How to: start a blog with WordPress

Blogging is an awesome way to get your message out to the world – whether you’re an established business, a hobbyist looking to go professional with your skills or simply a person looking for an online outlet for your particular passion.

Currently there are three platforms widely regarded as the most popular and ideal blogging platforms: Blogger – connected to Google – Tumblr – more for creative & visual posting, and WordPress.

Today, we’re going to look at WordPress. Why choose WordPress? Well, when you do, you inherit as massive amount of free, powerful and highly adaptable features that aren’t available anywhere else on the web.

Before you begin, you need to have an idea of what kind of blog you want to create. Will it be purely business related? Will it be newsy, creative or fun? This will have a bearing on what you do going forward.

1. Before you install WordPress
Before installing WordPress, you need to check that your web hosting provider fulfills the necessary conditions and that you possess the required skills. For a list of requirements on your web host, see Hosting WordPress and/or the official requirement page.

2. Installing WordPress
This shouldn’t take more than a few minutes and some web hosts will actually install it for you, so make sure to check.
Begin your installation by:

  • Checking to ensure that you and your web host have the minimum requirements to run WordPress.
  • Download the latest release of WordPress.
  • Unzip the downloaded file to a folder on your hard drive.
  • Be prepared with a secure password for your Secret Key
  • Pick a domain name – this will be like your address on the web. It might be hard to find something that isn’t taken, but try & use something short & relevant.

For quick & easy installation instructions, read: Easy 5 Minute WordPress Installation on Windows

3. Once Installed
Once your installation is complete, you’ll want to set up your blog to your particular specifications.
check out the Administration Screens guide for a detailed walkthrough.
The most fun (or difficult) part of your process will be picking a WordPress theme for your blog. Ths will determine the look and feel of the site and will include colours, images and basic layout options. Don’t worry if you like one but there are a couple things you’re not mad about. WordPress is customizable so you can change as much as you like! There are dozens of free themes available all over the web, but there are also Premium themes, which you can pay for if you really want something special.

4. Tweaking
You’re going to need to tweak your theme so that it reflects your particular message or ideas. You can change everything from font types to colour schemes, add logos and images and move and customize menus. It can be a little foreign at first but the best thing to do is just fiddle until it starts to make sense and you start to see changes you like.

5. Adding Plugins
Plugins are fantastic additions that allow you to add just about anything to your blog easily. You can search for specific plugins or simply download the essentials that allow for more interactive commenting and social media engagement, for instance. Here’s a list of Essential WordPress Plugins.

6. Creating Basic Pages
You’ll see you have Pages & Posts on your sidebar. Your pages are going to be areas like a Contact page or “About me/us”, whereas the “Posts” will be your actual blog posts. Decide which pages you are going to need and set them up.

7. Start Blogging
Start writing your posts. You’ll see in the posts area that there are plenty of options for formatting in the formatting bar, which will allow you to add images, headers, quotes and more. Make sure to categorize your posts well so that they are easy for readers to navigate.

Blogging can be a little daunting to begin with but the WordPress platform is generally very intuitive. If you think of something, there’s generally a function for it and it’s usually located where you’d expect it to be. Also, there are detailed help documents at every turn if you do get stuck. Once you get the hang of it, you may wonder how anyone uses anything else!

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