Last updated on October 17th, 2020 by Samuel Ryan, copyright reserved
Learn how to start a WordPress.org blog with this free step by step guide. Created with beginner bloggers, and small business owners, in mind. WordPress.org site building is easy to pick up, and provides you with all the tools you need to create a quick and versatile website.
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Starting A WordPress.org Blog Tutorial With Photos (Step By Step):
- Step 1 – Start A WordPress.org Blog: Choosing A Host (With A List Of Options)
- Step 2 – Start A WordPress.org Blog: Purchasing A Domain
- Step 3 – Start A WordPress.org Blog: Setting Up Your Blog
- Step 4 – Start A WordPress.org Blog: Logging-in For The First Time (Key Actions)
- Step 5 – Start A WordPress.org Blog: Selecting A WordPress.org Theme
- Step 6 – Start A WordPress.org Blog: Pages You Should Create
- Step 7 – Start A WordPress.org Blog: Start Blogging!
This guide is based on the cheapest way to start a WordPress.org blog. The only thing you need to pay for is your domain and hosting, which can cost less than £5 a month.
Note: The following is not advice, simply information. Seek professional advice if you’re not sure.
1. Choosing A Host For Your WordPress.org Blog (With A List Of Options)
‘Hosting’ has the be one of the highest earners for affiliate sellers in this area. If you didn’t know, an affiliate is somebody who earns a cut of the price you pay for a product.
Beginner bloggers are often the target for these affiliate sellers, who may only ‘recommend’ a Host because they’re earning a kick-back.
I point this out because Hosting is one of those areas where you want to do some research, and not solely rely on a blogger’s opinion.
I’m going to explain what a Host is, and what questions you should be asking.
What Is A WordPress.org Host?
When you view a webpage, you’re looking at data which is stored on a running computer, somewhere in the world. A Host is a company which owns a warehouse full of computers (Servers), which are purposely designed for storing, and supplying, web-data.
A Host will put your website data onto their computer, for a fee. But that’s cool, because there are lots of advantages to using a Host, like:
- They have cutting edge computers, with lots of hard-drive space, to allow you to make large websites.
- They have fast internet connections, so visitors can view your website from anywhere in the world, without slow down.
- They never turn their computers off, so your website is always available to the public (unlike your home computer which you keep off).
- They’ve created software to make it easy to create and manage WordPress websites.
- They employ lots of smart people to keep your website, and web-space, secure.
What Are The Different Types Of Hosting Available
SHARED HOSTING is what most beginner bloggers start with, mainly because it’s the most affordable option.
Shared Hosting is just what it sounds like; you share the computer sitting in the warehouse with a large number of other website owners.
The drawbacks of this type of Hosting are: security and slow loading times.
Security because: If somebody on your Server gets hacked, there’s a chance that it might affect you.
Slow loading times because: If somebody on your server is really popular, they might be hogging all of those shared resources, meaning your website is a bit slower. Also, Shared Hosting is a cheaper option, so the hardware isn’t so “state-of-the-art”.
That said, Shared Hosting is a great way to start your journey blogging.
Next is CLOUD HOSTING.
Cloud Hosting is just like normal Hosting, in the way that you share a computer, the difference is, now you’re sharing a much greater resource. Cloud hosting represents a network of Servers which offer more flexibility and scalability.
It is said that Cloud Hosting is ideal for a growing website because you will not need to move your website to deal with a greater demand on resources.
Last on the list is a DEDICATED SERVER.
A Dedicated Server is just what it sounds like; you get your very own computer in the warehouse. All of the resources are yours, so your website visitors are always top priority.
A Dedicated Server is also the most secure, because you can’t be affected when another website gets hacked, because there are no other websites on the Server with you.
