WordPress is the most popular website building platform on the planet. Over 30% of the Internet uses it to create their personal and business sites.
Why has this platform become such a must in the online community? Because it works exceptionally well, it’s cheap and easy to use.
Despite WordPress’s easy nature, many non-tech-savvy and tech-savvy users alike may find themselves struggling to get up and running with it. Therein lies the purpose of this how to get started with WordPress guide.
Over the next couple of minutes, we’ll run you through a handful of WordPress must-knows so you can confidently foray into the content management system and use it to craft stunning sites.
1. Pick a Domain Name
Before you do anything with WordPress, your journey with the platform is going to start by selecting a domain name. Your domain name is your web address that people will type into the top of their internet browser’s search bar to find your site.
Domain names can be registered with any number of online registrars (NameCheap, GoDaddy, etc.) and prices will vary greatly between options. While we’d love to advise you to simply go with whichever registrar is cheapest, many offer “bait-and-switch” pricing that’s low during year one but jumps substantially during annual domain renewals.
Try to research what a registrar’s non-promotional pricing is before choosing to do business with them so you’re not surprised later.
2. Select a Host
With your domain name in hand, your next how to get started with WordPress step will be picking a web host. Your web host is the entity that will house your site online so visitors can access it. Like registrars, there are ample web host options.
While picking the cheapest domain registrar is usually a safe thing to do, picking the cheapest host isn’t. That’s because the quality of your host can have serious implications on your website’s performance.
Research your web host to find out the ease of managing websites on their servers and the site speeds they offer. Also, confirm that their servers are compatible with WordPress.
3. Install WordPress via cPanel
By this point, the groundwork has been laid to install WordPress on the server space your host has allocated to you. There are a couple of ways to do this.
First, there’s going to the WordPress website, downloading the latest release of the software, and manually uploading it to your server via FTP or your host’s uploading application. This process is more cumbersome than will be required for most because, as a second and better option, you should be able to “1-click-install” WordPress onto your server through your host’s cPanel.
Not every host offers 1-click-install, though most do. If you can’t find this option in your server’s settings, contact your host’s support team for assistance as it may be hidden.
4. Choose a Theme
When WordPress is installed, you should be able to access its back-end by typing in your domain name and adding “admin” to the back of it (ex: www.my-test-site.com/admin). This will direct you to a login screen where you’ll be prompted to enter your credentials to access your site.
Once you’ve successfully logged in, you’ll be greeted with WordPress’ back-end and will want to pick a theme (or look) for your site straight-away.
Themes can be found in the “appearance” tab and applying looks that you like to your site can be done with a couple of clicks. If you don’t like the themes available, you can download free and paid themes via the WordPress marketplace.
5. Start Strategizing and Adding Content to Your Site
What good is figuring out and getting started with WordPress if the site you create doesn’t have any content? In our opinion, not very good at all!
That’s why, in this next step, you’ll want to hit pause and think about the kind of content your audience might want to see on your website. Once you’ve come up with a few ideas, get creating!
There are two categories of content that WordPress uses, posts, and pages.
Posts are best suited for blog content while pages are great for one-off sections of your site like a contact page, home page, etc. Select whichever of those two content types is most appropriate for what you’d like to create and start writing.
6. Explore Plugins
What allows WordPress sites to function so incredibly well and appear unique from one another is something called “plugins.” Plugins are mini-applications that you can add to your site which add advanced functionality to pages.
For example, if you wanted to add an eCommerce store to one of your site’s pages, you might download the plugin “WooCommerce” which would allow you to, with a couple of clicks, add a beautiful storefront to your site.
There are thousands of plugins available in the WordPress marketplace, some paid, some free. Just be sure to continue testing your site’s performance as you add plugins, customize headers in WordPress, and do other things to make your site stand out. The more tweaks you make, the more likely your site will be to run slow.
You can test your site’s speed via Google’s Page Speed tool.
7. Keep Extending Your Education
WordPress is one of those tools that’s easy to learn but hard to master. Once you’ve gone through the basics and feel good about managing minor odds and ends, make it a point to extend your WordPress certification by watching/reading more training materials and perhaps pursuing formal certification.
Now That You Know How to Get Started With WordPress, Get Going
Learning how to get started with WordPress is one thing. Taking that knowledge and building something incredible is another.
We hope that the quick education we’ve provided gives you the confidence you need to start building an incredible website today! If you find yourself in need of more assistance, check out additional helpful content on our blog.