These days, it seems like everyone wants to know how to set up a WordPress website.
Wherever you turn online, chances are that someone is writing about a topic of interest.
If you’ve ever wondered how to set up a WordPress website so that you can tap into this enormous market, then now is the perfect time to learn.
Today we’re going to discuss the ins and outs of WordPress websites and how to set up your blog the right way.
Table of Contents
Chapter One: Establish Your Domain
Although the name of your blog will be essential when getting started, the name of your website address is going to be even more vital.
Without a domain name, there won’t be any way for your audience to reach you.
What’s in a (Domain) Name? Domain Basics and Overview
Simply put, a domain name is what people type into the search bar (or URL bar) to find your site.
For example, if your blog was called “John Doe’s Blog,” then you might want to get the domain www.johndoesblog.com.
This will ensure that your audience can find you easily and remember how to access your content.
All domains are listed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.
If the domain you want is already there and owned by someone, you can’t have it.
That being said, you can sometimes have a similar domain with a different extension.
Extensions are what comes after the final dot. Most sites are labeled as .com, but other options include .net, .org, or .biz.
Once you’ve come up with a domain and purchased it from a registrar, then it’s time to find a host.
Buying Your Domain Name
Chapter Two: Finding a Website Host
Having a domain is not enough to get a blog up and running.
You need to make sure that your site is accessible across the whole internet.
This is where web hosts come into play. Even if you’ve never heard of this process before, it’s relatively simple to get started.
What Does a Host Do?
A web host is a service that puts your site online so people can access it.
It also acts as storage for all of your website files (i.e., blog posts, images, etc.).
When setting up a WordPress website, it’s imperative that you find a host that is compatible with this program. Because WordPress is a unique method of site creation, not all hosts are capable of offering it.
What to Look for in a Host
Beyond the ability to work with WordPress, you need a host that can offer all of the solutions you need to ensure that your site runs smoothly. Here are some standard features to look for in a host.
WordPress and Web Hosting
In some cases, web hosts will offer exclusive features that work with WordPress. Other times, they will assume that you know what you’re doing so they will take a hands-off approach.
If you’re just starting out with the system, then choose a host that makes things easier for you. You won’t get as much freedom for customization, but you will get a decent blog without a lot of hassle.
Top WordPress Hosting Sites
BlueHost WordPress Hosting
Ease Of Use
Price: $2.95 A MONTH (sale price)
When looking at WordPress web hosting reviews, Bluehost always stands out as one of the best options for hardcore users. Thus, if you’re experienced with the program, and you want a host that can help you get the most out of your site, then this is an excellent choice.
What really sets Bluehost apart from others is that you can reach a much wider audience.
Instead of measuring monthly visits in six figures, you start off with 100 million and go up to unlimited plans.
siteGround WordPress Hosting
Ease Of Use
Price: $6.99 A MONTH
As you may have noticed, this hosting company offers slightly higher speeds than BlueHost, which is why it’s near the top of the list.
However, it cost a bit more and it’s somewhat limited in the amount of content you can produce.
Overall, we like this hosting service because it’s designed for WordPress beginners.
So, if you’re still new to the system, you can lean on the support team and find out how to make your pages more functional and responsive.
Also, the higher load times make it a little better when compared to most of the competition out there.
Chapter Three - Setting Up WordPress
Once you’ve gotten your host picked out and set up, now it’s time to learn WordPress step by step. This program has a lot of options, so it can be easy to get overwhelmed by all of the various features that come with it.
Fortunately, the system is very user-friendly, so you shouldn’t have any problems creating a website for your business.
How to Use WordPress Through Your Hosting Service
In some cases, your web host may be able to get you set up with just a few clicks. Many hosts offer WordPress installation services that make the process smooth and simple.
Don’t worry about plugins and themes yet. Installing is just about getting the system going, not making it perfect.
Here is a demo on how to set up your website on BlueHost.
Chapter Four: Using Your Site
After installation is complete, now you want to familiarize yourself with WordPress so that you can start to make your website more fleshed out. Before we worry about things like templates or color schemes, let’s go over the key elements that you’ll have to master when starting your website.
