START YOUR OWN BLOG IN 4 EASY STEPS
Thank you for coming to our “Start your own Blog” page. By the time you’ve finished this article I’m confident you’ll have all the tools you need to make your own website or blog and start spreading information on subjects that matter to you.
In this age of Big Tech censorship and fake news where it’s becoming more and more difficult to find alternative media and get to the truth, we at Hidden Hand News thought that if every person who is looking for the truth could actually create or share information that wasn’t available on the fake mainstream media, on their own platforms, then we can finally move people away from using the big tech giants for their information! This is why we decided to put together a quick tutorial on how to start your own blog or website where you can write or share content that you feel needs to be seen by the people. We wanted to show how quick and easy it is to create your own site and take away some of the fear for some of the less tech savvy people out there, because trust me, if I can make a website so can you!
I’ve broken the tutorial down into 4 easy steps
- Choosing a Platform, Domain Name (Web Address) and Hosting Company
- Setting up WordPress on your Hosting platform
- Choosing and downloading a WordPress Theme
- Uploading a template for the WordPress Theme
1. Choosing a Platform, Domain Name (Web Address) and Hosting Company
There are multiple website platforms out there but the most popular and the one that gives you the most freedom in terms of being able to change the look and functionality of your website is WordPress, which is the platform we will be using for this tutorial.
The first thing you need when starting a website is a hosting company that stores your website on their servers. I’ve made a few websites over the last few years and used a few hosting providers and the best one I’ve used is SiteGround for it’s ease of use, customer service and price.
(Full disclosure, I am part of the SiteGround affiliate program but I’m only promoting SiteGround because I have used them on multiple websites (including HiddenHandNews.com) and they’ve always been fast and reliable).
SiteGround, like other hosting providers, also has a quick WordPress download function which allows you to download WordPress easily so you can start making your website straight away.
Here’s how you set up hosting.
SiteGround has 3 main plan options: StartUp, GrowBig and GoGeek
Choose whatever plan suits you best, however if you’re just starting I’d say just to go for the “StartUp” option then you can always upgrade in the future if you decide to create multiple websites. Once you have chosen your plan, it will ask you to register your domain. This is quite an important step as this is basically going to be the address where people will be able to find you on the internet, so bare these things in mind when coming up with your domain name:
- Try to keep it short so it’s easier to memorize
- Make sure that it relates to your brand name or business
- Think about niche related words to include in the domain (without making it too long)
Once you’ve registered your domain you will be asked for your personal details, payment details, and a username and password to access SiteGround. Also, under purchase information it will give you the option of paying for 12 months in advance, which gives you a discount, or you can pay monthly. There is also an option for “Domain Privacy” which protects your personal information. It is optional but I always choose this option just in case.
2. Setting up WordPress on your Hosting platform
After your account is set up, an “Account Setup Wizard” will appear as a pop-up window when you first login to the SiteGround “User Area” as below.
Choose the “WordPress” option in the setup wizard. Follow the steps including giving a username and password which will give you access to your WordPress website, and WordPress should now be setup on your domain / website. It should take about 2 minutes to fully install. If you have any problems, here is a link to the SiteGround website setup page documentation.
Congratulations, you now have a website!!
To login you simply type your website’s domain name into the URL bar then add “/wp-admin” (eg: http://www.hiddenhandnews.com/wp-admin). You’re then taken to the WordPress login page for your site which looks like this
You then type the username and password that you gave when you setup WordPress on SiteGround with the WordPress setup wizard and you should be in your WordPress dashboard.
There are a couple of things that need to be done before we get started on the look of your website.
Making sure that “Permalinks” is set to “Post Name” will make sure that the titles of all your pages and posts on your site will appear in the URL. This helps with search engine optimization as Google can tell what the content is about more easily…unless it’s trying to suppress it 😉
If you look at the left hand side of the WordPress dashboard this is the WordPress sidebar. Go to “Settings” on the sidebar, then click on “Permalinks”.
Once there, choose the “Post Name” option then click the “Save Changes” button at the bottom.
Make sure your site is public
Make sure that your site is public as this will allow it to be picked up by Google more easily for search engine optimization. Your site should have this unchecked by default, but just in case, on the WordPress dashboard sidebar go to “Settings” then “Reading”. Make sure that the “Discourage search engine…” box is unchecked, then click the “Save Changes” button at the bottom.
Set title and tagline of your website
Your title and tagline appears throughout your site. To set them to what you want just go to “Settings” on the WordPress dashboard sidebar, then “General” and there you can change the “Site Title” to your brand or website name. Then the “Tagline” you can set to your slogan or what you think is appropriate for your website. Once you’re done don’t forget to click the “Save Changes” button at the bottom.
Allow or Disable Comments
Allowing comments on your website could be good for creating a community around your website. However the drawbacks are that you will have to keep an eye on any spam or trolling that goes on within your site, which can be quite time consuming. The choice is yours.
You can find the check box for allowing or disabling comments on your WordPress dashboard sidebar under “Settings” then “Discussion”. Then once you’ve decided, click the “Save Changes” button at the bottom.
Moving between Backend (Dashboard) and Frontend
To see what your site actually looks like, go to the top left corner of your WordPress dashboard and just hover your mouse cursor over the house icon. A dropdown should appear saying “Visit Site”. Click on this and it will take you from the backend of your site on the WordPress dashboard, to the frontend which will be how your site looks to the public. To switch back just go to the house icon again and click “Dashboard”
There is a default theme that comes with WordPress and your site should initially look something like this.
3. Choosing and downloading a WordPress Theme
One of the best things about using WordPress is that you can change the look and feel of your website by downloading different designs called “Themes”.
