How to Create a Website Using WordPress Step by Step

Step 1: Install WordPress On Your Site

Installing WordPress on your website or blog is an extremely easy thing to do. Because of the popularity of WordPress, most hosting companies have made it even easier to install WordPress. They offer software in their backend control panel (called cPanel) which allows you to install it with little more than a quick click. SiteGround is a fantastic solution for this, and have made it unbelievably easy to do (and I’ll give you some instructions for doing it with SiteGround below). I’m going to teach you how to do it automatically or manually (depending on which you need to do).

Step #1: Setting Up Your Nameservers

Before you can get started, you have to make sure your domain name is hosted by your host. Let’s assume you’ve already registered your domain name, but it’s not yet hosted, what do you do? Well, if you’re using some domain name registrars, such as NameCheap, you may already have your site hosted with them automatically. Otherwise, you’ll have to load your site to your host.

Now, I also want to mention real fast, if you register your domain name with SiteGround, and get your hosting from them then they do this for you, and you can completely skip step one. Moreover, SiteGround offers one free domain registration for the first year. Personally, I’ve been using SiteGround for over 5 years now, and have hosted four good size websites with them, all using WordPress, and have never had an issue, either with this, or with the entire WordPress installation process. I just want to mention SiteGround, because they’re fantastic, and really make this whole process a breeze. They also happen to be a recommended hosting provider by WordPress.org itself, so if you haven’t chosen a host yet, I highly recommend you head over there.

However, if you’re using another host, then usually, in your host’s backend, (typically called cPanel) there’s an icon which says “Manage Domains”, and once you click on that, there’s another which says “Add a domain”. Simply click on that, and type in your domain name (www.exampledomain.com). If you’re not sure how to do this with your host, or it looks different for you, you can contact your host for assistance, and they’ll no doubt be able to help you out.

You’ll also want to go to your domain name registrar (such as NameCheap) and add the DNS nameservers. There’s a few different ways to do this, depending on who your domain name registrar, but usually if you click on the domain name you want to edit, there will be something along the lines of “manage nameservers” where you can edit this information.

There’s usually just two nameservers in most cases, and the nameservers themselves depend on your host. For example, if you’re using BlueHost, you’d just type in ns1.bluehost.com for the first one, and ns2.bluehost.com for the second one, and you’d be all set. I’d call your host or search on their site, if you’re not sure what you’re nameservers are. Once you’ve added these in, you’re all set for the first step.

(Quick Installation) Step #2: Find and Click Your Quick Install Button

Once you’ve gotten your site hosted, it’s time to install WordPress. This is the quick install version, but if for any reason you have to, or want to install WordPress manually, I’ve given you some info below on how to do just that. The first thing you’ll want to do is find the button in your backend cPanel which will allow you to get started. For BlueHost it’s called “Install WordPress” in the “Website Builders” section. In other programs, it may be called “WordPress 1-Click Install”, “Fantastico”, or something else.

Click on that, and then you’ll be prompted to choose what software you want to install, then select WordPress (with Simple Scripts at least). After that you need to choose where you want to install WordPress. In most cases, you’ll want to install it on your root directory (www.examplesite.com/), but you could also upload it to a specific page or sub-domain too, if that’s what you wanted.

In BlueHost, all you have to do is click that you agree to their legal terms of service, and you’re all set (there are advanced options too, but those aren’t necessary for most installs, and it’s safe to ignore them in most cases).
Once you’ve done that, you’re all set! You should immediately see WordPress is loaded when you go to your site, and can access the backend by going to your site “/wp-admin” (www.examplesite.com/wp-admin). You’re literally 100% done. BlueHost makes it easy, don’t they?

If you decide to go with BlueHost and install WordPress automatically (like I usually do and recommend), you can skip all the steps below and just continue on to the next step – Choosing a Theme in WordPress

(Manual Installation) Step #2: Download WordPress To Your Computer

If you’re going to have to install WordPress manually because either your host doesn’t offer quick install, it’s not working, or you simply want to try it, then the next step is to go to WordPress.org (not .com) and download it directly to your computer. The download link is: http://wordpress.org/download/.

You should see a download button on that page, simply download it, and then save it to your computer in .zip format. Make sure to place it in a folder where you’ll remember it easily.

Step #3: Unzip WordPress and Extract Files

Next, we’re going to unzip the WordPress files, and extract them, just as we normally would with another zipped file. You can use WinZip, or any other extraction tool. You can often just copy and paste the zipped files onto another file on your computer as well, and that usually works just fine.

