You’ve created your brand and chosen WordPress.org as your platform but you have no idea how to use WordPress? No worries, I have got your back with a quick overview on how to install and get using WordPress software for blogging.
How is WordPress.org different to WordPress.com?
WordPress.org provides the WordPress software to download and install onto the server space that you rent from a web host. WordPress.com offers free hosting but is restrictive in many ways due to being free.
In order to easily install WordPress you need to find a web host that has PHP and MySQL/MariaDB and ensure it has cPanel or something similar. The web host I use, Bluehost, has an easy auto-installer which will install WordPress for you. You can install WordPress on web hosts which don’t have these, but it is a lot more complicated and takes more time. If you do want to manually install I recommend following WordPress’s instructions.
‘Install WordPress’ on Bluehost’s cPanel
- Sign up for a web host plan
- Log into cPanel by going to http://domainname.com/cPanel
- Find the install WordPress feature
- Install WordPress
In order to use WordPress you need to log in by going to http://domainname.com/wp-admin and logging in with your web host details.
The WordPress dashboard comes already loaded with the Welcome at the top, and the At a Glance and Activity widgets. As you can see I have added my own widgets for ease of access. I can now see my site stats, my followers and the Yoast SEO overview tool.
Create a New Post
From the dashboard you can either go up to the top and press new or you could go to the side menu and press add new. You can also go into the posts page and there’s an add new button there as well.
It’s important to get to know the different widgets surrounded the add new post page. The main one is the publish widget which is where you can post or schedule you blog posts. You can also save your blog posts as drafts or under pending review if you’re working alongside an editor.
My publish widget has additional items in it such as the Yoast readability and SEO scores. It also has Publicize as I have the free version of Jetpack installed as well. Publicize is great for sharing to social accounts.
Categories and tags are really important to try and get your content read. Categories is more for your website’s index and keywords of ‘Beauty’ and ‘Books’ etc. and it’s also good for yourself as you can see how many posts you have in each category. For example, I really need to tidy up my categories as I don’t utilise the recipes or film category very often, if at all!
Tags are super important for readers to find your content in WordPress reader. You can search for keywords and posts using that tag will show up. This is one of the best ways for you to find new readers as a new blogger. Popular tags are ‘Book blogger’ ‘Beauty’ etc.
As I use Yoast SEO I have the Yoast widget at the bottom of my page which directs me as to how to improve the SEO optimisation of my post. The Yoast widget also tells you about the ‘readability’ of your post. I always aim to turn the buttons in the publish widget green before posting.
There’s so many plugins you can get that make running your blog that little bit easier. Here’s some that I find help me the most.
- I love Yoast SEO as it works really well to remind me to concentrate on SEO. It also helps me write better as I struggle with writing sentences that are too long.
- I also use Akismet Antispam to reduce spam comments on my blog.
- I use All Meta Tags to create meta data for my blog. This also helps optimise my SEO.
- I use Monster Insights Google Analytics plug in to get analytics up and running.
- WP Smush helps to reduce the size of my images and makes my blog run faster.
The media library is where you can upload all your images and documents that you want on your blog. It’s a really easy drag and drop to upload. Plus you can search the library if you need an older image.
Customising your blog
Under appearance, you can find different themes to download and add different widgets. You can also use customise to input your own html theme that you’ve made, downloaded or bought. I would spend some time just playing around with different settings and finding the blog design that is exactly what you want before setting your site as live.
Upload your header that you thought about when branding to make your blog cohesive. You can add and move widgets around to allow you to add features such as social sharing buttons. You can also change your fonts and colours to match your colour palette.
If you’re planning on scheduling your posts, remember to change your time zone under general settings. I’d also recommend you set your other options up to how you prefer them as then you can have an easier user experience.
You should also set up your permalink settings to show as post name as this is the best one for SEO purposes. Using plain or numeric will have no benefit as it lacks keywords and using the date will make URL’s that are a bit long. If you haven’t already done this, and you also haven’t had your website indexed by google I would change it now! If you’ve already got an older site that’s been indexed, shared etc then leave it or all your links will need to change.
Another setting is follower settings under reading settings. For months I didn’t realise I was sending out automatic emails saying howdy. Go change your email response to something more on brand as soon as possible!