Learn How to Start a WordPress Blog with the main steps and the differences between the WordPress.com versus WordPress.org.
Running a blog can be an excellent way of achieving a wide range of marketing goals. Drive traffic to a website, establish an industry reputation, or build an online community—these are just some of the things you can do with a well-run blog. And these days it’s incredibly easy to set up a blog, especially if you choose a web content platform such as WordPress to publish and manage your content. Check out this simple step-by-step guide to create your own WordPress blog, customise the look, and start adding content.
There are other blogging and content management platforms out there, but unless you have particular needs that won’t be met with WordPress, it does make sense to use that platform. WordPress is free, and its simple user-friendly interface makes it easy to set up and maintain a website or blog.
What You Need to Get Started with a WordPress blog
Starting a WordPress blog is fairly simple, and you don’t need any particular skill or equipment to do it. If you have a computer and some time, you can start a WordPress blog and start adding content in less than an hour.
Here are the main steps you’ll go through to start a WordPress blog:
- Register a domain name
- Choose a web host
- Install WordPress
- Pick a theme
- Add content!
WordPress.com versus WordPress.org
Note that there are actually two different WordPress options: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. In general, the .com version is the one that’s best-suited to business use. If you ever plan to use your blog as part of a marketing or business strategy, WordPress.com will serve you better than WordPress.org. The .org version of WordPress is designed more for personal use, whereas the .com version offers more features and tools for business-oriented blogs.
Registering a Domain and Choosing a Host
The first step in building a WordPress blog is to choose a web host and register a domain name. The web host is the place where all your website data will be stored, while the domain name is your online address. Every website needs an address and a host in order to allow visitors to get to the site and access its content.
Registering a domain
To buy a domain name, head to a website like GoDaddy.co.uk or 123-reg.co.uk and follow their simple instructions to make the purchase. Note that most registration sites offer very cheap first-year pricing, but tend to increase the annual fee when it comes time to renew.
When it comes to domain names, the hard part is choosing a good name that isn’t already taken. Your best option for a name is typically something that’s short and easy to remember, and that is also strongly relevant to your business.
Choosing a web host
Health warning – carry out some due diligence and search the name along with #fail to see the latest on any web host companies.
Most domain registration sites offer basically the same service, but when it comes to web hosting the selection process is a bit more involved, because you have the option of choosing different hosting packages and service levels. Some popular UK hosting services include SiteGround, A2 Hosting, and UK2.net. The US-based Bluehost is popular with WordPress users, as it’s extremely easy to set up a WordPress site thanks to the host’s 1-click installation feature.
For a beginning site it’s usually okay to choose a basic level of service, but it’s important to bear in mind that if your blog becomes really successful, you may need to upgrade later on to accommodate the increased traffic.
Installing WordPress to Your Site
To make this process as easy as possible, choose a web host that offers 1-click WordPress installation. Many of the most popular hosts do offer this feature, including many UK-based hosts.
To install WordPress, all you need to do is log in to your web host account and navigate to your site dashboard. On your dashboard—you may need to hunt around a little bit to find it—there will be a link or button that says Install WordPress, or something similar. Click the link or button to start the installation.
Once WordPress is finished installing you’re ready to log in to your new site!
When you want to log into your site for customising and adding content, you’ll log in at a special address that looks like this: http://yoursite.com/wp-admin, but instead of yoursite.com insert the address of your website. For instance, if your site is called orangebanana.com, the address will look like this: http://orangebanana.com/wp-admin.
Themes and Customisation on your WordPress blog
To modify the way your WordPress site looks, you can install what are called themes. A theme is a collection of style elements and formats that collectively make up your site’s appearance. There are thousands of themes available, some of which are free and some of which require a one-time fee or subscription.
When you mouseover a theme you’ll see a preview button. Clicking the preview button will allow you to see how the theme would look if you install it on your site. To choose a theme just click the install button.
Of course, it can get a lot more complicated than this. If you decide you want to get more heavily into this aspect of setup you can learn HTML, CSS, and other languages that will allow you to customise every little detail of your site’s function and appearance. For now, choose a pre-made theme to get up and running quickly.
Adding Content to your WordPress blog
Your blog is set up, and you’re ready to add content! To do this navigate to the WordPress dashboard and in the Posts tab, click Add New. You can write the post directly into WordPress, but if you’re more comfortable using Word or another desktop programme you can write it there then paste the text into WordPress. Just be aware that some formatting changes may result.
Once you’re finished writing the post, click Preview to see how it will look on your blog. If you’re happy with it, go ahead and click Publish.
Building a successful blog takes much more time than the hour or so it requires setting the blog up. But this initial step is an essential one that gets you on the road to having a blog that will help you achieve your business goals.