Step #4: Upload The Files To Your Site Using A File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

Once you’ve successfully unzipped the files and have them in a folder on your computer, it’s time for us to transfer those files to your hosting account using an FTP, or File Transfer Protocol. If you don’t already have an FTP, then you’re first going to have to download and install one on your computer. A very popular and free FTP which you can use is called “FileZilla”. I’ve found it works just fine.

Just head over to https://filezilla-project.org/ and click “Download Client” and then download and install the program on your computer, just as you would with any other program. The next step is to connect your computer directly to your hosting account. You’ll have to fill in a hostname, username and password in order to do this. If you’ve never done this before, FileZilla offers tutorials here: https://wiki.filezilla-project.org/FileZilla_Client_Tutorial_(en) and you can find other information on how to do it over the web, but it’s fairly easy. You can generally leave the “Port” field blank.

Chances are, as before, you want to upload it to your main (root) directory. If that’s the case, then simply go to your website (which you should see listed there within your FTP) and open up where it says “public_html”. This should be on the right hand side of FileZilla (the side you’re uploading to). On the left, open up the file on your computer where you have the extracted WordPress files saved to.

Now, simply drag and drop all the WordPress files into the “public_html” folder underneath the site you want to upload it to, and wait for them to transfer. You should see them transferring at the bottom. Make sure to keep FileZilla open until they finish, and once they do, you’re all set to move on to the next step.

Step #5: Setup Your MySQL Database

The next step here is to setup your MySQL database. You can do this within your host, and the instructions given will work for any host who’s using cPanel (and that includes BlueHost). If your host is using something other than cPanel, you may want to either call them or view their tutorials in order to figure out how to setup a MySQL database. All the major hosts use cPanel for the most part, so you shouldn’t have much issue here. This is yet another reason why I like to use SiteGround, they make this easy too by using cPanel.

So, in cPanel, near the bottom, you’ll see a button called “MySQL Databases”, you’re going to want to click on that. Now, keep in mind, you’re going to have a database name, user name, and password. You’re going to want to write these down, because you’ll need them later on. The first thing you’ll see is a place to enter the database name. You can name it whatever you want. Once you create the name, you just click on “Create Database”. Your database name won’t just be what you type into that field, but it’ll also have a part that comes before it, which is your username on your host, such as “username_exampledatabase”. This is important to keep in mind for later.

Once the database is created, scroll down, and you’ll see an area where you can create a “user”. For this, type in a username (again, it can be whatever you want) and a password. You’ll enter your password twice. Once that’s done, you click “create user”.

After that you’ll want to “Add a User To Database”. Simply click the dropdown box labeled “Database”, and select the database you’ve just created, then click on “User” and select the user you’ve just created. Then simply click “Add”.
When that’s done, you’ll see a list of privileges, and at the top, you simply want to click “ALL PRIVILEGES”. You’ll see all the privileges selected, and then simply click “Make Changes” at the bottom. Once that’s done, your database is setup, and it’s time to move onto the next step. I think you’ll find it’s really a lot easier than it seems.

Step #6: Configure The “wp-config” File

Now, going back into your FTP, where you uploaded the folders, find a folder which is called “wp-config-sample.php”. The first thing you’ll want to do, is rename the file, removing the word “sample”, so it should just say “wp-config.php”.

Next, open the file and edit it in a text editor. You can simply use Notepad for this, or any other text editor of your choice (though Notepad works just fine). Scroll down, just a little bit, and you’ll see an area which says “DB_NAME”, and a little to the right of that, you’ll see “database_name_here”. Remember the database name I had you write down from before? Delete where it says “database_name_here”, and place your actual database name in its place.

Below that, you’ll see “DB_USER” and “DB_PASSWORD” and next to those, you’ll see “username_here” and “password_here” respectively. With the username and password you wrote down from before, do the exact same thing with these two. Once you’re done with that, simply save the changes you just made to the file, and you’re all done with step number 6!

Step #7: Run Installation

Now we’re all ready to run the installation. You may have noticed a file before called “install.php”. This should be saved to your root directory if that’s where you installed WordPress (which is what I recommended). So, open up a new browser window, and run the install.

