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If you want to build a WordPress blog today, this is one of the most comprehensive and up-to-date beginners guides you’ll ever find on the internet.
This WordPress blog tutorial is based on the most recent version of WordPress in 2022. After reading through it, you’ll be able to know and understand how to use WordPress to build your dream business.
Irrespective of your age or technical skill level, this guide is useful for anyone looking to build a WordPress blog to run their business.
Here are a couple of things you will learn in this guide:
- How to find and register a near-to-perfect blog name.
- How to purchase the right web hosting for your blog
- Why WordPress is the right website builder
- What is Blog Editor
- Working With Blog Editor
- Creating posts and pages
- Installing WordPress Themes and Plugins
- Publishing your first post
- Promoting your post
- WordPress speed optimization
- Free resources to make your post better and error-free
- And more
Building a WordPress blog today is easier compared to the early days of blogging. Unlike early 2000, you don’t need to know a thing about coding to create a website anymore.
Anyone can create a blog and succeed with it using free resources available online. You don’t have to be a technical person or spend thousands of dollars to run an online business.
With less than $100, you can start a blog and grow with it.
For the purpose of this guide, let’s start with the basics of how to build a WordPress blog the right way…
What is WordPress?
WordPress is an open-source content management system or a website builder that allows you to create websites without writing any line of code. It is the world’s most popular CMS with a large community of developers to provide support and added functionalities.
WordPress is written in the PHP language paired with MYSQL and MariaDB database. Its features include plugins and themes to bring extended functions, designs, and features to your website.
Since its initial release date, May 27, 2003, WordPress has gone through numerous updates that make it now possible to build any kind of website with it.
Whether you’re creating a simple blog, business websites, e-commerce stores, forums, news sites, membership sites, etc… Anything is possible with WordPress.
As of October 2021, WordPress powered 42.8% of the world’s top 10 million websites. In the CMS market, WordPress commands a respected share of 62%.
Overall, WordPress now powers 43% of the entire web.
Why Should You Consider WordPress Over Other CMS?
There are other content management systems such as blogger, Wix, Umbraco CMS, Joomla, Drupal, Squarespace, Shopify, Magento, etc… that allows you to build and host your websites for free. So, why are 43% of the world’s websites built with WordPress?
Here is why…
Nobody wants a complicated theory or learning curve to follow before using a tool. You want to get started quickly as possible you can.
WordPress is the most user-friendly CMS out there. You need only two things to get up and running with your WordPress blog – a blog name and hosting. And it doesn’t cost arm and leg to get hosting and a blog name.
Adaptation and Flexibility
Initially, WordPress was designed to be a blog publishing platform, but it has evolved over the years to adapt to any kind of website needs – thanks to regular updates and advancements.
Now, you can build any type of online business with WordPress. Whatever your website needs, WordPress allows for adaptation and flexibility.
WordPress core updates usually happen two to three times per year, while several minor updates take place within the year.
The first public release of WordPress was 0.70 on May 27, 2003. Since then, WordPress has gone through numerous bug fixes to several major release updates.
You can find the WordPress version updates history here.
One of the advantages of WordPress over other content management systems is the community that supports it.
WordPress is supported by a very large community of dev from all over the world. As an open-source project, over 500 developers from 58 countries contributed to WordPress version 6.0.
Talking of version 6.0, WordPress has been translated into 205 languages by local volunteers.
No other CMS dev community can rival this great achievement.
WordPress makes it easy for design customization. You can build stunning websites quickly with the help of WordPress themes and plugins.
And with the new full-site editing features, now you can edit and customize every part of your website without touching your theme files or code.
WordPress makes it easy and effortless to manage on-page SEO elements that provide a better experience for your site visitors.
You can easily manage permalink structure, metadata, image optimization, mobile optimization, etc. Also, there are lots of third-party plugins and services to help you with content optimization.
We will get into that in a moment…stay on this page.
As an online marketer, you probably use lots of tools for everyday business activities. Many of these tools rely on third-party access for data analysis, functions, or efficiency.
WordPress integrates seamlessly with most (if not all) of the tools in the online world. You probably won’t find a tool that doesn’t allow WordPress integration.
WordPress.com vs Self-Host WordPress – which is better?
As a beginner, you must have heard of free and paid WordPress sites?
