The aim of this site is to provide tips on setting up a search engine optimized site/blog with the purpose of making money online. The information provided in this WordPress Tutorial is an overview of the basics involved with setting up a WordPress website, with jumping off point (links) to the important areas that will help you on your way.
Building With WordPress
WordPress is easy to implement and even a novice will have a site up and online without too much angst and without any knowledge of, or having to learn HTML.
There is a bit of a learning curve but it is not so steep and you will quickly get to know how to configure WordPress so that your site is very search engine friendly. You might want to delve into setting up a static website later on but for now and indeed maybe for all time, as it is for many people; building a WordPress website or a blog is a quick and easy way to get an online business started…
WordPress is free and so are many of the plugins, also there is a plethora of free themes to get you started, and importantly it is easy for your visitors to interact with you through your blog thus adding fresh content to your site that helps to keep your site fresh and interesting.
WordPress is adaptable. With a WordPress blog site you can collaborate with a friend or business partner without having to purchase additional software, this is particularly helpful for situations, business or otherwise, where more than one person needs access to the site. Also there are many WordPress plugins that will increase your site functionality.
Your first step will be to decide just what you want your blog for… The WordPress blogging platform is very compliant and would meet the requirements of many applications. Here are a few…
A WordPress Site for Personal Use
WordPress is great for …. Personal blogging, simple journal writing purely of a personal nature, such as keeping a diary of your journey through your life, or you might have a passion for a certain subject or hobby and want to keep an online journal about what you learn about your subject to pass on to others. You might have a yearning to write short stories or a book and the blogging format is ideal for this style of writing.
WordPress Site for Business Use
WordPress is also a good choice if you want to pursue a business model and earn money online. The WordPress system can be modified through the settings to fit this type of online presence very easily, making it look more like a static website and less like a personal blog.
WordPress will lend itself to earnings via advertising, forums, educational information sites, membership sites, internet marketing, etc… in fact there are many marketers using WordPress blogs for their online presence.
You can earn money by selling your own product now or in the future or it can be used for affiliate marketing, which is, selling other peoples products or you can sell space for advertising on your blog through AdSense – where you have a block of advertisements on your site and anyone clicking on those ads will bring you a small amount of money per click.
So before you actually build your WordPress site your first decision has to be made about your niche. If you want to market something to earn money with your blog, you will need to decide on a niche – the market in which you want to build your business – then do some keyword research, that is find out what keywords people are indeed using for an online search. This is the first step in building an online business presence which will be briefly covered here in this WordPress Tutorial with links to relevant areas that will be useful in your endeavors to learn about building a site / blog with the WP platform.
To begin with you will need to decide the niche, what your site / blog is about, what you are going to sell or do you have some knowledge you wish to share with others, or explore further to eventually earn some money through your website. You can find products to sell from places like CJ.com, Clickbank.com and Amazon.com, where you can become an affiliate and begin promoting products from these places on your site.
Whatever you have in mind you must do some keyword research to find what others are looking for, what keywords or key phrases that other people use to find what they are looking for online. You will then be in a position to create content on a subject that people are interested in. This goes a long way to ensure that you will get some eyeballs on your pages.
Then set up your site to give people – your future readers – what they want and in the process maybe monetize your site… Check here at keyword research for information on finding the right keywords.
Domains and Hosting
The next step is to set up your site or blog with WordPress either on your own host or use a free one from places such as Blogger.com or WordPress.com. But first we will look at the self hosted type of site…
You will need to purchase a domain and this will cost you in the region of $10 yr at NameCheap a place I recommend. Your domain should include your keyword or keyword phrase if possible, for example if you were to start a site about ‘power tools’ you would try for the name powertools.com if it is gone then you would add a generic word at the end such as online, guide, tips etc anything that fits so you can get the dot com… failing that your next option is to go for a dot org or a dot net… See keyword research.
Next you will need to buy hosting. I recommend going the way of hosting your own blog when you can afford it because you are then in complete control of your work/site when you host it yourself. Also it looks far more professional which is certainly an important aspect if you are doing it for the purpose of building an online business.
Also consider this, by hosting your own site / blog there is no risk of your site being closed down and you have the ability to customize and add more functionality with plugins.
The cost is your domain and a minimal amount per year for hosting. HostGator, a place I use and highly recommend have a good starter plans and one, the ‘Baby Plan’ is starting at $6.36 per month at the time of writing. This plan will allow you to host unlimited domains and you can upgrade from there if and when you need to.
Changing the Name Servers
Once you have purchased a domain and hosting you will need to point your domain to your hosting account, if you did not purchase from the hosting company – and it is a good idea not to. First will you need the name servers – you will have two of them and your hosting company would have sent you these in their welcoming email.
The name servers will look something like this ns123.webwelcome.com and ns124.webwelcome.com.
To change the name servers – head over to NameCheap or wherever you bought your domain and we will point our domain to our hosting. The following explains how to do it in NameCheap but I think they will all be relatively similar.
- Log into your account and go to ‘My Account’ in the top navigation bar then click ‘Manage Domains’
- Click on the Domain Name you have just bought then on the left sidebar click the ‘Transfer DNS to Webhost’
- Enter the first Name Server in the space provided – your host would have sent you two name servers via email
- Enter the second Name Server
- Save changes.
This can take up to 48 hours to propagate however I have never had to wait that long. Then you can go into your cpanel and start installing WordPress.
