If you’ve ever blogged for very long, I’m sure you’ve been asked, “How did you get started? It looks complicated.” In fact, I was asked again this morning just this question. So, I thought I would just take a few minutes and step it out.
Here we go:
How to set up a WordPress Blog:
Step 1: WordPress.com
Step 2: Choose a Blog Name and Create Your Account
Most people choose something that reflects them but, seriously it could even be a string of random letters and numbers. My original blog name was teachingtammy. Some use their last name. WordPress won’t let you progress until you’ve found a blog name that isn’t taken. Take your time. If you have a common last name, you may have to go to your second, third, or fourth choice.
There are three different levels available to you. However, you can always upgrade your account when you feel the time is right. My suggestion to any beginning blogger is to start FREE. Don’t invest a dime in your blog until you are certain this is right for you.
Congratulations! You are a Blogger! Now let’s make it a little more personal.
Step 3: Choosing a Theme and Setting Up Preferences
Right now your blog is very plain. Let’s take a minute and make it reflect you. After all, that’s part of why you want to blog.
The Dashboard is where all the options are. You can get there from your blog page by hovering over the name of your blog in the upper right corner. If you aren’t signed in to WordPress you can get there by putting /admin after your blog address.
Once you have gotten to the Dashboard, you will want to go down to Settings –> General. This is where you can change the Title of your blog, add a tagline, check timezone, and other formatting options. Always remember to SAVE your changes.
You will also want to go down to Discussion while you are in the settings area. This is where you make some decisions about how you want comments to appear on your blog. I suggest you set the comments to be manually approved (at least in the beginning.) This allows you more control over what appears on your blog. You can change this as you feel necessary.
Now comes the fun part. Choosing a theme. On the Dashboard under Appearance, you can choose themes. There are over 300 to choose from. But we can make that a little easier by filtering for the free themes. (Remember, you can always come back and make changes later.) To filter for free themes, choose the word FREE on the upper right of the themes window.
Are you excited yet? Do you have a topic? Many of us just use the first post to tell why we are starting the blog.
Step 4: Your First Post
There are many ways to start your first post. I prefer this method. As you get comfortable with your style, you will find the path that works best for you.
From the Dashboard go to Posts.
Click Add New at the top.
The first blank line is your Title. WordPress will automatically use your title to create a link to your post. Below that you have the body of the post. Just type. That’s all. Get it all out. Everything you need to say about your topic. There are some basic word processing tools for you. For your first post, don’t worry about adding lots of links and images (media). Just get something out there.
A few extras steps before you post. In the lower right corner, you will see a box titled Tags. These are very important. Search engines (including the WordPress engine) use these tags to help people find your blog. They should include the “key words” from your posts. I also encourage you to use your name as a Tag as well. This will allow those you meet at conferences to find your blog easier.
Before you publish, notice that you can save your draft. That means you can come back to it later if you aren’t ready to publish now. You can also preview what your blog would look like live. You can choose to publish your blog immediately or even schedule it for later. Some people don’t want to publish a post at 3 am but would rather publish some other time. You can also connect your other social media accounts to your WordPress site. This allows links to be published in those areas simultaneously when you publish on WordPress.
Yes, there is more that you can do. But to get started, that’s all there is to it.
Oh, one last thing…send me a link. I want to learn with you.