I’m not one to bury the lead.
No, you can’t launch a WordPress blog in an hour.
This headline isn’t clickbait.
There is no “…. but wait!” coming.
There is no “ …. Unless you purchase my $99 course!” call-to-action.
This is just a fish slap across the face called “reality.”
Here’s how the Promised Land story goes:
- Choose your niche.
- Get a domain name registration + hosting subscription.
- Install the WordPress CMS with 1-click.
- Choose your favorite theme.
- Write and upload your first post.
- Boom! Your blog is live, baby!
Only you haven’t created a blog.
Honestly, I don’t know what you created, and to go a step further, “created” is probably too generous a description.
If I grabbed a crayon (that’s “CRAY-ON” to you Neanderthals”) and scribbled a dozen lines on a page, would you call that art?
Of course not. And throwing a half-baked blog post at the Internet wall to see what sticks doesn’t make a functioning website.
A website is commonly described as digital real estate. To stretch that metaphor:
- A blog is a beautiful house with an oak front door, sofa lounge, dartboard, and a trash compactor.
- A WordPress-website-in-an-hour is a field with a Coleman tent pitched in the corner.
“But Andy,” you protest, “No one is actually suggesting you can build a business-ready blog in an hour! It’s just to get you off the ground.”
And that’s where I humbly, fervently disagree.
I believe the WordPress-website-in-an-hour claim is a racket to entice would-be entrepreneurs into a 1-year web hosting contract so the website owner can collect their affiliate commission.
Now, if you’re one of those gullibles, don’t be insulted. We all begin there. That’s what FLUB is all about.
But if you don’t want to take my word for it, then let’s examine the pitfalls of this promise.
1. Pick Your Niche
Can I say something kind of judgmental? Maybe a little uppity, nose-in-the-air sort of thing?
Most people shouldn’t start a blog.
For the same reason that most people shouldn’t become professional athletes or musicians or business managers: Because writing for a living is a learned skill.
And if you’re not a writer, you won’t become one overnight. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling a penis growth pill.
And secondly, everyone writes best when they write from experience. I’ve worked with dozens of writers, and this has proven true every. single. time.
If you don’t have experience AND expertise in a niche, then I dare say you have very little business dabbling about in it. Pick a niche where you have something valuable to offer.
Now, expertise wasn’t necessarily required 10 years ago. In the days of the Wild, Wild Web, anyone with a passing interest in a subject could make a microsite on what they’d learned.
But in today’s Internet, that doesn’t fly. The competition is too high. High-ranking content has gotten longer. Websites require audiovisual content, not just listicles. Solo bloggers are being overtaken by enterprise-level teams of content creators and web developers.
So unless you have something unique to offer, you’ll get crushed by the competition.
2. Choose a Domain Name
Choosing a domain name is aaaaagonizing. People spend more time sifting through domain names than naming their babies.
You need to start with a Top-Level Domain (TLD). Unlike ye olde Internet which only had .com, .gov and .org, the modern web has hundreds of top-level domains.
Many are reserved for particular organizations, countries, brands or types of entities, such as .bot, .esq, .ice. You can’t use these willy-nilly.
But there are a bajillion others. If you cater to a certain industry, like tattoo artists, then you may want to choose .ink, for instance.
If you want a general-purpose, generic TLD, then you can choose .com, .biz, .net, etc. Alternatives (although not true generic TLDs) include .io, .de, and .tv.
And while a recognizable TLD like .com or .net is best, there are plenty of big, popular, profitable websites without a generic TLD.
Except in few instances, your TLD is not a major factor in search engine rankings.
… But that’s not true for your domain name.
Your domain name should be:
Above all, it should be YOU.
While I don’t advocate spending countless hours testing names and seeking advice from friends, you shouldn’t choose a domain name in 10 minutes or less. Spend a few hours researching keywords. Identify your target audience. If you’re targeting digital nomads, for instance, then what keywords will evoke a strong emotional appeal with that audience?
3. Select a Website Host
If you’re even considering a free subdomain at Blogger.com or WordPress, then please shake yourself awake from that nightmare. Free hosting will offer you nothing and get you nowhere.
You need to pay for a hosting company.
Popular hosts include:
- AWS Web Hosting
- A2 Hosting
- WP Engine
You want a host that offers the following services and features
- Free chat/phone/email support
- Uptime of 99.99% or better
- Excellent security
- 1-click WordPress installation
- Generous or unlimited bandwidth and SSD storage
- Easy-to-understand CPanel and dashboard UX
- Short response/load time (Time to First Byte) of 750 ms or less
- And, of course, a reasonable monthly cost.
If you’re an advanced web developer (or you’re planning to build an online empire), then you’ll also want a host with a CDN, server-side caching, and dedicated cloud servers.
