The first impressions of building a website may seem tricky, lengthy and something you would leave to a professional web designer.
However, many website platforms, including WordPress, are easy to navigate and build from the foundations up.
So why choose WordPress?
WordPress is SEO-ready, making promotion of your website easier. It’s also versatile and can run any type of website. Also, WordPress is a website platform that is easy to personalise and make your own. Best of all, it’s a completely free platform to install and create your own website.
Below is a list of steps to take when creating a website on WordPress-
Picking a domain name
- The first step is to pick a name for your website and buy a domain and host. When choosing a name, make sure to go for a short yet personalised name. Having a unique domain name ensures it doesn’t sound similar to other companies which could cause customer confusion. If you’re stuck for choosing a name, there are online generators such as Domain Wheel where you input a keyword and it suggests the best available domain names for your website.
Buying a domain
- The next step is to buy your domain name and host. Bluehost is an excellent platform for purchasing hosting plans for as little as £2.29 a month. Bluehost also installs WordPress for you. Whilst it is possible to install WordPress manually, it’s simply more efficient for Bluehost to install the platform, making the website creation process as easy as possible for you!
Welcome to WordPress
- Once logged in, you’ll be presented the WordPress Dashboard. This is the main interface that will become the hub for all your website needs on WordPress. Some menu features include “Posts”, “Media”, “Pages”, “Comments”, “Appearance”, “Plugins”, “Users” and “Settings”. Becoming familiar with these menu options from the get go will help with navigation as you’re building your website.
Important steps to take
- Permalinks are an important factor in creating a website. They define how URL’s are structured within the website. To set permalinks, visit Settings > Permalinks from the sidebar on your dashboard. When on the page, select “Post Name” as your permalink option.
- Set your site to public by going to Settings>Reading and ensuring the box labelled “Search Engine Visibility” is unchecked.
- Having a site title and tagline is obviously important. Go to Settings>General and set the site title and tagline fields to what you want. Your site title and tagline will be featured on various pages of the site dependent on what website theme you choose.
- Although uncommon nowadays, you can disable pingbacks and trackbacks in Settings>Discussion>Default Article Settings.
Picking a theme for your website
- Picking a theme is vital in the creation of your website. After all, the theme is what essentially shapes the website. There are plenty of free themes available, as well as priced unique themes. It’s helpful to choose a theme that is visually appealing as well as easy to navigate around and clear for customers to understand. Once you’ve chosen your WordPress theme, you need to install it. Go to Appearance > Themes from your dashboard and click on “Add New”. Then, type in the name of the theme you want to install and click “Install” on the theme in the list that will appear. Once installed, click the “Activate” button that will appear in place of the “Install” button. Once activated, you will be greeted with a pop up panel, inviting you to learn more about the theme you chose.
Customising your theme
- Like the look of your chosen theme but still want to add some basic customisation to it? Visit Appearance > Customise and you’ll be visited by the main WordPress Custom interface. From there, your customisation can begin.
- To set up your home page, go to “Homepage settings” in your side bar. Select “A static page”. “Click “Add new” to create a new page that will act as your homepage”. Input the name for the page and click “Add”.
- You can change aspects such as the headline, homepage background image, features tab, about section, testimonials, contact section and much more. If you choose the option Appearance Settings>Typography, you can choose the font you would like throughout the website. There’s also the option to change the accent colours and background colours. Since the process is easy to navigate around, it’s fun to spend some time going through all the options available for customisation on the website and choosing what you like best. Further options in customisation include picking the default layout of your website, the shape of buttons, image decisions and how you want the blog listing to be displayed.
- Plugins extend your websites availability. They add features which are extremely helpful to the functionality of your website. Some useful free plugins to install are:
- Wordfence Security– improves the security of your website.
- UpdraftPlus– automatically backups your website
- WPForms– you can add interactive contact forms to your website so visitors can directly contact you- great for businesses, both corporate and self employed.
- Google Analytics for WordPress– An excellent plugin which integrates your website with the most popular traffic analysis solutions on the web.
Creating basic pages
- It’s necessary that websites include pages that are useful regardless of their purpose. To do this, you need to know how to create a page. The first step is to go to your dashboard and go to Pages> Add New, which will bring up a document with a section to put in the page title and a body for text with text options. There is the option to input a featured image, which will be the visual for your page. You can also decide whether you want people to comment on the bottom of the article named “Discussion”. After you have finished editing the page’s content, click the “Publish” button. There is the option to preview your newly posted post by clicking “Preview Changes”.
Other basic pages you should consider creating:
- About- An important page which sums up your business or purpose of the website. Almost all new customers will visit this page when first arriving to your website.
- Contact- This is the page where customers will visit in order to contact you. It’s useful to provide a work phone number and email so customers can choose which method is best to contact you on. Also, you can put the WPForm plugin to use (mentioned in Plugins) by creating a contact form.
- Now you have key pages set up, it’s vital to have menus available to make your website navigation as easy as possible. To begin creating menus, go to Appearance>Menus. Next, choose the basic pages you’ve created (described above) and add them to the Menu Structure. After, select the menu location. The default location is “Primary Menu”, which results in showing the menu in the top section of the website. Click on “Save Menu” to save the settings. There is the option to create additional menus that are displayed in different locations.
- Widgets are a fantastic way to personalise your website. A widget is a block of content that can be displayed in various places around the website. To explore widgets, visit Appearance>Widgets in your dashboard. Spend some time exploring the different widgets and seeing how they appear on your page.
Once you have saved your widgets, your website is ready to be put to use! Now you know how to create a website on WordPress, there’s no stopping the possibilities imaginable. There are plenty of features to explore and mould around your website.
However, don’t think that once you’ve created your website, there’s no more to improve on. Websites need constant nurturing and updating, whether it’s the content on the front end of the website, the SEO or the coding data lurking in the background. This article is only the very beginning of your WordPress journey, so strap yourself in!
Reference: Themeisle, “How to make a WordPress website in 2019 – The ultimate DIY guide”