WordPress is the most popular website platform in the world today. It’s free and has a gigantic community of talented programmers dedicated to its improvement. This community also has people who specialize in theme development and plugin creation. Thanks to these people, there are thousands of themes and plugins to choose from. Themes determine the look and feel of your website while plugins add functionality such as a survey form, contact form, or an image slider. Whatever you need, chances are good that there’s a plugin for it. The WordPress community is that big.
Before you can enjoy these benefits, there’s the matter of your WordPress website setup. Getting your first WordPress based website up and running is reasonably straight forward. Without further ado, here is how it’s done:
Find A Domain Name
The domain name will be the URL of your website. If you have one already, skip this step and proceed to finding a hosting provider. When it comes to domain selection there are two ways to go about it. You can either select a keyword based domain or one that is your brand name. People who set up lots of small websites in several business niches, tend to go with the keyword based domains. It’s claimed that it has some SEO advantages, but these days that’s debatable. If you’re a business, you will want to use your brand or company name. Domain names have something called a top-level domain which is the .com, .net, .org, etc. that you see at the ends of URLs. For a business domain, a .com should be your first choice.
Domain names are bought on a yearly basis (yearly fee) from a domain name registrar or from hosting providers who have this service. Finding a domain name registrar is a simple matter of looking them up in a search engine and researching them. A shortcut around this research is getting a recommendation from someone you know and trust.
Find A Hosting Provider
Your website is essentially a collection of files and a database. In order for it to be seen as a website in someone’s browser, these files and database must be created in a web server. The hosting service provides this server and many other vital services you will need to build and maintain your website. Choosing a hosting service requires either careful research or a recommendation from someone who has experience with the service.
Three important things to look into are the quality of the hosting provider’s customer service and the reliability and speed of their servers. Good customer service can rapidly help you get a problem resolved, while poor customer service can transform a minor problem into a protracted and costly one to your business.
The hosting provider’s average uptime should be 99.9% or higher. A business can lose a lot of revenue if their website is down or loads too slowly during a critical time. Hosting providers charge a monthly fee. Quality of service should be the primary consideration while cost is secondary. Most hosting providers worth their salt support WordPress and will have a one-click-install so that you won’t have to do a manual installation or set up a database. They should also make periodic backups of your website and have plenty of bandwidth and storage.
Our take: if you are serious about WordPress hosting, got with premium provider of our choice – WP Engine. Their packages are bit more expensive than cheaper providers on the block, but if you want fast website and great service, it’s worth the investment.
Configure The Name-Servers
If you acquired your domain name through your hosting provider, then you can skip this step.
Your domain name needs to be connected to your hosting service’s name-servers. It’s usually referred to as “pointing” your domain to your hosting provider’s name-servers. This is done by logging into the domain name registrar where you acquired your domain name. The exact procedure depends on your domain name registrar. However, there should be a field where you can enter the name-server names provided to you by your hosting service. After this has been completed, it will take up to 24 hours for this change to take effect.
Do The One-Click WordPress Installation
The details of this step depend on your choice of hosting provider. However, they should have tutorials on how it’s done. Their customer service can help you with this or perhaps they will direct you to their tutorial. When you log into your hosting account, there may be a WordPress installation link on the main control panel. When you complete the installation, you can log into the back-end of your WordPress website at yourdomain.com/wp-login.php. Your website will use the default WordPress theme. At this point you have completed the set up of your first WordPress website.
From here on, your task will be to change the theme (if you wish), install the appropriate plugins for your website, and make your preferred changes to the various settings. This will entail becoming familiar with and learning more about the WordPress platform itself. Three general types of plugins to include are those that help with search engine optimization, website performance (a caching plugin), and possibly a security plugin.
To add a blog post, look on the left side of the dashboard and you will see a black side bar. Click on “posts” and then “add new.” Enter the post title in the top field. Below that you will see a white editing area for writing your post. On the far right side, you will see a preview button as well as a publish button. For adding a page, click on “pages” on the left side bar and then click “add new.” The procedure from there is similar to creating a post.
You still have more to learn about optimizing your WordPress website, but it should be taken one step at a time. You know enough already to create a WordPress website and publish your first page or blog post. However you do have another option, this is to have it done professionally for you by our experts. To learn more about this, check out our WordPress in a day service. We are here to help.