WARNING – This post is very long and has ALOT of content in it. I highly recommend that before you continue reading that you grab a cup of coffee or tea and get ready to spend some time digesting some serious information here.
After thinking about it for awhile I realized that I hadn’t written anything seriously engaging or in-depth on this blog for quite awhile. So, instead of charging people money for an ugly kindle book I decided to create this epic beautiful looking piece of content that I can give away to my readers instead ;).
Before we dive in here I also want to mention that this guide is currently a work in progress. Over the next month or so I’m going to be adding more and more content.
I plan on adding a lot here and truly making this post the only post you ever need to read if you are looking to build your very first website or blog with WordPress.
Alright, that’s enough chatter lets get right down to it.
How To Create Your Very First Blog With WordPress
That’s exactly what you going to know how to do by the end of this post. As long as you follow along and do everything that I do you will have a working WordPress blog live on the internet with your own web hosting and domain name.
What is WordPress?
You probably already know what WordPress is but just in case if you don’t, WordPress is one of the largest platforms used to build blogs on the internet today. The reason why is because WordPress offers a simple front-end solution for everyday users and a sophisticated powerful backend for web developers. And what’s best about all of this you might ask….
It’s all FREE.
WordPress is completely free for anyone to use.
This is why over half the websites on the internet are WordPress websites.
Now originally WordPress first started out as a content platform for bloggers. It was an easy way for bloggers to update there blogs and easily add content to the web. Fast forward a few years and now you can pretty much do anything with WordPress. Want a portfolio website, online forum, a photo gallery, a one page sales page, or even a fully functional E-commerce store?
Yep you can do that all with WordPress.
If you can watch this short video below I made a while back that introduces WordPress and gives you some examples of what it is on the web. It’s a little bit old but still does the trick!
(what is wordpress video)
What’s In a Domain Name?
Now that you got a decent understanding of what WordPress is let’s talk about the next step. Before we can build a website we need a hosting account and a domain name. We will go into these a little bit more over the next few sections of this guide but for now let’s focus on domain names because picking a web hosting account is the easy part.
What exactly is a Domain Name?
A domain name is basically an address for your online website. It’s a place people can type in to their address bar every time they want to go your website. You know google right? If you wanted to go to Google you would type in www.google.com. That right there is an example of an domain name, or URL as we tech savy folks like to call it.
Just to give you another example if you visit my blog you will notice that the address at the top is http://freewebprogrammingtutorials.com/. This is the homepage, any other page on my blog might have a different url (like this) but the homepage will always be in the url.
Alright so that basically explains what a domain name is.
Let’s move on.
How Do I Choose a Domain Name?
This is something that a lot of people get hung up on, including myself sometimes, but honestly you shouldn’t sweat it too much. If you have no idea what you are creating a website about you need to figure that out first because your domain name should reflect what your website is about.
Let’s go over a few examples here…
If you were an individual maybe like a freelancer or looking to build yourself as a brand you might use your name in the url of your website. There’s lots of bloggers that do this, and it works because they want people to know their name and know that if they go to www.somedudesname.com they know where to find them. It’s simple and in this case it works really well because they are marketing themselves.
If however you are already an online business or looking to build one you could also use your brand name as your domain name. Our prime example would be Google, Amazon, Wallmart ect… you get the picture. If you wanted to buy something online you’d go to Amazon because that’s there brand.
The last example I’m going to use is a unique one that you can combine with the above or just use on its own and I did this with my domain name for this blog. If you have a blog or a website about a particular topic you can put keywords in your domain name to rank for search terms and to also just better let people know what your website is about. This is getting more into SEO which isn’t something I am going to talk about too much here.
P.S – If you truly are an SEO newbie then grab my SEO for beginners course on Udemy. It’s only $10 and will bring you right up to speed if you need the extra help.
Don’t stress too much about picking the best domain name, just spend some time on it, figure out what your website is going to be about and then once you settle on a few you like we can start to look at actually buying a domain name.
What about .coms, .orgs, .mes, .yous , and everything else?
Don’t worry about it too much. If you can do a .com then that’s great! If not don’t worry BUT you might want to take a quick online to see if a company that your making or website isn’t already what someone else is building. I did this once and felt silly after words and had to start over.
Who would have thought someone else wanted to make a vegan recipe site called vegans are us? That’s long since gone but hey this kinda stuff happens and I figure I’d let ya know.
How do I Pick a Web Hosting Account?
Another common question and I get this asked a lot “What is the best Webhosting Company Out There?.” The short answer is that there really isn’t one best web hosting company, there are however a few good ones that I will mention.
For the most part I usually recommend HostGator they have great hosting plans, virtual no server downtime and good prices. All that said and done over the years I’ve built a lot of websites and I’ve used Bluehost, Godaddy, InMotion hosting and many others. They all work pretty darn good and I’ve had no real complaints thus far.
The only thing I will mention is that if possible try to keep all your websites hosting with the same company it just makes everything a heck of a lot easier. I did a video recently that talks more about what I recommend for a hosting company, you can watch it below:
In this how to create a WordPress blog tutorial I’m going to use a hosting company that isn’t popular but nonetheless I’ve still had amazing service with them. For this tutorial I am going to be using the web hosting company that goes by the name of A Small Orange.
