WordPress Development: How (and where) to start your new website in WordPress
Do you want to make your business website from scratch in WordPress or been advised that WordPress development is the way to go and not sure where to start?
Don’t worry, we have your back.
dapa have been developing WordPress websites for years and we choose to do so because of three key reasons.
Firstly it’s a secure, simple and expansive way to develop, meaning the costs associated are typically small.
Secondly Google loves WordPress. 80% of Websites are developed using it in 2017, so if SEO is on your radar there is no better platform.
Thirdly, and most importantly for us, as WordPress is open source if for whatever reason you decide to move on from our services your website can go with you, without fuss.
Some people get stuck on custom CMS platforms that sound great, but offer nothing really in comparison to the rest, then when you want to move on you can’t.
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Why Should I use WordPress?
Having a WordPress developed website that gives optimum results for your business or brand is extremely crucial to succeed in today’s increasingly competent market.
We also know that the thought of creating a website can be daunting and terrifying especially when you are not very technologically aware.
Well don’t worry if this is the case. You are not the first business owner and certainly not the last one to be stumped by such a problem.
Since you are looking up to have a website for your business or brand on the internet, we hope this guide will provide you with all the guidance you need.
You can find multiple blogs and articles surfacing online explaining what you should do in order to have a WordPress website, but most of them are either vague or too complex for a beginner to understand.
Keeping this in mind, we have created the most comprehensive step by step guide to creating a WordPress website without you requiring extensive technical knowledge to understand and implement the steps we have mentioned.
Regardless of it sounding like a complex task, it is still easy to create a website that serves the intended purpose of your business, provided you follow certain guidelines.
The process is easy to follow whether you are a 25 years old budding entrepreneur or a tenured 60 years old business owner.
Step 1 – Choosing the Right Content Management System
There is no doubt that WordPress is the best content management system (CMS) for your website.
There are countless CMS available, ranging from open-source to paid ones, and you’ll hear evangelists on all sides swearing that their choice is the best.
But Drupal, Joomla or any other CMS doesn’t hold a candle to WordPress development for its ease of use, security and reliability.
It is no wonder that Web developers have built more than 50 million websites on its sturdy back, or that so many designers would never dream of using anything else.
This shows that WordPress is the way to go, and there is no looking back. With that established, let’s lay out a step-wise checklist to help you create the perfect WordPress website.
What Is A Content Management System?
In simple terms, a content management system (CMS) is a platform of sorts or a mechanism which permits you to create your content and publish it on a website.
Let’s say that it is a wardrobe with the clothes being your content.
It is software that is installed on the server of your host.
Your host provider will likely have a one-click installation process to assist you to get your CMS installed.
Once it is installed, you can log into your website as the admin and add photos, text and other types of content.
You can use the content you have added to create articles, blog posts and other forms of content like a product page or display a work portfolio on your website.
A CMS is way more than just a means to an end as you can even install a theme which is a modified template to suit the specific niche and purpose of your website.
With the templates, you can customise the appearance of your site.
You can also add plugins to add function to your site, for example, a sharing plugin to help spread the word about your site via social networks.
All of this and more can be achieved with a Content Management System.
Which CMS Is Best For You?
A vast number of websites use WordPress. The other two options that lag way behind in comparison to WordPress, certainly in popularity are Joomla and Drupal.
WordPress is the ideal option for someone who is creating his or her first website. It has considerable scalability that works well with low and medium traffic websites. One can receive an average of 1.5 million views every month upon running WordPress websites. Even large websites such as TIME Magazine, CNN, TED, and others use WordPress to serve millions of page views each day.
WordPress offers these benefits:
- Ease in Installation: Most hosting services have one click installation options for WordPress depending on the number of people who use it.
- Open Source Application: It is a free website tool and is used by a lot of people. There are a plethora of free themes and plugins that you can leverage for your website. Apart from the freebies, premium themes and plugins are cheap that come with excellent support services from their providers. If you ever have a doubt or a problem a simple Google search can answer your queries. A strong community will aid in your WordPress initiation process if you ever encounter any issues.
- Ideal For Non-Tech Savvy Online Entrepreneurs: Most of the products associated with WordPress, such as themes and plugins are fairly straightforward and easy to use. Installing a Content Management System like WordPress is only the first step of the process as there is much more to website creation beyond that. WordPress is easy to install and configure, and the tools that you’ll require to make your website complete are easy to handle.
