Estimated reading time: 20 minutes
- 1 Select WordPress Hosting for your blog
- 2 Pick a meaningful name for your domain
- 3 Install and Setup WordPress Themes
- 4 Install WordPress Plugins for Performance, Security and SEO
- 5 Set up Permalinks on your WordPress Site
- 6 Create Categories in WordPress
- 7 Create a Menu Bar in WordPress (Navigation – Horizontal)
- 8 Add a logo to your WordPress Blog
- 9 Add Widgets on your WordPress Blog
- 10 Delete Default Posts in WordPress
- 11 Create Post on WordPress using Block Editor
- 12 Create Page on WordPress using Block Editor
- 13 Setup Default Post Category on WordPress
- 14 Set a Custom or Static Homepage on WordPress Blog
Follow this Step by Step guide to create a professional looking WordPress blog in 20 minutes.
The guide is focused towards non-technical people, who have no idea about coding.
So if you are a beginner and looking to create a WordPress blog without having any prior experience then this is a place to start with.
Even as a beginner, you should have a basic understanding of the following:-
- Domain name
Of course, I don’t expect you to be a professional and know all technical jargon associated with Domain Name and Hosting.
So, lets get started
Select WordPress Hosting for your blog
Now there are several hosts that offer shared WordPress hosting at cheap prices.
While there are also companies that have managed WordPress hosting at higher rates for more professional and busier sites.
Since you are just a beginner and creating a first WordPress blog, I suggest to start with shared WordPress hosting plans.
Not because it is cheap but also come with 30 days money back guarantee, in case you don’t like them you can ask for a refund.
Therefore, I recommend you to go with Bluehost, which has been recommended by WordPress since 2008.
If you are going with Bluehost you don’t have to worry about Domain Registrar and WordPress installation.
Every thing is going to be very simple and straight forward.
All you need to do is follow this guide religiously.
Now to get started, follow the steps below on your computer:-
Step 1. Visit Bluehost (affiliate link with discounted deal)
Step 2. Select Basic Plan
Pick a meaningful name for your domain
Suppose you are looking to create a website around kids photography, then you can probably choose a domain name – kidsphotography.com or bestkidsphotography.com
However, finding available domain names with these keywords are hard to find these days, in that scenario, you can use variations in the domain names.
Example:- kidsbestphotography.com or topkidsphotography.com, something similar which makes some sense to your business.
- Register Domain Name
- Enter the domain name of your choice, for example we entered editingsoftware.net because we wanted to build a site around Editing Softwares
- Click on Next
- Fill in all the details
- Select hosting package information
- Untick package extras
- Put in the payment details
There are couple of options to make payment.
Either use Credit/Debit Card or Click on more Payment Options
Pay via PayPal
- Accept terms and conditions
- Press Submit
After making a purchase you will have get a receipt on email with other hosting details.
- After payment you will get a success message
- Now, you will have to click on create account, where you will be choosing Username and Password for your Bluehost account.
This username and password will be required to login to your Bluehost’s hosting panel (Backend).
Install and Setup WordPress Themes
Just follow the steps given below:-
- Choose what type of blog it is
- And if you are creating a site for yourself then choose Myself
- Press continue
- Now, you will get a few options to add Blog and About me page. It is up to you, if you need them or not.
If you tick them, they will be installed automatically.
- In this step you need to name your site and describe about it (this is optional, you can skip it if you want)
- Pick a theme for your site, select free for the time being
- Pick Astra theme or
Both are equally good, But I installed Astra Theme just for your reference.
- This is how screen look like when you are done installing the WordPress theme.
- Now, click on my sites and you will have this screen open in front of you
- Click on Login
- Alternatively, you can login to your WordPress dashboard by typing in your domain name followed by /wp-admin/
For example: I can access my WordPress dashboard (see image below) by typing editingsoftware.net/wp-admin/
And enter the WordPress username and password you received in email with your payment receipt.
Remember, This username and password is NOT the same one you use to login to Bluehost account.
Before moving forward to the next step, Let me show you how the blog will look like.
