Today it’s all about the beginning cause I’m going to tell you exactly how to start a WordPress blog! I get a lot of questions on my other blog from people who want to start their own blog and embark on their own online adventure, but they have no idea where or how to even begin. The good news is that it’s insanely easy, and the bad news? There is no bad news! You can literally start a blog in a matter of minutes, and – if you’re anything like me – you will thank yourselves later. Just follow this step-by-step guide, and you’ll be blogging in no time!
If you are just starting out and don’t have great ambitions for your blog, there are several free options out there for you. I created my first blog with Blogger, and for a while, I was quite happy with it even though I found the design options a little too limited. After a while, I wanted to start fresh with a new blog, and that’s when I switched to a self-hosted WordPress blog, and that’s the best thing I’ve ever done for my blog. I wanted to be in complete control over my own little space on the interwebs!
It is very much a matter of preference, but there are many advantages to having a self-hosted WordPress blog – a WordPress blog on your own domain hosted by you.
You have the freedom to do whatever the h-e-double hockey sticks you want in terms of both design, advertising, plugins, widgets and many other things that are not readily available on blogger or a free WordPress.com blog.
HOW TO START A WORDPRESS BLOG
So, how to do this?
When you set up a self-hosted WordPress blog there are 3 things you need to consider:
- Name (domain)
Only when these three elements are in place, can you begin blogging. Today I’m not going to discuss the name of your blog. However, I would suggest you stick to the popular endings: .com for an international blog, .dk for a Danish blog and so on. It’s just easier to remember that way.
I sat down with a pen and a notepad and then I just started scribbling names down until the right one was there. I considered a bunch of names, but as you can see I ended up with GOWNSANDROSES. I actually considered naming my blog “The Good Ship Lollipop” after a Shirley Temple song, but I’m so glad I didn’t. My mother suggested “Girl in the Mirror” as a (slightly unoriginal) play on the Michael Jackson song. I didn’t really care for that name, but I checked it out anyway, and it turned out it was the title of a Britney Spears song.
The point is; Brainstorm, brainstorm, brainstorm. And remember to google the name before you decide to you use it. Britney has made a lot of songs. Of all the things to consider when you start a blog, the name is one of the most important ones. Don’t stress yourself out – the name isn’t everything – but give it a couple of days (at least a couple of hours) before you decide on something. When I started this blog I had two whole pages of names and words written down in a google doc, before I finally landed on The Wonderway Project. TWP. It’s by no means a perfect name, but I’m glad that’s the idea I went with. Seriously, you should have seen the other names. Or not.
DOMAIN AND HOSTING
When you’ve found a name, it’s time to purchase your domain and hosting. I use UnoEuro and have never had any problems with them. It’s the cheapest option I’ve encountered – it’s perfect. For only one euro a month you get their so-called “bronze suite” which is more than enough for new bloggers. You will also have to pay for your new domain, but that’s usually no more than $15 or so. All in all, I paid $46 (including the setup fee) for the first year.
For only one euro a month you get their so-called “bronze suite” which is more than enough for new bloggers!
I have also received a discount code for you so that you can get 3 of the 12 months for free! I wish I had seen it before I registered because it only works for new customers. Be sure to enter the code 4Y3A5P and get 25% off hosting 🙂
After entering your personal information in the form, you enter a page where you must choose between several types of products. Be sure to tick PHP! You need this if you want to install WordPress. On the same page you can enter your voucher for 3 months of free hosting, so just type 4Y3A5P.
The payment is very straightforward. If you have selected a .com domain, you will get access to it almost immediately (they say it can take up to 24 hours – for me it took 2 minutes).
Once you have accessed your new website, find the Control Panel, choose “one -click installation” in the menu on the left side of your screen and select WordPress. It’s that easy. Now you have your own self-hosted WordPress site.
LAYOUT AND DESIGN
Now the fun part begins! It is time to decide what you want your blog to like. The possibilities are endless, and it is the first step on the way to personalising your new blog. First and foremost, choose a theme you want to install on your blog. There are many free themes to choose from, but I could not find any that suited what I wanted for my blog so I ended up throwing money after a great design. If you’re an HTML wizard you can save the cash and make your own magic, but for most of us, a pre-designed template is the best opportunity.
My design is from Bluchic. They have a number of fantastic themes, and it took me hours to decide on their Isabelle theme. It cost $79, but it’s gorgeous and there are so many possibilities within the theme that you can stick with it for a long time. I’ve had mine for almost two years on my other blog, and I still adore it.
The Bluchic themes can also be installed on up to 5 websites, so if you have a blogger friend in dire need of new design, you could team up to save money.
When choosing a theme, one of the most important things for me was the user-friendliness of it. My technical skills are limited so I wanted a theme that was easy to work in. I’m a lot better now than I was back then, but I’m still happy that I chose such an intuitive design.
Also, Bluchic is really good at helping if you run into problems. The few times I’ve contacted them, they’ve come up with a solution within one working day.
There are several sites that specialise in WordPress themes, but the simple and feminine themes from Bluchic are a clear favorite with me!
Once you have chosen a theme, you still have to set up a few things.
First of all, it’s a good idea to make sure that it is easy for your readers to follow your blog. I suggest you install Bloglovin, Instagram and Youtube widgets (see the round buttons on the right side of my blog? Those are the widgets I’m talking about). There are several plugins for both Instagram and Youtube, and on Bloglovin’s website, you can find a number of predesigned widgets that are easy to install. I prefer to design my own widgets because I don’t think the predesigned options fit my design, but maybe they fit yours.
CREATING YOUR HEADER
Another very important step is your header!
Many bloggers choose to just write their blog name – black and white – with a more or less interesting font. At least, this is true for Danish (minimalist) bloggers. Even though I’m a big fan of the Scandinavian style, I have to admit that it can get a little… boring. It can be an excellent way to do it – especially if you are not an artist. You can also use a great picture, a series of images, each representing an aspect of you, a drawing – you name it. Just make sure the resolution is high enough that the picture is not grainy. Grainy pictures are the worst. Remember that your header is the first thing people see when they visit your blog so put some work into it and make it awesome!
Related: How to create a round image in Photoshop
Personally, I think it works best if the header is not too big. I’ve seen blog where the header is the only thing you see when you enter, and they just don’t do it for me. My theme recommends a header of 980px x 200px, but you could make it as tall as 350px and still be alright.
Remember that your header is the first thing people see when they visit your blog so put some work into it and make it awesome!
When I first started blogging, I used picmonkey.com for everything. It is a free editing programme that does everything a basic editing program should do and more. I made my header using both Picmonkey and pixlr.com, and I generally prefer to work in those.
They are free to use, and Pixlr offers a lot of the options you pay for in Photoshop.
This was all for now. You now know how to start a WordPress blog, and I wish you the best of luck with it. Creating my blog is truly one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. If I have forgotten something or you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask them either by mail or in the comments section below!
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