Last Updated on May 7, 2021 by scottkandh
In this post, you’ll learn how to set up your WordPress Blog from scratch. It contains step-by-step instructions from adding pages and posts, to installing plug-ins, and more.
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This is Part Two of two parts:
Part One: Creating a new website – adding a new domain focuses on setting up the website, creating the new domain, and registering it so that you’re the owner of the domain and website. This post provides instructions for setting up your domain with Bluehost. If you are a new blogger you might want to use Bluehost 1st because it’s a little less than SiteGround. Then if you’d like you can migrate your blog from Bluehost to SiteGround (like I did) about 5 – 6 months down the road. The thing about SiteGround is that they have better customer support, the site has better speed, but it’s a little cumbersome to use if you haven’t been blogging before and costs a few bucks more per month than Bluehost.
Part Two: Part Two concentrates on adding your plug-ins, selecting a new theme, and the difference between a post and a page.
In the picture below one of the first things you should look for in your website are any notifications for updates that need to take place.
For example, in this when you look at the first item labelled Bluehost there’s a 1 to the right of Bluehost.
This normally indicates that a plug-in needs to be updated. In this case the website hasn’t been activated yet. Reasons: no pages have been added, the site hasn’t been customized, and the coming soon hasn’t been cleared.
After you’ve developed your theme and have a page or post on your website you could launch your website. The recommended guidance in the field is to have a minimum of 3 -5 blog posts before launching your site. That process takes an average of about a week to complete.
Welcome to your WordPress Site
It doesn’t matter if you create your blog post first, your page first, or customize your site with a new theme.
But before you go adding your posts, pages, and developing your theme, the first priority should be to load plug-ins on your site.
The plug-ins I’m suggesting (see Minimum plug-ins below) are the minimum plug-ins that I suggest you load on your website. In addition, I’ve provided you with a list of optional plug-ins for you to consider uploading to your website.
To install a plug-in requires going to the site, downloading the plug-in, and then uploading the plug-in to your website.
1. Once you’ve downloaded the plug-in, go to your Bluehost account and select Plug-ins (Add New) or Plug-ins (Installed Plug-ins).
2. Click on the Add New button as depicted below.
3. Then you’ll need to click on Upload Plugin (see below). NOTE: At this point, you don’t need to be concerned about backing up your site before uploading a new plug-in. Because once in a while, a plug-in can lead to unexpected changes.
If you need to backup your site, check with your host provider. They’ll provide you with the method to backup your site.
4. You’ll need to browse to where you have the plug-in stored on your hard drive.
5. Select the file, and then press Install Now (see above)
6. Lastly, after the plug-in gets installed, you’ll need to click on Activate.
Yoast SEO Premium: This plug-in is at the top of the list for many different reasons. In order for your website to get traffic, there are a lot of factors for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). To the beginner, these facets can be overwhelming. But Yoast SEO will analyze your information and give you suggestions. It will let you know how well you fare to start getting those valuable clicks to bring website traffic your way.
Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights: What this plug-in does is allows you to see the usage of your website. Where your traffic is coming from and how they were directed to your website (i.e. thru Facebook, Pinterest, etc.). It also lets you know how long people were looking at your website. One of the most valuable things about this program is a new built-in feature called the Headline Analyzer. The title does just that, it looks at your headline and gives you a score. It suggests through the use of bank words called: power, emotional, and uncommon words to boost the likelihood of getting the headline clicked.
For the two below (pick one or the other). I’d suggest starting with Constant Contact. Once you feel comfortable with that you can look at changing over to ConvertKit. ConvertKit is good for making landing pages to capture your user’s email address.
- ConvertKit: This plug-in is used to create landing pages and pop-up forms. With it your able to give your users the capability to specify what they can download. Or direct the users to a different URL all together (for example, your checklist is on your website).
- Constant Contact: This plug-in is especially useful to keep track of new users signing up that you can use for pop-ups; however, it doesn’t offer a lot of built-in support if you want to use landing pages. ConvertKit plug-in is a better tool that utilizes double-in opt to ensure the new users are using valid e-mail addresses.
Akismet Anti-Spam: Prevents people from spreading spam on your website
Contact Form 7: This is an easy to use contact form that you can add a comments section to the bottom of your post/page.
Jetpack by WordPress: A good feature of this plug-in is that it optimizes your images in the background.
Yoast SEO Plug-in. It’s very beneficial for you to master your SEO with this incredibly strong program. The link at the front of this is to my post about how to use SEO on your blog and has a wealth of information for new bloggers.
