Step 3: WordPress Blog Configuration

Step 3: WordPress Blog Configuration

In this step, I will show you how to access your brand new WordPress blog and make some important changes so you can have your very first blog post published to the web in no time. Excited?…You should be!

How To Log Into WordPress

The default login URL for any WordPress installation is: http://mydomain.com/wp-login.php

Simply add /wp-login.php to the end of your domain name in the URL address bar of your browser and you will be prompted with the login window:

wp-login

Here we will use the username and password we created in Step 2. You should have jotted those down on a notepad or in a text editor, if not you can load up your email account and find the recent email you received which has the title “Enter Title Here”.

Once you have successfully logged in you will find yourself on the WordPress Dashboard…get used to seeing this page, this will be your command center from here on!

WP-Dashboard

Setting Permalinks

Permalinks control the way your blog displays its URL and pages.

For example, you can have various forms of permalink:

  • Plainhttp://problogbuilders.com/?p=123
  • Day and Name – http://problogbuilders.com/2016/07/11/sample-post/
  • Month and Name – http://problogbuilders.com/2016/07/sample-post/
  • Numeric – http://problogbuilders.com/archives/123
  • Post Name – http://problogbuilders.com/sample-post/
  • Custom Structure – Choose your own

Head over to Settings > Permalinks to change yours. I recommend using “Post Name” as this is the most search engines friendly and it's much cleaner to read for us, humans!

Permalink_Settings

Blog Comments

Blog commenting is where you visit another blog you like and become a part of the discussion by adding your thoughts at the end of the article. Not all blogs have this option enabled however, it is down to the blog owners discretion.

You can access the comment settings via Settings –> Discussion from your WordPress dashboard.

Discussion_Settings

From this page, you have a number of options when it comes to what you want to allow and disallow on your blog.

Primarily you should pay attention to the first 3 options:

  1. Attempt to notify any blogs linked to from the article – this is a built-in feature of WordPress, it will attempt to notify any other website you link to with a message called a pingback. Which is basically a notification that you've linked to their website.
  2. Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks) on new articles – As above, however, this time, it is you that will get notifications when another website or blog mentions your website in the form of a link. This is a great feature to use when you first start blogging as it can help build a network of friends in your market.
  3. Allow people to post comments on new articles – This simply switches on/off the ability for others to comment on your new blog posts. You can override this setting for individual posts, however, the default setting is controlled here.

 

Adding Plugins

Imagine if your blog was a torso, WordPress Plugins would be the limbs. They basically add functionality to your blog for anything and everything you can imagine.

Want to have a content calendar so you can stick to a schedule? No problem. How about having a little popup message to new visitors? Yep, you can do that too.

To access the Plugins section, head over to Plugins on the left navigation menu of your WordPress dashboard.

The first screen show you the plugins already installed:

Plugins Installed

If you click the “Add New” button you are taken to a magical world with the entire WordPress plugin directory!

Add New Plugins

From here you can browse or search for a specific plugin/feature you need.

To install a plugin it couldn't be simpler…just click the “Install Now” button in the top right corner of each plugin.

Install Plugin

If you want to read more about what the plugin does and how it works, you can click the “More Details” link, located just under the “Install Now” button.

Now there are waaaay too many plugins to list here, but there is one plugin that every new blogger should have, and that is JetPack.

Jetpack has a bunch of easy to use features that enable you to blog faster and smarter, such as easily adding images to your blog sidebar, automatically publish your posts to your Facebook page, and it also allows you to see how many people have visited your blog today, this week, month and year.

Here is how to install it: How to Install Jetpack

Designing your WordPress Blog With Themes

Now, the fun bit.

Let’s make your blog look exactly how you want it to with Themes.

A theme is simply a “Skin” that makes your site look different. It changes the colors, layout and overall look and feel of your blog. So if you ever find yourself getting a little bored of your existing theme, WordPress gives us the ability to change themes with just a few clicks.

To choose a new theme lets head over to Appearance > Themes > Add New and install a free WordPress theme from the WordPress repository.

I usually choose a theme that looks professional and relevant to my niche. For example, if I was starting a Gaming Blog, I would go for a dark color theme, with perhaps red, black and gray are the main colors. Remember, your blog’s design should reflect both you and your personality, but also what the blog is about.

