Creating and maintaining a website is a combination of ever-evolving science and art. As a Content Management System and blogging tool, WordPress is great and flexible for website creation. Website content can stay fresh, accurate and relevant through application of its user-friendly Visual Editor.
WordPress puts the most important information at the top of the page, which is a very helpful feature for search engine optimization in today’s competitive international trade activity. To put it simply, the best looking, most elegant and smartly designed blog can be created by WordPress.
WordPress is no longer merely a blogging platform, it has evolved to power more than 23.3% of the top 10 million websites as of January 2015. Moreover, it is totally FREE, coupled with thousands of free plugins and themes, and is supported by an extensive WordPress Support community where help is readily available.
Though there are other, more powerful platforms available, their demand for a very steep learning curve makes it an unpleasant and unfavorable choice for beginners. In this article, we have compiled all the major aspects to building a WordPress blog from scratch – starting from installation, right through to blog promotion.
- Chapter 1: Choosing the Right WordPress Web Host
- Chapter 2: Installing WordPress
- Chapter 3: Beautify Your WordPress Blog – WordPress Themes
- Chapter 4: WordPress Plugins – Add functionality to your WordPress Blog
- Chapter 5: Essential Free WordPress Plugins
- Chapter 6: Essential Premium WordPress Plugins
- Chapter 7: Make Your WordPress Blog SEO-Friendly
- Chapter 8: Secure Your WordPress Blog
- Chapter 9: Backup Your WordPress Blog – Top Plugins
- Chapter 10: Upgrade WordPress Core and Plugins
- Chapter 11: WordPress Add-Ons
- Chapter 12: WordPress Styling Tips
- Chapter 13: Writing Your WordPress Blog
- Chapter 14: Marketing Your WordPress Blog
For more in-depth knowledge on topics outlined within these 14 chapters, please see the end of each chapter for some links to additional resources.
Chapter 1: Choosing the Right WordPress Web Host
Now that you have the basic outline of WordPress and its advantages, the first step will be choosing a domain name and hosting service. So, how do you find the best WordPress hosting for your website? Take a glance below at some vital features to look out for in a WordPress hosting service.
The ideal WordPress Hosting should:
- be WordPress-optimized with super fast performance;
- have CloudLinux that offers “isolation” features (e.g., your account on the server is isolated from other accounts on the server, preventing any single site from over-utilizing the server);
- offer full access to your WordPress account, including access to the WordPress source code and the WordPress database; and,
- provide 24/7 support by WordPress experts to troubleshoot and solve any WordPress-related issues.
AccuWebHosting’s WordPress-Optimized Hosting Plans
AccuWebHosting provides all these superior features mentioned above. Moreover, all our WordPress hosting plans cover the pre-installation of WordPress with SEO and super caching plugins. And what if you are already have an existing account with another provider? Leave it in the AccuWebHosting team’s capable hands to easily migrate you to our server.
Visit the following URLs to compare various WordPress hosting companies before making up your mind.
Fully Managed, Highly Secured WordPress Hosting | AccuWebHosting.com
Chapter 2: Installing WordPress
Nowadays, most providers offer a pre-installation of WordPress; however, it’s not difficult to install WordPress on your own. AccuWebHosting is also now offering WordPress hosting plans that cover a pre-installation of WordPress with SEO and super caching plugins.
- If you have a cPanel account, you can install WordPress through Softaculous, a one-click application/script installer. Detailed steps can be found here.
- You can also manually install WordPress on your domain. Detailed steps can be found here.
Chapter 3: Beautify Your WordPress Blog – WordPress Themes
What is a Theme and why do we need it?
Themes allow users to adjust the look and functionality of a WordPress website, and can be installed without altering the website’s content or health.
Your choice of WordPress theme determines important aspects of your website. Choosing the right theme can be tricky for newcomers, since most people will be attracted by “looks” alone. A good theme, however, is one that not only looks good, but is also lean and lightweight, easy to customize, flexible, actively developed, well supported, and has good reviews, feedback and documentation.