Yes, there is a free WordPress blogging platform where you can build and host your website for free. And there is a self-hosted WordPress platform where you take absolute control of your website management and ownership.
The option you choose depends on your business needs and goals. There is no right or wrong choice here, it all depends on your digital marketing goal.
What you want to achieve with your website will determine whether you choose a free hosting platform or a self-hosted WordPress blog.
For the sake of clarification and understanding of the two, let’s walk through the two blogging options.
WordPress.com is where you can build and host your blog for free. It is a platform for people who love hands-on systems to run their online businesses.
Think of WordPress.com as a hosting platform that takes charge of your blog and server management.
Spam filtering, backup, updates, security, and other blog technical tasks are taken care of in the background for you.
So, you can focus on writing and promoting your content.
For beginners, this is an ideal option to learn blogging and internet marketing.
However, there are limitations to what you can and cannot do with a free WordPress.com account.
For instance, being on a free plan, you can’t install premium themes and you cannot stop the WordPress WordAds serving on your blog. Also, you cannot do a URL redirect.
If you upgrade to the WordPress.com Pro plan, you can install custom themes, remove ads, and install plugins to further extend your blog functionalities, design, and features.
Unless you upgrade to one of the paid plans, your blog address will read something like this: my websitename.wordpress.com.
This is not user-friendly and advisable for a business website. To get rid of this ugly-looking URL, you need to purchase a custom domain name and link it to your free WordPress.com blog.
The major disadvantage of hosting with WordPress.com is that you have to play by their rules. If you violate the terms of services, your blog might be deleted.
Also, the possibilities of expanding your blog features and functions are quite limited compared to the Self-Hosted WordPress sites.
What is meant by self-hosting your WordPress blog is that you’re installing WordPress on a different host other than WordPress.com.
This gives you a lot of advantages over your blog growth and management. It gives you the full power to explore your blog features and management to unlimited possibilities.
Though it also puts more work on your side, it gives you a lot of benefits to running a custom and personalized blog business.
If you choose to self-host your WordPress blog, your blog growth and expansion are in your hands.
There is absolutely nothing you cannot do with your blog. And you have more resources and tools to help you build and grow your online business.
For example, compare a few thousand plugins available to you on WordPress.com to over 55,000 plugins in the Self-Hosted WordPress.org platform…you can see why many marketers prefer hosting their blog elsewhere than with WordPress.com.
You have absolute control over your blog’s growth, monetization tactic, content, security, customization, marketing, leadership, etc.
If you’re serious about growing an online business for the long term, the ideal option is to go for the Self-Host WordPress site.
How to Build a WordPress Site – Beginner Guide
Now that we’ve discussed the initial steps to follow and understand before creating your WordPress blog, let’s dive into the actual process of building a functional WordPress blog in 2022.
The rest of this article will be based on a Self-Hosted WordPress blog.
1. Register Your Domain Name
The first step in building your blog is to register a domain name. This will be the name or address of your blog on the internet.
Think of a domain name as your mobile phone number. Without it, people can’t get to you on a phone call.
If you want people to contact you via phone call, you need to purchase a mobile phone number.
However, as simple as it looks, choosing a blog name requires the right thinking and research.
While there are no right or wrong domain names, a short and memorable name will bring more value to your business.
And a bad domain name might break your business reputation and image.
Let’s briefly walk through the process of finding the right domain name for your business.
For a more in-depth look into how to name your blog, read this comprehensive guide.
How to choose a good domain name
There are some rules I stick to when choosing a blog domain name – keep it simple, short, and memorable.
Your blog name should be easy to spell, say on the phone, and easy to remember and recognize.
If your blog name is missing any of these attributes, you might need to purchase a new domain name and do a 301 redirection.
A good rule is to go for a maximum two-word domain name. Three-word domain names are okay if it’s memorable and easy to spell and pronounce.
As a beginner with a limited marketing budget, you won’t find an affordable one-word domain name to purchase.
Those are very expensive and hard to find these days. Except you’re ready to bid on premium domain names, you won’t be able to purchase certain domain names like one word.com.
With that said, here are reputable domain name registrars you can patronize today:
2. Purchase Hosting
Without web hosting, your blog has no place to store its files and content on the internet.
Think of hosting like a plot of land you need to build your 🏠 house. If there is no land, there is no space to set the concrete/blocks or whatever you need to build that house.
