WordPress 12-Step Set-Up Guide

This is a twelve-step process I use to set up a new WordPress blog. This is for blogs that are self-hosted on a host that provides a cpanel (not for the free WordPress blogs from wordpress.com). These are not the steps in detail, they are just the overview. I may be writing more in detail about issues or instructions for each one at a later time.

Before setup:

Gather the folders for all plugins and put them into one folder to speed up set up later.

Have your WordPress theme selected and downloaded and put it in a folder you can find easily.

Step 1: Log into the cpanel of the site and click on Fantastico Icon

Step 2: Select wordpress and install wordpress (which installs the core files) 

Step 3: Log out of the cpanel and launch your FTP software. Using FTP, copy the folder of the theme into the wp-content/themes folder

Step 4: Using FTP, copy the folders of the plugins into wp-content/plugins folder

Step 5: Log into WordPress dashboard on one site, go to Appearance and select/activate the theme.

Step 6: Go to Plugins and ativate plugins – also for any plugin that requires it, look under Settings for that plugin to add information. One example is the All-in-one SEO plugin that will need the title, description and keywords added.

Step 7: Go to Settings (on the dashboard) and select “General” to check that the url and email are showing correct info

Step 8: Under Settings, select “Writing” and add the Update Services that you want to ping

Step 9: Under Settings, select “Permalinks” and change the Custom Structure to /%category%/%postname%/  … or just to /%postname%/ (note, I recommend this for advanced users only – it will require an .htaccess file and that can get complicated).

Step 10: Click Pages on the Dashboard and add or edit pages for “about us” and other pages if necessary (such as terms or privacy policies) – a Contact us page can be added with a form in it too if you are using a plug in such as cformsII.

Step 11: Select Appearance and then select widgets to add items to the sidebar of your blog (if you are using widget ready themes).

Step 12: Click “Posts” from the dashboard and select “Categories” – enter the categories you want posts to be shown under

Now your blog is ready for you to write your posts. Go to it, and be original, add value with what you share and be interesting!

Note: If you are setting up multiple websites, keep a matrix (using an excel spreadsheet or create a Word file or even a Google doc) of the urls and cpanel logins, as well as wordpress user names and passwords for easy reference.

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WordPress Maintenance and Security

It has become more and more important to do some routine maintance to your WordPress blogs. Many people love the fact that WordPress is easy to get started with and to use to post articles. But, most of the newer users of this blogging platform have no idea of the maintenance issues involved with their website. I also have heard recently that keeping your blog updated may help with search engine results (more about that will be in another post).

Here are a few things that are recommended to do – especially for those of you that host your own blog:

1,  Keep your version updated

2.  Update/ugrade your plugins

3.  Backup your database

Easy Way to Get the Latest Version of WordPress

The older, unpatched versions of WordPress (older than 2.8.4) are not secure and are vulnerable to being attacked by a worm that will infect your site. This is what WordPress.org says about it:

Right now there is a worm making its way around old, unpatched versions of WordPress. This particular worm, like many before it, is clever: it registers a user, uses a security bug (fixed earlier in the year) to allow evaluated code to be executed through the permalink structure, makes itself an admin, then uses JavaScript to hide itself when you look at users page, attempts to clean up after itself, then goes quiet so you never notice while it inserts hidden spam and malware into your old posts.

These things are similar to doing routine maintenance on an automobile – and the ones I am recommending are as easy as putting in windshield wiper fluid or adding oil to your engine. I won’t recommend the ones that would be as difficult as doing a complete oil change (because I am too busy to do any of these things the long and boring way). So, my recommendations are to use more automated methods (which have been created by brilliant programmers for people like me to use – I am not a programmer).  I have written before about a plugin that helps you upgrade your WordPress to the latest version in an automated step-by-step process. And really, this is so easy! You don’t have to download software and know anything about programming. All you need to do is download a plugin and put it in the “plugins” folder. To get the plugin go here: Download Upgrade Plugin. Then you log into your wp-admin (WordPress admin) dashboard. Click on the Plugins on the left, activate your new plugin. Then, at the top of your WordPress administrative dashboard a prompt will appear that says, “Click Here to Automatically Upgrade WordPress to latest Version.” Basically, if you click that there will be instructions that walk you through upgrading. It’s so easy to do, and it will keep your site more secure.

Update/upgrade WordPress Plugins

I also think you should try to keep any plugins updated. Here is some good information on the WordPress.org site about site maintenance – http://codex.wordpress.org/WordPress_Site_Maintenance. Ugrading plugins usually only requires you to click the “update now” links on the plugins page. Sometimes you may have to actually download the latest plugin and then upload it to your hosted files.

Keep Backups of your WordPress Database

After you get your site upgraded, there is also a plugin to use to have backups of the database (which holds all the posts, comments, user and other data for your blog). If you were ever to experience a site problem or hosting problem, you can use the backups to set your site back up. My favorite plugin for scheduling these backups is the WP-DB-Backup plugin. This one is really easy and can be downloaded here: WordPress Database Backup.

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Ecommerce Website Building Tools

Personal or Business Website Builder with e-commerce capabilities that won’t “break the bank”

The Internet is becoming the only “real estate” worth investing in at the moment. So many people are trying to sell you on how to make money online. The websites that sell products or have a shopping cart that is integrated for taking payments are called e-commerce websites. Websites used to be time consuming to create and many web owners had to depend on a webmaster to fix things or changes things. Those days are over!

I have built websites from scratch and have started using tools that help build them faster and easier – to save time and money. There are several that are not worth the time, and I’ve noticed a trend of large companies coming up with “make a website” kits. Some of these are probably good, while others may not have the options you really need. I want to recommend one website builder (for business or personal websites) that is a great, low-cost solution with tons of features. The place to go for building your own website is Quick Pro Website Builder.


Free 15-day trial – Full featured service to
make your own website with customizable templates.

Wanna know what features are included?

Here is a summary of the features and they are compared to other popular website builders: Compare Website Builders. A few of those features are:

  • Builder starts by helping you build a site for your industry
  • Domain registration included
  • Hosting included
  • Customer Database and Stats
  • Add Appointment Schedulers, Calendars, Feedback & Contact Forms
  • Auto Responder, Article Pages, and Event Calendars
  • Ecommerce Shopping Cart  integrated
  • Easily Add Product Pictures and Descriptions to your Ecommerce Shop
  • Configure Shipping and Sales Tax
  • Merchant Account

And there are more features that you won’t need at first but can grow into. They have a package that includes hosting and there are many templates to choose to start building a website in 5 minutes. Then, you can upload your own photos or website banner and change everything. You can also add e-commerce (a shopping cart) easily because they are one of the few services that have that ability as a built in option. Again, you don’t have to worry about what to do with hosting because they host your website for you!

If you are thinking of making a website to promote your business (such as a doctor’s office, dental office, vet services, real estate, automobile sales, beauty salon, books, gardening supplies, etc.) or sell your own products (including crafts, knitting, clothing, beads, or gifts), please check out this great place to make a website! I also want to add that their customer service is excellent – something that is hard to find online these days. Ask for any kind of help, and you will get a detailed reply (plus they have online help available).

Note: for selling affiliate products, read this post: My Secret Weapon – Building Affiliate Marketing Websites

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