So you’ve got a new WordPress blog design!  Exciting!  Little Blue Deer has taken great care to put together a unique and stylish blog or website just for you.  However, just like with a special pet (I’m a big fan of Siamese cats myself!), your blog will require some effort, care and initial steps to continue to run smoothly.  So take a moment to go through this brief tutorial which will assist you with making sure that you get started on the right foot!

Feel free to watch my video and then double check all of the steps below as well!

Step 1:  First of all, you will definitely want to be sure that you keep your version of WordPress, Genesis and plugins updated regularly.  I have a tutorial on how to do this here.  Basically, you will want to check your Updates tab periodically and if updates to your version of WordPress, Genesis or plugins are available, you should update them.  A simple way to check if you have updates is to go here:

We HIGHLY recommend adding Site Backup through your site host (eg. Bluehost, Godaddy, Siteground, etc.).  This way, if a WordPress update goes wrong, you will be able to instantly restore your blog to a previous version.  This is purchased directly through your site host, not through WordPress.  Contact your site host for more information.

Additionally, you may notice that some plugins (eg. Visual Composer, Master Slider) which are included with some themes do not automatically update.  If automatic updates are unavailable, you can skip these updates.

The most common cause of blog issues is failure to update plugins.  Some blog hosts (eg. Bluehost) allow you to set your theme and plugins to update automatically.  To do this, go to Settings > General and scroll down to this section:

You can tick the boxes for Auto Updates and save changes.  You still need to double check on updates periodically however.

Step 2:
Set your Admin email by going to Settings > General in dashboard.  This is the email address that WordPress will use to notify you of things like updates and new comments.  Simply enter your email address here, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the blue Save Changes button.


Step 3:
Set up a direct login to WordPress and change your nickname.  If you have managed WordPress hosting eg. from Bluehost or Godaddy, you probably log into your blog through your site host.  However, you can set up a direct login so you don’t have to go through your site host if you wish.  To do this, follow this tutorial here.  If you are NOT using a managed WordPress host, you can still follow Steps 2 through 4 to add your email address, change your nickname and generate a new password.  You will be logged out and will have to log back by going to to log in with your new password.  Keep in mind that while you can change your Nickname (the name that appears in the blog post byline) here, your login username will still be admin (or whatever appears in the Username box as seen below):

If you have properly set up your Admin email above, if you forget your password, WordPress will email you a password reminder or change request to the Admin email.  That’s why setting up the Admin email is important.  Be sure to check your spam box if you do not receive confirmation emails from WordPress!

Step 4:
Set up your comment notifications and moderate comments.  Go to Settings > Discussion in your dashboard.  Here you can choose whether or not you want to be notified if someone posts a comment, if you want to force the reader to have a previously approved comment before publishing, etc.  Remember, comment notifications will go to your Admin email so be sure this is set up correctly.  This section basically gives you control over how comments appear and if you are notified or not.

Step 5:
Make sure you have set a tagline for your new blog or website.  This is a 3 or 4 word tagline that simply describes what your blog is about.  The automatic default tagline is “Just Another WordPress Blog” which you don’t want of course, so to change that, go to Settings > General and locate the tagline area, and just change the tagline to whatever you wish.  Then scroll down and click the blue Save button:

Step 6:
Though we have tested your contact form (if you have one) on the blog, it is your responsibility to ensure that it is working correctly and that you are receiving notifications.  It is prudent to test your form from time to time, we use best in practice plugins but it never hurts to test every now and again.

Step 7:
Enjoy!  As long as you keep your theme versions, WordPress version and plugins up to date, your blog should run smoothly!  Just like a pet, it does require some care, but a little awareness goes a long way, so even if you haven’t blogged for awhile, it’s a good idea to check in periodically and ensure that updates are completed.  If you run into issues, you can follow our tutorial here, How to Troubleshoot a Broken Blog.  Remember, while your blog designer may not be on duty 24/7, your site host (eg. Godaddy, Bluehost, Hostgator, Siteground, etc.) will be.  So you can always call your hosting provider, most of them specialize in WordPress hosting and can assist you immediately with troubleshooting and fixes (after all, you’re paying for their hosting).

We really hope you enjoy your new blog design and have fun with it!  Don’t take yourself too seriously, think outside the box on post topics and most importantly, be yourself!

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