How to start a WordPress blog/site

So i’m guessing most of you know what a blog is, and almost the same amount know what WordPress is.here is a brief description of what it is and why it is the platform of choice for most bloggers in the world.

WordPress is a CMS, a Content Management System. It is a group of code (PHP) that basically allows you to write content which is saved into a database and regurgitated into pages in the order of your choosing. The most powerful function of this kind of systems that you can constantly change your website by knowing a password, and need no backend knowledge of what the code is doing and why. This means anyone anywhere can have a blog if they want to,if they have access to the Internet.

On the other hand, if you have the skills and needs you can modify the code to suit your needs easily, to customize the design and user interaction experience. For novices there are handy ways to do this using plugins to add funtionality and themes to change the appearance and layout. Basically it puts the power in your hands of making your own website and making it to suit your changing styles and needs over time without having to re-write any content when you do.

Ok. I could go into it all day, but here I want to teach you how to set up your own site. In the past few years I have setup so many WordPress sites that’s is almost uncountable. They are free to install, as long as you have a web server, and if you don’t there are options available for you too. If you have no money but want a site it’s the way to go. If you have special needs, then that is where someone like me can step in and make a set for you and then you take over and run it. Either way at the end it’s your site and you make the content, and that’s the point of it, and that’s the future of web communication.

There are 4 methods of starting a WordPress site.

1. Hosted on WordPress.com

2. DIY – Hosted on your own server (auto install)

3. DIY – Hosted on your own server (manual install)

4. Get a professional to get it started then take it over (on your server or theirs)

They second two work exactly the same, the first one is the easiest but has limitations that the other two do not. The last is for those with more money than time or require something better than basic.

You need to ask yourself these questions.

Is it personal… or private? just for fun… or for business?

Is the domain name important (aka URL, the www.yournamehere.com)

Do people need to bookmark pages in your blog or the top page is fine?

Is it advantageous to look “homemade” or more “professional”?

The least “professional”, or should I say “personalized” is the one hosted on www.wordpress.com. The URL will be something like www.yourblog.wordpress.com and the styling options, although fairly impressive are limited. When you host it on your own server you have three options.

For Hosting methods, see further down this post, This is extremely important, but for now lets focus on how to install WordPress.

Install methods

1. Hosted on WordPress.com – this happens automatically and as long as you can remember your own email and password you should be fine. Enough said.

2. Hosted on your own server (auto install) – Many web hosts will have WordPress built in. Remember you must have the ability to use databases with your account. You need at least (and generally at most) one database to run your WordPress. So I use godaddy and I can install them with the greatest of ease. I also often do it manually and you can name your databases nicer names when you do it manually, but for most people this is the easiest. Log into your account, choose hosted account, choose applications, choose WordPress and put the folder directory and POW! Bobs your uncle/ill be a monkey’s uncle, a new blank slate website appears in 30 mins or so. See pics.

3. Hosted on your own server (manual install) – This is not that hard, but a little more complicated. I actually like this method but its not necessary for you one time website users. This method, you first make a database and write down it’s details. Then, using an FTP program, copy the WordPress files into place. You must change the wp-config.php file to have all the right details of the database as well as the location of the blog files. It’s pretty easy once you’ve done it a couple of times. You really get to know WordPress by interacting with the files through an FTP program, for example, in the “wp-content” folder you can see the themes and urging folder and you can manually install and modify files here to customize your site. All pro WordPress users will spend a lot of time in this folder, usually updating the CSS files to style themes.

See pics below. Open in your favorite FTP program. you will need your login details to your server and password

Then go to your hosting server and create a databsse.

You must edit the wp-config.php file t0 point to your database.

This may be complicae for some, so if you have any questions, please message Ahimsa Creative on Facebook.

4. Get a professional to make it. This is easy. Call up me or someone with similar skills and they will do it. If they don’t know how then tell them to look at this blog.

Hosting Options

1.Make that a hosted domain on a server so that the www.yourblog.com points to the WordPress installation and if you click a page link, it becomes www.yourblog.com/category/ or somethign like that. This is the most professional but most expensive. Everyone needs one hosted domain, so if you only have one site then it’s perfect for you. I have many so I use that page as a portal to my other sites.