Here is another analogy if that’s not clear enough…
After purchasing a mobile number, you need an actual phone to insert the sim card, right?
The phone is the hosting that let you pick the call when people dial your contact number. You can store songs, photos, files, apps, and videos in your phone storage to access anytime you want.
In a nutshell, your phone storage stores everything for on-demand access anytime.
This is what hosting does to your website files and domain name.
Hosting is the online space you need to build your blog and becomes accessible when people dial its address. And there are hundreds of web host companies offering different kinds of hosting services and packages.
The hosting plan or package you choose will depend on so many factors judging by your business needs, skills, budget, and website traffic level.
How to choose a good hosting for your website
The first thing you’d need to consider when in the market searching for the right hosting plan is your website needs.
If you’re just starting out with a simple blog, your options should be within the entry-level hosting plans.
As your website grow and traffic increases, you might consider moving to a second-tier hosting plan.
For a detailed overview of how to choose the right hosting plan for your WordPress blog, here are some factors to consider:
- Your website needs
- Hosting packages and features
- Add-on features and services
- Introductory pricing and Renewal terms.
- Refund policy and services guarantee
- Server uptime policy and guarantee
- Contract length – monthly subscription or annual
- Storage capacity
- Bandwidth limit
- cPanel features and availability
- Ease of use
- Built-in optimization features – cache
- Managed WordPress hosting
- Existing website traffic level – if you’re migrating an existing blog.
If you need to decide which is the best affordable web host for beginners, here are some recommendations to consider today.
- Namecheap – beginners friendly and inexpensive web hosting with quality services
- HostGator – affordable and beginner-friendly
- Bluehost – recommended by the WordPress community.
- Hostinger – Perfect for low-budget website owners
- Inmotion Hosting – Flexible hosting plan that grows with you
- Liquid web – Custom solution for a managed hosting plan
- Domain.com – Perfect domain name provider
- Linode – Developer-friendly, cloud-based hosting solution
- Cloudways – perfect for advanced internet users
Different Types of Web Hosting
There are several types of web hosting services available today. From shared hosting to dedicated managed hosting, you can find the perfect hosting service for your business.
For beginners, shared hosting is the ideal option and a default plan to purchase. Shared hosting is cheap and easy to manage from one central user interface called cPanel.
But there are downsides to shared hosting resources.
You shared hosting resources with other websites on the same server. There are limitations to hosting features and resources you can use.
For instance, most web hosts put a limit on bandwidth usage and storage capacity. Also, you can only host a limited number of websites in one shared hosting account.
But for most beginners, these limitations are not issues to worry over. The minimum shared hosting features might be enough to power your website needs at this stage.
As your website grows in traffic, content, and audience, you might consider migrating to a more resourceful hosting plan.
With that said, here are the five different web hosting types;
- Shared Hosting
- Dedicated Server Hosting
- Virtual Private Server hosting
- WordPress Managed Hosting
- Cloud Hosting
Which option is right for you?
You’re in the best position to answer the question. Whether you need a dedicated hosting environment, managed WordPress hosting, or a Virtual Private Server, it’s up to you to decide.
For more information on which is the best hosting plan for you, read my step-by-step guide on web hosting costs.
3. Install WordPress
After registering your domain name and hosting, the next thing on the line of action is to install WordPress blogging software.
If you’re on a shared hosting plan, the process to install WordPress might be different from a managed WordPress hosting.
However, no matter what hosting type you choose the step will probably look familiar. Since I’m a big fan of managed WordPress hosting, I will use the EasyWP Namecheap hosting to show how to install WordPress the easiest way.
Here is a walk-through video tutorial that shows you how simple it is to install WordPress in the Namecheap EasyWP hosting.
If you prefer more detailed step-by-step instructions, here is my guide on how to install WordPress and set up your blog with the NameCheap EasyWP plan.
4. Choose a Theme
By default, your WordPress installation comes with a unique theme that looks plain and simple. You can keep it and continue with it, but…
It might not fit your branding. Your blog design won’t impress first-time visitors. And most importantly, you don’t want your blog to look exactly like everyone’s blog.
So, you’d better opt for a custom theme – it could be free or paid – the most important thing is the ability to tweak and the customization possibility.
