Have you decided to create a WordPress blog? Whether it’s for yourself, or your business, you’ve come to the right place! Because in this article, we will discuss all the step-by-step processes to create a blog in WordPress.
There are no technical prerequisites, you don’t have to be an HTML or CSS expert. All you need to do is arm yourself with your favorite drink and a little patience, and follow the steps one after the other.
We will also give you various tips over time to avoid making certain mistakes, and of course, start on the best possible basis.
Ready to start your blog? Let’s go!
Step 1: Choosing the Platform for Your WordPress Blog
The first step to create a WordPress blog is to choose the platform for your blog. There are dozens of them, you’ve probably heard of WordPress, Tumblr, Wix, or Blogger.
The number 1 platform for a blog is WordPress.
WordPress is used by more than 25% of the sites in the world. And if we consider the Content Management System (CMS) market, WordPress’s market share is over 55%.
You will understand, WordPress is essential and it is the platform that we recommend you to use. It is also the platform we use for all our sites and blogs.
Why has WordPress become the number 1 platform?
There are a lot of reasons for this:
- WordPress is free (WordPress is open source software licensed under GPLv2+)
- It is easy to install
- It is easily customizable (you can easily add features by installing plugins, for example, to add a form to subscribe to your newsletter, or to allow your visitors to easily share your articles on the social network)
- The design of a WordPress site is easily customizable through the use of themes, which define the visual appearance of your blog.
- The ecosystem around WordPress is huge. There are thousands of developers offering plugins and themes (free and paid), as well as custom development and maintenance services for your blog.
- WordPress is secure. It is regularly updated and you will be safe from attacks and other hacks if you regularly perform these updates.
You can of course start with another platform, and those work well too. But they are not at all comparable in terms of scalability, you will be much more limited.
In fact, if you decide to bet on another platform when your blog starts to be successful, it is very likely that you will feel the need to migrate to WordPress, and you will regret not having started directly with WordPress.
Choosing Between WordPress.org and WordPress.com
If you dig into the WordPress topic, you will realize that there are two versions of it.
wordpress.org is a self-hosted solution. That is to say, you need to subscribe to hosting (we’ll get to that in a moment) and then install WordPress on your hosting. In this configuration, you will be able to have all the advantages mentioned above, we highly recommend you to use it!
wordpress.com is a hosting platform that uses WordPress software. It’s a turnkey formula that looks like Blogger or Tumblr.
It’s a little easier to pick up but much more limited. In fact, it is mainly because of all the limitations that it is easier to handle.
Some good points include the fact that you can use it for free in its entry-level plan, and you don’t need to worry about tech and security updates.
The big negative point of this solution is that you are severely limited on several levels. You only have a much smaller choice of themes, you can’t install plugins. You can not modify your site code (eg PHP files).
In addition, the form of your domain name is imposed (publicname.wordpress.com), unless you pay for a premium plan. Such a URL is quite amateurish and not very credible. It is by definition to be excluded for any business, and for any individual with some ambitions for the blog.
The last thing is that you are not really in control of your content. Indeed, WordPress.com can decide at any time to delete your blog.
In summary: To create a new WordPress blog, choose the WordPress.org solution which will run on the hosting of your choice!
Choose Your Domain Name and Your Hosting
We are now getting to the heart of the matter. For your new blog, you’re going to need two things:
1) A Domain Name
A domain name is an address that your visitors will need to type to find you. Thus, the domain name of this site is www.themerally.com.
For a business, in general, the domain name is already all found, it is the name of your business. For an individual, or if you want a different name than your company, you need to think a little more.
Here are some tips for choosing a domain name for your blog:
- Easy to remember: Avoid long and complicated domain names
- Unique: Do not copy the name of an existing site
- Easily identifiable: You can choose a term that closely or remotely evokes the main theme of your blog
- Inspiring confidence: Choose an extension known to all (.com for example). More exotic extensions can scare people away.
There are several sites to check the availability of the domain name you have chosen. The registration of a domain name generally costs around $9 and $14.99 per year. However, this is often offered when purchasing new hosting, as we will see later.
2) A Host
The web host is the service provider who will host your blog. It will provide you with part of a server that will contain your blog, namely your articles, your images, but also the WordPress software as well as the themes and plugins that you will install.
Hosting to start a blog usually costs between 3 to 7 dollars per month. It’s not much, but you have to be careful to bet on the right host in order to build your blog on a solid foundation.
How to Choose Your Host?
There are hundreds of web hosts and the packages offered seem fairly comparable at first glance. So how do you choose?
When it comes to choosing a web host, there are 3 main criteria to take into account:
1) Speed of servers: You want to choose a web host whose servers are not overloaded and who will be able to quickly display the pages of your blog to your visitors.
