You’ve retired – congratulations! We know that initially it can take some time to adjust to your newly freed up schedule, but there’s plenty to do. Building and maintaining a WordPress blog can be a fantastic retirement hobby, a way complement to an existing interest, or even a way to make money with WordPress. However, while WordPress is fairly intuitive, the idea of getting your website up and running may seem a little daunting.
Thankfully, there are plenty of free and easy to use tools available to help you create the perfect site. By taking advantage of these (many of which are free) you can build your own website and start blogging.
This post will offer suggestions for topics and guide you step-by-step through the process of crafting your site – including everything from choosing a subject to how to start making money. We will also provide plenty of links to further reading to help you delve deeper into the various topics.
Why Start a Retirement Blog?
Starting a WordPress blog of any type can be beneficial, but a retirement blog can be particularly fulfilling. There are many proven emotional and physical health benefits of writing, including stress reduction and an improved mood. Moreover, a blog offers a way to preserve and pass on knowledge to current and future generations. It could even make you a few bucks along the way.
Before we get started on how to actually start a blog, below is a list of some benefits incase you’re having some second thoughts:
- Give yourself something to do (you are going to have a lot of free time)
- Share memories/experiences with family (and the world)
- Help others by teaching them things you’ve learned over the years (you could start a blog about your former job)
- Take on new challenges (it’s always good to challenge yourself)
- Travel the world (maybe you never had the time before but now you can travel the world and blog about it)
- Make a little extra money (maybe your blog will go viral)
Start your Blog in 7 Easy Steps
Below we’ve outlined a seven-step guide to get you on the road to blogging success. Let’s get started!
Step #1: Decide on Your Subject Matter
Before designing your site you’ll want a good idea of what you want to blog about. Here are a few popular directions for retirement blogs:
- An online journal: You might choose to simply share your thoughts and experiences.
- A topic-specific blog: Perhaps you want to talk about your career, or write about a hobby or interest.
- A local niche blog: You may be interested in blogging about your community, including businesses, events, or issues.
Step #2: Choose a Web Host and Domain Name
We’ll be using the WordPress Content Management System (CMS) to create the site (we’ll expand on why below). This means you’ll want to go with a WordPress-friendly hosting provider. While it’s possible to set up much of your site for free, hosting is one component that does require a fee.
Your domain name is the name that will appear in your website’s URL (e.g. www.domain-name.com). You can obtain one through a web hosting package (your first year is free if you choose to give Bluehost a try), a registrar, or domain name marketplaces. Your domain name is unique and it can be complicated to change later, so it’s worth putting some thought into it at the outset.
Step #3: Install WordPress
Once you have your hosting and domain sorted, it’s time to install WordPress. WordPress is a highly customizable and easy to use platform with a huge support community. It powers over a quarter of the web, and over five hundred new WordPress sites are created daily.
If you’ve chosen one of our recommended hosts, you’ll benefit from a simple one-click WordPress installation process. Most hosts offer excellent support to guide you through this step and troubleshoot any issues.
While WordPress is fairly intuitive, there is quite a lot to learn, especially at the beginning. It’s definitely worth taking a look at some of the many tutorials available for getting started with WordPress.
Step #4: Pick a Theme
Once you have WordPress installed you can choose a theme, which will provide the overall look of your site and may offer additional functionality. While many themes come with lots of bells and whistles, you’ll probably want to stick with a something simple when it comes to blogging, unless you’re feeling adventurous.
Thankfully, there are lots of free and premium themes to choose from. If the choice is overwhelming there are some helpful lists of simple free and premium themes you should check out. Once you have chosen your theme you can customize it manually, or through the tools it might include.
Here are a couple of our own simple and intuitive themes:
1. Zero (Free)
This modern theme is easy to set up and provides a wonderfully simple backdrop for any blog. It offers minimal clutter both for the viewer and behind the scenes, so you can simply focus on sharing your thoughts.
2. New York
This bold theme is perfect for a professional looking blog without the added fuss. The demo site is easy to install and you can also add a shop with your own products (or links to affiliate products on Amazon, etc.) to complement your blog.
Step #5: Add Features and Functionality with Plugins
While WordPress may have everything you need to create a blog out of the box, you will almost certainly want to add features and functionality with plugins.
Plugins are software add-ons designed to extend the core functionality of WordPress. They can add security, improve your workflow, enhance the user experience, and more. While it’s not necessary to use plugins, some are considered essential.
Free plugins can be found in the WordPress.org repository, and you can find premium alternatives in marketplaces such as CodeCanyon. Plugins can be installed and activated with just a couple of clicks. Depending on the plugin, you will often need to go into its Settings screen and adjust the options provided. One of the most popular WordPress plugins with a broad range of settings is Yoast SEO.
It has a long list of features to help you improve your search engine rankings, refine your writing skills, and make your content more user-friendly.
Step #6: Add Your Content
The content you add will be highly dependent on your subject, but some items you may want to consider are:
- About page: This page might contain a short bio and tell readers what your blog is about.
- Contact page: This is a handy addition if you want to welcome questions or other types of correspondence.
- Portfolio: If you’re blogging about a hobby or interest, chances are you’ll have projects to showcase which can be displayed using a portfolio.
- Gallery: Similarly, you may have images that you want to present in the form of a gallery.
- Social Links: You’ll also need to get on social media to share your content. First, decide which social networks are right for your blog then use some of our tips to automate social sharing.
Last but not least, you need to know how to create your first blog post.
Step #7: Monetize Your Site
Although this step is completely optional, you might want to try monetizing your website. If you have a good number of visitors, you can set it up to earn a steady stream of supplementary income to help you enjoy your retirement even more. There are lots of ways to do this, including through affiliate links, advertisements, selling your own products, and writing sponsored posts.
A retirement blog is a great way to document your life as a retiree, share your knowledge of a hobby or interest, or get more involved in your local community. However, while it sounds like a great idea, putting it into practice might be an overwhelming thought.
In this post we’ve provided seven steps for getting started with your retirement blog. Do you have any questions about the process we’ve covered in this article? Let us know in the comments section below!