What is a WordPress Website?
WordPress is a free and open-source CMS (content management system) written in PHP and paired with a MySQL/MariaDB database. In simplest terms, WordPress is a free and open platform, a website builder, where you can make simple and easy websites for your businesses and blogs.
There are a lot of features on WordPress, including the templates where you can just plug in your information and create a website, plugins, add-ons, different themes, and much more.
There are other ways to make websites, but WordPress has always been the most popular and most used open-source platform for creating websites. Wondering why so many people choose WordPress over any other platform?
Why Choose WordPress to Make a Website?
Although WordPress was first designed as a platform for blogging and related publishing, it is now a platform on which one-third of all internet sites are based. This is thanks to the multitude of advantages WordPress has for website owners, such as:
Flexibility and Adaptability
You can do almost anything on WordPress, ranging from small businesses to eCommerce stores. Whatever you choose to do, WordPress will be adaptable to it.
A WordPress site can be up and running in a matter of a few minutes, even if you don’t have any technical expertise. All you need is a domain name and web hosting account.
Themes and Plugins
While WordPress themes offer you a wide range of choices in the appearance and functions of your site, plugins are the specialized functions that cater to specific needs of your website, such as shopping carts, contact forms, galleries, and more.
Since WordPress sites are so great in numbers and regularly update content, they include plugins and a variety of tools that help them create scheduled and optimized content – they often rank higher than websites that aren’t made on WordPress.
Apart from these advantages, people have even more reasons to choose WordPress, including the fact that WordPress sites are mobile-responsive, have a built-in blog, and offer great customer service.
Now that you’re familiar with the advantages of a WordPress website, you should also know not to mistake WordPress.com with WordPress.org – both are different. Learn more below.
WordPress.org vs WordPress.com – Which One to Choose?
People often mistakenly believe that .org and .com are the same WordPress.
WordPress.org is when you host your site on WordPress, which means you have complete freedom of change and customization of web design – it’s recommended if you are familiar with how WordPress works. You can get the most customizable website builder when hosting your own site.
On the other hand, WordPress.com is when WordPress.com takes care of your website for you, including the hosting. That way, you have less freedom in your web design. However, it is easier and simpler – recommended if you’re a newbie.
Now that you know the background of WordPress and how easy it can be for you to make a website, let’s learn how to build a WordPress website.
How to Build a WordPress Website
There are ten easy steps to getting started on WordPress. Simply follow these, and you’ll be up and running in no time at all.
Step 1: Define your site.
Selecting a niche for the website is the most fundamental thing. Before you do anything involving WordPress, you need to pick your niche. Niche means whether you are making the site for a business then define the business, its services, and everything about the business. If your WordPress site isn’t for an existing business, make sure you pick a topic that genuinely interests you so it won’t feel like a chore to update your site now or months after.
Step 2: Choose a domain name.
Before you learn how to create a WordPress website for beginners, you’ll need a domain name for your website. Your domain name should relate directly to the niche you chose in step 1, and it should be a name that’s so easy for users to remember that they never forget it. Doing some keyword research can also be helpful. Stuck on a particular name, but .com is taken? In case you didn’t know, a domain name is basically the address of your website on the internet. It helps internet users find your site on the web.
When you go to google.com on your browser, you’re using Google’s domain name to locate the website. Similarly, harit.com.np is our website’s domain name.
Choosing a Good Domain Name
Before you go ahead and purchase a domain name, there are certain things you need to consider first. Since the domain name is the identity of your website, you’re going to have to be careful before picking one.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when selecting a domain name;
- Keep it simple and short: Nobody wants to type a long and confusing domain name on their browser. Therefore, it’s important to make sure that it’s easy to remember and write.
- Make it suitable for your website: Of course, the domain name also needs to indicate what your website is about. It should be related to your content in some way.
- Keep it unique: It goes without saying that your domain name needs to be unique so that visitors don’t get your site confused with others.
- Choose an appropriate extension: Domain name extensions are of different types, such as .com for commercial, .org for organizations, .biz for business, and more. Make sure that you pick the extension that goes with the purpose of your site. You can also take ccTLD from the local registrar of your country. For instance, .com.np is for Nepal which is registered by Merchantile Communications.
Step 3: Getting a Web Hosting
Now that you have your domain name setup, we can move on to the second step, web hosting. While a domain name is like the address of your website, the hosting is where your site is actually located.
Basically, web hosting is storage that contains all the files of your website. Once they’ve been stored there, visitors will be able to access your site. Therefore, choosing good web hosting is a very crucial step in creating your WordPress website.