Key Hosting Questions You Should Be Asking
Shared Hosting, which I’d expect a beginner blogger to start with, normally comes with a basic package. However, here are a few things to think about before committing to a contract:
- Data limit – Some Hosts will charge you more if you’re too successful and get lots of visitors to your website. If you are receiving high number of visitors to your site, you should be thinking about moving to “Cloud Hosting”, or “Dedicated Hosting”, but you shouldn’t have to pay more for the same package. This feels like a success penalty to me.
- SSL – Your new WordPress.org blog will need something called an SSL certificate. Learn what it is, and how to set it up, here. Some packages include this for FREE, while others may charge a large fee for them. Find the right balance for you, but bear this in mind when selecting your Host.
- FREE Domain (Web Address) – You will need a Domain for your WordPress.org blog. Many Hosting packages come with a FREE Domain included. It’s not a deal breaker, but could save you a bit of money if it’s included for FREE.
- Cost – For a Shared Server, I would expect to pay somewhere in the region of £3 or £4 per month (after the initial sign-up offer).
- Any increase in costs after the initial deal – It is common practice for Hosts to attempt to lure you in with a cheap deal which rises significantly after the initial period. Make sure you can afford the full costs, if they increase in 6 or 12 months time.
- Limited down-time – All Hosts require some down time for maintenance and updates, but while this is going on, your website is offline. Most Hosts will boast up to 99.9% uptime.
- Good customer service – It’s worth searching for unbiased reviews at places like Reddit for your new Host, because you don’t want to find out about their poor reputation after you’ve signed on the dotted line.
- No fee communications – You shouldn’t have to pay a fee to speak to customer services for a product you have already purchased.
- Server location – If your target audience is in the US, then a server in the US would mean quicker loading times for your visitors. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to choose your server location on a basic deal, but it might be a factor in your decision making process.
Can You Give Me A List Of WordPress.org Hosting Companies?
Here’s a list of the main hosting companies out there, in no particular order (there are also no affiliate links attached):
There are many more options which a Google search will uncover, however these are some of the more well known companies.
2. Purchasing A Domain Name (Your Blog Website Address)
A Domain is the web address for a website, for example, the Domain of this website is webbloglife.com.
Before you start a WordPress.org blog, you’ll need to purchase a Domain. However, you should check your Hosting package because it might be included for FREE. If not, you’ll be able to purchase a Domain through your Host.
While you could purchase a domain from another provider, it doesn’t make any sense to, as most Hosts charge a fee for transferring Domains over.
Before you purchase your new Domain, take some time to think about what name best suits your new website. You can’t change your Domain name once you have it, so it’s worth slowing things down, to get it right.
Domains are purchased for a year, although you can purchase many years in advance.
3. Setting Up Your WordPress.org Blog
All of the following actions are completed at your Host’s website. For example, if you are with ionos, these actions would be completed while you are logged into: https://www.ionos.com.
Each host will have their own way of doing things. They’ll have their own user panel, designs, and phrases for different tasks.
I will show you how I would set up a new WordPress.org blog at my Host, ionos. This will give you an idea of what to look for at your own Host website.
Step 1: Log into your Host website.
Step 2: From the main menu (on the left of the top-bar), select Websites & Shops. This will open a new page called Websites & Shops. If you already have live websites, they will be listed here.
Step 3: Hit the button at the top of the page which says, ‘Create new website or shop‘.
Step 4: You will now be asked to select what website builder you would like to use. WordPress will be on the list, while others include Joomla! and TYPO3. Select WordPress. This will open a new page called, ‘WordPress Installation’.
Step 5: Now you will be asked to name your WordPress Installation. This is the name that the entire package will be called at your Host website, not the actual name of your website, although you can use that if you wish. When you’re done, hit the ‘Create Website‘ button.
Step 6: Next, you will be asked to create a user for your website. This is the main user: the Admin. Create a user by choosing a username and password. Make this password as complex as possible (following the guidelines provided on the page).
Step 7: You will now be given the choice between a ‘Managed’ WordPress setup, and a standard WordPress setup (learn more about Managed Vs Standard, below). Once completed, your new WordPress.org blog will be created (it may take a few minutes).
