Are you looking to create a WordPress website?
Starting your own website can be a scary thing. In fact, a lot of people get the idea that they want to build a website so they can make money online, blog about their ideas and connect with like-minded people, or complement their existing brick and mortar business.
But then, when it comes right down to actually doing it, a lot of people abandon their dreams because they simply don’t know what to do.
Luckily, we’re here to show you exactly how to create a website using WordPress – the right way – so you can set up and get started immediately.
If you’ve already started creating your WordPress website, or find yourself stuck, click on one of the steps in the process and skip what you already know.
Otherwise, start at the beginning and follow along.
- What Do I Need to Build a WordPress Website?
- How Much Does a Website Cost?
- Choose a Website Platform
- Get a Domain Name
- Sign Up for Web Hosting
- Set Up Your Hosting Account
- Install WordPress
- Pick a WordPress Theme
- Add Content to Your Website
- Install Plugins
What Do I Need to Build a WordPress Website?
To create a WordPress website, you’ll need the following:
- Domain Name: the name of your website.
- WordPress Hosting: the place your website’s data and files are stored.
- Theme Customizations: WordPress themes and plugins to change the design and functionality of your website.
How Much Does a Website Cost?
You might be asking yourself how much money you’ll have to invest into a WordPress website. And that’s a fair question.
Unfortunately, that’s a tough question to answer outright. That said, it’s safe to say that a basic website will cost you around $100 a year. However, as your needs increase, traffic grows, and business explodes, you might find yourself paying thousands per year to maintain your site.
But don’t let the idea of a costly website cause you to give up just yet. You can easily get up and running on a small budget, and as your site expands, you can add features to your website to extend its design and functionality.
Step 1: Choose a Website Platform
There are plenty of website platforms for you to choose from. But as you know, this is all about how to start a WordPress website. And that’s because the self-hosted WordPress platform offers users an affordable, flexible, and fully customizable platform for a website.
Not sure what that means? Check out this detailed comparison of WordPress.org vs WordPress.com before you continue and make sure to choose the right option for you.
In the meantime, here’s a quick look at each to help you decide:
|You must pay for WordPress web hosting and a domain name registration. You’ll also need to pay for any premium themes and plugins you want to install on your blog.||WordPress.com blogs are FREE. You do not get a custom domain name and have limited storage.|
|You can use any WordPress theme and/or WordPress plugin (free or premium).||Bloggers are limited to the free themes available on the platform. There are no plugins, only built-in plugin-like functionality.|
|You can monetize your site any way you want (e.g., sell ads) and keep all the earnings.||You are not allowed to sell ads. Only those with high traffic volume can apply for advertising with revenue sharing.|
|You are responsible for all site maintenance, including site backups, security, and site optimization.||WordPress.com handles all site maintenance for you.|
Because WordPress.org is so flexible, most people opt to use the self-hosted WordPress.org platform.
Step 2: Get a Domain Name
The domain name of your website is the website address (or URL) that people type into their web browser when they want to visit a specific website.
Your domain name serves many purposes:
- A way of identifying your website
- Branding mechanism for your blog or company
- The way people will remember and recognize your website on other channels
- A way to tell people what you have to offer
Some people use their name or their company name as their
website’s domain name. Others choose a name that relates to the content of
their blog. For example, The Food Network’s domain name is www.foodnetwork.com.
You have to purchase and register your website’s domain name. This ensures no one else can use that domain name. Registration is good for one calendar year. As long as you continue to register your domain name each year, no one else will be able to use it.
You can purchase a domain name for your website from any number of companies. But, to make things really easy on WordPress users, many hosting companies offer domain name registration as part of their hosting plans.
In fact, the hosting service we’re going to use for this tutorial, Bluehost, offers 1 year of free domain name registration to anyone that signs up for one of their hosting plans.
For help with choose a domain name, be sure to check out these easy to use domain name generators.
Step 3: Sign Up for Web Hosting
To get web hosting for your budding website, go to Bluehost and click on the green ‘Get Started’ button.
This will take you to the different hosting plans available.
It’s recommended you start with the Basic plan. This is a great option for those just starting out. With it, you’ll get features like 50GB of SSD storage, unmetered bandwidth, a free SSL certificate, and 25 subdomains.
