Keyword planning – Long Tail Pro vs. KWFinder 2021 – powerful & affordable

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Episode 6 – Part 4: Long Tail Pro and KWFinder’s review 2021. The most affordable keyword planning tools to find high-quality long-tail keywords with high search volume and low keyword difficulty

This is the last part of our Keyword Planning series. I assume you have read ‘Part 1 of Keyword planning: What is Google keyword ranking and how to find keywords with low competition‘, ‘Part 2: Google keyword planner free alternatives 2021‘ and ‘Part 3: Keyword planning – How to find long-tail keywords to kickstart your traffic‘. I’d recommend reading those three posts first so you understand why Google keyword search volume, search ranking and competition are such important factors when it comes to blogging.

How to check Google ranking for your website and how to combine free keyword planning tools such as Google Trends, Google Keyword Planner, Etsy Keyword tool with premium tools mentioned below will make research much easier. All premium keyword planners mentioned in this post come with a free trial. By having this knowledge you can make the most of the trials and download lots of useful longtail keyword ideas for later blogging and create a killer keyword strategy even if you decide not to continue with one of the premium keyword planning tools.


Most affordable keyword research tools to find high-quality long-tail keywords

After reading the first two posts on Keyword Planning I hope you understand now why keyword research is so important. However, as the keyword planning market is massive with lots of premium and free tools out there, let’s have a look at which tools offer the best value with the most affordable plans for quick, reliable and easily understood long-tail keyword suggestions.

There are many keyword research tools out there and I researched lots of them as I wanted to find one that would give me what I consider to be the 3 most important pieces of keyword data – keyword suggestions and keyword search phrases, keyword difficulty and Google keyword search volume – at an affordable price. As much as I like to use free tools, their options are often quite limited and I haven’t found one which provides those three main keyword data points to help with writing good blog posts which get indexed in Google, especially for relatively new blogs. 

Many SEO tools offer lots of additional keyword research data points, but I find those three to be the most important ones to get started. They are also quite easy to understand and implement, to help you write great content and create more traffic.

4 advantages of using a professional keyword planning tool

  • It saves you a lot of time (you get hundreds of keywords ideas in one click)
  • It offers invaluable data like keyword difficulty, Google keyword search volume, SERP (search engine results pages) data
  • It gives you a competitive advantage (against those who don’t use any keyword tools)
  • It makes your blogging journey much more enjoyable (interested readers can find your content, engage with you and you can monetise your site)

Find suitable keyword phrases to help your Google ranking – without breaking the bank

After trying lots of different keyword research tools in the last few months I think I have found my winners. Of course, any paid keyword tools give you the 3 must-have keyword points, but there are two providers which have the most affordable plans ($25-$27 per month on their annual plan), are very user-friendly and present complex information in an easy to understand way.

Even if you are just getting started with SEO and keyword research these tools are easy to use for beginners and competitive enough for SEO experts – they are called KWFinder designed by Mangools and Long Tail Pro. Let’s have a look at both of them.

Keyword research tool KWFinder – affordable and effective

The tool KWFinder makes it really easy to find keywords, search phrases and suggestions with low SEO difficulty, in any language and either globally or in specific geo-locations, which you can use for the title and headers of your blog posts.

The tool KWFinder comes as part of Mangools SEO package which includes another 4 SEO tools and a really cool browser bar SEO extension for Chrome and Firefox (it’s like the MozBar I spoke about in this post).

You can get a 10-day free trial without the need to enter any credit card details, so there is no risk and you can just let it lapse after using it for 10 days if you don’t like it. However, if you are quick you can bag an extra 10% discount if you decide to sign up within the first hour and you can save 40% with annual accounts – including both offers that’s less than $27 per month for a first-class keyword research tool.  

With KWFinder you can quickly find which search phrases or keywords people are looking for, and even more importantly, what their competition is. 

KWFinder makes it easy to find keywords with low keyword difficulty

This can save you loads of time shooting in the dark writing articles which are either not searched for or whose competition is just so great that a small or new blog with low domain authority just can’t compete. 

Another feature I love in KWFinder is that it shows you each keyword’s trend. You can get Google trends free anyway but here it’s displayed neatly within the same window. If you find keywords with low keyword difficulty and increasing popularity, you’ve got a winner – go and use them in your blogs!

Finding keywords with increasing search trends can be very lucrative for bloggers

With KWFinder 10-day free trial you get 

  • 5 Keyword lookups every 24 hours
  • 25 Keyword suggestions per search
  • 10 Competitor keywords per search
  • 5 local SERP lookups every 24 hours (search engine results pages)
  • 10 Tracked keywords daily
  • Backlinks analysis for 2000 links every 24 hours
  • 5 Site lookups every 24 hours

That’s not a lot but it’s a great start to see how it works and if the tool is useful for you. And as I said, no credit card is needed to sign up for a free account, so you have nothing to lose but lots to gain if you’re serious about blogging and making money with your blog. More readers means more encouragement to keep writing and therefore more money. And at the end of the day, it’s a fantastic feeling when you see that your blog is liked by readers and creating an income at the same time. 

KWFinder offers a lot of benefits even on its Basic plan for less than $27/month if you sign up within the first hour

If you decide to sign up for a full account with KWFinder I’d suggest starting with the Basic plan as it offers plenty to get started with.

KWFinder Basic plan includes

  • 100 keyword searches every 24 hours
  • 200 keyword suggestions (per search) – so that’s 20,000 search results every 24 hours
  • 25 competitor keywords (per search)
  • 100 SERP lookups every 24 hours (search engine results pages)
  • 200 tracked keywords in the rank tracker
  • Unlimited tracked domains
  • 1 user account
  • Get unique keywords by using the ‘Autocomplete’ and ‘Questions’ search options
  • And you get a few more benefits as it comes as a whole SEO package
  • 10-day free trial, no credit card required
  • 48 hours money-back guarantee on annual plans for first-time sign-ups (Cryptocurrency and wire transfer payments are non-refundable)
  • SEO extension browser bar for Chrome and Firefox
  • Option to get global search volume*
  • Cheapest option for the basic plan: $27 per month if you sign up here for an annual account within the first hour – total payment $324 – or $49 per month for a month by month subscription 

Long Tail Pro – Professional and affordable keyword planning tool

Another option I’d highly recommend is the keyword planning tool Long Tail Pro. Long Tail Pro is very similar to KWFinder and includes everything we just talked about above, but comes with one great extra benefit: the competitor analysis functionality.

Currently I use Long Tail Pro daily. I like its long-tail keyword suggestions and I find their keyword difficulty score quite accurate. However, I can’t say that Long Tail Pro is better than KWFinder, which I used until recently, they are both very similar and great keyword planning tools. I think it’s just down to personal preference, so use their free trials and decide for yourself.

Low keyword competition is very important to create a killer content strategy

One of Long Tail Pro’s great advantages is its competitor analysis functionality, which is really handy. With one click you find keywords your competitor is ranking for, including the search volume and keyword difficulty for each keyword. You can download them or just choose a few that suit you and then use them yourself in your next blog post. That should give you tons of new blogging ideas and you know already that they work well for other bloggers in your niche, so what are you waiting for?

To know your competitor’s keywords can be great for content building

Long Tail Pro will give you

  • Keyword suggestions with search phrases
  • Google keyword search volume
  • Keyword difficulty
  • Keyword competition for each one
  • Determine Keyword Profitability with the New Rank Value Feature
  • Custom Keyword Difficulty Recommendations for Your Domain
  • Rank Tracker
  • Competitor analysis functionality

Long Tail Pro is also very affordable with a monthly option of $37 or an annual plan for $297 which is less than $25 per month – it’s a bargain for all the benefits they offer.

With Long Tail Pro 7-day free trial you get 

  • Access to 100 keywords every 24 hours
  • Unlimited Rank Tracker URLs
  • 1 Rank Tracker term

And after 7 days you can use Long Tail Pro’s full version for another 10 days risk-free, as they offer a 10-day money-back guarantee. Credit card details are required for sign-up but they won’t charge it before the end of your free trial.

Long Tail Pro price plan starts at $25/month and even includes competitor analysis functionality

Long Tail Pro Basic plan includes

  • 800 Keyword search results every 24 hours
  • 800 Keyword competitiveness calculations every 24 hours
  • 800 SERP lookups every 24 hours (search engine results pages)
  • 30 tracked keywords in the rank tracker
  • Unlimited tracked domains
  • Daily rank updates
  • 1 user account
  • Add up to 5 related keywords and get uniquely combined long-tail keyword suggestions
  • Rank and visitor value – estimated monetary value of your site (how much would your site earn if you make it to no.1 in Google with a specific keyword combination), there is an option to calculate AdSense, Amazon Affiliates and custom calculations for e-commerce sites too
  • Competitor analysis functionality (get detailed information about competitor’s websites such as their keywords and volumes, that’s a really cool feature and extremely valuable)
  • 7-day free trial: 100 keywords every 24 hours, unlimited Rank Tracker URLs and 1 Rank Tracker term And after 7 days you can still use Long Tail Pro full version for another 10 days risk-free.
    Debit/credit card details required
  • 10-day money-back guarantee on all plans after sign up
  • No option to get global search volume*
  • Cheapest option for the basic plan: $25 per month if you sign up for an annual account – total payment $297, or $37 per month for a monthly subscription
  • To avail of the 7-day free trial, you have to sign up for an account including your debit/credit card details. Your card will be charged after the 7-day trial if you don’t cancel your subscription. However, once charged you then still have a 10-day money-back guarantee if you change your mind. 

Don’t believe everything you read online – misinformation about Long Tail Pro and KWFinder

There is still a lot of out-of-date information on Long Tail Pro on the web, even though some posts state they are up to date in 2021 but they still describe the previous, very different, version of Long Tail Pro. 

  • Long Tail Pro is also cloud-based (same as KWFinder). You might have read some older posts about Long Tail Pro which say that you have to download the keyword tool on your desktop, that was the case up to 2017 but not anymore. It’s all cloud-based now and about 50 times faster than the previous desktop version! 
  • You can also log in to your account from any device, the same as you can access your WordPress account from anywhere – the previous version was restricted to 3 devices but that’s all history now. 
  • Long Tail Pro is now showing exact search results instead of the 1-10K which we know from Google Keyword planner. For small bloggers it’s really important to know whether a term is searched 1000 times or 9900 times, that could mean 10 times more visitors and sales. Long Tail Pro pays different data providers for exact data, so there is no need for your to pay for an ad campaign to get the exact numbers in Google Keyword planner or anywhere else.
  • Long Tail Pro offers 800 searches vs. KWFinder offers 100 searches every 24 hours on their lowest plans. That’s not true, even though a lot of bloggers say so in their reviews. Let’s do the maths: KWFinder offers 100 searches with 200 suggestions per search – that’s 20,000 search results every 24 hours. Long Tail Pro offers 800 searches, however as you can decide how many results you would like to have displayed for each search it will multiply.

    Often I ask for 20-50 keyword suggestions per search, so I get up to 40 searches per day with 20 suggestions each. However, if Long Tail Pro only finds 10 suggestions it will only use 10 of your search credits for that search. You can also add a filter to display only results with a minimum of e.g. 100 searches (or 1000 or whichever number is interesting to you) which I find very useful and saves a lot of credits.

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Will I run out of keyword searches?

Whether you get 800 or a few thousand searches per day, for a general blogger, that’s a lot of keyword research and from experience, I am extremely sure that you won’t run out of searches. The first few days you might use up your full allocation with Long Tail Pro or KWFinder, however after a few days, you will have so many keyword suggestions and ideas that you have plenty to create content. 

When I start a new website or a new topic I use a keyword research tool a lot for a few days, but as you have them all saved as a project online you can always refer back to them while creating content. Most days I might do a bit of more specific keyword research and use another couple of hundred searches but I never hit any limits after a few days of intense research.

So in my opinion I’d say either KWFinder or Long Tail Pro will give you plenty of searches and you won’t exhaust them daily. Once you have found a few suitable keyword phrases you will need time to create high-quality content so you won’t have time to search for more keywords until the next 24 hours start again. 😉

Global Search Volume – useful or not for keyword planning?

* Global Search Volume: KWFinder offers global search volume results whereas Long Tail Pro does not offer it anymore. It’s a bit difficult to find useful information on how reliable those numbers are, however, Long Tail Pro used to offer it and then removed it a few years ago when they moved to the cloud.

They said they can’t get reliable global search volume from their external service providers. They have decided to focus on providing accurate local search volumes (per country) and removed the global option.

You always have the option to research certain keywords separately for different countries if you like. However, I personally wouldn’t be interested in the global volume as I can imagine that a global search volume would be averaged and probably not very useful. Just think about all the different cultures, climates, seasons and stages of development all over the world. What’s of interest to people in Australia or South Africa in the summer will probably be of little value to people in North America or Finland at the same time of year. 

Compare KWFinder vs. Long Tail Pro

Here you have the two keyword planner benefits next to each other to make it easier to compare.

KWFinder

10-day free trial, no credit card needed, limited version

  • 5 Keyword lookups every 24 hours
  • 25 Keyword suggestions per search
  • 10 Competitor keywords per search
  • 5 local SERP lookups every 24 hours (search engine results pages)
  • 10 Tracked keywords daily
  • Backlinks analysis for 2000 links every 24 hours
  • 5 Site lookups every 24 hours

KWFinder basic full version

  • 100 keyword searches every 24 hours
  • 200 keyword suggestions (per search) – so that’s 20,000 search results every 24 hours
  • 25 competitor keywords (per search)
  • 100 SERP lookups every 24 hours (search engine results pages)
  • 200 tracked keywords in the rank tracker
  • Unlimited tracked domains
  • Cloud-based
  • 1 user account
  • SEO extension browser bar for Chrome and Firefox
  • Option to get global search volume* (see above)
  • Get unique keywords by using the ‘Autocomplete’ and ‘Questions’ search options
  • And you get a few more SEO tools as it comes as a whole SEO package

Free trial, plans and refunds

  • 10-day free trial (limited version, see above)
  • No credit card required
  • 48 hours money-back guarantee on annual plans for first-time sign-ups (Cryptocurrency and wire transfer payments are non-refundable)
  • Cheapest option for the basic plan: $27 per month if you sign up here for an annual account within the first hour – total payment $324 – or $49 per month for a monthly subscription

Long Tail Pro

7-day free trial, credit card needed but access to the full version for one week, card will only be charged after 1 week if not cancelled

  • 100 free keyword suggestions per day
  • 1 rank tracking item
  • Unlimited tracked domains,

Long Tail Pro basic full version

  • 800 Keyword search results every 24 hours
  • 800 Keyword competitiveness calculations every 24 hours
  • 800 SERP lookups every 24 hours (search engine results pages)
  • 30 tracked keywords in the rank tracker
  • Unlimited tracked domains
  • Cloud-based
  • Daily rank updates
  • 1 user account
  • Add up to 5 related keywords and get uniquely combined long-tail keyword suggestions
  • No option to get global search volume* (see above)
  • Rank and visitor value – estimated monetary of your site (how much would your site earn if you make it to no.1 in Google with a specific keyword combination), there is an option to calculate AdSense, Amazon Affiliates and custom calculation for e-commerce sites too
  • Competitor analysis functionality (get detailed information about competitor’s websites such as their keywords and volumes, that’s a really cool feature and extremely valuable)

Free trial, plans and refunds

  • 7-day free trial (limited version, see above) + 10 days of full version if using the money-back guarantee
  • Debit/credit card details required
  • Your card will be charged after the 7-day trial if you don’t cancel your subscription
  • Once charged you still have a 10-day money-back guarantee if you change your mind on all plans
  • Cheapest option for the basic plan: $25 per month if you sign up for an annual account – total payment $297 – or $37 per month for a monthly subscription

Conclusion on KWFinder and Long Tail Pro keyword research tools

In summary, KWFinder and Long Tail Pro both offer fantastic value for any personal blogger, freelancer or small business who wants to improve their SEO and blog successfully in an easy way, and you can’t go wrong with either of them.

