A Beginner’s Guide to Building a WordPress Website
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Having a website of your own is bliss for your business, especially in the post-COVID world, where your online presence really counts.
Websites are an efficient platform to sell your products and services, build your customer base, and scale your business higher in the long run.
So, has the idea of creating your website ever stroked your head?
If yes, then what’s stopping you?
Are you still thinking a website consumes a heck of resources and needs coding skills necessarily?
Let me show you the other way around!
Today, anyone with basic computer skills can create a website.
I know it seems daunting at first, but modern tools have simplified the process where you can start and run your website without any trouble or needing coding expertise.
While there are a plethora of platforms available like Wix, Blogger, WordPress, and other website builders, WordPress stands out in the crowd.
It’s an easy-to-use interface packed with powerful features and functionalities. Hence, it has become everyone’s go-to tool to build a stunning website from scratch.
So, if you have heard about WordPress, but have no idea how to get it started.
I am here to help!
In this article, I will share with you the step-by-step process to create a website on WordPress, no matter if you possess zero coding knowledge.
But first things first,
What exactly is WordPress, and why should you choose it?
WordPress is open-source software that you can utilize to build a website, application, or a blog. It is basically a Content Management System (CMS) and comes with a template system and plugin architecture.
As a result, it paves the way for customizing your website to a greater extent so you can complement its look and feel tailored to your business.
Whether you want to make an online store, blog, portfolio, or a business website to sell your services, it can be your perfect fit.
At present, 38% of the internet leverages WordPress, covering some of the top news sites to hobby blogs.
Some of the attributes of WordPress:
- Fully customizable designs
- 55,000+ plugins for impeccable site experience
- Over 3,000 beautiful and professional themes
- High performance
- Mobile responsiveness
- Tight security
- Powerful dashboard
- Accessible and easy
- Robust community with hundreds of thousands of site owners, content creators, and developers spread worldwide
Apart from the fact that WordPress is FREE to use, it also supports multiple hosting services with MySQL and PHP. Plus, they constantly update it with new WordPress versions to improve security, improve performance, and add new features.
Are you wondering if I am saying WordPress is FREE to use, and you heard people paying for websites built on WordPress?
Prepare to clear all your confusions because I’m going to explain it in the next section.
WordPress.org vs. WordPress.com
You can host your WordPress website in two ways, through:
The difference between them exists due to one thing – who hosts your WordPress website.
WordPress.org is a non-commercial platform and the primary site where you can download the WordPress software, find free plugins and themes, read step-by-step guides, discuss on its forums, and more. This is a self-hosted solution. For this, you need to buy a domain name and web hosting from a third-party which needs you to pay a certain amount based on the services you choose.
WordPress.com, on the other hand, is owned by Automattic & Matt Mullenberg, WordPress’s creators. It’s a subscription-based service and comes with free and paid accounts. Here, you don’t necessarily need to buy a domain name or web hosting from a third-party.
With a free account, you will get your domain name, something like this: yourwebsite.wordpress.com. You can upgrade your plan anytime you want by paying for any of their plans, starting at $2.99/month, billed annually. You get a custom domain name along with so many other useful features for your website.
I hope the confusion evaporates as you read this explanation.
So, the question now arises,
What should you choose between the two?
Even though WordPress.com offers powerful features, customization, and control, the options are nonetheless limited here. Plus, if you don’t like the service due to any reason whatsoever, you are again stuck.
If you ask me, I will go for self-hosting.
It provides full control over everything on your site and is profitable in the long run when you monetize it, without restricting you. Plus, you have the option to change your host anytime if you are not satisfied with the service.
Next, let’s find out the step-wise process of creating a WordPress website from scratch without having to hire a service provider who may charge hefty amounts for things you can DIY at home.
1. Register a domain name
A domain name refers to the online address of your website that people type to visit your site. Simply put, it’s your site address or URL, which is the very first step towards creating your website.
It’s similar to your house address, representing where in the world your house is located.
To get a domain name, you can contact a domain name provider online such as GoDaddy, NameCheap, etc.
Alternatively, you can also check a few web hosting plans like A2 Hosting, who can provide a free domain name with the hosting plan.
Pro tips for choosing your site domain name:
- The domain name must be relevant to your site content.
- Try including keywords related to your business if possible and sound good. For example, if I create a technology blog, I can include keywords like “tech”, “techno”, etc.
- Keep it short and simple.
- Select an appropriate extension like .com, .org, .net, and more. They convey some specific meaning; for instance, .com is used for a commercial while .org is for organizations. So, choose based on what your website is all about.
Check out this to find a perfect domain name.
2. Buy a web hosting
This one, I tell you, is one of the most important steps while creating your website. It plays a major role in determining how your site performs, its security, and how much you can extract benefits from it.
When you explore web hosting providers such as Bluehost, SiteGround, HostGator, you could see they provide different types of hosting services, like:
- Shared: Multiple sites share the same server, which includes their memory, bandwidth, and disk space. It’s the most economical option and good to try out for the beginner.
- Managed WordPress: it’s a great option that provides WordPress-centric management services with the hosting plan. If you are looking for a premium service and support, then go for this. One good example is Kinsta.
- Virtual Private Server (VPS): Here, you share your server with others, but users are quite limited. It’s a bit expensive, but you get better security and server resources for speed.
- Dedicated: You get full control, bandwidth, and storage on the server resources, except you, don’t own it. It can be very expensive and secure but not an economical option for small businesses.
- Cloud: The reliable and decentralized hosting type only needs you to pay for the resources you consume. It’s quite similar to VPS hosting, but here, resources are allocated to a bunch of several machines. It’s great for scaling your website as it offers extra flexibility, storage, and performance.
