Lynn Terry, one of the top affiliate marketers that I follow, just wrote up a post on how to set up a WordPress blog. It's solid advice.
Read it and then come back here to read my specific tweaks to her set up.
Here are my specific tweaks:
- I use NameCheap for my domain name registrar. I usually find a slightly better price on .com names here than at GoDaddy. I do have some legacy Godaddy-registered domain names, but all my new ones are coming through NameCheap. They also have monthly coupons that give you a little discount (usually about $1 off the current $9.69 price).
I will say that I've never had problems with either of them.
- For web hosting, I use BlueHost. They're very similar to HostGator.
- Support is very quick and updating name servers between either GoDaddy or NameCheap and BlueHost is extremely quick (minutes not hours). Again, I've never had a problem with these folks.
- For installing WP, I used to use Fantastico, until I tried SimpleScripts. It's a part of my cPanel on BlueHost. I'm not sure if HostGator uses SimpleScripts, but if they do, I highly recommend them.
- I have used many themes over my blogging lifetime and I have to say that I really like the free Eximius theme. I'm not using it here (I'm using FlexSqueeze, which is totally awesome but not free). Eximius works out of the box and hasn't presented any issues thus far with any of the plugins I use.
- Keyword research is the most important thing you can do when building a brand, site, and especially a niche site. Check out Market Samurai. It totally rocks.
- WP customization. The most important thing I do here is install some really effective plugins, the most important of which is Jeff Johnson's Traffic Getting SEO PluginTM 2.0 – Free Version. You will have to sign up to his mailing list to get the plugin, but I highly suggest you do it; besides, Jeff is a traffic and SEO master. You'll love his how-to videos.
Jeff's plugin actually incorporates quite a few plugins (it's kind of like a meta-plugin) and then tweaks them to perform optimally together.
That's about it! Now, get out and do it!!!