2) Availability rate: Basically, this is the percentage of the time your site is available and accessible on the Internet. You need to choose a web host with a rate as close as possible to 100%.
3) Responsiveness and efficiency of customer support: A very important criterion! If you have the slightest problem with your blog, you need to be able to have efficient customer support, and be very responsive!
Taking these 3 criteria into account, the host we recommend is BlueHost.
It is our web host of choice that we use in our sites and blogs. The servers are ultra-fast and not overloaded (your blog will be displayed quickly), their availability rate is very good. And to top it off, the customer service is excellent, all at very competitive prices.
As you will have noticed, we do not recommend the hosts whose advertisements you can see everywhere. These are generally distinguished by well-executed marketing. However, they do not shine by the performance of their hosting or their customer support.
Step 2: Create a WordPress Blog at Your Host
We are now getting into the very concrete. At the end of this step, you will have a functional WordPress blog, on your domain name.
After choosing a host to create a blog in WordPress, make sure that the host offers easy one-click WordPress installation. If not, you will have to do it manually. This can turn out to be a bit complex and should be avoided for beginners. If you want to do it anyway, here is the procedure to follow.
Buy Your Accommodation
When you go for a hosting package from BlueHost, you should come up with a screen like this:
Here you find WordPress > Managed WordPress plan. You will get a smart amount of discount (discount amount may vary for different purposes). You’ll also have priority access to customer support, and a faster site.
Choose Your Domain Name
Once selecting Managed WordPress plan, click the button “Get Started”. Then you will see all the three plans of Managed WordPress. We recommend “GROW”, it has almost all the specifications and services, and also it has a good amount of discount.
After that click on the “Select” button and you will find a signup page where you can check your domain availability. Then select your domain name and click “Next” to check the availability. If your domain name will available, then you will get a page where you will provide all the information that is required.
After completing all the information you will get the “Submit” button.
Subsequently, BlueHost will ask you if you wish to subscribe to additional services, such as “Domain Privacy” to prevent your personal details (name, address, telephone number, email address) from being revealed, or monitoring of the hacking of your site (“HackAlert Monitoring”).
A few moments after validating the purchase of your accommodation, you will receive a confirmation email about the payment and activation.
Install WordPress on Your Blog
We will now install WordPress on your blog.
To do this, open the confirmation email for your order, and click on Login Account. You can also go directly to BlueHost Control Panel.
Once you have logged in, BlueHost will ask you if you want to set up a new site. Select the option “Start a New Website”. A list of applications will then appear, and you can select WordPress. You will then have to enter your email address, as well as provide a name and a password to create an administrator account for your WordPress blog.
If BlueHost didn’t ask you to set up a new site the first time you logged into your account, don’t worry. We will immediately see how to install WordPress yourself in a few clicks. This is also the method to follow for a lot of other hosts.
First of all, you must connect to your host with the identifiers chosen when creating your account.
Click on “My Site” then “Create Site”. Then click on “Log in to WordPress”
After then you will find “Website”. Clicking on the Website, you will get the “Install” option. And finally, you will get the perfect installation of a WordPress Website.
First Connection to Your Blog
That’s it, WordPress is installed on the blog! Now we are going to connect to it for the first time.
Look in your inbox for an email sent from BlueHost about account setup confirmation. You will find inside the username as well as the address to connect to your administrator interface.
By default, the connection address for your administrator interface is in the following form:
Go to this address, and identify yourself.
And there you go! Your blog is up and running and you are connected to it for the first time.
We told you it wasn’t very complicated.
Step 3: Configure Your Blog
We will now walk you through some WordPress basics to help you get started.
We will see :
- Your administration interface
- How to change the look of your blog through the use of themes
- Install new features via plugins/extensions
- How to make your blog better optimized for search engines and your visitors
Reminder: You can access your WordPress administrator interface at any time by going to the following address:
The Administration Interface of Your Blog
When you log into your blog’s administration interface, you’ll find yourself on a screen that looks like this (from one of our sites):
You will also notice that your interface is more refined than ours and that you do not have all the elements. This is completely normal.
Now, let’s go through the main interface elements, and the menu on the left, that every new WordPress user should know:
1) The dashboard: It shows you various information about your activity, including the number of posts, pages, and comments you have. You can also start writing an article, but we’ll see a better way to do this in a moment. You will also find a feed with news around WordPress (“WordPress News”).
2) Articles: This part allows you to create a new article on your blog, or to access existing articles in order to modify them. You can also manage the categories and labels. Categories allow you to organize your articles according to main themes. For example, for a blog related to sport, we would typically find the categories “Training”, “Nutrition”, “News” etc. As for the labels, they allow you to add keywords to your articles, to more precisely classify the topics covered. Generally speaking, the use of categories is almost necessary, while the use of labels is more optional.
