WordPress Site Setup: This Guide Will Get You Up and Running Pronto

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wordpress siteBuilding a website used to be a daunting task, even for webmasters. But thanks to platforms like WordPress, building a website is now doable not just by experienced web developers, but by amateurs who don’t have coding skills or back-end experience.

This WordPress site setup guide attempts to provide a simple guide for WordPress newbies who want to create their WordPress site.

Building any website, whether it’s for commercial or noncommercial purposes, would need the same foundational elements for building a sturdy, functional, dependable home.

WordPress site setup: elements of a wordpress site

Server or host

You need land where the house could stand, and address for people to locate your house and the house itself that will represent and reflect the taste and character of the homeowner.

A host is to a website as land is to a house. You need an actual location where you’d be storing files and folders for your webpage, and a hosting service provides this for you and your website.

Domain or address

Your domain name is your web address that serves as your locator for people to find you easily.

You want your address to be easy enough to remember that would resonate and linger in people’s minds, and would eventually be a default go-to when they are looking for the content or product you are offering.

Website

Your website is the home that you build correctly, sturdily, methodically, and design with elements that’s bespoke of your brand, product, or service.

It contains information about your company, contact page, services and products, and all other content you are making available through your website.

Email address

Your email address works like your house mailbox, where you can send and receive correspondence with your subscribers and customers.

It can be a follow-up email, a Call to Action, a newsletter, promotions, and the like that you can send out to your mailing list, or a way to receive feedback, queries, or requests from your customers and subscribers.

WordPress is a CMS or Content Management System that acts like your house contractor, builder, designer, and property manager all in one.

For this guide, I chose Blue Host as our sample web host. It is highly recommended by the WordPress.org organization, is one of the oldest and most established hosting service, and has excellent customer support.

Steps in starting your wordpress site

Step 1: Choose a host and domain name

It’s best of your domain name is short, easy-to remember and type out, and fits to your brand name, product or service.

So long as the domain you choose is unique no one has claimed the name before, you’ll have your choice of TLD or top-level domain like .com, .edu, .biz, etc.

If you choose Bluehost, these are the basic steps you can take to start your site:

 

  • Select your plan (Basic, Plus, Prime)

 

  • Sign up with a new domain name and click next
  • Create your account by filling in all the information
  • Verify package information.
  • Unclick domain privacy, back up site and site locker, since they are free plugin apps for these.
  • Fill I your payment info
  • Congratulations Screen
  • Set up a password to manage your hosting account
  • Bluehost automatically sets up WordPress for you.
  • Click “Start Building”

Step 2: Select your wordpress theme

Familiarize yourself with the WordPress interface. You’ll find the following functionalities we’ll need to start a WordPress page:

  • Admin / Dashboard
  • Theme: where you can customize, add, or delete themes
  • Post: where timestamps are created when you write blogs
  • Media: adding images
  • Pages: where you create or add pages like About, Contact, Services, and the like
  • Appearance: where you can control your website will look like
  • Plugin: where you’ll see essential plugins here that extend the functionality of WordPress.

Your website is actually online and functioning at this time, even if you haven’t completed and finalized content and design yet.

Choose your theme, from free to paid ones, that you feel suit your website the best. You will be shown themes that have been approved by WordPress.org, from featured ones, most popular, most recent, or favorites.

 

You can also click filters to make your search more targeted towards the features or layout you want for your website.

Once you clicked a theme, wait for it to be installed. Activate the theme once download is done. You can also manually do this on the Theme on the left bar of your Dashboard

You can also customize an existing theme you have previously selected. Click Customize on the left. It will bring you to the Customize window. You’ll be able to customize on the left and see the changes on the right side of the screen.

The areas with a pencil icon are editable, like title and tagline.

You can add Site icon, select a square image if possible. This icon appears beside the name of your site on tabs.

Add alt texts to your images, including the site icon, for SEO purposes. It gives SE bots an idea of what the picture “looks like.” Since they cannot really see what your image is, bots rely on the alt tags to have an idea what the images on your page are all about.

