How do I start a wordpress blog?We answer that question here.
Many are looking for the right way to start a blog. It can be a terrifying thought especially for those who have little to no technical knowledge. But, do not despair! Here is the most comprehensive guide on how to start a WordPress blog.
The process is easy to follow whether you may be 20 or 60 years old. Looking to establish your online presence or looking to open up a blog section for your company’s website.
What is needed to start a WordPress blog?
There are three things needed in starting a WordPress blog:
- A domain name idea (this will be the name of the blog e.g. nameofmyblog.com)
- A web hosting account (this is where the website is housed on the Internet)
- An undivided attention for 30 minutes
It is possible to start a blog from scratch in less than 30 minutes. The following is the detailed step by step process. But before that here is the summary of the topics that this tutorial will cover.
- Registering a Domain Name for Free
- Choosing the Best Web Host
- Installing WordPress
- Changing the Theme
- Writing the First Blog Post
- Customizing WordPress with Plugins
- Learning Resources for WordPress
Ready? Here it is.
Step 1. Setting Up
Most beginners make the mistake of starting a blog with the wrong platform. However, with WordPress.org, 95% of users agree that it makes more sense to use it since it is free to use, it allows the installation of plugins and customization of the site design and most importantly generates income from the site without any restrictions (see the difference between WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org).
Most have wondered why WordPress is free and some have been wondering what the catch is. But, there is no catch. It is free because the client has to do the setup and hosting. Simply put, there is a need for a domain name and web hosting.
What is a domain name? It is the website’s address on the Internet (e.g. google.com or nameofmyblog.com). It is what people put into the address bar to get to the website.
On the other hand, web hosting is where the website is located. It is the website’s “house” on the Internet. Every website needs a web host.
Usually, a domain name costs around $14.99/year, while web hosting costs $7.99/month. This is a bit much especially for beginners who are just starting out.
Fortunately, Bluehost, an official WordPress recommended hosting provider, has agreed to offer users a free domain name and over 60% off on web hosting.
Bluehost started in 1996 (earlier than Google) and is one of the oldest web hosting companies. It started working with WordPress in 2005 and is recognized as the largest brand name in WordPress hosting as it hosts millions of websites. As part of the company’s gratefulness to its clients, it is committed to giving back what is due to their customers.
As such, the company has promised that if a blog cannot be put online within 30 minutes from following this tutorial, an expert team will complete the process for the client without any cost. The site administrators can be contacted for inquiries on the free blog setup help.
Moving on, to purchase a domain and get a web host, the first thing to do is open Bluehost in a new window. Then, click on the green Get Started Now button.
On the succeeding screen, select the preferred plan (basic and plus are the most popular). Next, a domain name for the website will be required.
Finally, add account information and finalize the package details to complete the process. There are extra services (optional) that can be purchased. However, it is not recommended to purchase these now as it can be added later on if the need arises.
Once completed, the client will receive an email with details on how to login to the cPanel (web hosting control panel). It is where everything is managed – from support, emails, etc. But most importantly, it is where WordPress can be installed.
Step 2. Installing WordPress
In the cPanel, there are dozens of small icons for different services and features. It can be a bit overwhelming; so, for now, it is best to ignore 95% of it as it is not that useful as of the moment.
In the Bluehost Marketplace Quick Install screen for WordPress, click on the Get Started button. Then, on the succeeding screen, select a domain name and choose the domain from the drop-down menu and then click Next.
After that, a site name, a username, and a password are required for the site. Tick all the checkboxes and then click Install.
The QuickInstall will begin installing WordPress. The marketplace will then prompt the client to browse WordPress themes while waiting for the installation to finish. However, it is not necessary to do so since it will be featured in the next step of this guide. Upon completion of the installation, a success notice will be displayed in the top header bar.
Click on the Installation Complete link to be taken to a screen with the client’s WordPress login URL and password.
Congratulations! The WordPress site has been created.
The WordPress login URL will look like this: http://nameofmyblog.com/wp-admin
Step 3. Selecting a WordPress Theme
Themes control the visual appearance of the WordPress blog. The first visit to the newly created site will look like this:
It is not appealing to most people. Hence, there is a need to customize the look and feel of the blog. This is by far one of the most exciting and rewarding portions of the journey of creating a WordPress site.
There are many options to choose from as there are thousands of pre-made WordPress themes that can be installed on the site. Some are free, while others are not. The theme can be changed through the WordPress dashboard by clicking on Appearance » Themes.
Proceed by clicking the Add New button. There are around 4100 free WordPress themes to choose from which are available in the official WordPress.org themes directory. It can be sorted according to what is popular, the latest, featured, and other filters (e.g. industry, layout, etc.).
When a preferred theme has been selected, simply bring the mouse over it and select the Install option. After the theme is installed, an Activate button appears. Click on it to activate the theme.
After the theme has been installed, it can be customized through the Customize link under the Appearance menu. For help in selecting a theme, please refer to the guide on 9 things that should be considered when selecting a perfect WordPress theme.
Now that a WordPress theme has been chosen, it is time to create the first blog post.
Step 4. Creating the First Blog Post
To write a blog post, click on the Posts » Add New menu in the WordPress dashboard. An editor area for writing a blog will appear.
After writing, select the Publish button on the right to publish the first post of the blog to the world.
There are several sections (such as Categories and Tags) on the posts screen. These can be used to organize the blog posts. It is highly recommended to read on the difference between categories and tags to better use it on the blog
To get familiar with all the features on the posts screen, read an article or watch videos on how to add a new post in WordPress.
In a number of instances, beginners often get confused between the posts and pages menu in the WordPress dashboard. As such, it is recommended to check out the guide on the difference between posts and pages in WordPress.
Step 5. Plug-ins and Customizations
After the first blog post, consider adding other usual elements in a website such as a contact form, about page, galleries, sliders, and much more. To do this, WordPress plug-ins – apps that allow the addition of new features to the website – needs to be used. There are around 46,000 WordPress plug-ins available. It is best to choose plug-ins and tools that address the functionality needed by the website.
Step 6. Mastering WordPress
The Internet is the largest free WordPress resource for beginners. There are a handful of helpful WordPress tutorials which are easy to understand for small businesses, bloggers, and those WordPress website owners who have little technical knowledge.
It is recommended to get acquainted with the WordPress lingo to expand WordPress knowledge. In addition, there are also a number of videos (such as those in YouTube) and blogs that feature tutorials for help in mastering WordPress.
Image Credit: kaboompics
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