Types of Web Hosting Services
You’ll find that there are different types of hosting services out there. Once you understand what these are, you’ll be able to pick the type of hosting that perfectly suits your needs.
i) Shared Hosting
Cheapest hosting plan. Shared hosting is the most basic type of web hosting. It is like renting a home with one or more roommates – in the case of web hosting, the number of sharers is up to a few thousand. When you buy shared hosting, your business’s domain will be housed on the server and all the websites that have shared the same hosting as you.
The most significant advantage of shared hosting is cost. Since the same web hosting service is being offered to thousands of parties, the cost of the server gets split, and service providers can offer very affordable rates. Secondly, shared hosting is very easy and simple, best for beginners.
While shared hosting is good, sometimes it can get a bad neighbor effect, causing slow speed or downtime. Even the customer service line gets jammed. Another drawback is that you cannot customize your web environment, which would affect other websites. Overall, shared hosting is good. With shared hosting, multiple websites share the same IP address and resources of the server including the memory, hard disk space, and bandwidth.
- Pros: Budget-friendly plan.
- Cons: Limited space, compromised speed, and security.
ii) VPS (Virtual Private Server)
With the VPS plan, you will be provided a certain portion of server resources. While shared hosting is like renting an apartment with roommates, VPS hosting is more like renting a unit in an apartment building.
VPS hosting is far more desirable than shared hosting because of its multiple advantages, including reliability, better and even resource allocation, flexibility, and the ability to increase the number of resources available to you.
That being said, VPS hosting can be much more expensive than shared hosting, depending on the web hosting provider.
You will share the server with other VPS users but there’ll be limited users, not as many as in the shared plan.
- Pros: Secure, Option to get more server resources anytime as your business grows.
- Cons: Expensive for small businesses and beginners.
iii) Dedicated Hosting
A very expensive plan where all the server resources are dedicated to a single user. Dedicated hosting is usually chosen by large-scale companies with multiple websites. In dedicated hosting, you have your separate server, and you enjoy all of its advantages. There are no bad neighbours, no security risk, and total freedom of customization.
If you’re new at this, dedicated hosting is not for you – there’s a massive jump in price and technicality that’s not worth it unless you have substantial know-how. Secondly, since you are putting all your eggs in one basket, a minor security crash on your server could damage the whole server, including all of your website and information.
Apart from these three basic hosting types, there are others, including cloud hosting, reseller hosting, and self-serve hosting. A tip: if you’re creating a website from scratch for your new business, you should use shared hosting and go from there.
It’s perfect for large enterprises that expect a ton of website traffic.
- Pros: Full storage, bandwidth, and full control over the server resources, more secure.
- Cons: Not a cost-effective plan for small companies.
iv) Managed Hosting
Managed WordPress hosting is a service where the hosting company will basically handle everything hosting-related for you. You won’t have to worry about stuff like setting up, management, problem-solving, etc with this.
- Pros: Extremely convenient and user-friendly.
- Cons: Quite expensive for small and growing businesses.
How to Choose the Best Hosting for WordPress?
It’s important to remember that each option has its own pros and cons. As a result, you’re going to need to carefully consider the needs of your website, such as server space, bandwidth, security features, etc.
For example, large enterprises will have to deal with a ton of visitors and require a powerful hosting plan as a result. However, a small blog won’t have issues with the limited bandwidth of Shared Hosting. Similarly, a website that deals with a ton of multimedia content will require more server space, compared to a text-only website.
So, the logic is to choose the hosting plan that best meets your needs. By considering the needs of your website, you will be able to find the perfect hosting plan for you.
Step 4: Install WordPress on Your Hosting Account
At the risk of stating the obvious, once you’ve found your web host and domain name, it’s time to install WordPress and get up and running. With your domain name and hosting ready, now you can finally get started with installing WordPress software. It’s the major step in creating a WordPress website.
If you’re wondering if it’s a hard step, then don’t worry. Choosing a hosting service like Bluehost or Siteground will make this whole thing super easy.
With the best WordPress hosting services, you’ll get the ‘WordPress Auto-Install’ option when purchasing the web host plan. If not, you can always get a ‘One-click WordPress Install’ option.
Step 5: Log Into WordPress Dashboard
Now that we’ve talked about how to set up a WordPress hosting account and install WordPress, all that’s left is to understand how things work. Fortunately, WordPress is quite user-friendly, so it won’t take a lot of effort to become familiar with the interface.
