WordPress is one of the most popular website builders in the world due to its simplicity of use and lots of cool features to enhance your website looks and functionality.
If you desire to know how to build a website from WordPress, then you are going to love this guide.
I will be taking you through all the steps you need to take to create a WordPress website, both a free one and a paid one.
Let’s get right into things here.
A Bit of Background on WordPress
WordPress is among the most famous website building tools on the web. It is the tool that has helped to create millions of websites you see online.
WordPress offers you the opportunity to build and run your website for free or on your own self-hosted domain where you have all the freedom and flexibility you desire.
Other than the ease of website creation, other benefits you get with WordPress are having access to unlimited designs and features for your website as well as lots of valuable WordPress plugins that help increase the functionality of your website.
WordPress comes in 2 styles. The first one is WordPress.com and the other one is WordPress.org.
These are 2 platforms created by the same company which work very differently from each other.
WordPress.org platform is probably the one you have heard good things about. It allows you to create the kind of websites that you want and install all the plugins and themes you wish to have without any limitations.
You are also able to monetize the websites you create from this builder through affiliate marketing or ads and keep all the money to yourself.
WordPress.com platform, on the other hand, is almost the opposite of that. With this version, you get to have most of the daunting tasks of running and maintaining your site taken care of but you give up the ability to install plugins and paid themes not to mention the ability to monetize your website with Google AdWords.
You can only use the WordPress ads whose profit you share with the platform.
I will be showing you how to create your website on both platforms so that you get an idea of how to go about it.
Method #1. Creating a WordPress website using WordPress.com
Here are the steps you should follow:
Step 1. Go to WordPress.com. In your browser, search for WordPress.com and ensure you put a .com at the end of WordPress so that you go to the right WordPress platform.
Step 2. Click on “Get started”. Here, you will be prompted to create an account by giving your username and password or use Gmail or Apple ID.
Step 3. Fill out the registration form. Fill in the details of your account and get a WordPress account set up.
Step 4. Choose a website domain. After the registration form, you will be taken to a page where you will get to choose a website domain or domain name that you want to have for the website you will be building in the next steps. A website domain is the address of your website. It is what people search online to be directed to your website.
For instance, the website domain for this website you are on right now is www.affiliatedove.com.
This is what people type in their browsers if they want to visit my website. You should also choose a name that you feel relates to the purpose of your website that is short and memorable. Say the website you are setting is for woodworking. A good domain name for such a website would be “your name + woodworks”.
In my case, my first name is Dave. So the domain would davewoodworks or something around that.
Please note that I have not left any spaces in the domain name and that is how it should be so that when the www. part is added as well as the .com or .net or any extension, it runs smoothly.
In WordPress.com, there are 3 options for the website domains.
1st option. Select and register a domain. In this option, you choose a domain that has an extension you want, buy it and register it so that you can use it for your website. This option will cost you a few dollars for the purchase of the domain and you will be paying a few more every year to renew it. The cost of the domain is about $30 depending on where you purchase it and the extension you go for.
2nd option. Choose a .wordpress extension that is free to use. This option allows you to come up with a domain name and instead of buying it and having the domain as www.yourdomain.com or with a .net or .blog or any other extension, you get the .wordpress.com extension that means the website you will be using is free and is fully powered by WordPress. You won’t have any rights to the website and you will also get limited features.
3rd option. Choose a domain I already own. This option is for those people who already have a domain. You may have bought it from other domain sellers in the past and you want to use it on WordPress. There are 2 ways to go about this option. You can either choose to move the domain name registration and billing to WordPress and have everything about the domain handled by WordPress or transfer the Domain Name System (DNS) to WordPress.
I know the idea of it sounds quite complicated but it’s actually not.
Just follow the steps provided and you will be done in no time. If you experience any problems, you can contact the customer support (they are very fast and helpful) or even me through the comments section and I will give you a hand with that.
Out of the 3 options, choose the option that best fits your case.
I will personally choose the free WordPress extension since I want a simple website at the moment.
Step 5. Choose a plan for your website. This step allows you to choose a monthly subscription plan that gives you different features based on the purpose and dynamics of your website. There are plans for personal use, freelancers, small businesses, and online stores. And they range from $4 to $45 per month. Look through the plans and see what each plan offers and then go for the one that matches your needs and interests.
If you are not sure about the plans, you can skip the step and continue with a free website and then come back to that when you are fully decided.
Step 6. Your website has now been created. After choosing the plan or skipping that step, the WordPress site builder will create the website for you behind the scenes and within a few seconds, your website will be set up and ready for use.
Customizing Your New Website
Immediately your website has been developed, you will be directed to your website’s dashboard in the backend area. Here, you will get a good glance of all the admin area of the website. This is where you will be managing your website by adding the features you want and modifying them to your tastes and preferences.
