How To Start A WordPress Blog 2018 – Beginner Guide For Everyone!October 6, 2018
If you are a blogger and just a small business owner like me. You may need an attractive functional website but you may not have a lot of time or money to spend on it.
If that’s true, then you come to the right place. Welcome to this WordPress tutorial post. I am going to walk you through everything you need to do to set up and operate an effective website by Bluehost.
In the meantime, you will learn how to start a WordPress blog on Bluehost.
You may be surprised to find that it’s so easier and quicker than you expected and it will not cost you so much.
But, I have to tell you. Building a beautiful website does not mean your website can get a lot of traffic from the visitor.
The best way to bring them to your website is to optimize your site to search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. This is call SEO, Search Engine Optimization. I will explain it in the future post.
If you didn’t install WordPress on your site. I’ll show you how to do right now.
Let’s dive in and install WordPress on Bluehost hosting account first.
Table Of Content
- What Is WordPress
- Signup & WordPress Installation
- Login To Admin Area
- Create The Pages
- Create The Blog Posts
- Categories & Tags
- Using Plugins
- Customizing Themes
- Menus & Widgets
- My Final Word
What Is WordPress
WordPress is software designed for everyone, emphasizing accessibility, performance, security, and ease of use.
WordPress is the #1 content management system in the world. Powering over 30% of the internet, WordPress provides everything you need to create a website that is both beautiful and powerful.
WordPress believe great software should work with minimum set up, so you can focus on sharing your story, product, or services freely. The basic WordPress software is simple and predictable so you can easily get started. It also offers powerful features for growth and success.
Signup & WordPress Installation
The process below is the latest version that officially given by Bluehost. Bluehost actually have recently come out with a new sign-up flow called Bluerock where their customers have WordPress automatically installed at sign-up without having to go in and manually install themselves. It allows for a much more user-friendly experience.
First, click the “get started now” button.
Select $3.95 basic plan.
If you have an existing domain, then type it in the right box, otherwise, just create one.
Enter the payment information with require “Credit Card Number” and other details.
Choose a password for your account due to the security reason.
Type it as below.
Congratulations. Just tell you create a new password successfully.
Pick a theme that you like.
You can start building your website now.
Here is the dashboard of your WordPress account that show show “Welcome to WordPress”.
Click the “Bluehost” link in the left side bar, then click the “Launch” button.
Just enter “Site Title” and “Site Description”.
You can create your blog now.
Login To Admin Area
Login to the admin area, you need to open the browser. Then type your website name in your browser’s address bar and add /wp-admin at the end of your website name. Then, just press the enter button on your keyboard.
In this screen, enter your username and password and press “Log In” button.
As soon as you log in. You access all tools to control your entire website. Don’t worry if you feel it has too many buttons. You will get comfortable with it very soon.
The best way to learn WordPress is to play around and see what things to do. Now, you move your mouse cursor to the top row of the admin area as the red arrow shows below. This shortcut is to visit your site.
Now, go to the top right corner of the admin area and click “Howdy”. Then, you will see your username. Click the “Edit My Profile” button.
You can edit your profile like contact info and password here.
One trick that make the content creation process more efficient is to open your site in a new browser tab. So, I can toggle back and forth between the WordPress dashboard and your website.
As you add the content and save them to your site. You can switch tabs quickly and refresh your website and see updates immediately.
I highly recommend you adopt this workflow. Most website creation and design work is a lot of trial and error to make things look exactly as you want to like.
The toolbar on the left side contains all the links to everything you need to manage your site.
“Marketplace” is a special add-on supplied by Bluehost in mojo that delivers some premium WordPress themes and plugins.
“Posts” shows all of the blog posts you published and lets you create a new one. Don’t worry if you see a post in the first time you visit this area.
You haven’t bee hacked. Upon installing WordPress a post entitled “Hello World!” is created by default. You’ll change that later.
“Media” shows all the pictures, videos, sound recordings and other media you’ve uploaded to use in posts or pages.
