In our earlier article, we discussed some of the reasons why your business needs a website. Today, we shall be outlining 7 simple steps to create a (free) website on WordPress in 2020 without writing a single code. That is how to build a WordPress Website from scratch.
One of the most important skill to learn, in this day and age, while building your online presence and as a small business owner is your ability to build a website. Being able to develop your own website will:
- Save you some money on website developers and designers.
- It will give you control of your brand, as you will be able you update your website without needing a developer’s help.
- You will stay ahead of your competitors.
WordPress, created as a standalone project as far back in 2003, is a free software and the most popular Content Management System (CMS) used by over 75 million websites. It can be used in many different ways from simple websites to eCommerce platforms and anything in between.
Breakdown of websites with a clearly identifiable CMS, according to W3Tech’s survey of the top 1 million domains.
- WordPress can be self-hosted, so there are no associated costs with downloading, installing and upgrading.
- It is highly customizable and has great flexibility thereby meeting the demands of many users.
- It has lower setup and maintenance cost when compared to other CMS platforms.
- WordPress is designed for everyone, from a beginner to an expert. Most of its user-interface components are easy to use.
- The software is SEO friendly as it is written using standard compliance high-quality code and produces semantic mark-up, making it Google friendly.
Some of the top companies using the WordPress platform include the official White House website (Whitehouse.gov), Microsoft (for its official blog), the Rolling Stones, etc.
Table of Contents:
This article is going to be long and thorough, so I have decided to organize my points below. For those with previous experience with WordPress, you can simply skip some topics which you are familiar with.
1: Getting a Domain Name
2: Choose a Hosting Plan
3: Installing WordPress
4: Choose a Theme
5: Customize your Site
6: Install Plugins
7: Add content/pages
WordPress.org Vs WordPress.com
As a beginner you will be confused about the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com. Yes, they look similar but they are actually different platforms. The key difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com is who’s actually hosting your website.
- WordPress.org: Here you host your own website. This is the popular WordPress you’ve probably heard amazing things about. You will need a domain name and web hosting plan to use this platform, that is why it is regarded as the self-hosting WordPress. The benefits of WordPress.org is that you own your website. You can customize using any style of your choice and can add free, paid, and custom plugins, and you can also make money from it. One of the cons of using the self-hosted WordPress is that you have to get a hosting plan and you will be responsible for its updates and Backups.
We recommend our clients to use WordPress.org
- WordPress.com: With WordPress.com, the hosting plan, updates and backups are all taken care of for you. The benefits of WordPress.com is that it is free for up to 3GB of space, after which you will need to switch to a paid plan. You will also not have to worry about updates or backups. The cons of WordPress.com is that they place free ads on all free websites, you are no allowed to sell ads on your website, and you cannot upload plugins nor customise your theme. Free WordPress.com websites come with a WordPress.com branded domain (e.g. https://mywebsite.wordpress.com).
That being said, lets dive into the steps to build your own website using the WordPress CMS platform.
- Get a Domain Name
Before you start a business you need a business name, this is similar to building a new website for yourself or your business. The domain name is your website’s name and address. That address is what visitors will use to find you on the internet. An example of a domain name is Hilariumdigital.com
For businesses, your domain should match your business name. For instance: YourBusinessName.com
To get a domain name visit a domain registration provider like:
- … or do a Google search for “domain registration” for other providers.
Some web hosting providers do offer free domain names when you purchase a hosting plan, this we will discuss in the next step.
- Choose a Web Hosting Plan:
The next thing to do after getting a domain name is to choose a web hosting plan. Web hosting is a service that hosts and stores our website files on a secure server that is always up and running.
When signing with a web hosting company, make sure it has the following features:
- Free domain name with SSL (for Security)
- One-click install for WordPress
- Customer email accounts
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Excellent customer support
We recommend you use Bluehost.com for web hosting and domain names. They offer free domain registration for the first year.
Also read: Digital marketing overview (Updated)
- Install WordPress:
Most web hosting providers offer a quick install for WordPress, relieving the stress of manually downloading WordPress and then uploading it to your host.
Using the Bluehost web hosting platform, here are the simple steps to install WordPress (even if you are not using Bluehost, the process should be fairly easy):
- Log in to your Bluehost cPanel account.
