Ever consider authoring a new blog? A new blog can serve as an outlet for your creativity and productivity. Plus, you can add functionality with plug-ins later on like video, advertising and monetization. For example, I set up this blog to supplement instruction in the two courses that I teach with Writer’s Digest University: “Writing Online Content” and “Advanced Blogging.”
In case you’re interested in how I set up this blog, I’ll give you a step-by-step breakdown.
- I purchased a domain with GoDaddy (www.writingforthepublic) and linked it to my already existing GoDaddy (Deluxe) webhosting account. In order to access WordPress themes and plug-ins, you must host your own domain. In other words, don’t go with www.WordPress.com and instead work with www.WordPress.org. There are various domain hosting options available–the cheapest being piggybacking your WordPress blog on an already existing hosting account that is capable of hosting multiple URLs.
- I went to www.ThemeForest.com and purchased a theme titled “X Theme” for about $60. Because your theme is a one-time purchase, you may as well get a premium one. I downloaded X Theme as a zip file.
- Using FTP in my GoDaddy web hosting account, I downloaded and extracted X Theme.
- I customized X Theme and added Google Analytics. Of note, X Theme has a function where you can quickly add code to the your blog. (If you hate code, X Theme is a good choice.)
- I added posts.
- I downloaded a free plugin in order to provide RSS feeds on each of my categories. Another useful plugin is one that enables Google Analtyics and shows results on your dashboard.
Here are some trouble-shooting pointers which may help you:
- Plug-ins can mess with your site’s functionality and a are a chief culprit when something goes “wrong.” For example, if you password protect your site, then the plug-in will kill your RSS feeds. You need to deactivate the plug-in in order to get your RSS feeds back.
- When adding functionality to your WordPress blog always remember to change the settings in your theme. For example, you must add categories in both WordPress and X Theme.
- Before freaking out, check the options on your theme. Most of the time, a premium theme will make things simpler like adding code.
When in doubt, think through a problem. Remember that WordPress is based on code, and code is logical. If you think through a problem logically, you can often realize the answer. For example, if you want to reorder the posts on your blog, just change the publication dates. (If you change publications dates in this manner, I suggest typing the original publication dates in the prose of your blog posting for the sake of journalistic transparency.) Remember that whenever you’re stumped, it’s a good idea to restart whatever you were working on and search YouTube videos and user forums for help.