This is on top of the features all Bluehost customers get like:
- 24/7 customer support
- Built-in security measures
- Easy to use cPanel
- Automated backups
- One-click WordPress installation
- CDN services
As an official WordPress.org recommended host, Bluehost is a great hosting option.
Next, you’ll be prompted to either create a new domain or enter an existing one.
Lastly, you’ll need to fill out your account information, decide on any package extras (e.g., plan length and domain name privacy), and enter your payment details. We recommend choosing the 36-month plan, since it’s the best value.
You’ll see a success message when you’re purchase is complete. Click Create Account to continue.
Next, you’ll need to create a password for your account. After you do this, your account is ready to go. Click go to login.
As an added protection measure, you’ll then be prompted to sign in to your account.
Step 4: Set Up Your Hosting Account
Now that you have your domain name and web hosting, it’s time to set up your account and start your website.
When in your Bluehost account, you’ll be asked to name your site, create a tagline, and decide if you want to start a blog and/or online store. Of course, these things can be changed later if you want. It’s just to help you get started.
When you toggle on Do you want a blog? you’ll be asked where you want to display blog posts. Select either My home page or A different page.
Then click Continue.
The next screen will ask you what you goals are. Select the options that matter to you. In addition, select how comfortable you are with creating websites if you want.
Click Continue again.
Bluehost offers their customers hundreds of reliable WordPress themes to help people start a website using WordPress. You have the option to choose one now, or pick a theme later when you’re in the WordPress dashboard.
Step 5: Install WordPress
Now that your Bluehost account is all set up, it’s time to install WordPress on your site.
To start, go to My Sites and click on Create Site.
Next, give your site a name and tagline. Click Next.
Bluehost will then set up your site for you. You’ll be able to login to the WordPress dashboard by either go to www.yoursitename.com/wp-admin or going to My Sites in your Bluehost account and hovering over the default theme in the screen.
You’ll see two options:
- Manage Site
- Log into WordPress
Select Log into WordPress to go straight to the WordPress dashboard where you can start creating content, adding images, and so much more.
If you aren’t sure where to start when it comes to building your WordPress blog, Bluehost has a great checklist in the Home section of your account.
Step 6: Pick a WordPress Theme
Your WordPress website will look something like this at first:
This is not visually appealing. Luckily, with WordPress you can customize the look and feel of your website instantly just by choosing a WordPress theme.
To start, go to Appearance > Themes in your WordPress dashboard. Click on WordPress.org Themes to access free WordPress themes found in the repository.
There you can search themes based on Featured, Popular, Latest, Favorites, and Premium themes. You can also search for a specific theme too.
If you need a theme with a certain feature, just click on the Feature Filter button and select the features you want included in your theme choices.
When you find a theme you like, click the Preview button to see what your website will look like when the theme is applied to your site.
Make sure to look for things like design, color schemes, typography, and layout.
If you like what you see, click Install and Activate.
Once the theme is activated on your website, you can click on the Customize button to make changes to your site.
Here you can change things like:
- Site Identity: change the site name and tagline and upload a custom logo.
- Colors: use the custom colors or change to a custom color scheme.
- Background Image: upload a background image to your site.
- Menus: customize the navigation menu on your website.
- Widgets: add or delete widgets such as a search bar, recent blog posts section, or site categories.
- Homepage: decide whether to display your latest blog posts or create a static page.
- Additional CSS: add custom CSS to change the look of your website.
Each theme will have its own customization options in the Live Theme Customizer. The above just gives you can example of some of the things you can change.
Premium WordPress Themes
If you need a theme with more advanced functionality, you may want to look into the premium themes available from these reliable theme
- FancyThemes: FancyThemes creates simple blogging themes for bloggers. They have 13 free themes and 1 beautiful premium theme for purchase.
- Meridian Themes: Here you’ll find WordPress themes built for bloggers, creatives, and business owners. There is 1 free theme and 11 premium themes to choose from.
- Elegant Themes: Elegant Themes is a reputable theme company that offers memberships to customers, complete with 2 WordPress themes meant for magazine, eCommerce, portfolio, business, and blogging sites. A membership also comes with a social sharing plugin and a opt-in form plugin.
