Data Analyst and Technical Consultant

Getting started with WordPress

WordPress is free, secure and easy to set up.  Here’s how to get started on your self-hosted WordPress blog.

Finding a domain name and web hosting

To set up a self-hosted blog you’ll need a domain name and web hosting to store your content. Follow these six steps to get started with Host Gator who offer both and a range of plans to suit every new blogger.

  1. Go to Host Gator and click Get Started.

  2. Pick a Domain name for your blog that is simple, easy to remember and if possible ends with .com, .net or .org

  3. Choose your blog hosting plan. You can always upgrade later.

  4. Register it by putting in your contact and billing information.

  5. Log in to your new account and install WordPress blog by clicking “Quick Install” under the Software and Services section.

  6. Log in and check out your new blog by using the admin URL. www.yourblog.com/wp-admin (where ‘yourblog’ is your domain name).

Designing your blog

  • When you log in for the first time, you’ll see a dashboard or admin panel.
  • Go to the Appearance tab in the sidebar, and click Themes.
  • You’ll see featured, popular, new categories and the Feature Filter if you have something special in mind.
  • There are premium options but also lots of great free options.  I use the free Kale theme, it’s designed for food blogging but suits me too.
  • When you’ve found a theme you like, click ‘Install’. Once the theme has been installed, click ‘Activate’.

 

Publishing Posts, Pages and Projects

  • To create a post click ‘Post’ then ‘Add new’. When you’re ready to post it click ‘Publish’ to make it live.
  • Add tags to make your content more searchable and ‘categories’ to create a menu of all your similar posts.
  • To add an About or Contact page follow the same process by clicking ‘Page’ and then ‘Add new’.  Pages are where you place content that doesn’t change a lot over time.
  • If you are using your blog to show off your portfolio of projects you’ll need to activate this first and follow the instructions from the WordPress documentation.

 

Finding free images

If you don’t have a huge supply of images there are sites that provide free to use creative commons images that you can copy, modify and distribute for personal or commercial purposes.  These are the ones I keep coming back to:

 

Make your blog search engine friendly

Plugins and extra functionality to your site.  They are tested by WordPress and can help you manage email lists, download a csv file of your users and back up your work.  The Yoast plugin is one of the most popular plugins because it makes SEO easy to manage.  It can take some time to get the hang of so take this free Udemy course to get hands-on and learn to boost your SEO.

  • How to verify webmaster tools
  • How to write page snippets and meta descriptions
  • Indexing
  • How to create and submit a sitemap
  • How to bulk edit posts with the bulk edit tool
  • Fixing broken links
  • How to optimise content for SEO

For more detailed instructions on all things WordPress, check out WP Beginner and good luck!