If you’re reading this, it’s safe to say you’re ready to set up a new website. You probably already envision how everything is going to look, what content you’ll have on it, what you’re going to promote, and many other things.
While it may seem that you’re all set, most people forget about the most fundamental thing –having an operating platform. WordPress might be your preference, but it’s easier said than done when it comes to knowing where to begin. That’s why this article is designed to help you through this process, giving you an almost step-by-step guide to getting started with your WordPress website.
Step 1: Hosting
Before being able to choose WordPress, you will need to decide on a hosting service. While some of you might already hold the knowledge required to manage a server and install WordPress on your computer, others might choose the sweet comfort of a subscription service. This latter option will introduce you to a server that is up and running –sometimes there even being a free-of-charge alternative. Nonetheless, we strongly recommend using a paid hosting provider, as they are typically more committed to providing high-quality services and features.
The decision of which hosting service to choose can also be hard, as there are multiple companies that promise you the stars and the moon. To make things easier for you, we have selected two names that look highly promising –both with their pros and cons.
Bluehost and WordPress have been closely working with each other since 2005. Featuring an easy-to-use interface with straightforward functions that are accessible to every user, this hosting provider is excellent when it comes to their 24/7 customer support, billing information, or domain management.
For non-techies, SiteGround is the way to go, as this hosting provider oversees the installation of all managed WordPress hosting –all using a one-click installation process. Additionally, you can benefit from automated daily updates and backups, content management, enhanced security, staging, caching, free account transfer, and other useful features.
If you choose to fo with A2 Hosting for your WordPress site, you can’t go wrong. This lightning speed hosting will meet your needs whether you’re a part-time blogger or a large business trying to provide a great experience for your visitors.
Step 2: Naming
Nobody denies that you have probably already picked a name for your website or have a list tucked away in a tight safe, and that’s a great start. However, another aspect to be mindful of is selecting an adequate domain name –the part of a URL that identifies IP addresses, the link to identifying computers or devices on a network or web page. Another more comfortable way to look at it is that IP addresses make your web address.
Concerning selecting a domain name for your website, you will need to opt for a suffix of your choice (i.e., .org or .co.uk or .org). In some cases, an annual fee will be required, but that will depend on the service you have chosen. For example, Bluehost offers a free domain registration for the first year of use, or otherwise, you can purchase a domain name directly from a registrar such as GoDaddy or NameCheap.
After that is done and dusted, you can begin the setup process, and it will be time to get to work. What you do and in which order will ultimately depend on you and your attention to detail. Simply remember that you can access the dashboard and work on what you feel is most pressing.
Step 3: Appearance
Concerning appearance, WordPress defaults to a specific theme, and you can choose if you stick with it or not. The choice will ultimately fall on you, as there are several pre-installed themes you can quickly pick from. Alternatively, check out the directory of other ideas by going into the option of “appearance”, and then selecting “themes”. Click “add new” and you’ll be greeted by a list of free WordPress themes that are guaranteed to satisfy even the pickiest pickers.
Otherwise, install themes offered by a third party. Although you might pay a small price, they will include many more features, making it more interactive and attractive for your users. For example, Themeforest is an excellent starting place to find a premium theme. After you’ve downloaded the item you want, go to the directory and click “upload theme”.
Other parts of your appearance will consist of a customisation of headers, background, widgets, or menus. There are so many things you can choose from; it’s trully a case of the ‘world is your oyster’. Although WordPress comes preloaded with some widgets, some already pre-activated and located in your sidebar, others are just waiting for you to discover them. Rearrange everything as you deem necessary, installing new ones along the way by using the plugin directory.
Step 4: Plugins
Plugins will depend on how you’re using your website and how much you make use of the functionality of your theme. Nonetheless, they add a more sophisticated element to your site, one that some of your users might enjoy –making you seemed even more involved in the overall concept and what you want your end user experience to be like.
One example is Akismet, a plugin which comes pre-installed on your WordPress, and it’s up to you to activate it or leave it be. The primary function of Akismet is to protect your site against spam, which is imperative for the safety of your information and the sanity of anyone wondering about your site.
Step 5: Pages
Maybe you want something different, a one-page site that attract direct attention with its catchy and to-the-point content. Unless you’re going down that route, you’ll probably want at least a couple of pages, including one with contact information and one relating to your story –an “about us” page.
Other possible concepts include portfolios or galleries in which you can showcase your work. Be mindful that some will require additional plugins such as Contact Form 7, WooCommerce, or others in order to have these types of pages –it will ultimately vary depending on your preferences and what you hope to achieve with your website and its captivating content.