The good thing about WordPress is that they have created for you a list of steps to take to make the initial customizations for your website.
If you look at the top right corner of the dashboard, you will see the steps.
The first one, which is creating a website, has already been ticked off because you’ve already done it.
You should now work on the others to help you make the website more personal and get ready for the other major changes you will be making on your website in the near future.
I will be helping you work on all the steps and get the customizations done the right way.
Please note that there may be some differences between your view and mine if you decided to use other options other than the one I have used in terms of the monthly plans and domains, but the process is not hard either.
It is actually quite intuitive since WordPress has simplified things for you, and made it beginner-friendly.
Let’s go ahead and do the customizations.
1. Name your site – The first thing you want to do is to give your website a name or title. This is the name that people will be using to identify with it. And the name of the website should ideally be the same name as the domain but spaced out and written in a decent manner.
Again, using the example of this website you are on, the domain for the site is www.affiliatedove.com and the name or title is Affiliate Dove.
Using the previous davewoodworks domain name example, the title should be Dave Woodworks.
So I will go ahead and write that in the space provided for the site title.
Also, you will see a site tag line space. This is more like a subtitle or subheading that gives further details about the site briefly.
Not all websites have this and you are free to either use it or not.
If I were to use it on the Dave Woodworks website, it would be The Home of Awesome Woodworks.
You see, it is brief and gives a better description of the title and the website as a whole.
You also have the option of adding a website icon. This is a symbol that is more like a trademark for your website and you can add it or leave it like that.
If you want to have it, look for a good symbol or icon that you feel makes a good fit for your icon section and then upload it.
After that, click on “save settings” and you are good to go.
2. Update your homepage. The next task is to customize your homepage. Click on the “Edit homepage” on your dashboard and you will be taken to your homepage editor.
So the homepage makes a summary of your website.
It is that page where someone can read and get the whole idea of what your website is about, the areas of life it tackles, and the main concept behind it.
Here are the customizations I will make for the Dave Woodworks website.
* Change the top section. As you can see, the top section is very generalized and I will change that into something personal. I will delete the “Welcome to my new site” part and add “Welcome to Dave Woodworks”. Just double click on this section to highlight the text and delete it and then write your personalized text there.
* Change the text below the top section. There is also text below the “Welcome to Dave Woodworks” part that is also very general. I will be changing that to “This is the website that offers you the latest woodworking techniques and tips and advice that help you improve the quality of your woodworking job. We keep you updated on everything about woodworking.”
* Leave the “latest from the blog” part as it is. After the top section, you should have a section that gives a sneak peek of your latest posts. This helps the reader to not only see the kind of content you publish on the site but also have a link to help them access all the posts using a “see more posts” button that I might add after I have published a good deal of posts. So the customizations I will make in the future in this section will be to remove the general content and add the posts I have created and then add the button that links the sneak peek to a page where all the posts have been displayed.
* Leave the “subscribe to our mailing list” section as it is. WordPress owners have done a good job to create this part and I personally don’t think there is anything that needs to be added or removed in it. It is perfect just as it is.
* Add a footer section. The last customization I will make on the homepage is adding a footer section that will have links to other pages and more information about the owner of the website and business address. For the links and business address, I will add them when I have more content on the site and when the address is ready. For now, I will only information about the owner and leave everything else like that.
To do that, you will only need to click the + in the section below the mailing list, and a features section will pop up for you to choose the feature you want to add to your site. Click on “Browse all symbols” to open the whole features section.
Scroll down and pick the media & text that allows you to add a photo and write some text beside it.
Click on add photo and upload a small photo of yourself. Then click on the text section and add a brief summary about yourself. Here is the summary I have added to my text section.
Feel free to add any other feature you feel is good for your footer.
When you are done with that, click on the preview on the top right corner of the website to see how the changes look on your website from a visitor’s perspective. And if you are happy with the changes, click on “Update” and you will make the changes, apply on the website.
3. Confirm your email address. The next task will be to go to the inbox of the email address you used to create a WordPress account and open the mail on activating your WordPress account. You will see a “confirm your email now” button. Click on that button and your account will be confirmed and activated.
4. Create a site menu. Here you get to create a menu for your content. You can decide to leave the menu the way it is because you don’t have new pages or posts there. There is already the primary menu that has the homepage, blog page, contact page, and about page. And that is enough for now.
Although, if you want to add another menu, you can simply do it by clicking on the”Add menu” button and then give the menu a name based on the items you want to add and then add the items depending on your needs, desires, and goals.
After that, click on save and then click the x button on the top left corner to close that window and go back to the dashboard.
If you added a menu, you will see the “add a new menu” checked off on the right-hand side of the dashboard. If you didn’t, just click “skip for now” in the middle section of the dashboard and that step will be skipped.