How to install a WordPress Theme
Simply login to your WordPress dashboard, search for your desired theme and install it. For detailed steps on how to install a theme for your blog, you can refer our Knowledgebase article: how to install a WordPress theme.
Free & Premium Popular WordPress Themes
Below is a list of some famous premium WordPress Themes:
- X – The Theme | Theme Forest
- Kalium | Theme Forest
- Divi | Elegant Themes
- Vertex | Elegant Themes
- Hive | WordPress.Com
- Basis | WordPress.Com
- Directory Theme | Templatic.Com
- WordPress Travel Theme | Templatic.Com
Here are some of the best free themes:
- Sparkling | ColorLib Themes
- Dazzling | ColorLib Themes
- Apptha Video Stream | BestWPThemez
- Dental Pro | BestWPThemez
- Zerif Lite One Page Theme | Themeisle.Com
- AccessPress Lite | AccessPress Lite WP Theme
- Pinboard Pinterest Theme | Themify.me
- Enigma Multi-Purpose Theme | Weblizar.Com
Below are some excellent resources to get the best WordPress themes:
Chapter 4: WordPress Plugins – Add functionality to your WordPress Blog
Generally speaking, a plugin is a module that adds some specific/additional feature to a larger system. WordPress plugins function in same way, offering custom features and services to extend the functionality of your WordPress blog.
WordPress core installation comes with two default plug-ins, namely Akismet (checks whether received comments are spam or not) and Hello Dolly (shows random lyrics from Hello Dolly, sung by Louis Armstrong). To manage your WordPress plugins, here is a tutorial you can refer to.
For the beginner, here are a couple of plugins that will help increase WordPress blog efficiency:
- Contact Form 7 | As the name says, it makes the job very easy to manage and customize multiple contact forms flexibly.
- WooCommerce | An eCommerce plugin that helps you to manage your shop with some premium eCommerce themes and extensions.
- Google Analytics Dashboard for WP | It displays analytics data on your WordPress dashboard, i.e, number of sessions, visitors, page views, etc.
- NextGen Gallery | The most popular gallery plugin to upload and manage images, grouping them into albums, sorting or editing thumbnails, and much more.
- BuddyPress | It will help you run social networking on your WordPress website, enabling you to build your own home for various communities, e.g., school, company, etc.
You can download WordPress plugins from the WordPress WordPress-Pluginsplugin directory.
Chapter 5: Free WordPress Plugins – Essential for your Blog
In Chapter 4, we outlined why and when one would need to install plugins to a WordPress blog. The WordPress core is specially designed to minimize the code. Hence, the following plugins are essential to improving the website performance, increasing search engine ranking, and optimizing the code and images.
WordPress Plugins for security
Security is one of the most crucial factors for any blogger. To set your mind at ease, there are numerous plugins available in the market that can help you maintain your website’s security. Here follows some popular security WordPress plugins:
- Akismet | Comment Spam Prevention for your Blog
- WordFence | Enterprise class security and performance plugin that makes your site up to 50 times faster and more secure.
- BulletProof Security | WordPress Website Security Protection – Firewall Security, Login Security, Database Security | Effective, Reliable and Easy to use.
- All In One WP Security & Firewall | A comprehensive, user-friendly, all in one WordPress security and firewall plugin for your site.
WordPress Plugins for SEO
The dream of every web master is to see his website in the top of the list. Using WordPress plugins, this dream can become a reality. Let us have a look at some popular SEO plugins:
- WordPress SEO by Yoast | Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin is an All in One SEO solution for your WordPress blog, used by experts worldwide.
- SEO Ultimate | This all-in-one SEO plugin gives you control over meta titles & descriptions, open graph, auto-linking, rich-snippets, 404 monitoring, siloing &am
- Broken Link Checker | Periodically checks your site for broken links and missing images.
- WP Meta SEO | WP Meta SEO give you the control over all your meta in your article and images.
