When you are not techy, starting a website can seem like a daunting endeavor, and if you have felt overwhelmed by the prospect of doing so, you’re not alone.
I wrote “WordPress For Website Design” because I realize that many can benefit from a comprehensive, but easy to follow, manual on the subject, so I decided to put together this step-by-step guide on creating a website without needing to learn to code.
This guide can be utilized by anyone, no matter their skill level or age. If you do find that you need additional help, I welcome you to contact me and I will help you start your website free of charge.
If you want to go at it alone, then proceed to my step-by-step guide of setting up and creating a website.
WordPress For Website Design – Let’s Get Started
First, a brief overview of what this guide will cover:
● Finding and registering for a free domain name
● Choosing your web hosting solution
● Installing WordPress
● Installation of the template to change your site’s design.
● Page creation with WordPress
● Customization of WordPress (addons and extensions)
● Resources for learning WordPress and where to find support if needed
● Building websites with extended features
Before we move on to those topics, however, let’s address a few frequently asked questions about creating websites:
What is needed to build a website?
To begin creating your WordPress site, you will need the following 3 things:
● Domain Name (your website’s name)
● WordPress Hosting (the location where the files used for your website will be housed)
● A dedicated 45 minutes of your time
How much does it cost to set up a WordPress website?
The answer to this question is relative to the type of site you are actually looking to build. A business website can range from low annual costs like $100 up to $30,000.
We recommend that users begin with a small website, gradually enhancing it and adding more features as the business grows. This will save you money by avoiding excessive overspending and mitigating any potential losses.
For this guide, I am going to focus on teaching you how to build a WordPress site for less than $100. I will also address how to enhance it by adding more features down the road.
What is the best platform for websites?
While there are very many website builder options available, self-hosted WordPress is our recommendation for your website platform.
It is one of the world’s most popular website platforms, powering almost 28% of all current websites online.
Not only is WordPress loaded with extensions and a multitude of designs, but it is also highly flexible, integrates with nearly every third-party service and tool available, and best of all, it is free to use.
I use WordPress to build all of our websites.
How do I use this website creation tutorial most effectively?
I will walk you from the start to the end of the process in a detailed and systematic set of steps.
You just need to follow my set of instructions to create a professional-looking website. I will provide the necessary advice to elevate your websites to the next level depending on your particular set of needs.
Have fun creating and remember that you can contact me for assistance anytime.
Step 1: Setting Up
By following this guide, the first mistake you will avoid is choosing the wrong website platform.
The self-hosted WordPress solution is the prime choice for most users since it comes with nearly unlimited versatility in the form of thousands of designs and addons to assist you in creating the type of website you need.
WordPress is free to use and permits website creation without any restrictions.
You may rightfully ask: if WordPress is free of charge, why are there costs associated with setting up a website?
While WordPress is free to use, the website creator will be paying for the acquisition of a domain name and hosting solutions.
The domain name is the website’s address. In other words, when looking to visit a particular site, users type and address to be taken there (google.com, yahoo.com, etc.).
As having an address for your residence where you keep all of your belongings, your website also needs website hosting.
Website hosting will be the actual internet home of all the files and components that make up your website.
Domain names typically start out for about $7.99/month, but the average domain name cost is about $14.99.
This is, admittedly, a lot of money for many users, but luckily, Bluehost, the largest hosting company in the world and the recommended WordPress hosting partner, doesn’t only offer a free domain name but throws in a 60% discount on web hosting.
Bluehost has been working in tandem with WordPress for 15 years (since 2005).
To begin, we will first need to purchase our domain name and hosting service from Bluehost. Let’s begin by going to the BlueHost website, and clicking the big, green “Get Started Now’ button.
Clicking this button will bring you to the page listing out pricing plans that you will need to select from based on your website needs. The most popular choices for our users are the basic and plus plans.
To choose the plan, click on the green “select” button under the pricing plan of your choice, and you will proceed to the next screen where you will be prompted to either create a domain name or add an existing one.
We recommend sticking to a .com domain name, as well as making sure that the name is related to your business, is memorable, as well as being easy to spell and pronounce. Once your domain name has been chosen, click the ‘Next’ button to continue.
On the next screen, you will be prompted for your account information including your name, email, address, etc. There will also be additional choices for purchase on the screen.
If you do not wish to add them at this time, you always have the option available to you later on. Finally, you will be asked to provide your payment information in order to complete your purchase.
You will be sent an email that contains the details of how to login to your cPanel (the website hosting control panel).
This will be the hosting dashboard from which you will be able to manage your account. This includes setting up emails and getting any necessary support.
More pertinent, this will be where you install WordPress from.
Step 2: WordPress Installation
The cPanel will be loaded with icons, all of which allow you to do different things. You won’t need to use the great majority of these so for the time being, it’s completely fine to ignore them.
To start, on the cPanel, scroll down to the website section, and click the WordPress icon with the text “Install WordPress” underneath it.
Once you see the Bluehost Marketplace Quick Install screen for WordPress, click the ‘Get Started’ button. The following screen will ask for you to choose the domain name for which you want WordPress installed.