Both their basic plans are affordable, they start at $25 (Long Tail Pro) and $27 (KWFinder) per month when signing up for an annual account. Please note, KWFinder’s basic plan is usually $29.90. The price above includes an extra 10% discount when you sign up within the first hour of your trial. This offer expires after 1 hour exactly and won’t be offered it again.

A great way to find competitive long-tail keywords is by combining paid and free research tools. You can find relevant questions on ‘Answer the public’ and then check out their search volume and keyword completion on KWFinder or Long Tail Pro. So you get the best out of both without paying over a thousand dollar a year. The super pro tools like Ahref, MOZ or SemRush do all this for you in one click, but as I said they’re about 3-4 times the price and are often not a justified expense for people who are just starting a blog.

Keyword tracking tools

In KWFinder you can track more keywords (200) than in Long Tail Pro (30), however as there are other options for keyword tracking, this difference shouldn’t be a deal-breaker between the two. For that you could use DYNO tracker, SEO plugins like Rank Math or use Google Analytics instead. I use Rank Math which allows you to track 500 keywords in the Pro version or 10,000 keywords in the Business version – I’ll write a separate tutorial on Rank Maths soon as it’s one of my favourite plugins ever (link). Other than the keyword tracking limitation, KWFinder and Long Tail Pro are both very similar as you can see in the table above.

A great benefit of Long Tail Pro is the rank and visitor value estimation and competitor analysis functionality. Knowing your competitor’s keywords and volumes is really very valuable if you’re trying to outrank them. 

Try KWFinder and Long Tail Pro for free

Both keyword research tools offer a free trial. There are no credit/debit card details necessary to start KWFinders trial however the 10-day trial gives you a very limited version of the full software. 

To use Long Tail Pro free trial you need to add your card details on sign-up but you won’t be charged until after the 7-day trial. Also Long Tail Pro gives you a 10-day money-back guarantee where else KWFinder are a little hesitant with refunds and only offer a limited 48-hour money-back guarantee. See the table above for more details. 

So either of those two keyword research tools are great for anybody who’s getting started with blogging and who’s website has not a high domain authority yet. Long tail keywords are much easier to rank for and are an easy way to find traffic and getting your blogging career started. 

I hope you found this post useful, please let me know in a comment below which keyword research tool you went for and why. Happy blogging!


What about you, do you prefer Long Tail Pro or KWFinder or any other keyword planning tool?

Please let me know in a comment below – I’d love to hear from you!

You might also be interested in How to find your niche before you start blogging. Or perhaps ‘Where to find the best and fastest WordPress themes‘ and ‘How to deal with website maintenance‘ so you can spend more time blogging and creating content knowing your site is secure.

I’ve got lots more, easy to follow, tutorials such as how to get WordPress FTP access or upload a text file to WordPress without plugins to get started with Google AdSense.

Check them both out or click the button below for the full index of the How to start a blog in 2021 Index- step-by-step WordPress tutorials so far and I’ll keep updating this index as the guide develops. 

Keyword planning – How to find long-tail keywords to kickstart your traffic

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Episode 6 – Part 3: Keyword planning basics to find long-tail keywords with low competition for new bloggers to generate more traffic

I guess you came here straight from ‘Part 2 Google keyword planner free alternatives 2021‘. I’d also recommend reading ‘Part 1 of Keyword planning: What is Google keyword ranking and how to find keywords with low competition‘ so you understand why Google keyword search volume, search ranking and competition are such important factors when it comes to blogging, and how to check the Google ranking for your website. And then check out Part 2 where you can find out all about free keyword planning tools such as Google Trends, Google Keyword Planner, Etsy Keyword tool and many other free tools out there.


Top keyword research tools and keyword tracking software – with free options

After we discussed lots of free keyword planning tools in Part 2 about Keyword Research, I’d like to introduce you briefly to some of the top keyword research tools and keyword tracking software out there. As you can see, free keyword research tools are somehow limited in what they offer, which is fine as they’re free. They are a great starting point for any blogger. However, you might find their limitations hold you back one day and you might be interested in what paid keyword research tools can do for you, especially if you’re interested in accurate search volumes, keyword difficulty, Google ranking and keyword tracking software.

When you are serious about keyword research you will quickly find reviews about paid keyword research tools, with Ahrefs, MOZ and SEMrush (try their free trial) being some of the bigger and better-known SEO toolsets used for keyword planning. They are really fantastic tools with an incredible number of options including keyword tracking tools which are loved by SEO specialists and marketers. 

A quick overview of some of the best keyword planning tool benefits

  • Ahrefs for example will give you over 123,000 “phrase match” suggestions from their database of 9.9 billion keywords, that’s just a staggering number that will deliver really high-value keyword options within seconds. 
  • MOZ is an all-in-one SEO tool with over 500 million keyword suggestions and 180 million keywords. In the MOZ Keyword Explorer you can filter your keywords easily before exporting them. They also offer the MozBar which gives you live page metrics in your Chrome Browser, among other SEO tools (however there is another similar one with this cool feature but on a more affordable plan, check it out). 
  • Semrush is used by 1 in 4 Fortune 500 companies. Their databank includes 20 billion keywords and will return up to 14 million ideas for a single keyword! They also offer an on-page SEO checker and they came up with the tool ‘Keyword Magic’ which was named the Best Digital Tool at PubCon 2019 Interactive Marketing Award. You can try their 7-day free trial and check it out for yourself. 

How much do great SEO tools for keyword planning cost?

All these super pro SEO tools come with a (probably deserved) price tag of around $1,000-$1,200 a year for the entry-level plans. 

These tools are definitely worth the money if you’re really into SEO, digital marketing, Google rank tracking and are serious about blogging and want to spend your time creating content instead of doing keyword research. However, they also can be a bit overwhelming for people who have just started blogging and are not SEO savvy (yet). They’re also a bit too expensive for some people, especially beginners. But don’t despair, there are other options out there, we’ll come to them in a moment after finding out which part of keyword planning we really can’t do without and which ones are just nice-to-have.

Let’s have a look at keyword research basics, before moving on to some affordable but powerful keyword research tools.

3 most important keyword research basics to write great content

With so much keyword-related information out there it’s sometimes a bit difficult to figure out the basics – which ones are the most important to get started and which ones can wait until your site has grown, and has more traffic. 

For a small, medium blog most SEO pros agree that these three keyword information points are most important:

  • Keyword suggestions with long-tail keywords and related search phrases
  • Google keyword difficulty
  • Google keyword search volume for each one

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How will this keyword information help and what are long-tail keyword finder?

Keyword suggestions and keyword search phrases are also called long-tail keywords. These are keywords used by readers when they’re a bit further into their search and they are more specific about what they’re looking for. Let’s take the word ‘shoes’, which is very broad and would have high competition from websites with high domain authority. This can make it very difficult for a new site to compete, using that keyword. 

Keyword: Shoes (US market)

Keyword difficulty: 92

Keyword volume: 469,000

However, when we now use the long tail keyword ‘children’s shoes’ the keyword difficulty is a bit better, but still not easy for a new website to compete with and the Google keyword search volume is quite low.

Keyword: Children shoes (US market)

Keyword difficulty: 43

Keyword volume: 800

Let’s have a look at ‘winter shoes’ and ‘summer shoes’, now our keyword difficulty is only 3-14 which’s certainly achievable even for a new website with no or low domain authority and with a Google keyword search volume of 6,000. That’s not bad at all and the likelihood that you get at least a few per cent of that market is quite realistic even with a brand new website. Also, further subcategories such as men’s winter shoes etc are not too competitive.

Keyword: Winter shoes (US market)

Keyword difficulty: 3-14

Keyword volume: 6,000

And just in case you think winter shoes are not very competitive because it’s spring time (good point), let’s have a quick look at summer shoes and we see that the result is quite similar with 5,200 people searching for them this month and a keyword competitiveness of 2-14.

Keyword: Summer shoes (US market)

Keyword difficulty: 2-14

Keyword volume: 5,200

These examples show clearly why keyword research is so important and how these tools come in really handy. Who would have known that Winter and Summer shoes are so much more searched for than Children’s shoes, with very low competition? If you have Closed-toe summer shoes on your website make sure to create a separate category for them, and add the long-tail keyword into a couple of headers – there could be over 400 sales waiting there for you.

Why is keyword research so important?

I think the example above explained this nicely. If you don’t use the right keyword search phrases in your titles and headers, your content might be wasted. Even though your blog posts might be absolutely fantastic and full of useful information, you stand no chance of getting onto page 1 in Google if your competition is just too great. 

The #1 result in Google’s organic search results has an average CTR (click through rate) of 31.7%. Only 0.78% of Google searchers clicked on something from the second page.

Here you can read the full post by Backlinko on What we learned about organic click-through rate, it’s a very comprehensive and really interesting read.

The infographic is a screenshot from Backlinko’s post, thanks Backlinko.

How can I get my website on page 1 in Google?

If you try to compete with massive sites which are around for years, they have very strong domain authority and probably a whole team of content writers working for them – it’ll be tough if not almost impossible as a new small blogger or website owner to compete. However, do not despair – there is a simple solution to getting on page 1 in Google in no time, and that’s by focusing on long-tail keywords.

It won’t happen overnight, but if you change your titles and headers to search phrases that are in demand, but a bit more specialised and with lower keyword competition, your site can rocket up in Google rankings and be displayed on page 1 easily. 

What is keyword difficulty and where does it come from

KD stands for Keyword Difficulty score and shows how much competition there is for that particular keyword. The number will be between 1 and 100 and tells you how difficult it will be to rank on the first page of Google for that search term.

As a general rule of thumb, with many keyword planners, anything under 30 is easy even for a new website. 30-35 is usually also achievable but then anything above 40 starts to get difficult if you don’t have strong domain authority.

Why would you want to compete with large websites that have a whole team of writers working for them? Figuring out keyword difficulty is why long-tail keyword research is so valuable, so you can pick the easily achievable keywords you want to focus on.

All premium keyword planner tools will display a keyword difficulty score, but each keyword planner software has its own range, so a specific long-tail keyword might have a keyword difficulty of 17-20 in one tool but it might be 25-28 in another. However, they all tell you which range is achievable for your website and often display easy to reach keywords in green, medium difficulty in yellow or orange, and very difficult ones in red.

They don’t all get their data from the same source either, some get it directly from Google AdSense whereas others buy their data from third parties (e.g. MOZ), or they apply machine learning algorithms to make predictions using their own models with various data sources from third parties, mixed with Google’s statistics and stream data.

It might sound a little confusing, but once you get used to one of them you will quickly figure out what long-tail keywords difficulty score is recommended and achievable for your website. Any of the keyword planning tools listed here are very user-friendly and intuitive. Whichever you choose, the knowledge gained from your keyword research will mean all the difference between your future blog posts showing up in search engines or not. 

Here are some good posts on Keyword Difficulty: What it is and why it’s important in SEO and How to analyse a keyword’s value and understanding the keyword difficulty score.

Most affordable long-tail keyword finders

I hope you understand now why keyword research is so important. However, as the keyword research market is so large with so many long-tail keyword finders to choose from, in my next post I will have a look at the best value and most affordable premium keyword research plans which offer quick, reliable and easy understandable long-tail keyword suggestions.

For the next post, I have researched lots of premium keyword planners to narrow it down to the two most affordable options if you need more than what the free ones offer but can’t afford to spend $1,000 per year. As we discovered, the free ones are a great start but do offer limited options and I haven’t found one yet which provides keyword suggestions and keyword search phrases, keyword difficulty and Google keyword search volume, all for free. 

Find suitable long-tail keyword to rank for with a new website that won’t break the bank

After trying lots of different keyword planning tools in the last few months I think I have found some winners. Of course, all paid keyword tools give you the 3 most important pieces of keyword information, but there are two providers which have the most affordable plans (c. $25-27 p.m. on their annual plan) and are very user-friendly and easy to understand. 

Even if you are just getting started with SEO and keyword research these tools are easy to use for beginners and competitive enough for SEO experts – they are called KWFinder designed by Mangools and Long Tail Pro. Let’s have a look at both of them.

Check out Part 4 of Keyword Planning: KWFinder vs. Long Tail Pro and how to get up to a 50% discount on annual plans! This 4 part series on Keyword Planning is part of our WordPress tutorial series ‘How to start a blog in 2021‘.


What about you, which of the free keyword research tools do you use?

Please let me know in a comment below – I’d love to hear from you!

You might also be interested in How to find your niche before you start blogging. Or perhaps ‘Where to find the best and fastest WordPress themes‘ and ‘How to deal with website maintenance‘ so you can spend more time blogging and creating content knowing your site is secure.

I’ve got lots more, easy to follow, quick tutorials such as how to get WordPress FTP access, how to create Pinterest Rich Pins with Rank Math in 5 minutes, or upload a text file to WordPress without plugins to get started with Google AdSense.

Check them both out or click the button below for the full index of the How to start a blog in 2021 Index- step-by-step WordPress tutorials so far and I’ll keep updating this index as the guide develops. 

Google keyword planner free alternatives 2021

Some of the links below might be affiliated links. No extra cost for you, sometimes with discounts and always the correct product. Read more

Episode 6 – Part 2: Free keyword planning tools to find great long-tail keywords for blogs, websites and Etsy shops

I guess you came here straight from our ‘Part 1 of Keyword planning: What is Google keyword ranking and how to find keywords with low competition‘. If not, I’d recommend reading Part 1 first so you understand why Google keyword search volume, search ranking and competition are such important factors when it comes to blogging, and how to check the Google ranking for your website before diving into Google Trends, Google Keyword Planner and many other free keyword planning tools.


Free Google keyword research tools

There are quite a few free keyword research tools out there that are worth checking out to kickstart the SEO of your blog. 

Two of the most obvious and well-known keyword research services are Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends.

Both tools are very reliable because the data comes from Google itself. To use any of those free tools you will just need a Google account, if you don’t have one you can sign up here to your free Google account.

How to use Google Keyword Planner

To use Google Keyword Planner you will need to set up an AdSense campaign first, however, you don’t have to actually run and therefore pay for the campaign, but you do have to create the account and a campaign.