WordPress’s functionality, look and feel can be further customized and extended with the help of plugins (free or premium)
Install WordPress Plugins for Performance, Security and SEO
In this step, we will install some important plugins. Some of these plugins will be:-
- Yoast or All in One Seo (AIOS is recommended for a beginner as it is simple yet effective)
Breeze or W3Total Cache (Breeze is created by Cloudways hosting guys, this plugin is simple yet effective and most importantly its free)
- Header and Footer plugin (This plugin will help you add analytics and other tracking codes)
- WP Forms (We will create a form with the help of this plugin)
Also, we will get rid of some unnecessary plugins that came preinstalled with the WordPress
To uninstall these plugins, click on plugins option and select installed plugins.
Now you will have a list of all the preinstalled plugins
- Select plugins one by one highlighted in Red (see image below)
- Click on Deactivate and Delete
- Some plugins are installed and not activated, so you can delete them directly
Although, you can select and delete these plugins at once. However, I suggest you to do it one by one so you don’t get any unforeseen error.
- After deleting the plugins, you will have a screen like this
- Now, click on ‘Add New’ to get this screen
Search for these plugins, install and activate one by one
- AIOS (All in One Seo)
- Breeze (Caching Plugin – Optional) or Keep Bluehost Caching Plugin (installed by default)
- Header and Footer plugin (for Google Analytics and other tracking codes)
Similarly, you need to search and install other plugins and activate them.
As of now, you should not be worried about their functionality and configuration.
Later in a separate article, I will guide you on how to configure them.
Permalinks are very important for your site’s SEO (search engine optimization). It is like an address to your page or post URL
You need to set them up correctly before adding any posts or pages.
Once the pages and posts are published and you edit the permalinks. It will give you a 404 error.
And, you won’t be able to access your pages and posts.
So you might think why do I need to change the permalinks?
The reason is quite simple
- Default permalinks set up by WordPress are undescriptive, ugly and not SEO friendly.
By looking at the permalink below a user won’t understand, what the post is all about.
Therefore, we need to change them to some thing which looks clean, descriptive and relates to the post.
- You can access permalinks by going to WordPress Dashboard
- and Click on Settings
- Under Settings, click on permalinks
Let me show you how to setup permalinks correctly
- Instead of Plain select Post name
Now if you look at the new permalink it looks descriptive, clean and reader friendly
By looking at the domain (URL) you can understand that the page is about ‘Sample Post’
- After selecting Post name as new permalink, don’t forget to ‘Save Changes’.
Create Categories in WordPress
- Click on Posts
- Then, click on Categories
- After clicking on Categories
- Enter any Category name you want
- In Slug field, you need to type the category name in lower letters
- And if it is a more than 1 word, you have to use hyphens
This is how you create categories on any WordPress site.
- Click on Appearance Tab
- Select Menus
- Enter menu name (could be anything), for example: I entered ‘editing software top menu’
- Tick Automatically add new top-level pages to this menu. Whenever you can create a new page it will be added automatically to the menu bar
- Tick Primary Menu (Display Location), That means whatever menu items you add will show in ‘Top Menu Bar’ and not in ‘Footer Menu’.
- Then click Create Menu and you are done
In next step we will learn how to add Posts, Pages or Categories to the top menu bar. In other words, we will be adding menu items.
Add Categories to Top Menu Bar
- Click on Categories
- then, View All
- Select the Menu item (Category) you want to show in the Menu Bar
- Add to Menu
- Click on ‘Save Menu’, to save any changes you made to the menu bar.
Add Pages to Menu Bar
- Click on Appearance —–> Menus
- Click on Pages, then View All
- Select the page you want to add in Menu
- Press ‘Add to Menu’
- Save Menu
In the above image, you can see how I added ‘Home’ page in Primary (Top Menu).
Similarly, you can create more categories, pages and add them in Menu Bar.
And if you want to show same items in footer menu, then you need to tick ‘Footer Menu’ under ‘Menu Settings’ too.
Add a logo to your WordPress Blog
Logo is very important for your business branding, It is recommended to keep your logo simple yet professional.
Since you are creating a new WordPress blog, it is fine to start with a basic logo.
Even multi billion dollar organizations when launched had a very basic logo.
Google and Amazon logos are prime example of how logos should be.
These companies kept logos so simple so they look professional, clean and readable when printed on merchandise.