All you have to do is type in the URL for that file, and hit enter. The URL should be your site, followed by “/wp-admin”, followed by “/install.php”. So, for our example, it would be http://www.examplesite.com/wp-admin/install.php. For yours, most likely, the only thing which would be different would be the site name. After this, a page should pop up which welcomes you to the WordPress install.

Step #8: Complete The Installation

Now all you’ve got to do is simply complete the quick installation process. You’ll have to fill in the following information to continue: Site Name, Username, Password, and E-mail address. You’ll also be asked if you want search engines to index the site. If you do want people to be able to find you on Google, and other search engines, then make sure to allow search engines to index the site. Then, simply click “Install WordPress”, and you’re all done!

You should be able to login to the site by going to your domain name followed by “/wp-admin”, so http://www.examplesite.com/wp-admin. That’s it! I hope you enjoy your new WordPress site (I know I enjoy mine)!

Continue to the Next Step – Choose a Theme in WordPress

Step 2: Choose a Theme In WordPress

The Importance of Picking The Right Theme For You

Anytime you’re building a new WordPress site, possibly the biggest choice you have to make, is which theme you’re going to use. I do want to mention that you can change your theme any time you want, but it’s important to get the right one, so you can then move onto the other important parts of your site. While it’s not necessary, a lot of people like to do this first, because the entire design of your site is usually based around your theme, so it can really serve as the foundation for the rest of your site.

Remember, most of the actual site design is determined by the theme you choose, so I’d recommend you take the time to choose the one that’s right for you. Since it’s so important, you don’t want to just toss anything up and move onto the next step. You should really take the time out to figure out what you need here.

Step #1: Figure Out What Your Design Needs Are

There are a lot of difference things you’ve got to consider when designing your site. First of all, what type of site is it? Are you just building it to design and split test landing pages for paid traffic? Are you designing it as a whole sales funnel and membership site, with a sales page, one time offer, etc? Or is it going to look like more of a professional, business type of site. Knowing the overall purpose for the site is important to figuring out type of theme you need.

I’ll say that not every theme works for every site, in fact, in most cases, just the opposite is true. Your typical “blog” theme isn’t going to work for a site dedicated to a law firm, and by the same token, a business site isn’t going to work for your blog. There are specific types of themes for each type of site, so figure out what you need, and look into themes designed for that purpose… don’t try to fit a square peg into a round hole, is what I’m trying to say here.

Step #2: Decide Whether You Want a Free or Premium Theme

The next decision you have to make is if you want a free or premium theme. Generally, if a site is important to you, you’re going to want to pay a little extra to get your hands on a Premium theme. If you’re planning on building a bunch of smaller micro-niche blogs, for example, then it might make sense to get something that’s free. I want to mention though, that you can change your theme later if you want to, but sometimes it can be a pain to do, if the site’s already designed in a specific way. Still, choosing a free theme to start with, and then going for a premium theme afterwards is always an option I’d recommend you consider if money’s an issue for you.

Another thing to consider, is that while some themes can be had by only paying a one-time fee, and you’re all set, other themes have an annual fee. While the one-time fees might sound like a good deal on paper, sometimes, you can get a whole bunch of amazing premium themes for one low annual fee. Take this site, for example. It looks good, doesn’t it? I’m using the Divi theme from ElegantThemes. ElegantThemes offers an amazing package, where they give you access to over 86 Premium WordPress themes, and for as little as $69 per year. I’ve found it to be a fantastic bargain, so I definitely recommend you check them out for yourself. Great deals.

Step #3: Highly Customizable vs. Fixed Theme

If you’ve decided you’re definitely going to go with a free theme, then you can basically skip this step, because free themes are pretty much always fixed, not overly customizable (of course, you can customize them with custom code, like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, that’s just not what I’m saying here).

When I say a “customizable” theme, I mean a theme that can basically build nearly any theme you want from scratch. It’s almost like designing a website, and thus, it does take some extra time, but for some people, the level of customizability you get makes it worth it. These themes can be used to build nearly anything, and are basically site design tools within themselves.

Most of the time, you won’t need a highly customizable theme, and the issue with them, is that they take away a lot of the advantages you get from using a CMS like WordPress (such as the fast building time). However, if you’re building a very specific site, for a very specific reason, and you just can’t seem to find the perfect theme, this is an option you can consider. Personally, I’ve never had an issue finding the right theme in ElegantThemes, but I still thought I’d mention it as an option you can consider.

