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Guide to Blogs Design: Part 2

Website Hosting and WordPress Installation

At this point you’re well on your way in the blogs design process. What you need to do next is decide on which web hosting site (Internet Service Provider) you want to host your blog. Again, there are many reputable ISPs around, and one that I often use is Hostgator. In this process, I’ll assume that you’re using Hostgator. Generally, a basic hosting plan cost approximately $5 a month to host one domain with unlimited disk space.

    CPanel - Blogs Design

    Figure 2 - Hostgator (Internet Service Provider) CPanel

  • You need to register your domain with the ISP. They will email you the information relating to the account including your login details to your control panel (CPanel).
  • Login to your CPanel, shown on figure 2 above, and locate the icon for a software called Fantastico De Luxe. That’s used to install WordPress.
  • Click on WordPress, and then on Install WordPress. You then need to select your domain name from the drop down menu. You also need to enter a username and a password.
  • Next enter an admin nickname of your choice, a site name, an email address and a description of your blog. I recommend that you include your keywords in your chosen nickname and in the description.
  • Finally, click Install WordPress, and that should conclude the installation process. Click on your domain’s wp-admin which will take you to your WordPress admin page. I suggest you bookmark the page.
    WordPress Installation - Blogs Design

    Figure 3 - WordPress Installation

Designing Your Blog

You then have to start working on your blog. To do so, enter your username and password, and you will be taken to your WordPress dashboard. WordPress provides considerable features and functionalities, and amongst them are plugins which add everything you need in the blogs design procedures. Plugins enable customization of the functionality of a blog. For example, they make it possible to play videos on a blog. One of the plugins you need to install at this initial stage is called All in One SEO, which allows you to optimise your blog. However, this is the first of many stages in the SEO process:

  • To install the All in One SEO plugin, click on Plugin, which is located on the left hand side of your dashboard.
  • Click on Add New, then Popular (located near the top of your dashboard), and you should see All in One SEO listed, because it’s one of the most popular plugins. Click on Install, and after you register the plugin, change the status to Enabled. It is vitally important that you enter appropriate title and description, because they are the information that are seen by browsers when your blog is displayed by search engines. Ensure that both contain your main keyword or key phrase. Also enter a selection of your other keywords and key phrases in the Keyword textbox.
  • Another plugin that you need to install is Google XML Sitemap, which also aids your blog’s optimisation. It should also be on the same list of your plugin search, because it’s just as popular. Once installed, you don’t have to make any changes to it’s configuration.
    WordPress Theme Installtion - Blogs Design

    Figure 4 - WordPress Panel: Theme Installation

Shown above is a screenshot of a WordPress dashboard after theme installation: The snippet at the top of the screenshot is that of the currently installed and activated theme, and below it are the themes which are installed but not activated.

  • You need to select and install a theme: from the Appearance menu, on the left hand side of figure 4, click on Themes, and then click on Install Themes located at the top of the dashboard.
  • Enter a search term that will list a selection of themes. For instance enter “all”, and go through the selection until you find one that you think will be a suitable theme for your blog. Note that you can filter your search by ticking the various selection boxes – for example the number of columns and your preferred color. You can also select as many themes as you desire, and you can preview each one before you activate them.
  • Once installed, you should see the title of your blog at the top of your dashboard (on the left hand side). Clicking on it will display your skeletal blog, without any content or widgets.
  • Blogs design can be tricky if you don’t give a bit of thought to the purpose of your blog. So before adding content, you ought to design the structure of your blog. You achieve that by dragging and dropping widgets onto the sidebars. There are a number of selectable widgets already installed. Basic and common widgets such as Categories, Text and Links can be dragged and dropped at your preferred positions.
  • When you’re happy with the structure of your blog, you can start to add content to it. Assuming that you’ve added your categories, you can then add posts: Click on Post, then Add New, and you will be requested to enter a title and the content of your post.
  • Tick the category under which you want to include the post, and then Publish it. The procedure for entering a Page is identical, the only difference is that you have the option of selecting a Parent or Child structure and the order in which you want to list your pages. You can Preview the posts and pages prior to publishing them.
  • Links and Texts are also available on the same section of the dashboard, categorised as Available widgets, and they can be dragged and dropped where you require them. If you don’t need a widget, you can move it to the Inactive Widgets category.
  • To edit any of the items (such as Posts, Pages, Links, or Categories), simply click on it and amend as required.
  • You also need to enter your site information. Click on General (located below Site on the left side). Enter your URL, email, site title and description and preferred date format.

  • <--Previous steps………Next steps–>

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