In this post, I will carefully guide you through the steps for creating a WordPress blog from complete scratch.
First of all, many congratulations for wanting to start your own blog.
If you are as committed as I think you are, you'll look back upon this day someday and think to yourself, wow, you made one of the best decisions in your life.
I'm not kidding you, I know this because blogging has literally transformed my life.
I went from being broke, practically homeless, and with a struggling business - to finding success with blogging three years later, so I know you're making a great decision to start your own blog.
In this post I will take you through the process of creating a WordPress blog or website from start to finish.
Don't worry, I will cover all the essentials. I'll tell you what pitfalls to avoid and everything else you need to know to make this the best start to your blogging venture ever.
I'll also try and make this tutorial as simple as possible to follow, however, if you get stuck, remember that I'm here to help you, so don't ever hesitate to reach out and connect with me to ask me a question.
How difficult is it to start a blog with WordPress?
Setting up a WordPress blog is really not that difficult to do at all.
I know you probably think I'm just saying this because I've set up hundreds of blogs in my time, so I know how to do it.
But you'll see for yourself as you read through this guide. Once you've set up your first blog, you'll be able to do it again a second time around without any guidance.
If you're completely new to the world of blogging, and moreover, using WordPress, this guide is for you. I created it just for you.
However, even if you have experience with setting up a blog but need a refresher, you can still use this guide to get started.
Important note: Just to make you fully aware once again, this tutorial will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to start a hosted blog using a web host provider and the WordPress open source software. (WordPress.org)
This guide will not cover starting a blog with a free blogging platform such as WordPress.com or Blogger.com.
OK, so here's what we're going to cover.
Why start a blog and what it takes to succeed
If you don't want to read this part, just skip straight to the next part. However, if you're new to the world of blogging, I urge you to read this part first as it is important if you want to succeed with blogging.
I'm sure you already know why you want to start blogging, however, let's try and clarify things a little more because it's so crucial from the word 'go', that you know why you really want to start blogging.
Knowing "why" will help you to define the purpose of your blog, and of course, keep you on the straight and narrow path to finding success with your blog.
Everyone has big aspirations when it comes to starting a blog.
Some will be starting a blog to make some extra cash online. Some will be setting goals and objectives with their blogs. Some will be starting a blog simply for the fun of it.
And some folks will be starting a blog to help them grow their business.
Starting a blog for the first time is exciting, and regardless of what your aim is in blogging, you will find the success you really want, if you put your heart and soul into understanding "why" you really want to do this.
The long road to success...
Creating a blog is actually the very first step. It's also the easiest step.
Anyone can start a blog, however, it will take much more than just simply 'making a start', to become successful in blogging.
The road to blogging success is a long one, and if you're determined and driven enough to want to succeed as I think you are, then you will succeed.
If you're expecting to become successful after just a few months of starting your blog, then it's not going to happen, sorry.
What ever your goal might be for starting a blog and doing blogging, just remember that it's going to take a lot of time and hard work before you can get where you want to be with your blog, OK?
I've been blogging for over 7 years now, and I'm still working hard to reach my ultimate goal. But that's cool, because I'm in no rush. I'm having so much fun with blogging. I am enjoying the process of becoming a successful blogger, and that's what you've got to do too, enjoy the process.
Step #1 - Choosing and purchasing a domain name
So the first step of successfully setting up a WordPress blog is choosing a domain name.
Remember, in this tutorial post I will assume that you're completely new to blogging and setting up a WordPress blog, so let's first look at what a domain name actually is.
A domain name is simply the address of your blog/website. For instance, the domain name for this blog/website is https://www.magnet4blogging.net.
When someone wants to access your blog/website, they'll simply enter the domain name address into their web browser: www.yourblogaddress.com.
Or, they may click on a link to your domain name from another source, such as a link on another website, or from the search engine search result pages. Or, from a post shared on social media.
So how do you choose the right domain name for your blog?
Here are some tips to keep in mind when choosing a domain name for your blog -
Where can you purchase a domain name?
You can purchase a domain name from any reputable online provider such as GoDaddy or 123-Reg.co.uk, however, since you're setting up a WordPress blog for the first time, the simplest way to purchase a domain name is with your web host provider.
