Welcome to my tutorial on how to create a website using WordPress. You will learn how to do it easily by following the steps I’ve written below.
If you have been wondering about how to install WordPress, I am here to tell you that fortunately, there are now several hosting companies which recognize the fact that the domain has become extremely popular. In response, they have made installing it easy. Various programs have brought about a one-click installation, one of these being Fantastico.
BlueHost is also one notable host who makes everything simple and breezy. For seven years, I have been using BlueHost and can proudly say that I have never experienced any problem whatsoever. I have been utilizing their services to host four Word-Press-based websites. Additionally, it should be kept in mind that they are now the top recommended web hosting provider for the domain, this coming straight from wordpress.org, the official website. If you are in need of more information, I also posted a signup tutorial and a detailed review.
As I said, if you want to install WordPress on a domain which is hosted by BlueHost, you are in for a relatively easy ride. I will provide you with particular instructions and if you are already a BlueHost user, everything will be uncomplicated and smooth. In fact, even without it, numerous hosts have made installing WordPress effortless so if you have no idea how to do it, you can search the World Wide Web or simply get in touch with your host’s support service and you will eventually find that the answers to your questions quickly.
Keep in mind that this tutorial involves automatic installation. If, for some reason or another, you want to do the process manually because your web provider does not have the automated option, you can read on my article regarding manual WordPress installation to make things easier for you.
Click on the Install Button
If you already have a domain name on your web hosting provider, you will need to install WP CMS first. Look for the button that will help you do the entire process quickly. Seek out for Fantastico, or any of the things I have previously cited and if you are quite unsure about some things, you can ask your host because they will readily offer a helping hand. If you are a BlueHost user, look for the words “Install WordPress” located on the cPanel.
Once you have found the button, click on it and choose the directory where you want to install WordPress CMS. Given for example that you want your whole website to be transformed to a WordPress site, what you need to do is to install WP CMS on the root directory or your basic site (www.basicsite.com). Remember that you need to do this on the site itself, not on the extension (www.basicsite/wpcms) or the subdomain (wpcms.basicsite.com).
For BlueHost Users
If you are a BlueHost user, everything is pretty simple on your end. All you need to do is agree to their Terms of Service and then you are all set. However, one important advice that you need to remember is to avoid using “admin” as a WordPress username, as this will make your site open to hackers. Keep in mind that many web hosts use this default name during installation, so if people want to get into your website, they will try logging in with this common username. Furthermore, it is also advisable to think of a strong password, consisting of special characters, number, and lowercase or uppercase letters.
After the installation process is completed, your site is already good to go. You will see that it is now a default and plain WordPress site and if you type in your address and place”/wp-login.php” towards the end, you can now access your dashboard.
Everything is just a piece of cake right? Now you can go on and continue towards the next fun step which is selecting a theme.
Choosing a WordPress Theme
Once you are done creating your own website with the help of WP CMS, you will be faced with making one of the most crucial decisions – determining which theme should go along with it. Yes, you are allowed to change your theme depending on your mood but it is highly recommended that you stick to one which defines you. After all, this theme will serve as the core design of the site, as the rest will be configured from this base.
What you need to do is take the whole process in gradually, since you need time to spot the perfect theme. Since I cannot overemphasize the importance of this step, you will need to consider everything from every angle.
Selecting a Design Suitable for Your Site
There are some important things that you need to keep in mind when choosing a design for your website. For instance, what is the overall aesthetic of your site? What is it about? Is it a personal blog or is it purely for business? Before anything else, you need to establish a clear idea of its purpose and target audience because these points will help you in coming up with a theme.
Take note that not every theme is applicable to every site. Most often than not, a particular theme is suited for only a specific number of sites. Think of it like this, you cannot use a saw or shovel to repair your car, right? In the same way, a theme made for a personal blog cannot be used for membership sites. This is where the importance of determining your needs cannot be underscored. In a nutshell, look for a theme created for the direction which you are also going for.
To Pay or Not to Pay
If you have already chosen the aesthetic that you want to pursue, the next thing that you need to decide on is whether or not you are willing to shell out money for a theme or just go for a free one. Generally, the primary intention that you have in mind for your site will help you with this. Are you planning to earn from it or not? If your answer to the former is a resounding yes, then by all means, you should go ahead and pay for a great theme. Otherwise, a Premium theme is not really called for, so you can feel free to pick from among the free ones. As I said, in the long run, you can opt to alter the overall appearance of your site by modifying the theme, but this is not that simple.
However, you also have the option of beginning everything with a free theme, and then switch it up to a paid one later. This is an excellent idea, especially for the ones who are short on cash right now.
Considering the Fee Structure
Another thing that you can take note of is the payment structure of different themes. Most often than not, you will only be asked to pay once, and then everything is already set. Still, there are cases when you will be asked for an annual or monthly payment for the theme which you are going to use. Whichever it is, you need to weigh the advantages and disadvantages to each option.
