How To Build A WP Engine Blog

I am a huge fan of building blogs, especially as it allows you to have your own online asset that can grow, and expand, without always requiring an input from yourself. 

I am usually more of a fan of using standalone hosts such as SiteGround, especially if building affiliate blogs, but you do on occasion find managed platforms that can be useful, so today we are going to look at How To Build A WP Engine Blog, or essentially how you can build your own blog or website with WP Engine. 

If you haven't got WPEngine yet, and you are keen to try it out, sign up here, and you can save an extra 20% off with code WPE20OFF.

What Is WP Engine?

WP Engine is a managed service platform, whereby they offer WordPress wrapped inside of their own hosting and own tools. It can be a great way of building a website or blog, especially if you are new or uncertain about creating a website. 

Personally, I prefer to use a standalone host, get WordPress installed and be happy, as it allows a little more freedom (WPEngine and even WordPress.com wrap and sometimes lock standard features behind paywalls). But, WPEngine allows for more flexibility than WordPress.com. 

Getting Started - Signing Up To WP Engine

Using the WPEngine platform does mean you are 

I recommend looking into either NameCheap or 123REG. They both offer domains names for fantastic prices, and it's worth looking into both to see who currently has the best deal on.

We will cover this later on how to buy and switch over to your own custom URL. You will also need to look for a theme, but again this is covered later on.

After you have sorted out your domain, you need to head on over to WPEngine.

 From here, they give you 3 different options, you will only need to choose the Personal tier, as you can see from the image below, it gives you 1 install, 25k visitors a month and a free SSL certificate (great for e-commerce!).

They do also give you a 60-day money back offer, so if you change your mind, cancel and they give you your money back, always nice.

Wp Engine Pricing

Once you have selected your plan, you will be sent to the checkout page. Once on this page be sure to use the code  WPE20OFF - This will knock 20% off your first payment.

WEngine Checkout

It's worth noting that WPEngine is more expensive than say a stand alone host, especially when you start to build up more websites (For example, SiteGround is around $30 per month, but allows for multiple sites). 

The Speed Boost, or the CDN in my eyes isn't required, you can instead sign up to CloudFlare and use the free CDN that they offer. This should save you $20 a month. 

Once inside you will now be shown a page with the following info;

  • Your WPEngine Hosting Portal
  • Login information
  • Current Site URL
  • The WordPress admin URL and some login details (This will be a long string of letters or numbers, or it will be your name.wpengine)

Obviously do try and save that information in a secure place, you will get an email with this information, but obviously it's useful to keep at hand as well. 

Once you have written all this information down or store it securely, it's time to get started. You should receive an email to the login page.

Creating Your Account & Signing In

From here you will then be told to set yourself a password. Be sensible, don't use your dog's name.

You will now see your next screen and a popup, with two possible options, either a migration (you are moving from another host) or a fresh install (you are starting from scratch). 

Wp Engine Signup Manage

You will want to select your 'install' now and be taken to the Overview of the domain you set up.

You will see that the domain is probably called 'yourchosenname.wpengine.com' - Click on the URL next to CNAME

Welcome, to what will become your new blog!

Now that you have seen the front end, it's time to take a look at the back end.

Wp Engine WordPress Backend

This is where you will spend a lot of your time (and you may be familiar with it if you have done a WordPress website before, seriously they all look the same).

From here, we are going to go find a theme

Select the 'Theme' Tab (looks like a paintbrush) and you will be taken to a theme selection screen. You have the ability to upload your own, or go searching on the WordPress database - They have loads. One option is to look into ThemeForest (they offer free and premium themes) but for now, I would just find one that suits you via the 'add new' and search functionality.

Installing a theme with WP Engine

 You will find hundreds, and hundreds of them, so have a scroll through and start selecting and previewing ones that take your fancy.  You do want to keep in mind the primary function of your site. Are you going to be building a Blog primarily, or will you be looking at providing reviews, maybe you want splash pages with free giveaways before you direct to your blog?

Once you have found one that you like,  just click Install.

Installing theme with WpEngine

You will be shown an install screen and either a success or failure, the only time they fail will be if you have found one on the web and it's got a corrupt file zip file or it's incomplete

Now you have installed it, you will want to activate it, so go ahead.

Brilliant, you have a new theme set up and ready to be customised to your liking.

Depending on theme you have chosen you will most likely see the customise button on the Theme Tab you chose earlier

Building a blog with WP Engine

I happen to have chosen a theme that requires an extra plugin, but it will turn the theme into a drag and drop theme, so for this example, I am going to install the Plugin and get on with customising.

Installing a Plugin for WP Engine

Now that I have installed the plugin, I can get on with customising my theme. You really want to take your time with this. You need to think how you want your website to flow, and how it should be laid out.

Do you want big striking images that grab your readers attention, or do you simply want to show people a small piece of text with your blogs name?

You also want to think about how you want the rest of the front page to look, again do you want individual sections, maybe split up with what people could learn or links to parts of the website they would find useful? The world is your oyster and I would recommend taking your time here.

