Setting Up a WordPress Site for Professional Writing

Okay, I've been bouncing around a bit more than I anticipated, but I couldn't wait to write about this next topic.

I know there are a lot of writers out there who want to publish more. Setting up your own site can be daunting which is why many authors relegate their content to free Blogger sites. But you don't get a lot of control there and you certainly don't have a cool custom domain!

In this post, I'll show you how to get started with WordPress for your own website.

Pick a domain

First thing's first: you need a domain.

Before you get too caught up with a name you love, check if it's available. You can go to Namecheap.com and check for any domain name there. My advice is to come up with as many domain name ideas as you can and then use the bulk check. Again, please don't get your hopes up about any single domain until you see it's available. You'll go nuts cursing the domain squatters charging thousands for otherwise $10 domains.

People give all sorts of detailed recommendations about how to pick a domain name, but you know what? It's mostly bologne. Pick a name that's available that you like. That's it.

Oh yea, one rule: don't pick anything that will get you in legal trouble! No brand names in the domain.

Get hosting

The next thing you're going to want to do is signup for hosting. You'll use WordPress to add files and content to your site. The host delivers these files to people when they visit your site. No host = no site.

There are lots of good hosts to pick from like DreamHost and Bluehost. I personally recommend Bluehost and there's a quick setup guide here you can follow.

Onwards!

Install WordPress

I know, this is supposed to be the scary part, but it's actually the simplest. Regardless of which host you signup with, they'll have a WP auto-installer for you. You basically just fill out a form like this and they spin up a site for you:

Easy, right?

Add a theme

The next step is to get a great theme.

Themes in WordPress control how your site looks. You'll probably want to pick a minimalist theme that emphasizes your writing. There are some nice themes in this list for bloggers/authors. Pick one out and then you upload a zip file through your dashboard. It should just take a minute.

Every theme has different options to configure, but since you're using a simple theme for writers, it won't be too overwhelming. Not to mention, it's your site so it's fun to setup and customize.

Start writing!

Now I can't tell you what to write, but hopefully you've got some ideas! You can start publishing write away once your WP sites is online. Not much more to say!

Tell people about it

And the final step is to tell people about your new site. Be proud of what you made and let everyone know. Sharing with your friends, family, and existing audience is the quickest way to get a nice boost to your traffic. That will give you momentum and keep web publishing fun.

If you need help with getting traffic, check out my post on social media marketing.

I hope you've found this guide helpful for launching your first site. It's a big leap for anyone new to the web, but as a guy whose been working online for a looong time, I can tell you it's incredible rewarding.