I use and recommend SiteGround for domain names and web hosting. If you're signing up for a brand new account with SiteGround, you can save on domain name fees as your domain name registration with a new account is free.
Step #2 - Choosing The Right Web Host Provider
OK, so by now you should have in your mind what you'd like to have as your domain name, it's time to see if it's available and purchase it along with some reliable and affordable web hosting.
What is web hosting and why do I need it?
Once again, just to remind you that this tutorial assumes that you're totally new to blogging and the world of web hosting.
Here's the best way to understand what web hosting actually is -
Imagine a house is built on a piece of land. You go through a real-estate agency to buy land for your house to be built on, right?
Well, it's the same principle for a website. A website needs web space, which is provided by a web host provider/company.
To keep things very simple, when signing up for a new account with a web host provider, all you really need is the basics.
SiteGround offers three shared hosting packages. For a fresh new site, I would recommend the Startup plan.
As your blog begins to grow in popularity and begin to use up more resources, you might want to upgrade to a GrowBig or GoGeek account.
Disclaimer: Please note that this post contains affiliate links to SiteGround Web Hosting Services. Should you click on one of my affiliate links and purchase web hosting for your blog, I will be paid a small commission at NO additional cost to you. I'd like to thank you in advance for your continued support.
OK, so here's a step-by-step guide on how to get signed up with SiteGround.
1. Account information - Provide your email address and choose a secure password of your choice. Don't forget to confirm your password.
2. Client information - Enter information about yourself such as your name and address, company, phone number, etc.
3. Payment information - Add your payment details such as credit or debit card information. Check the box if your card details is the same as your address you used above.
4. Plan information - Select the plan you wish to purchase, select the data center, period of hosting required to finalise the hosting price.
*Currently you can save up to 60% off the regular price of hosting for the first invoice. So for instance, for $47 you can have a brand new blog set up for 12 months on a StartUp plan! Also don't forget to check this post for the latest SiteGround Sale Offers.
One you're all done, hit Pay Now to open your SiteGround account.
I want to choose a different web host provider, but I'm not sure which one.
If for any reason you don't want to use SiteGround, check out this post for more information and advice on choosing the right web host provider for your blog/website project.
So, regardless whether you decide to use SiteGround or not, or any other reliable web hosting you find, here's a run down of what to generally look for in a good web host provider -
- Affordability, but not the cheapest option!
- Reliability and Security (with 99% up-time).
- Good reputation and credibility.
- Large GB hosting space.
- Great technical and customer support (The big one).
- Domain name hosting.
- Easy installation of WordPress (One-Click Install, which most popular web host companies offer these days)
- Easy to use cPanel (Control Panel)
Step #3 - Installing WordPress
This is probably the most critical part of setting up a WordPress blog, but don't panic as this is also the easiest part of setting up your blog.
You've heard me mention the "one-click install" feature earlier, right? Well, this is a simple feature that most web host providers offer today.
The "one-click" feature just means that you can install WordPress into a domain name of your choice, via your hosting company, with just a single click of the mouse.
Way back in the day, you would have to install WordPress via FTP. You can still do that today, of course, however, it is a little bit technical to do as a newbie. Instead, you're going to install WordPress with a single click of the mouse.
Let me show you how to install WordPress on a new domain name, again, using SiteGround -
Feel free to check out my quick video tutorial below if you wish instead.
Step One: Log into your SiteGround host account and go to accounts, then hit the Go To cPanel button. See image below.
Step Two: Scroll down and click on the WordPress icon under 'Auto-installers'. See image below.
Step Three: Click Install and then enter the details for the installation. You should always select the http://www. protocol where possible, and then select the domain name in which you would like to install WordPress.
Step Four: Continue with the setup by giving your blog a name, site description and admin username and password.
Keep these in a safe place by the way. You'll need them to log into your blog after the installation is complete.
Choose an admin email address and language, then select the security plugins you'd like to have installed with your initial set up.
Step Five: When you're all done, just hit the install button and let the magic happen.
When the installation has finished, you will be notified. You should then be able to log into your new WordPress site by going to http://www.yourblogname.com/wp-login.php using the username and password you created earlier.