It’s therefore a bit more time consuming to get started with, and since they removed the exact monthly search volumes, and only show an approximate average search volume such as 1K-10K or 10K-100K, many people don’t find it overly helpful. Here you can read more about how to find growing search volume and how seasonality can influence searches.

You will have to start and pay for an ad campaign to see the exact search volume. However, the Google Keyword Planner is a great tool to get started with and it will give you some keyword ideas you might not find anywhere else.

Google Keyword Planner will give you some keyword ideas you might not find anywhere else

How to use Google Trends for keyword planning

I personally like Google Trends a lot, because it’s really easy to use and it gives good insights into what people search for while comparing different search terms.

It will not give you any indication of how many people searched for a specific term, instead it compares two or more search terms and shows you which one(s) are more popular keywords and which ones have increased in popularity over the last few months. These search terms can be the best keywords to target to increase your Google ranking, especially if you’re ahead of the curve and there is not much content online about the subject yet, but more about that later.

Let’s say we would like to start a blog with recipes, this is obviously a very broad topic so let’s narrow it down a bit: Dinner recipes, Baking recipes and Banana bread recipes – it seems like nobody is interested in baking. 

Google Trends keyword data will show you which keywords readers searching for, or not

But then add Banana bread and Pancake to it, et voila, this is what people searched for in the last few months! Google Trends does not tell you how many people searched for a specific term, but compares different search terms with each other. As you can see above the blue graph for Dinner recipes is suddenly much lower in the screenshot below compared to Banana bread and Pancakes.

In Google Trends you can compare up to 5 search terms per search. All data comes straight from Google and it’s all free!

And now when you check those two search phrases in Google Keyword Planner you will see that their competition is actually quite low, with loads more long-tail keyword ideas further down. Now, this is very basic keyword planning, but it’s a great and easy start to get an idea of what your audience is interested in.

Google Keyword Planner also offers to present data for most countries and any time frame. You can get search data for the last week, the last month or year, or decide on any customised time frame such as the last 4 years etc.

Use Google Keyword Planner to find out about keyword competition

WordStream Free Keyword Planning Tool

Then there is also WordStream Free Keyword Planning Tool which is quite straightforward and results include Search volume and Keyword difficulty under Competition. However, the keyword difficulty is quite broad, using low, medium and high as indicators instead of precise percentages. Nevertheless, it’s not bad for a free tool.

WordStream Keyword Planner is very easy to use and there is no need to register an account first. You can also email all keywords to yourself. 

WordStream is another free keyword planner which includes search volume and keyword difficulty

Etsy SEO Keyword Tool

If you’re using Etsy to sell your products you should check out eRank – a free Etsy Seo keyword research tool. This Etsy keyword tool specialises in Etsy listings, it gives you a good insight into competitors listings and which keywords and tags are popular and most searched for on the platform. It gives you a good analysis of the top 100 listings in your category on Etsy.

This Etsy SEO tool is very easy to use

The Etsy keyword tool eRank is quite easy to use. Simply type the search term you would like to be found under into the keyword box on top of the screen and eRank will show you how many times people have used this search term per month, the number of clicks and click-through rates (CTR), and also the estimated Etsy competition for your keyword. So it’s very similar to other keyword planners but all data is specific to the Etsy platform.

Find all Etsy SEO markers such as Google Trends, Google search volume and competition in one table on eRank

It also offers another great feature for Etsy sellers, it shows you a table with the most popular related tags and long-tail keywords for the search term you’re trying to rank for. You can also filter keywords, sort the columns easily by clicking its header and download the full list with one click. It’s an Etsy keyword tool but also offers Google search volume, basic Google competition indication, Google CPC (cost-per-click) and Google trends all in one table.

eRank will show you the top 100 listings for your keyword so you can check them out and use what’s working for them in your own listings.

You can sign up for a free eRank account and use their Etsy keyword tool for up to 50 keywords per day, analyse 100 active listings, and you also get 10 daily rank-checker lookups and can use the keyword explorer to find seasonal keyword trends up to 5 times per day – and all that for free, so check it out! They also offer paid plans, but eRank’s free Etsy keyword plan offers a lot, especially if you’re just getting started with Etsy and would like to improve your Etsy SEO.

Answer the Public – A different type of keyword research

Answer the Public is a bit of a different tool, it does not give you any keyword difficulty or search volume but it’s a really cool tool if you’re looking for ideas of what to write about.

Answer the Public finds questions, prepositions, comparisons, alphabeticals, and related searches. You can type in any keyword and will be presented with a massive visualisation of all sorts of different questions. You can also click on ‘Data’ and all information will be displayed in columns, and click the different options on top to view prepositions, comparisons, alphabeticals, and related searches. 

The keyword research tool Answer the Public is great to get fresh ideas for blog titles

Answer the Public is really cool to get fresh ideas, once you find a few interesting ones you can write them down or you can download the full list. Then type them into Google keyword planner or Google trends or any other keyword research tool I mention below and see how popular they are. It’s a great tool for brainstorming at the beginning of any keyword planning.

Soovle – get keyword ideas from Google and Co.

Another very similar tool is Soovle. It’s very similar to Answer the Public with keyword ideas from Wikipedia, Google, Amazon, Answers, YouTube, Bing and Yahoo. No keyword difficulty or search volume but lots of ideas.

Soovle is another free and very different keyword research tool to give you new blogging ideas, and it’s very easy to use

If you are enjoying this post, would you mind sharing it with your network? Yes, it’ll mean a lot to me. However, sharing helpful content on social media will benefit you too. People will realise you are someone to go to for great information. Just one click:

Check out fantastic Google keyword planner free alternatives to get some new blogging ideas #keywordplanning #SEO #blogging Click To Tweet

Google – your biggest keyword research service itself

And then there is Google itself. The search engine actually gives you lots of useful information for keyword planning.

First of all, there is ‘Autocomplete‘. Simply type your keyword into the search bar and see what Google offers in its auto-complete function. These search suggestions are based on current search popularity, here you can see what people are asking Google about – use it!

Then there is the ‘People also ask’ box in the top third of search results. The best thing about these Google questions is that when you open one of the questions, Google will offer you a few more related questions and that way you can create a really long list with related questions.

Google’s autocomplete can be a great help with keyword planning
Google related questions can give you a lot of keyword suggestions, find out easily what people are searching for on Google

These questions are the popular questions asked by readers on Google, so they can be really valuable for your blog site, as you can use people’s questions in your titles and headings. 

If your site gives answers to questions people are interested in, then it will be much easier for Google to rank your site well.

Free keyword planning tools conclusion

So as you can see, there are lots of free keyword research tools out there and they can give you a lot of blogging ideas, however, they are also somehow limited in what they offer, which is fine as they’re free. They are a great starting point for any blogger. However, you want to make sure that you get the keyword planning basics to find low competition long-tail keywords right, which is all covered in Part 3 of Keyword Planning – How to find long-tail keywords to kickstart your traffic.

You might also be interested in what paid keyword research tools can do for you, especially if you’re interested in accurate search volumes, keyword difficulty, Google ranking and keyword tracking software to generate more traffic.

Check out Part 4 of Keyword Planning: Long Tail Pro vs. KWFinder – all pros, cons and how to bag the greatest discount. This 4 part series on Keyword Planning is part of our WordPress tutorial series ‘How to start a blog in 2021‘.


What about you, which of the free keyword research tools do you use?

Please let me know in a comment below – I’d love to hear from you!

You might also be interested in How to find your niche before you start blogging. Or perhaps ‘Where to find the best and fastest WordPress themes‘ and ‘How to deal with website maintenance and save loads of time‘ so you can spend more time blogging and creating content knowing your site is secure.

I’ve got lots more, easy to follow, tutorials such as how to get WordPress FTP access or upload a text file to WordPress without plugins to get started with Google AdSense.

Check them both out or click the button below for the full index of the How to start a blog in 2021 Index- step-by-step WordPress tutorials so far and I’ll keep updating this index as the guide develops. 

Keyword planning: What is Google keyword ranking and how to find new keywords with low competition

Some of the links below might be affiliated links. No extra cost for you, sometimes with discounts and always the correct product. Read more

Episode 6 – Part 1: Keyword ranking and tools for keyword planning 2021 – check Google keyword ranking for your blog and improve it by finding the best keywords

Every week I have students who say ‘I don’t need a blog, just a website for the business will be fine‘. But let’s think about what a blog actually is. It’s the News section of your website, so it’s there to host new content. New content is loved by readers and also by Google.

Did you know that there is no difference for Google between posts and pages on your website?

Yes, that’s correct. So if we all start with a simple website with an average of 15 pages (About us, Our Services, Contact us etc.) and we create one blog post per week, our site will have over 60 pages (that includes posts and pages) after one year.

Whereas our competitor who started with a similar website with 15 pages and didn’t blog will still only have the same amount of content a year later.

Who do you think readers will trust more? And who do you think Google will display in search results more often?

That’s right, the website with frequent blog posts of course. It’s still the same ‘Content is King‘!

However, our content has to be good quality content and to be able to write good quality content we have to do some keyword research or our post will never be found.


Why start a blog if you have a website already?

  • Websites that also have a blog are shown to have 434% more indexed pages.
  • Companies who blog get 97% more links to their websites.
  • Blogs have been rated as the 5th most trustworthy source for gathering online information.
  • 66% of bloggers today are publishing a few times per month, rather than a few times per week back in 2014.
  • 77% of internet users read blogs.

Source: Blogging statistics by Optinmonster

Important metrics for keyword planning

Google keyword search volume

The keyword search volume is really important as it indicates how many times people have searched for this specific search term. Knowing what people google for can make all the difference as to whether your article will be displayed by Google or not.

The Google keyword search volume metric will be shown by all keyword planning tools, however, some of them like the Google Keyword Planner will show you just a range of the search volume such as 1k-10k, or 10k-100k. As you can imagine, knowing the exact number here can make a huge difference – one keyword search volume might be 11,000 per month but a similar keyword search volume might be 90,000 per month.

They will both be displayed in the range of 10k-100k but it can make all the difference whether you have 11,000 or 90,000 people searching what you’re writing about and therefore driving traffic to your site. 

Check Google ranking for your website

Before you get started with keyword ranking it’s a good idea to check the Google ranking for your website. There are lots of tools out there and most keyword planning tools include Google keyword ranking checkers as well.

I use Rank Math on my websites, this plugin is a fabulous help to write SEO friendly content, it tells you how often your chosen keywords are included in your headers and content and it includes rank tracking software too. However, if you don’t have an account with an SEO plugin or keyword research tools yet you can use Seobility or TheHoth for free.

Seobility is a free all-in-one SEO software with tools for better website optimisation:

  • Website Crawling and Site Auditor
  • Google Rank Tracker with Daily Updates
  • Backlink Checker and Link Building Tools
  • Continuous Monitoring and Whitelabel Reporting

TheHoth is another free tool to check your Google keyword ranking

  • Free Google SEO Ranking Checker
  • Free Backlink Checker
  • Very easy to use
  • You don’t have to sign up for an account, however you have to sign up for their newsletter to get the results

I sometimes use these tools for client’s websites, however, I personally prefer to have it all in my WordPress dashboard instead of opening another site. As a dashboard integration Rank Math is certainly my favourite plugin, not just to check your Google keyword ranking but every day when writing content. I use their premium version, however their free version offers a lot of functionality. I’ll create a video tutorial on how to use Rank Math soon. (link)

Can keyword search volume be influenced? 

Google keyword search volume can be greatly influenced by seasonality – the keywords you’re targeting might be more in demand in summer or winter, or during holiday season or around specific events. 

Google keyword search volume for ski boots is obviously much stronger in winter months
Google keyword search volume for Instant Pot increases at Christmas every year

How to find growing keyword search volume? 

Trends can also play a big role in Google keyword search volumes changing – when a specific kitchen machine or diet gets hyped up in the media, suddenly lots of people search for it and therefore push the search volume up.

Trends can grow and disappear very quickly, so they can be difficult to keep up with. However, if your blog is about something you’re passionate about you are probably up-to-date on trends in your niche anyway and it’s well worth your time to create useful content if you see a trend emerging, as at the beginning of trends your competition will usually be limited. This brings us to the next metric – Google keyword competition.

There was a huge trend for Keto diets in 2018 and 2019, many bloggers who jumped on this bandwagon did very well as there wasn’t much competition
Sourdough became very trendy in spring 2020 at the beginning of lockdown and it’s still twice as popular in 2021 compared to previous years

What is Google keyword competition

Keyword competition is the other side of the coin, if there is strong demand for certain content and keyword search volume is high then very likely your competition will be high too. However, this is not always the case.

With a good keyword planning tool it’s easy to find specific keywords – often long-tail keywords – to focus on; keywords that have a healthy amount of Google search volume but low competition.

For new websites, it wouldn’t make sense to try to compete with the big players, the websites that have dozens of editors, huge marketing budgets, strong domain authorities due to highly valued backlinks and long-established domains. It would be very frustrating because as a new blogger you probably won’t be able to win this battle and would never see your site anywhere close to page 1 in Google. 

How to find keywords with low competition? 

Here is where good Google keywords research tools will make all the difference, so you can slowly move onto page 1 in Google with articles targeting specific long-tail keywords.

In the beginning, these long-tail keywords will often have only a few hundred searches per month but also low keyword competition, and if you create good and informative content about this topic, Google will have no issue moving your post onto page 1 of search results quite quickly.

And believe me, it feels so great when you see your new blog suddenly appearing on page 1 in Google – it’s just incredible! You can then build your domain authority and target more competitive keywords in the long run. Also, you can and should target multiple related keywords per article. And don’t underestimate a low figure of 30 or 100 searches, each long-tail keyword brings more readers and they all add up.

There are lots of long-tail keywords related to Nutribullet with low competition. These are great for bloggers who are just getting started in this niche and want to increase the Google ranking for their website slowly but surely

Free Google keyword research tools

There are a few free keyword planning tools out there that are worth checking out to kickstart the SEO of your blog. 

Two of the most obvious keyword research services and well-known ones are Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends.

Both tools are very reliable because the data comes from Google itself. To use any of those free tools you will just need a Google account, if you don’t have one you can sign up here to your free Google account.

Want to find out more? Read Keyword Planning Part 2: How to use Google Keyword Planner, Google Trends and many other FREE keyword alternatives as part of our WordPress tutorial series ‘How to start a blog in 2021‘.


What about you, do you do any keyword planning when blogging?

Please let me know in a comment below – I’d love to hear from you!

You might also be interested in How to find your niche before you start blogging. Or perhaps ‘Where to find the best and fastest WordPress themes‘ and ‘How to deal with website maintenance‘ so you can spend more time blogging and creating content knowing your site is secure.

I’ve got lots more, easy to follow, quick tutorials such as how to get WordPress FTP access, how to create Pinterest Rich Pins with Rank Math in 5 minutes, or upload a text file to WordPress without plugins to get started with Google AdSense.

Check them both out or click the button below for the full index of the How to start a blog in 2021 Index- step-by-step WordPress tutorials so far and I’ll keep updating this index as the guide develops. 

