The Right Way to Setup a WordPress Blog and Why: Part 1

So as I mentioned in my first post starting a blog and doing a better job of professional development is one of my New Year’s resolutions.  This has been quite an adventure getting the blog to the point that it is now.  Hours of research, installation, and decision making later I think the blog is close to being in a shape that I’m satisfied.  I’ve been creating and monitoring blogs for the college for the last year and a half so I’ve fairly familiar with blogs and how they work.  I guess it was in launching all the blogs this fall that I really got into SEO, RSS, and all the other ways to truly make your blog stand out from the rest.  So needless to say I’m not a rookie at this blog thing just a rookie at creating a personal one.  Although this is the first time I’ve tried to setup a blog using WordPress I feel like I have learned enough through this process to put together a thorough explanation about the choices I’ve made and why it’s the correct way to setup a blog.  If you disagree with something or have any questions I’d love to hear them!  Seriously… I would.

  1. Decide on a name first. The very first thing that has to be done when setting up a blog is to decide what the name of the blog will be.  How do you want to brand it?  What is it that you want to write about, decide on your niche, and choose an appropriate name?  You have to do this first because you can’t register a domain name unless you decide what the domain name that you want to use and if it’s available.  Try to keep it short and catchy.  InternetMarketing4HigherEducation.com well that’s just not going to work… who wants to type all that?  Although it’s most likely going to be available it’s just ridiculous.  Keep it short, I’d say no more than 12 characters before your domain type.  Personally I believe sticking with .com is best as this is the most recognized.  Buying a .info or .net might be a little cheaper on GoDaddy might be a little cheaper, but that’s just it…  it makes you look a little cheaper.  Also in most browsers you can type the domain name (example doteduguru) and hit ctrl + enter and it will wrap the https://www. + .com around your query.  Just a little tip, but it is another way to get people quickly to your site.
  2. wordpresscolorful200 The Right Way to Setup a WordPress Blog and Why: Part 1What blogging software to use. From everything I’ve seen there are three big blogging platforms that seem to dominate, Blogger, WordPress, and Typepad.  According to Alexa Blogger.com is the 12th ranked site in the world so it is by far the biggest blogging hosting system.  Wofford uses Typepad to host all their blogs so I was fairly familiar with their system.  WordPress was the wildcard.  I have heard lots of wonderful things about how customizable the system was and I knew that I was going to want to customize the mess out of the system so this looked good.  I also knew that WordPress was Open Source Freeware so I could download it for free and install it on my web server and do whatever I wanted with it.  I also read quite a few excellent reviews about WordPress.  WordPress it is so I downloaded the software.
  3. Choose a hosting company. I use ixwebhosting, but I’ve been using them for years and already had a plan with them that I’ve used for side projects that I do for people.  For a WordPress blog BlueHost seems to be a well regarded and highly publicized host.  BlueHost is $6.95/month and they say that that includes your free domain name forever so you don’t have to go anywhere else to buy it.  I HAVE NOT used this service so I’m not recommending it just point it out.
  4. Installing WordPress. (If you use a host that installs WordPress for you then you can skip this step)  Actually installing WordPress isn’t too difficult.  You can read all about it or look on YouTube for a video about how to install.  Once it’s installed and you have all the initial setup it’s time to customize time!
  5. Decide on a Permalink structure. The VERY FIRST thing to do is decide on a Permalink structure.  There are many discussions about the best way to do this.  You can read about it here, here, here, and finally this one has a few tips from the infamous Matt Cutts.   I’ll let you decide for yourself how you want to setup permalinks, but it’s best to make this decision early and STICK WITH IT.  For completeness I choose to go with /id%post_id%-%postname%.html.  For me this follows the best of the SEO practices that I read and keeps the ID at the beginning so if by chance you have two posts named the same they are each unique.
  6. Customizing WordPress with plug-ins. Now it’s time to dig into the real power of WordPress:  PLUG-INS!  There is literally hundreds of plug-ins, but I’m going to get into the vital ones that I chose were valuable.  Plug-ins are super easy to install and after reading the README on the first one you will quickly figure out how to install these things.
    • FeedSmithFeedBurner is the de facto standard for RSS and this is the easiest way to setup FeedBurner on a WordPress blog.  FeedBurner is one of the few reliable way to track RSS feed data.  Go setup a FeedBurner account and tweak the settings to your liking.  I’d recommend setting up E-mail alerts though this also so users can keep up with your post through that means if they choose.
    • Google Analytics for WordPress – Of course your going to want to track traffic on your blog and the price of Google Analytics is right, it’s FREE!  Set it up early so you can track traffic from the beginning.  This plug-in doesn’t use the latest ga.js script but I’ve read that the programmer is plan on updating it with this.
    • Google XML Sitemaps– if you want to inform the search engines about your site and your priority of content then a sitemap is a must.  I actually had some issues and had to create the sitemap.xml and sitemap.xml.gz files by hand and upload them to the server.  Also had to deactivate and activate the plug-in and wait a few minutes but everything went fairly smoothly at that point.  Set this puppy up and setup Webmaster tools on Google, Yahoo, and Live/MSN to submit your website so people will easily be able to find it on search engines.  Also as part of this install this plug-ins will create a robots.txt file for you.  Don’t know what this is you can find out more at robotstxt.org.
      This is also important and I would recommend adding the below to the file because you really don’t need or want a bot searching these folders eating up your bandwidth and it’s just pointless.

