The Technical Guide To Starting A WordPress Blog
The thought of creating a blog can be a very scary one, especially if you don't have any tech skills.
If you are looking to create a blog, but have no idea where to begin, then read on to find out the exact steps that you can take to launch a successful blog in just a few easy steps.
Getting a blog started is a whole lot easier than a lot of online 'gurus' would have you believe.
It doesn't even matter what your skill level is.
These days technology has advanced to such a degree that even the most tech-challenged person can set up a blog without too much hassle.
Blogging platforms such as WordPress make it so simple for anyone to set up a site even without knowing any code.
All you have to know is the right sequence of steps to follow to ensure that your blog launch is a success. After your blog is set up, you can create content in an easy-to-use post editor that looks a lot like Microsoft Word.
Drag and drop interfaces make changing your blog's design and layout a breeze. So follow this step by step technical guide to create your blog from scratch.
The Step-by-Step Technical Guide To Creating Your Blog
There are dozens of blogging platforms to choose from but WordPress is the one that is most commonly used by the majority of online marketers.
This is mostly due to the fact that it does not require any kind of technical skills to start a WordPress blog.
WordPress is a blogging platform used by almost a third of all websites there are, and the beauty of it is that it allows you to easily customize your blog's look and feel as well as extend its features by using plugins or apps in just a few clicks.
To start your blog, you don't even need to know a single line of code.
In this article, we are going to look at the step by step process of building your blog from the ground up, so that you can have a functioning blog in just a couple of hours.
Step #1: Choose Your Blogging Platform
When starting out, it's very easy to get overwhelmed by the number of blogging platform options that are available to you.
And to make things worse, there are two different 'WordPress' types available. The first is the hosting solution, WordPress.com, and the second option is WordPress.org, the self-hosted blogging platform that is so loved by professional bloggers.
I recommend using the self-hosted option because it is a vastly superior blogging platform with a lot of features that you have to make use of if you really intend to build a successful (and profitable) blog.
The key difference between the self-hosted 'WordPress.org' platform and the other option is that it affords you full control and freedom over your site. This means that you can customize it to look and feel exactly the way you want it to.
When you use the other 'WordPress.com' option, you are limited as to what you can actually do with the site from how it looks to the methods of monetization that you can use.
Another important difference between the two is that no one can delete your self-hosted blog if you don't follow their terms of service.
So, now that we've agreed on a platform, it's time to take a look at what exactly you need to get your WordPress blog started.
Step #2: Get A Hosting Account and A Domain Name
In order to start your blog, you have to have your own unique domain name (what you're going to call your blog) and a web hosting account (where your blog is going to live).
These are two things that are necessary to create any type of site. If you're just hearing these terms for the first time, here are the proper definitions to help you understand what they are:
They store your blog content and files.
You can think of this as your blog's home. Whenever visitors type in your domain name (or web address) to try and access your blog, they are directed to your website files that are stored in the web hosting server.
This is your blog's internet address, like PlanetBizOp.com or Google.com.
This is what your visitors type into their browsers when they want to access your site. Domain names can be purchased for very little (you can even get them for free, in some cases) but there is a yearly renewal fee that is often higher than the initial fee (about $14.99 or so, depending on the vendor).
When you're just starting out, the combined expense of the hosting and domain name may seem like a lot, and that is the reason a lot of aspiring online marketers choose to go with the free blog hosting options.
But as previously mentioned, that is a mistake and will cost you a lot in the long run. There are a lot of hosting service providers who offer great deals for anyone who is just getting started and on a budget.
You can check out some of those incredible offers here:
Bluehost is among the largest and most well-known hosting providers on the planet. They are officially recommended by WordPress.org and have been a part of the WordPress community since 2005.
This hosting provider has been part of the WordPress community for over ten years, and they continue to gain popularity thanks to their easy to use platforms that are perfectly optimized for WordPress.
This hosting company is a firm favorite among a lot of serious entrepreneurs as it offers the latest speed technologies and useful tools to make management of a WordPress site very easy.
