So many people just don’t know where to even go or what to do to get started blogging with WordPress. I decided to share exactly step by step what you can do to be up and running with your own WordPress blog (or website).
Note this is different than a free WordPress.com blog – with WordPress.org (self-hosted) you completely own the content, structure, and everything within the blog, and you pay someone to host it for you. There are more customizations you can do, and you are allowed to conduct any kind of business on a self-hosted blog, because you are in total control. The WordPress.org ‘software’ is what is known as open-source – free and contributed to by many people – so there are many plugins, widgets, themes and other tools people develop and offer for free or a small fee so you can truly make a limitless website using WordPress. I highly recommend it!
Now – HOW to:
1. Secure WordPress-friendly hosting – Hostgator and Bluehost are my favorites (those are my affiliate links!). Secure a basic/small hosting account with a domain name. (If you already have a regular website, you can simply create a folder/directory called “blog” to put WordPress in. This will then be www.whatever.come/blog
2. Either visit WordPress.org for manual installation instructions, or use your web host’s “quick install” button to install WordPress. Read every email and follow each instruction.
3. This gives you a basic blog using the default Twenty-Ten theme. If you like the basic layout, once you’re logged in go to Appearance and experiment with different headers and layouts. If you’re feeling adventurous click on themes- Add New and see what else is available. I recommend using WordPress sanctioned themes for free versions, especially SEO friendly themes such as Atahualpa. If you’re willing to pay I do recommend a few premium themes or paid themes such as Thesis, Headway and Genesis (affiliate links). If you’re not adventurous, stick to the basics!
4. Go to Settings – Permalinks. Choose Custom and insert this to improve your SEO by including your post titles in the URLs: /%postname%/
5. Go to Pages – Add New and create a Welcome page of some kind. You’ll see an editing bar with options for inserting pictures or formatting the font etc. Play around with it to get it how you like it then save.
6. Go to Pages and find the About page that’s already been started for you. Click Edit and change it to your own About info then save.
7. Go to Pages – Add New and create a page with the title of Blog and put nothing else on it – then save.
8. Go to Settings – Reading and change the settings to show the Front Page displaying the Welcome page you created, and the Posts page showing the Blog page you created. This will make your site have a Home page with the Welcome page, and a Blog tab with snippets of your blog posts. Save.
9. Go to Posts – this is where blog posts or articles will live. There is a sample post already in there called Hello World. Click Move to Trash to delete it.
10. Go to Comments and find the sample comment WordPress put in and delete it.
11. Go to Appearance – Widgets. Widgets are what appear in your sidebars. Click drag and drop the ones you would like to appear in your sidebar. Adjust the settings for each as needed and save.
12. Go to Plugins and activate Akismet. It is free if you are using it on a single site. Follow instructions and this will prevent spam.
13. Create your first blog post!
14. Click Posts – Add New.
15. Give it a title (using keywords when possible) and good content – recommended 300 words or more.
16. Insert a picture whenever possible – you can upload right there and it will go into your Media Library. Use the Advanced features to add borders or white space around the image or link it to another site.
17. Assign a Category for this post – click Add New to create one. Categories will be broad topics you will use over and over. Think of them as a file drawer name you’d put the post into.
18. Assign 3 to 5 Post Tags to this post. These are like sub-categories or specific topics. Think of them as the individual file folders you might file this post into. These tell the search engines and your readers what this post is about.
19. Click on Publish OR next to the publish date click Edit to choose a date into the future.
20. Ta dah! You’re a blogger!
Are you in the northern California area? Would you like to attend a hands-on class on setting up a WordPress blog? I am in the beginning stages of planning a workshop. Please leave a comment if you’d be interested in attending. If you’re not in my area but would like a webinar on this topic, let me know that too!