This is the second post in my series about starting a new blog. I will be talking about setting up a WordPress blog.
Setting Up A WordPress Blog
I will be going over setting up WordPress and everything I have done to it.
I am not an expert web designer, and so this should not be taken as a tutorial. It is just my experience as a semi-competent layman.
Please read: Building A New Blog From Scratch: Part 1
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Is This Sponsored?
No. We have no association with WordPress besides using it.
What Is WordPress?
WordPress is two distinct services: WordPress.org and WordPress.com.
WordPress.org is where you go to download the free to use open software ‘WordPress’ that allows you to build a website from scratch without having to know how HTML and CSS work not to mention databases.
WordPress.com is like Squarespace.com. You can rent a server and domain and then a buy a package from them and they will help you build a WordPress website.
I think this is only useful if you have no intention to own the full rights to your content or if you don’t mind the monthly fees.
For example if you just wanted a site for your business homepage, or a place to host your digital CV, then this is perfect.
Why Should You Use It?
It’s free and the most used software on the internet.
It is flexible and can be scaled up for use on even very busy websites.
The Main Reason
There are thousands of plug-ins (apps) that you can install to make your site work the way you want it to work.
For example we use Classic Editor.
This is a plug-in that makes it easy to edit text. As we write blogs, this is essential for us.
But, you can install plug-ins for security, encryption, and advertising, or anything else for that matter. Which makes WordPress very flexible.
When Should I Not Use It?
If you just need a homepage for your small business, it is probably easier just to buy one from a developer or use Square Space or WordPress.com to set one up.
Isn’t Square Space Better?
Square space is easy to use, but you don’t really own it.
It is a subscription service that you need to pay monthly costs to maintain, and you have no control over the back-end of the service.
For some people this is great as these decisions are handled for you.
But, if you have tens of thousands of users a day and you want to manage security, privacy, and want to fully own the website, then making your own website is the way to go,
Now you don’t have to use WordPress to do this.
You could code a new website yourself or pay someone to do this. But, it is either time consuming or costly. And, so it was not something I was willing to do even though I do have qualifications in coding for websites.
Setting It Up As A Website
To make a website visible you need three things.
1. A Server
You will need to rent a server from a service provider. We are using a German provider to make the service accessible worldwide, but you should consider where your readers are and get a server in that area.
Dreamhost is an example of a server ‘hosting’ service. This is just an example, not a recommendation.
2. A Domain
Writerswrite.co.za for example, is a domain. thejapanophile.com is a domain.
Your server provider will be able to help you buy the rights to a domain. They commonly have a section on their website to help you buy one.
“Dot Coms” are the most expensive, some are thousands of dollars, and difficult to get, so consider if it is worth the price for your new website.
You will need to pay a small fee every year for the right to own it.
You will then need to install software on the server.
Now if you are an advanced user who knows what they are doing you can go to WordPress.org and download WordPress. Make your site on a local computer and then copy it to the server.
This is actually quite complicated and I would not suggest it unless you know what you are doing.
A better option it to get your server hosting service to do it for you.
The company I use simply has a button I can press to install a variety to server software options, including WordPress.
I did this, made passwords, chose the plug-in I wanted, and got going.
I would suggest a security plug-in like Wordfence to help stop attacks on your website. If you don’t take any steps you site will be invaded and taken over it is just a matter of time.
You need to encrypt you site. To do this you can use a simple SLL plug-in – although they can be tricky to set up. If you don’t, your site will not get that little lock symbol and will prompt security warnings.
After that you actually need very little.
I would suggest you get the Classic Editor plug-in if you are going to be writing.
But, other plug-in will depend on your needs. Like payment options or search engine optimization options.
You might want analytics trackers or video players it really depends on you.
Choose a theme. This is what makes your website look the way it looks. You just go to the themes section and download one. Some are free some cost some money.
The choice is yours.
They are all customizable. But, some are better than others. For example some are better for mobile sites while some are designed for shops and so on.
Is It Easy?
Yes and no.
If you are somewhat technical and have some programming experience then it is.
Although even then programmers seem to hate WordPress.
This is because it can get very complicated very quickly and they will then have to untangle the mess of an inexperience website creator.
On the other hand if you are bad with technical things then you will have to use a service like wordpress.com or Square Space, or hire a professional to make the website for you.
It can cost hundreds of dollars an hour depending on how complicated you website needs to be. This can spiral to bills in the tens of thousands quite quickly. So, bare this in mind.
What I Have Done
Visit thejapanophile.com and you will see I have made the simplest version I possibly can. Using all the free versions of plug-ins I would normally use.
I have bought a cheap server, which is just $7/month. You can go cheaper actually, but I wanted some quality of life options and customer support if something goes wrong.
So, as of now, my new site has only two pages: the blog and the podcast page. It is snappy and easy to use and I will slowly add new things to it as it gets more complicated.
But, it works and I am happy with it in its basic form.
I will talk about uploading articles and videos as well as editing videos.
I hope this was helpful to anyone interested in blogging.
Stay tuned for more in the near future. Read: Building A New Blog From Scratch: Part 3 – A YouTube Channel
by Christopher Luke Dean (blogs away)
More Posts From Christopher:
- Building A New Blog From Scratch: Part 1
- The Greatest Fictional World Builders: Akira Toriyama
- Creative Things I Learned During The Pandemic
- The Writing War Machine
- Why Writing A Book Is Like Going To The Dentist
- What Makes A Compelling First Chapter?
- How To Write An Action Scene In 3 Steps
- How To Get An ‘A’ Analysing Poetry
- Why We Need To Get Back To Writing With Hope
- 10 Worthy Antagonists In Fiction & Tips For Writing Them