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An Elaborate Guide to Setup a WordPress Blog

8 May 2020

After you have started a blog, you need an elaborate guide to setup your WordPress blog. I have struggled a lot to learn myself. Since I have no technical coding skills, I learnt everything right from setting up the pages to customising the theme through so many YouTube videos and blog tutorials.

I have complied my learning about setting up a WordPress blog. I hope this guide will be a go to guide for beginners.

Pre-requisites:

  • A Domain- Read about selecting a domain name.
  • A hosting with WordPress installed- Read about installing WordPress.

Initial setup:

Login to your cPanel and head over to your WordPress admin page.

You will see a WordPress dashboard.

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As you have published your WordPress blog, now it’s your time to take care of some important customisation to have a great looking blog.

WordPress General Setup:

First things first!

  • Login to your WordPress site
    • When you logged in, you will land in your ‘Dashboard’
  • Click on ‘Settings’.
    • On the left, you will settings
  • Click on ‘General’.
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Fill in the following

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Site Title: Your Site title is the one that appears in the search results and in the web browser bars.

It must help you rank your page and it must help in increasing your click through rate.

Tag line: Something that appears below your site title.

Admin email: For communication

Time zone: As you know, the time zone you are operating is literally important for scheduling your posts

Setup permalink structure:

  • Login to your WordPress site
    • When you logged in, you will land in your ‘Dashboard’
  • Click on ‘Settings’.
    • On the left, you will settings
  • Click on ‘Permalink’.
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You will find this page, where WordPress uses a default permalink. The plain permalink is not SEO friendly. You need to change the permalink to post name as shown in the image below and click save changes at the end.

image 42

Encourage search engine visibility:

The primary purpose of blogging is to make your blog visible to the world. To do this, you have to ensure that you have encouraged search engines to index your blog.

To do this,

  • Login to your WordPress site
    • When you logged in, you will land in your ‘Dashboard’
  • Click on ‘Settings’.
    • On the left, you will settings
  • Click on ‘Reading’.

On the screen you will find Search engine visibility, uncheck the box if it is checked or else leave it as such.

image 43

Plugins that you need:

What is a WordPress plugin?

A Plugin is more like your android app. Like how an android app adds functionality to your mobile phone, the same way a plugin adds functionality to WordPress.

There are millions of WordPress plugins available in WordPress directory.

Where can I find plugins for my WordPress blog?

You can find both free and paid WordPress plugins in the WordPress directory. Click here to access WordPress directory.

How can I trust a plugin?

The most commonly used WordPress plugins are safe. They come with millions of downloads and reviews. These plugins are developed by experts.

To be on safer side, don’t install a plugin if

  • It is incompatible with your WordPress version.
  • It has very low download rate
  • It is not updating frequently
  • It has no enough ratings
  • There is no support that exists from the developer
  • There is no documentation for the plugin

How to check for vulnerability of a WordPress plugin?

A Plugin Wordfence Security can notify you if a plugin is vulnerable.

How to download and install a WordPress plugin?

  • Login to your WordPress site
    • When you logged in, you will land in your ‘Dashboard’
  • Click on ‘Plugins’.
    • On the left, you will plugins
  • Click on ‘Add new’.
  • Add the plugin name in the search found at the right side.
  • Click on ‘Install now’
image 44

Activate the plugin that you have installed.

If you want you can even upload a plugin. Right now we need to deal with uploading a plugin.

Some essential plugin without which you cannot run a blog are as follows, most of them are free versions and some of the plugins are paid too.

Akismet:

Akismet is a spam protection plugin. It checks all the comments and filters those looks like spam. You can approve or disapprove the comment based on the report. Every blog needs Akismet plugin.

This image portrays how Akismet plugin works.

image 45

Image source: https://wordpress.org/plugins/akismet/

Jetpack:

Jetpack is a plugin from WordPress itself. This plugin combines the advantages of WordPress.com with the WordPress.org.

This is an all one plugin, which you can use to view the analytics of your blog. You can manage your blog and share your posts directly to your social media profiles.

There is no reason to avoid using this plugin.

Updraft plus:

This plugin helps you in WordPress backup and restoration. You can schedule your backups with this plugin. Another feature is that you can integrate the backups directly to the cloud storage such as Google drive, drop box etc.

WP rocket:

Best caching plugin you will ever needed for your blog. This helps you load your website fast. This plugin helps you implement a variety of speed optimisation features to your WordPress blog.

Easy Table of Contents:

This plugin automatically generates a table of contents to your blog posts.

Google Analytics Dashboard Plugin for WordPress by MonsterInsights

This plugin helps you connect your google analytics and display the site stats in the WordPress dashboard. Understanding your viewers and their time of using your website helps you curate content.