ShortPixel: This is a very useful plug-in to optimize your images. The only drawback is that the free version only optimizes the first 100 images. After that you’ll need to upgrade to allow the capability to optimize more images.
After installing this plug-in, the average optimization was 69.41% and saved 456.5 MB of space.
PI Button: This plug-in button saves so much time by ensuring that when you add pins to your page you don’t have to manually code the page to ensure people can save your pins. NOTE: This plug-in is only going to be needed if you plan on using Pinterest a lot or you’d like to offer the capability for your users to save your images to their Pinterest board.
MiloTree Pop-up: The MiloTree Pop-up plug-in is a nifty pop-up that appears shortly after someone’s website to suggest to the user to follow them to Pinterest or Facebook. For anyone using Pinterest this is a handy dandy tool.
Social Warfare: The Social Warfare plug-in sits quietly in the background. When you view your blogs, you’re easily able to see the progress of how well your blogs are faring on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instragram.
Insert Headers and Footers: I like using visual editors like the old-fashioned Front Page. I’ve never been a fan of coding, it’s too easy to make a mistake. With this plug-in you simply type (or copy and paste) the code that’s necessary (i.e. to validate one of your websites) into the head or body. Viola!
As you learn more and more about blogging, you’ll be able to add more plug-ins that you feel comfortable using. Here’s a link to 25 Blog Tools for your website and you can also look at Plug-ins for WordPress on Pinterest to find additional plug-ins. You don’t need to load each and every one of them right now.
We’ve spent an awful amount of time on discussing plug-ins but you’ll soon realize the importance of using these time-saving utilities to make it easier for you to maintain your website and bring traffic to your blog. Let’s change up to tempo and move to installing WordPress Themes.
Installing WordPress Themes
In the first few weeks of blogging I went through a minimum of 9 different themes before I finally settled on one that I like, a premium version of WordPress called Highend (for $59.00).
Installing a theme is one of the most important elements for your website. Because you need to have a nice theme to keep people on your website and keep them attracted to the content that you have to offer. To select a new theme, you’ll go to Appearance >> Themes which will bring up the picture below. Note: Other things to modify from the Appearance Menu are:
- Customize – customize settings on the website such as appearance
- Widgets – automated utilities to add to your sidebar like opt-in forms
- Menus – Change the appearance of your menus and fonts
- Premium Themes – Paid themes averaging from $49 – $59 to make your website stand out from the crowd.
Click on the button in the middle for the “Free” WordPress.org themes.
When you hold your mouse over one of the themes, you’ll see Details & Preview for a quick snapshot of the theme. The method I like to use is clicking on the “Preview” button in the lower right to see what the Theme will look like live. Once you’ve picked out the theme that you like all you need to do is click on Install. Note: Based on the theme that you select you might have to make some minor tweaks to the theme (such as the menus, color, or pages).
My recommendation to you at this point is that I’ve provided you with the basics to setup your website from scratch. If you have any questions, drop me a line and I’d be more than happy to give you a hand or point you in the right direction. Also, keep in mind that I’ve been blogging for two months and I’m still learning but I like to share with you what I’ve learned by building my blog and building my Pinterest Boards.
The Difference between Post & Page
There’s a huge difference between a post and a page. The easiest way to illustrate a page is that it virtually stays the same most of the time (for example, the Front Page of your website – or what’s referred to as the home page). Your blogs consists of various posts, topics that your going to be discussing from time to time.
Adding Categories to your website
One of the last things you’ll need to do is to add a few categories to your website to make it easier for people to follow certain predefined searches like: Blogging, Pinterest, Grow a blog, Start a blog, etc. Try to keep the number of categories limited to between 5 and 7.
Do you have questions or comments for this post? If so, please fill out the form below and drop me a message. Thanks for visiting this post.
Static page or not
One last thing to comment on is that you’ll want to decide whether or not you want to have your website setup as a blog and doesn’t have a main front page or if you want to have a front page. A majority of the themes will setup as a
Most of the themes that I’ve seen are setup as a blog displaying your latest posts. To get to the homepage settings click on Appearance >> Customize (see picture below).
To display as a blog:
In those particular cases, you’ll need to ensure that under the heading: Your homepage displays, the first item – Your latest posts is selected in the circle (if you want to have a Blog).
To display a static page:
- Change the field: Your homepage displays to – A static page.
- You’ll need to use the drop-down box to select your Homepage.
- Lastly, you’ll need to select the posts page (from the drop-down box). This is where the blogs are automatically updated for display to your users. If you don’t have a Blogs page set up, simply make a page called Blogs (with just the title).