If a theme gives unrestricted access to tweak and customize every part of the theme, you can make it yours and stand out from the crowd.
As at writing, the self-hosted WordPress has over 4,896 both free and paid themes to choose from.
Search for one that best fits your business goals and brand identity, and that is compatible with other blogging resources on your blog.
5. Install WordPress Plugins
Plugins are what bring additional functionality and features to your WordPress blog.
It brings the full power of WordPress to the online community.
There is virtually a plugin for any blog function you can think of. This is because there are over 55,000 plugins in the WordPress plugin repository.
From simple tasks like contact form builder to complex ones like website security, backups, e-commerce, and design…there are hundreds of plugins to choose from.
For every WordPress blog, these plugins are some of the must-haves.
- Yoast SEO – WordPress SEO
- Jetpack – multi-purpose WordPress plugin
- Akismet spam filtering
- Contact form 7
- W3 Total cache
- Gutenberg block editor
As a beginner, the temptations to install lots of plugins will catch up at some point, you have to resist the desire.
It is not a good on-page SEO best practice to have too many plugins on your blog. If you find a plugin that can execute multiple functions perfectly, don’t install separate plugins for each task.
For example, Jetpack is developed to handle multiple blog functions – image optimization, lazy-load, security, related post, shares, – you don’t need to install another plugin for any of these functions.
Also, some plugins are poorly coded and it might have negative impacts on your host server. So, before installing any plugin, go through other user reviews, last update time, and compatibility check.
6. Set up WordPress Permalink
Your posts and page URL is an important aspects of an on-page SEO and for providing users with a better onsite experience. Each page or post on your site MUST have a unique URL that users and search engines will use to access them.
WordPress provides five different permalink options to choose from and a custom option. However, depending on the type of blog you’re running, the custom option is the one I use mostly.
It allows me to define the permalink structure in a more user-friendly hyperlink and search engine valuable. If you choose the custom option, you can use the available tags on the page to define your URL structure.
For personal blogs that publish evergreen content, going for the /%postname%/ might be the better option. For sites that publish time-sensitive information, the “Day and Name” permalink structure might be better.
There are other tags like author tag, post year, category, etc…you can use to define your URL structure. You will find them on the WordPress permalink setting page.
If you want to read more on WordPress permalink, here is a complete guide on the subject.
7. WordPress Optimization
Optimizing your WordPress blog for speed and performance is one of the most important aspects of blog management. If your blog does not provide the best user experience, it will affect search ranking, conversion, revenue, and engagements.
Most users expect a web page to load in under 3 seconds, and if it takes longer than that, you might be losing money to your competitors. And to top it up, speed is one of the Google ranking factors.
There are lots of things you can do to improve WordPress speed and boost performance, here are a few of the known working tactics;
1. Choose a Quality Hosting Package
There is a reason why this point has to come first on this list in this section.
No matter the optimization tactic or strategies, if your server is poorly configured or slow, you won’t benefit much from all the WordPress optimization tactics in this world. Your WordPress site can never be faster than the performance of your host server.
So, the first thing to consider is to choose a quality hosting server. I have listed several web hosts on this page. You can go through the list once again to find the one that best fits your needs and the current marketing budget.
These are quality web hosts at affordable prices.
2. Always Update WordPress Resources
From WordPress core installation software, Themes and plugins, always make sure you’re using the latest version.
Keeping your site up to date ensures you’re running the latest version of the software from its developer. This also ensures maximum security protection, enhanced performance, and bug fixes.
Your site should also use the latest version of PHP to ensure full compatibility with the WordPress core software. If you’re unsure which version of PHP you’re using, ask your web host. Alternatively, you can install the site health check plugin.
3. Use Cache
For beginners, the term “cache” might sound too technical to understand, but it is quite simple to implement on a WordPress site.
There are several WordPress cache plugins that automatically implement cache on your site. You don’t have to do anything other than install, activate, and set it up.
If you’ll love to learn more about what is cache, here is a complete guide on the subject.
However, if you’re on a managed WordPress hosting like EasyWP, Bluehost, and Cloudways, you don’t need to worry about implementing cache. It is built-in with your WordPress installation software by these hosts.
One of the benefits of having cache on your site is that it speeds up the content delivery process. If a cache is implemented on your site, WordPress doesn’t have to request the information from the server for every request.