See the example of www.ahimsa-creative.com which is my hosted domain

2.If you put it in a folder on someone else’s (or another of your own) hosted domain and then buy a cheap domain which points to it, they can type in your URL, but will get taken to the real URL,which they will see, unless you mask the domain.

For example the domain will now be www.your2ndblog.com/this blog/category/ or similar. You can see the difference but for many it’s too small to care. Depends what the first blog is. If you sell babies rattles and host it on a server which hosts a porn site you own it could end up www.ilovebigtits.com/babyrattlesRUs/category and that’s probably not good for business

See the examples of www.ahimsa-creative.com/blog and www.ahimsa-creative.com/portfolio

These I have forwarded, so you can see the real URL when you click them.Fine for me as they are all part if what I call the Ahimsa Collective and are in the family of Ahimsa Creative.

3. Solution- MASK YOUR DOMAIN. Masking your domain means that it hides where it is actually going. S it will always say www.babyrattlesRus.com even if hosted on your other porn site hosted account. PERFECT …you may think and for most of us this is fine, but they will not be able to bookmark any pages on your site except the very top page as the URL will never change. For most of us this is actually advantageous, us if you were Wikipedia that would really suck ass as the would redefine the term research into “re-search” and be pointless.

You should note that it slightly affects your google rank, but not significantly enough for most people to care. So let’s skip that. If you are setting a website up on the cheap I’m guessing you’re not a multinational corporation and word of mouth, your business cards, social media and direct links will be your main source of traffic.

See the example of www.ahimsalove.com which is also hosted on ahimsa-creative.com. It’s real address is [note to self:please insert here when I remember some thing like www.ahimsa-creative.com/ahimsa_collective/ahimsalove]. (You can check and see its the same) but I have masked the domain so it always stays that address, even if you click a link to another server. You can impress your friends by having a link to google.com on your website and pretend that you made it (it will still have your web address until you close that window or tab)

Holy shit. I never thought this blog post would be so detailed. It’s amazing how long it takes to type things that I can explain in a few minutes. Now yu should know the all your options when it comes to setting up your new blog.

As always, please ask any questions you have below and I will respond as soon as I can.

The roundup

Hope this sheds some light on how to setup a WordPress blog, and what options are available to you.

So why give it all away?? You might think its a bad idea for a web designer to give these secrets away, but im in the business of helping others live their dreams and reach their goals. We sell information, we sell freedom, and everyone deserves freedom and a chance to reach others with their art, ideas or whatever they want to share. So get out there and share….

There will be more WordPress page tutorials coming up on this blog, with how to improve the look of your site one you have it. Don’t be too picky in the beginning (unless you chose option 4 and are getting it designed). It’s much better to have good information on a shit looking site than no information on a non existent site. Unless you are a designer,photographer,artist or someone in the visual design/arts field the main reason people will come to your site is for the information.

Custom WordPress login

The psychology of seeing a good login screen is worth a lot as you are rarely motivated by a boring grey screen. Customizing your login screen is a great way to fix that.
For many years i have been re-coding my wordpress logins to suit my needs. Some things you need to edit CSS for (color and images), and some PHP(change the text). Im going to show you a few simple ways to do it yourself, and for those without the skills you needn’t worry, as there are some simple solutions you can do without any hassle, and without taking much of your time.


There are quite a few plugins out there, but a couple I found recently im pretty impressed by. Be careful to always use a plugin that is compatible with your version of WordPress. The plugins i recommend are either the “Custom Login” by Extendd and the “yith-custom-login.1.0.1.” by Yith. They are quite different and so i recommend them separately for different uses. The main difference is that the Yith plugin has a large white background around your login, making it float above the background. Its super easy to use but doesnt integrate as well into the background like is possible with the Extendd plugin.

Extendd Pluginhttp://wordpress.org/plugins/custom-login/

I like its simplicity and how it integrates nicely with the background rather than floating above it.

Yith Pluginhttp://wordpress.org/plugins/yith-custom-login/

can be handy if you want a little critter hanging on the side. Its usually parrot but i replaced its head with a monkey in Photoshop. You can easily remove that guy by ticking a check box to leave a clean looking login area.