“Pages” shows all the permanent or static content.
“Comments” let you moderate or screen any comments that visitors have made on your site.
“Appearance” let you change the design of your site by activating different themes along with some other controls that change the look and feel of your website.
“Plugins” let you add or manage pre-built software add-ons like photo galleries or spam blockers to add extra functionality to your site.
“Users” let you manage and add or remove user accounts.
“Tools” let you export your WordPress website to backup your data and a few other things.
“Settings” let you change the site name and tagline and adjust other details.
Create The Pages
Install WordPress, you have a fully functional website. All you need to do is to add content and choose a design. I feel that it’s extremely important to plan out your content first.
Then see what design works best for you. In the below, I will show you how to add the first kind of content called pages.
Now, go to the “Appearance” section and click activate on the “Twenty Thirteen” theme.
Before I show you how to create pages. Please take a minute to think about what kind of static content you want on your site.
By static, I mean content that doesn’t change much. That’s the kind of information we use pages for.
Look around the similar websites to get ideas of what to include on your site. Once you plan out what pages you’ll need. It’s time to create them which is surprisingly easy.
So let’s create one right now
On the admin toolbar, click “Pages”. The first time you go here you’ll find a dummy page named “Sample Page” which you can edit or delete.
Click “Add New” button. Let’s make an “About Us” page.
I’ll type something to the title and will add some page text. If you are familiar with Microsoft “Word” software, then, most of these buttons should already be familiar.
You can toggle between these two tabs. The “Text” editor let you type HTML if you like and if you don’t know HTML, then just stay in the “Visual” editor.
This chain button turns your text or images into hyperlinks for visitors to click. Select the words you want to link, then click the button.
Type the “URL” and “Title” here.
This drop-down menu is more important than it looks. If you play around with its options, you’ll see that it changes the formatting of the entire current paragraph.
You can click “Preview” anytime to see how the finished page will look.
But the page won’t be visible to visitor online until you click “Publish”.
Maybe someone will say, text is very boring, how can I add the image?
Adding images can make the user experience much more interesting and effective. So, I’ll show you how.
Click the “Add Media” button.
We haven’t uploaded any file yet. So, you can either drag and drop a file from another folder on your computer.
Or click select files to browse to a location on your computer once you find the file you want.
Select it and click “Choose” button to upload it to WordPress.
It’s ready to be added to your pages or posts. But wait, don’t insert this photo.
Do you see all these information boxes right here on the right side. This information is important for SEO because search engines sometimes use it even when visitors don’t see it on your site. So, let’s update it
I’ll change the image name to make it more descriptive and SEO friendly.
Here is the setting of the image. You can tell the image how to align within the page. You can make the image a hyperlink for the user. You can choose to display a smaller or larger sized image within the post.
If you’re ready, click the “Insert into page” button in the bottom right corner to insert the image.
You can move it around with this text editor and change the alignment or click here to edit info or change the size.
I’ll make some adjustments and click “Update” button. Now, let’s see what it looks like.
We now have an image that aligns nicely within the text and looks great.
You can see how easy it is to create with WordPress. You never need to worry about making mistakes.
If you want to make changes. You just need to find your pages right here under all “Pages” where you can edit or delete them.
Now you know all about adding static content for your site with pages. Before creating any pages, please take a moment to plan the pages you want for your site first.
Maybe look at similar sites for ideas, then add those pages.
Create The Blog Posts
Now I’ll explain how to add posts. Pages and posts are almost the same things.
The main difference is that pages usually stay in one place while posts are usually used for blogs where new blog posts push older ones down the list which keep your site fresh and interesting.
Let’s create new posts so you can see how exactly this works.
Click “Posts” and then “Add New”.
Enter a title for your post just like the pages and add any content you want.
As you see, this post takes up the whole page. If visitors want to see the next post, they have to scroll all the way down the post.
What will happen if I use the “Insert Read More” button?
