How to create a WordPress Blog

Benefits of WordPress

You want to use WordPress because it combines a few really narley features that you can’t find in alternative CMSs out there. That’s exactly what makes the content management system (CMS) so unique.

  • easy to use,
  • you don’t need to be super tech savvy to handle it
  • a barrage of add-on (plugins) that add any functionality you may want for your website.

Ease of Use

It’s really easy to wrap your head around how to install a self-hosted WordPress blog because you are not supposed to be a programmer or something along those lines. As a rule of thumb, if you’re able to read and type on the keyboard, you’re bound to succeed with WordPress. Compared to alternatives such as Drupal, Joomla, etc, WordPress is a conclusive winner.

 

For the Non-Tech Savvy

If you just want to launch a site so that you can write posts with images, videos and other bells and whistles, you don’t really need to have a Ph.D. in Computer Science to make that happen. You do need to be able to upload files to an FTP server, but that’s most definitely not rocket science and this article will provide you with all the necessary instructions on how to do that.

 

Extensibility

Thing is, if you want to add an additional feature to your WordPress-based site, you are not supposed to create everything by yourself from the ground up. Since WordPress has a really vast online community, you can easily find people who can help you if you’re new to WordPress.
Odds are, you will be able to extend your site’s functionality without shelling out top dollar (if any) for that.

 

What to Have Handy

Before we focus on how to create a website using WordPress, you still need to get a few things ready before you lock your doors and start creating the next Facebook or Google, or whatever is on your agenda at this point. Here’s a short list of things you need explained in layman’s terms so that we don’t lose soldiers behind.

 

Hosting

The first thing that you need to do while figuring out how to create a blog in WordPress is make sure that you have hosting for your site. Hosting is a physical place (on a server) where your site will be housed. You just need to buy a hosting account with at least 500Mb of hosting space. That’s enough for the first a few years unless you want to launch an online portfolio with tons of hi-res photos or videos.

If you’re not sure if your hosting company meets WordPress requirements, you just need to contact them and ask if they support PHP version 5.6 or greater and MySQL version 5.5 or greater. That’s really it. You may also make sure that your hosting account uses either Apache or Nginx, but any server that supports PHP and MySQL will do.

Ask for it

Here’s a letter you can send to your host to make sure that it’s compatible with WordPress (copy and paste):

I’m interested in running the open-source WordPress <https://wordpress.org/> blogging software and I was wondering if my account supported the following:

PHP 5.6 or greater
MySQL 5.5 or greater
The mod_rewrite Apache module
Thanks!

 

Domain name

A domain name is something that your site visitors are supposed to enter in their browsers’ address bar before they land on your site. For instance, Facebook.com, google.com, cnn.com are domain names. You can buy your domain name from the same hosting company that hosts your site, but that’s ok to purchase it elsewhere if you feel like doing so.

 

Design

If you’re really serious about your online business, you most definitely need a gorgeous design for your site. Luckily, you can choose from a barrage of WordPress theme providers out there, both free and premium. In case you’re on a budget, you may want to check out the official WordPress.org directory which has a whole lot of beautiful WordPress themes to consider.

 

One-Click Install

If you want to be able to easily install WordPress on your server, you want to ensure that your hosting provider offers one-click installs. In a nutshell, it will allow you to install your WordPress with just a few clicks. This sort of features are located in different places at different hosting providers, but I’m going to walk you through installing your WordPress with one-click in the JustHost.com cPanel.

Once logged in to your hosting cPanel on JustHost, you just need to scroll down to the Mojo Marketplace portion and click One-Click Installs. That done, you should land on the FREE One-Click Installs for the Most Popular Applications page. Now you just need to click the WordPress option.

Having that done, click the green Install button across the top of your page. At this point, you need to select which domain you’d like to install it to and specify your desired directory if you want to install your brand new WordPress in a specific directory. If not or you’re not sure, just leave the ‘directory’ text box blank. Now click the Check Domain button.

On the last step, you can tick the Show advanced options checkbox to define your custom site name or title, admin username and password. Alternatively, you can leave the Show advanced options checkbox unticked which will generate automatic credentials for you. Now you need to tick the ‘I have read the terms and conditions of the GPLv2’ checkbox and click the Install Now button.

At this point, you should see a progress bar that shows how the installation process is going. Once complete, you need to click the View Credentials button in the upper-right corner. Now you want to stroll down to the Alert block that says Your WordPress install is finished! and click the View link. At which point you should see your site URL, admin URL, username and password.