If you are after awesome images, I would recommend looking into PixaBay they offer both royalty free and pay for images. A lot of the images you see on AvidMarketer or even BlogFocused come from this site because they are of such high quality.

Installing And Using Your Own Domain

Congratulations, you have a blog, you have a theme and you may even have some content on it. But now it's time to get you a domain that helps you stick out from the crowd and also gives you a bit of an SEO boost.

123Reg Building a Blog

I recommend looking at either NameCheap or 123Reg for your domain name choices. You want to purchase a URL that helps people identify your blog, or you. For example, I named the original version of this blog The Online Student, as I still had my 'student mindset' and I felt I was a student to affiliate marketing and building an online business. It was also an audience I felt I could focus on. 

I then updated and re-branded the site years later to Avid Marketer, as I felt I had grown as a person and marketing, affiliate marketing and blogging etc had really become something I was avidly involved in and excited about. 

How To Build A WP Engine Blog 2 How To Build A WP Engine Blog

 Having the a good URL can also help boost your SEO, especially if you want to target a certain niche or area of interest.

For example having XboxGameGuides would be really good for getting you high up in the google ranks when people search for 'Xbox game guides' and will give you a huge weighting against other places like 'JamesPalaceofXboxGames' - Because who would be searching for that...

Once you have found the domain of your dreams, its time to add it to your WpEngine account.

Depending on your chosen Registrar, will depend on the back end and how you swap your DNS. I would recommend reading either this guide from NameCheap or this guide from 123Reg.

You will essentially need to change the URL for your CNAME to be yoursite.wpengine.com.

Now you have done this, head back to your site, using yoursite.wpengine.com/wp-admin and click 'Settings', and then 'General'

DNS Update WPENGINE Manual

We will be updating both the WordPress Address (URL) and the Site Address (URL). They both need to be updated from http://yoursite.wpengine.com to http://yourdomain.com. For example, I will be changing mine from http://theonlinestude.wpengine.com to https://www.avidmarketer.com.

DO NOT MAKE ANY TYPOS as this can mean your website becomes misconfigured. You may need to wait for 48hours for the changes to take place, this is called 'DNS Propagation' and putting the incorrect details in can mean that your website sits in limbo for a while.

Once you have made the changes, you need to scroll down and click 'Save Changes'

WPENGINE Manual Config

Now, head back to my.wpengine.com and click the 'Domains' section.

WPENGINE Manual Update Domain

Hit the 'Add Domain' button and type in your URL.

WPENGINE Manual Domain

Now, on the left-hand side click 'Site Migration'  and click the 'Manually Migrate Your Site'

WPENGINE Manual Update

Once you have completed this, you will now need to wait a little while (up to 72 hours). I have had websites switch within 10 - 15minutes and I have had others take the full 72 hours. You can be notified of when the site has been moved, just enter your email and wait for the notification from WPEngine.

How To Build A WP Engine Blog 3 How To Build A WP Engine Blog

And there you go, you now have a website live and ready on the internet. 

Additional Extras

So, you have your website set up, it has content, you have a beautiful domain name and you have images across it now. Awesome.

Now it's time to add some cool features and to start building up your newsletter list or increasing your social following.

One of the apps I like to use is called Sumo it's an easy to install Plugin that allows you to have tools much like you see on this website, including an email catcher popup and an email newsletter bar. All of which allows you to start building up a newsletter list. This list can be really useful for sending notifications of new blog posts, you can send recommendations or even send a great offer you have got from a sponsor or affiliate too them.

Firstly, you want to head to Sumo and sign up for their free service. Doing so is quick, easy and painless. Add your website, but don't worry about attaching it just yet, we will do that via the WordPress app.

Adding App Sumo WordPress

To get the plugin, you need to head on over to your WordPress admin panel and select the 'Plugins' option.

Adding App Sumo Plugin WPENGINE

Select, 'New' and search for Sumo - You will find the SumoMe app made by the guys at SumoMe. Once you have installed the Sumo plugin, you need to activate. Simply click 'Activate' and WordPress will do the rest.

Now you will see a Sumo icon appear on the left-hand bar, click that and open the dashboard. Once here, you will be taken to the Sumo in-house WordPress dashboard. From here you can connect your website. You will be required to sign in with the details you made earlier

Sumo Login

From here you can now select 'MyApps' and you will be taken to the dashboard.

Sidenote: if you want to access the store, you will need to upgrade to one of their premium packages (I would recommend it just for the new templates alone!).

It's now time to create your first email capture form. I recommend using the standard collect email and 'Pop Up' form.

Sumo List Builder

From here you can start to decide how you want it to display, different themes (if you have pro) and where the collected emails go. I would recommend using Aweber for your email collection, just because they allow you to send affiliate links via your emails and you will want to be doing this in the future.

How To Build A WP Engine Blog

Congratulations again, you now have your very own blog, set up and running on the WP Engine platform. For many, they will stay on here as their site grows, but for the others, they will slowly transition off to their own hosting plans, especially as their digital estate grows. 

If you are someone who wants to run a multi-site empire, then be sure to check out the SiteGround review to see if that might be the right host for you. 

1 thought on “How To Build A WP Engine Blog”

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: