Are you wondering how to install WordPress?
Have you been thinking about blogging for a while, but haven’t begun yet?
Maybe you’re afraid it’s too complicated, too expensive, or too time consuming.
I’m here to show you the fast and easy way to start a blog!
How to Get Started with WordPress in 5 Steps
In my previous article, I showed you how to start a blog by choosing your topic, your domain name, and your hosting. I also explained why to blog with WordPress!
If you haven’t done those yet, click here to learn how. Pin or bookmark this post for later!
If you just need hosting, jump on over to HostGator, and be sure to use my HostGator promo code LOUISEM60 to save up to 60%.
Here are the 5 steps we will cover in the article below:
- Install WordPress
- Install a Free WordPress theme Click to jump
- Set your WordPress settings Click to jump
- Add content to WordPress Click to jump
- What are WordPress plugins? Click to jump
Step 1: How to Install WordPress
The first step is installing WordPress, the world’s most popular blogging platform, so you can get to work writing.
If you’ve already installed the software per my previous instructions, click here to jump to setting up your site.
When you purchased your hosting, you should have received an email from HostGator with your cPanel username and password. cPanel is the portal you’ll use to manage your web hosting. The cPanel link is unique to you, so be sure to bookmark it for future reference.
Log into cPanel and click on the WordPress 1-Click Installation icon. It’s right at the top!
Select your domain for installation.
Enter your blog title, Admin username, name, and email.
- For Blog Title, enter the name of the website. This is what will appear in the header as the name of your site. Don’t worry, you can edit this later!
- For Admin Username, enter your preferred user name.
- Your first name.
- Your last name.
- For Admin Email, enter an email address where you want the admin password emailed. Make sure this is a working email address.
Be sure to check the Terms of Service, then click “Install”!
It will likely just be a minute or three before you get an “Installation Complete” message.
And now you’re ready for content! You can start working on your WordPress site.
Check your email for your WordPress username and password as well as a link to your WordPress dashboard.
Open up your email and click on the admin link to your site:
You will now be at your dashboard and it will look similar to this screenshot.
Step 2: How to Install a Wordpress Theme
So far you have successfully installed WordPress onto your domain. The next step is to install a theme and then add content to your site.
On the left hand side under appearance click on “Themes.”
This will take you to a page which says “Manage Themes.” WordPress comes with some basic themes which work very well. For now it’s easiest to use one of these themes. You can always search for other themes later, and install them in the same way.
The newest theme from WordPress is the Twenty Seventeen theme. Or pick a different one if you prefer! WordPress keeps them updated for years, at no charge to you.
To install your new theme just hover over the thumbnail image and click on the “Activate” button at the bottom.
To see what your theme looks like at any time, just click on the name of your blog, above the words “Manage Theme,” while holding the CTRL key.
If you now look under the Appearance menu, you will see that some new choices have been installed.
Clicking on the Theme Options will bring up options for installing a header. If you click on headers you will see that there are some preinstalled headers you can select from.
Select which header you would like to use, and click on “Save Changes.”
Clicking on the background will allow you to change the color behind your blog. You can experiment with this to get a look that suits your blog.
You can always come back and upload a new header of your choice. The theme actually tells you the size to create. I’ll be back with more info on finding awesome free photos to use for your blog images. Our goal now is to get set up and rolling.
Step 3: How to Configure WordPress Settings
The next area that you want to make a few changes to is under the Settings tab in your dashboard.
General Tab (above): this is where you can add your email address and the correct time zone. Select the date and time formats that you wish to display on your blog.
If you have a blog which is a store, then you may wish to hide the date. To do this simply select the custom box and delete the F j Y letters. This removes the date without messing around with coding.
Reading Tab (above): this is where you select how you want your content to display. Decide if you want a static page OR a blogroll where the latest post will appear at the top of the home page.
To have your website’s home page display your blog posts, then just leave the settings the way they are. To create a static page you will need to do the following first.
Go back to your dashboard and click on Pages. Delete the default page and then click on “Create New.” You are going to create two pages:
After naming the page, hit “Publish,” and then repeat the process for the second page.
Next you will return to the reading page and make the following changes:
Your blog is now set up to have a static home page.
Let’s go back to the Settings tab. The next one you want to check is the privacy tab. Insure that the box which says to make your website visible to everyone is checked. Otherwise no one will ever find your blog!
Next go into the Permalinks setting.
You want to use the custom structure feature so your blog post URLs aren’t just meaningless numbers.
You can use the following permalink structure:
Or a variation to this. Some people prefer to use this one:
My URLs have the post id number included. Take a look and see if you like that. I set it that way years ago… you don’t want to change this once you’ve published posts!
Both structures will work to allow your post title keywords to be included in the URL of your post, which helps search engines find your content. I’ll talk more about this in a future installment.
Step 4: How to Add Content to Wordpress
You are now ready to go back to your home page and add content to your site.
Simply click on “Pages,” then click on “Edit Home Page,” and this will open up in your dashboard:
Then add your content to your page. Before publishing your page you will want to add a category to assign this content to.
When you are happy with your content you are ready to hit publish and your blog is now officially open for business. Congratulations!
Some other things you will want to do are to go back into your dashboard and visit the Widgets area. This is where you can have various items displayed on your blog such as recent posts, links, a search box and more.
You simply choose a widget from the left side, and drag it to where you want it to display on the right side. Some areas you may add a widget are a sidebar and a footer.
Be sure to hit “Save” when you’re happy with your widget.
Step 5: What Are WordPress Plugins?
Plugins are pieces of software that add features to your WordPress blog. There are some that help your page be found by the search engines. Then there are others that will add a contact page to your site.
Some common plugins you might wish to use are:
- All in One SEO
- Contact Form 7
- Google XML SiteMap
- WP DB Backup – creates a weekly backup of your site which is emailed to you.
- Share This & Sexy Bookmarks allow readers to share your posts via social sites.
There are so many fun plugins you can add! But a word of caution – having too many plugins will slow down your site, so be selective. The ones mentioned above are worthy contenders.
Your WordPress blog is now set up! You have a good foundation for your blog, and as you learn more, you can easily come back and make changes.
Your next step is to make a plan to add content regularly to your blog.
For now, pour a glass of wine or your favorite libation. You’ve learned how to install WordPress! Cheers.