, I suggest to stick to only 1-2 social media accounts which you’ll create and/or maintain in connection with your blog. It’s hard enough to create content for your blog so don’t add the regular update of social media to the pile of things that you need to do. As they say, content is king.

G. Menu

Your blog’s menu should be composed of what you can offer to your audience. At the very least, I suggest including the following pages on your menu:

  • Home
  • About
  • Blog
  • Resources
  • Disclosure/Privacy

If you decide to use this minimal menu setup, your blog page can then have a submenu of your blog’s main categories. Also, your contact information can be incorporated in your About Page. Lastly, you can add a separate page if you have free/paid products already.

H. Header

The header section of your blog is where you’d want to put the following pages/components:

  • Logo
  • Menu/Submenu
  • Social media share/follow icons
  • Search box

I. Footer

In the footer section of your site, you can include the following pages/components:

  • About
  • Contact
  • Social media share/follow icons

J. Sidebar

I don’t use a sidebar for my blog because I prefer a full width display of my posts and pages. If you decide to put one in your own site, you can place the following pages:

  • Preview of your About page
  • Recent posts
  • Email opt-in form
  • Social media share/follow icons
  • Search box, etc.

III. Blog Build

A. Blog Platform

WordPress is the blog platform or content management system that I seriously considered when I started getting interested in blogging. It comes in 2 free versions which you can acquire either through WordPress.org or WordPress.com.

Though a WordPress.org account is free, you’ll have to purchase a domain name and domain host as well as a site theme if you’d like one with fancy features rather than a free one. If you’d like to try if blogging is for you before investing on a paid domain name and host, you can start with a free WordPress.com account.

B. Blog Name

Just like any newbie, I had difficulty choosing a domain name or, simply put, a blog name. I had to change it up a few times which cost me time and money. I suggest that you try 1 of these methods:

  1. List down potential blog names using a combination of descriptive words that are related to your niche or topic of choice
  2. Include/use your name
    • your first name or nickname and a verb which states the nature of your venture such as “bakes”, “writes”, “blogs” or ”creates”
    • a trait that best describes you such as “charming”, “feisty” or “thoughtful” + your name
    • or simply, your first name or nickname + your last name
  3. Check if those names are available through namecheap.com or GoDaddy.com or even through the hosting provider that you will choose in the next step

C. Blog Host

The domain or blog host is the server or cloud space provider for your blog. If you checked possible domain names through namecheap or GoDaddy, you’ll see that they offer hosting also so you might want to look into it.

I’m currently on Hostinger and I’m somewhat satisfied with their service given their price. I started with BlueHost though and didn’t have any problems with them. Their customer support even helped me understand the difference between domain registration and hosting.

Hostinger Registration

  1. Type https://www.hostinger.com on the address bar of your web browser tab/window. In Hostinger’s home page, check out the hosting plan that you prefer then click on the Add to Cart button to start the registration process. Alternatively, you can check first your preferred domain on the same page before you process your subscription plan.
  2. On the next page, choose the subscription period that you prefer plus your email address and payment method. If you like, you can choose the WordPress Starter plan just like I did so you can build more than 1 site under your hosting account. This is especially helpful if:
    • You can’t hone in on your niche initially.
    • You want to create content for more than 1 niche though I would strongly advise against this for beginner bloggers.
    • You want a practice site before you apply your changes to your main site.
  3. On the succeeding page, choose the Register a New Domain or I already have a Domain checkbox and write down your domain name on the allotted field.
  4. If your preferred domain name is available, you’ll then reach the 3rd step of the registration process. Otherwise, you’ll get a message that your preferred domain name is not available anymore and you’ll be given other choices.
  5. Fill/select the required information including the checkboxes for Hostinger’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy as well as their email updates then click on the Pay Now button.

