Have you heard about WordPress? If you want to create a blog with WordPress, then you first know about it. WordPress, in its beginnings, was developed to work in “blog” format, and since then it has become the best platform for blogs par excellence. Many other platforms can “work” as a blog but none with the capacity, simplicity, and originality offered by WordPress.
What is a Blog?
I’ll give you an example: have you ever heard of the “captain’s blog” where he usually has a book in which he writes the adventures that happen on the high seas while sailing? Another example would be social networks. These work as a blog, on other platforms, and with different functions, but basically, they are a blog. These would be some simple ideas of what a blog can be.
Wikipedia offers a broader definition of what is a blog, and a summary could be something like:
A blog is a website where one or several authors publish a series of articles in reverse chronological order (the most recent that has been published is the first thing that appears) in text format, images, videos or a combination of them, classified by categories and different themes, giving the possibility to readers to participate through comments.
1. Requirements to Create a Blog with WordPress
It will be necessary to meet the following requirements to create a blog with WordPress:
Have a domain and a server to install WordPress. Previously recommended the use of a local server but, because it usually gives many problems with operating systems and some plugins do not work locally, its use is not recommended. It is advisable to use a remote server (online) with which you can perform tests. You can use the server that I recommend in the free hosting article. You can buy a domain and a hosting for one year to start your project with WordPress.
Download WordPress from wordpress.org. For this article, I am going to use the version of WordPress 4.9.X and default WordPress template- Twenty Seventeen.
Install WordPress on the remote server. In the article, you will have all the information to create a WordPress blog from scratch.
Once you have installed WordPress, log in with the username and the password that you created during the installation, and access the WordPress administration panel.
2. WordPress Configuration and Administration Panel
In the article what to do after installing WordPress, you have explained in detail the basic configuration of a WordPress installation. This configuration is valid both for using WordPress as a page and for the blog and even if you are going to create an online store.
To create a more optimized blog, you can read the article plugins for WordPress. I recommend setup the Custom Permalinks and Yoast SEO plugins. Read the article and learn to create the blog entry already optimized for SEO.
3. Use of Categories and Tags in WordPress
When you create a blog with WordPress, better understand the use of categories and tags, I’ll illustrate an example. Although it may seem “simple”, the correct use of categories and tags can make a difference in SEO and more importantly, in the way your users feel comfortable navigating your blog (usability).
Imagine that you are going to create a blog with WordPress that talks about means of transport. You can use as categories Cars, Motorcycles, Ships, Airplanes that are more generic for the classification of articles.
In the case of tags, you could use “Audi”, “BMW”, “Ferrari”, “Renault” since they are more specific and can be used for several articles with different categories.
Start by writing a high-end car article. The title of the entry could be: The new high-end cars consume less fuel. You can assign it as a category Cars and as Audi, BMW, and Ferrari tags.
If you notice, the category classifies the article while the tags, in addition to classifying the article, as well as category.
3.1 Categories and Tags Management
Another thing you should know is that every time you write an article, you can assign existing categories and tags. Once created, WordPress will show you the categories and tags that you already have created for you to assign them, although it will also give you the option to create new ones. WordPress is very versatile and functional.
We are returning to the previous example. Now you want to create an article that talks about motorcycles. You could not assign the category “cars” because it has nothing to do with motorcycles, but you could create a new category that is Motorcycles. As for the labels, you could assign the tag “BMW” that you used for the car article, since BMW, in addition to cars, also sells motorcycles. Additionally, for example, you can create other new labels such as “Yamaha”, “Honda” and “Suzuki”. As with tags, several categories can be assigned to the same article.
The main function of the categories is to classify the articles in sections at the same time that you can use them in the menu of your blog. The tags work as “internal links” that help to link the articles among them by theme and, its “good use”, is recommended in SEO. Recommendation: do not abuse the use of the labels because you could be penalized.
4. Create a Post in WordPress
Continuing with the previous example of high-end cars, create the post, and assign the corresponding categories and tags.
