How to Create a WordPress Blog

by Katy on May 30, 2011

Blogger had a major hiccup last week–people lost posts and many others were without access to their blogs for about 24 hours. Now, I am well-aware that all hosting has issues, and I used Blogger for a very long time with almost no problems, so this is not a Blogger-bashing post. Some people, however, began to look at this as a sign that it was time to take their blogs over to WordPress.

So, for those that are interested in moving their blog to WordPress, here’s how you do it.

The first thing you need to do is buy hosting. When you blog with blogger, blogger handles the hosting, which means they are storing all of your content for you. When you create a WordPress blog, you need somewhere to store all your data. I use Blue Host and have been very pleased with the service. In about a year, I’ve had one service hiccup that lasted about an hour and their twitter stream kept me up to date on the issue.

screen shot of bluehosts main page

Bluehost's current pricing--May '11

 

Bluehost’s plan costs $6/month, so that’s approximately $72 for the year.

After you sign up with Bluehost, they will ask you if you own your own domain or if you need to buy one. The plan comes with one domain for a year, but you can also purchase a domain from a number of different sites. $12.00/year is a good price, so don’t get suckered into paying a lot more.

Once you’ve got these things set up, you can long into your “C-panel” and begin building your website. Since you want to build a blog, you want to scroll down to the section labeled software/services and you’ll see the WordPress symbol. Click on it.

screen shot for bluehost cpanel

Bluehost's C-panel

After you click on the WordPress Icon, you’ll see this screen:

screenshot of the install wordpress page in Bluehost

I already have WordPress installed on both a domain and sub-domain of this site, so I have a little section at the top that you won’t have. Just pay attention to the big green button that says “Install.” Click on that.

During the install process, you will be required to create a user name and password. Write them down because that is how you will access your new WordPress blog. Once you have WordPress installed, you will no longer have to log into Bluehost very often.  You will, instead, go to www.yourdomainname.com/wp-login and enter your login and password (the ones you created during install).

So! You’ve created a WordPress Blog. The next step is customize your blog. The easiest and fastest way to customize your blog is to add a theme to it. There are zillions of WordPress themes out there. There are free ones, there are cheap ones, and there are expensive ones. Just Google “WordPress themes” to see the incredible variety that’s out there. I selected a premium WordPress theme, Thesis, because I knew it was really easy to use. Premium themes aren’t cheap though. The price for one personal copy of Thesis is $87. I recommend Googling “Discount code Thesis” to see if you can score a discount of some kind.

You should download a .zip file of whatever theme you decide to install. Don’t unzip it.

Now, you need to log into the WordPress. Like I said, go to www.yourdomainname.com/wp-admin to do this.

After you log in, you’ll be in your Word Press Dashboard. Look down the left-hand side of the page–you’ll be looking for the section labeled “Appearance.” Click on the arrow next to it, and a drop down menu will appear. You want to select “Themes.”

Screen shot of the WP Dashboard

Once you are in the Themes section, you will need to select a tab labeled “Install Themes.”

themes page in the WP dashboard

You need to click “Upload.”

screen shot of the Install theme page of WP

Click on the “browse” button and locate the theme you have saved on your computer as a .zip file. Once you’ve located it, click on it and then hit “Install Now.” WordPress will unzip it for you.

If, for some reason, your theme isn’t activated immediately, you can tab over to “Manage Themes” and activate it yourself.

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