5. Launch your website. This is the last step of the customization section. You just need to click on “launch your site” and the website will go live in a few seconds and everyone can see it now if they look it up.
Congratulations! You now have a website in place.
This is the initial phase of customizing your website. As you grow the website and add more content and features, you should further customize the site to make it look even better.
Method #2. Creating a WordPress website using WordPress.org
Unlike WordPress.com where you get to set up your website within the WordPress platform, this method allows you to create a website from your website hosting provider by installing WordPress in your hosting account that also hosts your domain name so that your website can be created there.
You only use WordPress.org to download the WordPress zip file and then install it on your web hosting service where your website will be.
To go about this method, you will first need to get a domain name, a website hosting provider, and the WordPress zip file.
Here are the steps to help you do all that :
Step 1. Get a website domain. Here, you will need to look for a domain seller that you can buy a website domain from, the domain will make the address of your website, just as discussed in the first method. When you buy your domain name, you get all the rights over the website you build with it.
There are many domain sellers out there from whom you can acquire your domain. Some of the best include Bluehost, GoDaddy, HostGator, Siterubix, and DreamHost.
Fell free to look through the options and choose a seller that you feel has good quality services that satisfy you and go ahead and buy as well as register your domain with them.
Step 2. Get web hosting for the website you will be building. Website hosting is a service that helps your website be seen on the internet. It helps you handle most of the hefty work related to your website like FTP, databases, and website building tools.
Again, there are many website hosting companies out there. Some of the well-known include SiteGround, Bluehost, DreamHost, and HostGator. They are the same ones that sell you domain names.
Feel free to look through your options and see which companies offer the packages that fit the kind of WordPress website you want to build.
It is also important to make sure that the hosting service you settle for offers WordPress support so that you are able to install WordPress there and set up your website with it.
Step 3. Install WordPress to your web hosting account. Your web hosting service will have a provision where you can install WordPress and run it. Some hosting companies have WordPress already installed for you and some require you to do it for yourself.
For those that let you do it by yourself, you will have to download the WordPress zip file so that you are able to upload it and get to use it in your account.
This is an easy process and you will only need to go to WordPress.org and then click on “get WordPress” on the top right corner of the website and the download will begin immediately.
Once the file has been downloaded, go to your website hosting service and upload it. It may be different with each hosting service so be sure to learn how to upload it correctly and ask the customer service for help when you need it.
Step 4. Verify and test the installation and the connections. There are usually a couple of essential aspects that go into the installation and activation of WordPress into your web hosting account. And all these aspects need to be approached right for the WordPress installation to go smoothly.
That being the case, you need to understand the proper way to install it in your specific hosting service and activate it so that it runs well with your domain name.
As earlier mentioned, you can ask for customer support from the hosting provider or learn from tutorials on YouTube or Google.
After you have made the installation, you should then test it to make sure everything has been successfully completed.
Some of the things you should verify are if the website has gone live and the SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is there on your domain name.
To verify if the website has gone live and WordPress has been activated, go to your browser and search for your domain name. You should see your website appear with a very basic WordPress look.
To verify the SSL, click on the domain name on the same page you are and ensure that the domain name starts with an https instead of http.
There are other aspects you should verify but most of them are based on the hosting service you are working with.
So be sure to confirm that you have everything you are supposed to be offered for the web hosting you chose from your web hosting service.
Step 5. Basic customization of your website. Once your website is up and running and you have everything working smoothly, it is now time to do some basic customization of your site. The first thing to focus on will be the website theme.
WordPress offers free basic themes but they are not good enough if you are someone who has a lot of design ideas for your website and if you hope to make a huge brand out of it.
Most people normally use free themes as they start out but then, later on, upgrade to a better theme that allows for more customizations.
If you are ready to kick things off on your website on a high note, this is the best time to invest in a good theme. What you will do is to look for a theme that best fits your website’s purpose and then install it on your website.
Some of the best theme sellers are ThemeForest, Colorlib, and Themeisle, among others. Take your time to research and get the best theme for your website.
Then buy it and acquire the license to use it.
When you are done, you will be able to download the zip file to your computer and then upload it to your WordPress admin area and activate it on your website.
You can search your domain name and see if the theme has been installed on your website. If it has, you can go ahead and customize it the way you like.
Deep Customizations of Your Website
For your website to be what you want it to be, you need to deeply customize it. And while we have done basic customization in the previous section, we need in-depth customizations to make small yet essential aspects of the website to work as we would love them to.
Also, you will be required to constantly customize the site as you grow it so that you have it always evolving towards your vision.
And to do this, you will need to know the WordPress back end area well.
I encourage you to spend time looking through the backend and clicking through the features to know what they do. Also, you can use WordPress tutorials on YouTube and in Google, Bing, and Yahoo to help you know your way around.