How to Install WordPress
Installing WordPress is very easy with Fantastico. All you do is log into cpanel as instructed by your hosting company – you will type in www.yourdomain.com/cpanel – then put in your cpanel username and password when prompted.
When you are in cpanel scroll down to Software/Services and click on the Fantastico icon.
The next window will show your options and on the left sidebar find ‘Blogs’ and click on WordPress from the list.
Now you will click on New Install and you will fill out a few areas as follows:
Where it says Install on domain – For a reseller account this is already filled out for you and will be the domain where you want to install WordPress – and you simply accept this. For a regular account you will click the down arrow and from the drop down menu you will find your newly installed domain on which you wish to put WordPress.
- Install in directory – Leave this blank as you are installing on your domain and not as a sub-directory.
- Admin access data – Here you will add a username and password that you want to use to get into your admin panel; this is used for the WordPress admin area – not cpanel
- Admin nickname – Use whatever you like – but you do not have to put anything here.
- Admin e-mail – The default will be firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Site name – This is the title of you blog and will already be filled out by default
- Description – Write whatever fits the blog – this is the short tagline shown underneath the blog title or you can leave it blank and add it later when in the WordPress dashboard under Settings > General.
Now that is done just click Install WordPress and Fantastico will create the data base and install WordPress and you are almost done… you will be shown some details about your database, your username & password. Copy it into notepad and keep this in a safe place – I usually save my notes in a folder that I keep for each individual site… or of course you can make a spreadsheet with these details for all your sites.
The WordPress Dashboard – Settings Themes & Plugins
There are a few changes you might want to do after you have WordPress installed, so log into the admin area – www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin – and type in the admin username and password that you saved from the installation of wordpress in cpanel.
Once you are in the dashboard go to the WordPress Plugin tab under Settings and download the All-in-One-SEO. This is an essential plugin for SEO purposes. Use this plugin to add the Meta Title and description for your posts and pages as well as many other options that will help you optimize your site for the search engines.
Then activate Akismet which comes with WordPress by default. This is also an essential plugin to run as it will help keep you relatively free of spam. Sign up for an Akismet API key and follow instructions to activate this handy plugin.
Changing WordPress Settings
Next there are a few settings that you might want to change straight away so go to…
- Settings > Permalinks. Scroll down to Custom Structure and type in exactly this “/%postname%/“ without the quote marks. These changes are for SEO purposes. Save changes and go back to…
- Settings > Writing and change the size of the post box to about 25 – 30. This gives you more space in the post window and enables a wider view of your work when you are writing or editing your post content, and again go back to…
- Settings > Privacy section and state the visibility here by making sure you check the radio button to allow your site to be visible to everybody, including the search engines.
Changing the WordPress Theme
There are many themes from which to choose and you can change the face of your WordPress site very easily without upsetting it. A lot are free and there are some wonderful paid ones that you can use on multiple sites
If you start a blog using a free theme you should aim for one that will fit the look you want, or at least near and really you can have it up and running in no time at all once you have sorted that design aspect out… before you start a blog think about this, check out a few designs… with or without sidebars, two or three, placed to the left or right or none at all.
Using a free theme is fine, and there are some cool ones out there, however, try to find one that is widget ready and one in which you can customize the header. You should always try to change the header of a free theme and it is easy to do on a theme that is modifiable. The reason you want to change the header is so that your site will not look and feel like every other one out there which is a problem with the free themes straight out of the box. Here is a list of WordPress Themes that support a custom header.
For that reason it will be a good idea to purchase a theme or put it on a ‘must buy’ list for when you can afford it. However I should add one thing here and that is this… your sites success does not hang on its looks! The most important issue is content, yes looks do help to some extent, you want to give your visitors the best experience and have your content ‘housed’ in pleasant and relevant surroundings and you also want the content readable, but the ‘prettiness’ is not the be-all and end-all of success.
Having said that, think about purchasing a theme when you can get to it… if you want to brand your site and not have it looking and grouped like dozens of others out there, a theme that is customizable making it ‘yours’ or a custom built theme will definitely be worth it. Prices can be quite reasonable and a couple of the better themes are Thesis and FlexSqueeze.
The one I use is FlexSqueeze as it is a good SEO compliant theme and a very flexible one which is handy for anyone wanting to set up a site for affiliate / Internet marketing. Thesis is reputed to be one of the best around. I have not used it but plan to as I have heard and read nothing but good things about it. The only reason I have not yet started using it is that there is a bit of a learning curve, nothing insurmountable but finding the time to sort out its intricacies is a little difficult as I have a few other commitments at the moment. The other option for you of course is to purchase a custom theme made just for you
A Word About Free Hosting
If you are strapped for cash in the beginning a free hosted site/blog is an option that you can go with –You will be allowed to do some monetization on WordPress.com or Blogger.com – the two most popular ones – however you will be limited in terms of what themes are available and what plugins you can use, and WordPress.com does not like Adsense – however it is a start so don’t let lack of money prevent you from building your business – build a site and monetize through affiliate marketing.
As soon as you can though start paying for your own hosting as this puts you more in control of your business.
You can learn more about free hosting from Blogger.com and WordPress.com. Don’t get WordPress.com mixed up with WordPress.org as this one is the link for many things pertaining to your own hosted WordPress blog.
I sincerely hope you got something out of this WordPress Tutorial and if you have any questions please ask in the comments section.