Step #4 - Recommended plugins and settings
OK, so at this stage you've pretty much completed all of the steps for setting up your WordPress blog, and you're almost ready to start blogging and writing your first post. So next let's do a little WordPress blog configuration.
Let's start with installing a few 'essential' plugins.
What are plugins?
Once again assuming you are new to all of this, plugins are part of what makes WordPress so flexible and functional.
You can pretty much create a WordPress website and make it do what ever you want it to do, simply by installing and activating a variety of function enhancing plugins.
You can find a wide range of functional plugins in the WordPress repository here.
The plugins that I'd recommend installing are as follows -
1. WordPress SEO by Yoast - This is by far the most powerful and complete on-page and site-wide SEO plugin available for WordPress, with over 5 million downloads to date. I'm currently using this plugin on Magnet4Blogging.
If you're looking for something a little more advanced, I'd personally recommend trying SEOPressor Connect, however, this is a premium service that will set you back $9 per month subscription.
2. WP Super Cache - This plugin will generate a static HTML files from your WordPress blog. After a HTML file has been generated, your web server will actually serve that file instead of processing the heavier WordPress PHP scripts. This simply means your site will load faster, and less demand will be placed on your server. Your users will see cached versions of your pages.
3. Akismet - Akismet is automatically installed when you set up a WordPress blog for the first time. It is the industry's recommended anti web-spam plugin for WordPress, however, to take full advantage of Akismet and it's spam filtering capabilities you'll need to signup for an API key which will cost you around $5 per month. Doing so means that you won't have to worry too much about comment spam.
If you don't wish to add more expense to your blog set up I recommend using the Google ReCaptcha plugin.
This plugin is not only free, but you can use it to protect your blog from spam from not only comments, but also your contact form (Contact Form 7), login forms and more.
4. Monster Insights for WordPress - Must have plugin to help you install Google Analytics in your blog.
5. Social Warfare - A powerful, lightweight, fast loading social sharing plugin to help your site visitors share your awesome content on social media.
So those are just a few of the essential plugins I recommend you install when setting up a WordPress blog for the first time. There are many more others that you will come across along the way, but don't get too carried away installing too many.
Check out my blog post on essential things to do after installing WordPress for more plugin and WordPress configuration tips.
How to install a WordPress plugin
Once again, this tutorial assumes that you're totally new to WordPress and using plugins.
Once you've logged into the back end of your WordPress blog (dashboard), simply scroll down and in the right sidebar you'll see plugins.
Hover your mouse over the plugins link and it will open up a drop-down menu with more options, simply select add new. See image below.
Once you're on the plugins page you can then search for a plugin you want to install, or, upload one that you've downloaded from the WordPress repository. See image below.
Step #5 - Installing a (Premium) WordPress theme
OK so the last part of setting up your WordPress blog is installing a theme of your choice.
What is a theme?
WordPress is just a content publishing/management platform, a theme is also known as a skin, and is what makes each WordPress blog/website unique.
By default, WordPress uses their own Twenty Twelve theme, along with a host of other available themes in the theme file.
If you're looking for a more personlized touch to your WordPress blog, I would recommend using a premium, customizable theme such as Genesis or Thrive.
The other option you have is to hire a web designer to help you create a very specific look and layout you want for your WordPress blog, however, this can be costly and if you're just starting out, you're probably better off going for a premium WordPress theme to begin with.
What theme would I personally recommend using?
I recommend Thrive themes if you're looking for something very simple to customize, and if you're focused on conversion optimization.
I recommend Genesis if you're looking for a solid, robust, reliable, SEO optimized theme with minimal fuss.
Check out this post for a more thorough and reliable comparison of the two theme providers mentioned above.
Installing a Genesis Theme
If you happen to choose Genesis, here's a quick video tutorial on how to install the theme into your new WordPress blog. The video is almost 7 years old now, but the process of installing this software into WordPress hasn't changed at all.
So that is it, you're all set up ready to start blogging like a true pro!
If you want to learn more about the tools I'm using to grow my blog, check out this page.
If you'd like to learn more about my blog design or customization services, click here.
I wish you the very best of luck on your new blogging venture - Fabrizio Van Marciano.