WordPress Installation

  1. The next step is to install WordPress from wordpress.com which I suggest you use as your blog platform if you don’t want to spend on the self-hosted version at the start. More than 50% of the websites in the world uses it so you can be sure that it’s a sound choice. After receiving the success message, you can already login with the account information (email address and password) you provided earlier.
  2. Once logged in, go to My Accounts tab and click the Go to cPanel button then the Proceed button on the pop-up message.
  3. Scroll down to the Security section and click on the Let’s Encrypt icon which will lead you to the screen showing your list of domains. Select the HTTPS Settings option in the Action dropdown list of the corresponding domain you’d like to maintain.
  4. Slide both the HTTPS Enforce and External Links Rewrite settings to ON to ensure that when someone accesses your site with only http will redirect to https for a secured connection.
  5. Next, go to the Autoinstallers section and click on the WordPress icon.
  6. On the resulting screen, click on the Install tab or the Install Now link in the Overview tab then fill in the following settings:
    • Protocol
      If you followed along with me in activating your site’s SSL certificate, choose https://. Otherwise, choose http://.
    • Domain
      Choose a domain from your list where you’d like to install WordPress into.
    • Admin Name
      Put a unique admin name and take note of it.
    • Admin Password
      Choose a strong password and take note of it as well.
    • Admin Email
      Enter an email address where you want to receive WordPress-related notifications.
    • Limit Login Attempts (Loginizer)
      If you want to set a maximum number of login attempts to your site for security reasons, check this.
    • WordPress Starter
      If you want to be guided with certain themes and plugins to install when you first log in to your site, check this. Otherwise, leave it blank.
  7. Finally, click on the Install button to start the actual installation. Congratulations! You just installed WordPress on your new website.
  8. Copy the Administrative URL from the success message and paste it on the address bar of another browser tab/window.
  9. Enter your Username or Email Address and Password in the resulting WordPress login box and press Enter or click on the Log In button.

WordPress Starter Guide

  1. If you chose the WordPress Starter option during the installation process, you’ll now have to go through a series of screens to set up your blog. Click on the Start Now button on the first (0/3) screen or the Exit link if you changed your mind and prefer to do it on your own.
  2. If you chose to proceed, you’ll be presented with the free and paid themes in the next (1/3) screen. Select your preferred theme or settle with the default one and click on Continue.
  3. On the following (2/3) screen, you’ll be presented with a few recommended plugins which you can select/deselect then click on Continue.
  4. On the last (3/3) screen, another set of plugins will be recommended related to the data analysis, content optimization and email list of your site which you can select then click on Complete. The actual installation of the plugins will then commence.
  5. That’s it! You’ve successfully set up your WordPress site. You can either click on Go to Dashboard or View Site button.
  6. Navigate through the different sections of your WordPress dashboard to familiarize yourself. You can also click on the WordPress Tutorials, Knowledge Base and Ebooks in the Useful Links section if you want to learn more.

D. Blog Theme

I initially dabbled with the free themes from WordPress but I’ve decided to purchase a premium one, eventually. After going through countless reviews, 2 themes/frameworks seemed to stand out – Genesis and Elegant Themes. I ended up getting Elegant Themes because I love the Visual Builder and many other functionalities.

If you chose a theme earlier, tried it out and decided that you’d like to give Elegant Themes a try, do the following steps:

  1. Go to https://www.elegantthemes.com/gallery/divi and click on Try It For Free to get a feel of using Divi theme, Elegant Theme’s flagship product.
  2. After playing around with Divi and you’re convinced that it’s a worthy investment, go to https://www.elegantthemes.com/jointhen choose the plan that you prefer. If you’re like me, I prefer making a one-time purchase rather than worrying about it every year so I choose the Lifetime Access option. If a yearly fee is what you prefer, you can definitely select the Yearly Access option by clicking on its corresponding Sign up Today button.
  3. On the next screen, fill in and check the required information then click on Complete Registration.
  4. On the next screen, provide your Visa, Mastercard or American Express credit card number, expiry month and year as well as the CVC number at the back of your card then click on the Pay $xx9.00 button.
  5. You’ll then receive a confirmation email which means that you can now log in to the Elegant Themes site. Click on the Login link on the upper right corner of the page then fill in the Username and Password which you provided during registration and click on Member Login just below it.
  6. Inside the Elegant Themes site’s Members Area page, you’ll see the links to its numerous themes and plugins including Divi, Extra, Divi Builder, Bloom and Monarch. You can see all of them if you click on View All Downloads towards the bottom of the page.
  7. If you love the Divi theme, click on the Download button just below it. A Divi.zip file will be copied automatically to the Downloads folder of your computer. If you prefer the Extra theme or another one of their beautiful themes, go ahead and click on its corresponding Download button.
  8. After you’re able to download the zip file of your chosen theme, go to Appearance then Themes on your WordPress dashboard’s menu. Click on Add New then Upload Theme.
  9. Next, click on Choose File, select the zip file of your theme from your computer and click on Install Now.
  10. Check out the Theme Details or Live Preview of each theme you installed to get an idea of how the various sections will look like if you activate it or choose the Return to Themes page if you’d like to install other themes. Once you’ve decided on a theme, click on Activate then Customize.