Position your cursor where you want to insert. Then click “Insert Read More” button. Then click the “Update” button in the right.
When you reload the page, it breaks right there where you click the “Insert Read More” button. You will see “Continue reading” hyperlink there. That’s a lot more user-friendly and it helps visitors quickly find and read the posts that interested them
Sometimes you write a post, but you don’t want to publish right now. You can automate that by click “Edit” next to “Publish” button.
You can type in the date and time you want. Then click “OK”.
Then click the “Schedule” button instead of the usual “Publish” button.
You can set a featured image for a post by clicking here.
Does this screen look familiar? This is the media library and upload files screen.
I’ll upload a new image so I click “Select Files” button.
Select the file and click the “Choose” button in the bottom right corner.
After you select the image, it will show like that.
Let’s see how this theme displays feature images. Just click the “Update” button and check back on my site.
Look, is that impressive? Some themes only display small thumbnail images and some don’t display feature images at all.
Do you want to add various other types of media?
Let’s start with an audio file like a podcast for your site. First, you’ll want to save your audio recording in mp3 format which compresses the file to make it a smaller and faster download but still retains good quality for general use. Then upload it just like an image.
Let’s add a new post and name it with “Spaghetti and Meatballs Podcast. Then click the “Add Media Button” to upload.
Choose the default option of embed media player if you want visitors to be able to play the sound directly from the page or post.
After that, click the “Insert into post” button in the bottom right corner.
See, a nice little audio play is right there.
Now, all you know about how to create the post of your blog. As you can, it very simple. Just create a new post, then enter the content you like.
The editor looks just like a Microsoft “Word” software. In the end, just click the “Publish” button.
Categories & Tags
Click “Posts”, then you will see “Categories” under “Posts”. Click “Categories” and then you will see the original default category named “Uncategorized”.
Let me show you where the categories appear on the site. Some theme list categories right below the post title, but this theme shows them right below the post.
Remember, in WordPress, each post must belong to at least one category.
Let’s add one new categories. Type “Menu Items” as shown below.
Click “Add New Category” button. Then, the new category “Menu Item” will appear under “Uncategorized.
Let’s explore tags. Tags are like miniature categories.
Type in keywords that apply to this post. Separated by commas then click the “Add” button.
Then, it will below like that.
Tip: If you find it’s difficult to understand what is tags. I try to use another way to explain. Tags like the index in the back of a textbook that tells you all the page numbers where a certain topic appears.
Categories are more like an actual book chapter.
By now, you know all about adding website content but what about functionality. That’s where plugins come in handy.
Plugins automatically add features like contact forms, image, galleries, shopping carts, discussion forums, etc.
Just about anything else you can imagine to make your site useful, dynamic and experience. Adding plugins is just a snap.
Just choose a plugin, install it and activate it. Maybe adjust a few parameters.
I will show you three examples.
The first plugin is so useful that it’s automatically included with your WordPress installation. It’s called Akismet and it blocks the vast majority of spam comments that come through your site.
If no Akismet, you’d get a lot of comments on your pages and posts, but most of them would just be annoying advertisements for other products and websites.
View your installed plugins by clicking plugins from your admin toolbar.
There you’ll see Akismet and if you host your site with Bluehost, then it automatically gets activated when you install WordPress. But, it still needs one more thing to work.
Click Akismet settings.
You’ll see that you need to enter an API key. You can register for a free one by clicking blue “Get your API key” button or if you have already had one that you’ve used for other WordPress sites.
Just type or paste that here and click “Use this key” button.
Another useful plugin is the contact form. Let’s go back to plugins. I don’t have one of these yet.
Click “Add New”.
Here you can peruse thousands of featured popular and other plugins which is a nice way to find out what’s available.
Let’s go straight to search and enter contact form hit enter.
More than hundred of results appear. This is great but it presents a problem because how can you decide which one is right for you.
Here are some good ways.
First, see how many times the plugin has been downloaded. Look at the rating. The more starts and the more ratings the better.
