WordPress is famous for being easy to use, but that doesn’t mean it’s always intuitive. Below are a few WordPress tips to make getting your blog started as smooth as possible.
Once you’ve taken care of the initial start-up details like purchasing web hosting and registering a domain name, the logical first step is to install the WordPress software. WordPress is free to install, so it’s as simple as downloading the software from the WordPress site and following the prompts from the installation wizard to get it set up on your computer.
Remember that there is a difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. If you are designing and launching your own custom site, then download the WordPress software from WordPress.org. WordPress.com is a platform that allows you to create your own blog but doesn’t allow you to design and manage your own website.
Designing your Blog
Before you start posting, you’ll want to spend some time designing your site to give it a unique style and provide your readers with a quality experience.
The two basic things to think about when it comes to designing your site are themes and plugins. Themes change the look, feel, and overall aesthetic of your blog, while plugins expand its functionality. When you first open WordPress, it will default you to the WordPress basic theme, but there are thousands of themes for you to choose from, many of which are free to install.
To choose a theme, go to Appearance > Themes, and then click the Add New button. This will automatically take you to the WordPress theme directory, where you can browse themes, both free and premium, to choose one that you like. Once you’ve found one that fits, simply click Install. Once it’s been downloaded, remember to click the Activate button in order to apply it to your site.
While many themes are fairly sleek by default, you can further customize the theme you’ve chosen by going to Appearance > Customizer. This will open up the customizer tool, with a display on the left of the different options you have to make any adjustment you want to your theme’s appearance.
At any point, you can click Preview to see how the changes you’ve applied will appear on the site. Once you’re satisfied, remember to click Save & Publish in order to apply the changes you’ve made to your site.
Plugins are to your blog what apps are to your phone. They increase the functionality of your blog by adding different features. By default, your blog really has only two basic functions: write blog posts and create pages.
But there are thousands of plugins out there to give you the ability to do anything you want with your site, including contact forms, social network buttons, backups, improved SEO, e-commerce functionality, and just about anything else you can think of.
Like themes, WordPress offers thousands of plugins for download in its marketplace, both for free and for purchase. To install plugins on your site, go to Plugins > Add New. This will take you to WordPress’ plugin marketplace, where you can shop for different plugins and get an idea of the possibilities they afford you. When you find a plugin that you want to use, click Install Now. Remember to click the Activate button to apply it to your site.
At any point, you can manage your plugins by going to the Plugins tab, where you can deactivate, reactivate, uninstall, and upload as you please. This makes experimenting with new plugins relatively risk-free, as it’s pretty easy to simply deactivate a plugin that you don’t like or that’s no longer serving your site the way you want it to.
Creating New Posts
Once you’ve designed your blog, it’s time to make your first post! To write a new blog post, go to Posts > Add New. This will bring you to the WordPress content editor, which allows you to add new content in “blocks.”
You can indicate what kind of content each block is for. You’ll be prompted to upload files for image, video, or audio blocks, while text blocks give you the option to type content directly into WordPress, or copy and paste from another source.
Promote Your Site
Once you’ve published your first post, you’re ready to start promoting your site. You can continue to add new content using the editor and can continue to expand or change the functionality of your blog by managing your plugins.
The good thing about WordPress is that you never need to actually code anything yourself if you don’t want to. Now that you’re set-up, you’re ready to start posting and letting your blog grow.