WPEngine hosting coupon and free WordPress themes

Some of the links below might be affiliated links. No extra cost for you, sometimes with discounts and always the correct product. Read more

WPEngine is an award-winning WordPress hosting company with customer satisfaction of 97% [source], they’re well-known for their super fast and reliable hosting services.

WP Engine hosting customers can enjoy

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  • Continuous monitoring of your site
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You can read here my full review on the 4 best hosting services with excellent customer service in 2021 after working with WordPress for over 10 years.

Get 3 months FREE website hosting!

And it gets even better as you can get free WordPress hosting for 3 months! This WordPress coupon code is valid for new customers purchasing any Startup, Growth, or Scale plan. Unfortunately, this hosting coupon not valid for existing customers, upgrades, or any other product purchases. So if you don’t have an account with WPEngine yet, grab it quick before it’s discontinued.

You can give them a call, or use their chat facility if you’re outside of the US, to speak to their really nice and helpful support staff on how to get one of the fastest web hosting plans for your website.

You can also read my full review about my favourite website hosting companies after 10 years working with WordPress.

WPEngine is also one of WPBuffs’ recommended hosting providers, so you know they work really well together if you’re looking for someone to take care of your website management – here you can find a full review on WordPress maintenance plans if you’re interested. 

This WordPress Discount applies to the first payment of an annual plan but does not apply to future recurring payments. Discount may not be applied to previous purchases, renewals, subscription upgrades, or combined with any other offer.

Get 3 months free eCommerce hosting in 2021!

They also just launched a new eCommerce hosting solution for businesses looking to take the leap into online sales or make more money faster with their existing WooCommerce store.

This is a great opportunity if you want to sell online as WPEngine offers 3 months free on any annual shared eCommerce plan, but this hosting coupon is valid only for a few weeks in Spring 2021.

Setting up your store with WPEngine is really easy even for non-developers as they offer a quick setup wizard with modern, ready-to-use optimised WooCommerce themes. Their site builder works similar to other drag-and-drop page builder, so you don’t need any coding experience to move them around.

In addition to all their usual features, such as super fast hosting, automatic plugin updates for top security, free migration and free SSL, daily backups, one-click staging site and 24/7 support – WPEngine also offers Instant Store Search to build an impressive customer experience. This smart feature will display relevant and more exclusive products to your shoppers, and offers autocomplete like ‘Did you mean…’ to make sure your shoppers find what they’re looking for.

So if you’re keen on getting started with an online store or growing your business in the e-commerce world you can’t do much better than hosting with WPEngine, you will love their powerful hosting platform and superb customer service. Before it’s too late, make sure you bag this great but limited hosting coupon code and get 3 months of free e-commerce hosting, before it expires.

Restrictions: Offer valid for new customers purchasing any eCommerce Startup, Professional, Growth, or Scale plan. Unfortunately not valid for existing customers, upgrades, or any other product purchase. This offer is valid: April 1, 2021 – June 30, 2021

Interested in how to start a blog and what’s niche blogging all about?

Are you interested in learning How to start a blog in 2021 – step-by-step WordPress tutorials? Learn what you can do yourself easily and what’s worth outsourcing. Check out why you want to get into niche blogging and how to find your niche when you’re just at the start of your blogging career. You can find the full index by clicking the button below and start your own blog or small business website with easy to follow written and video WordPress tutorials.

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What is website maintenance? The 3 best and most affordable plans 2021

Some of the links below might be affiliated links. No extra cost for you, sometimes with discounts and always the correct product. Read more

Episode 5: Why website management is so important and why it’s one of the best jobs to outsource (for non-techies)

If you have a WordPress website you will have seen ‘Update required’, ‘New update available – please upgrade now’ or ‘New version available – update here’ messages lots of times and even without knowing what these updates are all about, you just clicked ‘Update now’.

That’s what my students tell me all the time. When I ask them if they have any idea what might happen if they upgrade without checking compatibility or taking backups, most of them shake their head and say it worked so far. Some of them have encountered issues and gotten a massive fright as they realised that suddenly their site was gone!

A quick search on the WordPress.org forum reveals over 20,000 results for sites that crashed after running updates, with over 3,000 of them being requests on the support forum itself. Not a nice place to be in for any blogger or website owner.

So, let’s have a look at different website maintenance options and whether there are any that are affordable even for new bloggers and small businesses.

A quick search reveals 20,000 results for sites that crashed after running updates – website maintenance plans can avoid these issues

Check out all topics: How to start a blog 2021 – The ultimate WordPress tutorial series step-by-step‘ – learn how to start a blog or a small business website on a budget

How to start a blog 2021 – The Ultimate WordPress Beginner Tutorial Index

How important is website management?

If you’re serious about creating a small business website or making money with blogging, then it’s fundamental that you look after your investment and get the basics right from the beginning.

Getting the foundation right, like reliable website hosting, choosing a domain name and picking a suitable theme (template) for your site, will make it so much easier in the long run – as is often the case with many things in life.

Looking after your website is crucially important and you can do it all yourself if you feel technically minded. But in fairness, it can get a bit tricky when something goes pear-shaped like a code error, malware or hacker attack, or the dreaded white screen of death. There are lots of tutorials about it, like this troubleshoot post by Nick on how to fix common WordPress errors. It was published a few years ago but is still relevant and helpful.

As you can see, WordPress is very user-friendly and you don’t have to be a developer to fix things, so if you feel comfortable dealing with this kind of stuff, great – go for it and you won’t need to read this post any further, because you’ll be just fine looking after your site.


What if I find website maintenance too technical?

If you feel a bit overwhelmed dealing with errors and malware, you’re not alone. Many small business owners or bloggers – like many of my students – find the technical part such as backups, upgrades, theme and plugin updates, errors and dealing with risks like malware and hackers extremely complicated. Which I think is fair enough, considering that website security is a very specialised and fast-paced field and understandably not everybody’s cup of tea.

For most people, the website is only a small part of their business and they have to deal with a hundred other tasks every day. Often it doesn’t make sense to spend hours every week getting to grips with website security if someone else could do the job much more quickly and efficiently – they can focus on running their business instead.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be your responsibility, you can get a website management plan and let them do the job at quite reasonable rates.


Is a WordPress maintenance plan worth the money?

There are certain things in life we’re happy to outsource. A survey in 2019 by Clutch has shown that businesses most commonly outsource more technical tasks, including their accounting (37%), IT services (37%), and digital marketing (34%) responsibilities. The largest percentage (24%) say they are doing so to increase efficiency, while 18% are seeking assistance from an expert.

Website maintenance is certainly one of them, it’s often money well spent for many small business owners. Website maintenance is much cheaper than website repair and I think it’s definitely one of the best parts to outsource if code is not your thing. It will remove these challenging tasks from your to-do list, give you peace of mind and more time to focus on other parts of your business, like creating content for your website.

Everybody knows that it’s vital to keep their website safe and secure, however, it’s scary how many sites I see without any backups. People don’t realise that they play Russian roulette with their website every time they click ‘Update’. Most times they don’t even know what they update, or if it’s necessary or even recommended. Unfortunately, some people only realise what can happen when it’s too late and the site is down or displays errors.

Besides updates, any website can be hacked at any time and software incompatibility and errors happen – it’s scary stuff if it happens to you and you see years of work disappearing, but as I said it doesn’t have to be your responsibility. That’s what WordPress maintenance services are there for and we’ll have a look at some of the best and most affordable website management options out there.


How much does a website maintenance plan cost?

As with any services, there are lots of companies out there offering WordPress maintenance plans. Most entry plans start at around $50 to $100, but some only include the basics. Plans for custom-built websites will be pricier as they require more manual work to maintain your site, but usually small business sites and bloggers don’t need that kind of service.

There are some really good companies out there that specialise in small business WordPress maintenance services and offer great customer support with plans from about $50/month – that’s less than $2/day – for most small business owners and bloggers; that’s certainly affordable and gives great peace of mind. Some of them even include emergency fixes and malware removal, but we’ll come to the details in a minute.


What is included in website management?

Website maintenance services keep an eye on your website and take care of the following:

  • Daily backups of your site
  • Keep your WordPress core software updated
  • Update WordPress themes and plugins up-to-date
  • Fix any theme or plugin errors
  • Help with troubleshooting
  • Keep your site secure
  • Keep hackers out
  • Protect your site before something happens and if something happens they will
  • Have the right backups and the needed knowledge to get your site up and running again as quickly as possible
  • Most of them will also issue a weekly or monthly report on your website

Which are the best website maintenance services and what might not be included? 

Most website maintenance services include all the tasks mentioned above to keep your site safe and secure. Even though I think that these tasks should always be included in any website management plan, unfortunately, that’s not always the case, so please make sure you read the small print.

If a site gets hacked or goes down for some other reason like malware or errors, some providers charge a previously agreed fee, so as mentioned before it’s important to read the small print before signing up to anything. 

There are lots of developers and companies out there who offer maintenance plans, but as many of my clients are just starting out and don’t have an endless budget I have found a few providers who offer great WordPress maintenance services, with very helpful customer support, a fantastic reputation and affordable plans, which can save you a lot of headaches looking after your site.

If your website budget is limited and you will spend money on only a couple of products, then I’d say it should be a good hosting provider and a website maintenance plan, if you don’t feel comfortable looking after all the technical stuff. A good and reliable hosting provider and WordPress maintenance plan give you a secure foundation, remove a lot of stress from business owners and is for many people money well spend.

Anything else in WordPress is optional if you ask me, and lots of things in WordPress can be achieved either with free products or for a small amount, but hosting and keeping your site secure would be my top two priorities. 


My 3 favourite website management options, who have never disappointed me or any of my clients


WP Buffs – 24h WordPress website management

One of the companies I can highly recommend for website management is WP Buffs. Their basic plan ‘Maintain’ includes daily cloud backups, weekly core, database, theme and plugin updates,  24/7 monitoring and emergency support.

WP Buffs was built around a 100% remote-work environment, they have staff working from the US and across the globe. Having a team monitoring your site 24/7 means if an issue happens at 2am your time, somebody at WP Buffs will know straight away. They check your site every 60 seconds and can therefore react and fix your site within minutes if there is an issue. They also offer Google Analytics integration, and they send you comprehensive weekly reports on your website. 

The basic ‘Maintain’ plan is available at $56/month if you sign up for an annual plan, which is really good value and even includes 24/7 emergency support which is really valuable in case your site goes down due to an error, malware or hackers! They’ll be there to help, explain what happened and make sure your site will be up and running as quickly as possible again.

WP Buffs also offer speed optimisation, unlimited 24/7 website edits, eCommerce and membership priority support, free access to a number of security and speed premium plugins (iThemes Security ProWP Smush Pro and WP Rocket) in their two higher plans, which start at $123/month if signing up for an annual contract. Considering all the extra services and premium plugins which are included in those two plans, that’s really good value. 

However, if you just got started with blogging or a new website, their ‘Maintain plan‘ offers everything most people need in the beginning – they’ll keep your site secure, safe and up-to-date. And of course, you always have the option to upgrade at any time as your site and demands grow. 

To figure out which website management plan would suit your requirements best and to ask them any questions, you can just arrange a call with them.


WP Tech Support – affordable website maintenance with 24/7 support and emergency fixing

Another company for website maintenance I’m very happy to recommend is called WP Tech Support. WP Tech Support is a website management company located in the Isle of Man with offices in the UK, USA and India. They specialise in affordable WordPress maintenance contracts with 24/7 support.

Their Standard Plan starts at $45/months and this plan includes 1 emergency fix per month, WordPress core and plugin updates but for some reason not theme updates, which would be important.

However, WP Tech Support’s Pro Plan is only $60/month and includes WP core, plugin & theme updates, malware removal and unlimited emergency fixes!

WP Tech Support website maintenance plans 2021

The WP Tech Support Pro Plan is really good value, considering that there are WordPress maintenance companies out there who charge about $100 for each emergency fix and WP Tech Support charges $145 for once-off malware removal if you don’t have a plan with them or you need it while being on the Standard Plan.

You shouldn’t need malware removal or emergency fixing often but it’s like an insurance that gives you peace of mind in case your site gets hacked, you experience a code error or become the victim of malware, that you can just raise a support ticket or use the live chat, and get the experts to restore and fix your site without any large bills occurring.

WP Tech Support also offers once-off emergency fixing, malware removal and site optimisation for slow loading website – if you don’t have a website management contract with them or if it’s not included in your plan you can buy any of those services very quickly through their support chat.

WP Tech Support website once-off emergency fixing, malware removal and site optimisation plans

Damien Carbery – personal WordPress care by an Irish developer

And then there is one of my personal recommendations. The WordPress developer Damien Carbery, an Irish WordPress developer, based in Dublin and a truly fantastic developer.

We have worked on different projects together over the years and I can highly recommend him as an incredible WordPress developer, extremely customer orientated, always very helpful and super-reliable.

His WordPress maintenance plans start at €45/month ($55) and include weekly WordPress, plugin and theme updates, monthly database and file backups, monthly malware scan and maintenance report and no long term contract. You can contact him directly to discuss your requirements.  

Damien Carbery’s WordPress maintenance plan options

Conclusion on website maintenance 

Of course, there are other really good companies out there who offer maintenance plans, but I did not list them here because some are either

  • quite a bit more expensive
  • don’t include support in their lower plans or
  • charge extra for certain tasks such as dealing with a hacked, malware affected site or other troubleshooting

So if you are a small business owner or blogger, and don’t feel comfortable taking care of website maintenance yourself and are looking for a reliable and affordable maintenance plan you can’t go wrong with either WPBuffs, WP Tech Support or Damien’s service.

I love working with all three of them, they offer great value for money with excellent friendly and helpful customer service, and they can save you a lot of headaches. If you know of another great recommendation for a website maintenance plan, please let me know in a comment below. 

Just remember, whichever company you choose please make sure to always read the small print and ideally arrange a call or chat with their support team to make sure you get exactly what you’re looking for. 


I hope you found this post about website management useful and please let me know in a comment below which website maintenance service you went for.

I’d love to hear from you!

Now we’re almost done with the initial WordPress setup. You might also be interested in How to find your niche before you start blogging if you’re just getting started. Or perhaps The 4 best website hosting services with excellent customer service & great discounts for a fast and secure website, and Where to find the best and fastest WordPress themes to get creative.

I’ve got lots more, easy to follow, quick tutorials such as how to get WordPress FTP access, how to create Pinterest Rich Pins with Rank Math in 5 minutes, or upload a text file to WordPress without plugins to get started with Google AdSense.

Check them out or click the button below for the full index of the How to start a blog in 2021 Index- step-by-step WordPress tutorials so far and I’ll keep updating this index as the guide develops. 

Where to find the best and fastest WordPress themes 2021

Some of the links below might be affiliated links. No extra cost for you, sometimes with discounts and always the correct product. Read more

Episode 4: Which are the best WordPress themes on Theme Forest, what’s the fastest WordPress theme out there, where to find themes for Elementor and how to get Genesis framework for free

WordPress.org offers thousands of themes (the look and layout of your site) and plugins (extensions to your site like an app on a phone) to choose from. At the time of writing this post, there are over 8,000 themes and over 50,000 plugins to choose from in the WordPress.org repository and many more are available outside of that. 