You want to go to your admin panel (click the link next to Admin URL) and login with your credentials (username and login). After your first admin panel login, your can also see your site’s frontend if you go to the link specified after ‘URL’ in your credentials. With that done, you can start configuring your site.

If you installed your WordPress with the one-click feature, you can just skip the instructions beneath to ‘Step 7: Set Up Permalinks’ because now they’re not applicable for your particular case. If you did not follow along and you’d like to install your WordPress manually, you want to closely follow the instructions below.

The 10 Easy Steps

You really want to follow the 10 easy steps because doing so you will ensure that your WordPress-based site is installed, properly configured and ready to conquer the world. The steps below allow you to get to know how to make a website with wordpress in terms of installing, basic SEO, performance and usability settings that are absolutely mandatory for any WordPress site.

Step 1: Get WordPress

Now that you have a hosting account, domain name and WordPress theme (design), you can install WordPress on your server (hosting space) and get started. You can download a free copy of WordPress at https://wordpress.org/download/ You just need to click the blue Download WordPres button. Once your WordPress is on your hard drive, you’re ready to upload it to your hosting space (FTP server).

Step 2: Upload WordPress

If you’re not sure how to upload your copy of WordPress to your hosting space, you can just contact your hosting provider and ask to explain how to do that best with their hosting. As a rule of thumb, you will be able to use either a user-friendly hosting control panel (cPanel) or at least upload your WordPress via FTP with the help of apps like Cyberduck or FileZilla.

1

If you use Cyberduck, you need to firstly fire it up and then click the Open Connection option in the upper left corner of the app. You want to make sure that your have FTP (File Transfer Protocol) selected in the first drop-down menu and tick off the Anonymous Login checkbox. Now you need to enter your server name (server), username and password. That done, click the Connect button.

Once you’ve successfully logged in, you can expand the directory where you’re supposed to upload your WordPress by clicking the appropriate triangle icon. The directory is usually called ‘public_html’ or ‘htdocs’. Now you can just drag and drop your WordPress.zip file from your desktop to the target directory on the server. Once your WordPress.zip file is on the server, you can unzip it (unarchive it) using the tool your hosting company has onboard.

Note: if you’re having a hard time getting connected via FTP, you should get in touch with your hosting provider and ask for step-by-step instructions on uploading files to your hosting space. With that in mind, it would make sense to check how the tech support of your hosting company works (just call a few times) even before you become their client.

Step 3: Create a WordPress Database

Now that your WordPress is on the server (hosting space) and unarchived (not as a single file in the .zip format), you also need to create a database, which will contain the content of your WordPress site. Your hosting provider should have a tool for that. Chances are, you’ll be using phpMyAdmin, which is a very popular database control panel. Alternatively, you may have a database feature built-in to your hosting panel (cPanel).

mysql-db-wizard-1

The easiest way to create a database is with the help of MySQL® Database Wizard. You just need to click the MySQL® Database Wizard option in your hosting cPanel and fill in your details as the wizard walks you through the whole process. Having clicked the MySQL® Database Wizard button, you should be on Step 1.

You just need to give your database a name. You want to keep it precise, user friendly (easy to memorize) and it should also make sense so that you can easily find it if you use a few databases on your hosting. That hits home even more if you have a team and different people will work with your database. Once you’ve named your database, click the Next Step button.

Step 4: Create a Database User

Now you need to create a database user. You just need to enter your desired username in the Username text field. Also, you need to create a password for the new user. You can either come up with a password on your own or just use the Password Generator option. Just click Generate Password, tick the I have copied this password to a secure location option (and actually do so!) and click the Use Password button. Having that done, click the Create User button.

create-user

Step 5: Add the User to the Database

Now you need to associate the user you just created with the database you made before. You just need to tick the ALL PRIVILEGES checkbox. Doing so will automatically check all the required checkboxes. Now that you’ve added a user to your database, you can move on to the next step Just click the Next Step button.

add-to-db

If you did everything right, you should be seeing a message in a green box that reads something along the lines of ‘your_username now has privileges on the database your_database_name’. Now that you have everything ready, you need to go with your browser to your domain name (e.g. http://www.mydomain.com) and start installing your WordPress.

5 Steps for Manual Database Creation

If you don’t have the MySQL® Database Wizard option or something to the same effect on your hosting account, you still can create a database, but you will need to do that manually. To do that, you need to use phpMyAdmin which you should be able to easily find once you login to your hosting account. If you can’t do that, contact your hosting provider and ask to walk you through.

