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Welcome to part 2 of my series of “How to start a mom blog in 2020”. In the first part, you learned how to choose a name, a niche, a host and a platform. So today you’ll find out what to do next – what are the foundations of a successful blog.
Here’s the entire series:
- How to start a mom blog in 2020?
- What are the foundations of a successful blog? (this one)
- How to design a blog like a pro even if you are a newbie?
- Popular blog post ideas that will explode your traffic
- How to make money blogging in 2020?
*this post may contain affiliate links. Read more here
WordPress Dashboard Overview
I remember my first time in the backend of my site and thinking “OMG, what the h**k are these?”. I also thought that I am never going to learn and that’s way too much!
That’s true, however, you don’t need to know all the features and all the ins and outs of your dashboard from the very beginning. Blogging has a HUGE learning curve, and this can’t be done overnight. You need time, effort and a lot of practice.
What you really need to know are the basics and I can guarantee that you won’t find that difficult at all. Take it from me, even after 3 years of blogging, I am still learning the dashboard and I am still finding new things out.
What are the basics of a WordPress Dashboard?
By the end of this section you will know the following:
- How to add a page
- How to add a category
- How to add/remove a plugin
- How to write a post and publish it
- How to categorize a post
- How to add tags to a certain post
- Basic SEO for your post
- How to add images to your site/article
- How to customize a sidebar & footer with widgets
- How to create a menu
- Things to do before publishing a post
These are a lot easier for me to show you and way easier for you to learn by watching me doing it, so please take a look at the below video.
PS: please excuse my voice from this tutorial, I am fighting a cold so please bear with me, thanks in advance.
Must-Have Plugins for any website
I say must-haves because these plugins can help you manage and optimize your website for SEO, speed, email list building, etc.
There are many other plugins out there, that enable you to do certain things or showcase certain things on your website.
But for now, here are the top plugins any new blog needs in order to have a successful foundation:
1. Gutenberg – this is the new WordPress editor and I absolutely love it! I remember a couple of years back (2017-2018) I was terrified of it. It looked very complicated, but it’s not at all. You can create amazing things with this editor and I am sure you will love it too. If it’s too much for you, you can always install the Classic Editor plugin.
2. Contact Form 7 – this is for your Contact Page – it lets your readers send you a message if they want too. The cool thing about it is that you can add tick boxes, necessary nowadays in order to be GDPR compliant.
3. Elementor is a page builder. It comes in both free and premium versions. I am still using the free version and I love it. You can create some amazing pages and landing pages for your website. I wouldn’t use it to create posts with it as it can be super time-consuming. The learning curve that comes with it is quite high, but once you get the hang of things you will love it too. If you want to keep things simple, you don’t really need a page builder. Just keep this in mind.
4. Insert Headers & Footers – another cool plugin that helps you insert certain codes to the header of your website. Necessary when linking your blog to Google Analytics or Facebook Pixel for instance.
5. Pretty Links – you don’t really need it from the very beginning, but I thought to mention it anyway because it’s a very useful tool especially if you want to start with Affiliate Marketing from the very beginning. It makes your links nice and short, which means your links won’t look spammy.
6. Smush – this plugin will comprise any image you add to your website’s library. It’s super important when it comes to improving your site’s speed. So it’s always a good idea to start from the very beginning. You’ll thank me later.
7. Social Pug is a cool plugin that will let your readers share your content across social media links. A very important thing to have on your website. You want people to know about your amazing content, right?
8. UpdraftPlus is the ultimate must-have on any blog. It’s meant to back up your entire site and add a zip file of your blog in your Google Drive. Believe me, this will save your life in case something goes wrong. I know this from experience – I didn’t back up my site when I started and lost all my articles without being able to go back. So I had to start over. This is something you set up once and it will run in the background for you.
9. Yoast SEO is one of the best plugins when it comes to SEO. What is SEO? Is Search Engine Optimisation – this is what helps your site rank on Google and will help people find your content when searching certain keywords on Google and other search engines such as Yahoo, Bing, etc. SEO is one of the things you want to start right away because it takes about a year to kick in, so you definitely don’t want to waste time on this one.
10. Anti-Spam will help you get rid of or prevent spam comments on your blog. Remember that you don’t want spam comments, Google can penalize you for that.
11. WP Fastest Cache – page load speed is very important when it comes to SEO. Therefore this plugin and the next one can help you achieve that. There are more things you could do to increase speed on your website, but more about his in a later article.
12. W3 Total Cache – another plugin that will help you increase page loading and overall speed of your website.
13. GDPR Cookie Consent – as of May 2018 this is a must for any website, no matter where you are in the world. You never know where people are reading your website. Read more about GDPR here.
Google Analytics & Search Console
How to setup Google Analytics?
In order to set up Analytics or Search Console, you need to have a Google Email account. So if you don’t already own one, please create it.
Google Analytics is an amazing tool any website should have. By using it, you are going to find out your most loved articles, people visiting your site and many other useful data.
Step 1 Click on the Gear icon to access the Admin area
Step 2 Add a new property by clicking on the Create Account button
Step 3 Add your Blog Name here, scroll down to the bottom and click on Next
Step 4 Select Web from the list and click Next
Step 5 – add all the information as shown below, once done click on Create
Step 6 tick the boxes in order to accept terms and conditions, then click on I Accept
Step 7 Copy & Paste this code into the Header of your blog.
To make things a lot easier, I recommend adding the Insert Headers and Footers plugin, just like I showed you in the above tutorial.
Once the plugin is added, you can find it under Settings > Insert Headers & Footers
And you’re done! It should be working now. Feel free to check out the Realtime tab to see current visitors on your blog.
How to link Search Console?
Search Console is a tool by Google that will allow you to measure your site’s Search traffic and performance. You can also fix certain issues your website has, but the most important thing – it will make sure your site is looking great in Google Search Results.
Step 1 Click on the gear icon to access the Admin area. Under the Property column (middle column) search for All Products and click on it.
Step 2 Scroll down to the bottom to find Search Console. Click on Link Search Console Button
Step 3 Click on Done, to finalize the linking.
Is your blog legal? Things you should do
Blogging legally is the right thing to do, especially if you want to have a good sleep at night. Therefore, PLEASE MAKE SURE you have ALL the legal documentation any website needs:
- Terms & Conditions
Even if you are not thinking of being serious about blogging or you aren’t selling anything (yet) on your blog, you should have all the legal documentation from the very beginning. You can get yourself a giant fine if you don’t have them on your website.
There are tons of examples out there, but before you use one, please make sure it has everything you need. Please note that in order to be fully covered, it is recommended to be written by a lawyer.
Therefore, I’d like to mention the Legal Bundle I personally use from Amira from A Self Guru. Amira is a lawyer, which is what made me buy her bundle. She has templates for all the pages I mentioned before, so all you need to do is to add in your details. It literally takes you 30 minutes for the whole thing and all you need to do is copy&paste everything into the corresponding pages on your website.
Now that you have a great foundation for your blog, let’s talk about how to make it look pretty. Head over to part 3 of this series, where I’ll go over the details of designing your brand new blog.
Don’t worry, you don’t need developer skills to design a great looking website.
Here’s what you’ll find in part 3 of my How to Start a Mom Blog in 2020:
- Choosing a free theme – how to customize it and make it your own
- Checklist of things you need on hand when designing your blog
- Must-have pages on your blog, besides the legal ones
- How to build a home page using the Elementor Page Builder?