Extendd Plugin How to Use

Personally i like it without the border, so im going to show you how to use the Extendd plugin.The Yith plugin has almost identical instructions, so you can follow along just as easily.

I recommend this plugin – http://wordpress.org/plugins/custom-login/ made by TheFrosty from Extendd – also found here – http://extendd.com/plugin/custom-login/ . I would recommend getting from the wordpress.org site as its usually more up to date. Its totally free, but just so you know, they also have a pro version. I dont think its necessary for most people and i could see any major differences that a general user would use – but feel free to find out more here – http://extendd.com/plugin/wordpress-custom-login-pro/

One you have installed the plugin, you can find its settings in the Setting menu (Hows that for obviousness?)

There are many options and the color options are the easiest way to change your login panel. You can change the Main background (very easy), the form colors and background (very easy) and the image above your login form (requires a little extra work…see below)

So if you want to change the image above your WordPress login form, you can upload an image easily. There is a slight setback. The plugin will not generally change the size of the image space so if you put a large image in there it will be somewhat distorted. The easiest thing to do is use an image exactly the same size. You can change the sizing, and i will show you how to easily do this. (Note: the Yith plugin actually allows you to set the size of that image area without the custom CSS)

Please note you must tell the plugin how you want the space to react to the new image. If you just upload a larger image it will get squashed into that space. I had hoped the plugin was smart enough to automatically expand the spot, but seems like it doesn’t, so see step 3 to find out how.

Step1 – upload your image and change the main background.

I would really suggest you make a very tall but not very wide image that can be repeated across the whole page. This saves on download time. As you can see I have repeated the plank of wood across the page, which is only 25Kb. If you want you can make a large image, but make sure you center it and dont repeat it. Also make sure its not too massive. 150Kb would be the absolute largest.

Step2 – upload your company logo choose the “contain” background size.

Step 3 – down the bottom you can add some custom CSS

#login h1 a {

height: 219px;

margin-bottom: 10px;


You have to make sure that the image you uploaded is the right size for the space. My image was 278px X 219px. You only need to put in the height attribute. I also added 10px padding on the bottom to create a little space.

Step4 Don’t like the look on the strange white shadow on the text…. its easy to change

Use the “below form anchor” part of the control panel

and da-da! you got yourself a fantastic login panel.

Some other examples of logins I hand coded in the past – long before they had fancy plugins like todays example. See below for the “do it yourself” coders method where you dont need the plugin.

Do It Yourself method

If you would rather not have an extra plugin on your site, you can very simply change the login form. Each version of WordPress is slightly different, I’m using version 2.5 for this example but the CSS selectors have stayed the same basically for years now so I’m sure you can use for almost any version.

One of the most simple and most important changes is swapping the wordpress logo with your own. If you leave the image the same size, you can just open the image, change it and save as the same name and re-upload. Super simple

Find this file


and copy to your desktop. Open in Photoshop, delete the base layer, add your image or text (PNG supports transparency so you dont need to fill the whole space)and save the file(using File>”save for web“). Then upload to the same location.It will tell you there is an identically named image there and you say “replace”.


In your wordpress install folder. find this file and edit it.


change the color of the login form

.login form

background: none repeat scroll 0 0 #FF0000; (the last number will change to whatever color you want. you can easily get it from Photoshop)

all of the background functions can be replaced with images

background:url(“http://www.alishan-organics.com/red_plank.jpg”) repeat scroll 0 0 #cc5a16;

just replace the “none” with background:url(“http://www.domain.com/image.jpg”)

This works for the login area as well as the main page. This is pretty easy and can be very rewarding but maybe too complicated for most. if so just stick to the plugins i mentioned before. It really make a big difference to see a custom login screen when working on a site. Its makes it feel more professional and gets you in the mood to be productive. Good luck!

Update your foolish ways, not software

Sorry for the derogatory title, but its very important that everyone understands this.