For now, we will aim to make slightly deeper customizations so that we set the website up for proper functionality and growth.
Here are the main aspects to work on:
To do that, you will go to the WordPress backend area by logging into your WordPress account and then go to the dashboard.
Within the dashboard, you will see “Pages”. Click on that and you will see the current pages on your website. Most themes come with dummy content. Delete all of them and make it clean for the foundational pages.
Upon deleting, create new pages by clicking “New Page”.
You will open up a new page that allows you to write the title of the new page and add content as well.
Create the foundational pages I mentioned, one by one, and publish them on your website.
You can take influence from other established websites on how to create pages for your website or hire a freelancer to do it for you.
When you are done with the pages, go to the dashboard and click on “Posts” and then “All Posts”.
There might be dummy content there too. Delete all of them and make the website ready for your content.
Add new posts that are related to your niche and topic of your website.
Content will be a huge part of the website growth so you will want to publish posts and pages on your website every so often.
I would encourage you to create a content plan and come up with many keywords that you can target within your content and be writing about each keyword at least 2 to 4 times a month.
2. Adding plugins – Plugins add more functionality to your website and they help you do more with your website. There are plugins for different functionalities like website optimization, website speed, website customization, and more.
Some of the most important plugins that almost every website owner has on their website are SEO plugins such as Yoast SEO or All-in-One SEO pack that optimizes your website for users and search engines website caching plugins and photo optimization plugins that help with the website loading speed, sitemap plugins for submitting your sitemap to search engines and mail subscription plugins like Mailchimp for capturing the emails of the visitors who wish to get notifications from your website.
Most of the plugins are free but some come with a premium version that offers even more features for your website.
You can search for plugins and install them on your website by going to your WordPress dashboard and then to “Plugins” and then to “Add New”.
You will then search for the plugin you want and when you find it, click on the “Install Now” button that is on the right-hand side within that plugin.
When the installation is complete, click on “activate now” and it will get activated and applied to your website functionality.
There are definitely more customizations that you may need to do depending on the kind of look that you have now and the one you want to have.
Make sure you approach each customization aspect carefully and learn more about how to do it from other website owners online through YouTube and Google. They come in handy and will save you time, effort, and money.
Tips to Better Understand WordPress And Apply Value to the Website
Here are some valuable tips and advice that will help you have an interesting experience with WordPress and which will also help you improve the quality of your website in the long run:
– Keep evolving your homepage as you build more content. Your homepage is the impression of your website and people will go there when they want to determine if your website is worth their time and money (if there’s money evolved). So make sure it is always at its best and it displays the best summary of the whole website. As you increase the content on the website and enhance other areas of the site, be sure to update the homepage to accommodate a summary of the changes.
– Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you need help. There are lots of roadblocks when it comes to websites, and a good number of times you will find yourself stuck. WordPress offers great online customer support, make use of it. Also, join forums that discuss WordPress and technical aspects of websites like Stack Overflow and learn from them too.
– Make sure your website is mobile-friendly. As you choose your website theme, ensure that the theme looks good on both desktop and mobile. Mobile-friendliness is good for your mobile visitors, who are often more than desktop visitors. It is also a ranking factor that contributes to good rankings on Google.
– Keep working on your website frequently. The only way you will get your website to the level you wish to get to is to work on it often. Make sure you create a new working schedule that includes a few minutes or hours for working on your website. At least make sure you add some value to your website every day, no matter how small it is, whether it is in the form of content, design improvement, or website optimization.
– Apply Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on your site. If you are looking forward to getting visitors to your site from search engines, you need to optimize the website for them. That means improving the content, authority, user experience, and technical performance of the website. You can learn SEO or hire a skilled expert to do it for you. This is a very essential element of website success.
– Back up your website on a regular basis. While many web hosting services provide website backups, it is good practice to make your own backups of your website. Having a backup will help you restore your website to full operation if anything bad happens to it. You can use backup plugins such as UpdraftPlus and SnapShot Pro.
– Use excerpts for your website posts. Most website themes display posts in full length, one after another. This can make your website look long and disorganized. Using excerpts makes the posts have summaries for all your posts that people can have a glance and choose the post they want to read.
– Keep an eye on your website performance. You can use free services like Google Analytics and Google Search Console to help you see how your website is doing and how you can optimize it for even better performance. Make good use of these provisions.
– Organize your website in a way that is easy to navigate for your visitors. Ensure that your website is neat and well organized with the sidebar having well-arranged widgets and menus.
And that is how you set up your WordPress website in a few easy to follow steps and get to succeed with it.
I wish you all the best with your new website and your vision for it.
If you ever get stuck and require help with anything, feel free to let me know and I will be more than glad to give you hand. 🙂