E. Posts and Pages

Posts and pages are essentially the same. They can both contain text, images, videos as well as internal and external links. Their main difference is that pages are meant to be generally static and timeless while posts are meant to be created and updated more often for timeliness.

Examples of content that are usually created as a page are the Home, About and Contact and Disclosure/Privacy. Posts are the pieces of content that you’ll regularly create based on certain topics.

Page Creation

  1. On the dashboard menu, click on Pages then Add New.
  2. Enter a page title then click on Use the Divi Builder. In the Page Attributes section on the right sidebar, retain Default Template as the template or change to Blank Page if you prefer a blank slate for your page. That is, without a header, footer and sidebar which you’d normally like for your Coming Soon or Landing pages.
  3. If you prefer a template for your pages, click on the Load Layout link and browse through the numerous predefined layouts made available to you by Divi. Otherwise, you can always build your page section by section. You’ll also be able to reuse saved layouts or existing pages when you’ve been using Divi for a while.
  4. Choose View Live Demo to get a feel of how the page will look if you use it or select Use This Layout to load your chosen layout to your page.
  5. After the page layout has loaded, click on Preview in the Publish section of the right sidebar to check on the different sections of your chosen layout.
  6. At this point, you can customize the page’s texts, fonts, colors and images/videos in the back-end or utilize the Visual Builder so you’ll be able to see the changes that you make in the page in real-time. You can even take a guided tour of Divi Builder if it’s the first time you’ll use this functionality.
  7. After you’ve made all the changes you want, you can save a draft of the page or publish it immediately or at a later date. You can even delete it if you want to start all over.
  8. Do steps 1 to 7 for every page that you require. Aside from your Home, About and Disclosure/Privacy, I suggest to create a page for each category which you’d like to include in your menu later.

Set Home Page

  1. If you created a Home Page and you’d like to make sure that it’s the default page of your site, go to Divi then Theme Customizer in the dashboard menu.
  2. Click on Homepage settings. Click on the static page radio button as the Homepage Display. Select the home page you created and click on the Publish button on the upper right section of the Customizer.
  3. When you access your site from another browser tab/window, you’ll see that the Home page you created is now the default page.

Hide Divi Logo

If you don’t want to see the Divi logo, do the following steps:

  1. Click on Header & Navigation then select Primary Menu Bar.
  2. Select the Hide Logo Image checkbox then click on the back arrow.
  3. Click on Fixed Navigation Settings then select the Hide Logo Image checkbox and click on Publish.

Post Creation

  1. Before you start creating your posts, go to Settings on the dashboard menu then select Permalinks.
  2. Select the Post Name option in the Common Settings section of the Permalinks Settings page then click on Save Changes.
  3. Going back to the dashboard menu, click on Posts then Add New.
  4. Enter a post title then click on Use The Divi Builder.
  5. At this point, you can retain the page layout to Right Sidebar or change it to Left Sidebar, No Sidebar or Fullwidth. You can also opt to Hide or Show the post title.
  6. Load a layout just like you did for your pages or build your post section by section. Personally, I prefer using Divi’s premade layouts even for posts and from the same set as that of the pages I created to establish the theme of my blog. You can definitely choose any layout you prefer.
  7. Just like the pages, you can also get a preview of the loaded layout before you make any changes to it.
  8. Once you already have an idea of what you want your post to look like, edit the post’s texts, fonts, colors and images/videos in the back-end or utilize the Visual Builder so you’ll be able to see the changes that you make in the post in real-time.
  9. Before you save your work, create new category/ies and tag/s then set a featured image that are relevant for your post. Every main category which you intend to include in your menu should be added here and should have a corresponding page.
  10. After you’ve made all the changes you want, you can save a draft of the post or publish it immediately or at a later date. You can even delete it if you want to start all over.