WordPress Plugins for backup
To secure and maintain a backup of your blog is vital. Too often, it takes a bad experience to realize the importance of backup. However, by proactively installing backup plugins, you can dodge the potential loss of your blog. There are many plugins available to secure your blog, like:
- WP DB Manager | Allows you to optimize your WordPress database, repair database, backup database, restore database, delete backup database , drop/empty tables and run selected queries.
- BackWPup | With BackWPup Pro you schedule automatic backups for your WordPress installation.
- ValutPress | ValutPress offers real-time backup, automated security scanning, and support from WordPress experts.
- WP Backup Bank | WP Backup Bank is a plugin that provides backup capabilities for WordPress. Backups are zip archives for WordPress and .sql for Database Backups.
WordPress Plugins for Optimizing your Blog
When you browse a website and the pages take a minute or more to load, what would your reaction be? Inevitably, you will not stick around, but rather move on to the next best site. It is always good practice to optimize your blog to maintain and improve its ranking, reduce the server load, and increase response time. There are various plugins available for optimization, for example:
- WP-Optimize | WP-Optimize is an extensive WordPress database cleanup and optimization tool. It doesn’t require PhpMyAdmin to clean and optimize your database tables.
- Autoptimize | Autoptimize speeds up your website and helps you save bandwidth by aggregating and minimizing JS, CSS and HTML.
- CometCache | CometCache Caching plugin is easy to use and provides advanced WordPress caching.
Refer to the following external guides to speed up your WordPress blog:
Chapter 6: Premium WordPress Plugins – Essential for your Website
Premium WordPress plugins are offered on one time payment or subscription basis. Many WordPress plugins have free & premium versions. WordPress plugins’s Premium version will offer some additional features over the free version. Here are some useful plugins, including backup, security and SEO-friendly options.
WordPress Security Plugins
Search Engine Optimization Plugins
- WordPress SEO by Yoast | It is free, but can be upgraded to premium version. The premium version adds several features to the WordPress SEO plugin for example, a redirect manager, tutorial videos for entire plugin, integration with webmaster tools and much more..
- All in One SEO Pack | It is free, but can be upgraded to premium pro version. Premium version offers many advanced features, unlimited downloads, unlimited upgrades and much more. It also provides SEO integration for WP e-Commerce sites and generates META tags automatically.
WordPress Backup Plugins
- UpdraftPlus | It is free, but can be upgraded to premium version. It enables you to schedule an automatic backup of your website. Backup of your WordPress blog can be taken to multiple destinations like Amazon S3, Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, Rackspace Cloud Files, Google Drive, Google Cloud Storage, FTP, OpenStack (Swift) and email.
Other Useful Plugin
- Meta Slider | It is free, but can be upgraded to Pro version. It helps to create responsive, SEO-optimized slideshows on your website.
For more plugins, refer to the following resources:
20 Essential WordPress plugins | WP Beginner
WordPress Security: An Introduction To Hardening WordPress | makeawebsitehub
10 Must-Have Plugins for Every New WordPress Blog | wpmudev.org
50 Essential WordPress Plugins You Should Know | hongkiat.com
Chapter 7: Make Your WordPress Blog SEO-Friendly
Generally, for a WordPress blog post, URLs would typically look something like http://www.myawesomeblog.com/?p=123, which is not SEO-friendly. Neither people nor the search engine can determine what your post is about through such vague URLs. The keywords used in your post title, body of your post, categories and URL are signals to search engines and help them to rank your blog posts. Therefore, it requires a change in your permalinks to include your post titles. Here below are some other permalink SEO tips to consider:
- Use simple permalinks (i.e. domain.com/archive/postname).
- Favor dashes rather than underscores in links.
- Remove stop words from permalinks (“is” or “are”).
- Never change permalinks after publishing. If you do so for some reason, set up a 301 redirection from the old URL to the new URL using .htaccess.
- Use your keyword in your permalink.
- For more information, you can refer our article: How to make your WordPress blog SEO-friendly.