WordPress can only become unwieldy if your site grows far too large and receives an enormous amount of daily traffic.
The cost of your hosting may go up.
But we are talking about traffic in the order of millions here and it isn’t something you should be bothered about for now.
Another potential problem can occur with the quality of free themes and plugins.
While most are good and have fairly high-security standards, you should be wary of unknown third party plugins.
WordPress is a secure platform out of the box, but adding third party software is a bad idea.
That being said security vulnerabilities are generally fixed as soon as they are detected in WordPress.
As you can see WordPress is by far the most popular content management system and is used by more than 65% CMS powered websites worldwide.
The thing you need to know is all CMSs have one drawback or the other and for a new web admin, WordPress is the best place to start. But you should also know about Drupal and Joomla.
You should certainly be aware of them, in case you decide to switch your CMS at a later point in time.
We will also tell you why perhaps Joomla and Drupal are not best suited to the needs of a beginner.
Unlike WordPress, Drupal is not too well suited for the technically inept. Drupal is an open source CMS and is largely utilised by big corporations with vast websites.
It has its own customisation possibilities with themes and plugins created to add value to the sites.
Drupal websites are a bit faster and little less taxing on the host’s server resources.
But if you’re a new business website developer, Drupal isn’t for you.
The reason is that it is more complicated than it needs to be in order to meet your requirements.
It is suitable for complex, vast websites with high traffic loads, which your new website will not be, to begin with.
Given that, there is no point in adding to the difficulty of the website creation process unnecessarily. And besides this, you can always switch to Drupal at a later date.
Joomla is an Open source CMS just like the previous two platforms.
It is a bit better than the other two when it comes to creating a community of users (like a small social network or a community of your readers) and is far more open to creating social websites with a lot of interaction and engagement from users.
It is easier to handle than Drupal and offers more in terms of performance and tweak-ability.
But again the reason that it might not be suitable for your new website would be the same that is adding unnecessary complications to your websites.
WordPress – Probably The Best Option For You!
If you are a new business owner and starting off with a new domain name that has no traffic so to speak of, you are better off with a WordPress website.
It is free, exceedingly easy to use and comes with an enormous number of premium quality free themes and plugins.
The cost of hosting a WordPress is quite low and many hosts provide for easy one-click installation of WordPress.
It is also the best choice for young online entrepreneurs as it offers excellent customisability to WordPress development newbies.
The easier it is to manage a CMS, the better it is for the admin.
Make sure you start with something that is easy to get a hang off, rather than having a complicated CMS that that makes content management more of a burden on you.
Now that you have chosen the best platform for your website you can proceed with the next step.
Step 2: Choose The Right Website Name (Domain) And Hosting
Before you choose a domain name for your website, you’ll need to be sure of the niche you’d like to concentrate on.
Selecting a niche area to focus on, is a crucial task in and of itself.
To create a revenue generating website it is important that you research the target keyword pool and the niche it is derived from.
For the time being, just ensure that it is something you like and are genuinely passionate about. Also, ensure that you have reasonable expertise in the subject matter involved.
You can literally register any available domain name but here is something which is recommended:
- Business website – If you are creating a website for your business it would be best to choose a domain name that is your brand or company name. An example domain name would be YourBrandName.com or YourComapanyName.com
- Personal website – If it is going to be your personal website it would be great to go with .com
- Hobby website – The sky’s the limit for it and you can choose the one that makes you stand out in the crowd.
Most popular domain names extensions (the end part of a website address, like .com) are .com, .org, .net, .co.uk, but in recent years a huge amount of new domain extensions have been introduced.
Now you can register crazy domain names such as YourCompanyName.pizza, YourName.ninja, YourCompanyName.green etc.
However, for your first website a good rule of thumb is to stick with .com, .net or co.uk depending on the country your business is located in.
New domain extensions haven’t gone mainstream yet and they might confuse your visitors.
Even some social networks, services and apps have problems displaying these new domain names. That is why it is advisable to avoid them, at least for now.
Choosing the Right Domain Name
The next step in the process of having a perfect website specifically a WordPress website involves choosing a domain name.
A domain name is basically the URL that is typed into a browser’s address bar to visit a particular website.
Getting the right domain name is crucial. Here are a few things that you need to keep in mind while considering domain name choices.