And if you see that it hasn’t been updated for a long time. There’s a risk of security holes and it’s less likely that the plugin author will provide support. So you may want to avoid those.
Now click “More Details” in the top right corner.
This one looks good. So I’ll click the “Install Now” button in the bottom right corner.
Once installed, click “Activate Plugin”.
Now let’s explore this plugin setting to see what options are available here.
Here tells you how to add the forum to a page or post. I just paste this shortcode where I want a contact form to appear.
Shortcodes are bit of code that you copy and paste into your pages to add the plugin to that page. I’ll demonstrate that in a minute here.
First I’ll copy the short code and then click “Pages” and “Add New”.
Enter “Contact Us” for the page title then paste the shortcode. Publish the page and let’s see how it look.
If anyone fills out this form and click “Submit”. WordPress will send me an email with the information they enter.
Now, let’s move to the third example. Let’s talk about an image gallery that I’ve already installed.
We’ll return to the plugins screen and notice that this plugin doesn’t have a setting link right here.
Like this one. If I click that then, half a dozen links appear for me to explore and manage the plugin.
Let’s take a look around. On this page, I’ll create a new gallery by typing a name here then clicking “Add Files” button.
Note that photo in this gallery plugin is stored separately from the WordPress media library. So I can’t choose an image I’ve already uploaded.
I’ll upload some to the plugin there. Now I’ll start the upload and wait for that to finish great now there.
One reason I like this plugin is it adds a button to my page and post editing screen.
So let’s go there and add my new gallery to a new page. Name it as “Menu” and click the new green button as the red arrow pointed.
Just use the one I’ve already created. Choose the display style. I prefer the basic thumbnail gallery.
In “Source” drop-down box, choose “Galleries”. In “Galleries” drop-down box, choose “Menu Items”.
Then, click the “Save” button.
Let’s publish the page and see how it looks.
Look pretty good, right?
I think most of you already know how to install plugin and change the setting. Maybe someone will ask, how can I know how to use the plugin?
Tip: it’s really easy. Just walk around and try the function, then you will familiar in a quick way.
Congratulations you’ve made it through content and now comes to the fun part, themes. Content may be king but people do judge a book by its cover and a good theme helps your site make a great first impression.
Themes are designed template that you can assign to your website to instantly change its appearance and sometimes its functionality.
The first step is to choose and install a theme. So let’s find one right now.
In the admin toolbar, click “Appearance”.
Here you see all the themes currently loaded on your site for you to choose from.
This theme thumbnail image shows an approximation of what the theme looks like though it may appear somewhat different on your site.
In fact, sometime you’ll activate a theme and discover that it looks nothing like it thumbnail.
Hover your mouse over a theme and click “Live Preview”.
To see how it looks on your site.
If you like it, click “Save & Activate” button and if not click the “X” in the corner to cancel.
Let’s search for more themes to download by clicking “WordPress.org Themes”.
Scroll through the “Featured”, “Popular” and “Latest” themes.
You should choose a theme that balances function and form that looks great. Matches the style or tone of your business and gives your customers what they need.
If you’ve already found a good free theme that worked for your needs, you can search for it by name. Now, I search “Accelerate” as shown below. Click “Preview” to find out more about it.
You can install as many themes as you want. Then choose between them later. When you install a theme, nothing actually happens until you activate it.
Let’s just click “Live Preview” to try it out first.
That looks pretty good. So I’ll activate it and then adjust a few parameters. Now when I reload my site, you see my new theme in action.
All the same content is still there, the pages and posts. But it’s now organized and designed differently which is exactly what themes are for. Once you choose and activate a theme. It’s time to configure its options.
Most of these options are found in the “Customize” and “Theme Options” screens if that’s available for your particular theme. These options differ with each theme.
So let’s walk through mine to give you the general idea. Clicking “Customize” under the appearance tab to shows how to changes for you.
You can update your “Site Title” and “Tagline”.
Each theme may have various color options which you can change if you like. Like the background color in my case.
