So you decided to get on to the internet and make your own WordPress website or Blog.
A good decision!
The latest versions of WordPress are much better to be used as a Content Management System for a website. These versions go way beyond just blogging.'
How To Start Your Website
The first thing you need is your own domain name.
The best thing to do for thinking about your domain name is to make it as short as possible and easy to remember. You also want to avoid using – and possible misspellings.
You can find some other ideas and tips in this article on Finding the Best Domain for Your Joomla Website. Although this says Joomla! website, the information is also valid for WordPress domain names.
If you know what domain name you want, check if it's still available on Namecheap.com. Your best option for an English website is to go for a .com domain.
Your Own Webspace on the Internet
After you registered and paid for your domain it is time to get a place where you can create your Internet Real Estate, where you can store your website files.
So the next thing is to arrange and setup your website hosting, one of the best I used is Greengeeks.com.
A very affordable hosting company with fast and secure servers. Scroll down their home page and look for Application hosting -> WordPress Hosting for more information.
Their EcoSite Web Hosting package will do fine, enough disk space, bandwidth and everything else you might want.
You can use their installation script, which is explained on this Easy WordPress Installation page and have your site up and running in no time.
WordPress Configuration and Setup
After your WordPress website is installed its time to get the configuration and setup done. Most websites will leave you dead in the water after the installation is done.
Here I will share the next basic steps you need to do after your initial administrative login.
We will look at you WordPress Dashboard and go through:
- General settings
- Reading settings
- Media storage set-up
- User settings configuration
- Post and Categories
- Link and Categories
- Basic Pages you need
- Appearance and Theme options
- Plugins and how to install a few extra plugins you need
- Cleaning out the default installation Posts, Links and Pages.
We will go through these items step by step in an easy to follow format.
After this initial configuration is done you are ready to start putting up content, the real fun part of having your own website.
If you want more after that, check out the topics for WordPress in the sidebar on the right, there is a lot more that you can learn and do.
Your WordPress Dashboard
Let's look at your WordPress Dashboard and get some feeling for it once you log in for the first time.
If you look closely you will see that the dashboard is split in three main areas:
- Work area
- Maintenance and configuration
The first area is you overview screen:
The second part is where you will do most of your content building:
The third part is all about managing your site:
Keep that sectioning in mind as we start to work through the configuration settings. You might feel that you go back and forth between the different sections, but if you follow the stream below you will be up and running in no time.
Start with the Settings
Go to the Settings section and choose General.
In the screen that you now see there are two top fields, you need to check and change if needed
- Site Title – should be ok if you entered this during the installation phase, if not, you can change it
- Tagline – Just another WordPress Site it the standard, change this to something more suitable for your website
Go to Writing:
- Change the field value Size of the post box from 10 to 15 lines, this will give you more screen display one you start writing.
Go to Media:
- Untick the value Organize my uploads into month- and year-based folders that way all your images are stored in one place and not in sub-folders. It also prevents WordPress from creating extra empty folders that have no real value.
Go to Privacy settings
- Make sure the field Allow search engines to index this site. is active, otherwise, you will never show up on sites like Google.
Go to Permalinks
- Set the value to Post name and click save, you should get a message that the .htaccess file is updated /created. You can leave the rest of the fields blank or give it some values to change the WordPress standard names category and tag.
Your main settings are now ready.
WordPress Users Profile
Under Users, you can find your Profile where you can manage your own information and set a new password.
There are two fields that you really need to change:
- Nickname (required) that default shows your username, change that to your own name or something you would like to show on your website.
- Display name publicly as This will also show your username. If you change the previous field you can select that here. This is the name that will show on your site as the author name for your posts.
The other fields are up to your personal preference. I like to work with the Blue admin color scheme and not to show the toolbar if i look at the site.
We will leave the Appearance and Plugins alone for now.
For a blog, the Posts section is the most important one as you will write your articles here.
Start by removing the Hello World post first, you want to start clean.
Next, go to Categories and change the name Uncategorized to something that will be your standard topic. Don't forget to remove the slug after you changed the name! WordPress will create a new one based on the name you put in the first field.
In a clean new WordPress installation, you will not find a Tag value or any Media.
In the links section, you can change the default Link category from Blogroll to something like Weblinks or Internet Resources of you like.
Do delete all the standard links that come with WordPress unless you want to create a website about WordPress.
Tick the top Name field to select them all, use the drop-down menu option Delete and click Apply. They should all be gone.
A standard WordPress installation comes with an example page called About you can remove it or edit the content to give more information about yourself or your website.
The last check you need to do now is to see if your images will upload. Go to Media -> Add new ->Select Files and select an image from your computer. Click on Upload and see if your image is rendered and shows a small example of your screen.
If the uploads fail check access rights on your upload folder, default ie wp-content/uploads, the security should be set to 755.
You are now ready to start putting your content out on the internet, start posting.
As for the Plugins and the Appearance, we will look at those options separately. I will put the links to those articles below once they are ready.