Setting up a website in WordPress literally takes less than 5 minutes if you know what to do. For the purpose of this post, I will assume that you have limited knowledge, so before we get started on how to build a website I’ll give a brief summary of what WordPress is so you can make the right decision on whether you should go with WordPress.com or WordPress.org. I will then take you through the steps on how to build a website in WordPress.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is now the most popular Content Management System in the world with a whopping 74 million + websites now running on the WordPress platform. WordPress allows you to easily create and edit websites without knowing code and create professional looking sites with themes, which are essentially templates.
You can choose themes that suit your particular need and layout preferences.
What is WordPress.com and WordPress.org – which one should I use?
There are two different types of WordPress platforms, WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Basically, WordPress.com is hosted by WordPress so it doesn’t cost you anything to have your site hosted. WordPress.org allows you to get a bit more serious and host your own site and have your own domain. If you are serious about building a branded, professional looking site then you should go for WordPress.org. If you are more interested in just building a site for your own interests or hobby, then you should probably go for WordPress.com
Advantages of WordPress.com
– Easy to set up
– Analytics is included (i.e. you can get stats on your site without having to install a plug-in)
– Pretty good forums and support
– Easy to integrate with social media (twitter, facebook etc.)
– It is free!
– Your website stays up forever as you are not paying any annual subscription fees
– You can upgrade to have your own domain if required
Choose this one if you want a free site and are just interested in blogging about your hobby or interest
Advantages of WordPress.org
– Greater flexibility in how you build your site
– You can own your own domain name
– No third party ads
– No restrictions on modifying code
– Use any theme you like
– Ability to upgrade to paid themes which look more professional
– Use any plugin you like
– Domain name looks more professional
– Ability to monetize your site with affiliate links and ads
Choose this one if you are interested in creating your own website and brand and potentially monetizing it
Wordpress tutorials for beginners – A guide on how to create your own hosted website
You may be asking yourself, okay I want to build a website – now what do I do?
I will go through with you in a step by step process and show you how to create a website using WordPress. It really is very simple to get a site up and running these days and the framework for a really slick looking sites can be created within minutes without knowing any code.
Regardless of whether you want to have your own website or create a free one, I will show you how both can be achieved with ease.
1. Setting your website up
Step 1: Choose your domain name
Once you have decided to create a website, you need to decide on your domain name. This is in essence your real estate on the internet and is where your website will ‘live’. You will be able to drive people to your website through various means I will go through later.
When choosing a domain name, try to think about what you are trying to tell users who come to your site about? Is it a very tight, specific niche or are you covering a range of related topics? The domain name you want to create will depend on this. If you intend to add a lot of related information and not target a tight niche, then your domain name would probably be something more general so it gives you scope to discuss a variety of related topics.
Your domain name should reflect what you are writing about. If for example, you are writing about how to do origami, your website could be something like ‘how-to-do-origami.com’. There are a number of tools you can use on the internet to research what topic you should write about (e.g. keyword search, google search etc.).
Note that even if you think up a great domain name, you then need to check if someone else has taken it or not. You can do this easily by using any of a number of domain registration sites.
Step 2: Buy your domain name
OK, now this is the serious part. This is when you get your credit card out. However, don’t be too scared as the initial investment is very small (around $US 10/year). There are also options to create free websites and convert them to your own domain later if you feel it is too early to dive in.
Before I get started here, let me explain that there is a difference between buying your domain name and hosting it. Most domain name registration sites also offer hosting services. Some of the more common ones are Bluehost and Godaddy. I used to always use Bluehost for my WordPress sites and it is still a good option. However, I now use Siterubix.com as you also get access to training, support and tools to help you create your website in WordPress. They also pre-load any necessary plugins.
In summary, if you want to start with a free site, easily the best option I have found is siterubix.com. You can get started with a free site in a few minutes and the process is a cinch.
Step 3: Choose somewhere to host your domain
Once you purchase the domain, you need somewhere to ‘host’ it. This means your website will live on a computer server somewhere.
There are various places to host your domains, with some of the more popular ones being Bluehost and GoDaddy. However, if you want a site that provides unlimited hosting capability and gives you a host of awesome ‘hand-held’ help, I recommend a site called Wealthy Affiliate. I know, the name sounds cheesy and looks like a scam – but I was pleasantly surprised to find out it was legit and is the best support site I have found in terms of understanding how to set up your website and create an online business. The siterubix.com platform is run by Wealthy Affiliate, so there is a lot of support that comes with the hosting there. You can try their site out for free.