      User-agent: *
      Disallow: /wp-admin/
      Disallow: /wp-content/
      Disallow: /wp-includes/

    • WordPress.com Stats – Google analytics are great, but it doesn’t hurt setting up this free plug-ins to easily track stats.  One thing I’ve learned is that you really don’t want to dig into a Google Analytics account but once a month, but maybe you want to daily see how your stats are doing?  Well with this plug-in you can do that from the admin panel.

Well that’s enough for now.  With the above your blog will have the best chance of being found using solid SEO practices and your readers will easily be able to keep up with it through RSS and even e-mail subscriptions.  There is much more customizing you can do with Plug-ins and Themes, but this is the bare minimum to build an excellent blog.  The rest is more preference than anything.  I do plan on writing a follow-up post to explore some of the better WordPress plug-ins, where to find themes, and a little social networking advice.  I hope this tutorial has been helpful and thank you for taking the time to actually read it all the way through.

This post was written by:

Kyle James

Kyle James - who has written 227 posts on .eduGuru

Kyle is currently the Customer in Residence at HubSpot, a Co-Founder at nuCloud and  formerly the webmaster at Wofford College. Kyle is an active contributor in the social media spectrum. Although his background is technical, he claims to know a thing or two about marketing, but mostly that revolves around SEO, analytics, blogging, and social media. He has spoken at multiple national conferences and done countless webinars on topics ranging from e-mail marketing to social media and Web analytics. He's definitely a fairly nice guy.

Ways to Connect with Kyle

Kyle's Blog Kyle's Facebook Kyle's LinkedIn Bio Kyle's Twitter AccountKyle's Last.FM Music Kyle's Flickr Photos Michael's YouTube Profile Kyle's Digg Profile Kyle's Sphinn Kyle's Mixx Profile Kyle's Delicious Bookmarks Kyle's StumbleUpon Kyle's SlideShare Presentations Kyle's Last.FM Music 


82 Responses to “The Right Way to Setup a WordPress Blog and Why: Part 1”

  1. Avatar image
    Eric Cho Says:

    hi Kyle

    Great article on setting up wordpress. I came across your article at Sphinn.com. Im the administrator for the newly launched site SEMhints.com and would like to invite you to write similar search engine marketing articles like this one.

    Of course, you will also get a link back either within the content you write or in the bio, whichever you prefer.

    Let me know your thoughts and if you are interested. Your time is much appreciated.

    Eric Cho
    SEM analyst

  2. Avatar image
    Dp76 Says:

    Some of links is must be corrected, like “read all about itor”, “BlueHostseems”.

    And let me know what happened with you blog when you catch digg top?

    I’m talking about cache plugins.

  3. Avatar image
    Erica DeWolf Says:

    I love this post because its a simple, step by step how to guide for those individuals who want to start a blog but don’t know where to start. I have yet to put a post such as this together, so I’ll definitely be sending people here to read your suggestions.

    This post was extremely researched and well put together. Thanks!