Clicking on the ‘Log into WordPress‘ button will directly take you to your WordPress dashboard.
But you may not want to log into your hosting account every time you want to log into WordPress. So, there’s another way; via the WordPress login URL.
The WordPress login URL is your domain name with /wp-login.php. Your login URL looks something like this: https://example.com/wp-login.php. Replace ‘example.com’ with your domain name and enter it on your browser. Then, you’ll see the WordPress login page.
After that, enter the WordPress login credentials that you received earlier. For safety, you can bookmark our detailed guide on WordPress login.
Next, you’ll be able to access your WordPress Dashboard, which is where you can manage your website. The dashboard looks like the screenshot below.
Everything from writing articles, to managing users, to even customizing your website is done here. You can see all the options neatly laid out in the sidebar on the left.
Let’s go through these options one by one:
- Posts: You can add, edit, and manage all kinds of posts for your website from here.
- Pages: This is where you can create, edit, and manage the static pages, such as ‘About Us’, and ‘Contact Us’ for your website. Check our guide on the difference between posts and pages.
- Media: You will be able to manage the various media items such as images, audio, video, etc from this option.
- Comments: If you want to moderate the comments left by your visitors, you can do so from here.
- Appearance: From here, you can customize the looks of your site, including the design, menus, widgets, and more.
- Plugins: If you wanted to add more features to your site, you can go here and manage your plugins.
- Users: This option allows you to manage the different user accounts registered to your website.
- Tools: From here, you can check out some of the useful tools that come with WordPress, such as Site Importer/Exporter, Site Health, etc.
- Settings: You will be able to configure how your site works from here. Since WordPress is a flexible platform, there are a lot of settings to work with.
Now that you installed WordPress on your hosting account and also accessed the dashboard, you’ve technically created your WordPress website. But it’s not complete yet.
Designing your site, adding content, making it SEO-friendly, and secure, etc. are the steps you’re yet to finish. We’ll show you all the steps in the sections below.
Step 6: Choose a WordPress Theme & Customize It
Next, you need to decide on a design theme for your WordPress site. Thousands upon thousands of themes are available, ranging from absolutely free to upwards of hundreds of dollars. When selecting your theme, try to ensure that it makes sense for both the topic of your site and the layout and content you plan to publish.
Among WordPress theme premium WordPress theme choices, you’ll find a set of ready-made options for various topics. These include business, services, beauty, fashion, photography, education, food, and many others. Each of them can become an excellent base for the site that you have always dreamed about.
Now that you know how the dashboard works, it’s time to start designing your WordPress site. The good news is that you can customize everything in WordPress to make it look just the way you want. To do so, you’ll make use of a WordPress theme or template.
In simple terms, a WordPress theme provides a pre-designed look for your website and its posts and pages. It’s the main design layout or the integral part of your site’s outlook.
For example, ColorMag is a WordPress theme for magazine sites. Here’s what your site will look like if you use this theme.
As the theme is the core of your site’s appearance, you must carefully choose a theme. Choosing the perfect theme is a crucial step in creating a WordPress website. We’ll talk about how to select a theme next.
How to Choose a Perfect Theme for Your WordPress Site?
Here are a few points you should consider while choosing a WordPress theme.
- Decide your site’s niche: First of all, decide which type of site you want to make. Is it a blog, eCommerce site, business site, or an online magazine? For example, if you want to make an online store, then you need an eCommerce theme like estore.
- List the features you need: Now you know your site’s niche, you can make a checklist of features that you want on your site. For example, a corporate agency site may need ways to display products, services, reviews, testimonials, etc. So, a highly customizable theme like Oceanwp may be perfect.
- Check theme’s last update date: WordPress is one of the most frequently updated software. It gets better and more secure with every update. So, you need a theme that incorporates all the latest WordPress standards. Choose a theme that is recently updated or often is updated.
- Support facilities by theme provider: When using a theme, you may sometimes need technical help and support from the theme company. Do research about the theme provider’s support options well and make sure to choose a theme from a company with good support facilities.
You can pick a theme for your site considering these points. Now, let’s go ahead and see where to find the best WordPress themes.
Where to Find the Best WordPress Themes?
The easiest place to get free themes for your site is from the official WordPress themes repository. There are over 9000 themes to choose from and all of them are free to boot. As a result, you can set up a WordPress site to look beautiful for absolutely free.