Use the dropdown field to create your recently created or existing domain address, then click ‘Next.’
On the next screen, you will need to provide the name of your website, the username of the administrator (likely yourself), and a password to access the site.
These can be changed in the settings at any time. Once that information is filled out, you will need to acknowledge the checkboxes’ conditions by checking them off.
Then you will need to hit the “Install” button.
As that is clicked, the Quick Install will begin the WordPress installation for your site, while you get to see some choices for website templates as options to install on your site.
This is not something you need to do at this time however. We will walk you through how to install free WordPress templates later in this guide.
Once the installation has completed, you will receive a message on the top header indicating that the install was successful.
You will see a link that says “Installation Complete”. Click that next to be taken to the screen with your WordPress information (your URL and password).
That’s it for the installation! You can now head to your WordPress login page. The URL to it will resemble this format:
Using the admin username and password you had entered earlier in this step, you can now login to your WordPress site. Easy right?
The next step involves choosing your website’s design.
Step 3: Theme Selection
The WordPress theme will control your WordPress site’s appearance. The themes are professionally designed templates that can be installed on your WordPress site to alter its appearance.
A basic theme is a default for each WordPress site. The basic theme will have your website looking something like this:
Let’s be honest, this is not exactly an appealing theme to most visitors. Good thing WordPress has thousands of free, as well as paid themes to install on your site.
The theme can be altered right from the WordPress dashboard. To change the theme, look under “Appearance”, then select the “Themes” page. Finally, click the “Add New” button at the top.
The next page you see will present you with nearly 4,500 free WordPress themes available in the WordPress.org theme library.
These can be filtered by various attributes (layout, industry, etc.) and sorted by addition date, popularity, and which themes are currently the featured ones.
There are many good websites that offer ideas for theme selection, including guides on how to choose one appropriate for your website’s needs.
If you already know the name of the theme you would like, you can simply enter it in the search field and be taken directly to it.
Once your result is displayed, you just need to hover your mouse over the theme you wish to select, and then click the blue “Install” button underneath it.
After the theme is installed, you are likely going to want to customize it to your liking. To do so, click the ‘Customize’ link under the appearances menu.
This will launch your theme customizer where you can alter many of its attributes and even get a live preview of your website’s theme.
You also do not need to concern yourself about finalizing your theme right away. You can always continue customizing it once you have added some content to your site.
Speaking of content, that’s the subject of the next step in the WordPress installation guide.
Step 4: Adding Content To Your Site
There are two default content types featured on WordPress: posts and pages. Posts are intended for a blog type appearance, where the most recent post appears at the top, and earlier posts subsequently follow in reverse chronological order.
Pages are intended to be more static presences, such as information content pages (contact info, privacy, about us, etc).
WordPress’s default mode is to show your blog posts as your website’s front page, but that can be easily changed to show whichever page you choose as your front page.
We will address how to do that later in this guide. Of course, this does not mean you need to create a blog on a website at all. You can also create a separate section of your page for the blog or site news.
Now, let’s add some content!
We will start by adding a few pages to your site. If you don’t have enough content at the moment, don’t worry.
Content can always be added, updated, or edited later. Navigate to ‘Pages’ from the admin dashboard and select ‘Add New’. This will bring you to the following page editor:
The first thing you will need to do is to title your page. For simplicity, let’s call this page ‘Home.’ Then you can begin adding content to the body of your page.
This can be anything including text, images, audio, embedded video, links, etc. Once the content is added you simply click the ‘Publish’ button on the right, to take your page live.
Then you can repeat this exact process with any additional pages you wish to act upon. For instance, you can add an ‘about us’ page, a contact page, or a blog page.
Let’s add some blog post content to our page next. Head over to the ‘Posts’ section from your admin dashboard and select ‘Add New.’
The screen you will see will very closely resemble the one you saw when adding pages. Here you will need to provide a post title, as well as the content for the particular post.
You may note that there are some additional options available here including formats, categories, and tags.
To make your blog post content visible on your site, you just need to simply click the save button (‘Publish’).
Step 5: Tweaks and Customizations To Your Website
Now that that content for your website is available, you can turn your attention to how it is presented by customizing it to look the way you want.
First, let’s explore the customization of a static page.
Setting Up A Static Front Page
From your WordPress admin dashboard select ‘Settings’ and head to the ‘Reading’ page.
You will notice a couple of options relating to front page displays, and you will want to select ‘A static page”, and then define the specific page from one of the pages you created earlier on.
To retain the changes you made, make sure to click the ‘Save Changes’ button at the bottom of the page.
If you have selected ‘Home’ for your front page, WordPress will now display that as the front page, and ‘Blog’ will display your blog posts.
Changing Titles And Taglines On A Site
While at the time of installation you had chosen your sites’ title, WordPress adds a default tag line to your site that simply reads ‘Just another WordPress site.”
Both the title and the tag line can be edited by going to ‘Settings’ and selecting ‘General’ from the admin dashboard.
The title of your site will be your site’s name, while the tag line is meant to describe your site. Of course, you are free to leave the tag line blank.
Then simply save the changes to retain your site’s newly defined attributes.