In the WordPress admin panel, go to Posts >> Add new. Know the new WordPress Block Editor Gutenberg.
Write the title New high-end cars consume less fuel in the field Enter title here. If you notice, under the title field, WordPress does not show you anything. In that space should appear the URL of the page but, until you write a title, WordPress will not show you anything since by default it will assign one related to the title.
You would have something like this:
Notice that under the title a new field has appeared, Permalink, which will be the friendly URL that WordPress assigns to the article based on the title. In addition, in the Yoast SEO box, the title has been added and shows you how it will appear in Google results. On the right side of the screen, you will see the following sections:
This box controls the way the post is going to be published when you create a blog with WordPress. You can save the article as a draft before publishing it, you can make it public, private or password protected and you can change the publication date (previous to the date you have written or later if you want to schedule it to be published on another date).
Controls the way in which the content of the entry will be displayed. You can get more information at https://codex.wordpress.org/Post_Formats. By default, the standard format type is used.
By default, WordPress comes with a category “Uncategorized”, which can not be deleted but can be modified. This is assigned to entry if the author has not created or assigned any category for the post since it does not make sense that there is a post without an assigned category.
This is where you will create and/or assign the tag(s) to the entry. It is not obligatory to use them, but it is highly recommended.
4.5 Featured image
This is where you will upload the main image of the article. It is usually displayed in the list of blog entries or categories as can be seen in the Blog section. Depending on the type of template you are using, this image may be displayed in one way or another.
Continuing with the example, leave the first two boxes by default and in Categories click on “+ Add new category“, type Cars and click on the Add new category button. You will see the new category created in the list of categories and marked checked.
In Tags, type Audi, BMW, and Ferrari separated by a comma as indicated and click on the Add button. You’ll see that these labels now appear in the box.
Then go to the WordPress text editing box. In the article HTML and CSS for WordPress, I expose you in detail how to write with this text editor.
Start writing the content of the entry, and it will look something like this:
Once you have the written content, you will see that something more is needed, an image! Find an image related to the content. Find yourself on the part of the content where you want this image to appear. It can be between the first and second paragraph.
4.5.1 Add Media
You will see that there is a button above the WordPress text editor, Add Media. Click on the button, and you will see the following:
You select it from your PC and drag it to the WordPress screen.
You click on the button “Select files“, search for it on the PC and upload it.
Very important: before uploading an image to WordPress, it is recommended that you name it taking into account the following rules:
Let the title be written in all lowercase letters. Try to match the title of the article: the-new-cars-of-high-range-consume-less-fuel.jpg.
The image has a JPG extension. They are images of a smaller size than PNG and help with the loading speed of the page, although PNG images have better resolution.
Let each word be separated by dashes (without spaces) and without accents (accents).
That no word has symbols or special characters like the letter “ñ”. If a word has “ñ”, you can write the letter “n” instead.
Once you do any of these 2 actions, you will see something like this:
4.5.2 Image SEO
Before inserting the image in the post, you will see other fields that you have to take into account:
Title: By default, it shows you the name you have given to the image. You can change it by a title that is according to the content of the post.
Alternative text: This field is the most important because it is what is known as the ALT tag, which is a parameter of the images that must always be taken into account for SEO and that Google likes a lot. You can read the post about titles and alt tags, which is one of the guidelines for Google Webmasters that you have to respect. You can write the same as in Title.
Alignment: you can leave it as you like.
Linked to: I recommend that you do not link it with anything to prevent the image from being indexed erroneously or that in the future it will be deleted and generate a 404 page in the blog; Google s not like this.
Size: Try to use a more or less appropriate dimension so that the image does not leave the margins of the space designated by the template. You can resize the image before uploading it.
4.5.3 Insert Image to Post
Having these points clear, click on the Insert button in the post. You will see how your image now appears within the text field along with the text you have previously written. Now go to the side box Featured image and select the same image that you just uploaded.
The following will be the URL. The most likely thing is that WordPress has assigned the following URL: new-cars-of-high-range-consume-less-fuel/.
