I have done well over 30 hours of research on WordPress, SEO, Site designing, themes, and more. So, I decided to share what I have learned with the rest of you, hopefully inspiring you to make your blogs better.
Now, I am not the owner of a 100,000 follower blog. Not yet, at least. However, I request that you don’t look at the number of followers on this blog as the measure of my knowledge, but instead read and decide for yourselves.
So, let’s get to it. This is going to be a weekly series, lasting probably for a few months. I will do my absolute best to ensure that everything I write is completely correct.
Day 1: Blog Creation
So, you finally made that blog that your friends were badgering you to create. Or, at least, you think you did. You Googled “best blogging websites” and saw WordPress at the top of the list. Now, a few minutes later, you’ve signed up to WordPress’ free plan and are ready to create your blog. You chose a name for your blog, clicked Create, and voila! Suddenly, you have the blog of your dreams. Or, again, you think you did.
You have no idea what a lot of this means. Already, reading my post, you don’t know what SEO is. So, let’s make this a little easier on all of us and explain a few terms.
SEO: Search Engine Optimization. The higher your SEO is, the higher your blog will be when you Google the Blog’s name or something similar. The higher that name is, the more traffic you’ll receive. SEO is very important to your blog and its success.
Traffic: This isn’t referring to the traffic jam on I-98. Your traffic is the number of views you get in a day, week, month, or year.
Views: Every time someone clicks on your site or something found within your site, you get a view.
Visitor: The number of people that are reading your blog. If you had 15 visitors today, then 15 people were reading your blog.
Customization: The changing or upgrading of your blog’s internal components. If you added a widget or changed your theme, you were customizing your blog.
Widget: A little icon that is always present on either the right, left, or bottom of the blog. It can show anything from YouTube videos, advertisements, blog statistics, or random text.
Theme: The theme of your blog determines how it looks.
Page: A location on your blog that can show text, images, or posts. Not to be confused with posts, which will all be located on one page and will be. This is a page:
Posts: A post is what makes a blog. I, personally, publish between 3 and 5 posts a week, and I advise you to do the same. Consistent publishing is the key to good blogging. A post will appear under a specific page, usually the Blog page. Here is an example of a post and where it appears.
Now, if you already have a blog website, skip the rest of this. You have already created your site and won’t need any of the following information. Wait until next week, and I’ll talk a bit about site customization and SEO.
Step 1: Finishing your site’s checklist
After you create your blog, the first thing you should do is to go down WordPress’ checklist. This will help speed up the customization process and, in the long run, will save you a bit of time. So, the very first step is to customize your Home page. This is important because the Home page is the first thing that visitors see.
1: Make sure that your site’s visibility is set to Public. You don’t want to set it to private and forget about it.
2: Set your blog’s description and heading by clicking on them. These are both important, as they will relate to the specifics of your blog.
3: Go back to Document and click Featured Image. This image will be the one that everybody sees when they appear on your blog, so make sure that it’s relevant to your blog and attractive to the eye.
4: Click Discussion and place a checkmark beside “Allow Comments”. This will allow people to comment on your homepage.
5: Click Update. Now, you’re all set. Click the little View Page icon that will appear on the bottom left hand of the page, and you can see it for yourself.
6: Click My Sites in the upper-right hand page, and click on “Create my Tagline”. This will put you back in the WordPress checklist. Create a Tagline, chose a Timezone, and return to the checklist. Now, you’re ready to launch your site!
Step 2: Picking a Theme
Once you got to your site’s customization page, you probably froze. I know I did. I had no clue where to start. All of those ideas rattling around in my head? All gone. So, for the umpteenth time in the last day, I emailed my blogging friend/sponsor/advisor/helper Ariana Evans, and she explained what a Theme was, how to pick one, and which one to use. Being the cliche person I was, I just copied her theme. Since then, I have had no cause to regret it. My first and current theme is Independent Publisher 2. If you go to the Theme page underneath design, a list of the different free themes will pop up. If you click the Search button and type Independent Publisher 2, it will appear as a free theme, ready to install.
You don’t have to use that theme particularly, but be sure to find a theme that best matches what you want your blog to look like. Once you’ve chosen one, the real work begins.
Step 3: Creating a Home Page
You already have a home page, but you want it to be even better. Well, usually home pages are welcome pages, so you need to customize your page to make it as welcoming as possible. Also, don’t forget to explain who you are, what your blog is, and what visitors can expect.
Step 4: Customizing your Blog
- Now, we delve deep into the terrible pit of Customizing. If you don’t do it right, you may leave and never come back. On that happy note, let’s begin with your Site Identity. There, if you so chose, you can set your logo, rename your site, recreate your tagline, and create a site Icon, which is the little picture that appears beside the site name when a tab is open with the blog.
- Now, you can choose a background. You can either chose a picture or color as your background, but beware! Often times, picture backgrounds look blurry. I advise you to choose a color that matches your site’s header image.
- Speaking of the header image, now that you’ve chosen a background, you may want to re-chose a new image. Click the back button to return you to the Customization menu, and click the Header Image page. This will show your current header, past headers, suggested headers, and a way to upload new ones. Once you’ve picked one, then we can move on to Menus.
- Your Menu is the ribbon that provides access to your site’s pages. On it, you can add pages that will do any number of things, from allowing access to contact forms or giving testimonials. Now, you only want to click Menu if you want to create a new page. If you do, feel free to create your page, then return to the Customization ribbon. We’ll talk more about Page creation next week.
- Next, click the Content button. Make sure that every checkbox is checked except for the very last one, then choose between showing the full post or an excerpt on your Post page. Once that’s done, return to the Customization menu.
- After skipping CSS and Widgets (we’ll talk about Widgets later), click the Homepage Settings button. This will give you a few options. If you want your Homepage to show your posts, then look underneath Your Homepage Shows and click to the left of Your Latest Posts. This will ensure that your blog posts are the first things visitors see. If you don’t want visitors to see your blog posts when first entering your site, click A Static Page, which will instead allow you to add text to your homepage, welcoming visitors and explaining who you are and what your blog does. Then, once you’ve selected which page will be your Homepage and which will be your Blog page (if you took the second option), return to the Customization menu.
If you’ve done all that, then you have successfully finished this tutorial! All you need to do is click the Publish button to save the changes and apply them to your blog. Congratulations! You’ve finished!
Well, that’s all for today. If you know anybody that’s thinking about creating a blog website, be sure to give them the link to this post! In the meantime, don’t forget to click that Follow button, so as to not miss out on any new articles. Thanks for reading, and I wish you a wonderful day!
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Link to Day 2: The Beginner’s Guide to WordPress: Content