F. Menu

Set up your blog’s menu which you’ve come up with during your blog design phase by doing the following steps:

  1. On the dashboard menu, click on Appearance then Menus.
  2. In the Edit Menus tab, retain Main Menu or enter a new one as the Menu Name.
  3. Check on all the pages, posts, categories and custom links which you’d like to include in your menu then click on Add to Menu.
  4. In the Menu Settings section, make sure that Primary Menu is checked then click on Save Menu.
  5. In the Manage Locations tab, make sure that Main Menu is assigned to the Primary Menu then click on Save Changes.
  6. When you view one of your posts, you’ll see that the menu has been updated. I suggest to include not more than 5 items on your menu.

G. Images

After you’ve created the content for your post/page, you’ll want to add an image or two to break the monotony of text. To add image/s, do the following steps:

  1. Decide on the areas within your post/page where you’d like to place your image/s.
  2. If you’re going to make changes in the back-end, click on the Insert Module(s) just above or below the post element where you want to place the image then choose an Image module. If you prefer working with the Visual Builder, click on the row where you want to put the image then click Add New Module (+ icon) and choose an Image module.
  3. Choose an appropriate image from your Media Library or upload one from your computer. Make sure to update the image details then click on Set As Image.
  4. Click on Save & Exit and move the image module if you need to. Click on Update then Preview to examine the revised post/page with the image.
  5. You’ll also want to set a preview image for your post through the Set featured image link then choose/upload an image. Don’t forget to put a meaningful description in the image’s fields.
  6. Click on Update then go to a page you created for posts where this post is categorized in, you’ll see the featured image we assigned to it above its content preview.

H. Videos

If you asked me before if I would recommend that you create and add a video to your posts, I would have said that it isn’t always necessary. Nowadays though, it seems that including a video to your post is essential if you want to increase your engagement with your audience who are now leaning towards a visual representation of your content. To add a video file, do the following steps:

  1. Decide on the area within your post/page where you’d like to place your video clip.
  2. If you’re going to make changes in the back-end, click on the Insert Module(s) just above or below the post element where you want to place the video clip then choose a Video module. If you prefer working with the Visual Builder, click on the row where you want to put the video clip then click Add New Module (+ icon) and choose a Video module.
  3. Choose an appropriate video from your Media Library or upload one from your computer. Make sure to update the image details then click on Set As Video.
  4. Click on Save & Exit and move the video module if you need to. Click on Update then Preview to examine the revised post/page with the video clip.

I. Plugins

During the WordPress installation process, we’ve opted to have Yoast SEO and MonsterInsights’ Google Analytics installed. We can now modify their settings for use in our site. We’ll also install and customize other essential plugins.

1. MonsterInsight’s Google Analytics

Google Mail and Analytics Account Creation

  1. If you haven’t already created a Gmail account for your blog, go to https://mail.google.com and create one now.
  2. Afterwards, go to https://analytics.google.com and sign in with your Gmail account.
  3. Click on the Sign up button on the right side account.
  4. Fill in all the required information and click on Get Tracking ID
  5. Accept the Terms of Service and Additional Terms Applicable to Data Shared with Google
  6. Choose a profile then click on Complete Authentication.

MonsterInsight’s Google Analytics Plugin Setup

  1. In the WordPress dashboard menu, click on Insights then Settings.
  2. In the MonsterInsights Settings screen, click on Authenticate with your Google account to redirect to Google.
  3. Within the Google site, select a Google account and provide your password.
  4. Allow monsterinsights.com to access that Google account then enter your password.
  5. Click on Save Changes then you’ll be redirected back to WordPress with your Analytics Profile id.

2. Yoast SEO

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a strategy to help the search engines to better capture and present your online content.

