Setting up a blog is easy nowadays so long as you have a good website host – most of them are pretty good at this kind of thing, so there’s an excellent chance that your current web host will offer what I describe below. So, how to set up a blog so that it’s up and running in the shortest possible time?
Start by going into your web host’s control panel. It’s a good chance that this will have a button marked “Fantastico” (some hosts use a service called “Softaculous”, that does much the same thing). Choose that and then follow the instructions to install WordPress. A few clicks later, you’ll have a basic version of WordPress installed. In the unlikely event that this doesn’t work, you’ll need to download a copy of WordPress and then FTP it to your site.
The standard installation of WordPress needs some tweaking before it’s useful:
1. Delete the “Hello World” post
There’s an initial post called “Hello World” which is included whenever you put up a new WordPress blog. Delete this before Google gets a chance to index it. Replace it with your first post as soon as possible.
2. Amend the “About” page
This is standard text again. You should amend it to say something about you, even if it’s only a sentence or two until you get going.
3. Amend or delete the Blogroll
There’s a list of links that appear by default. Delete any that you don’t want and add in any new links that you would like to include in your blog’s navigation.
4. Change the settings
The default settings for WordPress need changing. The Permalinks structure isn’t user friendly – most people change it to a custom version such as:
There’s a good chance you’ll want to change the discussion settings as well – spammers have been known to abuse the default settings which automatically approve comments from someone who has already had a comment approved.
5. Add extra plugins
WordPress is highly customisable. Akismet is the included spam protection and it works OK (there are alternatives if you don’t like it). You’ll need a WordPress API key but this is easy to get by following the instructions on screen and you can re-use it on more than one blog,
I add in a smart pinger (there are lots around) which saves you from spamming the ping engines whenever you edit an existing post. I also add in a cache because I’m optimistic and like to think my blog will cope when it gets busy. I also add in an SEO optimising plugin to help make the default titles and other settings friendlier to the search engines.
6. Change the theme
The default theme is pretty ugly and is worth changing, although that said a lot of people don’t care and just keep their blog as-is. You can preview free themes from your WordPress control panel and it’s worth testing out a few to see which ones you prefer. If none of the free themes meet your standards, there are lots of places that sell themes reasonably inexpensively or you can download a program such as Artisteer and create your own.
7. Start blogging!
After all, that was the whole idea of setting up your blog. Remember to add categories for your posts and to include tags so that your pages are easier to find.