Step #4: Consider The Important Aspects Of Your Theme

You might choose a theme which looks good on paper, but, keep in mind, there’s more to a good theme than just how it looks, or how it completes your vision for how you wanted the site to be designed. For example, does your theme get consistently updated by its developers? I’d recommend you to make sure that it does, because if not, then sometimes this can cause you issues, for example, when WordPress inevitably releases an update, then you might have some problems with certain aspects of the theme becoming incompatible right afterward.

The other thing which you should look into, is if this theme offers good support. If you run into a theme-related issue, hiring a developer or coder to fix it for you can be extremely costly (believe me). If the theme developer offers some good support, then this a huge benefit, and for an important site, it’s something you won’t want to leave home without.

Step #5: Consider Your Theme’s Responsiveness

Nowadays, there are countless people who’re using all manner of smart devices. While computers still, and will likely continue to have important uses for the foreseeable future, it’s best to keep in mind how many people are using these devices, and that number’s growing each and every day.

That being said, you want a theme which is responsive to the device that someone’s using, otherwise, it’ll look “warped”, and it’ll be difficult to navigate through on certain devices, such as smartphones or tablets. This is especially true for sites you want to profit from. Always make sure the theme’s responsive.

Step #6: Installing Your WordPress Theme

Now, that you’ve chosen your WordPress theme, it’s now time to install and activate it. So, the first thing you’re going to want to do of course, is you’re going to want to download it to your computer. There are a few different ways to install a theme, but this is the easiest one by far. So, download it to your computer, and save it in a folder you’ll remember. It doesn’t matter which one you save it in, it only really matters that you remember where you put it. You can even save it on your desktop if you want to make it easy, as you won’t need to keep it in your computer for long, as we’re going to be uploading it to your WordPress site.

Once it’s there, you’re going to go into your WordPress dashboard, and click on the “Appearance” tab on the left. Once that’s done, we’re going to go onto “Themes”, and you should see the Theme section pop up right away. If you take a look at the top of the page, you’ll see there’s two new tabs; “Manage Themes”, and “Install Themes”. You’re going to want to click on the “Install Themes” tab (as the “Manage Themes” tab is up by default). Underneath that tab, you’ll see a few different clickable items, including, (but not limited to) Search, Upload, Features, Newest, etc. Next, click on “Upload”, as we’re uploading your new theme.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll see a “Choose File” button, click on that, then double click on your theme (wherever you might have saved it). Once you’ve done that, then simply click “Install Now”, to install it to your blog. Now, once that’s finished, go back to the “Manage Themes” tab, and you should see the new theme listed right there. Underneath your new theme, you’ll see the word “Activate”, and you’re going to want to click on that. Once that’s done, your new theme’s been uploaded, and activated on your website, so just go to your domain, and you’ll no doubt see the new theme displayed there in all its glory. It’s really a simple process once you get the hang of it.

That’s about it. I hope this helped, and good luck with choosing your next WordPress theme!

Continue to the Next Step – Optimize Your WordPress Site

Step 3: Optimize Your WordPress Site

Why You Always Want To Have Your Site SEO Optimized

So, what is Search Engine Optimization, and why do you want it? It’s all about getting the search engines (like Google) to place your website within their search results (ideally, really high up on their search results) for certain keywords which are relevant to your site or blog. In order to do this however, Google needs to know where to place your website (as in, which keywords to make your site it show up for in the searches).

Having your site’s On-Page SEO done (which is the SEO which takes place on your site itself) is what tells Google and other search engines, what keywords your site is relevant to. This, ultimately, will give you more free traffic from the search engines (if done properly, that’s the goal).

Setting Up Your Permalinks

Permalinks are a key to good SEO. The permalinks are the links which lead to different blog posts or pages, and you can setup for yourself how you want them to read. By default, they’re just a generic number, but this is terrible for your SEO. You’re going to want to change your permalinks so that they’ll reflect your blog posts name. The reason for this is that Google and the other search engines look at these permalinks, and factor them into where your website should show up in their search engine result pages (also known as, their SERP’s).

The way to change the permalinks is to go to the “Settings” tab on your sidebar within WordPress’s backend. Underneath the Settings tab, at the bottom, you’ll see a “Permalinks” sub-tab. What you’re going to want to do is click on that, and then go down to where it says “Custom”. To make it reflect each post’s name, what you want to do is change that field to say %postname%, then save your changes. You can even add in BOTH the category and post name to every post by typing in “%category%/%postname%”.