WordPress Theme directory
WordPress.org is the best place to get free themes, not only because the themes are free. It’s also because of the themes available there are quality themes that passed a rigorous review process before being available for download.
And, there’s the transparency of all themes’ stats. You can see the number of active installs, downloads per day, user ratings, support forum activities, etc. With all of these, you can easily find out how good a theme is.
Yet, there’s a catch in selecting the best theme from such a big collection. But no worries! We have handpicked the best free WordPress themes for you.
A simple website for beginners can do with a basic free theme but a powerful and complex site will require a feature-rich and professionally coded one. Such themes are available for purchase mostly. You can buy premium themes from marketplaces like ThemeGrill, ThemeForest, Zakra Theme, etc.
How to Install a WordPress Theme?
Once you have selected a theme for your website, it’s time to install the theme. It’s the essential step in creating your website in WordPress.
Installing WordPress themes is actually simpler than you’d expect. We’ll show you a tutorial on how to use a WordPress theme for your website in these easy steps.
From your WordPress Dashboard, navigate to Appearance>Themes, where you can see the themes that are currently installed on your site. Now just click on the ‘Add New‘ button at the top.
On this new page, you can just use the Search Bar on the top right and look up themes that are stored in the official repository. Just enter the name in the search bar and then click on the ‘Install’ button. After that, click on the ‘Activate’ button that appears.
If you want to install a theme that you purchased or downloaded from a third-party theme store, then you’ll need to click on the ‘Upload Theme’ button at the top.
Here, you can click on the ‘Choose File’ button and find the file of your theme. Remember, it has to be in a .zip format. Then, you can just click on the ‘Install Now’ button.
Once the theme is installed, you can just Activate it and you’re good to go.
How to use the WordPress Live Customizer?
Once you have your theme installed and activated, you can customize it to your heart’s content. The exact customization options will differ according to the theme you have on your site, with a high-quality multipurpose theme like Zakra offering the most options.
From your WordPress dashboard, go to Appearance > Customize to open the Live Customizer. Here, you can play around with the settings and see the effects in real-time.
At the right, you’ll be able to see the various customization options. You can check your Active Theme at the top and even select a different one with the ‘Change’ button,
These customization options are going to be different depending on the theme you have installed. However, here’s an explanation of some common customization options in the Live Customizer.
- Site Identity: Here, you can configure details such as the site title, tagline, and icon.
- Colors: Customize the various colors of your website from here.
- Menus: You can create, customize, and remove various menus through these options. Learn more about WordPress menus.
- Widgets: As with menus, you can play around with your WordPress widgets and see how they look in real-time.
- Homepage Settings: It allows you to choose what’s shown on the home page of your site.
- Additional CSS: For even more customization, you can even add CSS codes to your site through this option.
At the bottom, you can find the option to show how your website will look on different screens. It’s important to make sure that it looks good on mobile devices as well. The Hide Controls option can also be used to get a better look at your site without the options sidebar.
Once you’re happy with how it looks, you can click on the Publish button at the top.
Step 7: Adding Features with WordPress Plugins
A WordPress Plugin is a program written in the PHP scripting language that adds specific features or services to a WordPress website. WordPress plugins provide a great deal of customization and flexibility to your WordPress site, as well as valuable features and tools for your visitors.
You may not start with many plugins, but the longer you use WordPress, the more you’ll find to benefit your site. Some of our favourites include JetPack and Yoast SEO. You can find the option of Plugins from your WordPress admin dashboard.
Of course, we can’t talk about how to create a WordPress website without mentioning plugins. In case you didn’t know, WordPress plugins are basically additional pieces of software that you can add to your new WordPress site. By doing so, you’ll be able to add new features to your website.
It goes without saying that plugins are very important if you want to run a WordPress site. Fortunately, it’s actually super easy to manage plugins, and it will require absolutely no coding at all. Of course, advanced users can even go on to learn how to develop WordPress plugins by themselves.
How to install WordPress plugins?
Installing WordPress plugins is not that different from installing themes, actually. It can all be done right from your WordPress Dashboard.
First of all, go to Plugins on your sidebar. It will bring you to the page where you can see your list of installed plugins. Now click on the ‘Add New’ button at the top.
Here, you can directly install plugins from your WordPress repository to your website. All you need to do is enter the name of the plugin in the search bar, then click on the ‘Install Now’ button when you find it. Once the installation is done, click on the ‘Activate’ button that appears.
Of course, you might need to install plugins from outside the repository sometime. In that case, you’ll need to manually upload the plugin. From the Add Plugins page, click on the ‘Upload Plugin’ button at the top.
