WordPress Website Beginner’s Guide

This beginner-friendly guide shows step by step how to create a WordPress website. It starts from getting a domain name to web hosting till successfully publishing a blog post.

I get asked “Did you always wish to start a website?” and my answer was yes! I had tried to create blogs with different platforms before. After a few experiments with different platforms, I decided to stick with WordPress at the end. There are two versions of WordPress out there: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. In this post, I will focus on creating a website with WordPress.org. 

If you love sharing and writing, then starting a website would be a great way to begin your journey. You can create a website as a platform to share your passion, connect with people, showcase your work, and find new freelance clients. By having your website, you share things in your writing style, along with your progress, and practice writing at the same time. You can see your website as another portfolio to show who you are. This is also why I decided to change from a blog to a website.

Nowadays, people are consistently looking for new ideas and content. Although there are lots of websites out there, your website represents you. You can share what you are passionate about, and what you can do.

 

How to Start a WordPress Website

From the start, it can seem very overwhelming. You might get frustrated and not sure what topics you should focus on or if they will connect to readers. I know the struggles, but anyone can start a website with online resources and a little help. 

I am here as your friend to guide you every step on how to start a WordPress website. I will show you how to get your domain, set up your website, and to publish your first post. I hope it helps to ease your stress and I can’t wait for you to have your beautiful website set up. 

I will be sharing some helpful information to get started and use my website as an example. This is going to be a long post, and I am here with you through the whole process. In this post, we will cover: 

Menu: 

  1. Pick Your Domain Name (URL) and Check Availability 
  2. Buy a Web Hosting Plan
  3. Install WordPress
  4. Set Website in “Maintenance Mode” and Coming Soon Page
  5. Choose a Theme for Your Website
  6. Create a Website Logo
  7. Create a Website Header & Footer
  8. Write Your Website Pages
  9. Install Additional Plugins
  10. Install Widgets
  11. Backup
  12. Email List
  13. Create Content to Publish First Post
  14. Share Your Website

Let’s get started! 🙂 

 

1.Pick Your Domain Name (URL) and Check Availability

This is important because when you want to go to a specific website, besides typing the keywords to search and clicking the result. The alternative method is to type in the URL that directly leads you to the site. 

This is also how you can get readers to find you online. 

It is exciting to start a website! I know you can’t wait to get your favorite domain name right away. But wait… think of a few ideas before your search, just in case your first choice isn’t available, it is possible if the domain is already registered. 

It can be different for everyone and every domain search result. If the domain name isn’t registered, congratulations! You can purchase the domain and claim it yours! 

 

If the domain name shows as registered, I know it is frustrating but you can search for alternatives. If your domain name ending with .com is registered, try searching for different ending names, for example, yourname.net or your name. blog. You can add extra words, use different ideas, or include your profession in your domain name if you would like. 

The domain name is best to include your name or business name so people can remember it easily. This helps people to visit your website, especially with returning readers for your content. 

Tips: I would recommend having a clear goal of what content you would have on the website before getting a domain. If you know for sure it will be a certain topic related only, then get a name included with it, for example, travel(your name).com or fashionmagazine.com. 

If you are unsure or have diverse content, it would be best to use your name or business name. This saves time to do the switching to a new domain in the future. 

 

Get the Domain Before Start a Website

Be sure to secure a domain name before you start a website, especially if the names are popular ones. Since the last thing you want is the domain name show as  – already registered by someone again. 

Each domain provider has its pricing and features in plans. These are just some suggestions on domain providers to check domain availability.  

There are lots of domain providers out there, you can also do more research to find a provider best suit your needs. 

You can be creative in finding the right domain name for you. 

Tips: Make sure to check out web hosting providers before you click “purchase”! The reason is if you purchase a domain name with web hosting, you can get a domain name for FREE. Some might be exceptions so check web hosting providers for more information.

 

2.Buy a Web Hosting Plan

Now that you have a domain name, it is time to pick a web hosting service for your website. 

Web hosting is typically a company that offers plans where you can choose a suitable provider that allows your website to show up when people type your domain name in a web browser. It is important for your online home – your website. Web hosting covers all the technical things to take care of and manage for a website. 

Some Web Hosting Website To Check Out: 

For your new website, you can research and find a web hosting provider that best suits your needs. I have tried Bluehost and Siteground. I would recommend Siteground as it has been used for lots of businesses and bloggers across the globe. It has great web hosting plans, they are reliable, and provide great customer service. There is a support community that you can find answers to or use the “live chat” feature to ask your questions and have them solved right away! I recommend comparing your choices before making a purchase. 

 

3.Install WordPress

Once you have your domain name and web hosting, head to WordPress,org to download the unzip file, create a database and install the WordPress on your web server. If the web hosting provider you use has automatically installed WordPress, then you can skip this step. 

download-wordpress WordPress Website Beginner’s Guide

Image Captured on Computer: WordPress

If you need to install WordPress on your own, you can read the full description on tips of things to notice before you install, and how to install WordPress, check the guidance on your web hosting as well. If you have questions while installing, you can also contact support to make sure you install it correctly.  When the installation is completed, you can log in to WordPress from your web hosting account and start creating your website. 

