Creating a website for the first time can be frustrating.
…to say the least.
Especially if you don’t have a clue where to get started.
Did you know that 35 percent of ALL WEBSITES are powered by WordPress? So you could say that it’s a pretty popular content management system (CMS).
The main reason is that WordPress is easy to set up and can be customized to fit just about any website. You can create online stores with a plugin called WooCommerce, or you can create your own social media with the plugin BuddyPress.
WordPress can be used for most online businesses’ thanks to their customizable open source approach.
If you want to create your own website in WordPress – you’ve come to the right place.
In this article we’ll go over some of the common questions and provide a step by step guide to creating a website with WordPress.
Getting Started with WordPress
One thing I’ve noticed with beginners is that they always head over to WordPress.com, even if their website is hosted on another server. This is the sort of misunderstanding that I’d like to clear up in this article. WordPress itself can be hosted with most web hosts, not just wordpress.com.
WordPress.com is a hosted solution whereby you pay every month. There are several restrictions, depending on what package you choose on WordPress.com. However, it’s important to note that if you want the full flexibility, and are up for the challenge – you can host your own WordPress website by firstly downloading it.
Here’s a quick overview of the three options
WordPress.com – where you go to have a fully hosted WordPress website
WordPress.org – where you go to download the software (if hosting elsewhere)
Hositnger.com (or similar reputable WP host) – provide a one click installation specifically designed for WordPress
PRO TIP: Many website hosts offer a one-click install for wordpress, which makes setting up a wordpress instance childs play. You can literally have it set up in under a minute.
How to Download & Install WordPress
Like I said above, many hosts will provide the ability to automatically install wordpress. Bluehosts, 123-reg, Dreamhost and Hostinger are just a few examples of hosting providers that offer one click WP install.
What’s one click install I hear you ask… it’s the ability to install wordpress seamlessly with the touch of a button. Making it really easy to install the WordPress software on your hosting provider’s server. If you have a dedicated server, you may not have a one click install feature in your cPanel. In this instance you might want to go ahead and download WordPress.
If you want to download WordPress to use it on your own hosting platform, or a server that you’re leasing, then you can do so from wordpress.org. WordPress is always being updated, and it’s important that you get the most recent version. The current version of WordPress is 5.4.2.
Is it Easy to use WordPress?
Using wordpress is easy once you know your way around. Relax and allow yourself to get to know the user interface. It’s especially easy if you get hosting that allows you to set it up in a matter of seconds. Or if you go with WordPress.com hosting. There are lots of WP templates that you can buy that make designing your website a breeze. Plus, you can choose from over 50,000 plugins. These plugins make it easy to add new features to your website.
WordPress makes it easy to piece together a feature rich website with a stunning design. Simply because you don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time. You have access to the Plugin Directory and thousands of templates, so that you can have a slick website online in no time.
I will say, it can get a bit fiddly at times, when it comes to making sure your email forms hook up correctly. But other than that, WordPress is pretty easy to use.
What is WordPress best used for?
Back in May 2003 WordPress was launched, originally designed as a blog content management system. However since then it has been used for just about everything. It’s even used by some of the biggest websites around, such as The New York Times, Sony and Disney. WordPress is easy to customise, which means that you need no website design experience to create a wordpress website.
You can find wordpress templates, also known as themes for almost any type of website. From dentists, online courses, and stores, to musicians and more. Often these themes come with colour options, that allows you to easily change the look and feel of your website to fit your branding. You can also upload different types of media, such as images, video and audio files.
4-Step WordPress Beginners Guide
STEP 1 Pick domain name and hosting provider
- Your hosting provider is the home of your website. It lives on your hosts computer server
- Your domain name is the URL or how people find you. Your memorable website address
- PHP (version 7.3 or higher)
- MySQL (version 5.6 or higher, or MariaDB version 10.1 or higher)
- Offers HTTPS support (also known as SSL certificates)
STEP 2 Install WordPressIf you decide to go with WordPress.com (or another managed WordPress hosting service like Kinsta or WP Engine) you won’t need to install WordPress. But for all other shared hosts you should be able to install the wordpress app directly from your hosting dashboard. This process can take a few minutes or up to 24 hours depending on your hosting provider. Simply go to settings, click on the wordpress icon and follow the instructions on your screen.
STEP 3 Add posts / pagesWhat is the difference between a “Post” and a “Page” in WordPress? Posts can be thought of as timely content, like articles or blogs that can have a release date A page is a more permanent feature of your website, like an “about“ page or the page that houses all of your blogs Adding posts and pages is a breeze with wordpress. Once in your WP dashboard you’ll see the posts and pages tabs down the right hand side (as shown below). Simply click them and select a new post or page. Then begin adding your content.
STEP 4 Customize
- Choose a theme/ template
Your wordpress website will already come preloaded with a theme. However, you can change this with a custom theme or template. These can be bought or found for free on the web. You can also use a WordPress design tool like Divi that has tonnes of nice templates you can choose from. Or another tool like Elementor.
PRO TIP: Search for themes on WordPress.org or Themeforest.net by your website niche, for example health or ecommerce.
- Install plugins
If you already know the type of plugins you need, simply go over to the plugins tab on the left hand side of your dashboard as seen below (as you can see we have 14 currently installed). If you select “Add New” then you’ll be taken to this screen:
Here you can search for plugins that might be relevant for your site. Perhaps you want to optimize your site for the search engines (SEO) or add a calendar. You can search for the name of the plugin if you know it, or alternatively you can search for a keyword such as “events” and find plugins that relate to your site.
Simply click the “Install Now” Button on the top right hand side of your desired plugin and follow the instructions.
PRO TIP: Keep the amount of plugins on your site to a minimum for safety reasons and ease of use.
Disadvantages of WordPress | Why not use WordPress?
There are a few disadvantages to using WordPress that you should know about. Firstly, the WP software needs to be continually updated when new versions come out. Otherwise you can run into issues like hacking or your site not appearing on the search engines.
Customizing your site can be a bit finicky with all of the plugins and the fact that they can be incompatible or present security issues. Some themes are hard to use, so it pays to go with themes that have good reviews and you don’t want to change much.
Finally, in some cases you need to hire a web developer (or learn coding) to get your website to look and feel exactly as you want.
Is WordPress worth learning in 2020?
WordPress is a great piece of software to use for your website. WordPress is extremely popular, powering over a third of all websites you see online. If you feel motivated to learn WordPress for your own website development or to offer the service to others, it’s definitely still a good idea.