How to Start Blog in 100 Easy Steps – Focus on Security

This is a second installment of my on-going saga “How to Start Blog in 100 Easy Steps” and become a successful blogger. The first post in the series How to Start Blog in 100 Easy Steps – Get Rolling! left us with the blog website up and running. We have written a very first post, set up basic appearance of the site, and installed necessary WordPress plugins. This post focuses on blog security.

Step six: tell the world you exist.

People have to be able to find your site, or you will just be writing a diary, not a blog. The main sources of visitors are the search engines, so you have to tell them about you. The crawlers will find you (eventually!), but you can jump start the discovery process by entering your URL manually.

This is only the first step in the long road to SEO (search engine optimization).

The Yoast SEO plugin makes it very easy. In WP console, click on “SEO”, then click on “Webmaster Tools” tab – you see links to the three major search engines: Google, Bing (which also serves Yahoo), and Yandex (main Russian search engine). Click on the links and follow the three steps: enter your URL, get a meta-tag for verification, which you enter into the Yoast SEO, then click on “Verify” and you are done. (Find detailed instructions for Google here).

Step seven: armor your blog.

body armor - medieval security
Your blog must be protected.

There is nothing more discouraging (and infuriating!) than to have your blog spammed, crippled by hackers, or have your contents stolen – even before you really begun! Because of the many nasty characters in the online world, the protection of your blog should be a priority.

Plugins make the task easier, so we now install two more: Wordfence Security and Scrape Breaker. The former is a leading anti-malware (with over a Million of active installs), while the latter protects you from scraping (content theft). Installation is simple: click on “Plugins”, “Install New”, type the name, and finally click “Install”. Perform simple configuration, click “Activate” – and now you can sleep better!

Scraping takes your content and inserts it into another page, making it look like the page created the content. This robs you of your traffic. To add the insult to injury, Google may think that it was you who stole the content and penalize you in rankings. Not a pleasant prospect!

Step eight: add HTTPS security.

HTTPS is a protocol for encrypted connections between browsers and servers. URLs that start with https:// instead of http:// establish secure connections. HTTPS protects data privacy and makes for a safer Internet – so its use is rapidly growing. Google is calling for “HTTPS everywhere”.

What does that mean for you? You have to add HTTPS to your website. Why do you need HTTPS? Obviously, for data security and privacy. Yet the most important, but rarely mentioned reason is branding.

You have to add HTTPS to your website.

Consider what happens if you don’t support HTTPS.  When users enter, they are not sent to your blog! Instead, they are redirected to a parking page that is branded for the web hosting company (e.g. BlueHost). The effect is surprisingly bad! Just try it and see for yourself.

Finally, Google announced that they are starting to use HTTPS as factor in page ranking, the “holy grail” of SEO.

The hosting company BlueHost offers free basic HTTPS (a.k.a. SSL). Upgraded HTTPS costs about $5/month. All you have to do is to contact them and ask to add SSL to your website.

In this second installment of the series “How to Start Blog in 100 Easy Steps” I covered the questions of how to protect the new blog from malware, why you need to add HTTPS to your website, and how to give your URL to search engines. Please let me know if you find the content useful. I would love to hear from you so please leave a comment.


How to Start Blog in 100 Easy Steps – Get Rolling!

How to start blog when you are a complete beginner? Where do you begin? This post describes in excruciating detail the steps I have taken to become a blogger, hoping that people following in my footsteps can avoid my time-wasting mistakes and mis-steps. Here we go!

Step zero: face the problem.

If you are about to start your first blog, you confront a bewildering array of options. First of all, what do you have to do first? Which step is crucial, and what can you safely postpone until later? Should you pay for a professional solution or do it “on the cheap” yourself? And finally, where do you get help? Even for a fairly competent fellow, the choices are far from trivial. Looking back at the choices I have already made, they look like nothing could have been simpler! (Hindsight is always 20-20.) And yet, when I am looking forward on what still needs to be done:  it’s clear as mud!