 

4.Set Website in “Maintenance Mode” and Coming Soon Page

Before your site goes live, it is best to set your site in maintenance mode. This will let viewers know your website is doing upgrades or that it will be coming soon. 

You can download the maintenance mode plugin to set up maintenance mode. You might want to inform your readers before you work on the site and perhaps offer alternative contact methods so they can reach you in the meantime. You can set up a coming soon page or redirect page. This allows you to spend time working on making your website and not confuse visitors or future clients to see your unfinished website. 

Tips: *Once you finish updating your site, remember to deactivate and remove the plugin from the backend so it does not cause any errors. 

 

5.Choose a Theme for Your Website

WordPress-theme WordPress Website Beginner’s Guide

Image Captured on Computer: WordPress Theme

Your first creative project for the website is here! Think of themes like your home layout, what would you want your home to look like?

A theme determines how your website will look, there are free and paid themes. There are lots of options to pick from, so make sure to take your time. I recommend reviewing each theme based on the requirements and elements you want for your website. 

Free Theme Ideas: 

  • OceanWP
  • Twenty Seventeen
  • Yummy Recipe
  • Hestia

 

Paid Theme Ideas:

  • Divi
  • Foodie Pro

Depending on if you use the website as a personal blog or for service or business, you might want to look for a theme that matches you or with a more professional look. This would attract new visitors to view your website, blog posts and to consider working with you on projects. You can also build your website using a website builder. 

Tips

  • Choose a “responsive” theme so it looks great on computer, mobile, and tablets
  • Theme with clear layout and easy management 

 

6.Create a Website Logo

Adobe-spark WordPress Website Beginner’s Guide

Image Captured on Computer: Adobe Spark 

If you want to make a logo yourself, you can create a free logo using Adobe, Canva, or any online logo maker. You can pick the font, color, icon, images, be creative, and set a unique logo that represents you. Using your name or business name is a great start in establishing your brand. 

 

7.Create a Website Header & Footer

 

There is a header on top of the website and a footer at the bottom in the theme design. 

If you want to be creative, you can use Canva or creative tools to make a custom design. I use the theme header personally, then adjust the look with the website builder, change the image, font, and add in a social icon. Make sure to save it as a template and set it to display across the site or custom to show on specific pages.  

If you do not have the time to custom one or prefer a professional to design for you, you can also hire a graphic designer to make a custom design for you or shop for header templates online. 

 

8.Write Your Website Pages

We are onto the main part of building a website! 

Website pages are important as it directs your viewer to specific information. As a blogger, it is good to have other pages so people can connect with you better. 

Remember “pages” and posts” are different. Pages are fixed on the menu, while “posts” are content that you publish within the blog. You can have lots of blog posts but usually only a few pages on the website. 

Basic Layout Of The Menu: 

  • Homepage
  • About Page
  • Blog Page 
  • Portfolio 
  • Resources (Helpful information or tool your use for your website)
  • Contact 
  • Work With Me / Work With Us

You can add more pages, but these are the basics to have for a website. You can find these tabs on most of the sites as well. Make sure your pages fit your website’s needs.

HomePage

This is the main page of your website. This page is the first thing visitors will look at, and it should be clear from your homepage what your website focus is. For instance, if your company provides a service it should be clear from the homepage what your mission is. This page needs to be clear to your viewers of what content you are providing.

About Page

This page should tell people more about you and your personality or history. You can include a picture of you, a biography of who you are, your profession, and let readers know the reason why you started this website or business. What do you offer on the website? What do you provide to your readers/viewers? This is the best way for viewers to get to know you quickly.

Blog Page 

This page shows all the blog posts on your website. You can design sections and show them by categories or a full page but with tags. If your website has more than one author, you can set it to show author names and their avatars. I would recommend showing dates for posts so readers can know if the information is relevant and when it is updated. You can also add in a sidebar to show additional sections, like search, categories, subscription form, and more customization. 

Portfolio 

This page shows more examples that can help readers, and your future clients to have a quick look at what you are capable of doing. It is okay to start small from the beginning if you do not have much to share, maybe you can do research and write up some examples to show. 

Portfolio Categories Ideas: 

  • Articles
  • Email Marketing
  • Photography
  • Design
  • Your Best Work
  • Guest Blog Posts
  • The content you had created for past clients 

 

Resources (Helpful information or tool your use for your website)

You can share some helpful resources that you use to build the website like a mailing list, any usable tools, or software you use. I recommend in this area to provide information to your viewers or readers some form of takeaway they can use. For instance, it might be a checklist or form.

Contact Page

This page should be simple and clear to let readers know how they can reach you. You can create a contact form so your viewers or readers can reach out.

For businesses, you can list your name, email address, physical address (if necessary) so they can reach out to you. If the website builder you have does not have a contact form. You can install a plugin to create and add the contact form to the page. 

