Blogging has become an extremely popular pastime, and for many enthusiastic bloggers, it is also a way to make a little extra money by way of things like pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, affiliate programs or even direct sales. Whether you want to run a small hobby blog or provide an online showcase for a traditional business, blogging is a great way to do so. Thanks to a number of popular content management systems, you can design your own blog without needing to have any knowledge of HTML or other programming languages. By far the most popular blogging software is the open-source WordPress platform which we will be using for the purpose of this guide. WordPress is used by numerous individuals and businesses, including some of the world’s major online news websites. A popular alternative is Google’s Blogger software, although it does not provide nearly as much in the way of themes and features as WordPress does.
Finding a Suitable Host
With WordPress being as popular as it is, numerous Web hosting companies offer a special WordPress hosting package which allows you to install the platform and required database by way of the one-click installation method. This is far simpler and quicker than manually installing WordPress, since it allows you to get started with publishing your first post right away. Alternatively, you can sign up with wordpress.com to create a free blog. However, using wordpress.com does not allow you to have your own domain, and its version of the platform is also much more limited with regards to plugins and themes.
Introducing the WordPress Administrator Dashboard
Once installed, you should be able to log into your WordPress administrator dashboard by navigating to yourwebsitename.com/wp-admin or yourwebsitename.com/wordpress/wp-admin. Create your administrator account and log in to the dashboard with your user name and password. The administrator dashboard allows you to customize and work with just about every aspect of your website, including on-page elements, visual styles, themes, plugins and more. Most of the options are fairly self-explanatory, and you will likely want to spend some time customizing your new blog before writing and publishing your first post.
Publishing Your First Blog Post
Before you being, it is important to understand the difference between a post and a page in WordPress. Pages are static webpages, such as a Contacts or About page which are typically accessible from the menus on the homepage and elsewhere on your blog, whereas posts are organized in chronological order as is usually the case on news sites. To get started with writing your first post, simply click “Posts” in the sidebar followed by “Add New”. WordPress provides a basic Web-based word processor where you can write your posts and save them as you go by clicking “Save Draft” to the right. However, most people will prefer to use Microsoft Word or another word processor thanks to the wider range of features offered by such programs. If you choose to write your posts using a traditional word processor, you can simply copy and paste the contents into the Add New Post page in WordPress. You may need to check through the formatting before publishing. Following are a few additional tips to help you get started with the WordPress editor:
. To insert an image, video or audio clip, click “Add Media”. If you don’t currently have any media uploaded, click “Upload Files”. Be aware that there will be a maximum upload file size which will be specified here.
. To add HTML code, including embedded HTML code from things like Google Maps or Flickr, you can do so by clicking on the “Text” tab above the word processor. This will display the HTML code for your post.
Before publishing your post, it is advisable to assign a category and some tags to it. You can select or add a new category from the Categories section in the column to the right. Tags are also useful for associating your post with certain relevant search terms, and you can enter as many as you like, separating each key word or phrase with a comma in the Tags box in the right-side column. Finally, you can also set a featured image which will represent your post on your homepage and when people share it on social media websites or find it in the search engines.
Once you have completed writing your first post, simply click “Publish” and it will appear on your website immediately.