3) Media: This tab allows you to access your media library and add items to it. Thus, this media library includes all the media elements (images, videos, audio files, pdf files, etc.) that you will have added as you go along to your site.
4) Pages: This part allows you to create a new page, as well as modify the existing pages on your blog. A page in WordPress is typically static content and differs from an article. Typical examples of pages that can be found on a blog are the pages “contact me”, “about”, “my services” etc.
5) Comments: This tab allows you to manage comments. You will find comments awaiting validation, validated comments, comments deemed undesirable, etc. If you want to delete a comment, this is where it happens as well.
6) Appearance: This is where you can change the look of your blog, by installing new themes and configuring them. We will talk about it in more detail later. This is also where you can edit your menus, as well as your widgets (the items that appear in the sidebar of your blog).
7) Extensions: To install a new plugin, this is where it happens! Installing plugins allows you to easily add new features to your site. We will also come back to this later.
8) Settings: This tab allows you to modify various settings of your blog, including its title, but also to modify the administrator’s email address, as well as other important settings for your site.
How to Change the Look of Your Blog
WordPress uses themes to determine the design and appearance of a site. The easiest way to change the look of your blog is to change the theme.
There are thousands of WordPress themes. Some themes are free, and others are paid.
In general, paid themes (also called premium themes) are more professional, have more serious looks, offer more features, are more regularly updated (important for the security of your site), and offer technical support, which is very convenient in case of concern.
Note that most free themes work on a freemium model, i.e. the basic theme is free, but you have to pay for more advanced features, or for support in the event of a problem.
To tell the truth, it is quite understandable. Developing and maintaining a WordPress theme is a lot of time and work, not to mention technical support. Thus, it is quite normal that these developers want to be paid for all the work done.
If you want to get started with your new blog seriously, we recommend that you should go with a paid theme from the start. It only costs a few dollars and is a great investment for your blog.
How to Install a Free WordPress Theme
Installing a free WordPress theme is very easy.
Go to your WordPress interface, and click on “Appearance” in the left menu, then on “Themes”. Then click on “Add New” at the top of your screen.
You will arrive on a screen presenting you with various free WordPress themes available. Via the nails, and using the filters, you can browse the different themes available.
The filter feature is very useful, it allows you to filter themes by arrangement (theme layout/design), by theme (Blog, eCommerce, Photography, Holidays, etc.), and by advanced features, for example, the capacity of the theme to be responsive. It is also a must these days, do not choose a theme that is not responsive!
How to Install a Paid (Premium) WordPress Theme
First of all, make sure you have the theme files, which you can download after your purchase. This is an archive in .zip format.
Then, go to your WordPress interface, and click on “Appearance” in the left menu, then on “Themes”. Then click on “Add New” at the top of your screen.
Next, click on “Upload a Theme”, then click “Choose File” to select the .zip file of the theme you purchased, and click “Install” to upload it to your blog and install it.
After that, all you have to do is activate it by clicking on “Activate” so that the theme gets active on your blog.
How to Add Functionality to Your Blog Via Plugins (Extensions)
As we told you before, WordPress plugins allow you to add new functionalities to your blog easily.
This can be adding contact forms, or a sharing bar on social networks, or to help you optimize the SEO of your blog. Most of them are free, or they are available for free in a limited version and offer a more complete premium version.
Most of the plugins we use on our sites and blogs are free. However, there are a few plugins that we find really worth the investment of a few dollars.
Here are our favorites, which we install on all our sites and blogs:
- Monarch Plugin: Stylish social media sharing bar
- Thrive Leads: Essential plugin to boost conversions on your blog
- Thrive Visual Editor / Thrive Architect: This plugin is also essential to format your pages and articles according to your slightest wishes
- WP Tab Widget Pro: Widget to highlight your other content (most popular, most recent articles, etc.)
Now let’s see how to install a new plugin.
How to Install a Free WordPress Plugin
Go to your WordPress administration interface, and click on “Plugins”, then on “Add New”. You will arrive on a screen quite similar to that of the themes, which allows you to browse the different free plugins available, do a keyword search, get more information about a plugin, etc.
When you have found the plugin you need to click on “Install Now”. The plugin will then be automatically uploaded to your blog, and you can then activate it by clicking on “Activate”.
Warning: Before installing any free WordPress plugin, you must ensure the quality of it to avoid many problems, including hacking your site through the installation of a plugin with flaw security.
To avoid worries, take the following precautions:
- Always read user reviews left on plugin pages
- Look at the date of the last update. Beware, if it’s been a few months or years ago.
