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So hopefully you’ve installed WordPress, and you’re ready for the next steps. If you haven’t done the initial WordPress set up of your blog, click here to go to my article, “How to build a successful blog” If you’re still not sure what type of blog you should start, read my article “How to find your niche in blogging.”
I remember being very overwhelmed after the WordPress installation for the Social Tourist.
My blog was live. Awesome. Amazing. But what do I do now? You might be asking yourself several questions:
- How do I log in to my back-end or WordPress dashboard?
- How to choose a theme?
- What plugins do I need?
- How do I install plugins?
In this post, I will answer your questions and go over what your next steps should be. If you are still a bit lost after going through this tutorial, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
How to set up a blog in WordPress
There is still a lot of things to do before you publish your first post. I know you’re excited about your new blog. So I will get started with the next steps.
How to log-in to your blog’s back-end (administration area)
1. Type your blog’s URL +/wp-admin. It should look something like Http//: your domain/wp-admin.
2. This screen should pop up. Type in your username and password. It would’ve been the username and password you set up during the WordPress installation.
If you don’t remember, click on lost your password and you will be prompt for either your username or the email address you used when you fill in the welcome dialog box during the install. You will be able to reset your password.
3. Once you log-in, the next screen should be the administration page or your dashboard.
The dashboard gives you an overview of or a glance behind-the-scenes of your blog. From here, you can start a post, manage the appearance, and keep an eye on the settings of your website.
Choose a theme
1. So now let’s take a look at what your blog looks like now that it’s live. From the dashboard, click on the name of your blog at the top left corner. On my dashboard, it says, “The Social Tourist.” Click on the drop-down box, and then “visit site.”
2. The layout, pictured below, is the home page of your website right now. It is your current theme. The name of this particular theme is “Twenty-Nineteen.” Since you don’t have any traffic to your blog yet, don’t worry that your home page looks crazy.
3. Now at this point, you could stay with this look for your website, or you could change themes. To change themes, click on your blog’s name at the left right corner. A drop-down box will appear. Click on, under the appearance drop-down box on the left-hand side. Next, click on, add new.
4. On the next page, you will be able to sort through over 5500 different themes and choose one that you feel will meet your needs. The great thing about these themes is they’re free.
And you can change themes as many times as you want until you find something that works for you. You can also choose to purchase a theme.
Once you’ve chosen one, click on the details. Pay attention to the reviews. Here are some things you want to look for when selecting a good theme:
- Make sure it’s responsive – meaning it’s flexible and will adapt to both mobile and desktop devices. It’s essential that your theme is mobile-friendly.
- Not bloated with a lot of features that slow down your website.
- Optimized for search engines
How to install your theme
Once you see the theme you want to install, hover your mouse over the image. You will see the install button. Click on the install button to download the theme.
You will then see a dialog box verifying it is unpacking and installing the theme. It will say, “successfully installed.” Click the “activate” link. The theme is now the new layout for your homepage.
What are plugins and which ones do you need?
Plugins allow you to add extra features to your blog without having to deal with coding. Want to add social media icons so readers can share your post? There’s a plugin for that. Want to get rid of spam comments? There’s a plugin for that. Want to add a contact form to your blog? There’s a plugin for that.
The following are essential plugins you should consider installing right away:
- Akismet Anti-Spam – checks comments that visitors leave on your blog for spam.
- Duplicator – bundles a copy of your website in a neat zip file package for you to store elsewhere just in case your website mal-functions and everything is lost. Also known as a back-up copy.
- SG Optimizer – for Siteground users only. Siteground will install this for you automatically upon WordPress installation. I have no idea what it does, but it has something to do with your website’s performance.
- Yoast SEO – this plugin helps with Search Engine Optimization by creating a sitemap for your website, enable you to avoid creating duplicate content and other great stuff that deals with site optimization.
- Jetpack by WordPress – site security management plugin. It guards your website against unauthorized logins.
How to install plugins
Click on plugins on the left side of your WordPress dashboard. Now, click “add new” from the drop-down box.
Once you get to the plugin page, you can search for the plugin that you need. Click on “Install Now” to download and install the plugin.
You will then see a dialog box verifying it is unpacking and installing the plugin. It will say, “successfully installed.” Click the “activate plugin” link. The plugin is now installed.
How to set up a blog in WordPress: What’s next
Whew! That was a lot of information, right? You’re still not ready to publish your first post yet. In the following article, I will cover:
- Essential pages your blog needs and how to set them up
- I will discuss the difference between pages, categories, posts, and tags
Are you interest in starting a blog but don’t know how to build one from scratch? Read “How to Build a Successful Blog at Age 50 (or any age)” by clicking here.
Not sure how to pick a niche for your blog or have no idea why your blog should be a “niche” blog? Read “How to Find your Niche in Blogging and Target Audience,” by clicking here.