WordPress is free web software you can use to create beautiful websites, blogs, or apps.
If you’ve never make a website using WordPress before and you have no coding or design experience, then, this is the best place for you to start.
Setting up a web presence is more important than ever before. After all, a website is perhaps one of the most powerful tools to showcase great work on the world wide web.
With all of this in mind, I’ve decided to put together a comprehensive yet easy-to-follow step by step guide to help you make a website on your own without having the help of a web developer.
Everything You Need To Make a Website Using WordPress
Here’s Why You’ll Love This How To Make A Website Guide
This guide gives you everything you need to make an elegant website in less than an hour!
Alright, let’s get started making your WordPress website!
Step 1. Get Yourself a Domain Name and Web Host
The first thing you need to consider to make a website is a domain name and a web host.
A domain name serves as your personal identification string on the internet. While web hosts are companies that provide space on a server for use by clients so that your site would be available to the public.
Buying a domain name and hosting will only cost you around $3 – $5/month. So it won’t break the bank.
In fact, owning your own domain name is far more professional than having it on someone else’s domain and it’s super affordable, too.
And having your own web hosting, it will also make sure your website loads faster which is pretty important for everyone who visits your page. And Google has indicated site speed is one of the signals used by its algorithm to rank pages.
Additionally, if you want to run WordPress on your local machine for the purpose of testing out, you could do so.
Read it here: How to Install WordPress Locally on Your PC using XAMPP
Where Do You Get a Domain Name and Web Hosting?
For a few years now, I’ve used www.SiteGround.com as a web host and domain registrar for myself and for my other clients’ web development projects.
SiteGround Starter WordPress Hosting plan will only cost you as low as ($3.95/mo) and they throw in a FREE domain name (an absolute nice perk to have).
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to purchase a domain name and web host with SiteGround WordPress Hosting.
Step 1. Choose a Domain name
SiteGround offers FREE domain in your first year. So take the opportunity and enter a domain name.
Step 2. Choose your hosting plan
SiteGround has three plans and one can sign for any of them. What’s good is that WPMakeSite reader can now get up to 60% discount when you purchase any of their plans using this link.
- The StartUp plan is perfect for people with one website that are starting now
- The GrowBig plan is a great value for money offer, including the option for multiple websites and the SuperCacher that greatly improves a WordPress and Joomla website speed
- The GoGeek plan is perfect for people with e-commerce and larger sites, or more geeky development needs like staging and GIT integration
Step 3. Review and Complete order
Unlike many other hosting providers SiteGround advertised discount applies to any of the initial periods chosen during the sign-up process. So you could get the lowest price for the one year period.
Of course, you can try any other WordPress recommended hosting providers and even try to host your site by yourself. However, it’s very complicated process and often wouldn’t be capable of serving your website visitors. So save yourself some money to get a proper web host.
When you get a domain name, you’ll also get a personal email account(s): [email protected] – way more professional than a generic Gmail or Yahoo address.
What Kind of Domain Name Should You Pick?
Here’s some starting point to consider when picking up your domain name:
- If you’re making a website for your business, your domain name should match your company name, then YourBrand.com or CompanyName.com can be a great option.
- If you’re planning to set up a website for yourself, then YourSiteName.com or YourName.com can be a great option.
Most websites usually end with .com, .org or .net, but in recent months, a huge amount of domain extensions have come out, ranging from .academy to .boutique. Check Wikipedia’s list of internet top-level domain.
Avoid the weird extensions and go with .com, .org or .net unless they perfectly describe what you have to offer – and even then, see if you can find a more common name.
While .com, .org or .net are commonly used and easily remembered, other domain extensions haven’t really gone mainstream yet – so people may not find you if you use a really different domain extension.
Tips on Choosing a Domain Name
There are few things that can help you choose a domain name:
Brandable: For example, if you make a site about cooking then best-cooking-website.net is not a good choice: Instead, cookingacademy.com or cookingcraze.com is much better.
Memorable: Short, punchy and clear domain names are much easier to remember, so make it memorable. If your domain name is too fuzzy, too long or spelled in a strange way, visitors will surely forget it easily.
Catchy: Pick a domain name that rolls off the tongue describe what you (or your business) does and sticks to the head. Come up with a cool name, and if you like it, go for it.
Okay, so you now have a domain name and a web host (that’s for sure). Alright, let’s proceed to the next step.