Add New Theme

Have a play around with the “Feature Filter” to get even more search options so you can really narrow down the results to just those you really like.

Theme Filter

If you’re looking for something a little different, something to make your blog unique and stand out from the crowd then a premium theme is the solution. Here are some options I have personally used:

  1. The Genesis Framework –This was the first theme/platform that I used and I loved it and still highly recommend it. You’ll also want to look into the available StudioPress Themes.
  2. Elegant Themes – I think Elegant Themes looks great, is easy to use, and has quite a few different options. It’s also a bit cheaper than the other premium themes listed here. Take a look and see what you think.
  3. MyThemeShop – They have a TON of options and all of their themes look great. Perfect if you want something you can style exactly how you want it.

Creating Your Core Blog pages

Every blog should have a few specific pages as the bare minimum to get started. This include:

  • Home Page
  • About Me Page
  • Contact Page
  • Privacy Policy

Below I will show you how to create these step by step. Don't worry, it's not complicated and one you've done one page, you will never forget how to do it. WordPress makes it so simple for us again.

How To Create Your Home Page

Your home page is typically the root URL of your blog, for example, my Homepage is http://problogbuilders.com. We create this page so that when a reader is looking to get back to the start or the central hub of our blog, they can do so easily by visiting this page.

Simply follow the steps below:

  1. Click Pages > Add New
  2. Give the page a name of “Home”
  3. Ensure the Permalink is your blog's root domain (e.g http://myblog.com)
  4. Click the blue “Publish” button

You do not need to add any content at this time, later I will show you why. For now, we can move onto creating an About Me Page.

How To Create Your About Me Page

This page will require some content, it's really easy as you will be writing all about…well…YOU!

We go through the same simple steps as before:

  1. Click Pages > Add New
  2. Give the page a name of “About Me”
  3. Change the Permalink to /about (e.g http://myblog.com/about)
  4. Write a few paragraphs about who you are and what you do
  5. Click the blue “Publish” button

When writing the about page, stick to my tried and trusted formula below, which includes 3 sections:

  1. Who Am I
  2. What This Blog Is About
  3. How To Contact Me

How To Create Your Contact Page

A contact page provides your reader with a way to get in touch with you should they have questions/suggestions or just want to give you praise for having such an awesome blog.

Again, we follow the same steps:

  1. Click Pages > Add New
  2. Give the page a name of “Contact Me”
  3. Change the Permalink to /contact (e.g http://myblog.com/contact)
  4. Write a short sentence and include your email address
  5. Click the blue “Publish” button
Navigation

TIP – I never enter my full email address as this attracts robots that scan blog pages in order to send them SPAM. Instead, what I do is enter my email address like this:

You can contact me here: admin [at] problogbuilders dot com

Notice how there is now “@” sign. This is what is used to identify an email address and by leaving it out we prevent those robots from finding us and sending us SPAM.

How To Create Your Privacy Policy

Ok, this one is a little different. Now I'm no lawyer, so I have no idea what kind of wording should go into a Privacy Policy. Luckily the people at freeprivacypolicy.com have created an easy to use template that we simply fill in and out pops a ready-to-go Privacy Policy that we can copy/paste into our WordPress page.

Simply follow the steps below:

  1. Head over to freeprivacypolicy.com and fill in the details as required
  2. Copy the text generated for you
  3. Head back to your WordPress dashboard
  4. Click Pages > Add New
  5. Give the page a name of “Privacy Policy”
  6. Paste in the text you copied from step 2

That's it, all that's left to do is check that the pages work by clicking the “Preview Changes” button.

Creating a Navigation Menu

Now that we have some pages on your blog, we are going to create a way for our visitors to navigate around out blog. This is called a “Menu” and it is controlled via “Appearance > Menus”

Menus

From here you are just a few clicks away from having your very first blog menu set up:

  1. Click on the “Create a new menu” link
  2. Enter a “Menu Name”
  3. From the left section select your pages we have just created by placing a check in the box next to each
  4. Click the “Add to Menu” button
  5. Now you can change the order of the menu items and the text that is shown to your visitors.

 

Now that we've got that covered, lets dive right in and learn a little about WordPress and crucially how we can get that first blog post published to the web…!

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