In this article I’m going to guide you through every single step you need to take to make a WordPress website.
These are grouped into 7 main steps that will show you how to make a WordPress website from scratch.
The best part is, I’ve included every resource you need within these steps.
And just to be clear:
These are the resources, tools, and steps I PERSONALLY use with my own businesses.
Let’s get started. Watch or read on:
List of Resources Used in This Tutorial
- NameCheap (Buy a domain name): https://www.namecheap.com
- SiteGround (Web hosting I use): https://www.siteground.com
- BlueHost (Web hosting alternative): https://www.bluehost.com
- How to Choose a Domain Name: View this tutorial here
- Convert Line Breaks: https://www.textfixer.com/tools
- WordPress Theme Search: https://www.whatwpthemeisthat.com
- Evato Market (Buy WordPress themes): https://www.themeforest.net
- StudioPress (Recommend themes): https://www.studiopress.com
Before We Start: An Easy WordPress Explanation
Let’s first go over the 10,000 foot view of this process, and quickly define WordPress.
WordPress is simply a content management system.
Think of it as the backend of your website. It’s the system which stores all your pictures, written content, and website customization. Review all the WordPress features here.
It’s an open source website creation tool written in PHP.
Now to be honest, I don’t even know what that really means.
So we’re NOT going to geek out here and get all technical, because I can’t really do that.
Just know that WordPress is a content management system which allows you to build a website.
Just like Microsoft Word or Apple Pages helps you build documents and PDFs, WordPress is a tool for building a website.
And I’m super glad you’re here learning WordPress because it’s the most versatile in terms of customization, in my opinion.
You’ve probably seen ads for website builders like Wix, however I personally would recommend you avoid these and stick with WordPress if you can. At the end of the day you will have much more control over your website.
7 Steps to Making a Website With WordPress
Before you get your hands on WordPress, there are two things you need to do.
You need to buy a domain name, and buy a web hosting plan.
Some tutorials will show you how you can do both of these things at once, however I’m going to show you how to do them separately.
The reason is that I think it’s important that you know how to connect a domain name to a web hosting plan. In the the future, you might need to set up WordPress for someone who already owns a domain name. In this case you can’t just do some easy 1 click install.
So there are a few extra steps, but they’re very easy to understand, and they’re totally worth learning in my opinion.
Here are all the steps to building a WordPress website:
- Register a domain name
- Sign up for web hosting
- Install WordPress
- WordPress settings
- Install Plugins
- Install a Theme
- Publish Posts and Pages
1. Register a Domain Name
Your domain name is your address on the web.
Popular domain names are Google.com, YouTube.com, Amazon.com and so on.
Picking the right domain name for your website is actually extremely important, and it’s why I have a full guide on choosing a domain name here.
In order to register a domain name, you will need to purchase it at a Domain Name Registrar.
I recommend that you buy and register your domain name at Namecheap.
Another popular registrar is Godaddy, however I personally prefer Namecheap, and in this tutorial I’ll be using Namecheap.
2. Sign Up for Web Hosting
If your domain name is your address on the web, then your web hosting is your land.
You need to pay rent every month to a web hosting company in order for your website to be live on the internet. So think of hosting as your rent payment.
For this tutorial, we will be signing up with a web hosting company called SiteGround.
This website you’re reading right now is hosted with SiteGround (at the time of publishing this article), and many of my other businesses are hosted with SiteGround. So I personally use and recommend this company.
But there are many other good hosting companies out there, and the steps outlined in this tutorial will be very similar if you’re using a different hosting company.
I like to use and recommend SiteGround because they’re:
They also have amazing support.
This is a HUGE bonus in the world of hosting companies.
The last thing you want is something wrong with your website, and a support staff that is unreachable.
So yes, there are other good companies out there, but again, I personally use this company when I first start a website. I then either stick with SiteGround, or sometimes upgrade to WPX Hosting. You can view my web hosting guide here.
3. Install WordPress
You install WordPress within your hosting account.
So you usually will never have to go and download WordPress.
You just need to navigate within your web hosting dashboard, and find where to install WordPress.
When you initially sign up for your hosting package, you will usually get prompted to install and set up WordPress.
