A self-hosted WordPress blog -- also known as a standalone WordPress installation -- gives you more control over the appearance and functionality of your blog. You can choose from thousands of WordPress themes, modify existing themes, install any plugins and host advertisements to make money from your blog.
Many web hosting companies provide auto-installers that will install your WordPress blog with one click. If yours doesn't install, follow these instructions to set up a self-hosted WordPress blog on your own website.
1. Download the zip file from http://www.wordpress.org/download.
2. Unzip the file on your computer.
3. Upload the unzipped files to your Web server.
4. Navigate to http://www.YOURDOMAIN.com/wp-admin/install.php.
5. Follow the prompts in your browser to install your blog.
The installation takes about five minutes and your WordPress blog will be ready to use right out of the box. If you want more bells and whistles, you can easily search, preview and install themes and plugins from within the admin panel of your blog.
If you are like most bloggers after you publish a post you forget about it in favor of creating new content. Sure, you might read a comment here or there, but do you take the opportunity to interact with your readers? There is nothing worse than having a one-sided conversation and, if your blog visitors are submitting comments, but you aren't replying, then that is the sort scenario that they find themselves in. By replying to these comments you will be able to create an even more interactive experience and a sense of community for your visitors. You will provide them with another reason to return to your site in order to read your reply and, perhaps, add another comment of their own. This is also a great way to humanize yourself to your readers. Let them know that there is a person behind the post. It is in this way that you will be able to engender a sense of loyalty among your readers. It is when they begin to view you as a person that they will become even more invested in your success.
If you are trying to build backlinks, as well as your reputation, then you should considering doing a little networking. Specifically, you should contact site owners and bloggers within your niche and inquire as to whether they would be agreeable to your providing content as a guest blogger. While it may seem counterproductive to supply your competition with content when you could be using that time to grow the content on your own blog this technique can actually prove to be time well-spent. Your appearance as a guest blogger will serve two purposes. It will act as an endorsement by the site owner that says to readers that you are an authority that can be trusted. In addition, you will be able to grow your backlinks by including a link to your site either within your contribution, the byline, or in the author's bio box. Guest blogging is a win-win situation because it allows you to reap valuable benefits while benefiting your fellow blogger as well.
When optimizing your content you probably know to employ all of the techniques pertaining to keyword density and the like in order to attract the search engines, but what you may not know is that there is another tactic that you can use as Google bait. Including images in your posts will cause the Google Image Search spider to crawl and index your site. If you plan to employ this technique, then be sure to name your images with keywords relevant to the post in which they will be appearing. Also, make sure to include relevant keywords within the ALT tag.
If you can get an image indexed that proves to be popular, then you can draw a serious number of visitors to your site. Some would argue that traffic from Google Image Search isn't valuable in terms of building a loyal readership, but they aren't considering one very important fact. If a visitor is going to be interested in your content, then it doesn't matter what means they used to locate your blog just so long as they discovered it.
If you have created a blog through Blogger or some other free service, you should receive a confirmation email with your login information and information about finding your blog. If you remember your login information, and are using Blogger, just go to www.blogger.com and sign in with your username and password. That will pull up your dashboard and you can start posting blog entries.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|