WordPress is one of the most popular Content Management System (CMS) platforms available, and for good reason. According to WordPress.org, it is used by 27% of all websites on the internet. Originally created as a blogging platform, it has evolved into an all-purpose CMS over the years, used to create all kinds of sites, from eCommerce to dynamic news sites and everything in between.
In this post, you will be guided through the steps you need to get your WordPress website up and running. If you follow this simple guide, you should have your site up and running in no time. If you get stuck or have any questions, feel free to contact me and I will try to help.
1. Choosing a Domain Name
Before you start the process of putting your site online, you will need to consider a few things. First and foremost, you will have to choose your domain name. This is an important element of your online presence because it helps define your brand, and is your chance to make a good first impression on your site visitors.
In some cases, choosing a domain name may be very easy. You can simply use your or your company’s name, followed by .com, .net, or some other domain extension.
It’s important to carefully choose your domain name, but don’t overanalyze it. Come up with something you like that will be easy for people to remember… and type. You want to stay away from long and confusing domain names.
There are a number of domain name registrars to choose from, and you can often get a year of free domain name registration included with your hosting package.
Please note, you don’t have to purchase your domain name and web hosting from the same company.
2. Selecting Web Hosting
Once you’ve selected a domain name, you will need to get web hosting for your site. There are many different types of hosting available, and shared web hosting will be adequate in the beginning. It is the least expensive, and will work well for a new site with very little traffic. As your site traffic grows, you can upgrade to a better – and more expensive – hosting plan.
Some web hosts are terrible, and you want to avoid them at all costs. If your hosting service sucks, it can create a lot of problems, including a slow website and server downtime. It’s worth spending a few extra bucks to get quality hosting. This website is hosted on 1and1, and some of my other sites are hosted by InMotion Hosting.
When choosing a web hosting service, look around and check out reviews online. You can register your domain at GoDaddy, but DON’T host your site with them.
3. Installing WordPress
Once you have your domain name registered and web hosting service chosen, you are ready to install WordPress. There are many ways to do this, and I will go over a couple of them.
The majority of web hosts offer a 1-click installation of WordPress, as well as other CMS platforms. This makes the WordPress installation process simple. Basically, you will be guided through the whole setup in the control panel of your web hosting account.
If your web host doesn’t offer a 1-click installation, you may have to install WordPress manually. To perform a manual installation, you will need to download and use an FTP client. FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol, and it allows you to upload and download files to and from your web host.
4. Choosing and Installing a Theme
After you’ve installed WordPress, your next step will be choosing a theme. There are thousands of free and premium themes available for WordPress, and you can start out by taking a look at the free options in your Dashboard. If you find a theme suitable for your kind of website, install and activate it.
Within the Add Themes area, you can use various filters to find themes for certain types of websites, and even search for themes with specific built-in features. Browse through the assorted themes, and install a few that you like. Then, you can add some pages and posts to get a good feel for what your site might look like. You can always change themes later, so don’t get too attached to anything at this point.
5. Adding Posts and Pages
Once you have your theme chosen, it’s time to start adding some content to your website. Within the WordPress dashboard, it is very easy to create new posts and pages, as well as upload various media items (photos and other images to name a few). You can add the following pages to your site to get started: home page, services or products, blog, about and contact.
Any new posts that you create will show up on the blog page of your website. To add a page, post or media item, simply hover over the + New in the header and select Post, Media or Page (refer to image above). If you are adding a new page, you will see the following screen:
Give your page a title, add some content and hit the orange Publish button. If you’re not ready to publish it just yet, you can save it as a Draft. This is a useful tool which lets you work on your post or page until you’re ready to publish it, at which time it will become visible to the public. After you save your post or page as a draft, you can see what it will look like by hitting the Preview button to the right of Save Draft.
Setting up a WordPress website may seem like an overwhelming challenge if you’re a beginner. Hopefully, with the help of this guide, you will be able to easily setup your very own site on the WordPress CMS platform. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to contact me or leave them in the comments below.