Make it Unique - Fit Your Website’s Theme
As we learn how to customize things in WordPress, it’s helpful to have a good idea of what you want as you go.
For example, if you want your website to be neat and utilitarian, then you can focus on tools and methods that will result in a clutter-free site.
Conversely, if you're going to add a bunch of extras (i.e., animation, flash, etc.), then you’ll have to find ways to incorporate that into your site.
You should already have a good idea of the kind of website you want to run, as well as how you want it to look. This will be your guiding principle when figuring out what tools to use in WordPress.
Master The WordPress Dashboard
The WordPress dashboard is going to be your primary resource when building your website. It offers all of the tools and functions that you’ll need, ensuring that you can post and curate content with ease.
We recommend taking your time to get to know the various features of the dashboard since this is where you will be spending most of your time.
However, there are a few items that should be handled immediately before you play around with various options.
Changing Site Title and Tagline
Since this is the information that users will see when they visit your website, you want to make sure that it’s not something generic (i.e., my site). Go under settings in your dashboard and click “general.” There, you will see a listing for site title and tagline. All you have to do is go in and rename them and then hit save.
Customizing Your Permalinks
When it comes to linking your content across the web, it’s imperative that you have a comprehensive permalink naming structure. Permalinks are how people connect to your web pages and your website material, so it’s essential that they are clear and noticeable.
In WordPress, you can change permalinks under the settings tab. Click on “permalinks” and then choose a structure that works best for you.
These naming conventions are going to help you organize your pages as well as enable you to get more from SEO practices, so take the time to ensure that they work for those purposes.
How to Build a Site Menu in WordPress
As we’ve mentioned, there is no end to the amount of stuff you can do in WordPress. As such, there are a ton of buttons and options that you will likely never need when managing your website. Thus, what you can (and should) do is create custom site menus that contain just what you need to get your content online and make it manageable.
To do this, go to the “appearance” section of the dashboard. Then click on “create new menu.” Name it, and then it will appear. Once your menu is created, then you want to add items to it. These will be links to various tools that you want to access frequently.
In some cases, it’s best to build multiple menus based on what you want to do. For example, create a main menu and footer menu.
In the end, the thing to remember is that you want to make your dashboard as convenient and user-friendly for you as possible.
Chapter Five: Choosing a WordPress Theme
Gone are the days when websites could look tacky or amateurish without anyone paying too much attention.
With WordPress website templates, there is no excuse to have a site that doesn’t look amazing, thanks to the abundance of various themes available.
You can either choose the best one from the WordPress site itself, or you can outsource this project to a team of professionals.
How to Build a Site Menu in WordPress
If you’re not a programmer, then these themes will enable you to create a clean, professional site without much effort.
Instead of having to build everything from scratch, these themes come fully loaded with colors, images, and other elements that will make your website stand out.
Where to Find Free Themes
Fortunately, there are so many options on WordPress that you will likely never go through them all.
A fantastic resource that we recommend is the free theme directory on the official WordPress website.
Feel free to browse the options listed to see if any of them strike your fancy.
If you want to find out how to install a WordPress theme on your own, watch the video below.
Where to Find Free Themes
As the name suggests, themes that cost money are called “premium.” At first, you may scoff at the idea, considering that there are so many free options from which to choose, but the fact is that you can do a lot more with a premium theme than you could with a free one. These themes are an effective way to improve the look and feel of your site without a lot of hassle.
Chapter Six: Adding Plugins to Your Site
One of the primary reasons to use WordPress in the first place is that it has so many valuable resources that can improve the look and functionality of your website.
The bread and butter of WordPress are plugins, which are easy to use and install, and they add a ton of features and benefits.
What is a WordPress Plugin?
Benefits of Using Plugins
The great thing about plugins is that they operate automatically after they’re installed. Thus, you can add them to your site, and let you don’t have to worry about them until it’s time to upgrade.
Here are some additional reasons to use plugins to your advantage.