Step one: get started!

The first step is the most difficult. Learning a list of options with countless pros and cons does not help and leads to “paralysis by analysis” and procastination. That is why many people never start to blog. The help you need is somebody that tells you exactly just what to do, step-by-step.

I found such help in Victor Pride and his team at Their offer is amazing: if you order the web hosting through them (a step that you have to do anyway, and for the same price), the BADNET team installs and sets up WordPress for you, including seven essential WP plugins.

You didn’t know which plugins were essential, did you? Neither did I. (They help combat spam, improve performance, SEO, and security.)

They deliver the blog to you already configured and ready to go. The whole process takes a few days. I cannot overemphasize how useful that is. There are many other websites with tutorials on how to start blog, but only BADNET does the actual work for you – and for free!

Step two: configure your blog.

You receive five documents: the first is yourdomain.pdf that has accounts and passwords for your newly created blog (WordPress admin account, email, plugin accounts); the second document  is QuickStartGuide.pdf with step-by-step instructions. Login to your WordPress blog and familiarize Quick-Start Guide: Creating Your First Blog Postyourself with the WP Dashboard. The first order of business is to change all passwords to your own. That step should not be neglected. Chose strong passwords, as WordPress is a very visible target that attracts many hackers. (Password security is a subject that is still widely misunderstood, worthy perhaps of a separate post.)

The other BADNET documents are guides: “Perfect Blog Post”, “Blogging for Profit”, and the “The Tools of the Trade” – all are worth their weight in gold to an aspiring blogger.

Step three: visual appearance.

The “look and feel” of your WordPress website is controlled by a template called theme. It is a good thing: you can change the layout and appearance of your blog independently from its contents (i.e. your posts). By now, you probably suspect that there are hundreds of themes available. You are right, and we face a choice again. Victor Pride recommends and uses the Genesis Framework, a professional “factory” of themes. That is probably a good advice, but I wanted something simpler to start with: a WordPress default theme. The theme changes with each new revision of WP. The current theme is called twenty seventeen (a fancy name for 2017). Somehow, the previous default theme, twenty sixteen, appealed to me more and that is the one I chose. Click on the links and see for yourself.

You change a theme in the WP admin area. Click on “Appearance” menu, select “Themes”, then select one of the themes that are already installed (mine was). Simple. If you need to install a new theme, it’s an additional step.

Step four: get more help.

You need to become familiar (and eventually proficient) with the WordPress user interface – if you haven’t already. At this point, I felt I needed more help and found it in the book WordPress On The Go.

In 20 lessons the book explains step-by-step (in a very systematic way) the same process we are going through here together: how to start blog from the scratch. Explanations are very detailed (e.g. “click here, do this..”), which is a good thing for a beginner!

Caveat: the book uses in examples an older theme twenty fourteen . It is not a problem for me (you may even like the theme).

I find this book very helpful and easy to read and recommend it. You can skip first lessons (we have already progressed past them), but the lesson 9 “Chose And Change Your WordPress Theme” deals with our current topic. I am sure there are other good books. This is just the one I use.

Step five: write first post.

Your website is now ready, but since it doesn’t have any contents, it looks sparse and not very impressive. Now it’s the time to write the first post and change that. How to create the perfect blog post? Start with BADNET guide of the same title and follow its advice.

Open the WP post editor and have at it!  The Yoast SEO plugin opens its panel below the editor. When you fill the required fields (so it can make intelligent decisions), it will provide feedback on how to improve your post. This is like having your own personal editor to correct your writing. Don’t skip this step if you want people to find your blog.

When you finished writing, click “Preview” to see how it looks, then correct any errors and formatting, review Yoast feedback again, and click “Publish”. This is it!


This is my very first post, so it seems appropriate to describe how the site of Flighty Bits came to be. I intend to chronicle my path to a successful blogger in the next posts, hoping to help people who follow. Please let me know if you find the content useful. I would love to hear from you so please leave a comment.