It does not necessarily that you will be progressing to the “next level”. Waaaaay too many times have I seen people get into trouble because of this. People love updating things… its almost an obsession with people these days. Spurned by the psychology that “onwards is upwards” they think that something magic will happen and all their dreams will be realized. then… BOOOM!!! They are thrust into the bad lands, where nothing works the way they planned anymore and after 3 days of stress they get back to where they were and suddenly they are more appreciative of a working phone/computer/device. I like to think of this as the “Adventure Romance Phenomenon”, where two lovers on the verge of breakup/ have recently broken up/were married but live separate lives but are both lonely ( this list could go on ) who suddenly are put on a trial of nerves and physical endurance, by being chased by ninja/attacked by killer piranha/stalked by the Mafia/anything with Bruce Willis and at the end of it they realize that all they need is each other to be happy.

Software is exactly like this. Youll run around in circles and wish you were where you started. Of course big things , like computer operating systems, have so many functions and changes that its impossible to know whether they advantage/disadvantage will balance one way or another. It is also true that change is as good as a holiday, and some will upgrade just for the excitement of seeing a new icon or screensaver. This is ok as long as you are prepared to receive the consequences.

Windows Vista was an awesome example of a global downgrade. “Your computer working at 90%?? – well why not try Vista….?” – fo course that gamble didnt pay of for many and they were soon running at 45% efficiency, speding days updating drivers and wishing that had bought a one way ticket to Hell instead of that stupid upgrade.
Not to be biased against PC users, im sure most long term mac users had never upgraded to Lion over Snow Leopard. The Mission Control and backwards scrolling ideas were just ridiculous and annoying for everyone. Apples move towards iOS style interfaces for desktop users is just a silly mistake. Sure some features work, but some were obvious disasters. i still cant believe they didn’t scrap Mission control and get spaces back when they released Mountain Lion. of course apple doesn’t make mistakes ( cough!)

Ask any jailbreaker ( of any device… this term is not limited to iPhones and has been around for much longer. Its also referred to as “custom firmware”, which denotes modified software on a hardware chip built into a device running the bare bones functons of said device) will tell you, Most of the “upgrades” on devices just shut down exploits ( loopholes) in software that hackers have used to their advantage to trick the device into letting them modify code, or replace, or add. So by upgrading your not changing anything besides that. they are often called “security updates”, and patch the code so that exploit is shut down. Its like a game of cat and mouse and provides no benefit for you as a regular user.

Here as some actual good reasons to upgrade:

  • There is an actual, single security risk you are trying to avoid, which you understand how this fix will protect you from.
  • There is a new function that you cant live without, or new software you need, and are willing to trade it for one other you love ( even if you dont know what that is yet )
    (this is also true for Plugins for a tool like WordPress. Sometimes you really want that new gallery. But be prepared to lose your random image generator or other plugin you love. )
  • You are preparing yourself in advance of a predicted forced upgrade and have the time and inclination to fix it.
  • You are a computer wizard and like all the problems upgrading presents ( this is not a joke. Sometimes i upgrade to test my problem solving skills on a weekend or some time where i can get seriously nerdy )
    - of course i do this usually on a cloned version of a site or a site that is a) not live, or b) not important.
  • You are in love with a nerd, and have unlimited funds, so keep breaking your computer to get him/her over to your house.

There may be more, but you get the gist.


Now to the really important bit – WordPress. If you did not make your own site and have no particular reason to update your wordpress or its plugins, then DO NOT DO IT! It will only break your website. I know its tempting and it tells you you should, and you really want to click it, but dont…. ever. You will be on the phone to your web designer the next day, and don’t expect them to be ready to fix your website at a moments notice. Its not the web designers responsibility of any upgrades or changes that may happen to a system over time once the job is complete and the controls are transferred into the users hands. If you do that and need it fixed, you will have to pay someone to fix it, and if its broken enough, some parts of the site will need to be remade. This costs money and time.

A smarter move, would be that if you need new functions, consult someone in the know, who can recommend a direction for yo to go in, or if your site is database run ( which all wordpress are (using a MySQL Database)) Then get someone to clone it, then upgrade the copy and see what happens. Its like a backup of your site, and like any data backup is a good investment, You can keep backups of your database easily, and any wordpress user will show you how, using xCloner or Wp-DB Manager ( i use both) or a similar plugin. this database is not your website, but just the instructions for it. All physical media will be stored elsewhere and putting them back together is for experienced users, or those who can read instructions ( despite your presumed ability. this is not you ).

Anyway i hope this helps you make up your mind, upgrading is exciting but dangerous, but so is life. just be prepared.