In this post, I’ll show you the exact steps to take to post your first blog post on WordPress!
These are the same steps I take when I post each blog post on my blog.
Nothing was more intimidating to me than actually posting my very first blog post.
I really had no idea what I was doing or what technical steps I should be taking, so I just kind of winged it. I basically opened up a new post, wrote my post, and hit publish without changing or setting anything else. As I went along, I learned SO many easy things I could do to make the process better and more effective so that people would actually see my posts.
I’m going to share the technical steps I take with you so that when you post your first blog post, you’ll be totally prepared.
Of course, no two bloggers go through the process of posting a blog post exactly the same way, so I’m sure your method will change and develop over time, and that is great. But, I wish someone would have shared their exact process with me before I posted my first blog post, so I wanted to do that for you.
What this post is not
This post is not going to teach you content creation or the process of brainstorming ideas, outlining, drafting, editing, creating graphics, refining, etc. This post is the steps to go through to post your content to your blog. If you want to know how I plan and draft my blog posts, check out —this post—.
By the end of the post, you’ll know:
- A great way to perfect your post title
- How to set up your first blog post
- How to add categories and tags to your post
- What your post’s permalink is and how to adjust it
- How to adjust your first blog post for basic SEO
- An easy way to set WordPress to share your posts automatically when you publish
- How to schedule and publish your first blog post
Let’s get started!
Log in to Your WordPress Admin Dashboard
The first thing you will want to do is log in to your blog admin dashboard. If you don’t know where this login page is, look in the account details email that you received from HostGator when you signed up for your blog hosting plan. If you haven’t done that yet, check out this post to get that set up first. No worries, it only takes a few minutes to get that part done.
Start a New Post
To start your first blog post, click “posts” near the top of the black left sidebar. Then click “add new”. A new page will open with a box for you to type your post.
Add Your Working Title
The first thing I do after opening a new post is to input the title for the post. While I’m drafting, I don’t worry too much about having the title perfect yet. I use CoSchedule’s free headline analyzer to decide on a great title. I would recommend using this tool to really help optimize your post titles even from your first blog post.
Add Post Keyword Using Yoast
Yoast is an absolute must-have plugin if you ask me.
I rely on Yoast to help me SEO optimize all of my blog posts. If you haven’t installed Yoast yet (it’s free), I suggest doing that before you post your first blog post.
After adding my title, I scroll down to the bottom of the post where the Yoast SEO stuff shows up. There is a box for keyword, and I input my keyword there. The post keyword just means the main topic of your post or what keywords you are trying to rank for with Google and search engines. For this post, I used the phrase “first blog post” as my keyword.
While you are writing your post, you’ll want to incorporate your post’s keyword into your content multiple times in order to help with SEO. If the keyword you have chosen doesn’t flow well in your content, I would suggest trying to change it up so that it is something you can more naturally work into your content, because it is important.
Set Up and Write Your Blog Post
Now, a whole book could be written just on this step (and it has), but for the purposes of this tutorial, I am not going to go too deeply into the writing process.
The first thing I do, and what I recommend for writing your first blog post, is to first type in your headings and subheadings. These headings will just be the main topics of your blog post and the subtopics under that.
In the post you are reading now, I chose to make each step of the process of writing your first blog post into a heading, size 2.
You can make your text a heading by first typing it in, then highlighting it and then going to the little box at top of the post where it says “paragraph” and selecting a header size. You can also highlight the text, then click shift+alt+2 for a heading-2. The shortcuts make it a lot quicker in my opinion.
Break it Up
Once you have your headings typed in, you can go back and enter your content under each heading or subheading. It is important to break up your text to make the blog post easier for readers to scan. This isn’t like writing an essay or a book – you can’t just type everything into a big fat paragraph and expect people to want to read it.
Notice how I type a lot of my “paragraphs” with only 1-3 sentences?
Then, to further add interest and break it up, I bold some important phrases or make them a smaller subheading size, like a 3, 4, or 5.
After entering your content, it is time to add some images. These images can be either photographs you’ve taken, stock images, or graphics you’ve created for your first blog post.
If you want to know how to design awesome pins for Pinterest in a free online software called Canva, check out this post where I go through the exact process + give you a free Pinterest graphic cheatsheet!
After you have your images ready, go to TinyPng to optimize your images before adding to your post. I would suggest doing this for your first blog post and all your future posts. It reduces the image size which makes your blog posts load a lot faster. I don’t know about you, but I find it incredibly annoying when I have to sit and wait for images to load on a blog post or any web page for that matter!
After you optimize your images, then click “add media” right above the text tools on your blog post. It will take you to a new screen where you can upload your images.
Image Title, Alt Text, and Description
Once your images have uploaded, you’ll want to add in a title, alt text, and description to your images for SEO purposes. I almost always use my blog post title or permalink phrase for my image file title. If I have several, I just add a 1, 2, or 3 at the end, etc.
The alt text is the text that will show up on Pinterest as the pin description.
You will want to describe your blog post well using several keywords that are relevant to your post. I also use hashtags in my alt text box because I want those to show up on Pinterest too. Once I’ve written that, I copy it and paste it into the description box as well.
The last thing you have to do is select size and alignment for your images, then press “insert” to add to your post.
If you get the image into your post and it looks too big, too small, or has the wrong alignment, click on the image. At the top, there are alignment buttons you can try to change the image’s position in your blog post. To change the size, click the pencil icon which will open up a window where you can select the size you want to use from the drop down box. I usually use a custom size, but it all depends on the look you are going for.
