Now that you’ve named your website, found a great domain name and chosen a host, we can start to lay the foundation for your eventual blog content. There are several options for content management out there, but it is my heartfelt suggestion that you choose to blog with WordPress. Not only is the program far easier to use than most, but the level of support out there is fantastic. Using WordPress will allow you to build a useful and efficient blog site without causing you undue stress, which should in turn allow you to focus more on your content.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is a very useful content management system. Content management systems exist to give you the opportunity to take control of how your content is presented and displayed. If your hosted space is the home of your website, WordPress is the program that actually puts everything together. WordPress has become the go-to program for content management due not only to the fact that the basic program itself is free and easy to use, but also due to the nearly limitless customization options available
Hosting and WordPress
The great news is that most web hosts – including my favorite hosting site, Bluehost – support WordPress. If you are unsure as to whether your chosen host will support WordPress, you can simply check for these two factors:
- MySQL v. 5.01.15 or better
- PHP v. 5.2.4 or better.
Should your host provide those basic server requirements (and really, most of the big names do), you can move forward with the process.
Step One: Download WordPress
Downloading WordPress is incredibly simple. Visit the application’s main site to download the program, which should be in the form of a .zip file. As a note, you should make sure to always download WordPress from their official site – it is the best way to make sure that your download is safe.
Step Two: Setting Up WordPress with Your Host
WordPress has become such a widely-used platform that the majority of major hosts have tools available to set it up directly from the hosting administration panel. The process of setting up the program does differ from host to host, but we’ll keep it simple here by sticking to a cPanel installation. About sixty percent of all hosts use cPanel, including my oft-recommend Bluehost, so this should cover most readers – if you need more information, you can always take a quick look at WordPress’ own installation guide.
Starting your install is as simple as logging in to your hosting account and going directly to the Software/Services portion of your cPanel page. WordPress should be available, along with several other options.
Once you click on the icon, you will be given the option to install WordPress. Click on that button, and continue.
All that’s left to do is to add a bit of information. Skip the first step (it will ask you if you want to install a previous version of WordPress) and move right on to the next bit – entering your blog name, user name and password. Once you’ve finished this, you can move on to agreeing to the software license and actually installing the program – it should take less than a minute.
The installation process really isn’t that difficult, and it is something that can be done by a user of any skill level. While the instructions above are for Bluehost, the install process on any other major host is remarkably similar. Installing WordPress is usually as easy as entering a bit of information and waiting.
Step Three: Manage and Create
You can finally begin the process of site creation by accessing your WordPress admin page (www.yoursite.com/wp-admin/).
The easy-to-use administrative page will allow you to create, post and link new content. The “Posts” section is where you can create traditional blog posts, while each subsequent tab will give you a chance to add content, customize your website and deal with various other settings (which we will discuss next week).
There is certainly more to talk about when it comes to WordPress, and we will get into the real business of configuring your blog next week. Take some time to play around with your WordPress setting and get used to the interface – you will be spending a fair bit of with it in the future. You can also take some time to look back on the process so far. You’ve found a hosting solution, named your blog and made your plans. You’re almost ready for the biggest step of all – configuring and rolling out your blog.
What are your thoughts when it comes to starting a blog with WordPress? Do you have any additional tips or hints? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.