A Quick WordPress (Self-Hosted) Starter Kit

[Read this on why this is important for you, as a writer short and long-term!]

A Publishing Toolbox!
A Publishing Toolbox!

If you’ve been around this blog for any length of time then you probably already know that I’m a big fan of WordPress (both the .com and .org).

Although I’m not overly dogmatic about this particular technology as I am more inclined to recommend anything to anyone as long as they are blogging, I believe that WordPress has a lot to offer both the casual and serious digital publisher.

I especially believe in the “independent web,” a web that celebrates real control of the content and stories that you write. I believe that’s vitally important for all bloggers and all online creators.

So, whether you are an artisan wordsmith, a crafter of pixels, a photographic genius, a small business (or super-large), or a coding genius and anything in between, a blog should be part of your repertoire!

Right? Regardless of where you fall on the creative spectrum you know how special it is to share your work with others, by showcasing your raw potential made manifest through sweat, blood, and tears.

Now, I’ve written a ton on how to get started with WordPress and really upping your WordPress game in this mega-series and I have a few more series that you probably want to check out at some point in time here, but I thought I’d put together a quick-and-easy starter kit and guide to fast-track those that really want to get started strongly.

Here’s how to get a WordPress blog up and running quickly:

1. Get Hosting

The first thing you want to do is find the best hosting solution that will fit your particular need. There are tons of options out there but we’ve found great success for all types of budgets with the following solutions:

  1. Bluehost
  2. DigitalOcean
  3. Dreamhost
  4. ClickHOST (Promo Code: Desk20 for 20% off in celebration for Desk App)
  5. Site5
  6. MediaTemple

(These 6 options are listed in order of pricing although it’s always subject to change.)

Once you sign-up for one of those services you’ll be able to install WordPress.

2. Install WordPress

All of the above solutions have what we call a “1-click install” process that allows you to get up to speed very quickly. There are incredible support documents available for all of the above hosts which should be easily accessible.

For instance, here’s what I do every single time I install a new test site on one of my servers (I have a bunch…):

This is via MediaTemple, btw., and sorry for the background noise but I was able to put this together while on a crappy wifi in a local coffee shop!

3. Choose a WordPress Theme

Now for some of the fun parts! The next step is to choose how you’d like your WordPress blog to be styled. For the uninitiated, these “templates” or designs are called “WordPress Themes” and there are many that are free and many that are paid.

Now, to be clear, you do not have to have any custom theme or paid theme as the default themes are really great. In fact, I used the Default 2012 Theme for a long time and loved it!

But, for those who want to have a small investment it can go a long way, especially to support your growing brand, business, and blog. If you’re not interested in paying for a WordPress Theme then there is really only one place that is 100% trustworthy to download from and that’s the official WordPress.org Theme Repository. Don’t just use Google for themes as that can be incredibly dangerous.

If you’re interested in premium themes, here’s a curated list of themes that I’ve used in the past from really great companies.:

As you can see, there’s a ton of great options out there for you!

4. Get Publishing & Have Fun!

Now the best part: Publishing. You can feel great since you’ve got your own self-hosted copy of WordPress and will never again have to worry about losing your hard work or creative content!

Enjoy, and please tell others about your awesome success!

5. Bonus: Level Up!

Finally, you could check out my Goodies Area for great series posts on how to take your blog to the next level. Take a gander, if you’d like!

Hope that helps!


Also published on Medium.