You can choose colors for the theme.

Create the Menu. You can assign if it will be your primary or main menu, footer menu, and social links menu.

  • Primary Menu
  • Add items – it will add different items
    1. Home Page
    2. About
    3. Contact
    4. Services or Portfolio
    5. News or Blog
    6. Etc. 
  • Widgets: great for showing little pieces of content on your site
  • Search
  • Recent Posts
  • Comments
  • Archives
  • Categories
  • Meta

There are several widgets to choose from, depending on the theme you selected. You can add or remove them from your site. Each theme will have its own widget area.

Step 3: Setup your web pages

Home Page

  • You can highlight latest posts
  • Or choose Static page as a homepage
  • You can add additional CSS or coding
  • If you chose a web page as your homepage, and you can edit these as well.
  • For example, you can choose your home page to be a blog page. Edit the page title, add images, add the text, and the like.
  • Go back to your Dashboard when you are done

Step 4: Add plugins

  • Access Plugins from the dashboard
  • Activate the Plugins you have installed and want to use for your site.
  • You can also “Add new” to search through the WP repository of the plugins you need, by popularity, favorites, or by filters
  • When you install a plugin, wait for it to finish installing so you can activate it.
  • For example, if you added a contact plugin, you can edit what comes out of the form plugin, before adding it to the page.
  • You can view the page to see if your plugin works properly

Step 5: Check your settings

Check the settings first to make sure your site will function well. Click or unclick features that you want included in your webpage. Determine details such as timezone and date format and site roles in Settings.

You may also edit the tagline and site title here should you need to adjust anything.  You can find the following functionalities you’ll need for wordpress site setup under Settings:

  • General settings:
    1. Site title
    2. Tagline
    3. WordPress Address – don’t change
    4. Site Address (URL) – don’t change
    5. Email address
    6. Membership
    7. New User Default Role
    8. Time Zone
    9. Date Format
  • Writing settings
  • Reading Settings
  • Discussion Settings
  • Permalink Settings

Step 6: Fill in with content

When you have done the initial setup, go ahead and fill in your new site with content, like blogs and articles you have previously written. You don’t want your viewers finding your “house” and seeing there’s not even a sofa to sit on.

A good start may be around 5 to 10 pages as a start, and build from there as you determine the interval between your postings.

Whatever posting schedule you use, be consistent in keeping it. Also be thorough in checking messages, queries or emails from your subscribers and respond promptly

Step 7: Publish your site

Once you have tweaked the themes, plugins and pages according to your goals, you can try to publish what you have built to see how it looks like, how it runs, and how you think others will respond to it.

Ask other people to audit the website you have done, in case you have missed a thing or two, like typo or format errors and the like. It’s good to hear feedback as soon as you can so you can still make adjustments to your content and your web design.

The fantastic thing about WordPress sites is that they are really easy to adjust and edit as needed. Make sure to regularly optimize on-page SEO and keep your site fresh and updated every so often by changing themes or editing content to spruce up your website.

Conclusion: Hone your skills in wordpress

Pitting your website among many others in such a competitive, fast-paced and ever-evolving digital age is no longer an impossibility.

WordPress is a reliable CMS because it levels the playing field for both expert web developers and do-it-yourself newbies in website building. It challenges webmasters to stay on their toes and continue uptraining so they remain competitive in their skills.

In the same way, this simplified way of website creation encourages amateurs to not back down from the challenge of making one because there are tools such as WordPress to fill in the gaps where they may be lacking in skills.

Whether you are a first-time website builder or you’ve been doing this for years, continue to hone your WordPress skills as it is still the leading and most-popularly used Content Management System to date, with 33.5% market share among the top 500 websites.

Web design also plays a pivotal role in your business’ profitability, so all the more that you should invest time and energy to advance your know-how with this platform.  Stay in demand and level up in your WordPress skills today.

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