- Short – Shorter names work better for a domain name when it comes to remembrance and is easy to type as well.
- Brandable – Remember your domain also runs to your brand, so make sure it isn’t memorable for all the wrong reasons.
- Memorable – People forget easily, so come up with a name that first time visitors to your site are likely to remember.
- Catchy – You want a domain name that rolls off the tongue easily and describes what you do.
- Easy to type.
- Includes keyword (if possible) – Identify the right keywords or combination of keywords. The closer your domain name is to your site’s niche, the better it is for search engine optimisation (SEO)
- Niche specific (if possible) – If you are writing a website about a specific niche, check if there are popular abbreviations that you can use. For instance, in WordPress, there are many highly ranked websites with “wp” as part of their name.
Also, make sure that you are not making mistakes of choosing a domain name that turns out to be funny.
For instance, “choose Spain” can be mistaken as chooses pain making it a domain mistake.
Having a quirky name can work sometimes provided your product is somewhat related to it.
You have two options when it comes to hosting provider types recommended for WordPress newbies.
- Shared Hosting
- Managed WordPress Hosting
It is recommended to not use anything other than a shared hosting plan for first-time webmasters.
All other forms of hosting that you may have heard of like Virtual Private Hosting (requires reasonable technical know how), managed WordPress hosting (too expensive) might not be the right choice for your first website.
As your knowledge and business grow you might consider fully managed WordPress hosting or VPS.
Shared hosting is the way to kickstart and later we can talk about upgrading your host.
We have recommended two shared hosting services and have also added elaborate installation processes for WordPress with both of them.
Both hosting providers offer domain registration and website hosting and that is exactly what you need to create an awesome website that turns out to be productive enough for your business or start-ups.
Bluehost is a web hosting company which is one of the 20 largest web hosts, collectively hosting well over 1.9+ million domains with its sister companies.
Follow these steps for the blue hosting process:
- Choose the right hosting page. It is suggested to use the starter package. It offers plenty of speed, performance, functionality and storage for your first website. You can always upgrade your hosting plan as your website grows.
- You will be prompted to choose a domain name. Double check your domain name to avoid typos.
- And on the next screens, enter your personal and credit card details. And complete your payment.
- In Bluehost cPanel (administration panel), find a button that says Install WordPress
- Click on a green Install button to proceed with WordPress installation.
- Now select if you want to use your website with or without “www.” in front of your website name (www.YourWebsite.com or YourWebsite.com). If you can’t decide you can leave it as is. It can be easily changed afterwards.
- The details for the WordPress installation like email ID, username and password can be set. Tick all the necessary conditions under a licence agreement.
- Complete the installation process.
- Once installation is completed you will see a clear message on the top saying “Your Installation is Complete!” and button saying “View Credentials”.
- By clicking on that button you will be directed to a page where you will be able to find your newly installed WordPress login credentials.
- Once done you can log in to your website by clicking on a link that says YourWebsiteName.com/wp-admin.
SiteGroud’s shared hosting plan has a similar, easy to use WordPress installation and domain registration process.
The site asks you whether you have a domain name or you need to register one, in this case since you are creating your first site you need to register a domain.
Following the domain registration, you can follow this easy to use WordPress installation. You’ll just need to set admin email ID, username, password, and you’re set!
SiteGround vs BlueHost
Really anyone’s pick, it is suggested that you have a look at both and decide based on whichever domain registration and WordPress installation process seems easier to you. You shouldn’t worry too much over which of the two hosting services to go with as both are equally good.
Now that your domain is registered, hosting paid for and your WordPress installed. What’s the next step to have a perfect WordPress website? Find below:
STEP 3: Configure Your Newly Created WordPress Website
WordPress Admin Screens
- Go to yourwebsitename.com/wp-admin.
- Type in the username and password that you previously entered during the WordPress installation process.
Your WordPress admin menu will be available on the left side of the screen. Allow your cursor to linger over them and it will open sub menus as.
That is a lot of stuff which you need to deal with. Talking about the rest of the menu options, which are part of your WordPress menu, Let’s get started.
Customising your site’s Appearance and activating a WordPress Theme
Themes (Appearances > Themes)
- Open Appearances > Themes. From here, have a look at the heading of each subsection if you have doubts with regards to accessing a particular part of the WordPress menu from the admin screen.
- Click on the “Add New” button on the top. Then choose from one of the themes displayed or search for a specific theme.
