Creating a website can seem like a confusing and daunting task the first time. I have news for you, the reality is it’s super simple! Follow this guide and you’ll have a WordPress Website up and running in under an hour. There is no programming involved so you don’t need to know HTML, CSS and PHP.
In this guide/tutorial I’ll cover all the steps to create a brand new WordPress site, including web hosting and customization. You can download this guide in PDF form from here.
Below is an example of what I’m going to teach you to create here.
Why Use WordPress
WordPress is by far the most popular platform for creating websites. Almost 60% of all websites who use a known content management system use WordPress. Why? Because it’s simple, customizable and with a plethora of themes and templates you don’t need a PhD in UX Design (or to even know what that is) to have a beautiful website. Also, a large abundance of plugins allow you to easily achieve anything you desire.
Most hosts include options for 1 click install of WordPress (as well as other CMS such as Drupal and Joomla). However if this is your first website I would highly recommend sticking to WordPress.
Choosing A Domain Name
When choosing your domain name you’ll want to go with something short, easy to remember and relevant to what you’ll be doing. If you run a dog cleaning business a domain like “wecleanyourdoggyindenversoyoudonthaveto.com” is far too long. However a domain name like “denverdogcleaner.com” is fine.
For blogs I would recommend going with your name (as I have) or screen name. This will help your site come across as your own and build trust with your audience.
If you’re running a business, .com (or your country’s equivalent) makes sense. You can also use .com for blogs or go with something that looks a little different, like .tech. It’s really up to you. However note that using uncommon extensions can harm your SEO and make your website look unprofessional.
Hosting, Hosting, Hosting...
For people to view your website you need to have it hosted. While it’s possible to run a Web Server in your home and map your domain name to your Public IP Address, this is a terrible idea for security and availability. Web Hosting is cheap and for the price of a Coffee per month you can have safe, reliable hosting.
I recommend going with SiteGround. They’re fast, secure and have a great uptime record of 99.99%. SiteGround also give you the option to pick where your Website is hosted to maximize speed for your audience. While not the cheapest, trusting your website to the lowest bidder isn’t a good option when you can easily choose a reputable host at a good price.
Check out this speed comparison by Bitcatcha.
“If we had to just stick with one web hosting brand for the rest of our lives, we’d most definitely go with SiteGround. All the brands featured in this article are awesome, with top tier service and tech, but SiteGround takes the cake with the fastest shared hosting we’ve seen, comparable to other brands’ cloud hosting speeds!”
I moved from HostGator to SiteGround and noticed my pages load over twice as fast now. On HostGator I was experiencing 8+ second load times. You can browse my website yourself to judge how fast SiteGround will be for you (On US Servers)!
*SiteGround affiliate links are used, therefor I get a kickback if you use my links to SiteGround. Writing this guide takes time so I really appreciate anyone using these links.
1: Choose Your Hosting
For this guide I’ll cover the “Reliable Web Hosting” method of setup on SiteGround due to it giving you more flexibility than the “Managed WordPress Hosting” option.
Managed hosting options don’t give you cpanel access, making it difficult to manage aspects of your website yourself.
2: Pick Your Plan
Once you select Web Hosting, you’ll be presented with the 3 hosting plans:
For a beginner I would choose StartUp. This will cover you up to ~10,000 views per month and starts at US $3.95. It’s hard to go wrong here for a new website starting with low traffic.
If you experience larger amounts of traffic you can always upgrade.
3: Domain Name Registration
I hope you’ve decided on your domain name because it’s time to register it. Domain Registration costs $15.95 per year.
For this guide I’ll choose johnkeenwpguide.com.
If you already have a domain name you can select “I already have a Domain”.
4: Fill Out Account Details
Fill in all the required details including for payment. Choosing a secure password is important as this account has access to your hosting. Therefor a hacker breaking in could do some serious damage.
When choosing your billing period keep in mind choosing the 36 month option provides the best value as the price goes up after this initial billing period ends.
When you register a domain name, your information becomes publicly accessible. If you don’t like this then buying Domain Privacy for $12 per year is a good option.
SG Site Scanner
This option will mean SiteGround keep an eye on your site daily and notify you if they believe your website has been hacked or infected with malicious code.
Not so difficult right? Now you can proceed to the customer area.
Setting up WordPress on most hosting platforms is an automated process. Many call this “1 click install” although as you probably guessed, there is more than 1 click involved. Let’s get stuck in shall we.
1: Set Up Site
2: Start a New Website
3: Select WordPress
4: Choose Your WordPress Login Details
You may be presented with the options to choose the “SG Site Scanner” and “Domain Privacy” again.
At this point you’ll have to wait for WordPress to be installed and the website created. This may take 2-3 minutes.
When it’s done, you’ll be presented with this page.