Step 2. Choose A Platform Your Site Is Going To Be Built On
That’s why most people still think creating a website is difficult or requires a lot of coding and design skills – but that’s no longer true!
Today, more and more people loved the use of a Content Management System (CMS) as a building platform for creating their blogs or websites.
What is a Content Management System (CMS)
A content management system(CMS) is a user-friendly platform for building websites and managing your online content. CMSes have been available since the late 1990s. CMS, nowadays, is becoming a popular in the web development industry because of its benefits which include but not limited to the following:
- It’s easy for non-technical minded
- It allows multiple users
- It streamlines scheduling
- It improves site maintenance
- It helps design changes seamless
- It helps managing content
- It allows you totally in control
Top 3 Most Popular Content Management System
Most of the world’s best websites are run on these three most popular content management platforms.
WordPress got 59% share of the global CMS market – making it the most popular CMS of them all. This report is based from w3techs usage statistics and market share of Content Management Systems held just recently.
WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal all offer great features, tons of customization, ease-of-use, and strong security. And most of all they’re also FREE.
Choosing the right one can be difficult because they’re all good options.
But chances are, one of these three will fit your unique situation the best (whether you’re only planning a simple portfolio website or running a fully functioning e-commerce website).
Let’s see how they compare to find the perfect choice for you.
A Quick Overview of the Top CMS:
- WordPress – Best choice for beginners because of its ease-of-use, it works especially well for small to medium sized websites, blogs, and smaller e-commerce stores.
- Joomla – Great for e-commerce or social networking websites, but requires a basic understanding of technical skills.
- Drupal – The most difficult, but also the most powerful. It requires a familiar understanding of HTML, CSS, and PHP.
Why is WordPress a Better Choice Than The Rest?
There are plenty of CMS out there to choose from, but WordPress wins over for a number of reasons.
- WordPress Is User-Friendly – Not all users have the same comfort level with technology, but with WordPress writing and publishing content and slightly more advanced ones of adding media are usually easy for everyone to grasp. In fact, anyone who can use word-processing software can use WordPress for the basic functions – so you don’t even have to spend much time on learning.
- WordPress Is Free & Open Source – WordPress is an open source software – free to use, edit and redistribute. That’s why you can easily find its original source codes publicly available. WordPress software is completely free and comes with unlimited validity. You can download it from its official website.
- Create Any Website With WordPress – Today, WordPress is more than a blog publishing platform. It has a lot of versatility and gives you full flexibility to create any type of website. A wide range of themes and plugins increase its functionality to a great extent. That’s why you can create any kind of website using WordPress (Arcade, Blog, Gallery, Portfolio, Rating Website, Resume, Membership Site… etc)
- WordPress is Search Engine Friendly – Google and all search engines show and rank websites in search results on the basis of various predefined parameters. The more parameters you fulfill, the better your website ranks in search results. Good news is that WordPress takes all the SEO responsibilities that a CMS is supposed to fulfill. Much better, there are various SEO plugins available to help improve search engine visibility of your WP website.
- Create Responsive Sites With WordPress – WordPress has a lot of themes that are pretty good and is optimized for mobile devices. It ensures that your content and branding will look good even for small devices.
- Great Support – With hundreds of millions of users worldwide, WordPress has every answer to every possible issue that you may encounter when using this platform as your CMS.
Alright, let’s head over to the next and final step.
Step 3. Set-up & Configure Your Website
Now that you already have a domain name and web host, let’s actually configure WordPress and customize the website and make it look awesome.
How to Install WordPress
On most good web host, installing WordPress will take no less than 5 minutes with their popular 1-Click-Install. While some who don’t have, you’ll need to install it manually to your server.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to install WordPress using SiteGround One-Click-Installation Wizard.
One-Click-Installation (SiteGround Wizard)
To install WordPress using the SiteGround Wizard, first, access your Customer Area using the information sent to you after you have signup for a WordPress hosting package.
Once you login to your Customer Area for the first time, you will see a popup asking you if you want to have WordPress preinstalled on your account. Select that option and click on the Proceed button.
The next page consists of two parts. In the first one, enter the login information for your new WordPress application (i.e. Admin email, username, and password).
Next, pick one of the free WordPress themes available in the Wizard and click on the Submit button once again.
Note: You can change this anytime after installation.
Finally, you will see a quick summary of your WordPress installation, including from where to access your admin area, your username, and your password.
That’s it! You can now go to the front page of your site and check out the newly installed WordPress application.
