WordPress is the largest blogging platform in the world and is probably the first name that came to mind when you thought of creating your own blog. This article takes you through the five simple steps that it takes to create a WordPress site and prepares you for the first stages of writing your own blog.
Why Choose WordPress?
A WordPress website has many advantages over using some of the other blogging platforms,such as Posthaven or SquareSpace. Many people possibly choose it for its simplicity and reliability, as well as being part of the 58% of blog sites on the same platform.
Having decided to choose WordPress there are five key stages to getting the site up and running, which are covered in this article.
- Domain Name
- WordPress Themes
- Building Content
- Social Connections & Support
Stage ONE – Hosting
The first challenge that you will be faced with is where are you going to put your WordPress site. You will need a hosting platform in order for your website to be visible to everyone. Many hosting platforms also provide WordPress templates and support you to design and set up your site.
I have mentioned in other posts that I host my websites through Site Rubix. This provides the option of building two websites for free as subdomains on their platform. There is also the option to have multiple websites, including using your own domains, through their Wealthy Affiliate premium programme.
The other major web hosting company that I would promote here is BlueHost which offers great value if you are just interested in hosting an existing web or blog site. It is also an extremely reliable company that many of the top bloggers work on and would also recommend.
Stage TWO – Domain Names
Having decided where to host the site the next stage is to decide on a name. Choosing an appropriate name for your website is very important because this is part of the message and branding that you are promoting.
The first question you may be asked by any hosting server or WordPress platform is ‘do you own your own domain name?’ A domain name is simply the address of the website and usually ends in a .com or .org address although there are others such as countries .ie for Ireland or .eu for European Union, you get the drift anyway.
Some web hosting providers use their domain name to advertise their own service, so your web address will include their domain name as well as your own.
For example I initially built this site with the Wealthy Affiliate free hosting company Siterubix, so the domain name was ‘howtowriteandgetpaid.siterubix.com’.
However I then purchased and registered the domain name ‘howtowriteandgetpaid.com‘ from a web hosting company called Namecheap, and now I own that address and I don’t need to include any other company in my domain address.
Choosing a Domain Name
The first part of your business media strategy, or to promote your work, is through your website and that includes the name. Think of something that is relevant to your work, that will be easy to remember and might even form part of a question that potential readers might ask in Google. As a simple exercise try thinking of what website names you can remember off the top of your head.
Hopefully your list doesn’t include any of the infamous sites that didn’t realise what their company name would look like as a domain name, such as;
Pen Island – penisland.net
Experts Exchange – expertsexchange.com
Therapist Finder – therapistfinder.com
There are others but you get the idea, write it down first and look at it carefully (or better still get someone else to read it).
Stage THREE – Choosing a Theme
This is the fun bit, you have the name and an idea for the site, you have a company that you can work with to host your site and now you just need to build it.
At Wealthy Affiliate the founders Kyle and Carson claim that you can build a site in under 30 seconds using their siterubix website builder. Although you can do this and it is indeed only a three click exercise, I personally like to take a bit longer.
The WordPress dashboards all look like the one in the diagram below. However the themes for the websites are very different.
The first challenge is to select a theme for the site. There are hundreds of themes to choose from and once you on a paid hosting site this can increase to thousands of themes.
Remember to keep it simple, especially if you are new to web sites and design technology. Even the very simple themes will look professional and encourage readers to read your content. But too much information and detail, especially if it isn’t managed correctly could leave people confused and overwhelmed when they visit.
A recent article by Neil Patel outlines some of the top WordPress themes that he recommends for blogging. His article also provides a brief description and the opportunity to preview them.
One example from Neil’s collection is shown below and as you can see the theme is simple and uncluttered. It is easy to see the page layout and the blog articles take the most space. There are also no visible ads which many people find off putting.
A couple of clicks and you can have the framework for your website all set up. It really is that easy. The harder part is maintaining the site and building up the content.
Stage FOUR – Building Content
There are several other posts already on this site that show how to develop and build content for different purposes, but for now I’ll just concentrate on the basics.
An About page needs to be included which means writing about yourself and letting readers know what to expect from your site. Then a site framework of a few key pages showing what kinds of topics you will be covering can be added.
These pages can be used to show the different areas of work or topics that you intent to cover -for example books of a certain genre, self-publishing tips, research online, journalism whatever you feel is your own area of interest. These will form the menu across the top of your home page.
Remember also that over the next few years you will need to invest a lot of time and energy into building up the site and writing content. For this reason your site needs to be focused on something that you feel passionately about and that you want to share with others.
Stage FIVE – Social Connections and Support
One of the challenges in managing your own blog site is that it will take a lot of will power to keep going that is why connecting with groups and communities doing similar work is always helpful.
In order to make your blog successful I would really recommend connecting with a mentor, or support community within your niche area. It can make such a difference to have people helping you out or encouraging you when things seem to be difficult.
You are welcome to stay here with me and receive some support for your own site through the material available on this website, or join my mentoring support that I provide through Wealthy Affiliate for all my own referrals (special bonus and no extra cost to you)
There are also a number of other articles that you may also find interesting on the site, such as;
- How to Purchase and Register a Domain Name
- Choosing A Domain Name
- 5 Key Tips for Managing a WordPress Site
Whatever you decide to do please feel free to share your progress and experiences in the comments below, it is always more enjoyable to travel along with others, and best of luck!