Rank Math:

Best SEO plugin. One of the most important plugins every blog need is a SEO plugin. This is the one I trust personally. It helps you to generate a sitemap, integrates your blog with google search console. There are 40 detailed SEO tests to supercharge your blog.

Contact form 7:

To add a contact form to your site you can use this free plugin.

Word fence security

Security plugin is needed for every blog, since the WordPress is an open source software, there are attacks that happens more often. To make things better, to be away from malware attacks you need a security plugin.

How to Delete Unwanted Plugins?

  • Login to your WordPress site
    • When you logged in, you will land in your ‘Dashboard’
  • Click on ‘Plugins’.
    • On the left, you will plugins
  • Click on ‘plugin name you want to delete’.
  • Open drop-down bulk actions menu,
  • Select delete and apply

If the plugin has already been activated you will need to first deactivate it.

Once deactivated, the plugin can then be deleted.

Enable CDN:

CDN stands for Content Delivery Network. All the major websites throughout the world is served through a CDN. To enable easy caching of our site, to increase the speed of your site, you need a CDN.

The most popular CDN is Cloudflare- which has a free version.

  • Go to cloud fare and Sign UP
  • Click on add site button and enter your domain
  • Choose the plan – small blogs can go for free plan
  • Update the name servers in the domain name provider
  • Your site is linked to cloud fare.
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Now the initial setup required for every WordPress blog is completed. We will now customise a theme and have a great looking blog. Even though this is not clear customisation of a premium theme, I will cover the essentials in this post.

WordPress Theme customisation:

The WordPress theme customisation differs from theme to theme. For free themes, it has very limited options. Some of the premium themes have good customisation options. Even a non-techy person can build a WordPress blog themselves.

Throughout this post I am using a simple theme that comes with the WordPress itself. To choose for your blog,

  • Login to your WordPress site
    • When you logged in, you will land in your ‘Dashboard’
  • Click on ‘Appearance’.
    • On the left, you will find appearence
  • Click on ‘Themes’.
  • Click ‘Add new’
  • Select a theme and Install.

WordPress Customizer:

The WordPress customizer varies from theme to theme. This were you can change the colours and typography for your blog. To access the customizer

  • Login to your WordPress site
    • When you logged in, you will land in your ‘Dashboard’
  • Click on ‘Appearance’.
    • On the left, you will find appearence
  • Click on ‘customise’.

You will be introduced to a customisation menu, where you can change the colours and headers of your blog. on the right you will find the changes that you make. After making the change click on the publish button. Let’s start customising one by one. Based on the theme and plugins you have you will find few more customising options than mine.

image 49

Set a logo and a favicon:

Click on site identity and then find the option to upload your logo and favicon. Click on the upload button and include the media file you want to set as logo. Favicon is the site icon. Click on the option to upload the icon.

image 50

Now your blog has a logo and a favicon.

Colour schemes:

This were you can choose the header colour, link colour and the body text colour. Choose the colour that suits your brand.

image 51

Background setting:

Click on background image and upload the image you want to set as the background. You can even choose the colors that you need as a background.

Typography:

Choosing the font for your blog. You can choose a font pair that goes well with each other.

Creating Menus :

To create menus,

  • Login to your WordPress site
    • When you logged in, you will land in your ‘Dashboard’
  • Click on ‘Appearance’.
    • On the left, you will find appearence
  • Click on ‘Menus’.
image 52

Create a new menu.

To add pages to the menu, on the left you will find the pages and posts that exist in your blog. drag the pages you want to add to the menu and save it.

Before creating menu, make sure you have created the pages.

 Creating Widgets:

Below the option to create a menu, you will find the option called widgets.

The page looks like this, click and drag the widget you want in the sidebar and add in the side bar column.

image 53

Setting up your pages:

You have an option to have static page as a home page or blog page. To define this,

  • Login to your WordPress site
    • When you logged in, you will land in your ‘Dashboard’
  • Click on ‘Settings’.
    • On the left, you will find appearence
  • Click on ‘Reading’.

Then you will find the following screen, where you can set up where you need a static page as a home page or you will go ahead with blog page as a home page. Choose which page you want to set as a home page and finally click on save changes.

image 54

Social media integration:

The last but not the least step in the customising a WordPress blog is social media integration. You can add social share buttons, follow buttons and automatically post button to WordPress. To do this, you can use a plugin called social warfare.

This plugin let you add share buttons to various area in a blog post. you can add the buttons above the post or at the end of the post. The plugin displays the share counts too.

With these said, I hope you have learnt about basic WordPress blog setup.

Now it’s your time to customise a WordPress blog:

Did you find this useful? Share with someone who has recently started their blog and looking for one-stop theme customisation. Drop-in your comments below.

About Me

Durga Thiyagarajan

Durga Thiyagarajan

Digital Marketing Consultant

I teach business owners, coaches and entrepreneurs the actionable steps for building a successful online business through digital marketing strategies.

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