With everything moving online, it gets to a point where owning a website becomes inevitable. When this time comes, there are several routes to take. You could choose to hire a professional to create one for you, but this would cost anywhere between $1000 and $5000 depending on the complexity of the website. The second route would be to learn how to create one yourself.
While getting a professional website designer guarantees you excellent work in the shortest time possible, it becomes very expensive very fast, especially when you factor in updates, and maintenance. Learning to create your own website may take a little more time and some trial and error, but in the end, you get a functional website that you can be proud of. Not to mention that you will be a pro having spent close to nothing. This is therefore the best option for low budget or beginning web owners.
This article will take you through the motions of creating a WordPress website in 5 easy steps. We will try our best to explain as much as we can in a few words and provide lots of resources for reference and additional help.
Shall we begin?
Step 1: Buy a domain name and hosting
Before you can begin any actual website creation, you need a domain name and hosting.
Think of the domain name as a unique identifier that will help people find your website. It is basically a word or string of words that identify your website and is what people enter into their browsers to get to you.
Web hosting on the other hand, can be thought of as where your website will ‘live’ on the internet. Depending on your needs and preferences, there are hundreds of companies that you can choose from, and even more packages. You will therefore need to do some research to find the best fit for your needs considering your budget and more.
Step 2: Install WordPress
Depending on the web host you’ve chosen, the process of installing the WordPress platform may differ a little. However, the general process follows these steps:
- Download WordPress to your hosting space
- Extract contents of the zip file
- Create MySQL database
- Run installation
If this sounds too technical for you, do not worry. 99% of web hosts now provide 1-click install services that will have you set up in less than 5 minutes. Just look out for these names on your dashboard: MOJO Marketplace, Softaculous, QuickInstall, and Fantastico.
Here is a resource that we know will be helpful. It will explain in detail how to install your WordPress site using the services mentioned above.
Step 3: Extend functionality using plugins
Unless you want a simple blogging website which the core WordPress installation is specifically build for, you will need to install some plugins to get the functionality you need. Even then, it is recommended to have some plugins that greatly optimize the basic WordPress features.
Some mush-have functionality that we believe every website needs are:
- SEO optimization: This makes it possible for your website to appear in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). If you are building a commercial website, this will be especially important
- Caching: The more you add onto the core install, the slower your website will run. To counter this, you will require a caching system that will store temporary copies of your website allowing for fast response times and fewer server requests.
- Back-up: We do not have the power to anticipate things before they happen. It is therefore best to always stay prepared. Backing up your website on a regular basis will help you get back up when the worst happens. Many web hosts, not all, offer this service free or for a small fee. You should therefore inquire so you if your web host has you covered.
- Social sharing: Social media is now the leading means of marketing online. There is no way your website will ever go viral if you don’t let people share it.
- Security monitoring: Undeniably the most important aspect of all. Hackers are now running free reining havoc all over the internet. Get some security systems in place and be protected from them.
Here are good resources to help you choose your plugins wisely: How to choose the best WordPress plugin, and How to choose the best plugin for your WordPress site.
Step 4: Install and activate theme
Themes are basically a group of files that structure your website in a certain way. You can achieve any look on WordPress, and this is one of the many reasons why it is so popular.
Finding the best theme for your WordPress site though, requires some searching and trial and error. We recommend you dedicate enough time to this process because this is what will determine your visitor’s first impression. The theme you choose has the potential of making or breaking your reputation.
Step 5: Create content
You are now done. Hooray!
But not quite yet. While you are done with the creation process, there is still one step remaining. This is an ongoing process that you will carry out regularly for the lifetime of the website: Creating and Updating content.
Depending on what your website is about, the process of content creation will differ greatly. But basically, content in WordPress is divided into posts and pages.
Posts are the more frequent and dynamic articles. You will be posting a new one on a regular basis to keep your visitors and Search Engines occupies, and are divided into categories. A good example of posts is what you see under ‘News’ or ‘Blog’ section of most websites.
Pages on the other hand are meant for more permanent content. Once you create a page, you will not need to change it for a while. Excellent examples are ‘About Us’ pages, ‘Terms and Conditions’ and the like.
If for example, your website is a media distribution or online booking platform, you will have a different structure for creating content. You will however, still need several posts and pages to explain the purpose or functioning of your website to your visitors.
We are hoping you are now well on your way to creating your first WordPress powered website. We would love to hear how it went in the comment section below.