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It seems that almost everyone and their mom has a blog these days, so we decided to jump on the bandwagon and share our lives here on Kiku Corner. Blogging isn’t what it was like back in the old days, where bloggers would basically code everything themselves. These days, you can use sites like WordPress or Blogger to do most of that for you – you just focus on writing, photographing, cooking, crafting, traveling, or whatever else your blog is about.
So without further ado, here’s a detailed tutorial for how to start your own blog.
We signed up with WordPress.org because we wanted to take this Kiku Corner thing seriously, and we wanted to be able to put in ads eventually (wordpress.com is the free hosting service, but they do not allow ads). WordPress is such a well-used blogging service that also allows for great customization. Tomiko and I might eventually go for a custom-designed site, but we’re happy with the free layouts for now.
Part 1: Think Up a Domain Name and Choose a Hosting Service
Go to the Bluehost (affiliate link).
The cost varies, but right now it looks like it’s $3.95 per month, which is an amazing price. Click Get Started Now.
Choose your plan, which starts at $3.95 per month for a starter kit.
If you want to register your newly-invented domain name, enter it on the left. If you already have one registered elsewhere, enter it on the right. Since you can register a free domain name with every new account, it might be worth locking in one either way, depending on your needs. Click Next.
Here’s where they tell you about your free primary domain registration. Enter your account information and then choose your package details. They have options for selling you a lot of extra stuff. The only thing we chose was the Domain Privacy (whois) for less than $10 per year (this prevents your real name and mailing address from being publicly associated with your domain name).
We picked the 12 month price, currently at $3.95 per month, when we first started Kiku Corner. No need for a pro package just yet — you can upgrade your site at any time once you’ve grown your traffic. Right now we’re not even at 500 pageviews per day, so the starter package can still handle us for a while yet.
Once you fill out the page in step 4 and click Next that you will get some kind of login information for your Control Panel (cpanel).
You now have a domain name and a hosting service. Congratulations!
Part 2: How to Create Your WordPress Blog in 3 Easy Steps
Go to Bluehost and click Login in the top right corner. This will take you to something called your cpanel. Under the “Website Builders” category, choose WordPress.
Now you should be in the Mojo Marketplace. Click the Start button for a brand new install.
You will need to choose a location for your install — this will probably be the root of your new URL, so you would leave this unchanged. Click Check Domain.
For the last step, check Show Advanced Options and see what’s there – change this information if you like. Leave the Automatically Create a Database box checked. Check the terms and conditions box and click Install Now.
Bluehost will automatically install the whole WordPress system. In the meantime, you can click No thanks to their attempt at selling you a theme. Once this is complete, you will receive an e-mail from Mojo Marketplace letting you know that your new WordPress install is complete. You will also find the information to login to your new site in this e-mail.
Your WordPress blog is now up and running! You’ll see your site in the My Installs section. Check it out by going to the URL or login to the admin section of your site by clicking the green Admin Login button.
That will take you here to login. You are logging into the back-end of your WordPress site.
Part 3: Customizing Your WordPress Blog
Login to the WordPress admin section of your blog by entering the username and password you were given.
You will arrive at your WordPress Dashboard. This is the “back end” of your blog, where you go to do almost everything, including writing posts, adding photos, changing the look and feel, adding plugins, etc.
For added security, the first thing you’ll want to do is change your login by removing the Admin username (unless you already did this during the install):
- Choose Users -> Add New
- Invent a memorable new username and password for yourself
- Choose “Administrator” in the drop-down box at the bottom labeled “role”
- You should now have two Admin level users.
- Logout as “admin” and log in using your new username.
- Then, delete the old Admin account. Now you should only have one admin profile.
Since both Tomiko and I run this blog, we created a Meinhilde user and a Tomiko user, both with Admin level roles.
You may have noticed that your dashboard gave you a notice to sign up for a WordPress.com account. This is an account with the actual WordPress company, which is different from the accounts just created here on your own server.
You want to do this because it is required to enable an essential plugin called ‘Jetpack’ (which is valuable for site statistics as well as other plugins). So click Connect to WordPress.com and then register for an account there (we don’t why you need to sign up for a separate account for this, but that’s the way it is). Save the login information in a safe space.
Once you have an account, you can authorize Jetpack and you will see a new option under the left hand menu for Site Stats. Your site stats will start to display in a little while, although at first you will get a “Take ‘er easy, dude.” message.
Once you have your hosting set up and WordPress installed, you will need to install a WordPress theme. With the WordPress installation you’ll get a basic WordPress theme, but feel free to choose to install a different theme.
When choosing a WordPress theme, make sure it has as many features as you need and is the closest to the design you want. This way you won’t spend a lot of time customizing it.
There are a lot of WordPress themes available on the internet. We currently have the Sugar& Spice theme by WebTuts, which we customized with a polka dot background, our banner, chose the text colours, and generally made our blog Kiku Corner-esque. Have fun customizing your own blog to reflect your blog personality.