Here’s the situation – you went out on a limb, started a blog, have ideas swirling left and right, and now it’s time actually setup the blog. And then this happens… confusion, long hours of trial and error, mistakes upon mistakes, and then the feeling of total defeat.
Can you tell I’ve been there and done that?
To save you from all of that bullshit above, below is a step-by-step tutorial to help set up your blog. If you’re at this point in the blog journey, then the below steps should be completed:
- Domain name/hosting service purchased.
- WordPress account created.
- Theme purchased and uploaded to WordPress account.
- The blog’s direction, passion, and purpose have been brainstormed and decided.
If you haven’t done the above steps and are like what the hell is she talking about, don’t fret, I got you. Below are the two articles you need to read/do and then get your blogging booty back here.
I’m going to be honest, this part of the process is lengthy, tedious, and sometimes downright annoying. It could require a day (if you’re a blog superhuman), a week, or even a month – life is hectic, don’t rush the journey, but do put consistent effort towards it. Once you work through this step-by-step tutorial, your blog will be organized, presentable, and ready to be seen. How exciting is that – eeeeek (don’t mind that weird noise of mine)!
So let’s get to it to my badass blogger babes! Grab a cup of coffee, throw on your most comfortable yoga leggings, have a pen and paper nearby, and then settle in for the journey.
Enjoy – xoxo.
Journey Junkie Happenings:
I put this one first for a good reason, a very good reason.
By identifying your featured categories (what’s displayed in the menu bar), you create a direction for your writing, your blog’s overall theme, and what the reader will grow to love and expect. The categories of a blog or website, define the passion, the meat, the oomph of a site – are you following me here?
If you’ve never considered your site’s categories, no need to panic. Instead, take some time and brainstorm your blog. I want you to spend a few hours honing in on your passion, what you love to talk, write, and do on a consistent basis, basically whatever you won’t tire of.
For me, that won’t tired of, is yoga/travel/life inspirations. This is clearly identified in the site menu bar.
So again – start here, spend however long is needed, bounce ideas off a friend, and then set your categories!
*For each setup step, I’ll refer to different sections that can be found on the left-hand side of the WordPress user interface. It’s usually a black sidebar where all of the site’s settings exists.
- Under the post section, find the categories option – click here.
- Enter each category name, decide if it will have a parent category (i.e. – yoga is the parent, yoga tutorial is the child), and a description if you fancy that, and then click add.
- This is the page where categories are managed – add, delete, edit, etc.
2. PAGE SETUP
Pages on your blog/site consist of the staples and are necessary for people to take you seriously. They’re kinda a pain in the ass to write, but once written, they don’t need to be touched. Unless of course you’re making changes, updating, beautifying… you get the point.
Pages to write, publish, and display –
- About Me – this one’s a biggie, make it count! For a killer tutorial, read this post here.
- Contact Me – another biggie for readers and brand collaborations. Make this page clear, concise, and informational.
- Important pages that you want permanently displayed, like mine – Yoga Teacher Training 101 and How to Start a Blog.
3. Blog Post Settings
Next on the list – define how your blog posts will read and display on both the homepage and within the blog post. Locate the Settings section on the left-hand toolbar, here you’ll notice many different options. I’ll briefly touch on what each one entails.
- General – site name, tagline, e-mail address contact, date format, time zone, and site language.
- Writing – formatting, blog post type, default category, and posts via e-mail.
- Reading – homepage options (either latest posts or a static page here), how many posts show on one page, how many show in syndication, whether to display a summary or full-text, search engine permissions, and related posts function.
- Discussion – relates to links, comments, and e-mails for other sites, comments, and personal notifications.
- Media – size parameters for photos and uploading features.
- Permalinks – how you the URL of each page and post displays.
- Sharing – social media sharing, display appearance, linked and linked accounts.
4. PAGE LAYOUT
The page layout will be located in different places depending on the blog theme. For Genesis themes, it’s located under theme settings. Regardless, this is where the layout of each page is decided.
Page layout options include:
- Full-width page with no sidebars.
- Two sidebars on either side.
- One sidebar either on the left or right side.
- Two sidebars, side-by-side, either on the left or right.
There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to page layout. Browse other sites you love, take note of their layouts, then decide what works best for you.
5. MENU SETUP
Okay – you’re making serious strides here, I totally understand if you need a quick yoga session break, some more coffee, or maybe you’re onto wine at this point (whatever gets the job done).
Let’s keep at it, shall we?
With your blog post categories defined/created and your pages setup/written – you’re now ready to create the menu bar. Under the appearance section, locate the menu section – click there and then follow my lead:
- Either edit or create a new menu for the homepage of the site. I chose to create a new one and title it – Allie’s Menu.
- Most themes support two menu locations, mine can be seen at the top of the site and in the footer. Under manage locations, designate which menu will be assigned to what location. It can be the same menu for both, or create a separate menus. Again – check out other sites for inspiration/direction.
6. MENU SETUP CONTD.
(pages + categories)
Just to further break it down and make life easy peasy for ya, let’s dive deeper into the menu setup.
To add pages and/or categories, select which ones will be included and then add to the menu. If a category is a parent (like yoga), then it will be first, then sub-categories (like yoga tutorials) will fall underneath and slightly to the right. This indicates that it’s a sub-section of the main category.
Easy peasy, right?
7. HEADER/LOGO SETUP
We’re getting so close, I promise!
The header section is your prime real estate, it’s the space on your site that everyone sees first – use it wisely.
- Site title + tagline – this is the most basic option with straightforward text acting as a header.
- A logo – the most common.
- A logo + an image = a header image. This is what I have on the site, it’s my preference for any eye-catching design.
The logo/header image can be centered or left/right justified. A lot of times, the theme dictates where it’s placed.
8. PLUGIN SETUP
If you’re new to this world, I imagine the word plugin causes a WTF thought/face. It’s totally normal, because who would know what a plugin is… it’s a weird word.
The best way to describe a plugin is to compare it with an app for your smart phone. There’s a million of them, some are free, some cost money, some are amazing, and others suck. Whatever the case – a plugin’s purpose is to enhance the site through multiple ways.
- Protection/safety from hackers, malware, site crashing, etc.
- Social media sharing.
- Site speed.
- E-mail newsletters.
- Ad management.
- Site statistics.
Once you decide upon the necessary plugins needed, simply search, install, and activate it.
9. Widget Setup
After the above plugins are activated, now it’s time to set up your widget areas. Another weird word, I know!
Widgets can either be plugins or theme functions that are displayed in different areas of the sites.
Common widget areas include:
- The sidebar(s)
- The header
- The footer
*Keep in mind, every theme design is different. My theme functions almost entirely off widgets, it’s not a bad or good thing, just something to note.
10. PUBLISH/SCHEDULE POSTS
Last step and as expected, an important one!
I recommend preparing 5 – 10 blog posts if just launching your blog. This will require a lot of effort and time, but the end result is a trustworthy blog that showcases a few different topics for readers to explore. The last thing you want is a beautiful site that required hours of setup and then no content to keep readers around.
Made that mistake already for the both of us!
Once you have the post written, formatted and fully loaded – then schedule it to publish. When preparing a post, you’ll notice the option to publish or schedule a post on the right hand side, this is how you can easily organize your posts. This is also where posts can be made private, public, or sent back to drafts.
Congrats – you made it!
If you haven’t already gulped down a glass of wine, now is the time to celebrate and do so. Or maybe even two, if you’re feeling extra celebratory.
I hope this blog tutorial answered your questions, frustrations, or straight up confused as hell moments. As always – questions, comments, suggestions, or general blog love – please leave it down below!
Until next time – xoxo.