Basic Website Content
You’ve got a website – but it’s going to look really, really boring with no content. So we are going to spend just a few minutes setting up the basic things you need to make it yours! Follow the steps below, but keep in mind there are literally infinite options. You don’t need to make it ‘perfect’ right now. You can change the appearance of your blog at any time, but until you have writing on there it’s not going to look good – so just get it looking ‘okay’ and move on to writing.
Login to WordPress
You definitely should have recorded the username and password for your blog. This would have been when you installed wordpress – not to be confused with your ‘cpanel’ username and password (which is for the hosting account, not for wordpress).
One thing you might have missed is the web address that you login at – this will be a page called ‘wp-admin’. You should bookmark this page for easy access and make sure to check the ‘remember me’ box too.
*After the first time you login, you might see something from the web hosting company asking you to setup / install etc.
Ignore it and continue to the steps below!
Install a Theme
The theme is the overall appearance of your site – but can also include a lot of customization. You can change themes really easily even after your site is built. There are 1000s of free themes and paid ones too. For now, just choose a free one.
There are so many themes – pick one you like the look of and move on! Come back later to play around.
Once it’s installed, activate it. This will change the appearance of your site.
Customize your Theme
It’s very important to understand that your theme contains many customizations – and each theme is different. The options below may not all be available in the theme you chose. This is where you will need to do some experimentation. If the theme is too confusing to customize – change it again. But in any case – don’t go into too much detail right now. Review each setting and adjust it according to common sense!
The theme shown below is just an example. Choose your own!
One thing that is standard, is to have your posts appear on the homepage of your site.
This is under ‘static front page’.
About Me Page
Your website is your brand. People will engage more with the writing & articles if they know who you are. As a blogger / freelance writer this is very important. Everyone who comes to your site is a potential employer, customer or contact! Treat the site like your own online resume for yourself as a writer and make sure your about me page is awesome.
Most WordPress installations have an ‘about’ page already installed. *If not it’s not already there – just ‘add new’.
For some reason, wordpress hides a lot of useful formatting buttons. Click the button below to show them.
Write the ‘About Me’
If you want to add a photo of yourself, that’s a great idea. Do so using the ‘add media’ button.
Add Links to your Published Work
Somewhere on your about me page – you should link to the articles you have had published online – any paid work or guest posts for prominent sites.
First, write the part you want people to see as the link. This is called the ‘anchor‘ text.
Then highlight the part you want, and use the ‘insert link‘ button to add a link.
Make sure you check the box ‘open in a new tab‘ so that the link doesn’t take people away from your site.
View the Finished Page
Once you’re done – you can publish the page, and view it. You don’t need to make it exactly like below… its just a guide!
Add a Contact Form Plugin
Creating the Contact Form
Creating the Contact Me Page
Publish some Examples of your Writing
This part is pretty crucial, you’re a writer – so you need to write! But only post completely original content for this site.
Never publish any writing that has already been published on any other website – even if you wrote it!
Google’s search engine can ‘read’ your website. If it sees writing that it has already seen on another site – it will assume you are just stealing your content (which is very common on the internet, and very bad!) so it will banish your articles to the bottom of any searches and nobody will ever read them ! You can still get credit for that work by adding a link to the article at the website where it is published as shown on the ‘about me’ page.
Note – you can publish anything that’s not on another website.
You can publish old emails, letters, reports, school assignments… so have a look and see if you have this stuff sitting around ! Any examples of your writing will be fine. Remember the goal here is to advertise yourself as a freelance writer.
You can now see the posts appearing on the homepage of your site.
Remove the ‘Hello World’ Post
This post was there just as a placeholder for your site until you added your own posts, so we can remove it.
Write more, Play more!
Ok that’s the basics – but there’s a lot more you can do. The rest you will learn over time. You can find the answer to anything on google. You can keep this site and improve it forever. Take some time, keep at it – and you will build something great!
Probably the best resource for WordPress Beginners is…. WpBeginner!