Step 4: Compose and Design Your Blog
In the previous step, you have learned the basics of using your blog with WordPress as a blogging platform. WordPress has many other tools regarding the design and interface of your blog. After buying a domain, installing WordPress, andÂ learning to use your blog. It is the time toÂ design it according to your requirements.
You have a number of settings in WordPress to configure your blog in the desired manner. You can make it more attractive and user-friendly using these tools. Also, there are various tricks and tips to personalize it in a better way.
Setting a Theme for Your Blog
Every blog has a suitable theme according to its niche. A blog with an attractive theme is more likely to get noticed and excel. On the other hand, if you use a theme that doesn’t go with your blog, it won’t look good and therefore, won’t be able to attract more and more users. You can make changes in your theme by clicking on ‘Themes’ under ‘Appearance’ section. You have over 2000 fully professional, free and customizable themes.
There are some themes that are already installed on your blog. Or, you can add new themes by clicking on ‘Add New’.
When you click on ‘Add New’, you will be taken to a new page with a number of themes under the categories – Featured, Popular, Latest, and Favorites.
You can also search themes of your choice and apply filters for a better search.
You can see ‘Preview’ of the theme or ‘Install’ it by clicking on the respective buttons.
Once the theme is installed, you can ‘Activate’ it to make it functional on your blog.
ThemeForest provides you the best themes under various categories at a reasonable price. It has not only WordPress themes but also consists of HTML and CMS themes in the categories like marketing, e-commerce, entertainment, wedding, etc.
ThemeZilla provides WordPress themes in different categories such as magazine, agency, business, etc. On this site, you can have Single License, One Year Membership, and Forever Membership. All of them have different services and benefits.
On ThemeFuse, you can get WordPress themes under the categories like travel, blogging, photography, real estate, food, etc. You can also try their themes for free. Here, you have standard themes, developer themes, and club membership for different prices.
MOJOthemes also provides Joomla and Tumblr themes along with WordPress themes. There is a range of interesting themes with reasonable prices on this website. You are also offered free support and upgrades by MOJOthemes.
While visiting ElegantThemes, you can see various beautiful themes but you first need to register on this site in order to download any theme.
All these sites also provide plugins for your websites. They are discussed in an upcoming section.
Menus are displayed on the homepage as tabs. They are links to other web pages of your site. To create menus on your blog, you need to click on ‘Menus’ under ‘Appearance’ section.
You can add new menus to your blog by clicking on ‘Create a New Menu’.
You can also edit different menus separately by clicking on the drop down sign in front of their names.
The location of menus can also be decided in WordPress. It is available under ‘Menu Settings’.
Widgets add features and content to the sidebars of your site. When you install plugins, they create their own widgets. However, WordPress provides some inbuilt widgets that you can add to your sidebars. The most common widgets are search, calendar, categories, etc. You can manage widgets by clicking on ‘Widgets’ under ‘Appearance’ section.
It will lead you to a new page. Here, you can add widgets to your bar by moving them from available widgets to the right side to place them on the decided location like home sidebar, footer 1, footer 2, etc.
Customize the Design
After installing your favorite theme, your blog now has a new design. You can further customize it. Click on ‘Customize’ under the ‘Appearance’ tab. You will be taken to a new page from where you can make changes related to site identity, colors, menus, widgets and other sections of your blog.
- ) Colors: With this option, you can change the color of your header and background.
- ) Background: You can change the background image of your blog from here.
- ) Menus: From here, you can make changes to the menus of your blog.
- ) Widgets: Widgets are the items in your sidebar menu. You can remove or add items to this sidebar menu.
- ) Site Identity: You can change theÂ site title and tagline by using this section of customization.
You can save all the settings by clicking on ‘Save’ button.
Manage Your User Details
You can add your name, email address, and biographical info by clicking on Your Profile under Users in the left menu. When all information is provided, click on Update Profile.
Add New User
By clicking on Add New under Users option, you can add aÂ new user to your blog. It will lead you to a form asking for user details like username, email, password, etc.
If you want to inform the new user about the account, check on Send the new user an email about their account. You can decide the role of the new user by choosing among the options in the drop-down menu. S/he can be a subscriber, contributor, author, editor or administrator. These roles are explained below:
- ) Subscriber can change or update the information of his/her own profile and nothing else.
- ) Contributor is able to write and manage his/her own posts, but can’t publish them.
- ) Author can manage nothing else, but write and make changes to his/her own posts.
- ) Editor can manage and publish all the posts including write-ups of other users.
- ) Administrator has all the rights to access all the administrative options like adding new users or making any other change to the blog.
Configure Your Blog for Making It Search Engine Friendly
You can do mainly two things to make your blog search engine friendly.
1) Make Cleaner Permalinks: A search engine is not quite friendly with clumsy and ugly looking permalinks. You can manage them by going to ‘Permalinks’ under ‘Settings’ tab. Here, you can edit your post name in the desired manner.
2) Avoid Spam Comments: People love to do automate spam comments on your blog, mainly for two reasons- a) To get people to their blog from yours. b) To promote their products and services.
You can avoid spammers by going to ‘Discussions’ under Settings tab. You need to check the boxes as shown in the picture.
Plugins are extra tools that you can add to your blog to enhance its interactivity and design. There are around 100 plugins that can do wonders to your blog. You can have plugins for increasing your site’s visibility to search engines, creating contact forms, adding social media buttons and many other purposes.
While choosing plugins, you need to take care that it supports the theme of your blog. Sometimes, a plugin makes your site more unwieldy. Thus, it would be wise to be careful while installing these plugins.
You have the option of ‘Plugins’ in the left menu bar of the control panel of your blog. There are many useful plugins like Akismet, Jetpack, Yoast SEO, etc. All of them are used for different purposes.
You can also add new plugins to your blog by clicking on ‘Add New’. It will lead you to a new page consisting of various plugins to be installed. Here, you can search for different kinds of plugins and install them easily.
You can activate or deactivate the installed plugins according to the requirements.
Adding Subscribers to Your Blog
You can add subscribers to your blog using various plugins. It will improve your e-mail list, which in turn, broadens your readership and makes your blog more popular.
Next Step: Write Your Blog
Once you have made all the necessary changes to your blog, it’s time to start writing your blog. I have discussed a bit about it in step 3. Now, in the next step, I will explain it in an elaborate manner. Click here to go to Step 5.