For your first blog post, you probably won’t have any other internal pages to link to just yet. After you get a few posts on your blog, if they are related, you’ll be able to insert links to your other posts within your blog post.
This is great because it gives your reader ideas for what to read next instead of just leaving your blog after they finish reading the page they are on.
You can also use off-site links for things like linking visitors to a product or service that you are an affiliate for (which is a way to monetize your blog), or just to refer them to another blogger’s post that you love.
If you have a link to add, find the spot you want to add it. Instead of having the whole web page address for the link show on your page, you can make it look neat. First, copy the web address or affiliate link you want to link to. Then, just highlight the word or words in your post that you’d like to link to another page, then click the link icon on the top of the text editor tools. It kind of looks like a paperclip. Then, just hit ctrl+v to copy your link to those words. Super simple.
You can link images in the same way, or you can also add the linked page when you adding the alt text and description – there is a box for it.
Categories and Tags
Categories are helpful for organizing your blog. You’ll want users to be able to navigate through your site without confusion by using navigation menus. I set up my categories to use as my navigation menu titles. If you have questions on this, let me know in the comments! I am planning a post now about how to set up your navigation menu.
For now, just find the categories section on the right sidebar, then click “add new category.” Type in the topic of your post. For example, I put this blog post under the category “start a blog”. You can also choose more than one category if you want to.
Next, find the tags section located right under categories. These are super helpful for searches on your blog. They are kind of like hashtags are on Instagram or Twitter – just type in all the words or phrases that are relevant to your post here. I usually use 10-15 tags.
Finalize Your Title and Adjust Permalink
After I’ve written my post, it is time to finalize my title. If you haven’t already, go to the headline analyzer and experiment with different wording.
I like my title to receive a score of at least 65 in order to post it unless I’m absolutely sure that what I’ve got is going to work.
Type your finalized title into the title box. Then, you might want to adjust your permalink (which shows up right under the title in the post editor) by removing extra or unnecessary words. By default, WordPress will take the title you type in and transform it into a link using dashes between the words. I just take out extra unimportant words. For example, in this post, my final permalink is http://kelleyhays.com/2018/02/10/post-first-blog-post-guide/.
Check SEO Stats
You are now almost done with your first blog post! Just a couple more things and you’ll be ready to publish or schedule your post.
After I’m pretty happy with my blog post and feel ready to publish, I scroll down again to the Yoast area under the post box. Here, I review Yoast’s recommendations for my post and adjust my meta description for Google.
Yoast is super, super valuable!
It’s also free. It helps me out every single time I write a post, and I’m sure it will be helpful to you as you write your first blog post. (If you don’t have it, click on plugins on the left black sidebar, then add new. Then just search “yoast” and it will come up. Install and activate it, and you’ll be good to go.
Under Yoast, you’ll see a readability tab and a keyword tag. These will have red, yellow, or green dots next to them to show you how you are doing. If your dot is green, then you’ve done great and are ready to go. If it’s not, then you’ll want to change a few things.
First, I will go to my Google snippet which is called the meta description and edit that. If you don’t edit this, Google will just take the first bit of your blog post and insert it here.
This may work for your post, but chances are, you can improve upon it.
The meta description should be a summary of your blog post with lots of applicable keywords in the summary. You want people that see this description to be enticed to click over to your blog post. You also want the description to be accurate.
After editing your snippet, scroll down just a bit more to the “analysis” section and find where it says problems.
Take a look at these items and see if you can adjust your post to fix them.
When I finish my posts, a lot of times Yoast will tell me my keyword density is too low. I just go back and try to add my keyword in a few more times.
Other times, it will tell me I have no internal links. That reminds me to go link up my post to some of my other posts to improve this.
It will also tell you if you forgot to use images, or if there is too much text under one subtitle.
Set Sharing Settings and Schedule Your First Post
This is the last step! Up on the top left, you’ll find the “publish” section. You want to make sure that once you publish your first blog post, it gets shared on your Facebook, Twitter, or whatever other social platforms you want it to be shared on.
Of course, you’ll want to share it yourself and pinning it on Pinterest, but I love that WordPress will share it automatically to my channels right away too.
Since this is your first blog post, chances are you might not have set your sharing settings yet. If this is the case, save your draft by clicking the button at the top. Then, go to the black left sidebar down to settings, then select “sharing.”
On this page, add your social media channels that you’d like your first blog post and all others to be shared to. You will be able to change this for every post if you want, so no worries on that.
Once you’ve got your social media channels added, go back to your post. Check that under the publish section where it says publicize, your social media channels are listed. If not, you can select “settings” to fix that. If you have issues with this, let me know in the comments and I’ll try to help you out!
Assuming your Yoast readability and SEO scores are green here in the publish box, you are now ready to schedule or publish your first blog post!
Either click publish to make your post go live right now or select schedule and pick a time you’d like it to go live!
Congrats on Publishing Your First Blog Post!
Yay for you! I know this was a long post, so if you made it through, congrats!!
There are a lot of steps, but after you do it a few times, it becomes second nature. It will get a LOT easier!
If you liked this post, I’d love if you pinned it on Pinterest!
Did you publish your first blog post? Let me know in the comments if this post helped you, or if you had trouble with anything along the way! I’d like to make this tutorial as helpful as possible, so I’d love to know if there were any areas of confusion for you.
And, don’t forget to link me up to that first blog post so I can go check it out!! 🙂