So you want to set up your own blog huh? Here’s my quick and easy guide to setting up your first blog. The aim of this article is not to provide instructions on how to setup a blog, but to give you an overview of the setup.
- Choose & Register a Domain Name. Choosing a domain name is a very important step to creating your first blog. Your domain name should be relevant to your content and preferably easy to remember. You can check your domain name availability and register it at Media Temple or any other registrar.
- Choose a CMS or blogging platform. There is a huge selection to choose from, but the most common are WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. There’s also a new system developing some chatter called Ghost, but it requires Node.js which isn’t very poplar on hosting providers. (I’ll be posting an article about Ghost shortly)
- Install your chosen system. I’m not going to provide any instructions here, but you should be able to get a working setup in under 30 minutes using any of the popular systems. If you chose WordPress, this step is famous for only taking 5 minutes.
- Skin your chosen system. Every system has a wide range of themes to choose from, make your site your own with a custom theme. Before you get the change to call me a hypocrite, you’re right I am using the default WordPress theme from 2013. Warning: not all free themes are safe so I recommend you read the reviews and download from reputable sources.
- Make your posts links make sense. Check what your permalink structure looks like, WordPress used to default to just the post id, but that doesn’t make much sense to us humans, and clear URLs are good for SEO. I recommend the following structure
- Check for a Sitemap. Check to see if your system generates sitemaps by visiting domain.com/sitemap.xml (replace domain.com with your domain name), if you receive a 404 not found error, you’ll probably have to install a plugin or change a setting. For WordPress I recommend the Google XML Sitemaps plugin.
- Install Tacking Software. Will a million people visit your site in the first month? Probably not, but you won’t know unless you install some tracking software. The most popular is Google Analytics, but there are several other free and paid alternatives. Whichever solution you choose, it’s normally a good idea to exclude yourself from the visits. If you’ve installed a plugin, there should be an option to exclude logged in users.
- Submit your site to Google. If you want Google to crawl your website, you’ll want to submit your domain name (web address ex: http://grahamwalters.me) to Google. Here is a link to a form where you can submit your site to Google’s database. Your site will be crawled within 48 hours, and will begin to show up in search results. You can also set up a Google Webmaster Tools account, which will allow you to track your website crawls.
- Start creating content! Not much more to say about this other than enjoy what you’re doing and chances are people will enjoy your content.
I hope this article was helpful, and if you need any help setting up your blog feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to respond by the end of the day.