You can also refer to the following external resources:
How to change your WordPress Permalink Structure | yoast.com
A Guide To WordPress Permalinks | Elegantthemes.com
Settings Permalinks Screen | WordPress.org
Which is the Best WordPress Permalink Structure for SEO? | shoutmeloud.com
Chapter 8: Secure Your WordPress Blog
When it comes to security, it can become a difficult task to choose from the multitude of solutions available. To help simplify this selection process, we have listed some common and effective solutions below.
Securing your blog against Hacking
- Keep your WordPress blog, themes and Plugins up to date. An outdated version makes for an easy hacking target and your website could be susceptible to hacking bots.
- Keep the password to its maximum strength. If you have multiple websites, make sure you use a different password for each one.
- Avoid using the “admin” name as a WordPress Admin, which is easily assumed.
Scanning of the WordPress Website
- Quttera Web Malware Scanner (free plugin) | It provides unknown malware detection, external links detection, blacklist status, artificial intelligence scan engine, Cloud technology, detail investigation reports and more.
- WordFence Security (free plugin, can be upgraded to Pro version) | It secures the WordPress website against brute force attacks, backdoors, trojans, malware and other malicious scripts.
- BulletProof Security (free plugin, can be upgraded to Pro version) | It monitors HTTP Error, PHP Error, DB Error, etc., and scans for malicious content. It also provides a feature to backup the WordPress database.
- iThemes Security (free plugin, can be upgraded to Pro version) | It provides 2-factor authentication, malware scanning, online file comparison, WP-CLI integration. It also monitors content and detects bots and other attempts to search vulnerabilities.
- Sucuri Malware Scanning (free plugin, can be upgraded to Pro version) | It provides security activity auditing, file integrity monitoring, malware/blacklist scanning, post-hack security actions and a website firewall (add-on).
Refer to the following external guides to harden your WordPress blog:
Hardening WordPress | WordPress.org
WordPress Security: The Ultimate Guide | wpmudev.org
Improve your WordPress security with these 7 tips | woothemes.com
WordPress Security: An Introduction To Hardening WordPress | makeawebsitehub.com
10 Steps to a Secure WordPress Website | copyblogger.com
Chapter 9: Backup Your WordPress Blog – Top Plugins
On a global level, data has increasingly become one of the greatest assets to organizations. Data loss can cause devastatingly large damage, commonly as a result of system crashes or viruses being ignored. While there is certainly a chance that you will never have a need for the backups you make of your files, if something does happen to your computer, you will certainly be glad that you have them. Therefore, it is wise to maintain an up-to-date backup of your WordPress blog and site.
With a proper backup of your WordPress database and files, you can quickly restore things back to normal. There are so many plugins available to secure the backup of your WordPress website. Here are a few of them:
- BackupBuddy (Paid plugin) | It offers an option to either backup your database only or a full backup of your entire WordPress website. Backups can be sent to other destinations, like Amazon S3, Dropbox, Rackspace Cloud, FTP or email. Backups can be scheduled. Files & Tables can be excluded from the backup if needed.
- UpdraftPlus (free plugin, can be upgraded to premium version): | Automatic backup of your website can be scheduled. It takes backup of your WordPress blog to Amazon S3, Dropbox, Rackspace Cloud Files, Google Drive, Google Cloud Storage, FTP, OpenStack (Swift) and email.
- ValutPress | ValutPress offers real-time backup, automated security scanning, and support from WordPress experts. It will backup your entire site, including your database and all your files on a schedule that suits you. It is simple to use and can manage multiple schedules. It uses zip and mysqldump for faster backups if they are available. The Dropbox Integration and One Click Restore functionality is available. Files and folders can also be excluded from your backups.
- blogVault Real-time Backup (paid plugin for daily backup, but free plans for weekly backup) | It is an automatic and real-time incremental backup for WordPress websites, performing complete WordPress backup. WordPress Backup can be sent to Dropbox, and it features a 30-day backup history with easy restore and migration from backup. Offsite backup can also be managed.
- Dropbox Backup & Restore: | It supports WordPress backup and restore to/from local storage, or uploads backup to Dropbox.