With such a massive choice it’s not easy to find the right WordPress theme, especially when you’re just getting started. This post will break it down, so let’s have a look at which are the most popular WordPress themes, the best places to find Niche WordPress themes and what multi-purpose WordPress themes are. We’ll look at where you can find the greatest choice of themes, best prices and discounts, and which is the fastest WordPress theme and best framework for WordPress with the least bloat.


Check out all topics: How to start a blog 2021 – The ultimate WordPress tutorial series step-by-step‘ – learn how to start a blog or a small business website on a budget

What is a WordPress theme?

A WordPress theme is a template for your website. By choosing a theme you give your site a layout – whether your website will have one, two or no sidebars, what it’s background colour will be, where the navigation bar is located (e.g. above or below the header), whether the navigation will scroll with the user and therefore be accessible easily, and whether your site will display a header, a logo, or a slider.

Any theme today should be responsive so it will look good on any device, from a large screen down to a mobile phone. Will your homepage display specific content, such as most recent posts, in columns or in a carousel? Would you like to use a specific block editor such as Elementor, Divi or Beaver Builder?

Which easily adjustable options will your theme offer, e.g. can you add scripts to the header easily without the need to access files directly in the editor? How well is the theme coded, will your site load quickly and offer great SEO options? These and many more options will be dependent on the theme you choose. 

If all this sounds a bit confusing right now, don’t worry. We’ll go through some of the most popular and best reviewed WordPress themes out there and I’ll give you a few pointers for themes I’ve worked with for years – themes I’ve always loved and have never been disappointed by.

All of the themes mentioned in this post have great reputations and excellent WordPress developers working behind the scenes to make sure they stay up-to-date with the ever-changing WordPress development world. 

All these themes come with very detailed documentation, so you can have a look at them first before deciding which WordPress theme suits your needs best. Whichever WordPress theme you’re going for, I have worked with all the themes which are mentioned by name in this post, multiple times over the years.

I create WordPress training for clients websites and I can honestly say that all the themes which are mentioned in this post are all first-class ,and most of them are very flexible in regards to the look and purpose of your site. 

Where can I find the best WordPress themes?

What does that actually mean – the best WordPress theme? I don’t think there is such a thing as one best WordPress theme. There is strong competition in the WordPress theme industry, developers are constantly trying to offer more features at lower prices.

Therefore, we have lots of modern themes to create elegant and beautiful websites which load fast. WordPress themes which are well coded with lots of flexibility, very user-friendly customisation options and great customer support – I guess that’s what you could call the best WordPress themes out there. 

From working with WordPress for over 10 years there are a few themes which spring to mind, these are all themes I have seen over and over again on client’s websites in many different combinations and customisations to create various types of websites.

I have created training for many of them multiple times over the years for different clients. Because these themes have such great reputations with developers and website agencies, developers use them over and over again – with good reason. Many of them have had hundreds of thousands of downloads because they look good, they work well, they’re flexible, elegant, award-winning and fast.

I love working with the themes I list here, you just can’t go wrong with any of them, so let’s have a look at some of my favourites. 

ThemeForest – the largest WordPress theme collection

If you’re looking for a place which offers one of the largest WordPress theme collection out there, you can’t go wrong with ThemeForest. Here you can choose from some of the biggest and most successful themes in the WordPress world. 

If you’re just getting started with WordPress or looking for a theme for a new site, ThemeForest is a great place to get started. You will get an idea of what’s possible and can compare all different types of WordPress themes when you browse the massive choice of WordPress themes at ThemeForest. 

There are two well-known ThemeForest themes I’d like to mention. I have worked with both many times over the years and if you use either of them you can’t go wrong. 

The Avada WordPress theme

Their bestselling Avada WordPress theme has a fantastic reputation in the WordPress world, it’s well built and offers a lot of choices. The Avada WordPress theme has been downloaded over 650,000 times and is ThemeForest’s most popular theme since its launch in 2012. 

It comes with 100% flexibility and absolute design freedom. Avada comes with unique dynamic content options which give you ultimate design flexibility. But that’s not all, you can even design each element of the header and footer individually.

In the Avada WordPress theme you can design each element of the header and footer individually

The Avada theme comes with over 80 pre-built page designs with one-click import, but also with an uninstall option if you change your mind. The theme offers over 120 layout elements and WooCommerce integration. Avada comes with its own page builder, but I’ve often seen it combined with the Elementor page builder, they seem to work really well together and I’ve never seen any compatibility issues between them.

Avada is of course fully responsive, so websites built with the Avada theme look beautiful on any device.

The Avada WordPress theme comes with over 80 pre-built page designs

The Avada WordPress theme is available for $60 on ThemeForest which is a great price for such a versatile and well-loved WordPress theme. The Avada theme is extremely flexible but also very user-friendly, so any web design layout is possible and your site can be up and running quite quickly even if you’re not really familiar with WordPress yet.


ThemeForest Kalium theme

Another well-known ThemeForest theme is Kalium, not as famous as Avada but definitely one of my favourite themes. Kalium was launched a few years later than Avada in 2015 and is a very elegant, multipurpose WordPress theme. It comes with lots of demo content which you can import with one click, so it makes building your new site super easy in literally a few minutes.

The Kalium theme is an elegant multipurpose WordPress theme and comes with lots of demo content

The Kalium theme on ThemeForest also comes with WooCommerce integration and e-commerce support, WPBakery page builder (worth $60), two top sliders (Slider Revolution and LayerSlider worth over $100 together), lots of different header styles (over 15 different ones) and over 30 portfolio styles.

Kalium is also fully compatible with the Elementor page builder if you prefer Elementor over WPBakery. It goes without saying that the Kalium theme is of course fully responsive – so it looks great on any device, it’s highly customisable with lots of build-in options, shortcodes and extra elements.

It loads super quickly and is SEO optimised. The theme comes with multiple blog and shop layouts, and is also multilingual. 

Kalium is a really good looking WordPress theme, it’s really easy to use even for beginners, but with all its extra functionality you will never run out of options, and pretty much any web design is possible to build with that theme.

You can get Kalium for $59 on ThemeForest which is a bargain for a premium theme like that, the premium plugins alone are worth over $200. All the different page layouts which come with the theme will save you uncountable hours of building the actual website. Well, I think it’s easy to see why I like Kalium so much. 

Kalium theme is compatible with Elementor page builder and comes with premium plugins worth $200

Before you start browsing, there is one thing to be aware of. ThemeForest is a vast library of themes and templates not just for WordPress and it’s easy to get lost on their site. So be a little careful to stay in the WordPress section on their website, as their market place is huge and they also offer HTML, Joomla, Drupal, Magento and other themes. 


How about independent WordPress theme providers? 

There are a lot of independent theme providers out there, many of them are really great at what they do and get a lot of respect in the WordPress community. Let’s have a look at some of the most popular WordPress themes and how they compare.

The most popular WordPress theme in the world – Divi Theme

One very well known independent theme provider is Elegant Themes with their #1 template Divi – the most popular WordPress theme in the world, based on BuildWith research.

The most popular WordPress theme in the world – Divi Theme used by 11% of WordPress websites (source: https://trends.builtwith.com/framework/wordpress-theme/traffic/Entire-Internet)

The Divi theme is used by over 750,000 people who love the Visual Drag & Drop Builder. There is no coding knowledge needed with Divi, it’s really easy to learn, and is loved by novice and more experienced WordPress users alike. Divi is not just a theme, it’s a complete design framework that allows users to design and customise every part of their website from the ground up. Many developers build all their sites using only one framework – I know a few developers who use the Divi theme for all their client’s websites.

What’s the difference between Divi Theme and Divi Builder?

Some people are confused by Divi Theme and Divi Builder and wonder what’s the difference. The Divi Builder is a plugin which can be used with any theme, so you can download it separately. It’s a page builder like Elementor, Beaver Builder and WPBakery.

Page builders make it easy to create beautiful layouts using a drag and drop editor. The Divi theme includes the Divi Builder plugin already, and has everything wrapped into one theme. So when you download the Divi Theme, you are good to go to build your website without the need to purchase anything else for it. 

https://www.elegantthemes.com/videos/responsive.mp4
Divi gives you complete control over every design setting on each device with its responsive editing feature

They also offer a cool Divi Demo Page where you can try the WordPress theme for free and get a feel for how the Divi page builder works. On the demo page you can simply click into any of the elements to edit or move them. No account or sign up is needed, just go to the Divi Theme page and click the purple button ‘Try it for free’ on the left hand side of the header.

The Divi Demo Page lets you edit and move any element of the Divi Theme without signing up to an account

The Divi Theme (including the Divi Builder plugin) is available for $89 for an annual plan or for $249 to get lifetime access and updates. I have lifetime access with Divi which I think provides great value, however their annual plan is the more popular one. They also offer a 30-day money back guarantee. So you can use the theme for a full month and if you don’t like it they will give you full a refund.


Best framework for WordPress – Genesis: flexible, providing a secure and search engine optimised foundation

Another well known and respected theme provider is StudioPress. They are powered by WPEngine and they offer the most popular mobile-responsive themes and design framework for WordPress. StudioPress is the creator of the Genesis Framework — probably the most well-known theme framework for WordPress.

Genesis is very flexible, and provides a secure and search engine optimised foundation for any website. The Genesis Framework needs to be used with a child theme, the child theme is there to protect your customisation which otherwise will be overwritten with the next update. You can create your own child theme or you can download an existing Genesis child theme by StudioPress. Here you can read how to get started with StudioPress Themes and the Genesis Framework.

To be honest, some novice WordPress users might find Genesis a bit more complicated than other themes as it doesn’t offer lots of options out of the box, it’s actually quite a simple theme and that’s why so many developers love Genesis, as there is no bloat. But it also means that a bit of CSS knowledge and general technical understanding will make it easier to work with Genesis. 

Before WordPress 5.0 there was another big difference, and that was how to edit the home page. In most WordPress themes, you go to ‘Pages – Home’ and then edit the home page, in Genesis you had to go to ‘Appearance – Widgets’ and there you would find widget areas which were called ‘Home Top’, ‘Home Middle’ and ‘Home Bottom’ or similar.

When you added widgets to those widget areas you could populate your front page, then you had to click into the individual widgets directly to add your content. That’s very different to other themes and can be a bit confusing for people when they just get started with Genesis. You will still find that kind of setup in WordPress sites which use an older version of WordPress. However, if you start now you will download the newest WordPress version anyway, and can use the block editor on the homepage.

Here is a nice video on how to get started with Genesis Pro and WordPress 5.0+.

How to make Genesis more user-friendly for WordPress beginners

Page Builder Beaver Builder

There is some more good news if you’re not really into CSS and coding, or for some reason don’t want to use any of the pre-built Genesis child themes. You also have the option to get all the benefits of Genesis and make it more user friendly by opting for the premium page builder Beaver Builder. I’ve seen it used in many Genesis-built websites, it’s also well known and has been discussed on the StudioPress community forum for years, so Beaver Builder and Genesis work really well together.

Beaver Builder page builder and Genesis work really well together

Beaver Builder is a premium page builder, you can sign up to it here for $99 for the first year and then get a 40% discount when you auto-renew the year after – that’s $40 discount per year! If you opt out of auto-renewal they usually still offer you the 40% discount for another 2 weeks after your subscription has expired. Just after that, the discount will be gone and you’ll have to pay full price again, so ideally keep auto-renewal on to get the discount, all upcoming updates and really great customer support. They also offer a 30-day money back guarantee if you change your mind.

Genesis plugin Design Palette Pro

There are also a whole bunch of plugins for Genesis and one of them is called Design Palette Pro, which will give you the ability to customise pretty much any area on your Genesis site without touching any code. It includes the header, navigation, content area, sidebars, footers, colours, fonts, backgrounds, margins and padding – pretty much anything, with just the click of a button. The plugin is available for €49 per year for one site, and is a great addition for anybody who doesn’t like to code, but would like to customise their Genesis theme easily.

The Design Palette Pro plugin makes customising the Genesis theme very easy without the need to code anything

How to get Genesis framework and themes for free?

If you sign up for a WPEngine hosting account you can get the Open Source Genesis Framework & 35+ StudioPress Theme Packages with it for FREE! So if you don’t have a hosting account yet, and are interested in building a really fast-loading, good looking website, while using one of the top WordPress hosting providers out there, you can sign up to a hosting account with WPEngine and get the Open Source Genesis Framework & 35+ StudioPress Theme Packages for free – that’s over $2,000 in value! With those savings you can then easily afford to purchase the Beaver Builder or the Design Palette Pro plugin, if you want to make your site easier to customise.    

As a bonus, you can also get 3 months free hosting with WPEngine on top of getting the Open Source Genesis Framework and 35+ StudioPress Theme Packages for FREE

You might also be interested in ‘My top recommended hosting providers and what to look out for when choosing a hosting provider‘. I’ve learnt a lot about hosting providers over the last 10 years, by working with dozens of them from all over the world – they all offer hosting services, but they are not all the same. 


Best free WordPress themes and cheap premium themes by independent theme providers 

And then of course there is MyThemeShop – they are premium developers who create themes and plugins. At the time of writing they have developed over 160 themes and plugins with clean and efficient code, fast website loading times, and search engine optimisation, and they have over 690,000 customers using their products. 

One of their best known themes is Schema which is a very fast-loading, ultra-SEO friendly WordPress theme. It has all the best MyThemeShop features, including their custom options panel, all their shortcodes and widgets, and a pixel perfect design. Schema also includes rich snippets in order to help search engines understand your site and rank you higher.

Fast loading and SEO friendly Schema WordPress Theme

Another very popular MyThemeShop theme is AdSense, – it does exactly what it says on the box. It’s a really fast-loading Google AdSense theme to increase revenue, it comes with the great feature of an inbuilt Adblock detector, and can easily be used for affiliated sites too. 

The popular Ad-Sense WordPress theme with inbuilt Adblock detector

MyThemeShop has a great range of products including free WordPress themes, single themes for very reasonable once-of purchase prices starting from $19, various licenses to use themes on 1, 3 or unlimited numbers of sites, and an extended membership which gives you access to over 160 premium WordPress themes and plugins, all their new products and loads more for $99/year. 


Best place to find niche WordPress themes

MyThemeShop also has some really great niche themes (i.e. Science, Drop shipping, Crypto, Coupon, Newspaper, Real Estate, Pets, Writer and Affiliate Marketing themes and many more) and often have some great special offers on too, so it’s worth checking them out. 

MyThemeShop customer support

What can I say about MyThemeShop customer support? It’s brilliant and very fast. They have lots of people in their customer support team but I frequently see the same moderators in their support chat helping people out in a very efficient manner. They usually reply within a few hours and they are happy to help with a bit of coding etc. too – even though I’m not even sure if that’s officially included in their customer support 😉

So, yes it’s always worth reading each providers’ FAQs on what’s supported of course, but from my experience over the years, MyThemeShop has never refused to help me with anything. 


