You can’t possibly be a reader of this blog and not heard me go on and on about WayLay. Wayne and Selina have a little web design company out of Las Vegas, Nevada.
One day, I cried out on Facebook about a problem I was having with my server which was Go Daddy at the time. I was in the middle of a MESS trying to move my site somewhere else and they swept in, onto my Facebook page like Internet Gods and came to my rescue. Literally. They said “Leave it with us. We’ll fix everything, my child“. And they did. For no reason other than wanting to help me.
I’ve been singing their praises ever since. I’ve gone to them with questions so weird they didn’t have an immediate answer, but they always, always went away to figure it out then came back to show me what they came up with. They’ve never once said “Gee, I don’t know. I guess your’e out of luck“. They say, “Gee, I don’t know. It’ll be fun to figure it out.” First of all, I always respect someone when they admit to not knowing something. It’s usually the sign of a really confident, smart person. Second of all, how can you not love someone who emails back on their wedding day to APOLOGIZE for not being able to answer your question right away, because … well … they’re getting married in an hour!
The question I get asked more than any other question is How did you start your blog, and how can I go about starting one too?
Wayne and Selina are going to answer that for you right now.
How To Set Up A WordPress Blog
“I really want to start my own blog, but where do I begin!?” This is a question that we get quite often and so today, we’re going to walk through the basics of getting your blog up and running in less than 10 minutes!
Our process at WayLay Design is a bit different and a little more advanced, but this process will work for those that are just getting started and have little to no knowledge of how this whole internets thing works.
A Brief Introduction:
Before we go diving into the process and the steps necessary to get yourself up and running, we’d like to take a second to sort of explain it in Layman’s Terms so that you understand what each step of the process is all about.
So let’s think about building a website just like building a house. The first thing you need to do, is get an address for your new home. This will be how people are able to find you. In regards to your website, this is going to be your domain name.
Once you have your address, you then need to purchase a plot of land in which to build your house. This is your website hosting. Now that you have your address and your land, you can begin building your house on it (your website).
As you build your house, you will organize the layout and content into individual rooms. These will be your categories and pages.
Getting Your Domain Name and Hosting:
While there are many many domain name and hosting options out there, for purposes of this post we are going to use our personal favorite, SiteGround. Generally we like to keep domain names and hosting through separate companies, but again for the beginner this is going to be the easiest way to go about it. The total cost for this without any add-ons is $83.40 ($6.95 per month) for a year. Not a bad deal for a domain and hosting.
Since Karen’s blog, is more established she needs a more powerful host. She uses ServInt. ServInt is great and well priced for larger sites with higher traffic demands.
To get started, you can click here: SiteGround.com and click on the “Order Now” button on the right side of the banner.
On the next page it will ask you if you would like to register a new domain name (which they will include for free) or if you already have a domain name that you would like to associate with the hosting account.
Notice on this page that you will see just above the “Proceed” button that you have 30% off, “their highest value coupon”.
You only receive the 30% off if you purchase your domain and hosting for a two year period. However, to get this offer while purchasing only a one year period, click the “Proceed” button to go to the next page. After this page loads, click the “Back” button in your browser and you will get a popup with an offer to save 30% off. Just click the big pink button. This will give you one year of hosting and domain name for $6.95 per month.
This will bring you back to your billing information with the 30% off now applied. At the bottom of this page, you will notice the “Domain Services” and “Extra Services”. Technically you can uncheck all of these as they aren’t necessary, but if you feel you would want to keep any of them you can.
After you have submitted your payment, you are ready to go immediately. SiteGround offers a very simple set up wizard and will ask you specific questions including if you would like them to install WordPress for you. SiteGround does a great job of guiding you through the entire setup process and it should be very easy to follow along. Within just a few minutes, your WordPress site will be up and running, ready for you to begin. This entire process should take less than 10 minutes.
Choosing Your Design:
WordPress by default offers a very basic, core theme. Very few people actually use this theme, so you will probably want to find another. A quick note about readymade themes, while there are some that look great from the front, we find that often times users have difficulty in getting them just the way that they want for easy editing in the admin. This is because the theme is designed for the masses and it’s impossible to foresee every possible way that a user may want to modify the theme, so the idea is to create them with a basic set of options that would be applicable to most users, but may fall short of expectations once installed. Free themes are a good place to start since they don’t cost anything and you can see what options are available for that particular theme.
Paid themes are another way to go. The paid themes are a bit better looking and generally have more options for you in the admin for greater control over the look of your site. Paid themes often offer better support should you have any issues down the road.
Either of these options generally work fine for most beginners, but as you go you may find that you want a very specific set of features and controls in your admin for the easiest way to modify the look of your blog or you may want a completely custom design to ensure that your site doesn’t look like anyone else’s that may be using the same theme as you. This is where custom themes come in that are built specifically for your site.
These are built around only want you want and are not “bloated” with options that you will never use. Of course to have something custom built isn’t necessarily “cheap”, but if you want to make sure that no other site looks like yours and you are able to modify exactly what you want easily, this is your best option in the long run.
To search for themes from your WordPress admin area, you can click on “Appearance > Themes”. On the themes page, you can click “Install Themes” from the tab at the top. From there you can search themes based on color, number of columns, features, etc.
If you have downloaded a theme from somewhere else, this is also where you can upload it by clicking the “Upload” link near the top under the tabs. Once you have your theme installed, you can begin customizing it by exploring all of the theme options available as well as setting up all of your administrative information such as name, email, etc.
Plugins are pre-made, website helpers. They’re little programs that are very easily downloaded to WordPress. With every WordPress installation, there are few base plugins that we recommend using to help you with your SEO. Plugins are easy to install
All In One SEO Pack: This plugin allows you to enter keywords and titles for each of your posts for better indexing in search engines.
Google XML Sitemaps: This plugin creates a search engine friendly sitemap of your site for faster indexing of your site URLs. It also notifies search engines every time a new post or page goes up on your site.
Another thing that we recommend doing is changing your site URLs over to SEO friendly URLs. This is also better for your SEO.
An example of the default URL looks like this:
http://www.waylaydesign.com/?p=123 (which tells search engines nothing about what’s on the page and doesn’t help with keywords in the URL)
An SEO friendly URL looks like this:
http://www.waylaydesign.com/sample-post/ (this tells the search engine the title of the post and will be used to match keyword searches through search engines)
To change your Permalink settings, login to your WordPress admin and choose “Settings > Permalinks” from the left sidebar menu near the bottom. On that page, choose the “Post Name” option and save your settings.
That’s it. You are now ready to begin writing your first blog posts and publishing them. Again this is a very basic set of instructions intended only to get you up and running. We have included some resource links for you below to help you along beyond the setup process. We hope that you have found this information useful! Happy blogging!
Try WordPress Out:
If you would like to see how the basic backend admin area of a WordPress site works you can go to the link below and use the login details. This demo site is reinstalled every few hours so feel free to create posts, pages and modify the appearance of WordPress.
Hosting and Domain Account:
First Steps With WordPress
Free Themes WP
We are available for hire if you prefer to have a custom site built or need any assistance in setting up your blog and theme. Please feel free to contact us if you would like any additional information on the services we offer. http://www.waylaydesign.com
Note from Karen!
I know this all seems confusing, but once you get going and install WordPress it’ll all make sense. So if you’ve ever thought to yourself … Well, hell. I should start a blog, you probably should. Do it today.
Thanks to Wayne and Selina at Waylay!