How to Set up a WordPress Blog
If you’ve never set up a blog before, it can be intimidating. Don’t let that discourage you from trying something new. Actually, setting up a blog is easier than ever before. Following these steps will help you get off to a great start.
1. Select a name for your blog
Selecting a name is the all-important first step when it comes to blogging. You’ll want to choose something that represents your brand, is easy to remember, and catchy. It is also good to include some keyword phrases related to your niche (although not as important as it used to be). I suggest starting with a list of 5-6 blog names. Your next step is to check to see if they are available. Visit GoDaddy.com to do a simple search. Chances are your first, second, and even third choice will be taken. Once you’ve decided on a name, you’re ready for step #2. Think of a name for your social media platforms (Facebook page and/or group, blog, etc.). Check to make sure the name is available (registryweb.com or go daddy.com). Brainstorm a list of at least 10 ideas. Chances are most of them will be taken already, that’s why it’s good to have several as backups. When checking, you may think of something you like just as well. The important thing is to JUST GET STARTED. Choose a name that doesn’t exclude a certain group. For example, when I got started I wanted the domain fitover40.com. Since my success story had to do with being in the best shape of my life at age 43, that resonated with me. HOWEVER – it was a blessing that it wasn’t available. Since I use Pinterest as a big part of my social media marketing, I’ve reached many young brides planning their weddings and wanting to get in shape for them. Fit over 40 would not be compelling to them AT ALL. Keep that in mind as you choose a domain name.
2. Decide where to host your blog
If you are an occasional blogger and are not blogging for profit (and don’t foresee that you will ever want to), you may consider a free hosting platform. However, if you’re serious about blogging and want it to be more than simply an occasional hobby, a self-hosted option is preferable. I highly recommend WordPress.org or WordPress.com as a content management system, whether you are choosing self-hosted or now. Stay away from Blogger. It is owned by Google, and in recent years Google has done away with several of its third party platforms. You never know when they will do away with Blogger. Not only that, WordPress is the most-used content management system of professional bloggers. If you ever need support or help, programmers are familiar with WordPress and can help you out more easily.
3. Register your blog and purchase hosting (if self-hosted)
I register my WordPress blogs on GoDaddy.com. I typically register the domain name for at least two years (it tells search engines you’re a serious blogger) and buy one year of hosting. You will need to purchase hosting in addition to registering your URL. Search for coupon codes on Retail Me Not for both of these purchases (I never pay full price). You will typically pay around $10 a month for your blog, with discounts. However, if you build traffic to your blog, in time Google ads will cover your monthly expenses and then some. You are not allowed to place ads on your blog if it is not self-hosted (another reason for purchasing your own domain). GoDaddy will try to upsell you with a lot of extras. The only thing you will need is the DOMAIN and WEB HOSTING. The most basic hosting option (usually Linux) will work. WORDPRESS IS FREE with GoDADDY. Do not pay extra for it. Those really are the only things that should be in your shopping cart when you check out.
4. Connect Hosting to Your Domain
Once you have your blog’s domain registered and purchase your hosting, you are ready to get started. Log into your WordPress account and click on “Web Hosting” then “Launch”. You will be prompted to choose a domain to launch. Choose the one you just registered (likely the only one you have). You’ll set up a new username/password for this particular hosting account, and then GoDaddy will assign you a server. It takes just a few minutes.
4. Install WordPress
WordPress is the blogger’s content management system of choice. Install it within your GoDaddy Control Panel (cPanel). You will do so by logging into your GoDaddy account and looking for WordPress under “Web Applications”. When you see it, click on the WordPress icon. You will be taken to a page where you’ll see “install wordpress” in bright orange. Click on that (leave Directory BLANK). More on Installing WordPress in GoDaddy. I opt for all the default settings, but I change the usernames and passwords to something I can remember (under ADMINISTRATOR at the bottom of the page). Next, click “Install”. Sometimes, this takes a bit of time. Your site should be ready for you to work on within 24 hours.
5. Select a theme and add plugins
Once you’ve got your site registered, your hosting set up, and WordPress installed you are set to start blogging. First steps include selecting a theme and adding plugins (the bells and whistles).
I often explain WordPress themes and plugins in terms of an iPhone. Think of your blog’s theme as the iPhone case. It is mainly decorative, but it also helps express the personality of your blog. Wordpress offers many free themes. You can search for them by color, style or number of columns. They are found in your WordPress dashboard under “Appearance”.
Think of the plug-ins as the apps for your phone. They add specific functionalities to your blog such as social sharing buttons (such as “Pin It” buttons for Pinterest), Contact Forms, Galleries, and so on. They are found in the WordPress dashboard under “Plugins”. They are easy to install. Once installed, simply activate them and add them in the appropriate place.
6. Keep learning
While blogging is not difficult, there is a long learning curve. Don’t get discouraged. Because the internet is constantly evolving, as soon as you think you’ve got things figured out, you’ll have to learn new skills. Nobody in the blogging world knows everything. If you can’t figure something out, “Google” it. Chances are there is an article, a forum, or a page specifically designed to answer your questions.