- Install a new theme that you like and activate it.
- The next part involves customization of a theme. You can access this under from Appearance > Customise. There is a lot of stuff that can be done to change the site’s appearance from here. But that’s not the crux of this post, a theme is sufficient to start a website.
Widgets (Appearances > Widgets)
Widgets are preset modules or pieces of code that add to a certain function which will prove useful for your website in some capacity or the other.
Your sidebars, footers and headers can be loaded with widgets.
These widgets include a search bar, a recent posts widget, recent comments, archives, categories and meta.
Then you can see 4 footer areas where you can add widgets just the same. The number of footer, header and sidebar areas available to you depends on the theme you are using.
Widgets are not plugins, but they are small chunks of code that add a bit of function.
Sometimes it may help with navigation, sometimes with social media, you can even use to add HTML to a text widget which will function as coded to do so.
So widgets are a very useful tool but you need to learn a bit about them before you can use them to the fullest.
Menus (Appearances > Menu)
Menus are extremely crucial for any website.
They offer a means to navigate your site and its content. After all, what’s the point in creating captivating content, when your visitor can not find it easily on your site?
Insignificant menus and navigation can lead to a high bounce rate (the number of visitors as a percentage who leave your site after just viewing one page).
You may have seen websites with menus on the top or the side and even at the bottom. You can do all of this without breaking a sweat.
You’d like to include pages like “About”, “Blog”, “Contact us” and “ our Services” as part of your primary menu.
Any page you’d like displayed on your menu can be added to this list.
The number of menus and their placement on your site depends on the WordPress theme that you choose.
You can add all the stuff that you see on the left on the menu ranging from pages to products as part of your menu. Again what you can include as part of the menu depends on the WordPress theme you choose.
While drafting menu, keep this in your mind. A good one should be-
- Concise and minimal.
- An accurate representation of all your site’s offerings.
- Very intuitive to use and manoeuvre around your site.
Background (Appearances > Background)
Many websites choose to have a plain single colour background and it works most of the time by giving a standard and subtle look to your website.
For instance, you can have a blog which has a plain white background and at the same time, you can keep your homepage with a purple background and a tagline to keep your site both classy and spunky at the same time.
Web sites that are media heavy, examples would include photography sites or portfolio websites have great backgrounds.
If you want your website to send across a powerful visual cue to your audience, you can use a powerful background image.
Else you can simply opt for a plain colour background, which is appropriate for any blog that emphasises readability.
A background here should not be confused with a slider image, which is basically a constantly changing image that moves across your screen or changes with fancy animation.
Adding New Plugins (Plugins > Add New)
Plugins are scripts or pieces of code written to perform a very specific function or set of functions on your website.
A simple example would be social sharing plugin, it helps in sharing your content across different social platforms and helps you to get the word out that your content is awesome.
Similarly, people have developed plugins for search engine optimisation, creating and maintaining a portfolio of images, to create contact forms, security purposes for caching the list is endless.
Adding Pages (Pages > Add New)
Pages on a website help divide your website into a required number of pieces to present the different sections of your website’s content.
Pages are to themes like widgets are to plugins. With pages, you can create specific template styles that can be called on command for different purposes that require the similar design.
Pages are more than posts and are used for specific purposes on your site.
You can create pages specifically to cater to the requirements of a Contact Us Page or perhaps create a landing page that can have a description about the products and services that you expertise in.
When you are greeted by a New Page, you can fill it up. In a similar manner, you can continue to create new pages upon requirement and assign page attributes.
If you either need to create a template that you’re likely to use or need to recreate a section of your website for a specific purpose, creating a page is the way to go.
Comments (Access from WordPress menu)
At the end of the day, websites need readers to make them successful. In that context, comments are a very powerful means to establish a great debate on your site and this only further adds value to your site.
The possibility is that hardly, one percent of the traffic that visits your site will ever comment and that is assuming that the content is great, to begin with.
Driving interaction with passive readers on your site is difficult and takes a lot of time and effort.
A great post with a pre-existing comment history can help your site receive more comments, so you can even utilise this factor.
Bear in mind, WordPress allows you to link your site when you comment on another person’s blog and this may send visitors your way if you play your cards right and make genuine attempts to offer something appealing and constructive.
For this same reason, many people will leave their comments on your blog as well.
