4 Easy Steps to Start a Personal Blog with Wordpress

AUG 18 2008

How do I start my blog? This question was asked by my friend before couple of days, he also added this "don’t tell me various things that are associated with blogging but just describe in few steps how I get in to my first post without doing any major mistake".

Well, it is very tough to comprehend and sink a range of things associated with blogging to one small article with few steps only. Somehow I figured out you have to follow at least these 4 steps to start your blog with wordpress.

1. Buying a top-level Domain
You need your own domain so I will suggest selecting your name as your domain with “com” as TLD. Remember we are talking here about personal blog so try to pick a domain name that is related to your name not optimized for any other keyword. If you find that is already registered by someone else then try “org” or shuffle your first and last name to finalize one.

You can buy your domain name from Yahoo Small Business, this will cost you $2 for first year and $34.99 from second year. What you can do is change your registrar after 50 days of purchase to cheapdomains.com which charges $6.95 for .com domain per year.

2. Finding a Suitable Shared Hosting Package for your Blog
There are few companies who provide free hosting but they restrict on many features such as storage space, database, traffic, bandwidth etc. Best is to go for a company who doesn’t charge much and good at service. I use ixwebhosting.com for my blog, they are really cheap on bulk domain packages, that also goes low as $1 per month, if you have few friends to start all together or you have the ability to resell the rest domains then buy one 8 domain package from them. I leave this up to you to research and find one because it is very competitive market and companies in top 10 list keeps on changing every month. You just need to remember that you need a linux server, mysql database and a dedicated IP to setup your blog.

3. Wordpress Installation Steps
Wordpress is the most popular open source software used widely for blogging. Download the latest version of wordpress, and follow these steps to install it.

  • Go to your shared web hosting server’s control panel and setup a mysql database. Note the database name, user, password and database server name which you are going to use in the next step.
  • Unzip your wordpress file and open the folder to locate wp-config-sample.php, open this file with wordpad or notepad, change line no 3,4,5,6 with the information you noted in the previous step. Save this file as wp-config.php.
  • Upload all your files to the root folder of your website using ftp connection.
  • Now type in domain.com/wp-admin/install.php in your web browser, this will setup your database. Fill out the information to install wordpress, if this fails for some reason then crosscheck wp-config.php and make sure you have the correct information there. If you still can’t get into it then look for help in wordpress forum.
  • On success it will print out your user id as admin and some password. Note the password before you move to the next step.
  • Then it will guide you to login page, use your user id as admin and the given password to login. Before we talk on something else please change your password clicking on “admin”.

4. Configuring and Optimizing your Blog
We are almost done and ready to go in couple of minutes. Are you excited to see your blog live in couple of minutes from now?

