Designed as robust content management system, WordPress is a popular publishing application for bloggers. If you want to start blogging, WordPress is perfect as the software is easy to configure. This article will guide you step by step—from installing WordPress, how to configure it, starting your writing, publishing, managing your readers’ comments and optimizing your blog for search engines.
Step 1: Obtain a third party web host.
Your WordPress blog can be hosted by either wordpress.com or by a third party. This article emphasizes the latter as it will give you more freedom to modify your blog layout, including adding plugins and access to unlimited themes. Make sure your web host provider offers WordPress in their hosting packages as this application requires the following:
• PHP 5.2.4 and MySQL 5.0 in order to host the latest version of WordPress;
• An Apache server is recommended, and
• Requires mod_rewrite Apache module for permalinks.
A web host provider that offers WordPress will make it easy for you to install.
Step 2: Obtain a domain name.
If you do not already have a domain name, you can purchase one from your web host provider. Make sure your domain name is unique and memorable, not infringing on a trademark and timeless or limitless. You will never know what you may want to write about in the future.
Step 3: Install WordPress from your website control panel.
Log in into your control panel and install the WordPress using one-click installation. After the WordPress has been installed, go to the URL for the blog and sign in.
Step 4: Log in to your WordPress account.
Above is the image of your log in page. You can type in your username and password and click the Log In button.
Step 5: Your blog dashboard.
After logging in, you will see your dashboard as follows:
There are several categories under the Dashboard as shown on the left column, such as, Posts, Media, Links, Pages, Comments, Appearance, Plugins, Users, Tools and Settings. Each controls your blog.
Before you start to write and publish your content, you will need to configure your WordPress.
Step 6: Configuring the WordPress blog.
Click on Settings to configure your blog. Here is what your General Settings look like.
Step 7: Configure your Permalinks.
Permalinks or permanent URIs, or Uniform Resource Identifiers, are important for search engine optimization or SEO. This feature allows you to generate a search engine friendly URL for easy reading.
Choose the setting that emphasizes the name as this is most useful for you and the search engine. After selecting, click Save Changes.
Step 8: Write your first post.
Now that you have configured the General Settings and Permalinks, you can start blogging. Click on the Posts link on the left column and you will see this page:
The image above shows the All Posts page. Click on any of the Add New links on this page and you will see the next page as shown below:
Here is the screen you will get after clicking those buttons
Here you can write your content in Visual or HTML format. The visual editor provides you with WYSIWYG, or What You See Is What You Get format. If you are familiar with HTML scripts, you can use it for producing an advanced format.
In this example, I will use the visual format to write the content:
When done writing, you can click on the Save Draft button on the upper right column. You can also add a new category to organize your content by clicking on the Add New Category link under Categories.
Here you will see a new form field as the shown below:
Write a new category and click on Add New Category button. Next, save the draft, and preview it. Here is an example of the preview mode:
You can also add relevant image(s).
Select the image location from either your computer or from another URL. In this example, I will upload an image from the computer. Click on Select Files and it will bring you to your image folder in your computer. Select the image and click open. The images will be immediately added in the Add an Image tray as shown below:
You can edit the title, add alternate text, caption, and description or link URL. The image can also be positioned left, center or right. Finally, you can adjust the size of the image by reducing to thumbnail, medium, large or full pixel size. When you are satisfied, click the Insert into Post button. Next, click on Preview and the page will be displayed as shown below:
Above is the blog with an image positioned on the upper left side of the content. You can add as many images in various sizes and alignments. Make sure the size is not too large; otherwise your content will be slow to load in your readers’ browsers. When you are pleased with how everything is displayed, click the Publish button and your blog will go live.
Step 9: Allowing Comments.
When online visitors read your blog, they will usually want to leave a comment. Their comments will appear in your Comments category.
You can read all comments before you approve them to be publicly viewable. Readers’ comments can be further controlled by going to your Settings and click on Discussion. Here is the image of the page displayed:
Here you have options to control your reader’s comments and identity. You can also specify how many days your articles are open for comment.
Step 10: How to optimize your blog for search engines.
It is important for search engines to locate and index your blog. You already did the first step in optimizing your blog by configuring your Permalinks in Step 7. Now you can further refine your page for SEO in your Privacy Settings.
Under Settings, click on Privacy and choose the first selection for Site Visibility to allow your site to be visible to readers and all the major search engines. Click Save Changes to confirm your choice.
Other techniques for SEO are to:
• Include relevant keywords and phrases in your title and content;
• Build external links and give comments on other bloggers’ articles to increase visibility of your blog, and
• Write your blog content consistently and regularly, and promote it in your social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
All these techniques will help to increase your online presence and will give your blog the opportunity to rise in ranking by the search engines.