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10 Steps to Start a Blog with WordPress.org

The Basic Steps to Get Started with the Self-Hosted Version of WordPress

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You've decided to start a blog using WordPress.org, but you're not sure what to do first.  That's a common problem, and it can be intimidating.  However, the process is actually very easy if you follow the basic steps listed below.

1. Get a Hosting Account.

Choose a Web hosting provider who will store your blog content and display it to visitors.  For beginners, basic hosting plans are typically adequate.  Try to find a blog host who offers two specific tools: a cpanel and Fantastico, which are two tools that make it extremely easy to upload WordPress and manage your blog.  Read the following articles for help in choosing a host:

2. Get a Domain Name.

Take some time to determine what domain name you want to use for your blog, and purchase it from your blog host or another domain registrar of your choice.  For help, read Choosing a Domain Name.

3. Upload WordPress to Your Hosting Account and Associate It with Your Domain Name.

Once your hosting account is active, you can upload WordPress to your account and associate it with your domain name.  If your host offers a tool like Fantastico, you can upload WordPress directly from your hosting account with a few simple clicks of your mouse and associate it to the appropriate domain name with a few more clicks.  Each host has slightly different steps to upload WordPress and associate it with the right domain in your account, so check your host's guidelines, tutorials and help tools for specific instructions for installation. If your host offers SimpleScripts one-click installation of WordPress, you can follow the instructions to install WordPress with SimpleScripts.

4. Install Your Theme.

If you want to use a theme that is not included in the default WordPress theme gallery, you need to upload it to your hosting account and blog.  You can do this through your WordPress dashboard by selecting Appearance--Add New Themes--Upload (or similar steps depending on the version of WordPress you're using).  You can also upload new themes through your hosting account if you prefer.  Read the following articles for help in choosing a theme for your blog:

5. Set up Your Blog's Sidebar, Footer and Header.

Once your theme is installed, it's time to work on your blog's sidebar, footer and header to ensure your blog's design is complete and the information you want to display on the side, top and bottom of your blog looks the way you want it to.  Depending on the theme you're using, you might be able to upload your header image directly through your WordPress dashboard.  If not, you can find the header file in your blog's files in your hosting account.  Just replace it with a new one that uses the image you want (use the same name as the original header image file -- usually header.jpg).  Read the following articles to learn more about blog headers, footers and sidebars.

6. Configure Your Settings.

Take a few minutes to check the various settings available through your WordPress dashboard and make any modifications that you want so your blog displays and works the way you want it to.  You can change settings related to your author profile, how posts are displayed, if your blog allows trackbacks and pings, and more. 

7. Make Sure Your Comment Moderation Settings are Set up Correctly.

Successful blogs include a lot of conversations through the comments feature.  Therefore, you need to configure your blog's comment moderation settings to fit your blogging goals.  Following are several articles that can help you as you set up your blog's discussion settings.

8. Create Your Pages and Links.

Once your blog looks and functions the way you want it to, you can start adding content.  The first thing you should do is create your home page and your "About Me" page as well as any policy pages you want to include to protect yourself from problems.  The following articles will help you create the basic pages and policies for your blog:

10. Install Key WordPress Plugins.

You can add to your blog's functionality and streamline processes with WordPress plugins.  Read the articles below to find the WordPress plugins you want to use on your blog.  If you're using Wordpress 2.7 or higher, you can install plugins directly through your WordPress dashboard!

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