So, you want to create a WordPress website? Great decision. WordPress is an incredibly powerful website platform used throughout the world. It is also incredibly popular, with data showing that in 2019, 82% of websites were built using WordPress. As an open source product, it is available to anyone without cost and can be used to build almost any type of website. Incredibly flexible, it is ideal for both newbies and web designers and coders.
Creating a WordPress (WP) website needn’t be thought of as daunting. With over half of all websites built on this platform, there is an enormous amount of helpful resources you can tap into. We think that our guide here is one of the best, though we may be a bit biased.
In this beginner’s guide to creating a website using WordPress, we will cover the six basic steps you must follow to get your website live; completely jargon free!
Create a WordPress Website in 6 Steps
As mentioned earlier, WordPress is an open source product available to everyone. A quick search with Google will bring up two options: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. The big difference between these is website hosting. Choose WordPress.org, and you will host your own website after downloading WordPress software, with WordPress.com hosting your website for you (and taking care of the downloading). We recommend that you host your own website (WordPress.org or another web host), and that’s what we are focusing on for this guide.
There are six basic steps to follow to get your WordPress website up and running:
- Domain Name
- Website Hosting
- Installation of WordPress Software
- WordPress Theme
- Adding Plugins
- Adding Content
We will cover each of these six steps individually.
Getting Your Domain Name Sorted
Your domain name is the address of your website, or URL. It is what you share with your customers or clients, and which people can enter into a search bar to visit your website. Your domain name should be short, easy to spell and match your brand name. It needs to be unique and easily remembered.
You will need to purchase your domain name and retain ownership of it for the time your business is in existence. It is worth registering as many relevant top level domains as your can, including the .com, .co.nz and .nz. Your domain name is usually registered for a year and is best purchased and kept with the website host you are planning on using.
Purchasing Your Website Hosting
A web host is a company who specialise in providing a website hosting service. In other words, you pay them to make your website visible to others on the internet. In return, your website is live and can be accessed around the world.
A WordPress web host will most likely offer one (or more) of the four different WordPress hosting plans:
- Shared Hosting – this is when your website is put onto the same server as other websites, and all of these websites use the same server resources. It is the cheapest option, but can make your website slower.
- Virtual Private Server – you still share a server with other websites, but the number of other users are limited. This means there are more server resources to go around. This is a great option for websites which will grow quickly, but can be expensive.
- Dedicated Hosting – your website is the only one on a server, giving your site full use of all resources. The downside is, this is an expensive option.
- Managed WordPress Hosting – you receive hosting for your website, and all of your website’s updates and other needs are taken care of for you. Great for those who don’t want to have to do anything, but also very expensive.
Of these four options, we recommend shared hosting for a new website initially due to its low cost and ease of access.
If you have chosen a web host who already has WordPress software on their hosting service, you can skip this completely. You will find that most web hosts offer a one-click installation process. You simply click the button saying you want it installed, and it’s done for you. However, the worst case scenario is that you must install the software yourself. If you find yourself doing this, we recommend checking out this WP installation guide. As you install, you will need to fill in details about yourself and your website. You will now have access to your website dashboard, which is where you can change the way your website looks, how it functions and the content it has on it.
Choosing Your WordPress Theme
Your theme is a template which is installed on your website to change the way it looks. There are many free and paid themes you can choose from. Your site will already come with a pre-loaded theme. To choose a different one, or see the options you have, you will need to head to the left hand side of your dashboard and select Appearances – Themes. Here you will see the already uploaded themes, plus an option to add a new one. It’s best to stick with a theme that suits the type of industry you are in, and has the features you require, such as an online store.
Once you have your theme uploaded, you can customise it using the Appearance – Customise, on the left hand side dashboard menu. Here you can changes things such as font size and colour, add banners, and other aspects of how your site looks including the menu.
Adding Plugins to Your Website
Plugins provide additional functionality to your website. For instance, if you want to sell online through your website, you will need to install the WooCommerce plugin. Other popular plugins include Yoast SEO, which helps with your site’s search engine optimisation, and Jetpack, which is an analytical/statistical tool. Plugins can be added by accessing the Plugin option on the left hand side dashboard menu, and then searching for the ones you want to upload. Once found, simply upload and then activate the plugin to use it.
Adding Content to Your Website
Without content, your website will look pretty boring and not accomplish much. You can upload graphics such as web banners or photos, create new pages and blog articles, and set up an eCommerce store. As a general rule, a website needs the following pages:
- Home page
- About page
- Contact page
- Terms and conditions page
- Privacy page
- Services or Products pages
It’s also a good idea to set up a blog page where you can upload useful and interesting content for your target audience. A blog not only shows your level of industry expertise, but also helps bring new visitors to your website.
Where to Next to Create a WordPress Website?
It’s time for you to jump in and start creating your own site. If that sounds too hard, or isn’t something you’re keen on doing, we can do it for you. One of our many client services is Website Design using the WordPress platform. We can help design your site, undertake regular maintenance, upload new products and help with on-page SEO. We can also recommend where to go for domain purchases and web hosting and organise those for you too.
Even if you’re not sure what help you need, book a call with Louise and have a chat about your plans. She’ll help you nail out what you are aiming for and offer solutions to all of your website problems!