While it is tempting to disburse your funds once for a Premium theme that you like, ElegantThemes offers you a lot of excellent themes for an annual fee of only $69. I love that the site is running on Divi theme, which means that it is easily customizable. If you have trouble with Divi, you can also choose from more than 80 other WP themes.
Static or customizable?
Just a little bit of caveat for all of you here – this step is meant only for individuals who have decided to go with a Premium theme. Take note that only Premium themes may be customized. Well technically, the free themes can be modified to fit your personal expectations, too, but only if you are equipped with some coding knowledge. Without this, you will not really go far when it comes to customization.
Themes which can be tailored according to your wants and needs, like the Divi theme which I have chosen here, gives you the chance to come up with basically any kind of theme that you want, and the great news is that it works with almost any website. Although themes like these require much of your time and effort, they have also proven to be satisfying, especially when you get exactly what you initially had in mind. Generally, the Divi theme can be regarded as a set of tools which will let you design your own website in whichever way you want.
Like all other things, there are also a few disadvantages which come with these customizable themes. As aforementioned, they can be quite time-consuming and coming up with the design that you really want can be tedious. But if you already have a specific set of needs, personalizing a theme should not be much of a problem because it is the only way to go. If the theme that you want is not available, you can go ahead and build it on your own. For someone who has done the process a few times, I have never had any trouble finding a theme with ElegantThemes, so essentially it all boils down to your own preferences.
More than Just the Looks
While many people equate the word theme with appearance, there is actually more to it than just the design aesthetics. For instance, you have to make sure that the theme you want has not been neglected by the designers. Is it getting regular updates? If the answer to this is in the negative, this may bring about some problems in the long run, especially when WordPress comes up with updates. Once this happens, your theme needs to be refurbished, too. Done any other way, this may cause compatibility issues and problems for you.
Lastly, endeavor to find out if the creators of the theme provide support. If not, get ready to face some difficulties along the road, causing you to spend more than what you actually signed up for when you will be forced to avail of a developer’s services to address issues which should be fixed by the creators. Select a theme with an excellent support service to make sure that you will be getting your money’s worth. If you opt for a Divi theme, this is something that you should not be worried about because all the themes get regular updates and excellent tech support.
With today’s advancements in technology, people are not just sticking to laptops and PCs, most of the time, they have their tablets and smartphones with them. Because of this, you have to make sure that you theme is not just responsive to PCs, but to all other kinds of devices, too.
If you want to make some good money from your website, you have to see to it that it easily navigable from all kinds of gadgets. With the Divi theme, you will not go wrong.
Installing a Theme
Once you have already picked a theme that you want, the next thing for you to do is to install it. First, download it into your PC and keep it somewhere easy to remember, like your desktop. After saving it, go to your WP dashboard and click on Appearance. On the Themes tab, you will see Install Themes and Manage themes. Since we are going to go about installation, click on the Install Themes option. Once you see the Upload button, click on it.
Next, click on Choose File and go to the location where you saved the theme that you want to use. Click on the Install Now button and go back to Manage Themes. Once you have found your theme, click on Activate as the final step. Once everything has been completed, you will see that your site has a brand new look.
Installing Plugins and Setting Permalinks
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a process focused to get search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo to place your website high up in the rankings whenever people look for specific keywords. However, since these companies have difficulty figuring out where they should put your website, they need a little help from you.
Ultimately, if you want traffic coming from these search engines, SEO will definitely be useful. All you have to do is perform an on-page optimization for your website, which will tell Yahoo, Bing and Google, together with all other search engines, where you should rank in their results.
Straightening Out Permalinks
Although not enough people are quick enough to capitalize on it, permalinks actually play an important role when it comes to SEO. In a nutshell, they determine how URLs are to be organized for blog pages and posts. Although not directly related to SEO, the standard styles for permalinks are composed of number, and these do not really spell out value for most users.
Fortunately, permalinks have now become so easy to change, and they can be structured so that they could depict the title of your post, instead of just showing a jumble of numbers. Permalinks are actually part and parcel of building an on-site SEO, so search engines will rank you in the results accordingly.
First, login to your WP account and on the dashboard, you will see the Settings option on the left side. Click it and you will find a Permalink tab. Once you have clicked on it, there will be a group of button which will allow you to select the setup that you want for your permalinks. Click on the Custom button, located at the bottom. After which, you will need to click on the box situated next to it and type “%postname%”. Once this is completed, do not forget to save the changes. You also have the option of adding other categories by typing %category/%postname%, according to how you want it.
If you opt to go for the latter, every category for our post, together with the title, will be visible on the URL displayed. The good news is that you only have to go through this step once, so you will be saved from all the trouble of changing the settings for every website or post that you will be coming up with.
At this point, we will look at how you can properly install your plugins. Once we have accomplished this, this will allow you to optimize the search engines for your own leverage. The good news is that installing plugins can actually be pretty simple.