The fastest WordPress theme by ThemeIsle

And then there is one more independent theme provider I really have to mention and that’s ThemeIsle. They are around since 2012 and are well known for their WordPress premium themes Neve and Hestia Pro

Hestia Pro is a very popular and beautiful one-page business theme with lots of 5-star reviews, which is worth checking out if you’re looking for a great one-page theme.

Hestia Pro a beautiful and very popular one-page business WordPress theme with lots of 5-star reviews

Neve WordPress theme

Neve is one of ThemeIsle’s super-fast, most user-friendly and customisable WordPress themes – over 200,000 sites run with Neve. It loads in less than 1 second on a default install, 0.6 seconds to be precise – that’s impressive!

But Neve is not just one of the fastest WordPress theme out there, it also comes with a starter site library, so you have the choice of well-designed templates for any of your pages, straight out of the box. And it is AMP compatible – which is really important to Google and will be one of the most important features in the near future for all themes!

Neve is a super-fast WordPress themes with starter site library and AMP compatibility

Themes for Elementor page builder with Elementor booster

The Neve theme comes with drag-and-drop components, so it’s easy to customise even for a novice WordPress user. Its seamless integration with Gutenberg and all well-known page builders such as Elementor, Beaver Builder, Visual Composer, SiteOrigin and Divi Builder makes it easy to create beautiful post and pages without any coding. 

Website speed is one of the highest priorities for many website owners, as neither readers nor Google like slow loading websites – so it’s well worth checking out ThemeIsle’s fastest WordPress theme Neve for any project.

ThemeIsle offers different plans and has over 450,000 happy users, or pirates as they like to call their fans. All their plans include header and blog booster, Elementor booster (to add extra features to the popular page builder Elementor), different custom layouts and unlimited support and updates for any number of sites.

ThemeIsle’s personal plan starts at €59/year. Their Business plan includes premium starter sites, WooCommerce booster and priority support for €99/year. 

Download the fastest WordPress theme for free

ThemeIsle offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, but the best part is that you can check out their Hestia Pro demo page first, and even download the super fast Neve theme for free to see how easy it runs, without signing up for anything.

ThemeIsle offers free WordPress themes, premium themes and plugins, all developed by ThemeIsle’s own developers. They have a very informative blog, lots of tutorials and a well-documented FAQ section on their website.  


Best WordPress theme conclusion 

Now, this list of best WordPress theme providers got a bit longer than I thought – much longer actually – but there is just so much out there that it’s difficult to make it shorter. Well, let’s try to briefly summarise our best WordPress themes for different projects.

If you’re looking for one of the most popular multipurpose WordPress theme with lots of prebuilt layouts and customisation options you can’t go wrong with either the Avada, Kalium or Divi. All three are very versatile themes with lots of options but are really easy to get started with and your site can be built within minutes. 

If you’re interested in a more simple theme, which is extremely flexible and provides a secure and search engine optimised foundation, you should consider the Genesis framework. Genesis is a firm favourite of many developers as it’s so powerful without any bloat. As mentioned before, here is a really good special offer with WPEngine where you can get the Open Source Genesis Framework & 35+ StudioPress Theme Packages for FREE & 3 months free hosting with WPEngine on top of that. That’s a saving of over $2,000!

If you’re not really sure of the layout for your website yet and you would like some inspiration, your best bet would be to go to ThemeForest and browse their massive WordPress theme and template library. They offer the widest choice with thousands of premium WordPress themes for corporate or entertainment websites, non-profit sector, e-commerce web stores, creative sites, blog and magazine themes – and many more. It’s a great place to get inspired and find the perfect theme for any sector with lots of discounts and prices starting at $14 for premium WordPress themes

If you’re looking for some of the best Niche WordPress themes, you should check out MyThemeShop. They have some really great niche themes (i.e. Science, Drop shipping, Crypto, Coupon, Newspaper, Real Estate, Pets, Writer and Affiliate Marketing themes and many more) and often have some great special offers too, so it’s definitely worth checking them out. Their themes start at $19 and they offer some great membership options too.

Last but not least, if performance and speed are what you’re looking for, then make sure to visit ThemeIsle and their super fast theme Neve.

So, I hope you’ve found this post about WordPress themes to be useful, and please let me know in a comment below which theme you went for. 

What’s next?

Now that we have covered the exciting part of choosing a WordPress theme, you can get stuck into customising your site. But amidst all this excitement, we should also remember that all these great options to do it all yourself also come with responsibilities: you are in charge of your site, and that includes maintaining a hosting account, taking care of backups, looking after software and security updates, and fixing things – which might need some coding – if something goes pear-shaped. 

Of course, it’s not impossible to do or learn, and there are loads of tutorials out there. However, many people who don’t work with websites on a regular basis might find all this to be quite technical and very time consuming. This is actually often one of the biggest headaches I hear about from my students, but don’t worry there are ways to make all this much easier and to remove the stress of keeping your site running securely. 

Check out ‘What is a website maintenance plan, what can it do for my site before I run into issues and why could it be the best investment ever?‘ so you can spend more time blogging and creating content knowing your site is secure.


So, what about you, which theme did you go for and why?

Please let me know in a comment below – I’d love to hear from you!

You might also be interested in Keyword Planning – How to find longtail keywords to kickstart your traffic. Or perhaps ‘Google Keyword Planner free alternatives 2021‘ and ‘How to deal with website maintenance‘ so you can spend more time blogging and creating content knowing your site is secure.

I’ve got lots more easy-to-follow tutorials, such as how to get WordPress FTP access or upload a text file to WordPress without plugins to get started with Google AdSense.

Check them both out or click the button below for the full index of the How to start a blog in 2021 Index- step-by-step WordPress tutorials so far and I’ll keep updating this index as the guide develops. 

WordPress.com discount – 40% off!

Some of the links below might be affiliated links. No extra cost for you, sometimes with discounts and always the correct product. Read more

Get a head start on your next WordPress.com project with 40% off – use discount code NEWSITE40 (valid until March 25th 2021)

Once the offer above has expired you can still get $25 off you next purchase by using this link: Get $25 off your next WordPress.com account (no expiry date)

Enjoy a custom domain, accept payments from your site, and design it all with premium themes. You can also get 24/7 personal support and a 14-day money back guarantee using the WordPress.com discount code above.

There’s never been a better time to start that new website, launch that new blog, or tackle that new project idea you’ve been dreaming about.

Discount applies to the first payment of an annual plan, but does not apply to future recurring payments. Discount may not be applied to previous purchases, renewals, subscription upgrades, or combined with any other offer.

Interested in how to start a blog and what’s niche blogging all about?

Are you interested in learning How to start a blog in 2021 – step-by-step WordPress tutorials? Learn what you can do yourself easily and what’s worth outsourcing. Check out why you want to get into niche blogging and how to find your niche when you’re just at the start of your blogging career. You can find the full index by clicking the button below and start your own blog or small business website with easy to follow written and video WordPress tutorials.

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How to find your niche before you start blogging

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Episode 2: How to find your niche, the secret to successful blogging, and why you definitely don’t need to be an expert to start a blog

If you are at the beginning of your blogging career, or just setting up a new business and need a website – you probably want to find out how to create a website on a budget without breaking the bank and then monetise it.

You’ve come to the right place. I’ve been teaching WordPress since 2010 in Ireland – check out what clients say about my WordPress training – and I’ll show you in this How to start a blog 2021 – The ultimate WP tutorial step-by-step:

Check out what the 'How to start a blog 2021 - The ultimate WP tutorial' will cover

How to start a blog 2021 – The ultimate WordPress tutorial’ will cover

  • What kind of options you’ve got for each WordPress topic (free and premium)
  • Advantages and disadvantage of each and what to look out for
  • Where it’s worth spending some money and what you can do yourself easily (even for WordPress beginners)
  • I include lots of written and video tutorials for each topic so it’s easy for you to follow

This is a full-blown tutorial series on how to build a small business website for beginners and getting into niche blogging, with individual detailed posts for each topic. The index makes it easy for you to find what you’re interested in, skip parts you don’t need and go back to parts you might like to do later.

What’s the secret to start a successful blog

Successful blogs can be about anything, not just wealth, health, food or fashion, which are currently some of the most popular blogging niches. However, any blog in any niche can become successful as long as you keep a few core values in mind.

The key components to make a blog successful would be that the content will improve the reader’s life, that you provide value and build trust.

Core values of a successful blog

  • Improve the reader’s life
  • Provide value
  • Build trust
  • Be committed to your blog
  • Have an interested in your niche (not vital but it makes it so much easier and fun)

How to find your niche for your blog?

If you can provide these core elements to improve the reader’s life, provide value, build trust and you are in for the long-haul your blog can become extremely successful almost regardless of the niche you start a blog about. Try to be specific about your niche and core audience, but don’t try to combine unrelated niche ideas into one blog as it will be difficult to find an audience who is interested in exactly the same unrelated niches just because you are.

As an example, you might like gardening, fishing, football, cooking and paragliding which makes for an interesting lifestyle however finding people who are also interested in all five topics will be a challenge and it makes it more difficult for Google to display your blog to the right audience. My advice would be to investigate search trends for each blogging niche, do some good keyword research in regards to competition and search volume, think about how to monetise each niche and then decide which niche will be best to start a blog with.

For many bloggers – including myself – there is however one more crucial fact when starting a blog and that is to be passionate about your niche. This is not vital, but it makes it so much easier to stick with it and fun writing about it.

It’s not necessary, as you can see with the example of the Keto diet bandwagon – it’s a bit further down in this post under ‘Make money blogging‘ – you can start a successful blog just by picking the right niche without having a real interest in that niche, but for most bloggers, passion makes it much easier.

For many bloggers, it’s often a hobby like gardening, fishing, baking, gaming, cycling, travelling, photography etc. Things the blogger loves to do, read and write about. They share their passion with others and improve the reader’s life with their knowledge – and it’s even better when they realise that they can make money blogging with their blog. Once you have an audience, you can monetise your blog without being pushy.

5 steps to find your perfect blogging niche

1. Interest and passion

What are you interested in or passionate about? Pick a niche you enjoy reading and talking about, so it will be much more fun writing about because you’re interested in it anyway. You can simply write down your different interests or use a mind mapping tool to get a bit more clarity on your thoughts, ideas, interests and different passions.

2. Target audience

Who is your target audience? This is really important. Who are you writing for?

  • It could be specific demographics such as age, gender, nationality or education.
  • It might be a specific lifestyle people choose, e.g. an activity such as sailing, hiking or simply the outdoors,
    or a lifestyle choice like to follow a specific diet e.g. keto or veganism.
  • It could be a lifestyle they find themselves in e.g. pregnancy, being new to a country/area, being single etc.
  • Also think about whether you focus on beginners or professionals in your niche, e.g. beginner tutorials about photography or all the newest trends for advanced and professional photographers.

Some niches and target audiences are great to combine such as baby development and baby weaning, however often it can be easier to get established in a certain niche first by starting with just one topic and then adding a related niche after an audience and domain authority has been established.

If you’re not clear about your target audience it can be difficult to reach the right people – the ones who are really interested in your niche. If your site is too broad and not focussing on one target audience, readers might not come back to your blog and therefore it will be difficult to grow your site.

3. Narrow down your niche

Let’s say you choose ‘Fitness’.
Fitness is massive!
Now ask yourself ‘Fitness for who’?
Fitness for women (ok, now narrow it down more)
-> Fitness for women between 20 and 40 years of age
-> Fitness for women between 20 and 40 who have children
-> Fitness for women between 20 and 40 who have very young children
-> Fitness for young mothers with babies and toddlers!

There we go – this is our target audience ‘Fitness for young mothers with babies and toddlers‘ and it’s not just ‘Fitness’ or ‘Fitness for women’ which would be very broad with great competition and difficult to break in as a new blog with low domain authority and no backlinks yet.

Now we have identified our target audience ‘Young mothers with small children who want to stay fit or become fit again’. That’s a very different audience than let’s say single women who have not recently given birth and have much more flexibility in organising their days.

Each group or audience will have completely different goals and priorities.

If you try to create a fitness blog for everyone you won’t be able to tailor your content to any specific audience. Therefore, likely you won’t win their trust as the content will be too diverse. I think we all agree, it would be a challenge to create a post that would be of interest to a teenager, a mother of three and a man who plays squash three times a week.

However, once young mothers who are interested in fitness but don’t have time for the gym, come to your site and realise it’s all about ‘Fitness for young mothers with babies and toddlers’ it’s very likely that they’ll sign up for your newsletter or follow you on social media. Because you understand them (trust) and provide exactly what they’re looking for – you provide value (all content is targeted to them, no waste of time) and it will improve their lives.

Does that sound familiar? See above ‘What’s the secret to start a successful blog‘ 😉 So, niche down and identify your target audience!

4. Is your niche popular enough?

There are lots of online keyword research tools available however one of the easiest and free tools just to get started would be Google Trends.

You can compare different search terms and see how popular they’ve been over the last 12 months. It’s not the most comprehensive research tool out there but it gives you a good idea on what people google for.

In the example below, we compared 5 search phrases and we can see that even though they all are searched for, ‘yoga at home’ has been the most popular one in the past 12 months and is searched for consistently, so it might be a good topic to focus on.

And the data comes straight from Google itself, there is no better source for traffic data.

5. Keyword research

Now we come to the part which will make all the difference whether your blog will get traffic or not. Especially at the beginning of your blogging journey, it can be very frustrating and demotivating if all your hard work of writing great blog posts just seem to disappear in cyber space, don’t get found, read, shared or comment on. They key here is keyword research and do it before you start writing!

Believe me, it’ll save you a lot of work instead of rewriting your posts – I’m guilty of this too as I love writing and sometimes ideas just come into my head, I start writing and 2000 words later I remember that I haven’t done any keyword research yet. Rewriting posts take long and is cumbersome work, listing to my own – and SEO experts – advice of doing your keyword research first makes it so much easier and enjoyable ;-).

There are lots of keyword research tools available and I have written a full mini-series about keyword research, covering all the basics, how to find long-tail keywords and kickstart your traffic, all about free keyword planning tools, and comparing two of my favourite and most affordable keyword planning tools. A whole mini-series as keyword research will make all the difference whether your blog posts will be found or not. Keyword research is one of the most important tasks when blogging, but often it seems a bit complicated for new bloggers even though it doesn’t have to be.

The blogging world is very competitive and if you don’t do your research your blog will very likely just be one of many thousands which will never make it on page 1 in Google and will therefore never be found – all your hard work for nothing and unfortunately no blogging revenue either.

Some of the best known and most extensive keyword research tools cost around $100 per months, which is a lot if you just getting started. Let’s have a quick look at one of the less expensive but very comprehensive research tools, which can make keyword research a breeze. One of my favourite tools would be LongTail Pro, and I use it almost daily. It’s very easy to use and gives you loads of bang for the buck, here you can find a very detailed post about Long Tail Pro vs. KWFinder – all pros, cons and how to get the best deals.

Let’s have a look at the fitness example we had above and with what kind of post titles you could get onto page 1 in Google without any problems even with a new blog and no domain authority.