If you do it that way, it’ll make it so that the main title of every post, and its category, will show up in the actual link to every single post, which is great for SEO. You only have to do this once on your blog, and then you’re good to go.

Keyword Research

Before you optimize your site for particular keywords, you have to know which keywords you’re going to want to use. The only way to do that, is to do some keyword research beforehand. What you’ll want to do is open up Google AdWords, and underneath the “Tools” section, find the Keyword Tool to begin finding your keywords. What you want to do is simply search for a keyword which is related to your content, and then look for keywords which have certain values attached to them.

You’re going to see three values for each keyword, a CPC, a search volume, and competition. Competition is pretty self-explanatory, and search volume tells you how many people on average, will search for that keyword in a given month. CPC on the other hand, is going to tell you how much that keyword would be worth if you were to pay for it using Google AdWords (how much it would cost for an individual click).

I’d recommend you find keywords which have at least 1,000 search volume per month, and ideally low competition (though medium is acceptable as well, just make sure you’re not trying to target too many high competition keywords). The CPC should be at least $1, though ideally more. Remember, you can set these minimums when you’re doing your searches, so take advantage of these search functions. Keyword research can be a bit more complex, but I just wanted to give you a quick overview of how it works. Still, it’s usually fairly simple overall, and you can pick it up fairly quickly with a bit of practice.

Installing a Plugin

The next step we’re going to take, is to use a plugin to help us optimize our On-Page SEO, but, before we do that, it’s important for you to know exactly HOW to install a plugin properly, so we can get it setup. Luckily, installing a plugin in WordPress is actually quite easy to do.

On the main nav bar on the left of the WordPress backend, you’ll see a primary tab called “Plugins”, so the first thing you’re going to want to do, it to click on that. Then, you’ll see a sub-tab which says “Add New”, and you’ll want to then want to click on that. Once you’ve done that, you’ll arrive at a page which has a search bar on it. In that search bar, you want to either type in the name of the plugin you’re looking for (if you already know it) or type in something a bit more generic, if you’re searching for different plugins.

In this case, we want to add a plugin called “SEO by Yoast”, so type that into the search bar, and click search. You should then see the plugin pop up at the top, The next step is to click the install button, which will get that plugin installed on your site.

Once that’s done, the next thing you’re going to want to do is go back to your main plugins page, by clicking Plugins again, and you should then see the plugin there in your plugins list. Underneath the name of that plugin, you should see the word “Activate” which will be clickable, so you’ll want to click that to actually activate the plugin on your blog. You can use the activate and deactivate feature to quickly enable or disable any plugin in particular, without needing to uninstall or reinstall it. Once that’s done, the plugin is installed, and you’re good to go.

Using SEO By Yoast

Now, anytime you go to a new page or post within WordPress, you’re going to see the SEO by Yoast section at the bottom, where you can punch in a title, a description, and some keywords which are relevant to that page. Doing the actual On-Page SEO is as simple as coming up with a title for each post, a quick description of it, and keywords for it (based on your keyword research) and then filling these into the proper fields. It only takes a moment to do for each page, and then you’re all done.

You don’t want to stuff as many keywords as possible into your title or description, as you want to make sure it sounds natural, even to a manual reviewers (some people work for Google and actively review website content manually to make sure it’s high quality). Simply fill in this key information for every post, and that’s it, your On-Page is done.

I think you have a great idea of how to do On-Page SEO now, as you can clearly see, it’s really not that difficult. It is however, necessary if you ever intend to get any good search engine rankings. Best of luck!

Continue to the Next Step – Add Widgets

Step 4: Add Widgets

What Are Widgets, and Why Do We Need Them?

Widgets, like plugins, do a wide variety of different things. They can give you all sorts of functionality which you wouldn’t get without them. That being said, however, there are some pretty major differences between widgets and plugins. First of all, plugins (as you’ll notice in your WordPress backend) have their own tab, whereas widgets, are a sub-tab of the “Appearance” tab.

That also brings up a key point which I want to emphasize real quick. Anytime you’re adding a “widget” you’re typically changing the appearance of your site in one way or another. This is different from plugins, which can often do things in the backend without your users having knowledge of it.

Another big difference is that plugins often (but not always) have more functionality than widgets. Widgets are like smaller little “sub-programs” that are put onto your site and can do various different things. For example, there’s a common widget for a “Tag Cloud” where certain words which you put in your site’s content appear in a “cloud” (or somewhat random group) in various different sizes (larger tags tend to mean it’s a more relevant or common word on the site).

