Wordpress, Blogger, Tumblr, Posterous… with so many blogging platforms to select from, it can be hard to pick, but it doesn't have to be hard to get started if you go with the content management of choice of many top websites: WordPress.
It's search engine-friendly, easy to use, highly customizable and the host of an active network and community of bloggers. You've made an excellent choice… but now what?
Follow these tips to get started and save yourself some headaches when learning how to navigate the world of WordPress.
Decide which features you need from WordPress before starting. The needs of a retailer and a personal blogger using WordPress vary greatly, and you need to adjust your strategy accordingly.
If you want a custom domain name, you'll save yourself the trouble of playing with DNS controls and the frustration of limited functions if you register directly through WordPress. Registering a .com, .net or .org address starts at $18 per year, which equals a mere $1.50 per month. You'll save money by registering directly on WordPress instead of purchasing a domain elsewhere ($10/year and up) and then mapping it to WordPress ($13/year), in addition to gaining access to fully-customizable themes, powerful plug-ins and widgets.
Now that you know what you need from WordPress, it's time to design your website. Start by using WordPress.org to download templates or purchase a theme. Choose from plug-ins that do everything from adding a shopping cart to your business's site and adding social media links for readers to share your website's content. Edit your site until you're satisfied before building an audience to avoid confusing visitors with layout changes.
Familiarize yourself with the Dashboard
Your site is looking great, and now you can start the fun part—writing! The Dashboard is a powerful portal to manage your content and settings. Here you can check out your site stats and page views, schedule posts to publish at a certain time and date and add users to post content. You can also manage pages, which can provide information about the writer/company.
The best way to learn how to use the Dashboard is to click around. Pretty soon it will be second nature to know, for example, that site stats are located under the 'Home' tab.
Although it's full of options and so many choices can be daunting at first, learning WordPress doesn't have to be a battle if you attack with a plan.
Diana Dwyer has been writing on Wordpress for years and enjoys sharing her knowledge as well as writing for local NY Hyundai dealer's blogs.