There are a tonne of free themes out there, so if you are restricted by your budget, you can still make a pretty decent website with these free themes. Premium themes (paid themes) range from about $10 to $200, with the average price being around $60. You can find a lot of free themes through the WordPress dashboard and these themes have been authorized by WordPress. The way to find them through your WordPress dashboard is to go to “Appearances” then “Themes”.
If you then click the big “Add New Theme” button with the “+” sign, this should take you to the library of free WordPress themes where you can search for what type of theme you want. Just to let you know, although these themes are free, there are a lot that have a premium version which gives the themes extra functionality, which you might need to make your website the way you want it.
I’ve used multiple themes, but if you do have the budget to buy a premium theme then I recommend getting Elegant Themes and this tutorial will be based on how to setup your website with their themes. Their price plan is a bit on the high end, but is quite simple with just 2 options. One of their options is for an annual subscription for $89 and the other is a lifetime access subscription for $249. (Full disclosure, I am part of the Elegant Themes affiliate program but I’m only promoting Elegant Themes because I now use it on all of my sites, including HiddenHandNews.com, and it’s so easy compared to the other themes I’ve used
Both of Elegant Themes options include access to their two themes. One called “Divi” (which can be used to make pretty much any website you can think of) and another theme called “Extra”, which is more specialized for making a blog or news content website.
You also get access to their “Bloom” email optin plugin which is used to get people to subscribe to your email list. It can be customized to make it look the way you want and you can easily link it to your MailChimp account or any other email list building account your have. You also get access to their “Monarch” social media sharing plugin which allows people to share your content on all of their social media platforms. Also, you can use all of this on as many websites as you want for as long your subscription is for (either the 1 year or lifetime options). This is quite rare with premium themes as they normally charge more for use on multiple sites, and even that is usually limited. But the thing that really stands out is that they also provide over one hundred website layout packs, which basically gives you a template to make pretty much any type of website, ranging from Restaurant to Fashion websites, whereas most other themes are built specifically for one type of website.
The vast majority of their layout packs are to be used with their “Divi” theme, however I actually used the “Extra” theme to make HiddenHandNews.com with a newspaper layout pack, but I will go into more detail with that later. I also should point out that if you’re not satisfied with their products, they have a 30 day money back guarantee.
I’m now going to take you through setting up your Elegant Theme account so you can download their themes. Out of their price plans, I’d suggest just going for the annual subscription for $89 initially, and if you decide to upgrade to the “lifetime access” option within that year, then you only have to pay the difference. Once you click the “Sign Up Today” button you are taken to this page.
Here you simply choose a username, password, fill out your details then choose either bank payment or Paypal as your payment method. Hit the “Complete Registration” button then you are taken to this screen where you need to fill in either your bank details or sign into your Paypal account.
Once your account is set up, you’ll see this screen where you can download all of Elegant Themes products which you now have access to.
I will now show you how to download both the “Divi” and “Extra” (which is basically the same process) and then I will show how to download the website layout packs for “Divi” and the newspaper layout for the “Extra” theme.
How to download the Divi / Extra Themes to your WordPress website
When logged into your Elegant Themes account, click on the “My Downloads” tab at the top right hand corner, then go to either the “Download The Divi Theme” or “Download Extra” button. The process is exactly the same for downloading both themes. Just remember that the Extra theme is more for blogging and creating websites with lots of news type information (I used Extra for HiddenHandNews.com), and the Divi theme can be used for pretty much any type of website, including blogging sites, although it’s not specifically laid out for blogging like the Extra theme. So, once you hit the “Download Divi / Extra” button this screen will come up asking where on your PC or laptop you would like to save the theme to. Choose a location (eg: Desktop or C: Drive) and hit “Save”
Next, go to your WordPress dashboard and go to “Appearances” then “Themes”. Click the big “Add New Theme” with the “+” sign. (I already have the Extra theme downloaded in the image below in case it confuses you)
Then click the “Upload Theme” button towards the top left of the screen.
Then click the “Browse” button
Then find the Divi or Extra theme on your PC or laptop where you saved it earlier, click on it then click “Open”
It will bring you back to this page, and you now click “Install Now”.
You’ve now installed the Divi or Extra theme. We just need to make sure the theme is activated now. Go to “Appearance” then “Themes”. Hover your mouse cursor over the theme you just downloaded, and if the Divi / Extra is not activated, the “Activate” button should appear in the bottom right hand corner of the theme. Just click “Activate”.
If something has gone wrong and this hasn’t worked for some reason, here is a link to the Elegant Themes documentation on how to install the Divi theme (which is exactly the same way to install the Extra theme) and they also have YouTube videos attached showing you how to do it.
4. Uploading a template for the WordPress Theme
How to install Newspaper layout on Extra theme (Template I used for HiddenHandNews.com)
I used the Newspaper layout as the template for making HiddenHandNews.com. I made a few modifications but the basic framework was this. I’m sure with a little bit of tweaking, with your own logo and content, your website will look better than mine 🙂
I’m just going to provide the link to Elegant Themes tutorial on how to download this as they explain every step. I’ll also provide the YouTube video link separately in case you want to see each step as well.
How to install Website Layout Packs for Divi
To install the website layout packs for Divi, I am also going to provide a link to the Elegant Theme tutorial on how to do this as it is really well laid out and breaks everything down step by step.
Additional Resources on how to Customize your Website
Here are a few additional resources on how to use the Divi or Extra theme so you can get your website looking the way you want. I’ve also included a few YouTube channels from people that I learnt a lot from, and I hope you do too!