Tips: Remember to do the configuration so when the reader fills in the form, it will auto send you an email reminder to reply, and a confirmation to the reader. 

The email address can be set to email@yourdomainname.com.

Work With Us

This page is important for any creator, freelancer, or business that offers service. You can list the content, services, and packages you offer to your clients. You can put in testimonials from your past and current clients. If you want to make it easier for clients to contact you, you can create a separate service contact form and do the configuration. This helps to organize different replies than the general inquiries. 

Publish Menu

When you have all the pages set up, you can head to AppearanceCustomizeMenu to publish your menu. 

Tips: If you set your website on “maintenance mode”, make sure to deactivate and remove the plugin so you can see your website “LIVE”. 

 

9.Install Additional Plugins

If you are not a tech person or not as comfortable doing the changes, there are lots of plugins you can install and activate to work on your website. Before you download plugins, do some research and check out sites for review, information to see if it suits the needs of your website, and navigation. 

Some plugins have organized menus, easy navigation, and migration. Find the plugins that work better for your theme and website. 

Plugins Recommendation:

  • Akismet Anti-Spam – A plugin to block and reduce the number of spam comments 
  • Elementor – Website page builder that makes it easy to make a website by drag and drop elements to help build a page. This plugin is great at design and can provide great responsiveness. You can also build beautiful templates, page layouts, and more with this plugin. There is a Pro version that offers more features like creating customizable posts, archives, headers, footers, sections, search results, and 404 pages.
  • Portfolio for Elementor | Powerfolio – A plugin to create a clear layout of the portfolio 
  • Rank Math SEO – A SEO plugin with tools that allow you to edit SEO settings and improve your traffic for your website. 
  • Site Kit by Google – A plugin allows you to see Google services, including search console, AdSense, analytics, and page speed insights. 

 

10.Install Widgets

wordpress-widgets WordPress Website Beginner’s Guide

Image Captured on Computer: A World Journal Website

If you want a sidebar on your website or on a blog page, you can add a few widgets to help readers navigate your website. You can show a search box, categories, recent posts, your social icon, or contacts. 

 

  1. Backup

You can check if your web hosting offers back up. If not, you can buy backup software to back up your website and its content. This will help to restore your website if any data is lost. Keep the drafts of your content in Google Drive or even a dark drive. 

 

  1. Email List

For a person like me not using social media as much, it is great to build an email list. This allows me to send updates and write letters to engage with readers. 

It takes time to build up an email list, you can start by sharing your website with your friends, family, or people who already know you. You can network with other people or share on your social media to grow your list. More important, it is better to grow by writing content, offer value and connect with your readers. 

You can write a welcome email, share updates, offer freebies or offer a discount or promote your services. It also helps bring traffic to your website. 

Email Marketing Platform: 

  • Mailchimp ( Has Free plan with 2000 subscribers)
  • Convertkit ( Has Free plan with 1000 subscribers)
  • GetResponse
  • HubSpot
  • MailerLight

I have used Mailchimp before. It is a drag-and-drop editor to create a newsletter.  Converkit is for creators and allows you to send posts as an actual email. There are different features of each mailing provider, and you can research to find the one you love to build your mailing list. 

After setting up a subscription account, you can add the subscription form on your website to encourage readers to sign up. There are different ways to show this form, such as adding a form on the page directly, or a pop-up, sticky bar, or slide-in window. 

 

  1. Create Content to Publish First Post

Finally, you are ready to write your first blog post. 

Pick a category, a topic, research, type up a draft or share your journey as the first post! Start writing and have fun. 

Tips: Create a content calendar to organize your published pages and posts. 

Make separate spreadsheets for post ideas, and published posts. This way you can keep track of content coming up and those that you’ve posted. 

Use Google Drive or an alternative drive to save drafts, images, and organize folders, such as newsletters, freebies, logos, anything your site has. See it as an extra backup besides the backup software the web hosting offers.

Plan your posts beforehand so you know what to write next and can schedule.   

Keep the post in reasonable length with headings to help readers read. 

 

14. Share Your Website

Congratulations on setting up your website! You can share your website with friends, family, people you know or even promote your site to get readers. It is great to write and share but would be nicer if there are readers. You can share it by text, email, on your social media, on LinkedIn, basically anywhere you wish. 

TipsFocus on content first then slowly market your website and content out. It takes time to get readers, even if you might not have many readers at first, be patient. The more content you create and offer values, the more opportunities to connect and attract readers. This helps your writing and supports the community. 

If you want to take a step further, you can apply to write guest posts on blogs, or interact with other content creators. You can engage, support others and engage in the community. 

 

Thoughts on Creating a WordPress Website:

Every journey is different, there is no timeline of too late. You can always start to create great content for your website and blog! 

Remember: Passion + Hard Work + Time + Consistency + Offer Value = Success 

Once again, congratulations, and I am happy to guide you along the way. Best wishes for your journey!

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