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Customizing the Look of Your Blog
This is part 2 of the blog series “How to Start a Beauty Blog That Makes Money“. Click here to go to Part 1
Let’s get started….
I have included videos in this section because it will be a better learning experience.
Take a look at the videos below to help you understand how to use WordPress. Before we can move further, you’ll need a basic understanding of your blog’s back office.
Don’t worry about trying to master WordPress in 1 day. You won’t. I’m serious 🙂 The more your work with it, however, the better you get. Trust me.
It took me about 60 days to get really good with WordPress. In that time I knew enough, to create more blogs with ease and that’s what I did.
You’ll need a few weeks to really get good. It’s actually pretty darn easy once you know where everything is!
In Part 3 I give some recommendations for additional training for WordPress to help you. Be sure to check that out.
Ok… Let’s go over some terminology.
Theme – The Face of your blog / Custom Design of your blog
Posts – Articles you will write on your blog for your blog visitors enjoyment.
Comments – Where you find comments left by visitors of your site
Appearance – Where you change look of your theme. Modify the theme, menu, header, background and widgets and more.
Plugins – 3rd party software that give your blog functionality and allow you to get really creative with building your blog without coding.
Settings– Your blogs administration area. Modify your blogs inner workings.
Users – Others you give authorization to edit your blog
Categories – Used to organized your post into sections
Media – Where all your uploaded photos are housed
Left Black Sidebar – Located to the left of your screen inside wordpress. Houses your dashboard and all the tabs above.
Let’s take a look at your WordPress Dashboard:
Get very familiar with your dashboard. You will use it a lot. Play around with the different tabs, so you’ll know what each does and can recall it when you need it. Practice makes perfect!
Logging into Your WordPress Blog
You will almost never need to log directly into Bluehost. You will go directly to your blog’s login in page whenever you want to modify it.
Access your blog by typing into your browser’s address bar your blog’s domain name and adding /wp-admin to the end of it.
You will arrive at the login Page.
Enter the Username and Password you set up or the Username and Password Bluehost emailed you if you did not set up these options.
Watch the following short videos then we will proceed to customizing your blog!
Video 1 – Overview of WordPress. If you have installed WordPress in Part 1 You can skip to video 2
Video 2 – How to Login. Understanding the Admin area
Video 3 – How to Create a Page on Your Blog
Video 4 – How to Create a Blog Post
Video 5 – Using Categories
Video 6 – How to Use Plugins
Video 7 – How to Install a Theme and Customize it
Video 8 – Working with Menu’s and Widgets
Video 9 – Creating and Managing Users
Video 10 – A Word on Marketing Your Blog
Now Lets Customize Your Blog
Now that you have a basic Idea of how to work within WordPress. Let’s start customizing your blog.
Step 1 – Install a theme
In Part 1 of this Blogging Guide you should have picked and installed a Free Theme.
If you wish to change your theme, from your dashboard side bar:
>Click on Appearance>Themes
Choose a theme of your choice, install it and activate it.
**Later you’ll want to purchase a more robust theme like a premium theme. Premium themes have more functionality and more customizations.
Get to know how to use the free WordPress theme first so you are comfortable with using themes.
When you are ready for a premium theme:
I recommend the Socrates Theme for WordPress. This is a great theme for new bloggers. I like it because it isn’t complicated and very simple. When your are new some themes will have a major learning curve.
If you are more advanced, however the Divi Theme from Elegant Themes is also a great theme.
Check these out when you get everything complete.
Step 2- Create a Page
Let’s create some legal pages for your website. The FTC requires bloggers have these pages on their website where it can be easily found:
You must disclose if you make money from your blog and if links you use will go to a 3rd party like an affiliate.
Other pages that will be helpful for your blog readers are:
- About Me (or Us)
- Contact Us
From the dashboard sidebar:
>Click on Pages > Add new
Create each of the above pages. Title each page as listed above. Don’t worry about what to type, just type “coming soon” for now. You can go back and edit each page later. For now we want to get the pages created.
Step 3 – Organize Your Pages into a Navigation Bar
Once your have these pages set up. You’ll want them to display across the top of your site in the navigation bar of your blog so it is clearly visible.
You will work in the menu section to set this up.
You want something similar to this to display across your site in your navigation bar:
*Depending on what theme you chose, your navigation bar may be located in a different spots… Like the very very top of your blog for example.
From your dashboard side bar:
>Click on Appearance > Menus
This is where you will set up your Navigation bar.
For more of a visual check out the Video below:
Step 4- Install Plugins:
To start you’ll need some plugins that add to the functionality of your blog. Plugins give your blog added features without you having to hire a web designer or your having to know coding.
The plugin we will start with is the YOAST SEO Plugin.
From your dashboard sidebar:
>Click Plugins>Add New
The Yoast SEO plugin is for helping with Search Engine Optimization. This plugin will become very useful later as you start to ad content to your site.
It will help you better optimize the content you write for search engines like Google.
For now install it and get the feel for adding plugins. You do not need it at this point as you haven’t started adding content.
Two other plugins I highly recommend you install at some point are a backup plugin and a site security plugin. Both can be found in the Plugins section of WordPress.
This is just the start for plugins. When you become more familiar with WordPress, you will want to add more. Just a warning though, you are going to have to keep yourself from going plugin crazy because its addictive. Too many plugins and it can slow your site down, so be careful. There are some really cool plugins that can make your site awesome when used correctly!
Step 5- Add a Widget
Widgets let you customize your blogs sidebar without having to know any coding. It’s great for beginners because they are drag and drop and gives your blog more added features.
With widgets you can add photo’s, your email capture box, Facebook like box, banners and more to your blogs sidebar.
For this demonstration, let’s add the Calendar Widget to your sidebar. You can remove this later if you like. This is to get you familiar with adding widgets.
From your dashboard sidebar:
>Click on Appearance>Widgets
To add a the calendar widget to your sidebar drag it to your sidebar and save it if prompted. There are 2 ways to remove it. You can simply drag it back to the widget area or you can delete it.
Depending on what kind of widget it is will determine how you want to remove it. Some widgets may contain settings you don’t want to delete but might want to use another time. In this case you wouldn’t delete it, you would drag it back to the widget area to keep everything as is for later use. Deleting it would delete the all the settings.
Step 6 – Create Your First Blog Post
To take the guess work out of what to write about right now. Lets create a short Welcome Post that welcomes visitors to your site and let them know what your site is about.
When done Update and preview how it looks.
We will keep it short for now. You can go back later and modify it.
I have done an example post for our example blog “BeautyandaCupof Tea.com”. Create one for your blog.
Example Welcome Post:
From Your Dashboard Sidebar:
Click Post>Add New
Don’t worry about getting it just right. Right now you want to get the feel for adding a post.
Try to add a photo from your computer too!
Woohoo!! You have just customized your blog!
There is still a lot more you can do. We’ve gone over the basics and have given you enough to get started.
If you haven’t completed everything above, no worries. Come back to it and work on it.
This is the beginning of a great journey. You got this!
Let’s move on….
How to make Your Blog Profitable
Awesome job! So far we have set up a domain name, got hosting and have customized your blog!
Now it’s time to move on to How to make your blog profitable!
Click Here to go to Part 3