STEP 1
In case you were able to find the phpMyAdmin option in your hosting account, you need to click it to get started.
STEP 2
At which point, you will be prompted to enter your phpMyAdmin credentials. If you did not receive an email message about them after setting up your hosting account, you need to (again) get in touch with your hosting provider directly.
STEP 3
Once you have your phpMyAdmin credentials, you just need to enter them and click the ‘Go’ button on the phpMyAdmin login page.
STEP 4
Now click ‘New’ and enter your database name in the ‘Database name’ text field.
STEP 5
At which point, you need to click the Create button.

Note: be sure to jot down your database name and contact your hosting provider for their default database username and password. You will need the details for installing your WordPress on the server.

Now you’re good to go and install your WordPress using the database you just created manually.

Step 6: Install WordPress

The first thing that you should do is select your preferred language. That done, you need to click the Continue button. Now you should see a list of what you need to have handy before you launch your installation. If you have it all, just click the ‘Let’s go!’ button. Now enter your database name, username, password and click Submit and then Run the Install.

Enter Your Details

2

At this substep, you need to specify your site title (you can change it later). Also, you want to specify your new username and password for accessing your WordPress admin panel. You also need to type in your email address so that WordPress can send you messages. Other than that, you want to tick off the Allow search engines to index this site option (more on that later). And just click the Install WordPress button.

Access Your WordPress Dashboard

If you can see the Success! message, you did everything right and you’re good to go and access your WordPress administrative panel (aka dashboard). To do that, you need to click the Login button. Now enter your username and password.

login_form

That done, click the Login button one more time. That’s about it. You just successfully installed your WordPress site.

Step 7: Set Up Permalinks

In your WordPress dashboard, you should pick the Permalinks option under Settings. Now you just need to tick the Post name radio button and save your changes. From now on, WordPress will automatically create humanly-readable links to your blog posts.

For example, http://yourdomain.com/permalink-setup instead of http://yourdomain.com/?p=12323498

permalinks-structure

Step 8: Install Yoast SEO for WordPress

You may want to install the Yoast SEO for WordPress plugin because it’s pretty much the standard when it come to SEO. To install the plugin, you need to select Add New under the Plugins option in your dashboard. Now use the search feature to find the plugin and click Install Now. Once installed, you also need to click the Activate Plugin link to enable the plugin.

Yoast-SEO-Dashboard

Enable Robots.txt

Now that you have the Yoast SEO for WordPress plugin installed and activated, you should go to SEO in your dashboard toolbar, select Tools and click File editor. That done, click the Create robots.txt file button. You may want to copy and paste the following content to your robots.txt file for optimal performance:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /feed/
Disallow: /trackback/
Disallow: /wp-admin/
Disallow: /wp-content/
Disallow: /wp-includes/
Disallow: /xmlrpc.php
Disallow: /wp-
Allow: /wp-content/uploads/
Sitemap: http://example.com/sitemap.xml

You just need to replace http://example.com/sitemap.xml with your actual sitemap link.

Enable XML Sitemap

In your WordPress admin panel, you need to pick XML sitemaps under SEO and click the XML Sitemap button. Now you’re supposed to be seeing your XML sitemap.

Copy the URL of the page and replace the default sitemap line in your robots.txt file (Sitemap: http://example.com/sitemap.xml) with a link to your actual XML sitemap you just copied.

Step 9: Allow Indexing Your Site

Since you don’t want to have duplicate content (content available elsewhere) on your site for SEO reasons, it makes sense to allow search engines to crawl your site only after it’s been populated with unique content. You need to select the Reading option under Settings and tick off the Search Engine Visibility checkbox.

15

Step 10: Integrate Google Tools

Now that you’ve installed and initially configured your WordPress site, you also need to integrate your site with Google Search Console and Google Analytics. The former allows you (among other things) to specify your preferred domain and the latter provides you with a barrage of traffic stats that makes it possible for you to make educated decisions and act upon.

google-analytics

Just to be clear, the tools don’t drive traffic to your site, but they just track traffic and provide the insight about what’s going on with your site in terms of how many people visit your site, which exactly pages on your site they visit, what browser they use, just to name a few. You can use the data to better cater to your target audience.

Bottom Line

As you could see for yourself, it’s pretty easy to learn how to build a blog on the WordPress CMS. It goes without saying that you still can make a whole lot of things to boost your site performance, usability and SEO, but the aforementioned instructions allow you to effortlessly get your site off the ground before long.