So, you can choose any one of the above hosting plans based on the website type you want to create after assuming the need for memory, space, and other resources along with the cost.
Pro tips for choosing a web hosting:
- Check the migration service so you can move your site to another hosting, if not satisfied with their services
- Find out whether it supports HTTPS and provides SSL certification for security
- Always think about the number of websites you want to create now or have any plans to create more websites in the near future
- A version of MySQL and PHP supporting WordPress software
- Take a look at their backup facilities, customer support services, and ethics like eco-friendliness
- Support level
3. Install and configure WordPress
After you have bought your domain name and web hosting, you will receive an email from the support team with details you can use to access your profile and start working on your website.
Are you intimidated thinking that installation and configuration are pure technical aspects you don’t have expertise on?
Please don’t be!
To make things simpler, renowned hosting providers offer 1-click installation for WordPress, where you can install its latest version in minutes.
For example, if you choose Bluehost, it shows a simple wizard to move ahead with the installation.
- In cPanel, scroll down and hit the “WordPress” icon.
- You will see the Quick Install option to download WordPress. Click on “Get started”.
- Next, select your domain name. It’s where your WordPress site will be hosted. Click “Next”.
- Enter your site name, admin password, and admin username. Click on “install” to continue.
Once your installation completes, it will show a message – “Installation complete”.
Click on the link provided to find your WordPress login URL along with the password.
And guess what?
This is it!
Your brand new WordPress website is ready!
Log-in with your username and password to start working on your new website.
Check out this guide to host your site on SiteGround.
4. Choose a WordPress theme and plugins
Now comes the exciting part, the design, and appearance!
Themes enhance the look of your website.
Thanks to WordPress, it provides a plethora of beautiful themes to do your site makeover. It has multiple templates, layouts, colors, formatting styles, and other designing options. Give your website a striking as well as a professional look, without the assistance of a professional designer.
If you want, you can also go for other third-party vendors like Astra Themes, which provides premium themes for further enhancing the appearance.
Similarly, you can install some useful plugins into your website for added functionalities like better security, SEO, contact forms, Google Analytics, and more.
Currently, WordPress provides over 55,000 plugins completely FREE at your disposal.
Here are some popular plugins you can try:
- Yoast SEO to assist you with your on-page SEO
- TablePress to include tables into your site
- Sucuri for site security audit as well as protection from malware
- WP Super Cache to improve site speed, and more
You can also check some other marketplaces like CodeCanyon for more plugins.
5. Add pages and content for your website
Now that your design is ready to start the website layout by creating essential pages on your website, such as:
- Home page
- About us/me page
- Contact page
- Blog section
Add high-quality content to each of these pages. But, it must be relevant and explains your business in the simplest terms, easily readable and understandable to the readers, avoid jargon.
Keep adding posts related to your niche to grow your organic reach and slowly scale your business by growing your email list with newsletters and other conversion-oriented tools in the long run.
6. Customize the website
You can customize your site to make it more attractive and easy-to-use.
Static/dynamic page: You can choose to keep the content of a particular site static or dynamic. For example, for the home page, you can make it dynamic to make it attractive while you can make the “about us” page static. You can change it in the “settings” and under “front page displays” and then save changes.
Title: Tweak your website title and tagline by going to “general settings”.
Navigation bar: Make it easy for your visitors to find information on your website by customizing your site navigation. Click on “Appearance,” followed by “menus”. Determine how many pages you want to keep and include useful links.
Comment settings: Don’t let spammers target your comment section. For this, activate comment moderation option on your site from “discussion”
7. Optimize your content for SEO and performance
You have done everything; still, you can’t see the results you expected.
But what’s the reason?
Your website’s poor search engine ranking might be the culprit. It does not mean you have to go back to finish a digital marketing course and then work on your site.
You can, but you are good, even if you don’t.
Utilize SEO plugins like Yoast SEO, as explained above, and optimize your content for SEO to increase your visibility. Optimize permalinks, headings, titles, subheadings, videos and images, and other media.
Similarly, speed plays a major role in the success of your website.
As nobody likes to wait, don’t let visitors slip off your site due to poor page loading speed.
Improve the site’s performance by activating browser caching to store your site data on visitor’s browsers. It increases site loading speed as the pages need not be processed again to reappear. Moreover, there are plugins applicable for this as well; install them and speed up your site.
8. Pay attention to website security
You might know how vulnerable the internet is.
As you have created your website from scratch and nursed it like an infant, you never would want anybody to harm it in any way. Hence, keep your site secure by addressing some important pointers:
- Strengthen your admin page and login page to safeguard it from brute force attacks.
- Use plugins and themes from reliable and authorized sources only.
- Go for routine backups.
- Be in-line with compliance.
- Go for HTTPS and not HTTP, and install SSL certification.
- Try security plugins like Bulletproof Security, Wordfence, iThemes security, etc.
9. Analytics and earning
After putting huge efforts into building and maintaining your website, always find out how your site is performing.
For this, use website analytics to understand traffic, conversion rates, content, and other metrics that help you determine your flaws, and you can subsequently improve on them to achieve more success.
You can try Google Analytics and other plugins like Jetpack for the same purpose.
Make handsome profits by monetizing your blog and website. WordPress lets you include Google Adsense, affiliate links, advertisements, banners, etc. Besides, you can seamlessly integrate payment providers like PayPal for easy transactions across the globe.
Creating a website is the first step towards building a successful online business. Even if you are a complete novice wanting to set up a website without coding knowledge, WordPress has made it easier for you. If you need a bit of training, then check out this course.
Thus, seize the opportunity as online businesses are booming.
Create your website today in WordPress!
When done, pat yourself on the back 🙂