Last but not least, widgets are placed in some sort of “sidebar” on your site. Most of these actually appear in that sidebar right away (though I’ve found a few which don’t). Plugins, whenever they’re put in a sidebar are usually some type of widget (yes, a plugin can be just a widget, though not all widgets are plugins). Let’s now take a look at how to find and add a widget to your sidebar.

Adding New Widgets To Your WordPress Site

As I mentioned before, these widgets are put into a sidebar on your site. Now, depending on your site’s theme and settings you may have one or more sidebar, though you may also have none. So, the first thing you’re going to do, is take a look at the “Widgets” tab within the “Appearance” tab, and there, you’ll see multiple widgets already pre-installed by WordPress, and are all ready to go. This is another key difference with Plugins, there really aren’t too many plugins which come pre-installed (just one anti-spam plugin which you have to activate (Akismet), and one plugin which is essentially useless.

Now, all you have to do to add a widget, is simply drag and drop the widget you want to use into one of the sidebars on the right. It’s really that easy. Depending on your theme, you may see things like a “Primary Side Bar”, or a “Content Sid Bar”, or possibly even a “Footer Widget Area”.

Now, you’ll notice that depending on which sidebar you drag and drop a widget into, you’ll see this widget pop up in a different place on your website. I’d recommend trying it with one of your widgets… try dropping it into different sidebars, and then going back to see where it shows up on your site. That will give you an indication of where each sidebar is actually located on the site, so you know, for example, when you place a widget in the “Primary” sidebar, where that widget’s going to show up.

To remove a widget, it’s basically the same thing – just drag it from the sidebar which it’s currently in, and then then drop it right back into the main widgets area, and you’re all set. Adding and removing widgets really is extremely easy, and you’ll get the hang of where those widgets are going to show up, and what you want to go where in no time.

Examples of Great Widgets

As I mentioned a moment ago, there’s a lot of great widgets which come with WordPress by default. I wanted to go over some of them, and how they can be useful to you, so you have a good start, and can begin to think about how you want to use widgets for your own site.

One simple widget which comes standard with WordPress, is the RSS widget. RSS feeds aren’t used nearly as often today as they used to be used, but they’re still a great tool for getting new content, and organizing new posts from different blogs around the web. Having an RSS feed on your site makes it really easy for users to sign up for your RSS and receive new content quickly and easily.

Another great tool you can use, is the “custom menu” widget. This will literally allow you to make a whole new menu right within one of your sidebars. This is handy if there’s some menu items which either don’t fit on your main nav bar, or which you want to keep separate.

Now, let me talk to you about the most simple, yet one of the most extremely handy widgets of all – the “Text” widget. This widget allows you to put any text inside of it, for example if there’s a message you want to post in one of your sidebars, however, it also allows you to place any HTML code within it, and it’ll work just fine. So, basically allows you to have a little place on your sidebar with literally any custom HTML you want, which is very handy.

Another simple, yet handy widget is the “Meta” widget, which allows you to log into the backend of your site from anywhere it shows up (instead of going to the “/wp-admin” page).

Now, let’s talk about a couple of custom, community-made widgets you can download and add to your site (via the Plugins page). One really nice widget, is called the “Star Rating Widget”. This is one which you have to pay for, but it’s very handy, as it allows you to make it so that different posts, pages, and even comments on your website or blog can be rated with a typical star-rating system. Nice.

Last but not least, I’ll mention a great widget for YouTubers, which is the YouTube Channel Gallery. It allows you to display all the latest videos from a YouTube channel in thumbnail format, within a small gallery right within one of your sidebars. People can even play the videos right from there.

I hope this gives you a great starting point for how to use widgets, and what you should be using them for. Granted, there are countless other widgets which it’d be impossible for me to cover in one post, or even 100 posts, so take a look for yourself, and find some widgets which are relevant to you.

About WordPress

What Is a CMS?

A long time ago, building your own website was hard work. You needed to know all sorts of coding languages, such as PHP, JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and more. And while those are still quite helpful in today’s day and age, they’re totally unnecessary for building most websites or blogs. Content Management Systems (or CMS’s) allow you to create a website much faster, and without needing any coding knowledge whatsoever (though having some does definitely help).

CMS’s are pre-made website building tools, originally made for blogging, but, because of their flexibility, people were able to build virtually any website with them. You can build a very professional business site, a landing page for marketing, or virtually anything you can build with normal site building tools, can be built with a CMS like WordPress.