Manual WordPress Installation (if needed)
To install WordPress manually on your hosting account. You need to follow these steps:
Step 1: Download the latest WordPress installation package
To start the installation process, first, you need to download WordPress from its official download page.
Once you click on the Download button for the latest WordPress version, the installation package will be saved to your hard disk. Locate the installation package that you’ve just downloaded and extract it to a new folder.
Step 2: Upload the WordPress files to your server
Now, you need to upload the extracted files and folders to your web server. The easiest way to upload the installation files is via FTP.
Important: If you want your WordPress to be the main installation on your account and to be accessible through your main domain (i.e. www.yourdomain.com), you need to upload the extracted files to your public_html folder.
Once the download is complete, extract the archive and upload it to your web hosting account. You can do that via FTP using a client application like Filezilla or via cPanel » File Manager » Upload file(s). If you want this WordPress installation to be main for your website, the files should reside in the public_html folder of your account. However, you can always make a subfolder (i.e. public_html/blog) if you want to run only part of your website on WordPress.
Step 3: Create a MySQL Database for WordPress to use
Now, you need to create a MySQL database and assign a user to it with full permissions. Once you create your MySQL Database and User, make sure you write down the database name, database username and password you’ve just created. You will need those credentials for WordPress installation process.
Step 4: Go through the installation process
To start, navigate to your website and go through the installation process. If you have uploaded WordPress in your public_html directory you’ll need to go to http://yourdomain.com in your preferred browser. The first thing you will notice is a message, telling you to select a default language for your website. Choose which ever you prefer but most likely it’s an English (United States). Click on the Continue button to proceed.
On the next screen, you will see a message, asking you to prepare the necessary information for the installation. Since we already have this information (from step 3), simply press the Let’s go! button.
You would need to enter the details for your newly created MySQL database and press the Submit button.
WordPress will now check if your settings are correct. If you have entered all the necessary information, you will see a confirmation screen. Press the Run the Install button to proceed.
On the next screen, you’ll have to enter the information about your administrative username and the title of your new site. In addition, you can specify whether you’d want search engines to index your site or not. Once you fill in that information, press the Install WordPress button. Bear in mind, however, that you should specify a real email address. It can be later used in case you forget your password.
That’s it! Your new WordPress application is now installed. You can use the Login In button to access your administrative back-end and start posting in your new site.
How to Install WordPress Themes
In the last part, you have successfully installed WordPress on your domain, and when you visit it you’ll see a very basic yet clean site.
That’s why you need a theme – a design template that tells WordPress how your website should look.
In this next guide, we will provide you with detailed instructions on how to install and activate themes on your WordPress site. Follow these instructions in order to Install a new WordPress Theme.
Access install theme functionality in your WP admin
The first thing you need to do when you want to install a new WordPress theme is to login to your site admin page: http://yoursite.com/wp-admin (replace “yoursite” with your domain). Once there, go to Appearance » Themes.
Here, you will see all the themes you have currently installed in your application. To add another one, simply click on the Add New button.
On the next screen, there are two ways to add a new theme. You can either use the search field which will return results from the WordPress.org theme directory or you can upload a theme from your local hard drive. In this guide, we will show you how to add themes in both ways.
Choose and Install a FREE theme from the official WordPress theme directory
The easiest way to install themes to your WordPress site is if they are listed in the official themes directory. You can search for the theme you need directly from your site admin page. Each theme in the official directory has to have Tags that describe its functionality allowing you to easily search for the right theme.
If you know the theme’s name, you can simply search for it.
However, usually, that’s not the case. This is why you can use the Feature Filter. For example, you can search for a custom background Features, Two columns layout that has Flexible Width, and much more. Simply check those tags and press the Apply Filters button.
You will now see all themes that meet your search. Click on the Details & Preview on any of them and you will see two options – to see a demo of the theme or to install it. Once you choose which theme you want to use for your site, press the blue Install button.
Your WordPress application will download and install the theme for you. Simply click the Activate button to activate the theme.
That’s all – you can go to the front page of your site to see its new looks.
Upload a theme you have already downloaded
Now, click the Choose File button, select the archive of your theme from your local computer and click on the Install Now button.
In few seconds, WordPress will upload and extract the theme archive for you. All you need to do next is to click on the Activate link under the message for successful theme installation.
That’s it! You can now go to the front end of your site and see the newly activated theme.
