How to Set Up a Self-Hosted WordPress Blog
This post is about the development of a site that is primarily a blog. You can read about setting up a WordPress website (most businesses will want to choose this route). Some businesses may find their best course of online action should be in the form of a blog that shows articles and allows reader comments. Or you may want your blog to become your business – some bloggers find ways to build a business around a blog (through products, services, affiliate products or advertising).
Why Choose Self-Hosted
Perhaps you don’t know what self-hosted means. Self-hosted means you pay for web-hosting and set up the WordPress software on your own site. You can set up a blog on WordPress.com; however, you will not have access to all the plugins and themes that you may desire. Also, WordPress.com has certain rules, such as you are not allowed to put advertising on your site. WordPress.com will display their advertisements on your site unless you have purchased an Ad-free Upgrade or a VIP Services account. You can read the terms of service for WordPress.com here.
If you are running a business, even a small business, you should put your site on self-hosted WordPress. You can start off with a WordPress.com account, just to try out WordPress, but fairly soon you may discover you want the control of a self-hosted account.
How to Set Up the WordPress Blog
Choose Domain Name – spend time on this. Decide on your niche and choose a domain that has keywords in your niche. Others choose to name a domain related to their own names – this is a good choice if you are not ready to settle on one niche.
Choose Web Hosting – all web hosts are not built alike. Get a good recommendation for a webhost. I’ve been using BlueHost for a number of years, and they meet many of my and my clients’ needs.
Follow steps on WordPress Install page. The Codex is your friend. Get familiar with the WordPress Codex and the forum for support.
Pick a Theme. Start with Twenty-Twelve theme if you don’t have a set idea (yet) on a theme. There are some good premium themes such as WooThemes or Genesis or Thesis. More advanced users might want to start with a framework; I started using the _s (underscore) starter theme to create tailor-made themes. Choose a responsive theme so your site will work on mobile and tablets. If you want special design or coding for your site, you can hire someone to develop the theme for you.
Choose a good image for the header – a picture is worth one thousand words.
Investigate Plugins – please don’t choose every plugin in the universe like a kid in candyland. You will need an anti-spam plugin like Akismet, which comes with WordPress. Research other plugins. Read posts labelled “10 Plugins Recommended for WordPress.” Just remember that if you pick too many, you will have problems later such as slow-loading on your blog.
Write three to four blog posts. Share on social media, with your friends and read other blogs in your niche. Good luck.
Your Turn, Please
Do you use WordPress? Have you used WordPress.com and switched to self-hosted WordPress? Do you have experience with other blogging systems? Why would you suggest WordPress to a business?