Want to build a blog with WordPress? It’s free and easy and I’ll show you how today.
Every new site I build nowadays, I build with WordPress. I use WordPress for many reasons. Mainly because it is 100% free and it is the easiest platform for anyone to learn.
What’s more, WordPress is as “plug and play” as you get and with literally thousands of themes and plugins available, you can update the look and even your monetizing strategy literally overnight.
Plus, Google loves WordPress because of the way it organizes content. And you’ll love it for how simple it makes everything from adding content to making changes.
It should be noted that when I mention WordPress, I’m not talking about WordPress.com where you get a username and host a blog there. I’m talking about the hosted version of a WordPress site.
The main difference is that you’ll take a few extra extra steps like getting a domain name, a web host and then installing WordPress at your site.
The installation process literally takes minutes as you’ll see in this post.
After I show you how to install it, I’ll help you find your way around inside your WordPress dashboard. You’ll see how to get things like a theme and permalinks set up properly as well as how to start adding plugins, posts and pages.
To start the website setup process, sign up with a low cost, reliable web host that offers the cPanel interface. I use HostGator for most of my WordPress sites including this one.
After you have a web host, find the email that your new host sent you, which includes your cPanel login username and password. Then log into your web hosting cPanel interface and install WordPress by clicking either QuickInstall, Fantastico or Softalicious, depending on your host.
Here’s a video from HostGator that walks you through how to do it on their site.
Once you’ve completed the steps in that video, you have a site.
Admittedly, there’s not much at your new site yet, but it is a real website and you can go visit it.
Type your URL into your browser (e.g. http://www.yourdomain.com) and you’ll see a simple site with a small entry titled “Hello World!”
This is the standard (default) WordPress theme. You can easily replace this with one of thousands of free WordPress themes or even a paid premium theme. A new theme can completely transform the look and feel of your website and we’ll see how to do this in a minute.
First, however, we’ll just log in and get familiar with the WordPress interface itself.
After you install your WordPress site you’ll need to log in to the admin area. The address where you log in will be: www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin or yourdomain.com/wp-login.php – either should work.
Whenever you want to edit your website you will need to log into the admin area with the login username and password you chose during installation.
Now, before you go too much further I recommend you take a little time to PLAY with your new software. Click around and get familiar with your “dashboard”, which is the main page you see when logging into the admin area.
There are so many things you can do I won’t talk about them all right now as I don’t want to overwhelm you.
But – I also don’t want to underwhelm you! I want you to understand how powerful and fantastic the program you just installed really is! To help you along, let’s do a quick overview of the different sections of WordPress:
On the left side of every page inside your WordPress dashboard you’ll see quick links to navigate to different area of the admin area. If you click on any of those options you’ll get a drop-down menu with more options.
Let’s go over what each link does.
Dashboard – Click this to go to the main page of your WordPress admin area. At the main page you will see various items relating to your WordPress site. It will give you a summary of your posts and pages, comments, etc. You will also see recent comments, incoming links, etc. You can customize this page as I’ll show you in the next video below.
Posts – If you’re going to set up a blog on your site this is where you create, view and edit your posts.
Media – You can use the media section to upload images, videos and documents.
Links – If you want to use the links ‘widget’ so you can link out to other people this is where you would fill in the links.
Pages – This is where you create, view and edit your pages.
Comments – Here you can view all the comments you’ve received, check your spam comments, edit or delete comments.
Appearance – This is where you upload a new theme, you customize your widgets and you can also set up a custom menu. You can also work in the css and php files if you have some advanced coding knowledge.
Plugins – We’ve yet to talk plugins but here is where you can upload and activate them.
Users – Lets you set users and other administrators to your site or update current users.
Tools – Import or export WordPress files.
Settings – You can set options about how people read your blog, how many posts they see, how the permalinks are set, etc. Any plugins you install will often show up here too.
