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WordPress Quick Start Guide

free wordpress setup

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Ok, so you’ve got your blog now, or considering starting a blog. My goal in this WordPress Editors Guide is to help you get started, and to realize that “Every accomplishment in life begins with the decision to try”. I love blogging, I recommend it for anyone building their personal brand, and I simply want you to embrace the fact that blogging isn’t difficult at all if you have some good direction or training. So let’s get started with our WordPress Quick Start Guide

The first thing you want to do is log in, and get familiar with the WordPress Dashboard! Follow the link below to download the WordPress Editors Guide and learn all about your WordPress Admin Dashboard:
Download the WordPress Editors Guide

WordPress Step 2 -Keyword Research & Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Before your start blogging, you should make sure people can find you on the major search engines, such as Google and Bing.  To do this, you need to pick your “keywords” (the words people will use to find you), and optimize your blog for these keywords.

To start off, visit the Google Keyword Tool. Where it asks for your Word or Phrase, enter a line of keywords you want to optimize your site for.  After entering your chosen keyphrase, there are two things you want to look out for:Make sure your keyword or phrase actually gets searched for. Great SEO won’t help you if you’re optimized for keywords no one uses!

Make sure your keyword or phrase doesn’t have too high of Competition. Competition is good – if other people are competing for the keyword, that means it’s valuable and people actually search it. However, if the competition bar is full, it’s way too hard to optimize your site for the keyphrase, and you’ll probably lose out to people who have bigger budgets than you. Consider targeting more localized keywords or statewide to compete in a competitive niche.

A good rule of thumb is to choose a keyphrase with less than 75% competition, and at least 6,000 searches per month – however, these numbers may differ drastically according to the size of your market, and the competition within it.

After choosing your keyword, login to your blog and download a SEO plugin such as All-in-One, Yoast, or Platinum SEO to target your keywords more effectively. I also highly recommend SEOPressor to assist you with SEO, save you a ton of time, and shorten your SEO Learning curve.

Use your Keyphrase in your Home Title, Home Description, and Home Keywords to optimize your blog for your keyphrase.

After following these steps, your site will be search engine optimized similarly to the example below, and you’ll be ready to move on to the next step!

WordPress Setup – Step 3 Link Up Your Social Media Accounts

wordpress set up guideNow that your blog is ready for search traffic, it’s time to connect your blog to your social profiles, and get ready to build an engaged community around your website! I recommend Tribepro and Onlywire as a combination to automate your submissions, but Ping.fm is also a good free way to assist you with this component.

Make sure to add the Ultimate Follow Me plugin or some Social Media contact plugin that will allow your visitors to connect with you on social media, or email you directly for information. I also like the Contactme.com plugin for even better email response, and to help build your email list.

WordPress Setup Step 4 – Writing Your First Post

Awesome! You’ve finished the initial configuration of your blog, now it’s time to begin posting content to you blog! Start by navigating to Posts->Add New on the left-hand menu of your blog. You will land on the Post Editor. Here you can enter the title of your new post, edit the content of your post with a simple editor (just as easy as using Microsoft Word!), assign categories to your post (You will add Categories depending on the topics you write on), and even modify the layout of your blog for the specific post if your theme is customizable. Plus, you can do Keyword Research and Search Engine Optimize each post for specific keywords, just like you did for your blog when you first set it up.

This way you can add many articles, covering a broad range of topics, and optimize each article individually, in order to get discovered on search engines as much as possible. Try to keep average posts around 300-800 words (they can be shorter or longer) and after you’re done writing your first post click on “Publish”, and your post will be ready to share with the world.

WordPress Set Up Step 5 – Update Pages

Now that you’ve written your first post, it’s time to set up your Pages. Pages are just like Posts in the way you add and edit them, however there is a difference between the two.

Posts are dynamic pieces of content that you regularly post to your website, for example a post may be a daily, weekly, or monthly update for your readers – or a How-To article, or even an announcement of an upcoming sale.

Pages, on the other hand, are more static pieces of content – you create them once, edit them rarely, and they’re always visible to your readers. A great way to think of it is by considering the example of an “About Me” (or “About Our Company” page). You don’t want to write a new “About Me” page every day, and you probably won’t update it very often. Your pages should represent detailed information on what you “do” or what you stand for as a brand. I help people make money online or offline, and help with blogging tips and tools so my pages represent my best offerings or tools to do so if that makes sense.