- Find the Website section and select Install WordPress.
- Click the Install button.
- Choose the domain name to install it to. In the field next to the domain, you can enter a subfolder such as ‘blog’ or leave it blank if you want the site’s main page to be the blog.
- If necessary, you can edit the email address, username and password for the new WordPress installation. Click “advanced options” and you can change those settings.
- Read through the license and service agreements and check the boxes.
- Select the Install Now button.
- You will be notified once your installation is complete and then you will need to log into your website by clicking the ‘Admin URL’ link.
Manual installation is not as easy as the one-click installation, but it can be a learning process for you. It involves downloading WordPress to your computer first, and the re-uploading it to your hosting provider. The steps include:
- Download and unzip the WordPress file.
- Create a database for WordPress on your webserver.
- Upload the WordPress files to the desired location on your webserver
- Run the WordPress installation script by accessing the URL in a web browser.
We shall be discussing manual installation of WordPress in a separate article for a more detailed illustration.
- Choosing a Theme:
Now you have WordPress installed, it’s about time we start to play with it. A theme is just like a template for your website and it varies according to design and industry use. After Installing a theme does not change the contents of your site but only its presentation. Themes can either be free or paid. To choose a free theme you:
- Log in to your WordPress account.
- Go to ‘Appearance’, and a drop down menu will appear. Click on ‘Themes’
- This will take you to a new dashboard where you will see ‘Add New’, click on it.
- Browse through the various themes available (there are hundreds of themes) and demo some of them that appeal to you. Then click on install on the Theme you have chosen.
- After installation, you will prompted to ‘Activate’ the theme, after which the theme is all yours.
- Customize your Website:
So far you’ve learnt how to choose a domain name, web hosting provider, install WordPress and to choose a theme. The next step is to customize your website to specifically serve your needs, although most WordPress themes may already look quite nice. When you log in to your WordPress dashboard, on the left-hand sidebar you’ll find navigation links that allow you to:
- Change website color and fonts to suite your preference.
- Add a logo
- Include a side bar
- Then you may also need some widgets
Then you test the theme you just installed to get a feel of you’ve added to it.
- Install Plugins
A plugin is a piece of code (or app) written to perform specific a specific function or a set of functions, they are very important in keeping your website up and running. There are various free plugins provided by WordPress to enhance your website depending on the usage. For additional functionality, there are plugins that can be purchased. Some of the essential plugin for your website include:
- All in one SEO Pack
- Dropbox backup and restore
- W3 total cache
- Ninja Forms
- IThemes Security
- …. And the list goes on
Here’s how to install a plugin:
- On your WordPress Dashboard, head to ‘Plugins’
- Then ‘Add New’
- Search for the plugin you need using the search bar
- Look at the reviews and rating before clicking ‘Install Now’
- Once installed, you will receive a message prompting you to ‘Active Plugin’.
- Add Content/Pages:
Now your website is almost done, however it won’t be complete without content or pages to enhance navigation. A web page is like a document on the web. Some of the essential web pages you will need to create on your website are as follows:
- Homepage: This is the first page the visitor will see once he/she visits your website. Homepages can either be static or dynamic depending on your preference.
- Contact Us page: It serves as a means for your visitors to contact you in case they need further information.
- About US page: A page that explains who you are and what you do.
- Service page: This page outlines the services you render, if your website is for business.
- Blog page: For bloggers, this page will used to post recent blogs. It can also serve as a platform to inform your visitors about what’s new in your company or industry.
- Shop page: For eCommerce websites, this page is important.
With all your pages created, you can go ahead to add content on each page. Your contents should simple and clear to you visitors.
Congratulations! You’ve just created your website. At this point you have a fully functioning website. There are still a lot of extra configurations you will need to carry out on your site, but it depends on your priorities.
Note: A website should always be evolving. The way it looked when you first created it shouldn’t be the way it will be after a couple of months, if you are active on your website. Make sure to update your websites including plugins so as to keep it safe and secure.
Conclusively, i hope this wordpress website tutorial would lead you through the entire process but in case you have a question kindly leave a comment and i will respond ASAP. If you need any help creating a professional website for your brand do not hesitate to contact us.
Photo Credit: Bluehost