If a user feels that your content is great and a particular post that you’ve written is awesome, then they will almost jump at the chance to leave their comment first because eventually, it will lead a few visitors back to your site.
This way, comments are a great way to build an awesome readership and a loyal following for your website.
“Content is king” is a cliched line, but it is true now more so than ever before.
There are much more websites now on the internet than there ever were before.
You name a niche, any niche and it is bound to be saturated to the hilt with websites producing content about that respective niche.
WordPress is a very profitable niche.
Why? Because 50% of websites use it and many of them are new to WP.
WordPress newbies and even intermediate level users require a few resources to help them get started up and make changes to their sites.
So based on your site’s niche and your expertise, you need to produce content that genuinely offers value to potential readers.
If you intend to create your site purely for monetary purposes, it will not be successful in the long run without quality content.
It may still be profitable without good content but certainly not as successful as it could have been if you try to genuinely help your audiences.
So focus on good content.
It may feel daunting for you to keep your content page updated with high-quality content and that is where you should seek help from SEO agencies, who can rely on the expertise of experienced content writers well versed with creating high quality content on a wide variety of subjects at the drop of a hat.
Pick your niche and seek help from a trusted SEO company. In return, they will provide you with the content that will offer great value to your readers.
With the experts at hand, you will watch your traffic grow steadily and over time with consistent effort you can watch it go through the roof!
Posts (Posts > Add New)
Posts are the beating heart of your site or of most sites.
WordPress development has a very easy to use posting mechanism and this is one of the reasons behind its popularity as a CMS.
You have two ways in which you can write your posts: one is HTML editor and the other is the visual editor.
You can choose to use the visual editor, to begin with, but you should know that the HTML editor (referred to as text editor) is a very powerful tool to help you create the right formatting for your posts. The sooner you get a hang of the text editor, the better off you will be
The visual editor is very much similar to most text editors and permits you to add italic/bold effects to your text, change its font, add bulleted lists or numbered lists, align content differently and add hyperlinks.
There is also a distraction free writing mode which gives you a full-screen version of the editor, making it easier to use
Categories (Posts > Categories)
Categories are a meant to divide your content. Categories are of more importance when your site publishes content on a number of products.
You can either add categories from your Post editor or you can access it through Posts > Categories
After it, you can name the category to create one and then you can add a slug which is basically an URL add-on of sorts for all your site’s posts on that specific category.
It is a very effective way to divide your site’s content and makes finding stuff on your site much easier for a visitor.
Tags (Posts > Tags)
Tags are similar to categories, except each post generally, has its own set of tags. Tags are a bit more specific than categories but apart from that they are the same and they help visitors find your content more easily.
Media (Media > Add New)
Media such as photos and videos are important to normal websites. They are even more important for media-heavy websites.
Adding media is easy with WordPress. You can either add media directly to the media library or from Posts.
You can add the image title, a caption, description to the image. But it is also important that you also add the alt text which helps search engines identify your image. It is a small step in ensuring good search engine optimisation.
There a lot of effects and things you can do to your imagery like make it pop up or use a lightbox with WordPress plugins and you can always experiment with it.
Setting up your WordPress profile is vital. But this is rather easy to deal with.
You can edit your profile from the “Edit Your Profile” on your WordPress admin screen on the top right-hand corner.
The greatest bard of all times, Shakespeare quoted “ what’s in the name “ but this doesn’t go well with having a profile name.
You can always name and describe yourself or add the necessary social media links to give as well.
In order to add a profile picture for your WordPress ID, you’ll need to get a Gravatar account.
You’ll need an account from WordPress.com with which you can log into your site’s admin panel.
Just get Started!
We have too many inhibitions in trying new things; starting stuff is one of them.
It opens the door to failure.
Creating a website and generating revenue is no joke. It is hard work, sometimes seemingly unrewarding work.
But having the required knowledge and seeking external assistance from a trusted SEO agency specialising in content management system’s can ease the efforts from your side.
Keep the above-mentioned points in mind while designing or getting a website designed for your business or yourself and you would have a WordPress website that would be perfect for your requirements.
Once you have a bespoke wordpress website tailored to your needs, make sure to keep posting blogs and posts, as the more relevant and updated information your provide to your followers or readers, the more prospects you will have for your website.
Always bear in mind that having a perfect website is just the initial stage to be successful in the long run.
Make sure that you keep your WordPress site happening with content that will eventually make the right things happen for your website.