Now click on Browse and navigate to the .zip file. After that, just click on Install Now and wait for it to finish installing. Finally, click on Activate.
Step 8: Creating Posts and Pages in WordPress
Now that you know how to create a WordPress website and set it up with free themes and plugins, you can immediately start adding content. That is usually done in two possible ways; posts and pages.
WordPress Posts appear in the Blog section of your site. They can be used for all sorts of content depending on the niche of your website. They are arranged in reverse chronological order so the newest posts will be found at the top. For example, blog articles on our blog.
WordPress Pages, on the other hand, are used for one-off content that doesn’t need to be updated or changed. This includes timeless content such as ‘About Us’, ‘Services’, ‘Contact Us’, which will generally remain the same as time goes by. Most websites will use a combination of Posts and Pages
How to Create WordPress Posts?
Of course, you’ll need to know how to create posts in order to add content to your website. From your dashboard, first, select the Posts option on the sidebar. This will bring you to the page where all your posts will be listed. You’ll be able to manage your posts from here.
Now to create a new post, just click on the ‘Add New’ button at the top.
This is going to bring you to the WordPress Post Editor. Here, you can add all kinds of content, including text, images, galleries, and more. It’s all fairly intuitive so no need to worry.
Once you’re done preparing the content, just click on the ‘Publish’ button on the top right.
How to Create Pages in WordPress?
Important pages include your contact page, about page, privacy, and disclaimer page. Get these out of the way before you focus on adding content to your site – after all, it’s easier to add them now than later, when you’re done publishing all of the other, more exciting stuff! These pages also serve to protect both you and your site visitors. Creating web pages using WordPress is also quite similar. Go to Pages on the sidebar from your WordPress Dashboard, and you’ll reach the screen where you can manage your existing posts. Like before, just click on Add New at the top.
This is going to open up the WordPress Page Editor, which is quite similar to the post editor. Like earlier, you can add content all you want and then press the ‘Publish’ button once you’re done.
Displaying Your Pages in Your Website’s Menu
Now that you’ve created and published content on your website, it’s time to display them on your site. One of the most common places to show the page links is in the WordPress menu. Here, we’ll briefly show pages in the menu.
If you don’t know, the WordPress menu is a list of defined links usually appearing in the header section of your site. It’s mainly used for navigation of your site.
To create a WordPress menu, go to ‘Appearance>Menus‘ from your WordPress dashboard.
Next, you’ll see the menu editor page. Give a name to your menu and click on the ‘Create Menu‘ button.
After that, you should add pages to your menu. On the left panel, you can see ‘Add menu items‘ Click on the ‘Pages‘ tab. After that, tick the pages you want to add to the site’s menu and click on the ‘Add to Menu‘ button.
After that, the added menus will appear on the ‘Menu structure‘ section on the right side. You can drag and order the items as you want.
Next, you should select where to display your menu. You can tick a display location from the ‘Menu Settings‘.
After you get the important administrative pages published, it’s time to start adding interesting content. Whatever your niche, you want to make sure you include plenty of quality content for your readers. Make your pages visually rich, and further, make it a priority to keep adding new content regularly. If blogging, add at least one image to every post. Not only does this give your readers something to share on social media, but it also makes your content more appealing. Whether you decide to add content daily, weekly, or monthly, creating a content calendar will help keep you on the right track.
That’s it! You’ve created a WordPress menu and added it to your site. Congratulations !!
Don’t forget marketing!
Marketing your new site is a two-fold endeavour. First, SEO (search engine optimization): make sure your pages have relevant keywords in the title, description, and body text. Second, take the time to promote your site in any way possible. Free options include using social media sites forums and emailing a regular newsletter. You may also consider guest posting and commenting on blogs, forums, and communities to build your social connections and link popularity.
Back up your site.
Your content is your most valuable asset, so make sure you back up your site! For your blog, that means backing up your content in case of a crash, so you won’t have to start all over again. If you don’t back up posts, plugins, and affiliate links, it might take you a while before getting back on your feet. If you don’t have time to back up your site regularly, your web host should offer an alternative. HostPapa, for example, offers a terrific automated website backup service that takes just a few minutes to set up – no need to worry about backing up your site ever again!
Apart from that, costing is one factor that keeps many people on the fence about creating a website. Although we initially mentioned creating a website on WordPress – which is true because WordPress is free if you don’t opt for additional premium services.
There you have it – WordPress in easy steps!
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