I have created a very basic logo for your reference
Lets follow the steps to add add on your WordPress blog:-
- Hover on Appearance Tab
- Click on Astra Options (Based on the theme, you could have a different setting)
- Choose Upload Logo (Widely used logo formats : JPEG, JPG, PNG)
- After uploading select the logo from images(media)
This is how it looks after publishing
Add Widgets on your WordPress Blog
If you are not aware of what widget is, Widgets are elements that can be added to your WordPress sidebar and footer.
Widgets help you add content, features, images, videos, advertisements and navigation.
In an image below you see widgets that come by default with WordPress.
Now, we will see how to add widgets in sidebar
- Hover on Appearance
- Click on Widgets
- Drag and Drop from available widgets to Main Sidebar
- Similarly, if you have to remove widget from sidebar or footer, then just drag and drop to inactive widget area.
Our next step is to delete the default posts
Lets see how this is done
Delete Default Posts in WordPress
- Click on Posts
- Select the post
- and Press Trash
Create Post on WordPress using Block Editor
- Hover on Posts
- Click on ‘Add New’
- Click on Next and Get Started
- Now, add title
- Select block of your choice (I selected ‘media and content box’)
- Upload post image and add content
- Select the category where you want to post ( I selected ‘Free Softwares’ category from the drop down)
- Press Publish
- After publishing the post, the site will look like one below
Create Page on WordPress using Block Editor
- Hover on Pages
- Click on ‘Add New’
Now follow the same steps you did to create a post.
The only difference between creating a Post and Page is that, there is no category to select while creating a page.
Setup Default Post Category on WordPress
- Hover on Settings
- Click on Writing
- In default post category drop down choose category you need for default posts
Before you start writing posts it is important to setup your blog correctly to avoid any future problems.
Another reason to change default category is to make sure your posts look relevant.
Suppose all your ‘software’ related posts are posting under ‘uncategorized’, it doesn’t look professional. Does it?
Therefore you should setup default category for all your generic posts.
Set a Custom or Static Homepage on WordPress Blog
- Hover on Settings
- Click on Reading
Now there are couple of options; either display your latest posts on homepage
Select a static page, which is fixed and doesn’t change.
I prefer to keep the homepage static, this is how all professional sites are.
This is how you will create a static homepage which doesn’t change and look professional.
Beginners get confused due to similar ‘domain’. However, there are major differences between the two.
WordPress.com is a hosting platform with 6 type of accounts (free, Personal, Premium, Business, E-commerce and VIP).
Free account is very limited and let you use only 3 GB of space. Also, you will have a domain like explorehowto.wordpress.com and if you need a custom domain name like explorehowto.com then you need to signup for a paid plan.
On the other hand, WordPress.org is open source and 100% free self hosted platform. There is no limitation on how you use it. Since, it is open source software, you need to buy hosting and domain name to host your blog.
But you have full control on your site. Which is not the case with WordPress.com
If you are a hobbyist blogger then starting with free theme is fine. Because beginners often make wrong purchase decisions when they don’t have enough experience.
My suggestion is to use a free theme and install a website builder plugin like Elementor, which will make your life easier.
Elementor is a website builder service, most of their features are free. However, if you need additional features then you need to pay for it.
Bluehost is recommended by WordPress since 2008. If WordPress itself is recommending Bluehost that means it definitely holds some value, isn’t it?
Also, during my test I found Bluehost WordPress hosting stable and had zero downtime.
On top of that, their interface is user friendly. Even a novice with very little WordPress experience can install WordPress by following simple steps.
Absolutely not, when I started blogging a few years ago. I had zero experience and unfortunately WordPress wasn’t mature that time.
But now, you have several site building tools and themes that can help you build professional WordPress site really quick.
In 2021, 80% blogs are powered by WordPress CMS because it is easy to use and there is enough support available by the community in case you need help.
Of course, most people have switched their regular job to pursue their blogging journey. It is not only fun but also have money making opportunities.
Once you have quality articles uploaded on site you can join some popular ad networks like Cj.com, Shareasale.com or Google AdSense to monetize your blog.
Also, you can feature sponsored articles on your WordPress blog.
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