Creating a website can seem like a confusing and daunting task the first time. I have news for you, the reality is it’s super simple! Follow this guide and you’ll have a WordPress Website up and running in under an hour. There is no programming involved so you don’t need to know HTML, CSS and PHP.
In this guide/tutorial I’ll cover all the steps to create a brand new WordPress site, including web hosting and customization. You can download this guide in PDF form from here.
Below is an example of what I’m going to teach you to create here.
Table Of Contents
- Why Use WordPress
- Choosing A Domain Name
- Hosting, Hosting, Hosting…
- WordPress Setup
- Best Practices
- Posts, Pages and Menus
- Themes and Customization
Why Use WordPress
WordPress is by far the most popular platform for creating websites. Almost 60% of all websites who use a known content management system use WordPress. Why? Because it’s simple, customizable and with a plethora of themes and templates you don’t need a PhD in UX Design (or to even know what that is) to have a beautiful website. Also, a large abundance of plugins allow you to easily achieve anything you desire.
Most hosts include options for 1 click install of WordPress (as well as other CMS such as Drupal and Joomla). However if this is your first website I would highly recommend sticking to WordPress.
Choosing A Domain Name
When choosing your domain name you’ll want to go with something short, easy to remember and relevant to what you’ll be doing. If you run a dog cleaning business a domain like “wecleanyourdoggyindenversoyoudonthaveto.com” is far too long. However a domain name like “denverdogcleaner.com” is fine.
For blogs I would recommend going with your name (as I have) or screen name. This will help your site come across as your own and build trust with your audience.
If you’re running a business, .com (or your country’s equivalent) makes sense. You can also use .com for blogs or go with something that looks a little different, like .tech. It’s really up to you. However note that using uncommon extensions can harm your SEO and make your website look unprofessional.
Hosting, Hosting, Hosting…
For people to view your website you need to have it hosted. While it’s possible to run a Web Server in your home and map your domain name to your Public IP Address, this is a terrible idea for security and availability. Web Hosting is cheap and for the price of a Coffee per month you can have safe, reliable hosting.
I recommend going with SiteGround. They’re fast, secure and have a great uptime record of 99.99%. SiteGround also give you the option to pick where your Website is hosted to maximize speed for your audience. While not the cheapest, trusting your website to the lowest bidder isn’t a good option when you can easily choose a reputable host at a good price.
Check out this speed comparison by Bitcatcha.
“If we had to just stick with one web hosting brand for the rest of our lives, we’d most definitely go with SiteGround. All the brands featured in this article are awesome, with top tier service and tech, but SiteGround takes the cake with the fastest shared hosting we’ve seen, comparable to other brands’ cloud hosting speeds!”
I moved from HostGator to SiteGround and noticed my pages load over twice as fast now. On HostGator I was experiencing 8+ second load times. You can browse my website yourself to judge how fast SiteGround will be for you (On US Servers)!
1: Choose Your Hosting
For this guide I’ll cover the “Reliable Web Hosting” method of setup on SiteGround due to it giving you more flexibility than the “Managed WordPress Hosting” option.
Managed hosting options don’t give you cpanel access, making it difficult to manage aspects of your website yourself.
2: Pick Your Plan
Once you select Web Hosting, you’ll be presented with the 3 hosting plans:
For a beginner I would choose StartUp. This will cover you up to ~10,000 views per month and starts at US $3.95. It’s hard to go wrong here for a new website starting with low traffic.
If you experience larger amounts of traffic you can always upgrade.
3: Domain Name Registration
I hope you’ve decided on your domain name because it’s time to register it. Domain Registration costs $15.95 per year.
For this guide I’ll choose johnkeenwpguide.com.
If you already have a domain name you can select “I already have a Domain”.
When you register a domain name, your information becomes publicly accessible. If you don’t like this then buying Domain Privacy for $12 per year is a good option.
SG Site Scanner
This option will mean SiteGround keep an eye on your site daily and notify you if they believe your website has been hacked or infected with malicious code.
Setting up WordPress on most hosting platforms is an automated process. Many call this “1 click install” although as you probably guessed, there is more than 1 click involved. Let’s get stuck in shall we.
1: Set Up Site
6: Log In to Site
It’s time to log in to your websites management page. To get there go to your domain name with /wp-admin added on the end. In my example domain it will be “johnkeenwpguide.com/wp-admin”.
Enter your Email Address and Password that you set in step 4.
Please note that it may take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours for your domain name to become active. You may need to wait during this time before you access your website through your domain name.
Here you may want to do some reading and make decisions based on your needs.
If you’re starting a blog then the Contact Form and Jetpack may come in handy for you. However for a store you’ll want the Shop (WooCommerce) as well.
3: Creating Pages
Pages are something you’ll be making less often than posts. They’re generally accessible via menus and form the back bone of your site.
Go to Pages > Add New. You’ll see the same editor come up that you had for your post. Creating pages can be done in the same way as posts. Some plugins allow you to add extra features to pages, such as contact forums, galleries and lists of products for an online store.
Here you can see I have added the WPForms block and created a contact form page.
Themes and Customization
One great feature of WordPress is the incredible amount of Themes on offer. There really is one out there for everyone! From simple themes that have done most of the work for you to complete website builders like Elementor that allow you to tweak every little nuance to your liking.
Elementor could use a full guide in itself so I’ll leave that for now. However trying and changing themes is super simple and fun.
On your Dashboard, go Appearance > Themes. At the top of this page click Add New. Here you can browse, install, preview and activate all different themes and get an idea of what you like.