Author Websites 4

Author Websites – Step 4: Setting Up Your WordPress Blog

by Abigail Carter

Author Websites 4Ok, so you’ve chosen a Web Platform, a Hosting Service, and a WordPress Theme. Now you need to put all this together to create a real live blog, but how?

Every hosting service will have some kind of relatively easy way of setting up WordPress. Based on the three hosting companies I recommended in my earlier post, here are quick links to their instructions for doing this:

BlueHost – includes a video and written instructions with screen shots.

DreamHost – instructions for their “one click” install. Here is their instruction “Wiki” for how to do it.

SiteGround – Easy-to-follow instructions for each step of the install.

Hopefully installing WordPress was straightforward and you are now looking at a page that looks like this:

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SiteGround has wonderful instructions on how to install a theme, so rather than giving you the blow-by-blow here, I will let them do it.

A couple of tips:

1. Make sure when you download your theme, you leave it in it’s filename.zip format. WordPress needs the theme to be in it’s .zip form to be able to upload it. When you download it, put it somewhere easy (I put stuff like this on my desktop) for quick retrieval.

2. As an author, I recommend you make the title of your blog “Your Name, Author.” You can have cute names for your blog, but you want people coming to your blog to remember you name, not a cute blog name. In the next installment I will show you how to create a banner or logo to use on your blog.

First steps with your WordPress site:

1. Logging in. You will log into your site using a URL that looks like this: http://example.com/wp-admin where “example.com” is replaced with your chosen domain name. Use the username and password you created when installing WordPress with your hosting service.

2. Dashboard – this is the first screen you will see and will be every time you log into your site. This will be the place where you will see an overview of all the action happening on your site: latest comments, latest posts, etc.

3. If you hover over the title of your site in the top left hand corner, you will see a link called “View Site.” Click this to see what your site looks like. It will be very basic and have a “Hello World” first blog post as a placeholder. Don’t worry if you don’t like how it looks. There will be lots of changes that you can make very quickly and easily.

Here is an overview of each menu item that appears in the black bar on the left side of the page:

Menu items:

Dashboard: The dashboard is where you can see a general overview of your blog. You’ll see the latest comments and links to your site, and quick-submit new posts.

Posts: This is where you come to add a new post, along with modifying categories and tags for posts. The posts section is where you will do the majority of the work on your blog. It’s where you get to craft awesome and engaging posts.

Media: Here is where you can view any media (music, images, videos) that you’ve added to posts. You can view all the images in your media library and edit any of the captions, alternate text, links and more in this panel.

Links: Here you can look all the links you’ve added to your blog, make edits and manage them.

Pages: Pages are different than posts. Pages show up as links (usually at the top of each of your pages). For example an “About Me” or a “Contact Page” where the information doesn’t change. This tab allows you to add new pages and manage existing ones.

Comments: This tab allows you to monitor all comments being posted on your blog, you can filter comments out as spam, delete comments, and approve comments for your blog.

Appearance: Here is where you to customize the look and feel of your blog. You can edit everything from the theme of your blog to the header and footer. Each theme will have different options and things you will be able to customize, so you may have to play around a little and try different things to find a colours, page configurations, titles etc that you like. For me, this is an ongoing process and is easy to change, so don’t worry too much if it’s not perfect right off the bat. There is a lot of trial and error that goes with managing a blog.

Plugins: Plugins are features that you can add to your blog that don’t come standard with WordPress or the theme you’ve chosen to use. Here you can discover and install new plugins, and delete or de-activate ones in use. Plugins enable you to add a whole array of functionality to your site, from statistics monitoring to social media sharing, and a whole array of plugins specifically designed for authors. This is the reason you have been persuaded to get WordPress!

Users: This section allows you to manage everyone who can log in and post on your blog, identify administrators, see who subscribes to your blog, and more.

Tools: The tools section allows you to import or export your content (say if you had a previous blog, or you wanted to back up old content), look at post ideas, and more.

Settings: This area is basically a variety of things to help you manage the basics of your site such as your time zone, format of the writing sections, and basic feature modification.

I will go into more detail on each of these menu items in future installments of my series.

Basically, you are now set up and ready to begin blogging. Click on “Posts” and then “Add New” to write your first post. When you are ready to publish it, click the blue “publish” button on the right. When it’s finished publishing, you will see a link to view the post across the top of the page.

Happy blogging!


 

Also see my Author Websites series:

Author Websites – Step 1: Choosing a Web Platform

Author Websites – Step 2: Choosing a Hosting Service

Author Websites – Step 3: Finding a WordPress Theme

Author Websites – Step 4: Setting Up Your WordPress Blog

Author Websites – Step 5: Your First WordPress Post

Author Websites – Step 6: Creating Graphics for Blog Posts

Author Websites – Step 7: 9 Tips for Writing Compelling Blog Posts

Author Websites – Step 8: 10 Steps for Finding Your Audience