How to Start a Self-Hosted WordPress Blog or Website

So many people just don’t know where to even go or what to do to get started blogging with WordPress. I decided to share exactly step by step what you can do to be up and running with your own WordPress blog (or website).

Note this is different than a free WordPress.com blog – with WordPress.org (self-hosted) you completely own the content, structure, and everything within the blog, and you pay someone to host it for you. There are more customizations you can do, and you are allowed to conduct any kind of business on a self-hosted blog, because you are in total control. The WordPress.org ‘software’ is what is known as open-source – free and contributed to by many people – so

Setting Up a WordPress Blog

there are many plugins, widgets, themes and other tools people develop and offer for free or a small fee so you can truly make a limitless website using WordPress. I highly recommend it!

Now – HOW to:

1.    Secure WordPress-friendly hosting – Hostgator and Bluehost are my favorites (those are my affiliate links!) Secure a basic/small hosting account with a domain name. (If you already have a regular website, you can simply create a folder/directory called “blog” to put WordPress in. This will then be www.whatever.come/blog
2.    Either visit WordPress.org for manual installation instructions, or use your web host’s “quick install” button to install WordPress. Read every email and follow each instruction. 🙂 Be sure to update it to the very latest version of WordPress.
3.    This gives you a basic blog using the default theme. If you like the basic layout, once you’re logged in go to Appearance and experiment with different headers and layouts. If you’re feeling adventurous click on themes- Add New and see what else is available. I recommend using WordPress sanctioned themes for free versions, especially SEO friendly themes such as Atahualpa. If you’re willing to pay I do recommend a few premium themes or paid themes/frameworks such as Thesis, Headway and Genesis (affiliate links). If you’re not adventurous, stick to the basics!
4.    Go to Settings – Permalinks. Choose Custom and insert this to improve your SEO by including your post titles in the URLs: /%postname%/
5.    Go to Pages – Add New and create a Welcome page of some kind. You’ll see an editing bar with options for inserting pictures or formatting the font etc. Play around with it to get it how you like it then save.
6.    Go to Pages and find the About page that’s already been started for you. Click Edit and change it to your own About info then save.
7.    Go to Pages – Add New and create a page with the title of Blog and put nothing else on it – then save.
8.    Go to Settings – Reading and change the settings to show the Front Page displaying the Welcome page you created, and the Posts page showing the Blog page you created. This will make your site have a Home page with the Welcome page, and a Blog tab with snippets of your blog posts. Save.
9.    Go to Posts – this is where blog posts or articles will live. There is a sample post already in there called Hello World. Click Move to Trash to delete it.
10.    Go to Comments and find the sample comment WordPress put in and delete it.
11.    Go to Appearance – Widgets. Widgets are what appear in your sidebars. Click drag and drop the ones you would like to appear in your sidebar. Adjust the settings for each as needed and save.
12.    Go to Plugins and activate Akismet. It is free if you are using it on a single site. Follow instructions and this will prevent spam.
13.    Create your first blog post!
14.    Click Posts – Add New.
15.    Give it a title (using keywords when possible) and good content – recommended 300 words or more.
16.    Insert a picture whenever possible – you can upload right there and it will go into your Media Library. Use the Advanced features to add borders or white space around the image or link it to another site.
17.    Assign a Category for this post – click Add New to create one. Categories will be broad topics you will use over and over. Think of them as a file drawer name you’d put the post into.
18.    Assign 3 to 5 Post Tags to this post. These are like sub-categories or specific topics. Think of them as the individual file folders you might file this post into. These tell the search engines and your readers what this post is about.
19.    Click on Publish OR next to the publish date click Edit to choose a date into the future.
20.    Ta dah! You’re a blogger!

Are you in the northern California area? Would you like to attend a hands-on class on setting up a WordPress blog? I am in the beginning stages of planning a workshop. Please leave a comment if you’d be interested in attending. If you’re not in my area but would like a webinar on this topic, let me know that too!

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Karon Schilling March 18, 2011, 1:21 pm

    Karen,
    I just signed up to receive your newsletter, and I look forward to learning more from you. I am taking SEO classes from Cricket, but what you are teaching is really what I am interested in. I have an unusual situation. My product and webpage are created by a gentleman in Australia. I am trying to help him market the facelift gel here in the US.