Trying to rank with broad keywords such as ‘fitness’, ‘health and fitness’, or ‘female fitness’ would be extremely difficult with a new blog as you can see at the score under ‘Avg. KC (Average Keyword Competitiveness) higher numbers indicate a higher level of keyword difficulty. With a new blog you should consider longtail keyword in the KC range of 25-30.
Sorting the list by keyword difficulty we can identify long-tail keywords with a relatively high search volume but with less keyword competitiveness. Here we find search phrases such as ‘mom workout’ and ‘pre-workout for breastfeeding mothers’ being extremely easy to rank for even for a brand new blog. However even keywords such as ‘fit mom’ or ‘shoulder workout women’ would be interesting down the line with good search volume.

Don’t get discouraged by lower search volume, it actually feels really thrilling when you get your first few readers, your first few shares and comments. It’s exhilarating when strangers find your blog, like what you’ve written and subscribe to your blog because they want to read more of what you write. You need a starting point – and actually a search volume of 880 is not too bad, that’s just one search phrase – and then you can steadily build on that.

You can try Long Tail Pro for free for 7 days with 100 keyword suggestions per day, you can even download them for future blog ideas every day and keep them even if you don’t sign up for an account after your trial. KWFinder offers a free trial too and you don’t even need a credit card to use it. You can read more detailed information about Keyword Research for SEO – free Google keyword alternatives and compare Long Tail Pro vs. KWFinder, two very comprehensive keyword planners that come with a really low price tag.

Do I have to be an expert in a topic when starting a blog?

No, you don’t have to be an expert at all to run a successful blog, podcast or even a radio show. However, having an interest in the topic you write or talk about does certainly help, as the research, you will have to do will be much more pleasant if it’s about something you are interested in.


If you are enjoying this post, would you mind sharing it with your network? Yes, it’ll mean a lot to me. However, sharing helpful content on social media will benefit you too. People will realise you are someone to go to for great information. Just one click:

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Ok, I said that we don’t have to be an expert to start a blog or even a radio show. That might sound a bit extreme but I think we all agree to start a radio show would certainly be more difficult than starting a blog. Good news, it’s possible and a good example would be Irish radio presenter Jonathan McCrea who has made a career out of writing and speaking about science but curiously he doesn’t have any background in any of the sciences.

In school, he never had much interest in science. “I had great teachers in school but I didn’t pursue science at the time. Now it’s all about explaining the universe or sending people into space, but in my time it was presented in a pretty dull way. I was always interested in logic and reason, however. I’ve always been fascinated with how things work.”

He studied communications and worked in IT, but Science would prove to be McCrea’s niche and he would go on to forge a multi-award-winning media career presenting The Science Squad on RTE and Futureproof on Newstalk 106-108fm.

Source https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/jonathan-mccreas-chemistry-lesson-30913300.html

He has said himself, that he’s no science expert but has a keen interest in it and his listeners love his shows (including myself).

Then there is Pat Flynn from smartpassiveincome.com who lost his job as an architect and decided to start an internet business. His blog was initially set up as a website to store his notes while studying a special type of architecture qualification called the LEED exam. He created an ebook out of his notes and sold it to people who wanted to pass this exam.

He said himself, he was no expert in this field but he had managed to pass the exam and realised that his knowledge was in demand after helping others on a forum. He still remembers when he made his first $1.08 in advertising clicks, then months later a few thousand in sales from his ebook and today he’s a well-known millionaire running a media-based education and training company.

Experience not required

“You don’t have to know everything about a topic to give a talk about it.”

Abi JonesUX Manager at Google

…Or to start a podcast. Or to write an article. Or be on a panel. Or present in front of a group. Just do your research!

Courage is the power to let go of the familiar.

RAYMOND LINDQUIST

What is imposter syndrome

You might have heard of Imposter Syndrom. It’s actually very common and everybody who starts out will be familiar with it. It refers to believing that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be. You doubt your skills, talents or accomplishments. You feel that you’re not an expert in your field and there are others out there who are better or know more than you. And most likely there are people out there who are better or know more than you, but that does not mean that your knowledge is not extremely valuable to others. And maybe you have other advantages such as good writing or communication skills, or more endurance and great determination which will enhance your skillset as a blogger enormously.

Any new transitional experience, a new career, a promotion or starting your own business, can trigger those feelings and it’s often the reason why people step back into safety, back into the familiar and not taking the step to get out there.

You never change your life until you step out of your comfort zone; change begins at the end of your comfort zone.

ROY T. BENNETT

Just don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. There is no need to be an expert to start a blog, many blogs are about sharing experience and learning from each other. Be honest about what your blog is about and you will attract the right kind of audience for your niche.

If you’re starting a blog under false pretence, readers will find out and they won’t like it. It’s a common issue in the fitness branches where people think just because they have tried some kind of exercise or diet that they are now someone who can tell others what to eat or do, often without any evidence or background knowledge. You can read an entertaining summary of fake fitness bloggers in Jasmine’s post on Stylecaster, even though it’s already a few years old it’s still interesting.

In summary, many bloggers – and readers – like to share their experience instead of trying to be an expert. You can share your journey with your readers and learn from each other. As I mentioned before, be honest what your blog is about and you will attract the right kind of audience for your niche.

Blog to make money

When it comes to writing engaging content passion certainly helps, however, that said there are also many successful bloggers out there who blog about something popular just to make money online e.g. the Keto diet a few years ago. Many bloggers jumped on the bandwagon and some of them made really good money while Keto was suddenly very popular but there wasn’t much information out there yet.

These bloggers are not really – or not at all – passionate about the topic they write about, but do very good keyword research and then write search engine optimised (SEO) content on topics that are high in demand.

That can work extremely well, but I just find it much easier to write about things I love and believe in especially in the long run ;-).

What about you, what would you like to blog about? Is it for passion or money or both?

Please let me know in a comment below – I’d love to hear from you!

Read our last post ‘Why WordPress and what to know before getting started‘ or find out ‘Where to find the best and fastest website themes‘. Or how popular WordPress really is and why it’s trusted by world-renowned businesses.

Check them both out or click the button above for the full index of the How to start a blog in 2021 Index- step-by-step WordPress tutorials so far and I’ll keep updating this index as the WordPress tutorial guide develops. 

How to start a blog 2021 – The ultimate tutorial step-by-step

Some of the links below might be affiliated links. No extra cost for you, sometimes with discounts and always the correct product. Read more

Episode 1: Why WordPress, what’s niche blogging, and what to know before getting started

How to build a small business website or blog for beginners – on a budget

If you are at the beginning of your blogging career, or just setting up a new business and need a website – you probably want to find out how to build a small business website with good SEO without breaking the bank.

You’ve come to the right place. I’ve been teaching WordPress since 2010 in Ireland – check out what clients say about my WordPress training – and I’ll show you everything in this ‘How to start a blog 2021‘ step-by-step tutorial:

Each WordPress beginner tutorial will cover

  • What kind of options you’ve got for each WordPress topic (free and premium)
  • Advantages and disadvantage of each and what to look out for
  • Where it’s worth spending some money and what you can do yourself easily (even for WordPress beginners)
  • I include lots of written and video tutorials for each topic so it’s easy for you to follow

This is a full-blown tutorial series on how to build a small business website for beginners and getting into niche blogging, with individual detailed posts for each topic. The index makes it easy for you to find what you’re interested in, skip parts you don’t need and go back to parts you might like to do later.

Do I have to pay for the tutorial ‘How to start a blog 2021’?

All WordPress tutorials on this site will be completely free and I will include everything I usually teach participants in the WordPress Starter, WordPress Advanced and WordPress customised training. You can also leave a comment below, on any topic you’re interested in and I will try my best to include them in upcoming tutorials.

Why WordPress? And is WordPress good to build a professional website or blog

Let’s get the facts out of the way: WordPress is extremely flexible, user-friendly and very search engine friendly right out of the box. So it’s a brilliant tool for beginners as the site can be set up easily without any coding knowledge, and lots of hosting providers offer automatic WordPress installs now. WordPress is also loved by Google and your site won’t need much customisation to be found and indexed by search engines.

WordPress automatically solves a ton of SEO issues. 80-90% of the mechanics of SEO is already taken care of with WordPress, straight out of the box, before you even use any special SEO plugins.”

Matt Cutts, Former Head of Google web spam team for 10 years – at Wordcamp 2009
1 minute video clip of Matt Cutts of Google Web Spam Team explaining why to use WordPress at WordCamp 2009

WordPress for beginners & experienced users

That said, it’s certainly not just for beginners. WordPress is also great for experienced users as it’s entirely customisable. With over 8,000 themes and over 50,000 plugins to choose from you can build pretty much any type of blog, personal, niche or business website. Let’s have a look at some well-known WordPress websites.

WordPress for News, Fun and Super-stars

For good reason, it’s trusted by world-renowned businesses including CNN (this is a massive news blog which shows WP’s scalability and how it copes with massive traffic every day without any issues). Other sites built in WordPress include NASA, Forbes (their whole site is built in WP but they also write about WP like this interesting post on the ‘5 top WP trends to follow in 2020‘ and other tech news in general), Bloomberg Professional Services, and Microsoft News.

NASA
CNN
Bloomberg
Microsoft

But also fun sites like Star Wars, Walt Disney and Sony Music trust WordPress.

Star Wars
Walt Disney
Sony

And super-stars like Snoop Dogg, Beyonce and Katy Perry who all have their sites built with WordPress as well.

Snoop Dogg
Beyonce
Katy Perry

Now to be clear, the sites mentioned above don’t use WordPress out of the box, they are heavily customised by professional WordPress developers as to be expected by such large organisations and corporations. However, it shows the scalability of WordPress and that it’s a trusted, reliable, flexible and customisable Content Management System (CMS).

So, I think you get the picture – WordPress is a very popular and most trusted content management system. Which you can also see on this infographic by Trends.Buildwith.com on ‘CMS Usage Distribution on the Entire Internet – Distribution for websites using CMS technologies’.

source: https://trends.builtwith.com/cms/traffic/Entire-Internet

My WordPress experience and what’s in it for you

Now, back to us – the average small business owners and what we can get out of WordPress!

I have been working with WordPress pretty much every day for the last 14 years. Over the years I have worked with a few fabulous WordPress marketers and developers on different projects together, and I’m very lucky to be part of the most lovely organiser’s team for WordCamp Dublin. You can find WordCamps all over the world. They are casual, locally-organised, not-for-profit conferences covering everything related to WordPress & beyond. Let’s hope Covid-19 will soon be under control and that events will be possible again, so we can organise another awesome WordCamp Ireland in the near future. If you make it to the next one, please say hello ;-).


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WordPress Training

As my main job, I offer WordPress group courses and customised training for individuals and groups of staff in Ireland. My clients range from charities and self-employed individuals to financial services providers, county councils, the Department of Education, schools and colleges such as UCD (University College Dublin), hospitals and clinics, property developers and large organisations such as KPMG, Fineos (large insurance software company) and the Houses of the Oireachtas (the Irish Parliament). 

Building niche websites

I enjoy teaching them all, every website and individual’s requirements are always different so every training day is unique. However, the one type of person I enjoy teaching the most is the person who is passionate about something and (finally) wants to create niche websites to blog about what they’re really into!

Niche blogging

Niche blogging can be incredibly rewarding and lucrative, and is especially suitable for new bloggers. People get very excited when they learn that they can create a successful niche website within a short time frame and even outrank some large sites with a high domain authority score, even as a very new blogger. Good keyword research and a bit of passion for the chosen topic is all that’s needed. But I’ll come back to building niche websites later again in a lot more detail.

Are you one of them? A new blogger with passion? If so, please let me know in a comment below – I’d love to hear from you!

What’s the format of the ‘How to start a blog 2021 tutorial‘ – and can I jump in and out?

Some posts in the ‘Start a blog 2021 tutorial‘ will be a comparison post with different options explained like ‘What’s website maintenance? The 5 best and most affordable plans. Why it’s so important and could it be the best money you ever spend?’ or ‘Keyword Planning – KWFinder vs. Long Tail Pro‘.

Other posts will be video tutorials especially if they are very detailed and the steps are easier to follow when you can watch how to do it like in ‘How to connect WordPress with an FTP client’.

And some other posts in this series are written step-by-step tutorials like I usually use in participants manuals like on ‘How to create Pinterest Rich Pins with RankMath in 5 minutes’. 

So, depending on the topic I cover that day I will choose the method which I think will be most useful for readers. You are also welcome to let me know in a comment below which method you find most helpful. 

The full ‘How to start a blog’ tutorial can not be written overnight as you can imagine it’s very time-consuming, but I will publish posts for the guide as I develop them – step-by-step ;-). 

So ideally subscribe to my email list and I’ll keep you up-to-date on any new tutorials I create.

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You can go straight to the next post and find out ‘What’s the secret to successful blogging, how to find your niche, and why you definitely don’t need to be an expert to start a blog‘, or find out ‘Where to find the best and fastest website themes‘.

Here you can find an index of all published posts to ‘How to start a blog 2021 – The ultimate tutorial step-by-stepso far and I’ll keep updating this index as the guide develops. 

Index: How to start a blog 2021 – The ultimate tutorial step-by-step

Full Index – How to start a blog

Start a blog and build a small business website

Are you interested in learning how to build a small business website?

Would you like to start a blog or building a niche website, and want to get into niche blogging?

Would you like to learn more about WordPress, SEO and keyword research?

Then you’ve come to the right place, this WordPress tutorial can get you there step-by-step without the need of a developer or a web agency.

Niche blogging to make money online

Building a niche website is a fantastic way to make money online even with a brand new blog. Learning how to do proper keyword research is extremely valuable and then getting your website indexed on page 1 in Google for carefully chosen longtail keywords is incredibly exciting.

I’ve been teaching WordPress in Ireland for over 10 years and I’m very excited to share my knowledge with you.

This guide is specifically for people who want to:

  • Build a small business website
  • Build a niche website
  • Start a blog
  • Get into niche blogging
  • Make money online
  • Do all this on a budget but also learn where it’s worth to spend some money to keep a healthy work-life balance

This is not a get-rich-scheme, no black magic and it won’t happen overnight but if you’re interested in making money online step-by-step and build on this longterm, you’ve come to the right place!

I’d recommend starting at the beginning of this guide and at least skim through each episode however if you prefer to jump straight to a specific topic, just click any topic in the index above.

Ideally bookmark this index page as I will update it regularly with new topics and sign up to our email list to stay up-to-date on any new tutorials, research, tips and tricks to write about your passion and create passive income.

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How to create Pinterest Rich Pins with Rank Math – in 5 minutes

I’m sure you’ve heard of Rich Pins on Pinterest, you probably have come across some pins which display much more information about their connected website than others – that’s the look of Rich Pins. 

And I’m sure you searched for how to create Pinterest Rich Pins with Rank Math – that’s probably how you got here. You probably found lots of different and some confusing instructions but I’ve got some good news for you: it’s super easy and it’ll take less than 5 minutes!

Jump straight to the step-by-step tutorial

What are the benefits of Rich Pins? 