I’m only doing this just to show you that there are a lot of good web hosting companies out there, its just don’t think too much about it. For those who want my recommendation go with HostGator.
Putting It All Together
For this tutorial we are actually going to be getting our domain name and hosting account from the same company. This makes the set-up a lot easier and for beginners you are probably going to want to go with this way especially if you are not a super tech savy person.
So at this point you probably have your domain name ready and your all fired up to get your hosting account ready. So, head on over to A Small Orange and let’s take a look at their plans that they have. We are going to be going with their Tiny WordPress Plan.
That’s $5 per month to have your WordPress blog live on the internet, sounds like a pretty fine deal if you ask me.
It also looks that at the time of doing this tutorial they are also offering a free .com domain name as well. SWEET! That’s actually a pretty good deal so we will be taking advantage of that for sure!
I’m going to go with the idea of build a professional photography blog for myself. I’m going to be pretending that I am a freelance photography who sells my photos online or something similar and I’m looking to build a simple blog to showcase my work.
I checked to see if professionalnaturephotos.com was available and the .com has yet to be registered so I went ahead and ordered that as well. Make sure you spend some time thinking about your domain name before you buy it!
I’m going to go ahead and put in all my personal information and send in my order. Once you are done all that come back and here and we will continue on.
After you order it does take some time for everything to go through the system. Keep an eye open for your welcome email and once you receive that and your payment has gone through you should be good to go.
Installing WordPress On New Domain Name
Now here comes the easy part, yes that’s right installing WordPress is literally as fast as clicking a few buttons. What you are going to want to do is head on over to A Small Orange and login to your dashboard, they will have sent you your login details when you paid for your account via email.
Inside your dashboard go to the tab that says MY SERVICES and then click on your active domain. It should take you to a screen with information about your domain and hosting account. Scroll to the button and click on login to Cpanel button like in the picture below:
Once you login to your Cpanel there will be ALOT of options to choose from. Don’t worry this is still really easy, what you are going to want to do is again scroll down to the bottom and look for the WordPress icon in the Scripts section. This is the script that is going to automatically install WordPress on your domain name you bought earlier.
Go ahead and give it a click and now you can begin to install WordPress.
The next screen will have some fields and options you have to fill in, now depending on when you read this tutorial yours might be a little bit different but fill everything out the best that you can.
Keep note of your username and password and write it down, trust me. You are also going to want to make sure that you leave the directory field empty, and everything else like your site name and tagline can of course be changed later on. Once you are ready take a deep breath and hit that install now button!
After the install is complete you should be given some information as well as the url of your website and the url that you can use to login to your WordPress dashboard. For now let’s take a nice look at our WordPress website on the web…
Doesn’t look like much eh? Well that’s because this is just the default WordPress theme silly. That’s wasn’t too hard though was it? You’ve already won half the battle, your website is online. Now you need to learn how to use WordPress that’s the other half of the battle. Don’t worry though it’s pretty easy and with this guide by your side you will have no trouble at all.
How to Login to Your WordPress Dashboard
Before you can really make any changes on your website your going to need to login to your admin dashboard. This is why I told you to write down your username and password earlier because this is where we are going to need it!
If go to the address bar on your websites homepage you will notice your url might be something like:
Now in order to bring up the sign in screen for the WordPress admin add the following to the end of your url like this:
If everything is set up correctly with your web host and your domain name this will bring up the following screen.
All you need to do is put in your username and password that you saved earlier and there ya go. You are on the inside of your WordPress dashboard as shown below…
Don’t be fooled yet again this isn’t going to be as complicated as you might think but there is still a lot that you need to learn. In this guide I am going to try to cover as much as I can and its up to you to decide if you need to know everything that I am going to through here.
Configuring Basic Settings in WordPress
Before we get started adding content to our blog we need to configure some basic settings first. WordPress is optimized out of the gate but there are still a few small changes to make. Let’s start by looking at the left hand side navigation on at the button let’s click on the settings tab. Let’s go over the different menus in more detail below:
Site-Title – This is what changes the title of your website on your blogs homepage as well as on any other pages of your website. Your site-title is found in the header section of your blog and is generally the first thing a user reads when they visit your site.
Obviously you are going to want to put the title of your website here.
Tagline – The tagline is just a simple description that compliments the Site-title. Make sure you make it something short but to the point so that people know what your website is about when they visit it.
WordPress and Site Address – These can just stay the same as we configured them correctly when we installed and set-up WordPress.
Email Address – This will be used for notifications for when someone signs up or comments on your blog. Make sure that you put an email address that you actually use here.
Membership – If you intend on building a forum or having some type of membership website that you can allow people to sign-up as members to your blog. By default this is checked off and we will leave this way since we are not building a membership website of any kind here.
Language – This will change the language of your website, we obviously want ours to be english ;).
Date and time settings – Pretty self explanatory, just set everything up the way you want it to be and we will move onto the next section.
You can change the default post category and default post format here. We are just going to leave them the way they are. You can also set-up your email client to post to your blog via email. This won’t be practical for most people however so we are just going to skip that as well.
Update Services – Every time you post something to your blog WordPress will ping other services online to let them know that new content has been added to your website. This is important for getting your content indexed on the web.
You can just leave it blank if you like but here is a list of some web services you can add if you wish