How to Get Started With WordPress in 5 Easy Steps
1. Setup Your Hosting & Install WordPress
The first step to getting your own WordPress blog online is to get your hosting setup and WordPress installed.
Most website hosts offer an easy auto installer like Fantastico. Email your host to find out the easiest way to get setup under their particular server. They will probably either install it for you or point you to a good video tutorial you can follow.
Or, just search YouTube for "how to install WordPress" and you'll find the step by step.
2. Check Your Settings
Next you'll want to check all of your settings. Once you've installed WordPress and logged in you can find your settings under "Settings" on the left navigation bar.
Be sure that each of those options (General, Writing, Reader, Discussion, Media, Privacy, Permalinks) are setup as you'd like.
3. Choose Your Theme
Now comes the fun part-choosing your theme! Take some time to look around and see what features and styles you like in a blog. Do you want one, two or three column layout? What colors are you looking for? Once you know what you want, start searching for a theme: http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/
You might also want to check out these premium themes:
- Studio Press
- Woo Themes
- Theme Forest
4. Customize Your Sidebar Widgets
Your sidebars will be controlled under "Appearance" -> "Widgets" in your navigation menu. You can drag and drop the widgets that you'd like to appear on your sidebar.
When deciding what to include, base it on these two things:
1. What's the ideal action you want your visitor to take? Do you want them to subscribe? Follow you on social networks?
2. What's helpful for visitors on your site? What would they be most interested in? Which pages or posts should be easiest to find?
My sidebar has my subscribe option at the top (that's the ideal action I'd like visitors to take), followed by a small banner ad for one of my products.
After that I've got my most popular articles for visitors to explore, because my readers have told me those are the most helpful and / or interesting to them by commenting and sharing them.
Do not forget to include a search option somewhere! If it's not in your header, then include it in your sidebar so visitors can easily find exactly what they're looking for.
5. Start Blogging!
Now you've got your WordPress blog setup, checked your settings, installed your theme, customized your sidebar, and it's time to get blogging!