  • Configuring Header: Go to – Design > Theme Editor > Header (header.php)
    1. Replace: <title><?php bloginfo(’name’); ?> <?php if ( is_single() ) { ?> » Blog Archive <?php } ?> <?php wp_title(); ?></title>
    <title><?php wp_title(’ ‘); ?></title>
    2. Insert next to above line: <meta name=”keywords” content=”<?php
    wp_title(’ ‘); ?>”>
    3. Replace: scroll down to find - <h1><a href=”<?php echo get_option(’home’); ?>/”><?php bloginfo(’name’); ?></a></h1>
    <div id=”header_new_image”><a style=”color:white;” href=”<?php echo get_option(’home’); ?>/”><?php bloginfo(’name’); ?></a></div>
    4. Click “Update File”
  • Configure Footer: Go to – Design > Theme Editor > Footer (footer.php)
    1. Replace: Select all text and replace by –
    <hr />
    <div id=”footer”><p> Copyright © 2008 domain.com all rights reserved.</p></div>
    2. Click “Update File”
  • Configure Page Template:
    1. Replace: <h2><?php the_title(); ?></h2>
    <h1 class=“new_h1”><?php the_title(); ?></h1>
    2. Click “Update File”
  • Configuring Search: (optional)
    1. Remove: <label class=”hidden” for=”s”><?php _e(’Search for:’); ?></label>
    2. Click “Update File”
  • Configure Main Index Template (index.php):
    1. Remove: <?php get_header(); ?>
    2. Copy all the text from “Header” (header.php) and paste it right where you deleted in the previous step.
    3. Edit: <meta name=“keywords” content=“write some website related keywords”>
    4. Add:
    <meta name=“description” content=“write something about your website in 80-100 words.”>
    5. Click “Update File”.
  • Configuring Sidebar:
    1. Remove:
    <p>You are currently browsing the archives for the <?php single_cat_title(”); ?> category.</p>
    2. Remove:
    <ul><?php wp_get_archives(’type=monthly’); ?></ul>
    3. Remove:
    <?php wp_register(); ?>
    <li><?php wp_loginout(); ?></li>
    <li><a href=”http://validator.w3.org/check/referer” title=”This page validates as XHTML 1.0 Transitional”>Valid <abbr title=”eXtensible HyperText Markup Language”>XHTML</abbr></a></li>
    <li><a href=”http://gmpg.org/xfn/”><abbr title=”XHTML Friends Network”>XFN</abbr></a></li>
    <li><a href=”http://wordpress.org/” title=”Powered by WordPress, state-of-the-art semantic personal publishing platform.”>WordPress</a></li>
    <?php wp_meta(); ?>
    4. Click “Update File”
  • Configure Single Post (single.php):
    1. Change: <div id=”content” class=”widecolumn”>
    <div id=”content” class=”narrowcolumn”>
    2. Change:
    <h2><?php the_title(); ?></h2>
    <h1 class=”new_h1″><?php the_title(); ?></h1>
    3. Remove:
    <p class=”postmetadata alt”>
    This entry was posted
    <?php /* This is commented, because it requires a little adjusting sometimes.
    You’ll need to download this plugin, and follow the instructions:
    http://binarybonsai.com/archives/2004/08/17/time-since-plugin/ */
    /* $entry_datetime = abs(strtotime($post->post_date) - (60*120)); echo time_since($entry_datetime); echo ‘ ago’; */ ?>
    on <?php the_time(’l, F jS, Y’) ?> at <?php the_time() ?>
    and is filed under <?php the_category(’, ‘) ?>.
    You can follow any responses to this entry through the <?php post_comments_feed_link(’RSS 2.0′); ?> feed.<?php if ((’open’ == $post-> comment_status) && (’open’ == $post->ping_status)) {
    // Both Comments and Pings are open ?>
    You can <a href=”#respond”>leave a response</a>, or <a href=”<?php trackback_url(); ?>” rel=”trackback”>trackback</a> from your own site.<?php } elseif (!(’open’ == $post-> comment_status) && (’open’ == $post->ping_status)) {
    // Only Pings are Open ?>
    Responses are currently closed, but you can <a href=”<?php trackback_url(); ?> ” rel=”trackback”>trackback</a> from your own site.<?php } elseif ((’open’ == $post-> comment_status) && !(’open’ == $post->ping_status)) {
    // Comments are open, Pings are not ?>
    You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.<?php } elseif (!(’open’ == $post-> comment_status) && !(’open’ == $post->ping_status)) {
    // Neither Comments, nor Pings are open ?>
    Both comments and pings are currently closed. <?php } edit_post_link(’Edit this entry’,”,’.'); ?> </small>
    4. Replace: Grab the given code from the top of the page and paste right here where you deleted stuffs in above step.
    <div class=”navigation”>
    <div class=”alignleft”><?php previous_post_link(’« %link’) ?></div>
    <div class=”alignright”><?php next_post_link(’%link »’) ?></div>
    5. Add: <?php get_sidebar(); ?> (right before this code <?php get_footer(); ?>)
    6. Click “Update File”
  • Configure Archives (arvhieve.php):
    1. Replace:
    <h2 class=”pagetitle”>Archive for the ‘<?php single_cat_title(); ?>’ Category</h2>
    <?php /* If this is a tag archive */ } elseif( is_tag() ) { ?>
    <h2 class=”pagetitle”>Posts Tagged ‘<?php single_tag_title(); ?>’</h2>
    <h1 class=”new_h1″><?php single_cat_title(); ?></h1>
    <?php /* If this is a tag archive */ } elseif( is_tag() ) { ?>
    <h1 class=”new_h1″><?php single_tag_title(); ?></h1>
    2. Click “Update File”
  • Configure Stylesheet (style.css):
    1. Change:
    h1, h1 a, h1 a:hover, h1 a:visited, #headerimg .description {
    text-decoration: none;
    color: white;
    h1, h1 a, h1 a:hover, h1 a:visited, #headerimg .description {
    text-decoration: none;
    color: #333;
    2. Change:
    .post {
    margin: 0 0 40px;
    .post {
    margin: -30px 0 40px;
    3. Change:
    .postmetadata {
    clear: both;
    .postmetadata {
    clear: left;
    4. Add:
    .new_h1 {
    color: blue;
    text-align: left;}
    5. Add:
    #header_new_image { font-size:40px; padding-top: 70px; margin: 0; text-align:center }
  • Configuring Settings > General:
    1. Change Tagline:
    “Just another WordPress weblog”
    “” or “Customized by You”
    2. Change Wordpress address and Blog address to:
    3. Change E-mail address.
    4. Click “Save Changes”
  • Configuring Settings > Writing:
    1. Change Mail Server:
    2. Change Login name: (creating an email: info@dmail.com)
    3. Change Password:
    4. Click “Save Changes”
  • Configuring Settings > Reading:
    1. Change For each article in a feed, show:
    Full Text
    2. Click “Save Changes”
  • Configuring Settings > Permalinks:
    1. Change Common Settings:
    Select Custom structure and write “/%postname%/”
  • Configure Manage > Categories:
    1. Edit: “Uncategorized” to “Others”
    2. Click “Edit Category” to save the changes
  • Configure Manage > Links:
    Delete all the links from the list.
  • Edit Manage > Pages > About:
    Edit this page, write something about yourself and save the changes.
  • Delete Manage > Posts > Hello world!:
    Delete this post and write a fresh post to come on your home page.
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