On the left side of your dashboard, together with many other tabs, you will find the Plugins tab. Click on it and there is a sub-tab which is labeled Add New. Once you have clicked on it, you will be directed to a page with a search bar, which will allow you to go through the WP database of numerous plugins and look for the one that you need. You may type in something rather generic, especially if you do not know what it is that you are looking for or if you want a function with general functions.
Type the words “Yoast SEO” on the search bar. If you find the SEO by Yoast option, click on the install button and add it to your site.
Return to the Plugins page and you click on the Activate button below the plugin which you just installed so that it can be activated on your website. Every plugin may be deactivated or activated easily following this step, which is simpler than reinstalling or uninstalling. After this, the plugin is ready to be used and if you are still having trouble on the specifics, you can look up other guides online so that you will be enlightened on this aspect.
Out of all the premium plugins, I highly recommend Bloom and Monarch as I am utilizing both of them on my website. Both of them are from similar creators and can be purchased with a Divi theme, provided that you have a Developer License or Lifetime Access License. Monarch and Bloom work perfectly with blogs because the former is a plugin for social media while the latter is an e-mail plugin.
With all the fuss surrounding permalinks and plugins, that is all that there is to it. Pretty simple, right? As long as you follow instructions, I assure you that everything will be smooth sailing.
Now we go to the last step of this tutorial – widgets installation.
Installing Widgets on your Website
While we see and hear the term widgets often, many of us are not aware that they actually have various functions. They are quite similar to plugins but the notable differences are actually worthy of attention. Overall, plugins are more important and this is evidenced by the fact that they have a tab of their own, while widgets are categorized under the Appearance sub-tabs. Furthermore, widgets allow you to change the overall look of your site while plugins often work just behind the scenes or on the sidelines. Aside from that, plugins can do more than what widgets are capable of, as the latter have limited functionality. For instance, the Search bar, which is an example of a widget, pops up for a Google search, but it is only narrowed down to your own website. Also, these are often found o the sidebar of the site. So how can you add widgets to your own blog?
Getting Widgets on your Site
As widgets are normally positioned on the sidebar of your site, your theme is of great importance here, as you have to determine how many sidebars it generally supports. To know this, all you have to do is click on the Widgets tab, just underneath the Apeerance button. Once you have done this, you will see WP’s pre-installed widgets, along with your own sidebars. This is where you will realize yet another difference between the plugins and widgets – there are more pre-installed widgets that plugins on WordPress.
To add a widget is relatively easy. All you need to do is to drag and drop the widget that you want on the sidebar and then that’s it. As I said, your theme is crucial when it comes to determining the number of widgets you can place on a sidebar. If you experiment on the placement of these widgets, you will notice that you can place them almost anywhere on your blog. If you are a beginner to all these, try playing with one widget first. Place it on your sidebar and take note of the place where it will pop up on your actual blog. In this way, you will see where your site’s Primary Sidebar is, and then you can try it with other spots. This is an excellent way to locate the sidebars, especially if you cannot find anything at first. In the same way, you can also remove a widget as easily as when you added one. All you need to do is click on the widget you want to get rid of and drag it away from the sidebar where it’s in.
Getting Great Widgets
If you are keen enough, there are actually a lot of widgets that come with every WP installation. To give you an overview, let us take a look at some of them.
For instance, we have the RSS widget. As the RSS is losing its popularity compared to when it was the “thing” a few years back, they are still quite helpful now since they allow you to group and organize blog posts even if they comes from different sources. If you add this widget, people who also have the RSS deeds will have an easier time adding your own website to their own feed.
Another thing is the custom menu widget. It provides you with a chance to place a menu on your sidebars, which you can customize according to what you want. If specific tabs do not fit your sidebar, this is the perfect tool that you can use.
Surprisingly, the most useful widgets are actually the simplest ones. Case in point: the Text widget. Its main purpose is to allow you to add a text within your blog’s sidebar. However, it also has another important, albeit often neglected use – you can indicate your HTML code in it, which will permit you to add things onto the sidebar. Similar to themes and plugins, a few widgets are created by the WordPress community for the users’ disposal. Although they initially can be downloaded in the form of plugins, the truth is that they are widgets. For example, we have the Star Rating widget, which is actually a Premium widget. Through this, comments, posts, and pages have an attached star-rating option. This particular widget is excellent because it is very user-friendly and easy to use.
Lastly, we have the YouTube Channel Gallery widget, which allows visitors to play videos or music right on the spot. In this way, you can display your own video or any relevant content as thumbnails in your own site.
Hopefully, this guide has served to be useful for you when it comes to plugins and widgets. The number of widgets out there cannot be covered in just a single post, of course, but I believe all the basics have already been touched.
As this ends my tutorial, I wish that you have been enlightened when it comes to building your own WordPress website. If there is anything that you need, do not hesitate to contact me for help. For more articles and WP design services, feel free to check out my blog.