  4. Avatar image
    yardfarmer Says:

    I am totally new to this so forgive my ignorance, but I installed the feedsmith feedburner for WordPress and set it up as suggested. However, there is no rss icon on my blog so that I might allow users to subscribe etc. Am I missing a piece of the puzzle here? There is am RSS1 widget available for my sidebar but I don’t understand the relationship (if any) to what I just installed. Thanks-

  5. Avatar image
    Houston Web Design Says:

    Another good plug in is the “All in One SEO Pack”

    This allows total control of title tags and meta data on every page.

  6. Avatar image
    Jovani Says:

    I came across your article, and I think you built a very convenient plan of your actions of setting up WordPress. You are not alone to be new in it.

  7. Avatar image
    EduRiffic Says:

    I think you have a good game plan here. Pretty much every site that I do is in WordPress, and I follow basically the same game plan you’ve laid out here.

    Good Stuff!

  8. Avatar image
    john Tedder Says:

    Very nice article Kyle. It helped me out a lot with setting up FeedBurner and Google Analytics for WordPress today. I started setting up my website and blog in August. Looking back, I followed the steps you listed in the article. Thank you.

  9. Avatar image
    Internet Marketing IQ Says:

    A very current topic which one needs to consider is Template Selection and making sure that the Template and Plug Ins are compatible with the new release of WP 2.7

    A lot of people who are not very familiar with WordPress 2.7 are choosing to upgrade (Because WordPress continually reminds you in the Dashboard) only to find out their templates and plug ins no longer work properly. Be sure to back up before any upgrade and to turn off plug ins before an upgrade. It seems like common sense, but people still upgrade wihtout backing up.

  10. Avatar image
    Study in Sweden Says:

    nice post i like it. Keep posting more.
    Thanks

  11. Avatar image
    affiliate.solutions Says:

    You have sparked some of my interest and I am going to do some additional research. Feel free to check out some my blog in the near future… as I just posted a great blog about the 36 Best WordPress plugins for 2009. thanks

  12. Avatar image
    nedsReog Says:

    Огромное вам пасибо! а еще посты на эту тему будут в будущем? Очень жду!

  13. Avatar image
    Drarve Says:

    Ценные рекомендации, беру на заметку

  14. Avatar image
    internet marketing services Says:

    Thanks for explaining about the setting of a wordpress blog.It helps me to update my seeting of word press

  15. Avatar image
    reading rec Says:

    These are some great tips and a really good post

  16. Avatar image
    vutveseeboto Says:

    Интересно, а почему так редко блог обновляете?

  17. Avatar image
    JarPaittecit Says:

    Благодарю!!!У Вас часто появляются очень интересные посты! Очень поднимаете мое настроение.

  18. Avatar image
    itenuetorn Says:

    большое спасибо!Взяла себе тоже-пригодится.

  19. Avatar image
    Idergy Says:

    Спасибо огромное. Почитал и понравилось. Картинок бы ещё

  20. Avatar image
    Serjio Says:

    Как можно связаться с автором блога для размещения постового у вас на сайте и сколько будет стоить?

  21. Avatar image
    Webshoptimizer Says:

    On the permalink structuur: I would always go for /%postname%/

    Even the .html is debatable. I prefer my URLs short and readable. On the flipside: you got to have unique titles otherwise it will conflict (then I would use the extra %postid)

    Good article. Goooo WordPress (i can’t live without it!)

  22. Avatar image
    Kninaappoibe Says:

    Спасибо за статью. Восхищена как всегда

  23. Avatar image
    FropIncicnor Says:

    Неплохой пост, но много лишнего.

  24. Avatar image
    Alkaph Says:

    И да прибудет с нами сила

  25. Avatar image
    Accoft Says:

    Огромное вам пасибо! а еще посты на эту тему будут в будущем? Очень жду!

  26. Avatar image
    Iodimi Says:

    Смертный, думать не надо о завтрашнем дне,
    Станем думать о счастье, о светлом вине.
    Мне раскаянья Бог никогда не дарует.
    Ну а если дарует – зачем оно мне?

  27. Avatar image
    fauksiles Says:

    Постебался, спасибо за ссылку ;)

  28. Avatar image
    eroffarrisix Says:

    Интересно, а почему так редко блог обновляете?