On this site, I only recommend products that I have either used myself or ones that I have done thorough research on.
So these three hosting providers are ones that I feel can provide you with great value for the money.
To start your blog, choose any one of the three hosting providers, and follow the steps below to get started.
We are going to use Bluehost as an example, for demonstration purposes, but the process is very similar on each of the hosting services mentioned here.
How To Get Your Hosting and Domain Name:
Head over to the website home page and click the button labeled 'Get Started Now'.
You will then be asked to choose a plan. You can choose the Basic plan since you're just starting out. (You can easily upgrade your plan later as your blog grows).
Now choose whether you want to purchase a new domain or use an existing one.
Enter your account information when prompted.
Select the plan for either 12, 24, or 36 months.
You will be offered a few add-ons, some of which may be pre-selected.
This increases the total price. If you don't want those, just uncheck the boxes, you can always add them later when you need them.
It's important to note that choosing the plan for 36 months will provide you with the most value for money. After configuring your plan and entering your payment details, click 'Submit'.
And that's it!
You have successfully created a hosting account and are now subscribed to a basic hosting plan.
Next, you will be prompted to create a password, after which you are going to receive an email with all the details of how you can log into the control panel (cPanel) of your web hosting.
The cPanel is where you manage everything to do with your account – from your hosting files to email and support.
Step #3: Installing WordPress
The three hosting service providers recommended here all install WordPress by default, which means that you do not have to suffer through a grueling process (for us non-techy people, at least...) of installing it manually.
All that you must do is to choose a WordPress theme and specify your blog's name and tagline, and you're ready to start creating content with WordPress.
The WordPress theme that you choose can be any that looks suitable at a glance.
You can change it later to suit your needs. The process is very easy to do so don't worry about choosing the right theme at this stage. Right now, all you need to worry about is simply getting started, so just pick the one that catches your eye, and continue on.
After you've chosen your theme, and specified the name and tagline for your blog, WordPress will be installed for you on Bluehost automatically.
As previously mentioned, this process may be a little different on the other service providers, but if you follow the prompts, then you will be fine.
Step #4: Changing Your WordPress Theme
Now that you're logged into WordPress (with the details sent to your email) you can change your blog's visual appearance in a few easy steps.
All that's left is to just find the ideal theme for your site and install it.
While the default theme in WordPress is fine, you may want to use something a little more unique and better suited to your blog's personality.
Find an alternative theme to use from the official WordPress theme directory. You can even choose to use a premium theme which can be downloaded from a theme vendor's site and upload this to your WordPress blog.
To install a free theme in WordPress, simply navigate in your dashboard as follows: Appearance > Themes, and then click 'Add New Theme'.
Step #5: Time To Craft Your First Blog Post
Your website has been set up and it looks great. Now it's time to write that first post. Go to your dashboard, and in the left-hand menu, you will see two options that confuse a lot of new users: Pages and Posts.
If you're writing a blog post which will appear in reverse chronological order on your blog, then choose 'Posts'. These blog posts will be shown on your blog 'page' with the newer ones on top.
In order to create and publish your first post, you have to head over to the post editor by clicking Posts > Add New.
Now add a title to your post, and start writing content in the post editor.
Your blog posts are organized with categories and tags. Choose a category for your post and assign some tags to it, and you're ready to publish it.
Step #6: Use Plugins to Extend Your Blog
Now that you know exactly how to draft a blog post, you also need to enhance your WordPress blog through the use of opt-in forms, contact form, photo gallery, and other interesting features.
There are tons of free plugins that you can use in WordPress to help you add these and more features on your blog without ever learning a line of code.
As with the themes, there are a lot of options for free plugins that you can install on your WordPress blog.
All you have to do is use the search box to find the one you need from the WordPress plugin repository in your WordPress dashboard by visiting Plugins > Add New. Click 'Install Now' and then 'Activate'.
This concludes our tutorial on how to set up your WordPress website.
In future posts, we are going to look at some effective ways to grow your blog so that you can start building an audience and monetizing your site.
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Updated: Originally published October 12th 2018