- Do a Google search with the theme name to see what reviews you can find
Another important tip we have to give you to create a WordPress blog is to regularly update your themes and plugins. Indeed, updates to these are published as new features are added, but also as security vulnerabilities are discovered. Thus, it is important to regularly update the plugins and themes of your WordPress blog in order to avoid the slightest problem.
This is easy to do however, your WordPress blog will let you know when updates are available, and installing these is just a few clicks away.
Also, be sure to set up regular backups for your blog. For this, we advise you to use the free Updraft Plus plugin.
Finally, we recommend installing the Wordfence Security Plugin. It is a very complete security plugin that will keep you safe from a lot of threats.
If you pay attention to these things, you can save yourself a lot of disappointment with your blog, and you can have a lot more peace of mind about the security of your blog!
How to Install a Premium (Paid) WordPress Plugin
To install a premium WordPress plugin, the procedure is quite similar to installing a paid theme that we have seen before.
First of all, make sure you have successfully retrieved the files from the premium plugin you just purchased. This is in the form of an archive in .zip format.
Then, go to the administration interface of your blog, then click on “Plugins” then on “Add New”, then on “Upload a Plugin”. You will then have to select the .zip file of the plugin, then install it on your blog, before activating it.
That’s it, your premium plugin is installed and active on your blog!
How To Make Your Blog Better Optimized For Search Engines And Visitors
By default, your URLs (the web addresses of the pages and articles of your blog) are displayed in a rather horrible form (like http://www.yourdomainname.com/?p=123 ), which is neither understandable for your visitors, nor optimized for the SEO of your blog by search engines.
To remedy this, we advise you to make the following modification.
Go to your WordPress interface, then click on “Settings” in the left menu, then on “Permalinks”. Then select “Item Name”, before validating your changes by clicking on “Save Changes”.
Now the name of the post or page will be used for your blog links, which will be much more understandable for your visitors and beneficial for your blog’s SEO.
Step 4: Write and Publish Articles with WordPress
Here, we will see how to write articles, add images, how to add links, and how to format your texts.
As a reminder, in WordPress, a page is generally used for static content (which will change a little over time) and differs from an article. Typical examples of pages that can be found on a blog are the pages “contact me”, “about”, “my services” etc.
How to Write a New Post in WordPress
To add a new article, first, go to your administrator interface, then click on “Articles” then “Add” in the left menu.
You will arrive on a page allowing you to write your new article. You can add the title of your article in the top field, and the text of your article is to be written in the large white rectangle below.
When you write an article, you can save your draft by clicking on the button provided for this purpose in the box at the top right. You can also generate a preview of your article by clicking on “Preview”.
When you have finished writing your article and want to add it to your blog, just click on the “Publish” button. If you wish, you have the option to schedule the publication of your article at a later date.
Once your article is saved (or published), you can find it, along with any other articles you have on your blog, by clicking on “All Posts” in the left menu (just below “Posts”).
To make your articles more attractive, several possibilities are offered to you. Let’s go through them one after the other.
To add an image to your article, click on the “Add Media” button.
Tip: Before clicking “Add Media”, make sure you put your mouse cursor in the right place in the text (where you want to add the image). Otherwise, you will have the option of moving it.
Click on “Send files” then on “Choose files”. Then select the image on your hard drive, and validate to upload it to your blog. The image will be added to your media library.
When the image is uploaded to your blog, be sure to select the image. And then click “Insert in the article” to add it to the article you are writing.
To add a link to another site (or another page on your blog), select the part of the text where you want the link to appear, then click on the chain-link icon in the toolbar.
You can then directly enter the URL of the link, or enter a keyword to search among your existing articles and pages (to make an internal link).
If you want the link to open in a new tab, you must first click on the small icon resembling a cogwheel to access the link options. You can then check “Open link in a new tab”, then click “Add Link” to complete the addition of the link.
By the way, when you add a link, be sure to include “http: //” or “https: //” at the beginning of the link, otherwise, your link will not work.
There you go, we come to the end of this guide on how to create a WordPress blog. Now that your blog is in place and you’ve taken your first steps with it.
We hope he has helped you to create a new blog in WordPress, and in your first steps as a blogger! You can read one of our most popular articles about some common WordPress errors and their solutions. Check out this article for a better understanding.
If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment, that’s totally okay. It’s a feeling you often get when embarking on something completely new. Stay calm, familiarize yourself as you go with the various aspects related to your new blog, inform yourself regularly, and you will quickly be amazed by the progress you will make!
And if you have any questions about how to start a WordPress blog, please join our Theme Rally Community to ask your questions. Our community members will answer them as soon as possible.