How to Build a WordPress Blog Fast
Why you need a Domain
Building a website used to be a pain. It was so complicated that many people had to pay huge amounts of money to have one made. Not anymore. You can have an awesome blog or website for free by using WordPress.org’s system.
Building a WP site is very easy. Registering a .com name is straightforward but finding a domain name you like will be the hard part. It should contain a keyword relevant to your business which makes it even harder.
You can use any extension, but .org should be avoided – it was really meant for universities and charities. Keep it as short as you can too – you will probably want to put it on business cards and printed materials. Pay for a year initially, when you know things are going well you can pay for a longer term.
Okay, so you’ve got your domain name, now you will have to sign up for hosting. There are many reliable hosts around with plans for hosting one website or hundreds. You’ll have to decide how many you may want to have. Just one and you’re looking at about $5 a month or less if you pay annually. There are 3 important things to look for in a hosting company:
Uptime – find one with 99.9% uptime, you don’t want your site to keep “going down” because of server problems
Good Customer Service – 24/7. Many hosts offer chat and a phone number. Search for best customer service – they’re the ones who will help you if you have technical issues
cPanel – In order to run WordPress the host must have cPanel.
When you’ve signed up with a host they will send you login details so you can get into your cPanel and your DNS settings which will look something like this NS 000001 and NS 000002.
You must go back to where you registered your domain name and find where you can enter these numbers (each host is different). This tells the registrar where your site will be hosted and that information is sent to your host. It may take a while to “propagate”. Until it does your site won’t be found on the internet, just a place card.
Log into your cPanel with your password and the login your host emailed to you and find Add On Domains in the cPanel. (We’re using Hostgator’s cPanel as an example here).
Add your new domain name into the first box without the www and add a Username and Password.
Click add domain.
Most boxes will be filled in automatically and you’ll go through to a confirmation page.
In cPanel go to Software/Services and click on the Fantastico button. While you’re in your cPanel you can also set up the email addresses you want to use (for example email@example.com). If you want any emails forwarded to your regular email address, this is where you set that up.
You may also see a place where you can check your stats, like how many visitors you’ve had, in Hostgator it’s at the sidebar on the left.
In Fantastico, at the left side panel, click on WordPress.
On the next page choose New Installation.
The next page says Install on Domain, if this is your first time, your domain name will appear in the box, or click on the drop down button to locate it.
Add an Admin username and password (think security – many WP sites are hacked because people use Admin as a password!) and fill in the other info – it will be emailed to you. Use your regular email address.
This is the username and password you will need to access your WordPress site – not to get into cPanel. Any descriptions you enter can be changed later – except for the Admin username.
You can get to your new WordPress site by entering the full URL, into your address bar – http://www.yournewsite.com/wp-admin or you can go back to the email you received and click on the link that says Admin URL.
Enter the login and password you chose for WordPress.
And there it is. The stock template where everyone starts and you’ll probably want to change it to something else. Click on Site Admin and there’s your basic dashboard. Familiarize yourself with all the buttons – you can’t break anything.
The first thing to do is go to Settings, General, and change to the correct time zone. You can also choose date formats. Enter your site WordPress and site addresses which should be the same http://whatever.com.
Add your normal email address and Save Changes. Go to Reading and it should be set to display your latest posts. If you want it to look like a website you can change to display a Static Page but you’ll have to have one Page created before you can do this. Save Changes.
In Permalinks click on Custom Structure and add /%postname%/. This will append your URL with the name of your page and not dates and numbers as per the other 3 settings. Save Changes.
Of course there are dozens of options but we’re keeping it simple here.
This is where you’ll choose one of the hundreds of free WordPress themes. Make sure you choose one that is compatible with the version of WordPress you have installed. Some are out of date unfortunately. Many offer the option for you to add your own header graphic.
This is the hard part and may take some time. You should look for a clean, uncluttered layout that will be easy for your visitors to navigate.Try as many as you like, you can’t break anything!
These should all be added as Pages, not Posts. Don’t want to write thousands of words of legal jargon? Then there’s a free plugin that will add them all for you automatically (not your About Me page of course). All you’ll have to do is fill in the blanks – it takes a couple of minutes and you’re done and compliant. After you’ve added each page, hit Publish or save Draft if you’re not quite finished.
Now it’s time to add your first Page or Post. Pages if you want a true website look, posts if you want to keep it as a blog.
WordPress has reams of information for those just starting out. There’s helpful information everywhere if you get stuck.
We will be talking about the best plugins to use in a later article. Meanwhile, good luck with your business! The easy part is over.
What do you love most about WordPress sites? Did you ever try to build a site using something else, like DreamWeaver, Website Builder or SiteBuilder?
Please share your experiences.