It is important to keep in mind that the words are separated with hyphens. Never leave blank spaces in a URL because they will be misinterpreted by browsers and do not write the words with accents (accents) in a URL even if they are in the title.
Also, do not use symbols or special characters such as the letter “ñ”. In the event that a word carries “ñ”, use the letter “n” instead. Let WordPress do its job.
If you look at the URL, it is very similar to the title. Google recommends that URLs be as short as possible but accurate at the same time.
5. Setting up Post Metadata with Yoast SEO plugin
Finally, you have to assign the metadata in the Yoast SEO plugin. In the Yoast SEO box, click on the Edit snippet button, and you will see the following fields:
SEO Title: Yoast SEO will assign the same entry title, so it is best to leave it blank.
Slug: This corresponds to the URL of the post that will be assigned to the plugin once you post it.
Meta description: Write a meta description of the post. Try not to exceed the 240 to 360 characters that Google shows in your search results.
The first and the third are the most important fields for the correct SEO. Keep in mind that the SEO Title and the Meta description is what Google shows in the search results, and these depend on whether your post is correctly positioned or not.
In the SEO article for WordPress, you have a complete guide to configure SEO on your blog.
Having all this configured, it would be as follows:
6. Publishing the Post
Check that everything is correctly configured, you have written your article well and check the spelling of the text. Click on the Publish button, and the entry will be published. Next, to the “Permalink” field, you will see a View Post button. Click on this button to see the result in the WordPress Front End.
Now that you have published your post go to the Posts section, and you will see that the entry created with all its parameters appears.
Important Notes for Correct Optimization and SEO
As I mentioned in the previous points, it is important to respect certain rules that Google indicates in its webmaster guidelines for the correct positioning of your posts and blog in general. Google raises several important rules, but there are details that escape, but they are still important, and I’ll tell you here.
At the beginning of the article, I have recommended that you work on installing WordPress on a remote server, use the Custom Permalinks, and Yoast SEO plugins that are more than enough for a good SEO of your blog.
You have already seen that in the creation of the entry and thanks to the Custom Permalinks it is possible to assign a custom URL. It is important that you keep in mind – do not use accents in words, separate the words with hyphens (-) without leaving blank spaces, and do not use special characters or the letter “ñ”.
3. Titles and descriptions
With Yoast SEO plugin, you can assign a title and a description to position your entry. Keep in mind, do not exceed the character limit. The plugin will automatically tell you when you exceed characters.
When you have created the category “Cars”, WordPress by default creates a URL for this category/cars/. Note that you have prefixed the category/prefix before the category name. This is done to avoid repeated URLs that are PROHIBITED by Google and that there is no point in their existence.
Now, it is correct that WordPress uses this prefix before the name of each category that you have created, but this is not pleasant for positioning and is not very aesthetic. Thanks to the magic of the Custom Permalinks, it is possible to clean the URL of the categories in the following way:
- Go to Posts > Categories within the WordPress Dashboard
- You will see a list of the categories you have created. Click on the category you want to modify. In this case, Cars.
- In the Custom Permalink section, you will see that it shows you the domain and the next field, category/cars/, is what you are going to modify. Delete category/so that only cars remain/which will be the final URL. Be very careful when doing this action because you could repeat some categories or even worse confuse the URL of a category with an entry.
- Click Update to modify the URL of the category.
It works the same as with the categories but prefixing the tag. The procedure for its modification is exactly the same as for the categories, although modifying the URLs of the tags is not very important. You can leave them as they are.
As for SEO, it is highly recommended that you do not index the tags since each tag creates a URL, and this can lead to duplicate content on your blog, which is something that Google penalizes. So, in summary, do not index the tags. You can do this through the Yoast SEO plugin or any SEO plugin you are using.
You no longer have an excuse to start creating a blog with WordPress. There are many details and configurations, but it is worth carrying them out. Keep in mind that it’s useless to write a blog to share it if nobody knows it exists. Thanks to the “magic of SEO”, complying with the basic rules proposed by Google, and with the help of social networks you can make your blog known to people from many parts of the world.