WordPress (www.wordpress.org) is recommended for your website and blogging software.
Seems like every web hosting company is now promoting their free “simple” drag-and-drop software. Sign up now and you can have your site up and running this evening. Uh huh. I’ve tried several. What I found was that, while some were, in fact, fairly easy to use, they were only appropriate if you wanted a very simple site, because they only allowed for a few pages with basic features. Additional pages and upgraded features were available for additional fees. So it no longer ended up being “free”.
Other software options I considered were expensive and required a lot of learning time.
I chose and recommend WordPress because it is 1) Free, 2) Feature-rich and 3) Popular. With the large and quickly growing volume of users (now more than 66 million), there are many features, “widgets”, tools, and ‘plug-ins” available to enhance your site at little or no cost. While it does require a little effort to learn, it’s fairly easy, and I believe the effort will pay off in the long-run.
The web hosts I recommend (and most others today) make it easy to install and use WordPress.
Note: WordPress has two versions and this can be confusing. One, www.wordpress.com is available free for personal blogs and websites and requires no additional web hosting fees. If you chose this, your site address will include wordpress.com, unless you pay an upgrade fee for a customized domain name. WordPress may also run ads that will be seen by visitors who are not logged in (unless you pay a “no ads” upgrade fee).
If you want to put up a commercial site or use a customized url, as most will, you will want the version from www.wordpress.org. You can sign up for a free account there, or just install it simply through your webhost.
- Go to your web hosting account cPanel. (http://yourdomain/cpanel). Look for WordPress or a “one-click” or quick install option. If you need help, follow your hosting company’s directions. For example, here, on BlueHost’s cPanel, you can install WordPress by clicking on either WordPress under Website Builders or OneClick Installs under Mojo Marketplace. Indicate the domain on which you wish to install WordPress.
- If you are on BlueHost’s Mojo Marketplace for your install, check “Advanced Options” and your screen will look like this. Enter your Site Name, a new Admin Username and complex Admin Password. (Be sure to record these someplace safe!). Be sure that the Admin Email Address you have entered is a working email. Agree to the terms and conditions and then install. Sign in to WordPress through WordPress on your host’s cPanel or at http://yourdomainname.com/wp-admin.
- Important: For security reasons, do not use the default “admin” as your Username. If you did not change the Administrator Username and Password already through “Advanced Options” or another means during the installation, you’ll want to create a new more complex Username for yourself in the “administrator” role.
- On the WordPress Dashboard, scroll down to find “Users” in the left-hand column. Click on that and then “Add New”. Enter your new Username, your email address and a strong password. Designate the role as Administrator.
- In order to delete the old default administrator, “admin”, you’ll have to log-in again using the new administrator Username and password. Follow directions very carefully when you do this, or you may inadvertently delete existing content if there is any. Go to Users/All Users. Both your new and default “admin” administrator Users should appear. Delete the old default admin” Username, following the directions precisely, checking “Attribute old posts to new account” so you don’t delete them. If you are unsure of how to do this, get some help with this step.
- Important: For security reasons, be sure to also create and use a Nickname different from your new Admin Username and change “Display Public” to that name. Do this under Users/Your Profile in the left-hand column.
- Carefully record all of your Usernames and passwords and store them someplace safe.
Setting Up Your Site
WordPress presents endless possibilities. As you explore WordPress, you’ll learn and make the decisions that are right for your particular site. You can find good detailed directions and help at www.wordpress.org/support.
Here, I’ll give you some quick general tips and suggestions to get started—ultimately, though, the choices are yours and you may always make changes as you discover more.
Here are the basic steps to follow to create your site. Take it one step at a time and be patient with yourself. If I can, you can…
- Familiarize Yourself With WordPress
- Customize WordPress Settings
- Add Pages or Posts
- Set up your Layout and Navigation
- Install a WordPress Theme if desired
- Add Basic features with Plugins
- Add Images
- Set up Search Engine Optimization
- Build Your List
- Explore Money-making Options
- Analyze Traffic
- Protect Your Site