It can serve the user a copy of the cached pages.
Here are some of the favorites cache plugins to consider today, both premium and free;
4. Optimize WordPress Images
Images are one of the biggest culprits for slow WordPress pages. They often hit up too much bandwidth and storage spaces.
Though images are great for making your content look great and appealing, they could also be responsible for slowing down your pages. You need to compress your site images for maximum performance and speed.
Again, there are WordPress image optimization plugins today that handle all the heavy lifting. These plugins work great in certain environments.
You don’t have to use all of them, find the one that fits with your blog and the web server.
Some optimization plugins are not compatible in a certain hosting environment. So you might need to test a bit before finding the right plugin.
Aside from plugins, there are online solutions that help you with image optimization. These solutions allow you to optimize your images before uploading them to WordPress. You can resize and save different versions of your images to your computer.
I highly recommend you try imagify as an affordable online image optimization tool. It is free and works great for non-WordPress users as well.
For a list of recommended WordPress image optimization plugins, check out the wordpress.org plugins directory. Most of the plugins here are free.
5. Use a CDN Services
Though information has become more digitalized today, the distance between the site user and the host server is still a big factor.
Content delivery network services like Cloudflare will help you create a consistent and faster experience for your site visitors.
But first, what is a content delivery network?
A content delivery network is a network of proxy servers in multiple locations across the globe to deliver content to users based on the nearest server. A CDN is not a replacement for hosting, rather it helps cached content at the network edge to improve website performance.
The most popular CDN today is Cloudflare. Cloudflare is used by notable brands like Samsung, Total Oil, and CVS Health Corporation.
The good part is that for a beginner like you, the free Cloudflare account is all you need at this stage.
8. Create WordPress pages
Depending on the type of online business you’re running, there are several WordPress pages you need to create.
For most businesses, these pages are a must-have;
- About us.
- Policy Disclaimer.
If you’re running an online e-commerce business, you will have several pages on your website. The pages you create should be for a purpose and serve the user’s interest. And each page on your blog should target one keyword in order to increase its search ranking visibility.
Creating WordPress pages is not a complicated process, it’s simple and easy to do.
Here is a step guide on how to create pages in WordPress.
Navigate to the WordPress admin area and hover your mouse on Pages from the side menu. It will reveal the two menu options – All pages and Add New – click on Add New.
On the next page is where to write your page content and title. After writing your content, editing, and proofreading, you need to click the publish button to make it live on the blog.
In WordPress 6.0, the publish button is at the top-right of the page.
You can preview your content before hitting the publishing button. This help to see how your content looks before it goes live on the blog. The preview button is right beside the publish button.
9. Publish Your First Post
Everything you’ve gone through is the foundation to running a blog, the real task starts when you start creating and publishing posts.
Like pages, to start creating posts in WordPress, log in to the admin area and hover your mouse on posts from the side menu. It will reveal four menu options – All Posts, Add New, Categories, and Tags.
You need to click on Add New each time you want to create a new post in WordPress. The WordPress editor will be displayed on the next page. This is where you write and structure your content.
While there are no right or wrong ways to write a post, think of your users before publishing any post on your blog. This is because you’re not writing to yourself, but to solve a particular audience problem.
As a rule, always perform keyword research to determine the popularity and profitability of your content keyword. You need to do this before deciding on what to write.
Let keyword research be your guide and an integral part of your content writing process. Every single piece of content published without keywords intent is a thousand potential free traffic losses in the long term.
There are lots of keyword research tools today for everything keyword-related, Semrush Keyword magic is one of the best. You can sign up for the Semrush free account here and use the tool for as long as you want.
Publishing in WordPress has changed dramatically since the introduction of the block editor in WordPress 5.0 released in December of 2018.
Unless you specifically disable the Gutenberg block editor, the famous classic editor is no more.
Gutenberg WordPress editor is now the default option in WordPress.
Let’s briefly walk through writing with the WordPress block editor.
How to use the WordPress Block Editor
The WordPress Block Editor is a new feature that completely changed how publishing on WordPress is. If you’re not using it yet, it’s time to experience a new writing process that let you write incredibly faster, creatively, and more productive.
Now you can build complex and create stunning content designs without being a developer.
WordPress blog editor allows you to create, move, edit, and delete any section of the content body effortlessly.