But CMS’s aren’t just about being able to build things without knowing how to code, they also save a considerable amount of time on design. Because there are pre-made “themes” which cover most of the basic design of the pages and layout (which are simply uploaded to the site) most of the design for the site is essentially done for you right after you begin working on the site and upload a theme.

On top of that, you have little mini-programs within the CMS that other people create, and you can simply upload to your site in a heartbeat. In WordPress, they’re called “plugins” though they can be also called “modules” or something similar. There’s really no end to what these can do for you, and how they allow you to customize your site.

Why WordPress?

As you may already know, there are lots of great CMS’s out there. Examples include Drupal, Joomla, Weebly, Blogger, and others. But, WordPress has taken the number one spot for having by far the most users and the largest community. In fact, most of all CMS users are using WordPress, and there’s really no indication that this number is slowing down either. WordPress continues to grow in popularity each and every year.

The fact that it’s popular is actually a huge boon to WordPress. Why? Again, because of the community that’s involved with making WordPress work better, have more functionality, and of course, fewer bugs and issues. A larger community means that there are more people offering cool, professional and oftentimes beautiful themes. It also means more plugins are available to allow you to do all kinds of things you normally couldn’t do without knowing how to code in a scripting language like PHP or JavaScript. Overall, it means more functionality, more support, more options, and a better user experience on the whole.

While WordPress may not have the highest level of customizability, as compared to Drupal or Joomla, for example, it does happen to be one of the easiest, if not THE easiest CMS to quickly get an elegant site up and running, and looking great. A good website in WordPress can often be built in less than an hour, sometimes less than a half hour. That’s what makes it so absolutely powerful.

Because of its popularity it also has a lot of third party support outside of WordPress. For example, nowadays, just about every hosting company you sign up for offers some sort of WordPress fast install. BlueHost allows you to install WordPress, and many other CMS type programs with a few clicks of a mouse. Other hosting companies offer a service called “WordPress 1-Click Install” or “Fantastico” (which is very similar to the BlueHost’s WP installer). Because of it’s popularity, they’ve made it so getting it installed on your domain is extremely simple and quick.

Now let’s talk more about the nitty-gritty of WordPress. If you’ve never setup WordPress before, I have a tutorial for you which will teach you exactly how to do it. Once you’ve installed WordPresss, the first thing you need to do, is install your Theme…

WordPress Themes

Now, I mentioned WordPress themes were an important part of WordPress, so let’s take a moment to talk about those. On the left-hand side of your backend, where the primary nav menu is, you’ll see a tab that says “Appearance”, and there’s a sub-tab of that called “Themes” You can have multiple themes installed on your site, but only one can be “active” at a time. This allows you to switch back and forth between different themes depending on what you want at any given moment.

Again, there are themes for just about any type of website you want to create. There are countless themes offered for free via WordPress (these are themes which people in the WordPress community create, and then offer up freely), and then there are many “Premium” themes which are designed to be sold. You can choose a free theme, or, if you’re looking for something a little better, you can go to a website like ElegantThemes and get access to 86+ very nice Premium themes for as little as $69 per year. They also have a theme like Divi which allow intense levels of customization to your blog or webpage.

The Core of Your Site: Adding Posts and Pages

The main way to build out your website, is to add posts and page (which are similar, but a little different). If you’re running a blog on your site, the main thing you’re going to focus on are the “posts”. These can be shown on your home page (or another page) based on the date you posted them (usually in descending order). They can also be archived and categorized so people can browse through them easily, etc.

If you’re going to be building something like a business website, you’ll typically focus on just having a few “pages’. These are usually put on the top nav bar (though they don’t have to be) and are used as you generally use new pages on a typical website.

So, ultimately, what makes WordPress so popular, is its simplicity. Once you add a theme, add your plugins, and then add your posts and pages (and fill them in with content) the site is pretty much done. Of course, there are still a few other things which you have to do, such as add your widgets (in most cases) but the core site is VERY easy to setup.

Hopefully I was able to help you here with the basics of WordPress, and you’ll see it’s a pretty wonderful CMS, and it clearly is here to stay, so play around with it for yourself, and you’ll no doubt find you can build your own websites fairly quickly.

If you need help on how to create a website using WordPress step by step from scratch, please just follow the steps explained in my tutorial. Here’s the link to the first step: Install WordPress on your site.

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