Some theme let you upload header images. Let’s do that now. I’ll click “Add new image” and upload files and upload an image.
If an image doesn’t match the exact header dimensions. WordPress helps you crop it to fit. Drag the clear area where you like and click “Crop Image” in the bottom right corner.
Now, it looks very good. I like it.
I want my site to look classier than just a blog so I’ll display a static page rather than recent posts on the homepage.
Let’s see how the site looks now. It’s pretty good.
Let’s continue and see what options there are in “Theme Options”. Here I can upload a logo which can really help my site look more custom.
So, I’ll do that now.
In the “Design” tab, I can change the site layout to “Boxed layout”. Be sure to scroll down and click the “Save Options” button.
See, box layout look like this. It’s a box.
Now, I want to hide the sidebar for pages to make the site look cleaner and less cluttered. So, I’ll click this option and I’ll keep the sidebar for blog posts because it’s useful there.
Again, click the “Save Options” button.
Refresh, it looks great now. The sidebar of the page disappears. It looks cleaner.
Tips: The secret of familiar the theme setting is just trying a different function and refresh the page. then you will see the effect immediately.
Menus & Widgets
Menus & Widgets provide you two easy ways to adjust where certain content appears in your theme menus and widgets. Let’s take a look at my site and I’ll show you where these tools come from.
See this row of links right here. This sort of thing is often controlled by a menu.
Let’s create a menu and I’ll show you how this works. Access “Menus” from the admin toolbar by clicking “Appearance” and “Menus”.
I don’t have a menu yet. So I’ll enter a name “Header Menu”.
Click “Create Menu” button.
Next, I just choose whatever I want to display in the menu. All my choices are over here on the left, “Pages”, “Links” and “Categories”. I’ll select the pages I want to show up and click “Add to Menu” button to add them.
See, the three menus are chosen before appear in the right side. You can also click “Links” to add a hyperlink and give it a title. Type it as below. Then, click “Add to Menu” button again.
The “Menu Structure” is like that now.
Don’t forget to tell WordPress where to display this menu. This theme lets me choose between the primary or footer menu. By default, the primary menu is the one along the top of the page. If you make change, remember to click the “Save Menu” button.
Let’s discuss widgets. They are like boxes that you can drag things into and make them instantly appear on your site. Widgets are a lot like menus but they appear in different spots around your theme and they have many options that menus don’t offer.
Click on “Widgets” under the “Appearance tab.
You’ll see the widget areas that your theme provide.
All I do now is drag whatever widgets I want into the widget areas where I want them to appear for the right sidebar. I want to show my post categories, a blog archive to show posts by publication date and the calendar.
I also want to add some widgets to my header area. First, I’ll add a text widget. Clicking “Automatically add paragraphs” prevents the text from running together. Then, click “Save” button.
Let’s take a look. Looks good right? I can click any month calendar date or tag to bring up all corresponding posts.
The header looks great too. And this site is viewed on a mobile phone. The visitor can click right on the number to call.
My Final Word
I hope the above content can let you understand the how to create a WordPress blog. As you see that, WordPress is not difficult to use. You may be surprised to find that it’s so easier and quicker than you expected and it will not cost you so much.
Using WordPress to create a blog will save you a plenty of time. Thousand of a different kind of plugin make you easier to do what you want to do.
In Bluehost, you can install a WordPress with just one minute. Just follow the “WordPress Installation“. Only a few steps required.
If you don’t know Bluehost, let’s read a short introduction here.
Bluehost is one of the largest web hosting companies powering over 2M websites across the globe. Since 2010 Bluehost is owned by Endurance International Group(EIG). Bluehost is a popular web host and is rated highly by leading industry bloggers and website owners.
If you want to review the full review of Bluehost, please click here.
In the future, I will create more post talking about different WordPress plugin.
If you would like to leave your personal review or experience of creating a blog in Bluehost or you have any questions, please do leave them below. I would love to hear your feedback!