There is a block for every content type you can think of to make it look amazing.
You can have blocks for paragraphs, heading tags, images, videos, bullet lists, pricing tables, comparison tables, countdown timers, etc.
And each block has its own settings panel where you can make individual adjustments to the features. You can change things like color, background image, size, etc.
The best part of WordPress editor is that developers can create third-party blocks which you can access via plugins.
How to Add a new Block
You can add a new block by clicking on the +Plus icon on the editor’s top menu bar, or on the editor’s content area. The +Plus icon on the editor’s content area gives you access to previously used blocks, while the +Plus icon on the top bar gives you access to the entire block library.
Also, each block has its own toolbar which appears at the top. The content of each block toolbar will vary depending on the block you’re working with.
On the right side of the page, each block also has its own setting panel. You can adjust individual block features from the panel setting option.
You can move or rearrange blocks in the order you want. The up and down button lets you do that or you can drag and drop a block to your desired position.
However, as much as I would love to go deep into the use of blocks editor, an in-depth tutorial is beyond the scope of this article. How to use the wordpress editor is a stand-alone tutorial on its own. For a more detailed tutorial on how to use the WordPress editor, read this comprehensive guide.
10. Promote. Promote. And Promote
If you’re not good at marketing, everything about your business does not exist.
Marketing is what will get your valuable content to the front of your target audience. If people are not reading, sharing, and engaging with your content, the chances of making money are very slim.
Gone are the days when you just publish content and boom, it goes viral on social media and the internet.
In today’s competitive marketing landscape, the fight for attention is increasing and marketers struggle to get the attention of their target audience.
Before you get started in content marketing, you need to define a clear strategy or plan. This is important because content marketing takes time but planning will help you get results faster.
There are two aspects of content promotion you need to understand and develop to build a successful blog.
The quality of the content and the promotional campaign strategy.
If your content quality is poor, no matter how good your marketing strategy, it won’t yield better results. You need to be sure that your content quality is what your audience values.
By getting these two aspects right, you’ll be able to create valuable content for your audience and promote it through the right marketing channels.
5 Tips to Promote Your Content
Here are five ways you can promote your content today for maximum exposure and traffic.
Advertising is one of the best marketing strategies to get the word out. If you’re so serious about building a business with your blog, advertising is one marketing plan you can’t stay away from.
You can start with the Facebook ad which is considered cheaper than Google ads or other forms of PPC marketing. Facebook allows you to boost a post right from your business page and reach a wider audience.
This is a great way to build brand awareness and promotes your content for maximum exposure.
2. Email Marketing
An email list is another must-have content marketing tool.
In order to build an active email list of subscribers, you need to offer your audience a relevant optin bribe. These could be an ebook, a checklist, content upgrades, a free trial period, etc.
Whatever is relevant to your target audience, is what you should offer in exchange for an email address.
3. Influencer Marketing
In every industry, influencers with loyal followers listen to and share their content.
If you can find one to collaborate with, it could bring a surge of traffic to your content for a one-time investment.
Influencer marketing is one of the most effective marketing strategies in digital marketing. People with loyal followers can be an incredible source of targeted traffic to your blog content.
But as a beginner, it could be hard to find influencers to agree with your collaboration. You have to keep pushing and trying your luck.
My advice is that you don’t go after the big-time celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Cristiano Ronaldo, or Ariana Grande. At this stage, you probably don’t have what it takes to get the attention of these people.
Go for social media influencers with the relevant audiences to your blog topics. People with decent followers count but are not big for your marketing budget or reach.
Twitter is a very good platform to get these people. You can start your search there.
4. Build Social Media Presence
Social media is an indispensable tool in our today’s marketing world. Irrespective of your business type, social marketing is a must.
The question is which platform will be the best fit for your type of blog business?
For most websites and businesses, Facebook seems to be a default marketing channel. But you don’t have to assume your business will perform better on Facebook. There are other social media platforms like LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Reddit.
Establish your presence on these platforms to see which one will be a better fit for your marketing and bring the most POI. The good thing is that you can always track your marketing progress to see where your efforts are paying off.
Creating a successful blog business is not all about hard work, it involves working smarter and doing the right things consistently.
If you’re a beginner blogger, you have almost every tool and information you need to start your WordPress blog today.