Adding Content to your WordPress Website
Creating Your First WordPress Post
To create your first WordPress post, login to your site admin panel and go to Posts » Add New.
On this page, you will see the WordPress posts editor. The most important parts of this page are:
- Post Title – enter the title of your post in this field. On your theme, it will be shown above your content.
- Post Content – you can use the WordPress WYSIWYG editor to add the actual content of your post. Note that it has two tabs – Visual (use the editor to format your text) and Text (add your HTML code directly).
Once you enter the content of your first post, you need to Publish it. Publishing brings your post to your actual website.
That’s it! You can now go to the front page of your site to check out the newly created blog post.
Adding a WordPress Page
Creating a WordPress page is very similar to creating a post. Just remember, though, that pages are intended for static content.
To create a new WordPress page, login to your site admin panel and go to Pages» Add New.
The WordPress page editor looks nearly identical to the post editor, except for a few different boxes located on the right side of the screen.
Add the title of the page (i.e. About Us) and some content on the visual editor.
The Page Attributes section applies a parent page and template to your new page. For the Parent section, you can arrange your pages into hierarchies. For example, you could create this new page with additional pages under it. There are no limits to how many levels you can nest pages.
Some WordPress themes have custom page templates, most especially premium themes like one you purchase from ThemeForest, so in the Template section, it allows you to apply a template to your new page.
The Order box, it allows you to order your page numerically. Pages are usually ordered alphabetically, but you can choose your own order by entering a number in this field.
The Publish section of the page editor is exactly the same as for writing posts. You can Preview the page and when you’re ready to publish, you can either publish immediately, save this or a draft, or schedule the page to be published later.
That’s it! You can now go to the page by clicking on View Page link to check your newly created page.
Adding Multimedia to WordPress Posts
Adding images, music, and videos to your posts are very simple with WordPress.
To do this, let’s open the post you’ve created earlier. Click on any of the text where you want to add the content (in this guide, will be adding an image to the post) and click on the Add Media button in the top left part of the editor.
The WordPress Insert Media pop-up will appear. Click on the Select files button in the middle of the screen.
Locate the image from your local computer you wish to upload, WordPress will upload it and refresh the page depending on the file format. Once the image has been uploaded, there are two things you should take care of. First, attachment details – enter its title for the link, an alt text, a description, and optionally a caption. The caption will appear under the actual image on your front end.
Second, you need to specify the attachment display settings of the image:
- Alignment – This will align the image in your content. However, this alignment will depend on the actual theme work on your site.
- Link To – This will link the image to – the full-size image file, the media page automatically created for each new attachment, custom URL or simply not to link it.
- Size – When you upload an image, WordPress creates multiple copies of it in different sizes. Choose whether you want a thumbnail, medium sized image or the full-size image added to your post.
After you enter the necessary information for your image and choose how to visualize it in your post, click the Insert into post button. You will see the image added to your editor window.
You can now update your post and go to the front end of your site. You will see the newly added image added to your post.
If you wish to add music and video to your posts, just follow the same instructions mention above.
How to Install WordPress Plugins
Plugins are tools which extend and expand the functionality of your WordPress application. Follow these instructions in order to Install a new WordPress Plugin:
Access install plugin functionality in your WP admin
The first thing you need to do when you want to install a new WordPress plugin is to login to your site admin area. Once there, go to Plugins » Add New.
On the next screen, there are four ways to add a new plugin. You can use the Plugins List Filter (as you can see from the tab: Featured, Popular, Recommended, and Favorites), the Popular Tags, the Search Field which will return results from the WordPress.org plugin directory, and Upload Plugin from your local hard drive.
Choose and Install a plugin using featured list tab
To install a plugin using the featured list tab. All you have to do is select from the given plugin listed under: Featured, Popular, Recommended, and Favorites. To add another one, simply click on the Install Now button.
Your WordPress application will download and install the plugin for you. Simply click the Activate button to activate the plugin.
Choose and Install a plugin using search field
Probably, the easiest way to install plugins to your WordPress site is if they are listed in the official plugins directory. For this, you can search for the plugin you need directly from the admin page. If you know the plugin’s name, you can simply search for it.
For this guide, we’ll search for Yoast SEO plugin.
Wait for few seconds until WordPress loads result. To add the plugin, simply click on the Install Now button. And then simply click the Activate button to activate the plugin.