- Wide Selection: from site security to aesthetics, you can find a plugin that fits your needs
- Free: most of these options are free, although you want to pay for the ones that are most valuable to you (i.e., antivirus)
- Instant Improvement: since plugins are so easy to install, you can quickly make your website more unique and more user-friendly without a lot of effort on your end
Common Plugins for WordPress websites
- Yoast SEO: if you want to promote your website, then SEO is a fantastic way to do it. This plugin is a surefire way to increase your online presence and drive traffic to your site.
- 404-301: if you’ve ever seen a 404 error message before, then you know that it makes the site look unprofessional. This plugin monitors your pages to ensure that that doesn’t happen to your users.
- Autoptimize: after working on your site for a while, it’s easy for it to get cluttered and messy. Even if it doesn’t seem that way to you, the stuff going on behind the scenes can get tangled quickly. This plugin automatically optimizes your site so that it runs smoothly and efficiently.
- Backup WordPress: it’s always necessary to backup your files in case something goes wrong. This plugin handles that process for you.
- Contact Form 7: you want your users to be able to contact you, which is why this plugin is so handy. It manages multiple contact forms and enables you to keep in touch that much easier.
- Securi Scanner: keep your website safe and protected with this plugin.
- W3 Total Cache: Make sure speed isn’t an excuse to leave yours with W3 Total Cache. This free plugin works with your server to increase its performance, reducing the times it takes for your site to download, and enhancing the integration between content delivery network integrations.
- Updraft Plus – UpDraft Plus is one of the most popular free backup and restore plugins on WordPress. Customers rate this service at 4.8 out of 5 stars over more than 2,200 reviews.
- WP-Optimize: the great thing about plugins is that you can use multiple ones at the same time. When it comes to optimizing and streamlining your database, this is the one to get.
- Google Analytics: Track Your Stats – Google Analytics is a comprehensive tool that allows you to get future results by tracking past actions of your visitors.
- Itheme Security – As the name of this plugin implies Itheme Security is capable of handling all security features of WordPress.
Chapter Seven: Start Your Website!
We highly recommend that you take the time to build your WordPress site and test it to make sure that it works well and looks good. It’s better to do more work on the back end before launching so that you’re not scrambling to fix things after it goes live.
So, with that in mind, once you’ve finally customized and built your website to your specifications, now is the time to turn it loose on the internet! Let’s see how to ensure that your efforts are successful.
How to Craft Killer Content
This is the part where most bloggers struggle. You have an idea, but how can you make people want to read it? Here are some ways to enhance your content so that it’s more marketable and consumable for your audience.
- Keep it Simple: although you may want to create long-form articles every so often, people usually tune out when they see blocks of text. Try to keep your content between 500-1200 words on average, and remove any filler that isn’t necessary.
- Use Images: breaking up your posts with pictures will keep the reader engaged. Best of all, if you put them in your long-form articles, it’ll make it easier to get to the end.
- Use Video: more than anything else online, video content is the most-watched and shared. Augment your static posts with clips, and you’ll be getting views in no time.
- Make it Shareable: these days, people love to share content (even if they haven’t read it). Some ways to do this include having a captivating header image, making a catchy headline, and embedding a video.
Organizing Your Posts and Archives
Fortunately, you can use plugins to manage your archives and make old content available to republish without having to scour your database manually.
If you don’t use a plugin, then be sure to have naming conventions and organizational tools to keep things clean and simple.
- Date your posts
- Use folders in your database
- Relate folders to permalinks
- Organize content by type if possible (i.e., text, infographic, video)
- Label content so that it’s obvious what it is
How to Publish a Post
This is probably the simplest procedure you can follow in WordPress. All you have to do is go to “posts.” Then click “add new.” From there, you’ll be on the post screen, which is where you can add a headline, text, and meta tags.
When creating content, make sure that you utilize all of the available fields. This will make it easier to find and promote online. Items such as meta tags, meta description, and social media tags are essential if you want your material to be accessible via search engines or shareable across platforms.
Once you’ve created your post and entered all of the pertinent information, then hit “publish.” You can also use the “preview” option to see how it will look on your site. This is helpful because it allows you to make changes before it goes live.
Now that you know how to create a perfect WordPress website, the internet is yours! Happy blogging!