Many of my clients have asked for a WordPress checklist. It makes creating a blog so much more efficient if you have a list made of all the things to successfully launch a WordPress blog. The customization section is where the real things start to happen. Things like permalinks, categories, plugins and doing this all with SEO in mind.
So here is the list. Start checking items off your list!
1. Register a Domain Name
Do this step first, as you’ll need to enter your domain name when you set up your hosting account.
I use 1and1.com to locate available domain names and over the past 10 years they have given exceptional service and kept my domain registration secure. You always want to set up your hosting separately from your domain.
The main reason I advocate for keeping your domain name(s) separate from web hosting is because things are far more likely to go wrong with your web hosting before your domain name. Domain registrars are at least partially regulated, by ICANN. . Domain registrars serve one purpose: managing a domain name for a small fee.
Web hosts have full control of what your website can do. Almost all of them have restrictions in their terms of service (especially shared hosting) which limit what you can and can’t do. If they have your domain name too, you can’t simply change web hosts in the event of a problem or dispute. Your domain can be held hostage or as a bargaining chip to make sure you renew or pay them.
There is potentially a secondary problem with a web host registering a domain name for you. The ownership of the domain name comes into question. Do they register it in your name making you the legal owner or their company’s name, making them the de facto owner.
So to summarize. domain name registration with one company web hosting on an other.
2. Set up your Hosting Account
I use HostGator to host my WordPress blogs because they make it easy to install, and they have great online & phone support. They are also very inexpensive at less than $10/month for unlimited domains, sites and/or blogs on that one account.
click on the image above, and use the coupon code “wordpresschecklist”. That will give you the first month free (or, for a penny – which is about as close to free as you can get).
3. Update Nameservers
Check your email for the account details for your new hosting account. Inside this email you’ll find 2 nameservers. Keep the email open and go back to1and1.com. Log in to your account, find your new domain name, and edit the nameservers to the two shown in your HostGator email. Contact me if you need help.
It can take up to 72 hours for your domain name to point to your new hosting account, so you want to do these steps right away.
4. Install WordPress
You don’t have to download WordPress and then try to manually install it yourself – that’s doing things the hard way. Instead, go back to your HostGator welcome message and find the link to your control panel. You will have to use the temporary IP Address link since your domain hasn’t propagated yet. Log in to your control panel with the username and password in that same email.
Once you log in, scroll down and look for the Quickinstall button. It’s towards the bottom, under Software/Services. Under the navigation on the left, choose WordPress and follow the instructions to install your WordPress blog.
5. Choose a WordPress Theme
While you’re waiting for the domain to propagate, do a search for “free wordpress themes”. Pick one (or pick a few) and download the zip files. Do not Unzip or extract the files.
Your wordpress install comes with a free theme which is exceptionally functional. Has all the bells and whistles that you will need..just need to activate it.
6. Still Waiting?
At this point you are probably still waiting for your domain name to propagate (meaning the nameserver update hasn’t taken effect yet so you still can’t see your new WordPress blog when you type your domain name into a browser).
There isn’t much you can do at this point since most of your links – including your WordPress admin login – depend on the domain name. So while you are waiting, decide what your first few blog posts will be about.
Write a few blog posts, based on the keyword phrases you selected. It’s a great starting point because you know people are searching those phrases, and are specifically interested in those topics.
7. WordPress Customization
Once your domain is working, you’ll be able to log in to the WordPress dashboard. Just go to yourdomain/wp-admin/ in a browser, and put in the username and password you chose when you installed WordPress on your hosting account.
Now that you’re logged in – Welcome to WordPress!! – follow these steps:
– activate your new theme (under appearance > themes)
– change permalink structure –help
– edit/delete the default post (Hello World) and delete the test comment
– fill out About Me page About page is one of the most important pillars of your blog.Often I’ll visit blogs and want to know more information about the author – either so I can contact them, or quote them in a reference – and have zero luck finding anything at all.
Can you answer this one basic question: Who are you?
Ideally you have a photo and a basic introduction to “who you are and what you do”.. you should have a visible hyperlink to an About Me page.
Remember to tell viewer how you can help them not give a long list of all your credentials.
– edit/add categories
Now you’re all set and ready to blog! 😀
If you need more instruction you can purchase a set of 23 videos explaining in depth how to install and customize your new wordpress site. go here