Yoast SEO Plugin Setup

  1. Since the Yoast SEO plugin has already been installed and activated when we executed the steps in the WordPress Starter, we can now start to customize it. Go to SEO then General in the dashboard menu or click on the Manage button for Yoast SEO under the Manage Functionality section of the Dashboard.
  2. In the Dashboard tab of the General Settings, click on the configuration wizard link if it’s the first time that you’re going to use an SEO tool.
  3. In the welcome screen of the Yoast SEO for WordPress Installation Wizard, click on the Configure Yoast SEO button.
  4. In the 2nd screen, choose the status of your site then click on Next.
  5. In the 3rd screen, select the type of your website then click on Next.
  6. In the 4th screen, choose company or person for your site’s representation then on click on Next.
  7. In the 5th screen, fill in the URL of your social media accounts then click on Next.
  8. In the 6th screen, choose the types of content that you’d like to appear in search engines. I’d stick with the default choices as recommended. Click on Next.
  9. In the 7th screen, confirm if there is or will be more than one author for your site then click on Next.
  10. In the 8th screen, follow the instructions to have your site integrated with Google Search Console then click on the Get Google Authorization Code button to be redirected to Google.
  11. In the new window, choose a Google account and provide your password on the following screen then click on Next. On the following message, allow Yoast SEO to access your chosen Google account then copy the code that will be provided to you on the next screen.
  12. Back in the WordPress installation wizard of Yoast SEO, paste the code on the allotted field and click on Authenticate.
  13. Select a Google Search Console profile in the following screen then click on Next.
  14. In the 9th screen, you can modify your site’s name and choose a display separator symbol between your post title and site name. Afterwards, click on Next.
  15. In the 10th screen, provide an email address to receive email updates from Yoast then click on Sign Up.
  16. In the 11th screen, you’ll have links to some of Yoast SEO’s training videos and and upgrade to its premium version.
  17. In the 12th and last screen, you’ll have a link to a video on maintaining your pages and posts’ Yoast SEO metabox. Click on Close to revert to your WordPress dashboard.

3. ConvertKit

ConvertKit is an email marketing tool for online creators including bloggers and business owners.

Account Creation

To create an account in ConvertKit, do the following steps:

  1. Open a browser tab/window and access https://www.convertkit.com
  2. Check out its features, watch the demo or request for a 14-day free trial
  3. If you opted for the free trial, you’ll be directed to a series of questions for personalization.  Answer these questions and provide your email address and password as well as click on the checkbox for the terms of service and privacy policy on the last screen.
  4. You’ll then be directed to a welcome page where you can watch a welcome video and where you’ll be guided with a series of steps with videos on getting started in ConvertKit.

Email Opt-in Form Creation

  1. Next, you’ll need to create an email opt-in form. If you choose to utilize the checklist, click on the Create Form button. Alternatively, you can click on Forms on the menu bar.
  2. You can watch the accompanying video or directly click on the New Form button to start creating a form.
  3. For this tutorial, we’ll choose Form then Inline format on the next 2 screens.
  4. In the next screen, you can choose even the Clean template if you intend to integrate ConvertKit with the Bloom opt-in forms for posts and pages. Otherwise, you can also choose between the Full and Minimal templates.
  5. Change the form name on the upper left area to make it more meaningful. The Field and Button Styles will appear as soon as you select 1 of the form components.
  6. If you chose the Clean template, you can customize the fields and button’s text, font color, font weight and border radius. You can also set the field/s which are required and add custom fields. For the other 2 templates, you can do all of the aforementioned features and even change the font size and add a form background image.
  7. In the Settings tab, you can choose whether to show a success message or redirect your subscriber to another page.
  8. In the Incentive Email tab, you can make the following changes:
    • Deselect sending of incentive email
    • Edit the incentive email’s contents
    • Select auto confirmation of new subscribers
    • After the subscriber confirmation, redirect to another URL where the subscriber can access the freebie or immediately download the file to the subscriber’s computer. For the latter option, you can opt to save the file within ConvertKit.
  9. In the Styles tab, you can still change your form template or add custom CSS.
  10. In the Advanced Settings tab, you can choose whether to hide or retain the form after the reader has subscribed or even show custom content. You’ll also have the option to redirect to a thank you page and activate invisible captcha.
  11. Lastly, Save the form.
  12. Before we leave ConvertKit, click on the avatar on the far right section of the menu bar and select Account Settings.
  13. Copy the API Key and API Secret from the Account Info tab and paste it on any note-taking app. We’ll use it later for our integration with Bloom/Divi.

4. Bloom

Bloom is the email opt-in and lead generation plugin from Elegant Themes. I use it on my site and integrate it with ConvertKit for my email marketing efforts.

Installation and Activation

  1. To install Bloom in your site, log in to the Elegant Themes site again and click on its Download link in the Members Area page. Just like the theme/s you downloaded, your copy of Bloom’s zip file will be saved in the Downloads folder of your computer.
  2. In your WordPress site’s dashboard menu, click on Plugins then select Add New.
  3. Click on Upload Plugin on the top left section of the Add Plugins page. Click on Choose File, search for bloom.zip in your computer then click on Install Now.
  4. When you get the successful plugin installation message, click on Activate Plugin.