- Local Backup: create the full backup of your web page (files and database) and store it at local server.
- DropBox Backup: create the full backup of your web page (files and database) at local storage and upload this to Dropbox. You need to create an account http://www.wpadm.com (FREE) to administrate all the backups for all of your site.
Refer to some other guides to make a backup of your WordPress blog:
WordPress Backups | wordpress.org
How to Create a Complete WordPress Backup | wpbeginner.com
How To Backup & Restore Your WordPress WebSite Easily | makeuseof.com
5 Simple Steps to Backup Your WordPress Site | fizzle.co
Chapter 10: Upgrade WordPress Core and Plugins
WordPress is capable of updating itself to new minor releases and security updates without any user input. For major WordPress updates, there are mainly two methods:
When a WordPress update is available, you will receive an update message on the WordPress dashboard. You can launch the update by clicking the link in the new version banner. At the “Update WordPress” page, simply click the button “Update Now” to launch the upgrade process – no further action is required. Once WordPress upgrade is finished, your WordPress website will be up-to-date.
If the one-click upgrade doesn’t work for you, try the manual update. Refer to the guides below to update WordPress core manually.
A word of caution: Only updating WordPress core won’t make your WordPress website fully secure. Updating your plugin installations is equally as important as updating WordPress core. Vulnerability in one of these plugins can result in your website being hacked. There are three methods to update WordPress plugins; here below is one method, namely:
One click plugin update:
Like WordPress core, WordPress plugins can also be upgraded through the one-click method on the WordPress dashboard. Simply login to WordPress dashboard and go to the “Updates” section. If there are plugins to be updated, they will appear here. To update your plugins, select them and click on the “Update Plugins” button.
Refer to some other methods of updating WordPress plugins:
WordPress Plugins :: The Complete Guide | AccuWebHosting.Com
Managing Plugins | wordpress.org
Update WordPress Plugins Manually | slicepages.com
How To Update And Delete WordPress Plugins Manually | http://websitesmadeeasy.tv/
Chapter 11: WordPress Add-Ons
CDN: A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a cluster of geographically distributed servers used to quickly deliver static content such as images, scripts, CSS and libraries to visitors from the nearest server. In simpler terms, when visitors browse any website, CDN chooses the nearest server to deliver static content used in the website. CDN allows the visitors faster page loads and enhanced user experience. This leads to huge performance improvements for WordPress blogs that have visitors from all across the world. A detailed guide can be found here for your reference.
SSL: Every day, we share our personal information with different websites, whether it’s making a purchase or simply logging in. Hence, data security plays a major role. That’s where SSL comes in. If you are running an eCommerce website on WordPress, SSL is must. Https is an encryption method that secures the connection between users’ browser and your server, which makes it harder for hackers to eavesdrop on the connection.
Once SSL is set up, WordPress has the https facility on your full website, as well as on exclusive pages. For this, we need to install a plugin called WordPress HTTPS. Once this plugin is installed, clicking https in the Admin area of WordPress will give the following screen:
Chapter 12: WordPress Styling Tips
To stand out above the rest of the WordPress blogs, you will need to tweak your blog’s settings. By tweaking, we mean you need to put effort into PHP softcode, Themes and Text Style. There are many tricks available to make your WordPress blog unique and impressive. Here below are a few handy, clever and fun practices to follow:
- Text Beautify: This plugin looks out for bad casing, grammatical mistakes, etc.
- Quotes: It pulls the most memorable part of article. In Visual Editor of WordPress, there is the ‘b-quote’ facility to use Quotes.
- Color, alignment and other styles: One can control color, thickness [size], width, and position using <div> align for Horizontal line by following <div> command.
<hr color="#dddddd" size="1" width="60%" /></div>
- Images: The WordPress Media Uploader tool is useful to upload images. Use “Add Media” to add images, “Attachment Details” to insert details of the image and “Attachment Display Setting” to control how the media will be displayed when viewed on the website.