On the left-hand menu of your blog, navigate to Pages->Pages. You may have a contact page, a home page, or about page.

The first thing I would recommend is to set up your “About Me” (or “About Your Company”) Page. Click on Pages->Add New, on the left-hand menu again, and you’ll see a page nearly identical to the “Add New Post” page.

Using the same editor as you used for your first post, go ahead and put together a page about yourself or your company. When you’re all done, click “Publish”, and your new Page will appear on the top menu when others read your blog:

WordPress Setup Step 6 – Change Theme or Design

Want to change the appearance of your website? With WordPress, it’s really easy to do so. No more dishing out thousands of dollars to web developers just to get a design you’re happy with! On the left-hand menu, navigate to Appearance->Themes. On the right-hand side you can browse through pages of all the themes you have installed, and click “Preview” under any of them to see how your blog will look. When you’ve found a theme you like, simply click “Activate”, and your website will be re-designed instantly – no cost, and no wait!

If you’re not loving any of the themes you have installed don’t sweat it. There are thousands of themes available. Here are some of My Favorite WordPress Themes you might like. Once you have searched for and found a theme you like. At the top of the screen, click on the “Install Themes” tab, choose the colors and format of the theme you like, and let WordPress automatically search through their database of hundreds of thousands of themes – taking the hassle out of designing a website you love. You can instantly install any WordPress theme to your blog, and change your whole design in just seconds.

WordPress Setup Step 7 – Add Plugins

Once your in the swing of blogging, you may find that there are more features you want to add on – for example, a plugin to make your posts printer-friendly, or an MLS search utility if you’re in Real Estate or a shopping cart plugin if you want an e-commerce site. While some plugins don’t yet exist, and you may want check out Fiverr or E-lance to hire a developer for custom work, the great part about WordPress is that most of the design work has already been done, and most developers are willing to share their plugins for free.

You will also want to now configure some of the more popular plugins to allow your readers to share your content. Follow the link to find my Top 10 WordPress Plugins. Add these plugins and you are on your way to building an attractive, SEO ready blog for your readers, and potential prospects.

Navigate to Plugins->Add New on the left-hand side of your blog, and search for the feature you’re looking for. More often than not, you’ll instantly find the solution you’re looking for, and Plugins allow you to instantly add the functionality you’re looking for to your blog.

Enter keywords for the functionality you’re looking for, find a plugin that fits your needs (and has a high rating), click “Install Now” for that plugin, and your blog will be updated instantly.

WordPress Setup Step 8 – Customize With Widgets

Last but not least, let’s talk about Widgets. Widgets are included with some plugins and themes, and essentially what they are is drag-and-drop elements that you can move around your blog.

For example, when we discussed the “Ultimate Follow Me” section earlier in the guide, you were actually using a widget which you can drag to different locations on your blog.

Navigate to Appearance->Widgets on the left-hand menu to configure your widgets.
With most themes you can modify almost any part of the blog with a drag and drop of your mouse using Widgets. Let’s talk about that for a moment.

On the right side of the Widgets page is a list of your available Sidebars – these change according to which theme you’re using.

Typically, the Primary Sidebar refers to the main sidebar that goes alongside every page and post on your blog. You can drag and drop any widgets to these sidebars to customize the behavior of your home page and side bar. You can drag any widget to any sidebar, and an assortment of other options to make your website the way you want it.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

We hope you enjoyed our guide… by now, you probably have some questions. A few sites to remember about WordPress are Youtube, WordPress.com and the Warriors Forum. You can get almost any question answered and there are many tutorials available for free. Also, if you work with me or are a customer that uses my tools or bought hosting, I do dig a little deeper to help you solve the problems you may have if you need help.

Recommended WordPress Resources

Need more advanced WordPress Training, online marketing tools, or a custom blog design? Check out my Blogging Tools page for my favorite tools and hosting companies, etc.

Have Feedback?

I wanted to give an outline for a blog so that a new blogger could visualize that blogging isn’t really that difficult. That being said, I know I may have missed something. Please let me know if I need to add or take away from what I have here, and if this was helpful leave a comment or share it with your community. Sharing is caring so thanks in advance! Make it a great day and start your blog today! Best of luck!