Opt-in Form Creation

  1. Click on the Settings link right below it or the Bloom link on the dashboard menu then choose Optin Forms.
  2. Click on the New Optin button and select your preferred optin type. For this tutorial, I’ll choose the pop up type.
  3. In the Setup tab, maintain the Optin Name then select ConvertKit from the dropdown list of Email Providers. Click on the Add Account button that will appear.
  4. Enter a relevant Account Name and paste the API Key and API Secret which we copied earlier on their corresponding fields that will appear. Click on the Authorize button.
  5. Select a form from the dropdown list of the Select Email List field that will appear. Click on Next: Design Your Optin.
  6. Choose your preferred template in the Setup tab then scroll down and click on the Next: Customize button.
  7. In the Design tab, you can modify the optin form title, message, styling and image settings then click on the Next: Display Settings button.
  8. In the Display Settings screen, you can define when and where to display the optin on your site then click on the Next: Success Action button.
  9. In the Success Action screen, you can retain Success Message as the success action type or choose Redirect to URL. If you choose the latter, enter the URL on the field that will appear where you want the subscriber to be redirected.
  10. Lastly, click on the Save & Exit button.

Congratulations! You now have an email opt-in form which you can use to capture your subscribers’ email address at the very least.

5. Monarch

Monarch, is the social sharing and following plugin from Elegant Themes.

Installation and Activation

  1. Log in to the Elegant Themes site again and click on Monarch’s Download link in the Members Area page. Just like the themes you downloaded, your copy of Monarch’s zip file will be saved in the Downloads folder of your computer.
  2. In your WordPress site’s dashboard menu, click on Plugins then select Add New.
  3. Click on Upload Plugin on the top left section of the Add Plugins page then click on Choose File. Search for monarch.zip in your computer then click on Install Now.
  4. When you get the successful plugin installation message, click on Activate Plugin.
  5. Once activated, click on the Settings link right below it in the list of plugins or go to the Tools link on the dashboard menu then choose Monarch Settings. You can start to customize the settings for your social media accounts.

Social Sharing Settings

  1. In the Manage Locations tab, you can choose the placement that you prefer by hovering and clicking on it after a grayed out check mark appears. On the other hand, you can deselect a placement by hovering and clicking on it after the minus sign appears. After selecting your social sharing location/s, click on Save Changes.
  2. In the Networks tab, you can incorporate your social media accounts by first clicking on Add Networks then hovering and clicking on a network when the plus sign appears. You can also deselect a previously chosen network by hovering and clicking on a network when the minus sign appears. Click on Apply afterwards.
  3. In the next screen, you can still remove a network by hovering and clicking on it when the minus sign appears. You can also rearrange them through drag and drop. Retain or modify the label for each network you added then Save Changes.
  4. Next, go to the placement/s types (Sidebar, Inline, Pop Up, Fly In or On Media) you chose earlier so you can change the icon style and shape as well as the display, color and post type settings. Afterwards, Save Changes.

Social Follow Settings

  1. Just like in the Social Sharing section, you can incorporate your social media accounts in the Networks tab. First, click on Add Networks then hover and click on a network when the plus sign appears. You can also deselect a previously chosen network by hovering and clicking on a network when the minus sign appears. Click on Apply afterwards.
  2. In the next screen, you can still remove added networks by hovering and clicking on it when the minus sign appears. You can also rearrange them through drag and drop. Maintain the label, URL and other information for each network you added.
  3. Selecting the Get counts via API checkbox in the Display Settings section will cause additional fields to appear which you’ll be required to provide. For detailed information on how to get these data, read Elegant Themes’ documentation.
  4. In the Widget and Shortcode tabs, you can change the icon style and shape as well as the display and color settings. If you opt to use the Shortcode option, you may generate a shortcode based on the settings you set for each network you chose. Copy this code and paste it anywhere on your site. Afterwards, Save Changes.

General Settings

  1. The Frequency of count updates option allows you to set how often (in hours) you want Monarch to get your follower count data from social networks that support APIs such as Facebook.
  2. If Monarch does not detect permalinks properly, you may fix it by clicking on the Reset WordPress loops checkbox.
  3. Next, enter Facebook’s App ID and App Secret on the allotted fields in the Facebook’s API settings section. For detailed information on how to get these data, read Elegant Themes’ documentation.

That’s it! You’re now ready for some serious social sharing and following using Monarch!

Takeaway

We did it! Congratulations! You now have a blog. Now, continuously work on it by building more content and growing your email list.

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