Now, I think this is the easiest part of the startup process. As a beginner blogger, so long as you choose a major player, it’s hard to go wrong. You can always switch hosts later.
But there’s a catch: DNS records
If you plan to integrate your website with a service like GSuite or SendInBlue, then you’re in for a world of techo-babble –
Which, to be honest, you’ll have to do, because you need a real email address @yourbusinessname, not something email@example.com.
DNS records aren’t necessarily complicated (it’s really just copy-paste), but understanding the difference between and MX and a TXT DNS record is very confusing for web newbies.
4. Install the WordPress CMS and Choose Your Favorite Theme
I’ll give them this – installing WordPress with many hosts really is as easy as one click. I love it.
However, you won’t want to keep the default settings. You’ll need to change your permalink settings, your home page settings, load a site logo, write a site tagline, specify maximum image sizes, disallow/moderate comments, etc.
Just changing the WordPress settings on a new site can take an hour!
And of course, you have to choose a theme.
Did you know there are more than 11,000 WordPress themes?
And over two dozen WordPress page builders?
And that all-in-one solutions like Elementor Site Kits and WordPress Gutenburg block editor are slowly, surely going to strangle “themes” anyway?
But WordPress demands you have a theme. It’s non-negotiable. So you either can either:
- Stick with the default WordPress theme
- Use a free theme
- Pony up for a premium theme
- Choose a “developer” theme which is usually just a blank canvas.
Countless millions of words have been spilled around picking the best WordPress theme, so I won’t add my little snowball to the avalanche.
But if you’re new to WordPress, picking your theme in 15 minutes is just irresponsible. Have you asked the following questions:
- Is it responsive on mobile devices?
- Is it compatible with the latest version of WordPress?
- Does it offer freemium or paid upgrades?
- Will it improve your site’s Core Web Vitals score?
- Does it look good and mesh well with your industry and audience?
You need to do your diligence and research themes! There isn’t “one” perfect option! Many themes are optimized to be used with popular page builders like Elementor or WP Bakery. Use the wrong page builder with the wrong theme, and you’ll be SOL.
And let me point out one more missing piece of the puzzle: plugins.
In and of itself, the basic WordPress CMS is fairly limited. There’s a lot you can’t do (or can’t do easily). Plugins are an essential part of the WordPress genetic makeup. Even simple blogs often use 5-10 plugins; some may use 50 or more!
Plugins are a deep, soul-sucking rabbit hole.
You would be astounded to know just how many people download a plugin but never activate it.
Or people choose plugins without regard for site speed impact, multi-browser compatibility, or conflict with other plugins!
Or just as bad, many people choose BBs over a shotgun. Rather than investing a few dollars in a premium plugin, some website developers choose half a dozen free plugins that don’t do anything well.
And then there are integrations. If you use a service like MailChimp or Drip, for instance, you’ll need to integrate that service with your theme (often via more plugins).
What I’m essentially arguing is that setting up a functioning WordPress CMS site – even one devoid of content! – is a multi-hour process.
When you calculate the time required to design a logo, change the settings, download and activate plugins, etc., it can take several days for a first-timer!
5. Write and upload your first post.
Firstly, almost every informative blog post should be at least 600-800 words. Aim for 1,200-1,500. If you can get to 2,200 or longer, even better.
And if you can write a well-researched and engaging blog post of 1,200 words in less than an hour, then you are either an expert in your subject, or you’re nowhere near as good as you think.
The second problem is this idea of “uploading” a post, like just dumping words on a page constitutes a post.
(If you’re thinking to yourself, “Isn’t that what this article is?” then touché. But as of now, FLUB is a personal project. In the future, once I’m ready to launch for people and not just search engines, I’ll overhaul.)
In reality, at a bare minimum, you’ll need to apply (or use a block editor) basic HTML formatting (like headings and subheadings) so search engines know how to understand the hierarchy and semantics of your content.
Also, in the modern age, no post is complete with visual content: stock photographs, selfies, embedded videos, infographics, featured photographs, Pinterest pins, you name it. Aim for a piece of visual content every 200-300 words.
Again, just finding, compressing and formatting a handful of decent photos (especially if you’re limited to free sources) can take 10-15 minutes for even the simplest article.
So how long does it take to start a website?
If you know what you’re doing, figure at least 20 man-hours to launch a fully functioning 5-page WordPress website.
If you’re a rookie, the barrel is bottomless. And I don’t say that to discourage you. Everyone starts off as a newbie!
But the problem with the WordPress-site-in-an-hour racket is that it preys on the ignorant. Owning your own blog as an enterprise (i.e., to make money) is not a done-in-a-day project. It’s a lot of work.
And it’s totally worth it. And best of all, the next website won’t take even half as long. If you can pay the ante, the long-term bet is worth it.