Step 4: Login to your WordPress Admin area
To do any editing on your WordPress site, you need to login to the ‘admin’ area. The Admin area provides you with a dashboard where you basically control all your content and the look and feel of your WordPress site. The Admin area has loads of different options, from different menu layout, themes, page options etc. To get to the dashboard you go to the admin login page which is your domain + wp-admin – e.g. http://wordpressadvice.com/wp-admin.
There you put in your user name and password. If you forget your password you can ask for it to be reset and sent to your email. If you use siterubix, you can access your password from the dashboard in the affiliate member area and login to your site directly from there.
Step 5: Choose a theme
Choosing a theme can be difficult because of the sheer number of them out there, there are something like 14,000+ themes. If you are just starting out, I wouldn’t spend too much time on this. Regardless of what theme you choose, the most important thing to focus on is content. Organizing your content in a concise and clear manner and then creating unique content from your own perspective is the most important thing to focus on. Once you have a framework you can always come back to choose a better theme that matches your layout and writing style.
There are a lot of really good, free WordPress themes out there, with some of them surpassing a few of the paid ones. The main drawback to choosing a free theme is there is no guarantee that the person who created the theme will still be around in a year’s time and depending on how busy they are they may not upgrade it to the latest version(s) of WordPress. This means the theme could get out of date and start breaking on you. This being said, there are quite a few good free ones that have been around for a while so just make sure you choose carefully.
Personally, I use Elegant Themes as I really liked their design and the support is pretty good. Price-wise, they aren’t that expensive either. I was disappointed with one of their themes which didn’t work 100% in Chrome, but otherwise they have been very good.
Step 6: Upload your chosen theme
Once you have chosen a theme, you need to login to the admin area in WordPress and choose Themes. You do this from the ‘Appearance tab’ as seen below.
Once you select a theme, you have the option to have a ‘live preview’ or to ‘activate’ the theme. The live preview option gives you the ability to look at how the theme will actually look without having to make it ‘live’. Even if you do make it live and you don’t like it, you can quickly switch back to another theme.
Step 7: What plugins do I need?
What are WordPress plugins and why do I need them?
Plugins essentially add extra functionality to your site. There are loads of plugins, both free and paid, which enable you to do lots of fancy things with your website. Some of these plugins are ‘must have’ and fortunately most of the essential ones are free. Once you install a plugin, you have the ability to turn it on and off.
So, which plugins are must have you ask?
- All in one SEO
– gets your site SEO ready and gives you ability to insert your Google Analytics code
- Excludes pages from navigation
– This plugin provides a checkbox on the editing page which you can check to exclude pages from the primary navigation.
- SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam
– This plugin adds CAPTCHA anti-spam methods to WordPress forms for comments, registration, lost password, login etc.
– An extremely powerful and user-friendly all-in-one anti-spam plugin that eliminates comment spam, trackback spam, contact form spam, and registration spam
Note: These 4 plugins are pre-installed when you set up a siterubix site
Other plugins you should install and activate
- Google XML Sitemaps
- Contact Form 7
Step 8: Activate your plugins
How do I find and install WordPress plugins?
OK, now that you have decided which plugins you want to use, you can now install and activate them. Just be wary that if you add loads of plugins it will slow your site down a bit, so try to stay lean and use the ones that are really necessary.
Click on the ‘Plugins’ as shown in the image to the right and you can see all your plugins. The ones that haven’t been activated have an ‘activate’ option. Click on ‘activate’ to activate and start using them.
Search and find a new plugin
To find a plugin and install it, all you have to do is click on the ‘plugins’ tab and enter the name of the plugin you want to install in the ‘search installed plugins’ area. In this case, we will look for the Google XML Sitemaps plugin and install it and click on the ‘Activate Plugin’ link.
As your site grows, you will want to install different plugins to suit your particular needs. For example, if you start doing affiliate sales, you would want to install a plugin called ‘Pretty Link Lite’, which shortens your affiliate link URL.
Step 9: Delete the default comments, posts and pages
After you log-in to the WordPress admin area, you will find a default comment and post and also sometimes a default page. You should delete these before you start working on anything. Firstly, go into the Comments section and just click on the ‘Trash’ to delete the comment. Do the same for any default posts and pages.
Congratulations! You have now set up a website and are ready to optimize your site for Google.