  29. Avatar image
    Dominic Says:

    Hello I am just looking around many different websites that offer domain names. Well this is rediculous on how many people out there charge you for so many items that don’t need to be bought and still get the same quality as the paid for sites. I have found out that all you need to really pay out is max $10 year and no more for any product on domain names. And you can get free hosting, website design programs, free personalized emails, free blog account, and free online picture site. ALL WITH A $10 PAYMENT. So don’t waste your time on paying anymore for what you need unless you are running a huge website. And still it shouldn’t cost more than $89.00 Year. By the way if the Blog owner lets me post this I have settled down with https://www.rnrstuff.net. But there are other like this site here that seem real nice. But Beware the Domain BIZ is still very young and it is still got alot of growing so get it while its young.

  30. Avatar image
    Irommacari Says:

    Я бы сказала о монументальности, грандиозности некоторых сюжетов. А назвала бы - “нефильтрованный реал”. На мой взгляд, красота - это все-таки другое: лучшее, чистое, избранное, заставляющее трепетать и поражаться. Можно найти красоту во всем, но всё скопом - не есть красота. Имхо.

  31. Avatar image
    BeekArom Says:

    вы шутите…21 век на дворе, неужели нет ничего достойного внимания, как энциклопедия.Милые мои, вот нет снега в
    гордах, это тоже тема и история, пересмотрите темы.Я почту просматриваю, мне шлют не пойми что, не знаю кто, столько мусора, может оно и нужно, но не в дневнике.Я так понимаю, дневник это часть твоей души.Нам дается право выбирать - пользуйтесь. А информация бесполезной не бывает

  32. Avatar image
    unottkab Says:

    Опубликовал на своем блоге вашу статью, и напечатол там конечно-же обратную ссылку на вас. Но вот зашел посмотреть поевился ли трекбек, а его нет…

  33. Avatar image
    NaFexexivelap Says:

    Почему этот вебсайт не имейте другую поддержку языков?

  34. Avatar image
    xyyhewy Says:

    Вот решил вам немного помочь и послал этот пост в социальные закладки. Очень надеюсь ваш рейтинг возрастет.

  35. Avatar image
    hebygaf Says:

    Хотя я уже и читал подобные посты, но не дает мне это покоя. Спасибо за пост.

  36. Avatar image
    vidifyw Says:

    Огромное вам человеческое спасибо, очень актуальная заметка.

  37. Avatar image
    bosageb Says:

    Спасибо за эту информацию, однако осмелюсь внести долю критики, мне кажется автор перестарался с изложением фактов, и статья получилась довольно академичной и “сухой”.

  38. Avatar image
    pooclosuct Says:

    Ты как обычно радуешь нас своими лучшими фразами спасибо, беру!

  39. Avatar image
    wechate Says:

    Не стану говорить за остальных, но именно мне этот пoст понравился.

  40. Avatar image
    rimuvyw Says:

    Интересно, а почему так редко блог обновляете?

  41. Avatar image
    Ogolev Says:

    Отличный пост. Хочу тоже поделиться прикольной ссылкой - скачать NFS Undercover

  42. Avatar image
    xyebony Says:

    Хотя я уже и читал подобные посты, но не дает мне это покоя. Спасибо за пост.

  43. Avatar image
    radazuh Says:

    Добавил в свои закладки. Теперь буду вас намного почаще читать!

  44. Avatar image
    jepukuq Says:

    Очень интересно!!! Только не очень могу понять как часто обновляется ваш блог?

  45. Avatar image
    секционные гаражные ворота Says:

    Слабо похоже на правду…

  46. Avatar image
    Интернет маркетинг москва Says:

    Спасибо. Сделал для себя немало выводов

  47. Avatar image
    мебель диваны Says:

    Не создавайте себе чужих проблем.

  48. Avatar image
    ENVISKREURNIP Says:

    Бошка разболелась. Необходимо что-либо править в своем бизнесе. К слову - перерегистрация ООО - весьма и весьма горячая тема на сегодняшний момент. Не профукать бы. Задачу указано решить до конца 2008 года. Мда…

  49. Avatar image
    бесплатный софт Says:

    Никогда не спорьте с умным: люди могут не заметить между вами разницы!

  50. Avatar image
    форум знаменитостей Says:

    Вот смотрю я на вас и не понимаю, почему вы все ещё не на форуме знаменитостей?