A built-in system for comments is included with WordPress allowing users to leave comments in response to your posts.
While this is a great tool for audience engagement, it is frequently a tool of exploitation by spammers.
To deal with the latter, you need to have comment moderation enabled on your website.
From the dashboard, you can access the ‘Settings’ section, then navigate to the ‘Discussion’ page and scroll down to the section that reads: “Before a comment appears.”
You will note two checkboxes next to the right of it. Make sure that one that says: “Comment must be manually approved” is checked off. As always, make sure to save your changes.
To traverse between different sections or pages of your website, users will need a set of navigation maps, a feature WordPress utilizes to display navigation menus.
Now we will add a navigation menu to the site. To do this, first, navigate to “Appearance” from the WordPress dashboard, and navigate to ‘Menus.’
Here you will title your navigation menu and set up the buttons to be included in it.
WordPress will initially generate an empty navigation menu. You will need to select the pages that you want the navigation menu to direct users to, check them off, and click the ‘Add To Menu’ button.
Once clicked, you will notice that the Menu Structure section begins to fill in with your selections. These can be rearranged inside the Menu Structure section by dragging each item up or down.
Next, you will select a display location. These are defined by the WordPress theme you chose to use for your site. Most themes will have the navigation menu appear at the top.
Click the save menu button to save the changes you made. You can now visit your navigation menu, and see how it operates.
Clicking on each item on the navigation panel should take you to the appropriate page.
Step 6: Plugin Installation
WordPress Plugins act as feature enhancing apps for your website. These include things like photo galleries, contact forms, etc.
At present time WordPress offers more than 49,000 plugins, both free and paid, sold by third-party developers and websites.
With so many plugins available you might be overwhelmed by how to decide which ones are worth installing.
To assist, here are some essential plugins that we recommend you install for your site right from the start.
● UpdraftPlus: Schedules automatic backups for your site.
● Sucuri: Malware scanner and website security audit.
● SeedProd: Uses a page landing builder with drag & drop functionality to create custom layouts and designs.
● WPForms Lite: Adding contact forms to a WordPress site.
● MonsterInsights: Links up your website to Google Analytics to help you keep track of how visitors find and use your site.
● Envira Gallery Lite: Adds gorgeous image galleries to your website.
● Rank Math SEO: Get more Google traffic by improving WordPress SEO.
● PushEngage: Helps to boost website traffic by connecting with visitors after they have been to your website.
● WP Super Cache: Serves cached pages to improve website speed.
There are many other great recommendations to be found for useful WordPress plugins.
Step 7: More Things You Can Do
At this point, we have gone over how to create a website, install a theme, and the essential plugins. But why stop there?
WordPress is a powerful platform that lets you do a lot more. Here are just a few of the capabilities at your disposal with WordPress as your website builder:
● Set up and start a podcast
● Generate multilingual websites
● Add an e-commerce store
● Set up a web directory
● Set up a membership website
● Generate a Job Board website
● Set up a knowledge base/wiki on your website
● Set up a coupon website
● Set up a Q/A website
These and many more examples are available to you with WordPress’s powerful platform.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is WordPress the only website creation solution?
There are a lot of options for creating websites available, but in our opinion, WordPress is the easiest, and therefore the best platform for website building.
How can I make money with my website?
This is easily the most common question we get from users. The answer is, there are many different ways to make money leveraging your website.
There are many legitimate ways to earn money using WordPress, not get rich quick schemes. Here are a few articles to help you monetize your WordPress site.
How can I start a website to sell my products?
A WordPress site can be easily appended with an online store. There are many great guides online about building an online store and you can check out the best eCommerce plugins for WordPress here.
To customize my website, do I need to know HTML or CSS?
You do not need to know a language to customize your website using WordPress. There are multiple intuitive drag-and-drop features that you can use to easily customize your site.
Can I start a website for free?
While there are website building platforms that do offer free options, we recommend steering clear of those.
They do have to make ends meet somehow and they will do so by inserting their own ads and branding on your website.
For a business website especially, this is not a professional look. By purchasing your hosting and domain name you retain full ownership of your own site.
Can I start an e-commerce site like eBay?
You can use an auction plugin for WordPress to start an e-commerce site. There are very helpful step by step guides of exactly how to do that on WordPress available online.
Can I acquire a free domain for my site?
There are platforms that will offer a free domain name when you choose them to build your website with.
Because WordPress recommends Bluehost as the official hosting provider, they offer discounts on hosting and free domain names to users who opt to build using WordPress.
Can I set up a social media website (like Facebook)?
You can definitely set up your WordPress website to be a social network. Many guides are available to take you through a step-by-step process of turning your site into a social media platform.
Can I set up a website that includes a discussion forum?
Yes, here you will find a list of forum plugins in WordPress for building websites that include discussion boards.
We hope you found this guide helpful in learning how to set up a WordPress site without needing to involve a developer and spending tons of money.
Did you know that website speed is one of the determining factors in how Google ranks your site?
I no longer use WordPress Themes. I’ve discovered there are 3rd Party Themes that are better and faster.
That said, I use MyThemeShop. You can check them out here.