Choose and Install a plugin using Popular tags
On the other hand, you can also install a plugin using the most Popular Tags section. Each plugin in the official directory has to have Tags that describe its functionality allowing you to easily add the right plugin.
To add a plugin, simply browse based on the most popular tags. To do this, click on the link that corresponds a tag, like for example: widget
On the next screen, you will be presented with plugins tagged as widget. To add one, click on the Install Now button. To actually activate it, simply click the Activate button.
Upload a plugin you have already downloaded
Lastly, if you have a plugin that’s not listed in the WordPress.org directory or a premium WordPress plugin you bought from other plugin providers, you can simply upload it from the Plugins » Add New section in WordPress. To do this click on the Upload Plugin button at the top of the page.
Now, click the Choose File button, select the archive of your plugin from your local computer and click on the Install Now button.
In few seconds, WordPress will upload and extract the plugin archive for you. All you need to do next is to click on the Activate link under the message for successful plugin installation.
That’s it! You now have learned how to install a plugin in WordPress.
Organize WordPress with Tags & Categories
WordPress categories and tags are a way to add an organizational structure to your WordPress posts.
WordPress categories are basic ways for you to organize your posts into different categories, such as topics.
For example, when writing a post, think of the wider topic of the post. If you plan to write more posts about this topic in the future, you’ll probably want to group these posts together.
From the post editor page, find the Categories box.
Adding a New Category
If you don’t have any categories yet, click the + Add new category link. Add a new category and click Add new category. You’ll then see your new category has been added to the list of categories.
To assign a category to a post, click the checkbox next to the category.
Another way to manage post categories is through the Posts » Categories link in the WordPress Dashboard navigation menu. Clicking the Categories link will display the Categories page. From here, you can see all your categories on the right, and where to add new ones.
The Category Slug is the URL-friendly version of the category. It is usually all lowercase and contains only letters, numbers, and hyphens.
Categories, unlike tags, can be nested into hierarchies. For example, you might have a WordPress category, and under that have children categories for Themes and Plugins as an example.
The description section is a place for you to add more details about the posts assigned to that category. Some WordPress themes may show this information.
WordPress Categories vs Tags
What’s the difference between categories and tags? Think of your site like a book. Categories are like the Table of Contents and tags are like the terms in the index.
Changing Your Title and Tagline
When you first install WordPress through SiteGround One-Click-Installation Wizard, you may have set up the site with a temporary site name and tagline just to complete the installation process. When the time comes you want to update the main title of your WordPress site, you can change it in the WordPress dashboard general settings.
To do this, login to your site admin page. Once logged in, go to Settings » General.
On the next screen, the Site title and the Tagline can be changed here. Enter your new title and tagline then click Save Changes button down below.
Disable Comments for Posts & Pages
In WordPress you can disable comments on future posts and pages by going into your Discussion settings. To do this, go to Settings » Discussion.
Under Default article settings, uncheck the box next to Allow people to post comments on new articles, and then click Save Settings. And you’re done!
Setting Up a Static Front Page
By default, WordPress shows your most recent posts in reverse chronological order on the front page of your site.
Note: This guide assumes you already created your home page.
To create the static front page, login to your WordPress admin page. Once there, go to Settings » Reading. Any WordPress page can be used as a static front page, but you can only select the page that has been published already. You could also add a page that holds your recent posts, probably a blog page.
Adding pages to the menu
Regardless of the menu layout, you can always add or remove pages within your menu, adjust the order of menu items and add drop-down menus.
To add an existing page to a WordPress Menu, simply go to Apperance » Menus
Tick the checkboxes in the Pages panel, next to each of the Pages that you’d like to add. You can select one Page at a time or multiple. After selecting your Pages, click the Add to Menu button to actually add the page to your menu.
The new menu items will append to the bottom of the current list of menu items. The menu item name will default to the Page name(i.e, Home). To change this, simply click on the down arrow next to the menu item name to view the options panel and then update the Navigation Label to your preferred name.
After making your updates, click the Save Menu button at the top or bottom of the screen.
If you wish to add a Post, Custom Links, Category or Tag as a menu item just follow the same instruction as adding a Page.
You should now have a fully-functional WordPress-based website!
I hope you found this guide useful – but for some reason, you have any questions or need help with one of the steps I highlighted, I’m happy to share some guidance. Just use the contact page.
And most importantly, if you have found this guide useful. Please give me a favor by sharing this page with your peers, friends, relatives etc. This keeps me happy and motivated to keep all this information accurate.