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Set Up Your Own WordPress Blog in Less Than 10 Minutes for Less Than 20 Dollars

Set Up Your WordPress Blog - Church Comm, Content Curation, Creative Writing/Design - http://WilliamSipling.com
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Churches, businesses, and individuals who are developing their own publishing platforms—it’s so important for each of these groups of people to have their own web presence!

In today’s hyper-connected world offering us instant access to almost any information source, it’s so important for future members, customers, and networkers to be able to find you. A website should do three basic things for you:

  1. Establish credibility
  2. Provide information
  3. Deliver a result for your visitors or customers.

Those are three priceless points that you must provide! Otherwise, your brand, your outreach, or your sales might just cease to exist. So, you need a website. Maybe you’re thinking about blogging, too! A blog is a great way to drive traffic, provide value, and establish trust for your audience. That’s why I’m going to show you how to set up your very own WordPress blog in less than ten minutes for less than twenty dollars!

Why WordPress?

Let’s introduce the star of the show—WordPress. You’ve probably heard of WordPress even if you’ve spent just a little bit of time on the internet. {} WordPress is a content management system—an application that quickly and easily allows you to customize, add, and edit content. People commonly abbreviate “content management system” to “CMS” because really, say content management system three times fast. Even if you didn’t get tongue-tied, you’ve just wasted like, a whole minute of your life. Anyways, when you use the CMS that is WordPress, you don’t have to have any coding experience to post and create your website. You simply use the WordPress Dashboard to create and write pages or posts. Check out the image below to see how it looks:

write1

Image Courtesy of WordPress.com

When you write your short fiction, industry news, or church updates for a WordPress blog post, you don’t have to worry about HTML or CSS. Just write your post in a system that looks similar to your favorite word processor!

WordPress, as a content management system, is powerful. That’s reason number one why you should be using WordPress.

Uniquely customizable

Let’s say you want to add an e-commerce section of your website. WordPress can handle it. What about a community social network site complete with forums and a special members area? It can do that, too.

Not only can WordPress be a workhorse, but it can look good while it does it, too. WordPress can be customized with themes. It’s hard to put into a brief sentence what exactly a theme is, but think of it as a design overlay for your website. A theme formats your navigation menu, whether or not you have a sidebar, what your theme colors are on your website, among other things. And, because we can harness the power of the content management system, you don’t need to jump into code to theme your site. You can find many free themes on the internet, or you can get great premium themes that allow greater customization or special features.

I use and recommend ThemeForest—they’ve got a huge library of themes, but also a lot of other cool stuff that you can tack on to your WordPress site.

Customization is important, because your website is your front door. You wouldn’t have an Alabama welcome mat if you’re an Auburn fan, would you? Leave the cookie cutters in the kitchen and get a website that fits your personality or culture.

Community Driven

Reasons number three for using WordPress: there are lots of content management systems out there, but there’s only one system that has a vast community of coders, marketers, designers, and supporters who release new themes, plug-ins (code snippets and extend WordPress functionality), and tutorials. So welcome to the community!

So, CMS power, customization, and community. Why aren’t you using WordPress already? Oh, I guess we’ll get to that in a second!

WordPress.org vs. WordPress.com

Let me just say one thing—there’s a big difference between installing WordPress on your current website, and using WordPress.com. When you go to WordPress.com, you’ll be able to set up a blog for free. The URL of your website will look like this: yourbloghere.WordPress.com. That’s great if you’re just starting out, but as you add features, and scale your website (let’s say you want to add more storage space or features), you’ll have to pay Automattic, (the company that runs WordPress) for it. So they’ll charge you extra for your domain name, certain kinds of features, and you’ll be locked down in other areas.

The alternative (and the right choice) is to use the WordPress CMS without having it hosted through WordPress.com. Automattic releases the code for their WordPress CMS for free when you go to WordPress.org. You could choose to download WordPress there and install it on your hosting servers, but there’s an easier way to do it (and we’re about to find out!).

Let’s Get Started!

If you’re not hosting your WordPress website on WordPress.com (and please don’t be hosting it on WordPress.com), you’ll need to get website hosting somewhere else. A web host hosts your web-based files and handles the servers that run WordPress, so that your blog posts and resources are accessible and available all over the world.

Homegrown_Website_Hosting___Fast__Reliable_Web_Hosting

Just like going using WordPress on a self-hosted website is the right choice, getting your hosting through A Small Orange is the right choice for hosting solutions. I recommend and use them for just all about my needs and my client’s needs. They have 24/7 AMAZING customer service, web servers that are pretty much never down, they won’t annoy you with constant marketing, they’re committed to green technology, and they’ve gotten rave reviews from Lifehacker and Review Signal. Basically, you should use A Small Orange. They have shared hosting plans starting at $35 A YEAR, ranging through high-end, super-fast dedicated servers, and everything in between like reseller hosting if you’ve got web clients of your own.

Fast_Shared_Web_Hosting_Plans_-_A_Small_Orange

For most people, I recommend just starting with one of their shared hosting plans. Their $35/year plan (that breaks down to a little under $3 a month) is great if you’re planning on having a static website with not too many visitors a month (like, if you’re hosting a sign-up page for a one-time conference or event), but honestly, spend a few dollars more and get the $5 a month plan, and you’ll be getting more space and bandwidth. You’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll go through 250 megabytes. By the way, you’ll notice that you’ll get a discount when you pay by the year, too.

Pick your plan, and like I said, if you’re just starting out, you’ll be just fine with the $5 plan.