6: Log In to Site
It’s time to log in to your websites management page. To get there go to your domain name with /wp-admin added on the end. In my example domain it will be “johnkeenwpguide.com/wp-admin”.
Enter your Email Address and Password that you set in step 4.
Please note that it may take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours for your domain name to become active. You may need to wait during this time before you access your website through your domain name.
7: SiteGround WordPress Wizard
Once you’ve logged in for the first time, SiteGround have a quick customization wizard to assist you with picking a theme and installing your first plugins.
8: Pick your theme
This decision is completely up to you. Keep in mind you can always change themes so you don’t need to pick the right one now. I recommend trying a few themes and see what you like.
For now I’ll be going with the Twenty Nineteen theme.
Here you may want to do some reading and make decisions based on your needs.
If you’re starting a blog then the Contact Form and Jetpack may come in handy for you. However for a store you’ll want the Shop (WooCommerce) as well.
On the next page I recommend getting Google Analytics (Monster Insights) and the Optimize for SEO (Yoast SEO) plugins.
If you feel Grow Subscribers List (OptinMonster) is right for you then grab it too.
10: WordPress Is Working Now
Good job, you now have a working WordPress installation ready for you to do some customization on.
To keep following along, click “GO TO DASHBOARD”.
Next I’ll go over settings to change on a fresh WordPress installation.
On a fresh WordPress install there are a few settings that should be changed.
1: Website Title and Tagline
Under Settings > General change your Site Title and Tagline to suit your website.
2: Date and Time Format
Also under Settings > General you can select the correct date and time format for your region and/or preference.
Save changes before you leave the page!
Under Settings > Permalinks, select the Post name option as this will give you the best SEO results.
4: Ping Lists
Under Settings > Writing, this is a list of site update services. Your website will let them know when you publish a new post so having a good list of them can help quickly get your posts indexed.
Here is a good ping list you can paste in.
Posts, Pages and Menus
I would go out on a limb and say WordPress is the best blogging platform out there right now. Creating posts is made super easy allowing you to focus on content first. For businesses and stores, creating pages and customizing content and menus is as simple as it could be while still giving you the flexibility to achieve anything you desire.
I’ll run over some basics for creating content on your shiny new site.
1: Delete Sample Content
WordPress comes with a sample post and unneeded pages. First up, we’ll delete these.
On your Posts page, trash the sample post.
I would also delete the pages that come on your fresh install. After all, it’s easier to clean up and start with a blank slate.
Go to Pages and trash any pages that are there.
2: Creating Your First Post
Go to Posts > Add New and start typing! If you look to the top left of your post you’ll see a plus button that will let you add blocks to your post. On the left hand side of your post you can click the dots to drag these blocks around and the arrows to move them up and down.
Well… not so fast. We need to create categories, tags and feature image.
These are all simple and are on the right hand side of your screen. If you can’t see them click the Settings cog at the top of the image below.
3: Creating Pages
Pages are something you’ll be making less often than posts. They’re generally accessible via menus and form the back bone of your site.
Go to Pages > Add New. You’ll see the same editor come up that you had for your post. Creating pages can be done in the same way as posts. Some plugins allow you to add extra features to pages, such as contact forums, galleries and lists of products for an online store.
Here you can see I have added the WPForms block and created a contact form page.
After you’re happy with the page you can click the blue Publish button.
4: The Main Menu
On most websites, at the top, you have a Main Menu. Your website should be no exception, unless you’re going for a single page site.
Go to Appearance > Menus. In this image I have indicated in red how to add pages to your menu and in blue how to remove pages.
Since I am using the theme Twenty Nineteen as an example, I’ll have to enable my Main Menu.
To do this go Appearance > Customize. On the left bar click Menus > Main Menu and tick the Primary box.Nin
Themes and Customization
One great feature of WordPress is the incredible amount of Themes on offer. There really is one out there for everyone! From simple themes that have done most of the work for you to complete website builders like Elementor that allow you to tweak every little nuance to your liking.
Elementor could use a full guide in itself so I’ll leave that for now. However trying and changing themes is super simple and fun.
On your Dashboard, go Appearance > Themes. At the top of this page click Add New. Here you can browse, install, preview and activate all different themes and get an idea of what you like.
As an example, here is what my website looks like with the techengague theme installed, activated and 2 example posts.
Spend some time learning the ins and outs of WordPress and you’ll be amazed what you can accomplish. Even someone like me with zero design skills can make a functional website.
I hope this guide has been helpful. If you have any questions post in the comments below and I’ll be sure to reply. Also, don’t forget to use my affiliate link for SiteGround as it gives me a good kickback and will support future posts on this website.
This Post Has 2 Comments
Thanks for the fantastic information! Written in a very clear, enjoyable and comprehensive way.