WordPress is a compelling platform for primarily seven reasons: a) open source software, b) easy installation, c) great themes, d) useful plugins, e) SEO integration, f) simplistic CMS, g) scalability. Notice that number two on our list is “easy installation”, which is good news for you. So let’s walk you through the process of setting up your WordPress blog in under five minutes.
Step 1: Choosing between creating a Website and creating a Blog
This may seem like a no-brainer but once you reach the WordPress website, you will be faced with a decision: you must choose either between creating a Website or a Blog. While some users use the Website interface to create their blog, we’d recommend the Blog option because it comes with specific feature sets and distinctions especially suited to blogging.
Step 2: Filling up the blanks
WordPress comes with a guided, five-step procedure to encourage bloggers signing up through this platform. The first thing you must do after you hit the Create Blog button, however, is to select your own site address. Remember that this will be the address of your blog, so you might want to decide on a name you’d be happy to stick to for the rest of your WordPress lifetime. Tips on choosing a site name: make it relevant to what you’re interested in presenting on your blog. For example, if you want to write about your life in Minnesotta, name it something like “A Diary of Minnesotta” or if it’s a cooking blog, think along the lines of recipes, cooking and such like.
You may choose to provide an answer to the “Why are you creating a blog?” question on this page, but remember that it’s not essential and you are free to leave it blank if you so desire. Just click on “Create Your Site and Continue”.
Step 3: Establishing Basic Details
This part should be familiar to most people who have so far been used to signing up on different websites. For this step, you need three details:
- An existing email ID : this can be an ID you use frequently if you’re using the blog for personal reasons, or an ID created just for the blog in case it’s for academic/professional reasons.
- A username for your WordPress blog : a good username is essential, but make sure it’s something you can remember. Use a mnemonic device, or make it match with your site’s website, for easy recall.
- A password to let you access the blog : Now this is a crucial point. Particularly if this is a business related blog, you would want to make sure that security is crucial. Remember that the longer the password, the longer it takes for hackers to get through to your site. Also note that common phrases such as 1234 or abcdefg, even if spelt backwards, are NOT safe.
- Note : While we would advise you to read the Terms of Services, the gist is that as long as you’re not posting threatening and violent posts, internet viruses or spam, you should be fine. You could read more about it on the main website here.
- At this point of time, it’s safe to assume that you have figured out what your username, site name and password should be. You may need to check your email ID at this point, because you’ll find a mail waiting for you from WordPress asking you to confirm your email address.
Activation can be done in two ways:
- Clicking on the Confirm Email Address button on the mail.
- Using the link provided in the mail, copy-pasting (press Ctrl+Shift on your keyboard) it to the address bar on Google, and hitting Enter.
Step 4: Finding a customized address – or choosing not to
To find your custom address, just use the search option to check what is available. If you find any domain name that serves the purpose and fits within your budget, just take your pick from any of the “.co”, “.net”, “.org” options available. Prices start as low as $18 for the .com addresses, but if you decide you need a “.me” extension, you would have to shell out about $25 in all.
Now here’s the thing: Why should you even consider this paid option? While a personal blog can do just fine retaining the wordpress id behind its domain name, businesses that require the functionality of the WordPress platform can do so without appearing to. It’s all about brand value here, so ultimately it is entirely up to you how you want to go about doing this.
If you decide to click the “No thanks” option, you will be led to a site that has a “*.wordpress.com” behind it, which might not exactly be the worst decision of your life.
Step 5: Now we’re getting to the fun part!
WordPress is all about the customization, which is why you can have a lot of fun deciding on the look and feel of your web page. There are minimalistic themes for newspaper-like pages, there are gorgeous photograph based templates, and many more. But just like WordPress assures you, there’s no need to worry about the theme at this stage of your WordPress journey. The great thing about this platform is there are numerous paid, as well as free, themes on offer: and you can change or choose between them at your will. The flexibility of this medium just begins to show itself at this stage.
How do you choose a theme? Go through the thumbnails, find the one that seems most appealing to you, and just click on it – voila!
Step 6: Setting up your Plan
WordPress has three different plans for its users, which again speaks of how scalable it can be. There is the ever popular “Free” plan, which never expires and is just a starter pack for you to get started on your blog in less than five minutes.
There are other options too, e.g. the Premium Plan, one of the most popular plans that offers a free trial for fourteen days and provides you with your own domain name, unlimited access to premium themes, a lot more customisations, etc. It comes at a very affordable price of just $99 for an entire year.
The other plan you might consider, is the Business plan, and is a bit more expensive (and premium). At $299 per year, it’s still a bargain for most business establishments or organisations. It not only comes with the Premium Plan’s unlimited customisation, premium theme, domain name access, it also integrates another thing: live chat support and unlimited storage space.
We’re providing you with the plan comparisons in advance so as to minimize the time needed when you actually get around to setting up your blog. Remember that you can add features or plans at any point of time, so you may just opt for the free version now and see how it goes later on.
Hit the “Select” button to choose your pack when you reach this step of the process.
Step 7: The Final Destination
Selecting the button leads you to a welcome page with several options including a “Customize your site”, “Start your first post”, “Create a Page” options to help you start off your blog. From here, you’re free to customize, tweak, or write your first post.
Congratulations, you are now officially the proud owner of a WordPress blog!