On most hosts, setting up a WordPress blog is incredibly easy. But just for those who want it step by step, here we go. I’ll be demonstrating through the control panel of my Site5 account. Through their control panel I go to SiteAdmin and select my site. This may vary somewhat by hosting company.
Under CGI & PHP scripts I see Fantastico. This is the tool that makes WordPress’s already easy installation even easier. I click on Fantastico, then under their blog category choose WordPress.
And of course I choose New Installation. This takes me to a screen that asks for the basic required information: domain to install on (Site5 allows you to host more than one), directory to install to (left empty if you want the blog to be the main page of the site), your preferred admin name and password, admin nickname, admin email address, blog name and description.
If you want to use the Blog by eMail feature, you can fill in the section for that as well, otherwise just lie to it. Fantastico does want it filled in. If you use it, this allows you to email your posts to your blog. Obviously you need the email account set up just for that, and you have to watch for any signs of spam to the account. Personally, I never do it since if I can access email I can log into my blog. But if you feel it works for you, go right ahead. We all have our preferences.
Click ‘Install WordPress’. You’re done and Fantastico will provide you with a link to your login screen.
It’s only slightly trickier if you don’t have Fantastico through your host or some other installation system.
Go to WordPress.org. Download the latest version of WordPress.
Create a MySQL database through your host. This should be very easy to do – just find the MySQL Administration section. There should be an obvious way to make a new database. Follow the directions, and note the database name, user name, password, and host name if relevant. Most often host name is just ‘localhost’ but some do it differently.
Unzip the version of WordPress you downloaded onto your computer. Use an FTP program to upload it to the appropriate directory on your site. Read through the Read Me file and make the appropriate edits to the wp-config-sample.php file, saving it as wp-config.php when you’re done. Do not use Microsoft Word or similar for this. Notepad is better. Upload this file as well.
Go to the directory where you’ve put your blog and add wp-admin/install.php to the end of that address. WordPress will handle the installation. If you gave it the right information about your database in the wp-config.php file, all should be well. WordPress will create a login for you.
Customizing Your Blog
This is the big part. You really don’t want to rely on that plain, functional theme that WordPress uses by default, do you? And there’s so much more functionality you can add with plugins, even if you don’t understand HTML or PHP.
Two easy places to seek free themes are at Alex King’s site and on the WordPress site. I like the WordPress site’s version pretty well. It allows you to search by selected criteria, such as number of columns or color. Go ahead and download more than one, and try each out. I’ve often found that one I liked on the theme viewer wasn’t quite what I wanted when I put it live on my site.
Themes are very easy to install. Download to a folder on your computer and unzip. Upload the theme using FTP to the themes folder of your WordPress installation. This will be under the wp-content folder.
Go to the Presentation tab. Click on the them you want to activate, then view your blog. Repeat as necessary if you don’t like the first theme you pick.
You can customize your free themes if you like. If you understand how to use an image editor such as Fireworks or Photoshop, you can take the current header image (for example), and make it your own. It’s an easy way to keep from looking like everyone else using that theme. If you don’t know anything about it, consider hiring someone to do it.
You can also edit the CSS file or any other files as you see fit, just be sure you know what you’re doing, and back up your theme in case you break it.
The other alternative is to pay someone to create a theme for you. This may not fit into your early budget, but it’s a thought for when you have more money coming in.
Plugins are similarly easy to add. If you read WordPress for Dummies by Lisa Sabin she recommends 10 great WordPress plugins. You can download free plugins from the WordPress site.
Some of her recommendations I’ve been using for a while, such as Subscribe to Comments. It’s a great plugin for making it easier for people to follow conversations on your blog. Related Entries is also great, and I really need to add it to more of my blogs. Others I haven’t tried yet, but they’re pretty much on the to-do list. I just have to reach a point where I’m willing to do the installation across multiple blogs.
Once again, download to a folder on your computer, unzip and upload to the plugins folder of your WordPress installation.
Plugins are easy to activate, but some require an additional step.
Go to the Plugins tabe and just hit Activate for any plugins you want to use on your blog.
Some will require that you insert a piece of code into your WordPress theme. If they do, there will be a Readme file telling you how to do this. And then there’s Akismet, which requires you to get a key from the WordPress.com site. But that’s very easy to do.
What Else Should You Do?
There are a few more things you’ll want to do. Every new WordPress installation comes with links to the blogs of some of the developers in your blogroll. You can take these out if you like. Odds are they won’t be relevant to your topic.
Make several posts before you start trying for traffic. No matter how great the post, no one will be interested in a blog that has only one post available.
If you want blogging stats, sign up with Feedburner. Their tools are free, they make it possible for you to track your subscribers and allow people to subscribe to your blog by email. Many people are more comfortable with this.
You will want to add at least the basic RSS chicklet linked to your Feedburner account. Replace any existing chicklets (the orange square with white curves you see on so many blogs) with the Feedburner one.
With Feedburner and several good posts over several days in place, you can start some promotion of your blog. It’s going to take time to look serious and really bring in the readers in most cases.
Read related blogs and comment. Use a name rather than keywords for your name when you post comments in most cases. Some people do use their blog name, but many webmasters don’t like that, so think carefully first. Don’t just post for the link to your site. Contribute. Useless comments don’t generate visitors.
Overall, the setup can take a day or so, especially if you’re picky about your theme and plugins, but the installation itself is really easy. The creation of quality content should take far more time, even to just get to the point where you can start generating visitors.
Starting a Home Business Series:
Get Your Home Business Going in the New Year
Brainstorming Your Home Business Ideas
How I Research a Market for a Product
How Do You Get a Website Going?
How Much Does an Online Business Really Cost?
How Complex Does a Website Need to Be?
How to Set Up a WordPress Blog (current page)
These Are a Few of My Favorite Themes
Can Article Marketing Work for You?
It Sounds Like a Lot of Work – Is It Really That Hard?
Building Your List
Getting Social with Your Blog
Is Your Site Ready for Pay Per Click?
Article Marketing Statistics
Putting the Pieces Together
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