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.

If you love to write and share, starting a website is 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 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. There are two versions of WordPress out there: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. This post will focus on creating a website with WordPress.org. 

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 your audience. It is a struggle, but anyone can start a website with online resources and a little help. 

This guide will show you every step of how to start a WordPress website. This includes how to get your domain, set up your website, and publish your first post. Hope this helps to ease your stress and learn to create a beautiful website setup. This is going to be a long post, and we are here with you through the whole process. In this post, we will cover: 

  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 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’s search results. If the domain name isn’t registered, congratulations! You can purchase the domain and claim it as 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, topic, 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 it is about a certain related topic only, might be better to get a name included in the topic or category, 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 Starting 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 shown as unavailable, which is already been registered by another person or business. 

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 research to find a provider best suits your needs. 

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

2. Buy a Web Hosting Plan

Nice, 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 as a provider like a property manager to rent an online home for your website. It allows people to type your domain name(URL) in a web browser and find your website. Web hosting covers all the technical things to take care of and manage for a website. There are additional tasks that you can do for maintenance.

Some Web Hosting Websites To Check Out: 

Research and find a web hosting provider that best suits your needs for your website. We recommend choosing a reliable provider that has been hosting websites across the globe and providing great customer service. Also, find one that has a supportive community where you can find answers to common questions, and offer a “live chat” feature to inquire about problems right away. Be sure to compare 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 of your choice has automatically installed WordPress, then you can skip this step. 

download-wordpress WordPress Website Beginner’s Guide
WordPress Website (Computer screenshot)

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, please contact the web hosting 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. Make sure to set up a coming soon page or redirect pages to relevant content. This allows you to spend time working on making your website and not confuse visitors or future clients to see your unfinished website. An alternative method can be to create a staging site(a copy of your live website) and do testing before transferring to the live version.

Tips: *Once you finish updating your site, remember to deactivate and remove the plugin from the backend so it does not cause any errors. Check for all the criteria before confirming the switch.

5. Choose a Theme for Your Website

WordPress-theme-e1645028854834-1024x440 WordPress Website Beginner’s Guide
WordPress Theme on the backend (Computer screenshot)

Your first creative project for the website is here! Think of themes like your home layout, what would your online home 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. We recommend reviewing each theme based on the requirements and elements wish to have for your website. 

Free Theme Ideas: 

  • OceanWP
  • Twenty Seventeen
  • Yummy Recipe
  • Hestia
  • Divi
  • Foodie Pro

Depending on if it is a personal blog or for business, look for a theme that matches your personality or your company’s service with a professional layout. This would attract new visitors to view your website, blog posts and consider if would like to work with you. You can also build your website using a website builder. 

Tips

  • Choose a “responsive” theme so it looks great on computers, mobiles, and tablets
  • Theme with clear layout and easy management 
Adobe-spark WordPress Website Beginner’s Guide
Adobe Spark Website (Computer screenshot)

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

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

If you want to be creative, you can use Canva or creative tools to make a custom design. You can also edit the theme header and footer by adjusting the look in the website builder, changing the image, font, and adding social icons. 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. Create 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. A website with pages to let people know more about you, your company, your services, and how to connect with you.

Remember “pages” and posts” are different. Pages are fixed on the menu, while “posts” are content that you publish within the blog page. 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 

You can add more pages, but these are the basics to have for a website. These tabs can be found on the menu of the website.

HomePage

This is the main page of your website. This page is the first thing visitors will look at, and it should be clear for your homepage to show your website focus. For example, if your company provides services, they should be clearly mentioned on the homepage, write a short description about them.

About Page

This page should tell people more about you, your business, and your services. You can include the biography, profession, and brief description of previous work as examples, and let your audience know the reason why you started this website or business. An informative page to let readers know about you, your team, your mission, and services you offer.

Blog Page 

This page shows all the blog posts on your website. You can design sections and show them by categories and tags. If your website has more than one author, set up author pages with their author names and avatars. It is recommended to show dates for posts to let readers know the publish dates. Add a sidebar to show additional sections, like search, categories, subscription form, and more customization for navigating between pages of the website.

Portfolio 

The portfolio page shows examples that can help readers, and your future clients to have a quick look at your skills, work background and work examples. It is okay to start small from the beginning and then expand to show diverse content and examples through time.

Portfolio Categories Ideas: 

  • Articles
  • Email Marketing
  • Photography
  • Design
  • Your Best Work
  • Guest Blog Posts
  • The content you had created for previous clients (ask for permission to share)

Resources

If you come across helpful information or tools, share your takeaway, learning process through the resources section or page as another great way to connect with your audience. This section allows you to share relevant resources that help save time, for example, FAQ, checklist, business products, forms, helpful tips, etc.

Contact Page

This page should be simple and clear to let your audience know how they can reach you.

For businesses, list your company name, email address, and physical address (if necessary) to let them know how to contact 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. 

Additionally, you can also set up work with us section to list services you offer to clients. To attract future clients, you can share testimonials to show the feedback and quality of your service. If needed and for easier management, you can create a service contact form to separate general and service inquiries.

Tips: Set up email configuration to send and receive to a specific email, for example, email@yourdomainname.com or a preferred email address. Remember to also set up the message delivery configuration for when a person fills in the form, it will auto send you the message inquire, and a confirmation to the inquirer.

Publish Menu

When you have all the pages set up, you can head to Appearance – Customize – Menu to publish your menu. 

Tips: If you have 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 technical changes, there are lots of plugins can install and activate to work on your website for similar functions. Before downloading plugins, do some research, check out reviews, information to see if they suit 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 dragging and dropping elements to help build a page. This plugin is great at design and with great responsiveness. There are beautiful templates or create your own, 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-e1645028620385-1024x438 WordPress Website Beginner’s Guide
A World Journal Website (Computer screenshot)

If you want a sidebar with widgets 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. 

11. Backup

Check with your web hosting to see if it offers backup. If not, you can buy backup software to back up your website and content. This will help to restore your website if there is any data loss. 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. 

12. Email List

Creating an email list, known as a subscription form, is a supplement communication to share, market, and connect with audiences about your work, and relevant content. It is a great way to share information, updates, offer insight, freebies, and discounts to engage with your audience. It takes time to build up an email list, from the start, it might be a good idea to share your website with your connection to start small and grow from there. Through time, writing more valuable and relevant content can increase the chance to network with people and get referrals. Set up to send a welcome email to say thank you and welcome the audience for joining your community, by having repeat audiences visiting your website and content can help build your website traffic and site engagement.

Email Marketing Platform: 

  • Mailchimp
  • Convertkit
  • GetResponse
  • HubSpot
  • MailerLight

Each mailing provider has different features, and you can research to find the one you like 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 the form, such as adding a form on the page directly, or a pop-up, sticky bar, or slide-in window. 

13. 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. 

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 your connection and slowly build up your audience. Also, you can list your website on your resume, portfolio, email footer, and any platforms that can help you connect and grow.

Tips:  Focus 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 for other websites, and interact with other content creators and businesses to collaborate, support, and widen the community. 

Every journey is different, there is no fixed timeline of too early or 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 we are happy to be a guide in sharing step-by-step processes and relevant information to help you get started on your website. Best wishes for your new journey! 🙂

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Angela

Angela is a creative person with a passion for food, travel, and gaming. She has traveled to several countries and experiences diverse cultures. She likes to keep things organized and neat.

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