After you’ve selected what you want, finish going through the order form. Domains start at $15 from A Small Orange, which may be little more than some other hosts, but if you’ve gone through the blood, sweat, and tears of working with some other companies (who I’ll leave nameless), you’ll find spending a couple of dollars more to get your domain through A Small Orange is really, seriously, and totally worth it. Once you’ve reviewed everything on your order, I want to give you a little deal I’ve worked out with A Small Orange. When you type in “WillSipling” (no spaces) in the promo code box, you’ll get 15% of your order, bringing the grand total down to $19.25. You’ll only be paying $5 a month from here on out, until a year from now when you’ll have to renew your domain name. That’s a pretty good deal.

And that’s it! Now you’ve got your very own domain name and web host. Let’s figure out how to get a WordPress blog set up on your brand new internet space.

Installing WordPress

Let’s get this set up. Go back to A Small Orange and click on the “Support and Account Center” link in the top right corner of their home page.

Homegrown_Website_Hosting___Fast__Reliable_Web_Hosting 2

Unless you skipped the previous step, click on the blue button on the right side that says, “Secure Customer Login.”

After you’ve gotten logged in, click the button that says, “Your Services – Manage your hosting packages.”

Customer_Area_-_A_Small_Orange

I’ve edited out the number next to mine, but yours (if you’re a new customer) will probably say 1 out of 1. After you click that link, you’ll see an Excel-like table with information about your products.

Customer_Area_-_A_Small_Orange 2

Once you’re on this page, go ahead click the button that says, “View Details.” Our goal is to get in cPanel at the bottom, but don’t click on that just yet. Unless you have a special precognition, you don’t know the access code to that yet. Go up to that navigation bar where it says, “Information, Change Password, Addons, and Management Actions” and click the link that says, “Change Password.” It will automagically generate a cPanel username for you. But you’ll get to enter a new, secure password to log in to your account. After you’ve made your password, go back to the “Information” link and click that “Login to cPanel” button!

Customer_Area_-_A_Small_Orange 3

Once you’ve logged in to there, you’re inside cPanel! There are two options to how your next screen might appear. This:

cPanel_X_-_Main

or this:

cPanel_-_Main

The x3 skin (the first one is kinda ugly and little bit harder to navigate, so if you’re taken to that screen, hit that drop down box that says, “Switch Theme” and click on the “Paper Lantern” theme. Is that better? Good. Once you’re there, scroll down to the very bottom until you see the list of apps that you can install at the very bottom. What do we want? WordPress, that’s what we want. So click that. That will redirect you to a different control panel that tells you all about WordPress. Click the blue “Install” button to get WordPress on your website.Softaculous_-_Softaculous_-_WordPress

Let’s go over the stuff on this page:

Wordpress_Install

Software Setup

Choose protocol: unless you’ve purchased SSL (security) for your website, leave this at “http://”

Choose domain: there should only be one, unless you’ve purchased others. Just double-check to make sure you’ve got the right one selected.

In Directory: let’s say you’re making a website that has an entirely separate blogging platform. If you’re installing WordPress to be accessed at a different part of your website, you might put it as, “blog” and that will allow you to access your site at “www.yourwebsite/blog” just as an example. If you want people to type, “yoursite.com” and immediately go to WordPress, leave this section blank. For my website, my blog isn’t my home page, but I created my home page with WordPress. So I just left this directory box blank.

Database name: you’re probably not going to be too worried about this one, unless you’re getting into WordPress development or if you’re doing complicated things. I usually label the database as “wpdb” for “WordPress Database,” but you can just leave it as “wp#” (the numbers it assigns as its default settings).

Under Database Settings:

Table Prefix: just leave this as “wp_”

Under Site Settings:

Site Name: You’ll put the name of your site, here

Site Description: Your tagline will go here. This will be the default tagline that shows up in search engines, so make sure you make it catchy, memorable, and descriptive

Enable Multisite (WPMU): leave this box unchecked

Under Admin Account:

Admin Username: This probably won’t be the username you’ll be posting under; it’ll be your administrator account for the WordPress site itself.

Admin Password: Make sure this is a strong, secure, and un-guessable password. You wouldn’t want some uncouth person breaking into your website!

Admin Email: Your WordPress account will be tied to this email. You may only have one WordPress user account per email address, so just keep that in mind!

 Don’t bother with the other advanced settings—just scroll down, and hit the install button! Give it a few minutes to install all the files, and eventually it will give a “Congratulations!” message. It’ll tell you the URL where this install of WordPress goes, and it’ll also give you your Admin URL. By default, you can log-in to a WordPress blog by going to the domain name then adding “/wp-admin.” For example, if Google was run by WordPress, you could log-in by going to google.com/wp-admin. So go ahead and log in to your brand new WordPress installation! Type in your log in credentials, and you’ll see your WordPress Dashboard.

You’re in, now have fun!

Hey, if you appreciated, used, or even started your very own WordPress blog because of this tutorial, you can totally pay it forward:

  1. Share this resource with others (or if you’re using the ebook, direct them where they can sign up to get it!) and share the love!
  2. Sign up for A Small Orange through my affiliate link. I’ll get a commission from it, with which I shall use to buy coffee to fuel my brain to make more of these tutorials!
  3. Go ahead and subscribe to my email list by going to the sidebar or the link underneath this post to make sure you’ll be getting up-to-the-minute resources and reviews from me, so that you can keep on learning!

Thanks so much. If you want, Tweet me or send me an email telling me about your new blogging experience!

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