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How to Start a WordPress Blog in Six Easy Steps

How to Start a WordPress Blog in Six Easy Steps

So, you want to start a blog, and you have heard that WordPress is the best content management system. Where do you go from there? Well, the good news is that setting up a WordPress blog is nowhere near as complicated as you might think. Furthermore, you don’t need to be a technical wizard to set up and manage a WordPress website. Still, a few pointers to get you started won’t go amiss. So here is a step-by-step guide to setting up a WordPress blog, the easy way.

Register a Domain Name

Step one is to choose a domain name for your blog. The domain name should be relatively short and easy to remember. And it would be best to select a name that reflects your blog’s niche. You could opt to use a free subdomain, such as those provided by WordPress.com. However, a custom domain looks far more professional, and It only costs around 15 dollars a year to register a domain.

Choose a Managed WordPress Hosting Provider

You will also need a hosting provider to host your blog, the company that will provide the server on which your blog will reside. The best option for novices is to use a managed WordPress hosting service.

If you choose this option, WordPress will be installed and maintained for you, so you will be all set to go from day one. It will also help keep things simple to register your domain name and host your WordPress site with the same company, for example, GoDaddy or Bluehost.

Install a Theme

The core WordPress software provides the functionality to create blog posts and manage your website. The WordPress theme will define the visual appearance of your blog, which you will now need to install. To install a theme, select “Appearance” – “Themes” from the menu sidebar of WordPress. Then, select “Add New” to browse the available themes in the  WordPress directory.

There are approximately 10,000 free themes to choose from, and premium themes are available, too. It is probably best to try a relatively clean and straightforward-looking free WordPress theme that will suit your needs to get you started. You can then customize the theme or swap to another theme later if you so wish.

Popular themes include Generatepress and Astra Pro. Each comes with starter templates for various niches.

Plugins

WordPress plugins will add enhanced functionality to your blog. There are thousands of plugins available, many of which are free. However, it is advisable to familiarize yourself with the basic functionality of WordPress before exploring plugins.

The one exception is installing a security plugin, which you will need to protect your site from hackers. Select “Plugins” – “Add New” from the WordPress menu to install a new plugin. Then use the search box to locate the desired plugin. Two of the most widely used security plugins are Wordfence and Sucuri Security.

Plan Your Pages, Posts, and Categories

It is best to plan how your blog will be organized before posting content. To do that, you will need to understand some WordPress terminology. Here is a brief explanation of some of the features you will be using when posting content on WordPress:

Pages

Pages are static pages of content, for example, the home page, terms and conditions, and about us pages. This type of content is effectively timeless and will only be infrequently updated.

Learn more about child pages.

Posts

Posts are the blog posts you will be publishing regularly, which appear in your blog feed. Unlike static pages, blogs are timely and regularly updated with new content.

Learn more about site hierarchy.

Categories

Categories are used to categorize posts. WordPress categories are best used for broad topics. For example, a travel blog might classify posts by country or region. You can then group content by topics, and users can easily find related content.

Learn more about WordPress Taxonomies.

Tags

Tags are another way of categorizing posts but are generally used for sub-topics of categories. In the example of a travel blog mentioned above, you might use tags for food, accommodation, and entertainment.

Tutorial Video: https://youtu.be/UZOY1SotWok

Blocks

When you begin to work on your first blog post, you will encounter Gutenberg blocks. Blocks are individual elements on a page, including headers, paragraphs, images, and videos. WordPress comes with standard blocks that will meet most requirements. You can also add custom blocks by installing plugins. To select a block type, click on the + sign that appears when you mouse over a page or type “/” to search for block types.

Set Up a Menu

Set up a menu to appear in your header, footer, and/or side column. The WordPress menu helps visitors navigate to your most important pages. Not all of your pages and posts will appear in your menus. Visitors will find these internal pages via a Google search, social post, or external link.

Learn more about setting up your WordPress menu.

Create Your First Blog Post

Once you have completed all the above steps, you will be ready to start posting content on WordPress. To add a blog post, select “New” – “Post” from the menu at the top of WordPress. Select “New” – “Page” from the menu for a page.

You can add content block-by-block, or you can copy and paste the content if you prefer. If you copy and paste, you will need to allocate block types to each section after pasting. As you add content, you can select “Preview” from the menu at the top right of the editor screen to see what a page will look like when published. When you are happy with the blog post, you can post it by selecting “Publish” from the same menu.

Next Steps

There is a lot more to learn, though, if you want to make the most of your WordPress blog. You will probably want to track visitors to your blog, for example. In which case, you might want to install Google Analytics. It would be a good idea to learn about search engine optimization (SEO), too. And there is a lot more functionality in WordPress to explore.

There are plenty of books available if you want to learn more about WordPress and blogging. There are many online WordPress resources, too. So, if you ever get stuck with anything, try searching online. There will almost certainly be an online guide somewhere to help you. My brothers Jeff and Paul Helvin at Ballen Brands build and manage WordPress websites. You can reach them at 702-917-0755.

Conclusion

Whether you want to make money or merely blog for fun, WordPress is a platform with many possibilities. You might start with a relatively straightforward blog. But once you get used to using WordPress, you will soon be adding fancy bells and whistles to your site and experimenting with new themes and plugins. Who knows, perhaps that first page you post will lead you to a new and exciting career as a full-time blogger!

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