    I have a webpage with GDI with the domain in my name (www.karonschilling.ws) and Word Press is free with it. I plan on having my webpage linked to his in Australia, and I was going to blog to create traffic to his site. When I got into this, I thought it would be very simple. But as I am creating it, so much has been thrown at me, I really question everything I’m doing.

    If I am going to link my webpage to the Australia webpage and I am connecting with people through my blog, does it matter what my domain is?.

    You write so well. It is very easy to follow along with your instructions. I am very thankful that I have connected with you.

    Thank you for your help,
    Karon

    Reply
    • Karen
      Follow me on Twitter: mybizpresence
      March 20, 2011, 4:16 pm

      Your domain does matter in that the words in the URL are powerful in the search engines so it is another way to increase your ranking, if you have keywords in the domain. However, people are getting to know you as a person as well so if you think that will be a draw that is fine too. I just wonder why not insert WordPress in a folder called ‘blog’ on the instantfacelift.com.au site? So it would be instantfacelift.com.au/blog/ ? That way the blog is associated with the main domain (which helps the ranking of both the site and the blog. If that’s not possible for some reason (maybe you don’t run that site?) then I would consider making a WP blog on your own site and making it so people can easily see that is a blog where they can learn all about skin care or beauty ideas etc.

      I just took a look at your site and if I were you I would probably create my own WordPress site on its own domain (using hosting and the free WordPress install like described in this post) and use a domain that has some good keywords. You can set a static Page to be your ‘home’ page using all the info about the facelift etc on it as well as good content (to help with SEO) as well as a link to the main company site for more information. Then create a page called Blog, and then set the settings so that the Home page is the welcome/all about this page, and the Posts page is the Blog page and you’d have a great website with much more flexibility and the ability for you to edit and add lots of good content to attract the searchers on the search engines. The site you have is pretty limited and if you’re unable to edit and change it yourself there’s no real advantage. You could always keep that domain and either have it redirect to the facelift one, or use it for something else.

      Again it’d be Ok to keep it on your current domain, just better if there are some good keywords in the URL. Hope that helps and doesn’t confuse you more! 🙂
      Karen

      Reply
  • Julie August 4, 2011, 6:39 pm

    Thank you for the clear and detailed basic instructions on starting a wordpress.org blog. I found them to be quite useful!

    Reply
    • Karen
      Follow me on Twitter: mybizpresence
      August 4, 2011, 6:44 pm

      @Julie, you’re quite welcome!

      Reply
  • Gisele September 3, 2011, 10:44 am

    Is it really that simple? I thought there was some huge learning curve difference between. Wordpress.com and .org
    I own a photography studio in Oakland, and yes I’m interested in rates on WP classes.

    Reply
  • Karen
    Follow me on Twitter: mybizpresence
    September 3, 2011, 11:23 am

    Hi Gisele – there is definitely a big difference between .com and .org tho if you’ve done .com you will at least know how to make posts and pages etc. The installation can be where people get tripped up. I am now recommending the services at Free Blog Factory (I am an affiliate and here is my link: http://www.myfreewordpresssetup.com ) because they install the software and the theme and most of the plugins you’ll need, so you can get blogging right away.

    My class and one on one tutoring rates are up above under Services. Let me know if you need me! 🙂
    Karen

    Reply
  • Karen
    Follow me on Twitter: mybizpresence
    September 3, 2011, 11:24 am

    Hi Karon – I coulda swore I replied to you but it may have been through email – let me know if you still need help!!

    Reply

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Karen Clark

Karen Clark, Social Media and Direct Sales Speaker.When she was an active direct sales leader, Karen Clark walked the walk as she sold, booked, and supported a team offline, while expanding her reach and service online. Now working with direct selling companies and their field representatives as a speaker and social media corporate consultant, Karen uses her nearly 20 years' online marketing and direct selling expertise to teach audiences exactly where, when, and how to establish an ethical and effective online presence with social media, while remaining true to their principles and personal direct sales business. Read more

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