Every hosting company has a slightly different looking dashboard. Generally the steps are to go to “Manage Account”, and look for a WordPress icon.
Choose WordPress and fill in your information.
This is where you might be asked to set up an admin email and password.
There may be situations where you need to go into your Cpanel, and install WordPress from there.
What’s great is that almost all the popular hosting companies have specific tutorials for installing WordPress on their platforms.
You can also contact support if you’re running into issues.
In order to log into your WordPress Dashboard, you will need to navigate to the login screen.
It is usually found at YourSite.com/wp-admin. Replace “YourSite.com” with your actual domain name.
4. Important WordPress Settings
There are a few important settings you should be familiar with:
General settings is where you can change your Site Title and Tagline.
This usually only affects your WordPress Dashboard, as your actually site title will be changed with a plugin.
As a beginner, there’s no need to change anything else.
Reading settings are pretty important.
The first thing you will want to do is make sure the Search Engine Visibility box is NOT checked.
Next you will want to change your homepage display.
What most websites do is they create two pages. One is their Homepage, and one is their Blog page.
Under the Your homepage displays you will probably want to choose a static page (your Homepage), and choose your Blog page as the Posts page.
It’s important to note here that you actually need to go and create new pages in order for them to be in the select drop down menu.
The Discussion Settings allow you to choose a default setting for WordPress comments.
So if you don’t want to have people post comments on your blog posts, then don’t check the section that reads Allow people to submit comments on new posts.
The last setting section which you will want to be familiar with is the Permalink Settings.
Always choose Post name. This will allow you to optimize the URL of the pages and posts that you create.
This is super important and something I discuss in my tutorial about On-Page SEO.
5. Install and Delete Plugins
Plugins add features to your website.
When you first install WordPress, you will notice that some web hosting companies install a bunch of plugins for you. Sometimes you don’t need all of these.
So I would recommend that you go in and delete these plugins. If any plugin is “promotional” in nature I would delete it. If you use SiteGround, they will include an Optimizer plugin that you can leave installed if you want.
One plugin that every WordPress website needs is a SEO plugin. There are several of these, and they all work very similarly.
For this guide, I installed the All In One SEO plugin. I personally use this plugin on many of my websites.
What this allows you to do is customize the titles for your homepage, pages, and posts. This is very important, especially if you want to rank your website on Google.
There are tons of plugins that you can install in order to add various functions to your website, however when you’re first starting out, you really only need the basic ones.
6. Install a Theme
A theme changes the overall design of your website.
There are a ton of themes available. Some are free, and some are paid.
In order to install a new theme, you need to navigate to Appearance. This section will show you the themes that you currently have installed. When you first install WordPress, it usually comes with a few free themes.
You can add a new theme and browse all the free themes available, or upload a theme that you purchased from a 3rd party website.
You can publish either a Page, or a Post.
There’s always a bit of confusion around Pages and Posts.
Pages are generally used for the main navigational pages of a website. So think of the menu bars on websites. The web pages found in those are generally set up as Pages in WordPress. Things like a Contact page, an About Me page, or a Shop page. These are usually set up as Pages in WordPress.
Your articles are usually set up as Posts in WordPress. Posts are stored and found in your WordPress Blog.
So if you’re creating a website that has a blog, then a Post in WordPress is what ends up published as a blog post.
Customize Your Website With Premium Themes for the Best First Impressions
Your website needs to give off a good first impression, so eventually you will want to buy a premium WordPress theme.
The good news is that premium themes are not expensive, and they’re super easy to customize.
In the box below of recommended resources, you can find some websites which sell premium WordPress themes.
NameCheap (Buy a domain name): https://www.namecheap.com
SiteGround (Web hosting I use): https://www.siteground.com
BlueHost (Web hosting alternative): https://www.bluehost.com
How to Choose a Domain Name: View this tutorial here
Convert Line Breaks: https://www.textfixer.com/tools
WordPress Theme Search: https://www.whatwpthemeisthat.com
Evato Market (Buy WordPress themes): https://www.themeforest.net
StudioPress (Recommend Themes): https://www.studiopress.com