Rich Pins let your content stand out, as mentioned above and you have probably noticed them already. It displays a bold title in the feed and gives readers extra information about the attached website above and below the image on closeup.

Most (yes not all, more to that below) Rich Pins update automatically! How cool is that? They are an organic pin, which means when you make a change to the post on your website it will update automatically the pin associated to that page.

Rich Pins are branded. They display your logo and website, which gives your account more brand awareness. Readers who see the same brand multiple times will start to recognise and trust you more. 

There are three different types of pins, you can choose which one suits your website best. 

What’s a Product Rich Pin?

Product Rich Pins – great for any e-commerce website as they display product information and have the ability to show up-to-date pricing and availability. If you are in the US or the UK you have to be on the list of approved merchants with Pinterest, you can apply here for it and read about all its other benefits

Once you have been accepted your rich pins are synchronised with your website and any changes you make to your post will update automatically with your rich pins. I think that is a fabulous feature for anybody who sells products on their website as it keeps your followers up-to-date – really cool! And it’s free too!

What’s a Recipe Rich Pin?

Recipe Rich Pins – obviously for anybody who shares recipes. I find the greatest feature of a Recipe Rich Pin is that it displays a list of ingredients below the title and description. You can also show reviews, cooking time, diet preference and serving size.

Most recipe blogs use Rich Pins already as I think they realised quickly how much easier it makes their reader’s life. As followers can quickly see whether they have the ingredients or if they are easily available, they can quickly make a decision to save the recipe or not. If you make a change to your recipe the pin will update automatically too.

What’s an Article Rich Pin?

Article Rich Pins – for any other blogger who does not have a shop or shares recipes, the good old blogger who writes posts to inform, educate and entertain their readers – like me.

This Rich Pin is not as fancy but it will display your title bold in the feed and then displays the title, description and author’s name next to the pin on closeup. Not as cool as a product or recipe pin, but it still gives your follower a better idea what your post is all about and whether it’s worth clicking through.

As this pin is synchronised with your blog too it’ll also display any changes you make to the post’s title or description. 

Difference between SEO plugin Yoast and Rank Math

There are loads of instructions on the web how to enable Rich Pins with Yoast, which is a very popular WordPress SEO plugin. However, it’s not the only one, another really cool SEO plugin is Rank Math.

I have used and taught a lot of WordPress course using the SEO plugin Yoast, I have met a few Yoast engineers over the years at WordCamps too and I certainly think it’s one of the best SEO plugins out there. I like their product, I like their team and the support they offer their clients, and it’s a great and very useful addition to any WordPress blog.

However, there is another world-class SEO plugin which is called Rank Math. Both plugins are quite similar to each other and I like them both, however personally I prefer Rank Math currently over Yoast. I have a PRO membership with them and use Rank Math on a couple of websites, I find it a really interesting ‘toy’ and it’s good fun. 

Sorry, of course, it’s not a toy and SEO is really important in the online world, but still, it can be fun too.

I like how intuitive their plugin is, especially their sidebar for each post your write. It analyses your post and gives you a ranking, then it gives you different suggestions on how to make your post better.

It gives you all the little reminders such as whether your keyword is included in your header, how often it shows up in your content, what kind of links you use, but also information about content readability etc. It’s just easy to use, good fun and teaches you subconsciously how to improve your SEO while writing great posts for your readers. 

Rank Math also includes the following:

  • Advanced Google Analytics Integration
  • Keyword Rank Tracking
  • Google Trends Integration
  • The Most Advanced Schema Generator 
  • Automated Schema Implementation
  • News/Video/Image/Local and WooCommerce Sitemap and SEO
  • Track top 5 winning & losing posts and keywords
  • Check Ranking Keywords for each post and position history and lost more

Create Pinterest Rich Pins with Rank Math in 3 steps

Now let’s get back to Pinterest Rich Pins and how to get them set up when using the plugin Rank Math on your site. 

  1. Please login to your Pinterest account, go to ‘Claim’ (on the left-hand side under ‘Settings’) enter your domain name and click ‘Claim’.

In the pop up select the ‘Add HTML tag’ option and copy the meta tag.

2. Go to your WordPress dashboard and add it to Rank Math > General settings > Webmasters > Pinterest verification ID field. Save Changes.

3. Then go to The Rich Pin Validator ( ⬅️ click this link to open the validator)

Add any of your website page URLs to the validator on the bottom of the page and click ‘Validate’. 

Add any of your page URLs then click ‘Validate’

You might have to wait up to an hour, but I usually get a validation within 10 minutes. 

That’s it, it really is super easy and no technical abilities needed. 

I hope you found this post helpful to learn how to create Pinterest Rich Pins with Rank Math.

Please let me know in a comment below what you think, we love comments! I’m sure you’ll leave a lovely or constructive comment, but please feel free to read this about nasty comments, if you’re interested why some people leave hate comments and what you can do if that happens to you.

Do you want to learn more about blogging? The basics to making money blogging

You might also be interested in How to find your niche before you start blogging. Or perhaps ‘Where to find the best and fastest WordPress themes‘ and ‘Keyword Planning – How to find long-tail keywords to kickstart your traffic.

I’ve got lots more, easy to follow, tutorials such as how to get WordPress FTP access or upload a text file to WordPress without plugins to get started with Google AdSense.

Check them both out or click the button below for the full index of the How to start a blog in 2021 Index- step-by-step WordPress tutorials so far and I’ll keep updating this index as the guide develops. 

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for lots more WordPress video tutorials and of course connect on Pinterest. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook

If you’re interested in auto-posting to social media you can check out this plugin – it’s one of the best!

   

How to use FTP to access your WordPress files (Video Tutorial)

Using an FTP programme is not complicated and you can use it for many tasks, such as creating a child theme, copy folders, tighten security, or adding a file to your root folder without the need for a plugin.

Very important before you get started to access WordPress with FTP is, that you have a full backup of your site, just in case.

Jump straight to a step-by-step video tutorial

This video will show you where to find your FTP login details using a Siteground hosting account and how to connect your website with the FTP client FileZilla and access your WordPress files.

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WordPress FTP Filezilla access step-by-step

After installing FileZilla I would highly recommend checking out the video ‘How to add an ads.txt file to your website‘ which will show you how to use FTP to upload files. The tutorial is about uploading a Google text file but it will also work for any other text file you would like to add to your root folder.

It will show you how to upload the ads.txt file (or any other text file) to the root folder of your website in less than 2 minutes and is a great exercise for anybody who’s just getting started on how to use an FTP programme.

It will also give you a detailed overview of your local and remote site in your FTP client and how to find your root folder.

It will show you 3 different ways on how to upload files to your website and how you can check that you have uploaded the file successfully.

Check it out, it’s a really easy step-by-step tutorial which covers all the basics using FTP!

How to use FTP to access your WordPress files – video tutorial

That’s it, I hope you found this post helpful to learn how to use FTP to access your WordPress files.

Please let me know in a comment below what you think, we love comments! I’m sure you’ll leave a lovely or constructive comment, but please feel free to read this about nasty comments, if you’re interested why some people leave hate comments. 

If you’re interested in learning more about WordPress and how to get into niche blogging or build your own small business website with lots of helpful step-by-step WordPress tutorials on keyword research and how to deal with website maintenance please check out our Index on ‘How to start a blog 2021‘ for a full list of tutorials.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for lots more WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on PinterestTwitter and Facebook

How to add ads.txt files to WordPress websites without plugins in 2 minutes

Some of the links below might be affiliated links. No extra cost for you, sometimes with discounts and always the correct product. Read more

Is it really that difficult to upload a small text file to your root folder that you need a plugin? Or is using plugins just what website owners do when they don’t want to pay a developer?

Most often when we try to find a solution for a website problem such as ‘how to add ads.txt files to WordPress’, the advice coming up will be to use a plugin.

But do we really need a plugin for every little task on our site? Can we maybe try to avoid security or compatibility issues by doing certain website tasks manually instead?

Jump straight to a step-by-step video tutorial

My answers to the questions above would be: ‘No we don’t, of course, we can add txt files without plugins’ and ‘Yes, by using fewer plugins we can improve website security and have less compatibility issues as there are fewer plugins to keep up to date’.

As with most things in life, it’s not difficult to add a txt file without a plugin, even for non-techies, if someone shows you how to do it step-by-step like in the video below it’s actually really easy and quick to do. Often we just assume it’s too difficult and we go for the next available plugin without checking if it’s easy to do old school.

But, let’s have a look at why that’s not always the best idea, and how easy and quick it actually is to add ads.txt files manually with an FTP programme.

New WordPress Tutorials 2021!
Are you interested in more WordPress tutorials on how to start a blog with lots of clever WordPress hints and tips?  Want to know how to find your niche before you start blogging or perhaps where to find the best and fastest WordPress themes with super discounts? Find out how to deal with website maintenance – 3 best and most affordable plans to save tons of time every week and our top post Best Google keyword planner alternatives 2021 (all with free options)!

How to fix the Google AdSense ‘Earnings at risk’ message

When you log in to your Google AdSense account, you might see an ‘Earnings at risk’ message.

To remove this risk, it’s recommended to upload a small file to your website to make your seller’s information transparent.

You can of course use a plugin to add the text file. There are plugins for everything today, however, there are a few reasons why you should keep the number of plugins to a reasonable minimum. 

Why should I not use plugins for everything?

First of all, every plugin you add to your site will slow it down, often just a little bit, but it all adds up. Is that really so important? Yes, very important, because readers and search engines don’t like slow sites. That said, not every plugin will slow down your site to the same extent, but more about that a little later.

Another point to remember is that the more plugins you add to your site, the higher the risk will be that you might encounter incompatibility issues on your site. That can lead to a real headache after a software update. 

And then there is your site’s security. Plugins might have some vulnerability that can make it easier for hackers to get access to your site. 

Therefore, I’d recommend that whenever you can add something to your website without the use of a plugin, you should. Especially if it’s something small like a text file which you will have to add once and then will most likely not touch again for a very long time. 

Don’t misunderstand me, plugins are a wonderful addition to any WordPress website, they make it possible for developers and non-developers to create beautiful and well-functioning websites without any coding. I use plugins too of course, but I will always check first if there is an option to do it manually, especially when making small, one-off changes such as adding an ads.txt file. 

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How many plugins should I have on my site?

I hear you asking ‘How many plugins are too many?’ or ‘How many plugins should I have on my site?’ – students ask that all the time. There is no recommended number, it depends on your website and what you’re trying to achieve. Something else I’ve seen over the years and I think is really important: it’s not the quantity of the plugins, but the quality! A poorly coded plugin can slow down your site, whereas all the other plugins on your site can run smoothly. 

Some plugins are so complex, it would be very difficult – and probably impossible for any non-coders – to recreate those incredible options on your site. Plugins like Rank Math SEO or this absolute fantastic grid plugin, I’m so thankful for and they really take WordPress websites to a different level. 

However, what I’m trying to say is that you should always think twice before adding another plugin, and spend a little time to figure out whether there is an option to add the desired function easily without the use of a plugin. Especially if it’s something simple, such as adding a bit of one-off code, then the more desirable option would be to integrate that without the use of a plugin. 

If there is no easy way of doing it without a plugin, please make sure you read the reviews on the plugin (the negative ones too, not just the top three), check when it was last updated, whether it’s compatible with your current WordPress version and who the author of the plugin is. 

Do I need to create a child theme?

If you want to make a change to your theme’s files, you will need to create a child theme first (you can watch my full video tutorial on how to create a child theme) and once that’s done (you just need to do it once) you can make changes to your theme files such as function.php too. Using a child theme is the easiest and safest way to modify an existing theme because the changes are added to the child theme, they will stay there forever and won’t be overwritten with the next theme update. 

Add a text file to your root folder with FileZilla

Anyway, back to Google AdSense. Adding an ads.txt file to your root folder does not need a child theme, it’s really simple using any FTP programme and only takes 2 minutes. I like to use FileZilla as it’s easy to use, it’s open-source and even recommended by WordPress, but any File Transfer Protocol (FTP) programme will do the job. So, if you have one already, use that one, the instructions are pretty much the same for most of them. If you don’t have one yet, google for Filezilla or click the link above, check the requirements and download it – it’s free. 


If you are enjoying this post so far, would you mind to share it with your network? Yes, it’ll mean a lot to me. However, sharing helpful content on social media will benefit you too. People will realise you are someone to go to for great information. Just one click:

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How to add ads.txt file to WordPress without plugins – step-by-step video

  1. I will show you how to upload the ads.txt file (or any other text file) to the root folder of your website in less than 2 minutes.
  2. I will also give you a detailed overview of your local and remote site in your FTP client
  3. How to find your root folder
  4. Show you 3 different ways how to upload files to your website
  5. How can you check that you uploaded the file successfully
  6. How to add additional information to your ads.txt file if you run ads for other sellers

You can also find written instructions below the video, but the video will give you more detailed information.

How to use FTP to upload files to WordPress for Beginners

If you want to add an ads.txt file with FTP, you will first have to log in to your Google AdSense Account or click the link in the email they sent you after applying for it.

If you see there an alert on top of the page, click ‘Fix now’.

If not, you can just go to ’Sites’. Click the Down arrow, to open the ‘Create an ads.txt file for…’ message.

Download your Google ads.txt file

Click ‘Download’ and your ads.txt file will be downloaded automatically.

If you run ads for other sellers, contact them and ask for their ads.txt information, then just paste it into the text file you just downloaded from your google AdSense account. Please watch the video for detailed instructions on how to do it.

Connect an FTP programme with your hosting account

I use the FTP programme ‘FileZilla’ in this video. To learn how to connect a FileZilla account with a Siteground hosting account, please check out this video ‘How to access WordPress with FTP – step-by-step‘ for an easy to follow video tutorial.

Once you have Filezilla downloaded, log in to your FTP programme, open your root folder which is called ‘public_html’ and upload the ads.txt file you just downloaded to that folder, with a double click, or via drag and drop. 

How to transfer a file to root folder in Filezilla

Check if .txt file is uploaded to root folder correctly

Open a new browser window and enter your domain name followed by /ads.txt. If you uploaded the file correctly you will see the information of the text file in your browser window. It’s very short and doesn’t look like much, but that’s all you need to keep your seller’s information transparent. 

How to check if .txt file is uploaded to root folder correctly using your browser

If you ever change your ad seller, just open the file in your FTP programme, and add or overwrite the information. That’s it! Very easy to do even for non-techie website owners and there is no need for a plugin. 

That’s it, I hope you found this post helpful, to learn how to add an ads.txt file to your WordPress website without plugins by using the Filezilla FTP client.

If you want to know more about plugins and how they work and affect your site you can read this very detailed article.

Please let me know in a comment below what you think, we love comments. And feel free to read this about nasty comments, if you’re interested in why some people leave hate comments. 

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for lots more WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on PinterestTwitter and Facebook

If you’re interested in more WordPress tutorials on how to start a blog with lots of clever WordPress hints and tips.  You can check out our full index How to start a blog in 2021 Index- step-by-step WordPress tutorials so far and I’ll keep updating this index as the WordPress tutorial guide develops.