How to Start Using WordPress: A Step by Step Guide
1. Go to the WordPress Website
Type in the address name you would like to use and click the Create Website button. If that address is already taken, you will be notified and asked to choose a new address.
When choosing an address for your blog, you should try for something unique and memorable that reflects the topic and content of your blog. Hopefully, people will be talking about your work and when they are mentioning your writing to their friends, you want everyone to be able remember the name of the blog and easily type in into their browser.
You might start by brainstorming some keywords and trying out some combination to see what you like. The key is to keep it short and make it memorable.
2. Enter Your Website’s Address
Next, you will be prompted to enter your email address and create a username and password for your new account. Be sure to choose a secure, unique password. It is not uncommon for hackers to break into WordPress sites and wreak havoc.
At this point, you will also be given the option of upgrading your account for a monthly fee. This will allow you to remove the .wordpress tag from your address and to monetize your site. If you simply want to start a basic blog whose main purpose is to share ideas, then a free account is the perfect option for you.
3. Locate Your Activation Email
Part of the reason WordPress requests your contact information right off the bat is so they can send you a confirmation email and activation link that will take you to the WordPress dashboard where you will enter posts, reply to comments, and manage your blog. A confirmation email should appear in your inbox within minutes. Click on the link provided and you will be ready to get started!
4. Adjust Your Blog Settings
Once you are in the dashboard, you can start to customize your blog. You should see a tab named “Settings.” Select the “General” option and you can enter a blog title, tagline, and adjust a number of other preferences. Again, this is your chance to pick something catchy and memorable. Showcase your personal voice and reinforce the topic of your blog. This small snippets of text will be the first things your readers see and provide you with a great opportunity to reel in readers and encourage them to explore your site.
5. Choose a Theme
The first big step in really customizing your blog and giving it a personality is to choose a theme. This will provide a template for the color scheme and the general layout. Luckily, there are literally thousands of free WordPress themes available. With so many options, choosing just one may seem overwhelming, but there are some easy ways to narrow down your choices.
If you are an artist or photographer looking to showcase images of your work, you might consider magazine style themes. Typically, these themes are very image heavy and will help you organize and display your work. On the other hand, if you are envisioning a more text heavy blog that is meant to highlight your writing and share ideas, there are a whole host of relevant and stylish themes available. Either way, look for clean, modern design that isn’t too cluttered.
Here are some simple, popular, and free themes that are a great place to start:
For even more ideas, and a concise description of popular themes, check out this article:
Starting Your First Blog? Checkout These 15 Best Free WordPress Themes
Once you get your blog up and running, you might find yourself wanting to make small changes and further personalize your site. Typically, any theme will allow you to make adjustments, so don’t be afraid that you are completely married to the theme you pick. In addition, you can easily choose and upload a new theme at any time. Changing themes may require you to make some small tweaks to your content, but it should be a smooth transition.
6. Create Your First Blog Post
Once you have a title and a theme, you are ready to create your first blog post. On the left sidebar menu, simply click on the “Posts” tab and then click “Add New” and start writing! For you first post, you may want to take the time to introduce yourself, tell your readers about the purpose of your blog and give them a taste of what they can expect from future posts.
When you are designing your post, be sure to add photos and take advantage of header options. You will notice an “Add Media” button right above the tool bar. Simple click and you can upload pictures and videos and insert them in your post. Using a combination of media and headers throughout your post will help break up long articles and direct readers’ attention to specific sections. Essentially, you are providing some navigational tools.
7. Add Pages for Organization
The other main option in the WordPress dashboard will allow you to add Pages to your blog. These can be used to help organize your blog and direct readers to a “Contact” or “About Me” pages. Creating a page is as simple as clicking on the “Page” tab and clicking “Add New.” Again, taking advantage of the pages tool will make your blog more reader friendly and encourage them to explore and learn more about you and your work.
8. Share Your Posts
Now that you have your blog up and running, it is time to promote you work and share it with the world. Take advantage of the power of social media and encourage your readers to tweet, like, and repost your work.
You can use widgets to add social media icons to the sidebar menu that appears on your site. To do this from the dashboard, click on the “Appearance” tab and go to “Widgets.” WordPress already has many popular widgets available, so all you have to do is find the “Facebook Like Box Widget” and click add. This will allow readers to “like” you work and help spread your posts.
Staring your own free WordPress blog can be done in just 8 easy steps. In no time at all, you can have your first blog post up and published!
[…] It is easier than ever to start your own blog. Content management systems like WordPress mean that you don’t have to learn code in order to build a website. Drag and drop design features and pre-made templates can give your blog a professional look in just a few minutes. Plus, there are plenty of great resources on the web that will give you step-by-step instructions on how to get set-up. […]