How To Start Your Own WordPress Website In 12 Easy Steps.

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This is for the people who want to start their own website, but don’t know where to start.

There’s probably a 1,000 ways to tackle it – but this is how I did it (no coding knowledge required).

1. Find a hosting plan.

A hosting plan is a service you purchase to get your website online. It’s like renting a building to start your own store. Hosting plans give you a spot on a server, a place where you can upload your website.

I recommend Siteground, their customer service is amazing!

2. Register a domain.

Next step is to register a domain name. This is where people will find you online. It’s like the address of your store.

Example of a domain name: www.yourwebsite.com

To keep things simple, register your domain with the same company that’s providing your hosting plan.

You’ll find a lot of domain names are already taken, especially if you want a .com domain. Get creative, and make sure nobody else is using the same name. Check both Google and social media.

  • Use a name that you don’t have to spell out to ensure people spell your name correct when looking for you online. Shorter is better.
  • Get a .com domain, or the ccTLD of the country of your target audience. ccTLD stands for ‘country code top level domain‘. For South Africa this is .co.za, for the United Kingdom it’s .co.uk etc.
  • Don’t use dashes (-) in your domain name.
  • Ideally, you’re using a name that describes in some way or another what you do.

Register your domain with Siteground

3. Install WordPress.

For each hosting company this will work different, but normally they make it easy for you to install WordPress.

If you’ve chosen Siteground, follow these three steps:

  • Go to ‘Websites’ and set up a new website.
  • Select ‘Existing domain’ > Select your registered domain > Select ‘WordPress’ as an application.
  • Set up login (choose an email and password).

4. Switch to HTTPS.

You’ll want the connection between your website and the user to be safe, criminals shouldn’t be able to intercept this information. Make sure to get SSL and enforce HTTPS. Normally you can set this up in your account of the hosting company.

In Siteground, this is available for free and it works as follows:

  • Go to site tools.
  • Go to ‘Security’ > ‘SSL Manager’ > ‘Install new SSL’
  • Select ‘Let’s encrypt’.
  • Go to ‘Security’ > ‘SSL Manager’ > ‘HTTPS enforce’.
  • Enable.

In the browser, you’ll now see a little ‘lock’ icon to the left of your web address, when visiting your website.

5. Access WordPress.

Now access WordPress, using your login details. Just add ‘/wp-admin’ after your domain name. Normally, this is where you’ll find your WordPress login page.

Example: https://www.yourwebsite.com/wp-admin

Log in and get familiar with the WordPress interface.

6. Pick a theme.

One of the first things you’ll want to do is to pick a WordPress theme. This is the design of your website.

Choose a design that’s downloaded by a lot of people, has great reviews and gets frequent updates. There are plenty of good free WordPress themes available, but the paid version normally comes with some cool extras and customer service.

Perhaps start with a free plan, and if you like the theme you can upgrade it in a later stage.

7. Install and activate your theme.

In WordPress, go to ‘Appearance’ > ‘Themes’. Install and activate your theme.

8. Customize your theme.

You can customize your WordPress theme by looking for ‘Theme options’ within the WordPress interface. You’ll be able to customize your website within the boundaries of your theme. Upload your logo, and choose your colours and page layout.

9. Create your pages.

In WordPress you have ‘pages’ and you have ‘posts’. Pages are all your website pages that are not blog posts. Posts are… well, your blog posts.

Common pages you might want to create are your home page, an about page, a contact page, and a terms and conditions page. In WordPress, go to ‘Pages’ > ‘Add new’.

This guy does a pretty decent job explaining how to create your own pages in WordPress.

Read up on some SEO basics to make sure your website can be found in Google. At the minimum, make sure your pages have a strong page title and optimized URL.

10. Publish your first post.

If you’re starting a blog, go ahead and publish your first post. In WordPress, go to ‘Posts’ > ‘New’.

Here’s a video explaining how that works.

Don’t forget to choose a category for each post and decide whether you want to enable readers to comment on your blog post (be prepared to clean up some spam, if you do).

If you want to do so, you can write your author bio (in WordPress, go to ‘Users’ > ‘Profile’), so people can learn more about the person who wrote the blog post.

11. Create a menu.

To make it easier for users to navigate your website, create a website menu containing your most important pages. In WordPress, go to ‘Appearance’ > ‘Menus’. Give your menu a name and select the pages you want it to link to.

Note: you’ll have to create these pages first (see step 9).

12. There’s a plugin for that…

A plugin is a piece of software that adds a functionality to your website.

Example of popular functionalities are: contact forms, email subscription boxes, social share buttons, a customized map, live chat… the options are endless.

If you want your website to be able to do something that isn’t part of the standard package of functionalities of your theme, it’s likely you’ll be able to find a plugin for that…

Some of the most popular plugins are:

  • Yoast SEO (SEO)
  • W3 Total Cache (to speed up your website)
  • Wordfence Security (making life more difficult for hackers)
  • Updraft or BackWPup (to make backups)
  • WooCommerce (if you want to create an online shop)

In WordPress, go to ‘Plugins’ > ‘Add new’ to find and install the plugins you want to add. The general rule of thumb is: less plugins is better. Although they’re great, they can slow down your website and bring along security risks.

Make sure to only install plugins with tons of great reviews and update your plugins frequently. Uninstall any plugin that you’re no longer using. Outdated plugins are a security threat for your website.

This is just the start, you’ll have to figure out the rest. When in doubt, Google is your friend…

Good luck!

Pro tip: Before you spend all your money and time on creating your website, make sure distribution is not an afterthought. Create a plan to bring your website in front of your audience. See ‘Creation vs Distribution‘.

About the author

Wesley van der Hoop

Dutchman living in The Bahamas. I get excited about digital marketing, writing, traveling, surfing and learning new things.

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