- StudioPress: Famous for one of the most popular frameworks in the world, Genesis Framework, StudioPress has plenty of stunning premium themes for you to pick from.
To install a premium theme on your WordPress site, start by going to Appearance > Themes in your WordPress dashboard.
Then, click Upload and then Upload Theme. Browse for the theme zip file on your computer and click Install Now.
Wait for WordPress to install the theme and then click Activate to make the theme live on your blog.
Step 7: Add Content to Your Website
WordPress has two main types of content: posts and pages.
Posts are blog content and appear dynamically on your website in reverse chronological order. In other words, the newer posts show first. These appear on the front page (or homepage) of your website, though you can change that if you want to.
A page, on the other hand, is a static piece of content that never changes unless you make changes to it. Some of the best examples of site pages include the contact page, about page, or privacy page. With WordPress,
you have full control over all your site’s pages and can create as many as you need.
To add a WordPress page to your website, go to Pages > Add New in your WordPress dashboard. This will bring you to the editor screen:
Here you can add a page title and add the content you want. For example, add written text, images, and video. After you’re done creating your website’s page, click Publish to make it live on your website.
You can do this as many times as you need for the different web pages you want to add to your website.
Next, go to Posts > Add New in your WordPress dashboard to add a blog post to your website.
You’ll see a screen that’s similar to the WordPress page screen you just visited.
Additional Post Options
You’ll notice that in the post editor there are additional options like:
- Categories: assign your blog post to a category so readers can easily find articles about the topic that interests them most. Categories are a broad grouping of your blog posts and help people identify what your blog is all about. Every blog post on your website must be assigned a category.
- Tags: assign your blog posts tags, which are specific details about individual blog posts. You do not have to give your blog posts tags.
- Featured Image: this is where you upload an image to appear at the top of your blog post. It will also appear anywhere on your website you allow blog post featured images to appear.
- Excerpt: here you can write a small snippet of information about your blog post for people to read.
Step 8: Install Plugins
WordPress themes help with the visual appearance of your website. On the other hand, WordPress plugins help with your site’s functionality.
Just like themes, there are thousands of WordPress plugins available for your site. And while it would be impossible to name them all, we can break down some of the types of plugins that might be helpful for making your blog better.
- Site Security: securing your WordPress website from hackers, spam, and other malicious activity is your responsibility. That’s why using a security plugin to block brute force attacks, site downtime, and a poor user experience is critical to your success. Some of the best site security plugins include Wordfence Security or Sucuri.
- Backups: having a backup of your website, stored in a safe off site location, can help should anything go wrong. Some great options are BackupBuddy and UpdraftPlus.
- Performance: a fast loading blog is the best kind. Using a WordPress plugin to help with caching content and optimizing images will increase your site’s speed and performance and help boost your search rankings. For help with site performance, we recommend Cloudflare and WP Super Cache.
- SEO Optimization: organic search results are one of the best ways to drive traffic to your blog. A good SEO plugin will help you optimize your content for better rankings and increased traffic. The best SEO plugin by far is Yoast SEO.
- Social Media: making your blog content shareable across multiple social media networks will help you reach a broader audience and boost engagement with your site content. If you want to enable social sharing on your site, consider using Social Media Share Buttons and Icons.
How to Install a WordPress Plugin
To install a WordPress plugin from the WordPress Repository on your blog, start by going to Plugins > Add New.
There, you’ll need to search for the plugin you want to install on your blog.
When you find the one you want, click Install Now and then Activate.
If you want to upload a premium WordPress plugin you’ve purchased from a marketplace, go to Plugins > Add New and click the Upload Plugin button.
Browse for the zip file you have stored on your computer, click Install Now and then Activate.
Keep in mind, each plugin you install and activate on your WordPress website may or may not require additional settings configurations to work properly.
And there you have it! You now know how to start a WordPress website to use for whatever your dreams are – to generate revenue, share your thoughts with others, or represent your company and give customers any additional information about what you have to offer.
If you’re thinking about turning your newly created WordPress website into a membership site so you can make some passive income and provide something of value to those willing to subscribe or pay for premium content, check out these best WordPress membership plugins.
So, follow these steps and create a WordPress website today. You have very little to lose and a lot to gain, no matter what your goals are. And don’t forget to tell us all about your experience in the comments below!