Step 8: You will now be asked to select a Domain for your WordPress website. You will be given a list of options from the Domains you already own.
Step 9: Finally, you can edit your site. You will be provided with a link to your new WordPress.org blog.
Bonus Step: While it isn’t required, it is best to add SSL on your blog. Your Host will likely point this out before Step 9. For more on setting up SSL for your blog, read this.
Once complete, your WordPress.org blog will be online, waiting for you to begin your blogging adventure.
WordPress “Managed” Vs. Standard WordPress Hosting
Most Hosts also have something called the WordPress “Managed” Hosting option. This basically means that the Host may lock some of the more Advanced features within WordPress, and manage updates for you.
It’s up to you to decide which option is best for you.
Later on in your blogging journey, you may need to access some of the files that “Managed” hosting has locked, but it’s not necessarily a decision you need to make now. You will still have a WordPress.org blog no matter which option you choose.
4. Login In To Your WordPress.org Blog For The First Time (Key Actions)
When you click the ‘Edit your site‘, button at your Host website, you will be taken to the login area of your new WordPress.org blog. It will look something like this:
Tip: If you can’t find it, but are certain you have created the website, put the web address into your internet browser and add the follow to the end of the address:
Now, login with your Admin credentials.
There are a number of things you should do before you start blogging. The first of which is, adding a security plugin.
Plugins are additional software packages which add features to your WordPress blog. You can find the main depository of WordPress plugins at the WordPress.org site here.
I use Wordfence as my security plugin (which is FREE!), but there are other options.
Here’s how you add a plugin to your WordPress.org blog
- On your WordPress sidebar, select ‘Plugins’ from the menu
- Hit the ‘Add New’ button at the top of the Plugins page
- Browse and select a Plugin, or use the Keyword Search-bar
- Hit the ‘Install Now’ button at the top of the Plugin you have selected
- You’ll notice that the button now says ‘Activate’. To activate the Plugin, hit the same button (‘Activate’) again.
Find and install whatever plugins you’re interested in. (If you install Jetpack, the popular WordPress plugin, then read my guide to make sure it doesn’t slow down your website.)
If you did install Wordfence, or another security plugin, you will have to complete the installation process by clicking on the new plugin item in your WordPress sidebar.
When you’re done with plugins, select ‘Settings‘ from your WordPress sidebar. Now you can go through your site’s general settings and apply your preferences.
Tip: In ‘Settings’, there’s an option that lets anyone register to your blog: ‘Anyone can register‘. Do not tick this box until you are more Advance and are fully aware of the implications of letting users create accounts on your WordPress.org blog.
5. Selecting A WordPress.org Theme
All WordPress.org blogs come with the main WordPress Theme already installed, so you don’t need to do anything.
However, if you want to change the layout of your new website, then you can do this by selecting Appearance → Theme from your WordPress sidebar.
Now, hit the ‘Add New‘ button at the top of the page, and just as with WordPress plugins, you can find and select a new Theme.
Before installing a new Theme, you can try it out, by hitting the ‘Preview‘ button on the Theme tab.
6. The First Pages You Should Create On Your WordPress.org Blog
You are nearly finished! But before you can start writing new blog posts, you need to add a couple of pages to your website. I recommend creating a:
- Privacy page – This page contains your policy on the data your website collects from its users. WordPress.org blogs come with a basic privacy page already included -which also has tips on what more you should be adding.
- Terms and conditions page – You have expectations of how people will behave on your site, and you can use your T&Cs page to list them. Terms will differ for each website owner, so take some time to figure out what’s important to you.
7. Start A WordPress.org Blog: Start Blogging!
That’s it. Now you can start blogging!
There’s so much you can change with a WordPress.org blog, that you could spend months just playing with it. But now, the core work is done.
It’s normally a few months before a new blogger thinks about website speed, but you can save yourself a bunch of work by reading my beginners guide now.
Before you go, please help me by sharing a link on your social media. Also, feel free to leave a comment below.