Blogging is a great way to communicate, build credibility and expertise, bring more traffic to your web site, hone your writing skills, and so much more.
Starting a blog is also a great way to create a web presence if you do not already have one, and to add to the presence of your web site.
Blogging is all about writing content and building a community of readers. Thanks to services like Word press and Blogger, anyone can start a blog. There is no need for you to know anything about web design or hosting. Following is a step by step process for setting up a Word press blog. What you do with that blog is up to you.
1. Go to wordpress.com and create a free account. You will be asked to choose a name for your blog. Pick something that works for you and is easy to remember. Your name will be a part of your blog address, so make sure it is not too complicated. It will look like this: yourname.wordpress.com.
2. Once you set up all the details and create your account, you will be able to log in to your account at wordpress.com. You will be taken to the dashboard.
3. Go ahead and create a test post. You can delete it later. To add a post, you can click on the New Post button in the gray bar that runs across the top or click on Add New under the Posts category on the left hand bar.
4. Once you write your article you will want to do a few other things before you post. First, you will want to add tags for your post. A tag is just a way to organize and search for content on your site as your content grows. You can create whatever tags you want for each post. Take out key words from your post to use as tags. You add tags from the column on the right (from where you write your post).
After you add tags, you will also want to add a category. A category is more formal than a tag. Choose category title carefully with a mind for the future. If you are starting a personal blog, you may have categories for Entertainment, Family, Recipes, etc.
After you add tags and categories, you can go ahead and publish your post. Click on the link that says Visit site to view your post after you publish it.
5. When you view your site and your post, you will notice that your blog has the title you picked when you signed up, along with a tag line if you set it up. You will also notice that it has a bland design. You will want to pick a better template to post your blog to than the default template.
To change your blog's design, go back to your WordPress dashboard. You can do this directly from your blog by typing / wp-admin after the web address. Ie. yourname.wordpress.com/wp-admin. Be sure to hit enter.
When you are back in the dashboard, click on Appearance in the left hand column. Then click on Themes. This will take you to the themes page. Look through the theme thumbnails and pick one that you like. To use it, all you have to do is click on it. It will bring up a preview and you will click on Activate this Theme at the top right corner of that preview. Viola, you have a new theme. Click on View this site to see what it looks like.
6. Now you will want to customize your WordPress blog a little more. First of all, get rid of the default post that comes with the blog. To do this, go to your dashboard and click on Edit, under Posts. Mouse over the name of the post that you would like to delete. The option to delete will appear when you do so. Click on delete.
You can also choose to edit a post the same way. Just be sure to click on edit instead of delete.
7. Your WordPress blog also comes with a default About page. This is to show you that you can add static pages to your blog. You can have more than one page and include whatever information you would like. For now, go ahead and edit the About page to include information about you or your business. To do this, click on Pages from the left hand menu (in the dashboard). Put your mouse over About and then click on edit. Editing or writing new pages is very similar to editing and writing posts. Simply put your information in and publish.
8. Adjust your widgets. Widgets are accessed through the Appearance button. Widgets are those things that fill up the sidebars on your blog. Your template will determine where you can put widgets. If you have more that one sidebar that can support a widget, you will have to choose which sidebar you want the widget to appear in. To do this, from the widget page, click the drop down box under Current Widgets. This will show you what widgets are currently in what sidebar.
To add a new widget, choose a sidebar. Then click add next the widget that you want. Try adding a Text widget. Once you add it, you need to edit it to say what you want it to say. To do this, go back over to the Current Widget list. Since you added it, it should appear there. Click edit on the blue bar that says Text. Enter your text into the text box and click done. Now visit your site. Your text will appear in the sidebar.
You can add any widget you want, but do not over do it.
9. You can get further customizations for your WordPress blog by visiting WordPress.org and clicking on Extend. There will be a learning curve, but there are a lot of free options here to customize your blog.
That should get you started with a WordPress blog! If you have a web site you will want to add a link to your blog, and vice versa. Enjoy!