WordPress Setup

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This is a quick, 11-step WordPress set up guide. This article won’t teach you how to completely create your site but it is a good reminder of the simple starting steps everyone should take when they begin their WordPress journey.

1. Install WordPress: This is pretty self explanatory. The first step should be to install WordPress on your host. WordPress has a great guide to follow so this shouldn’t hold you up. Some webhosts even have something called Fantastico, if your hosts does you are in luck! Fantastico will install WordPress automatically for you.

2. Login to your new site: Again self explanatory. The way I usually access my WordPress site is by adding a /wp-admin after my domain name in my web browsers address bar.

3. Make sure your email addresses are set: This is important because this is where you will get your updates and password if you ever lose it. There are two places to make sure your password is set. The first spot is in Settings->General. The other spot is in your Users menu – you will want to ensure your Admin email is correct.

4. Change your permalinks: I suggest this to all clients. In your Settings menu there is a Permalinks section. Open that menu and then choose your new style of permalinks. For the ultimate in clean URLs I suggest choosing custom structure and inserting the following string: /%postname%/. This will make the title of your posts be the web address.

5. Add your title and tagline: In General Settings once again add the name and tag line of your blog. The name is anything you want – keyword rich is best. The tagline is your site’s description.

6. Choose your theme: If you want to use a theme (you do) you can find a wide variety to choose by using your WordPress back office itself. Just navigate to Appearance->Themes and then use the tools they have to search for a theme. Once you find one to your liking download and activate it.

7. Install your plugins: Any plugins that you wish to add, do so now. Plugins are very flexible so you can add more later on if you discover one you need. Install whatever plugins you think you need. I would suggest that you definitely include All-in-One SEO and XML Google Sitemaps. They will both help with your SEO and each has fantastic support if you need to know more. I would also suggest Askimet but it comes installed already.

8. Activate Akismet: I think this should be done as soon as possible. Askimet is a great spam blocking plugin that ensures your site isn’t full of spam comments. As soon as you start adding content you will notice the spam beginning. Askimet has a huge database of comment spam so it can usually pick up and block any on your site. If it does make a mistake then you can manually override it for a particular comment and it will actually learn from that. The one caveat to this is you have to get a WordPress API key. To get that API key you have to sign up for a free account on wordpress.com. Not a big deal, but an extra step you might not be aware of.

9. Check your privacy: In your Settings menu there is a Privacy heading. Click it and make sure your blog is visible to everyone. If it isn’t, Google will not index any of your content!

10. Add your widgets: Under Appearance there will be a Widgets menu. You can use this to add functionality to your WordPress site using the sidebars. If you chose a widget ready theme (most are) you will have one or two sidebars (or more) on your site. In the widgets menu the sidebar will show up and you can drag and drop “widgets” into it. These widgets can be things like a search bar, an archive, a calendar, a recent posts list or a text/html box that you can put just about anything in. There are even more widgets than that available. There are even downloadable ones if the standard ones don’t do everything you need.

11. Create content: Now you can create some content! You can add pictures, galleries of those pictures, an about page etc… You can also start making posts – remember to create categories to keep them organized. Take advantage of the tag feature as that will come in handy when you have hundereds of posts. It helps with searches on your site as well.

That is the bare minimum to get started with WordPress. You will have to learn a lot more but when you do, you will be happy you made the move to WordPress. Happy blogging!

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