Choosing and Installing Your Theme…
A theme is what sets the layout of your website. WordPress comes with a default theme pre-installed but there are literally thousands of themes to choose from right here if you want:
But before you take ANY time looking for a theme, here’s what I suggest you do:
First, decide what you need the theme for…
Get a good idea in your mind what you want from a theme and your search will be much, much easier! You need to have an idea of what you want and need from a theme.
Will your site be primarily a blog?
Or do you want a more traditional website layout?
Perhaps you want both?
Maybe your site’s main focus will be a sales letter?
A membership site?
The most important question to answer at this point, is how do you plan to monetize the site?
Once you decide how you want to monetize your web property, it’s easier to pick a theme. Here are a few examples:
Now let’s say you plan to recommend some affiliate links. Then a free theme would work just fine. You could then use a plugin to manage the affiliate product links you recommend. If you were primarily going to promote Amazon products, you could use a theme like this one.
If you plan to eventually add a product of your own. You’ll need a sales letter page and a squeeze page to direct affiliate and JV partner traffic. For these tasks, I feel that a paid theme like one of these Thrive Themes is best. It’s not free, but it gives you a fast and easy way to have a professional site including polished sales presentations, squeeze pages, download pages and more.
Anyway, once you have an idea of what you want to do at your site, you’re ready to go searching for your theme.
WordPress – You can search a huge database of free themes here:
WordPress – You can search a huge database of commercial themes here:
Thrive Themes for polished sales presentations, squeeze pages, download pages and more.
StudioPress – Brian Gardner is well known for his great themes. Beginner to Advanced
1-Click Affiliate Site Builder – Actually a plugin that works with any theme – a great choice if you want affiliate marketing to be your primary income source.
Associate Goliath – THE theme for selling Amazon products as an associate.
Heatmap – A great theme if you plan to monetize your site with Adsense.
OK, that will get you started. Just make sure you don’t take weeks choosing a theme! You can always switch later, the main thing for now is to get moving.
Once you’ve chosen your theme you’ll need to install it. To do this you click the ”Appearance’ tab on the left sidebar of your WordPress admin area. Then click ‘Themes’ and ‘Add New.’
From there you can choose to search the WordPress.org database for free themes or you can upload your chosen theme (in zip format) from your computer and install it…
Finally, you’ll click on “Install Now” then click “activate” to make the theme live. The theme installation process takes seconds.
There you have it! That’s all you need to do to install WordPress and add a new theme.
I can’t tell you what a simple process this is compared to the ‘olden days’ of website design. I built my first website with Microsoft FrontPage and I can tell you it was a tedious process to get the simplest of websites going. These days you can have a super-powerful robust website platform set up in a matter of minutes.
If you run into a snag or a problem, and it happens, the first thing to do is see if your web host can help, most times they can. The next thing to do is search Google and see if anyone else has had the same problem. That will usually do the trick.
Once you have your theme installed your site should start taking shape. The next thing to do is install and activate a few Plugins and set your permalinks.
The first plugin I suggest you install is called WordFence. It protects your blog from hackers and can email you whenever you have a plugin that needs to be updated.
Log into your WordPress blog’s admin area, click Plugins then Add New.
You’ll then see a page with lots of plugins to choose from, as well as a search bar to find new plugins.
You simply enter the name of a plugin, in this case WordFence then click install and activate it.
(To see how to best utilize any plugin, just click to the included documentation or search youtube for the plugin name + tips.)
Next you should set your Permalinks…
Changing your permalink structure only takes a few minutes, and is crucial for good search engine results. Please make sure you do this step every time you set up a new website or blog!
What it does is change your website page and post links from a bit of meaningless code to actual WORDS. If this doesn’t make sense right now just follow the steps anyway, you’ll thank me for this tip later!
This video shows you how to set permalinks for best SEO practices…
Now that you know how to install WordPress, add a Theme, add plugins and set PermaLinks, you can start adding content to your blog.
I’ll close today’s WordPress 101 course with a video showing you how to start adding pages, posts, categories and menus…
And remember, if all this is a little too much for you, don’t let it stop you from having your own income generating blog.
Check out my Done For You blog building service that comes with hosting, content, management and even traffic!