- Categories and Tags: By default, WordPress posts are not placed in category. Categories can, however, be added/changed at Post > Categories. Tags may also be added to specific posts.
- Formatting Options: WordPress Visual Editor has a selection of text formatting facilities; for example, Bold, Italics, Strikethrough, Unordered List, Ordered List, Link, Unlink, Outdent, Indent, Select text color, etc.
- Themes: On the WordPress dashboard, go to Appearance > Themes. By changing themes, one can easily change the appearance of a website without ever changing the content of your backend structure.
Check out some of the best resources to beautify your WordPress blog:
5 Tips to Create Beautiful WordPress Website | organicthemes.com
30 Quick Ideas to Make your Website Look Nicer | hongkiat.com
Three Tips to Beautify WordPress Blog | mageewp.com
Style Tips for WordPress Websites | wpbarista.com
Chapter 13: Writing Your WordPress Blog
WordPress categories are a very convenient way to organize your posts. You can follow the steps below to create new categories:
- Login to your WordPress administrative account.
- On the left side of the page, go to Posts → Categories.
- Fill in the category Name, its Slug (the URL-friendly version of the name) and click the “Add New Category” button.
Adding a New Post
Posts are entries that display in reverse order on your home page. Posts usually have comments fields beneath them and are included in your site’s RSS feed. You can follow below steps to add a new post:
- Login to your WordPress administrative account.
- Click on Posts → Add New.
- Start filling in the blanks: enter your post title in the upper field and your post body content in the main post editing box below it.
- As needed, select a category, add tags, and make other selections from the sections below the post.
- When you are ready, click “Publish”.
Tags are essentially keywords for each page/article you create. Tags are intended to be words or very short two or three word phrases. Adding tags that accurately represent a post or page will increase the chance of it getting its due traffic. You can follow below steps to create add tags:
- Login to your WordPress administrative account.
- Click on Posts → Add New.
- On your left side, fill in Name and Description.
- Click on “Add New Tag”.
- Preview Mode: You can use the “Preview” button to view your posts as you write, or to do a final check before you publish the post.
- Publish Mode: Once you have finished creating your post, click “Publish” for others to view. You can publish your post as public or private.
Here are some excellent resources to manage WordPress posts:
Chapter 14: Marketing Your WordPress Blog
To stand out from other bloggers and gain a blog identity, you will need correct and effective promotional strategies. Listed below are some great marketing tips:
- Create great content: There is no alternative to compiling excellent quality content. Spend more time on researching, ensuring you generate authentic content not covered in other websites.
- Beautify your content: Use your own logo and graphics, apply proper headings (H1, H2 and so on), and select an awesome theme, color scheme and fonts to make your WordPress blog attractive.
- Create a social media appearance: Create your Google+ page for your WordPress blog. Search and join the popular communities within your blogging interest. Participate in those communities by commenting in live communications and posting your WordPress blog posts at various communities.
Similarly, create a Facebook page for your WordPress blog and invite people to like your page. Join groups of similar interests and participate in these groups by sharing your WordPress blogs, liking the posts, commenting, sharing your knowledge and helping others. You can also target other popular social platforms such as Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr, etc.
- Implement social media icons on blog: Add social media icons to your WordPress blog linked to your social media profiles so that your visitors can “like” or “+1” your posts from the blog itself.
- Optimize your blog: Optimize your blog titles, text, meta descriptions, target keywords, etc. through SEO plugins such as WordPress SEO by Yoast.
- Keyword research: Identify targeted keywords and optimize your blog title, meta-description, text, and other elements for these keywords.
- Raise your activities in other forums: Participate in active forums that fall within your niche. Share your thoughts, knowledge, and opinions on different threads, adding your blog link in your signature.
Here are more tips to promote your WordPress blog:
20 Ways of Promoting your WordPress Blog | famousbloggers.net
24 Ways To Promote Your WordPress Blog | slodive.com
How to Promote Your Blog and Get More Visitors | startbloggingonline.com
How to Make Your WordPress Blog Content More Socially Shareable | designwall.com