How to Create a WordPress Website
Creating a WordPress site is super easy. You don’t need to have advanced programming skills to have your very own. To top it all, WordPress is free to use. Here’s how to create a WordPress website. Identify what you need, and understand how you can have your own haven online!
Free vs Self-hosted Website
Whether you want to start a blog or have your own store online, WordPress (WP) can be your perfect match. They are simply among the types of websites you can create with WP.
But before taking a step further, understand that there are two main site categories available: free and self-hosted.
WordPress is a free software. You can register for an account and create your own site for free. But for you to monetize it and make it completely yours, you will need some upgrades.
A free site comes with limited features, such as a 3GB storage space. It’s also registered under WordPress.com, which makes it easy for you to concentrate on content and distribution. This is because WP is the one hosting your site—they do the technical things for you.
With a self-hosted account, the number of storage space depends on your chosen site host. What you’ll love about it, however, is you get to access an unlimited selection of themes and plugins. You’ll enjoy all the benefits, especially when you know how to manage and maintain it well.
Both categories share the same concepts of creating a website. In both, you’ll need key components and strategies to succeed. Here’s a list of things to do:
1. Decide on Your Goals
What exactly do you want to create? What do you want to achieve with a website? It’s not easy to pursue something without a clear direction.
Consider wanting to build a house. To actually have one, you need to decide on the location, the design, and the budget. Once you have all those things straightened out, it’ll be easy for you to customize your home according to how you want it.
The same applies when you create a WordPress website. You need to know what you want to share, who you’re sharing it with, how much it will cost, and which type of site will suit you best.
“Think about your vision as your GPS. When you get in your car and you’re going somewhere, you put where you’re going in your GPS. That’s no different with a business.” -Justin Deese
Whether you’re putting up a business or a non-profit site, having a clear-cut vision is essential. As Justin puts it, a vision guides you through the process and makes things easier and faster.
Some people register for a WordPress account without understanding what they want and need. Without goals, you can go on different paths and achieve less than your potential.
If you want to simply express your thoughts or showcase some works of art, you can start with a free WP blog. But if you want to earn from the ideas you share or from the services you offer, then a premium or self-hosted site will do well.
Learn to identify your goals and familiarize yourself with them. They are your guides to success.
2. Plan Your Content
The next thing to do after knowing what you want is to plan your content. What do you want to place in your site? How do you want your site to look and feel?
When it comes to content, here are some things to consider:
- Brand – your vision, mission, target market, history, culture
- Offer – products, services, unique offerings that people can benefit from
- Contact – email, phone, social media, physical address
In all these, your goal is to come up with an organized plan. This way, you’ll know which layout and plugins to use. In the process, also consider your site’s name and design.
There are seven basic steps in website development. But to create a WordPress website (whether free or premium), the structure generally includes pages, menu, themes, and plugins.
A website is like a book of stories with each link or button directing the reader to specific pages. A page can have all pictures, all videos, all text, or a combination of different elements.
To add a page on WP, simply login to your admin dashboard and click Pages. Afterwards, click the Add New button next to the word Pages.
There you can put in any form of content (including polls, contact form, location, and media files) you want. And, title the new page accordingly.
You can create as many pages as is necessary to complete your website. What’s important is you ensure that they all stick to your brand and that they carry out your goals.
You can also choose to have static front page that will welcome people every time they visit your website.
When you already have your pages ready, you can start arranging them accordingly into your website’s menu. It’s like grouping similar ideas into chapters or categories, and giving them a collective title.
To do this, simply click Menus in your dashboard. You will be directed to a section where you can arrange and customize.
Think of it as a table contents or a typical restaurant menu, where people can see what you have. The titles should be clear and should stick true to what it says it contains.
When all is complete, you should see your menu right where you intended it in your website. It can be at the top or at the bottom.
Themes showcase your site’s look and feel. How people experience your website is important. So, it will be wise to choose a theme that aligns with your brand and with the needs of your target market.
If your website is about cats, you don’t want your theme to present the idea of dogs. Everything in your site should unite under a single idea (brand) to avoid confusing your site visitors.
WordPress has lots of themes to choose from. You can also create one if you have a self-hosted site.
One thing to consider is the fact that not all themes cater to the same functions or features. Not all themes are compatible with all plugins.
You can choose any theme you love from the Themes directory. What’s important is it’s credible and goes well with the functions and features you want to provide in your website.
Here are some things you can do when choosing a theme:
- List down at least the basic functions and features that you want available, such as infinity scroll and site logo
- Browse through the theme directory, and filter your search by column, feature, layout, subject, or style to make it easier for you to decide
- Click on a theme to check its features and other details
You can choose a default theme for the meanwhile if you find it difficult to decide. But, keep your vision and mission in mind. You can change your theme any time.
As you start, your goal with regards to your theme is to make sure you find something suitable and not just something beautiful. You don’t want to spend a lot of time customizing a beautiful theme only to find out that it can’t cater to the functions and features you need.
If themes provide layout and design, plugins provide the necessary functions and features. They work together like stars and clouds do with a sky.
A free theme only offers the basic plugins, enough for basic security, engagement, appearance, and writing. A premium or self-hosted site, on the other hand, has more than hundreds of choices available.
You can check the available plugins on your website by simply visiting the Plugins section in your dashboard. There you’ll find which ones are active and which ones can be purchased for upgrade.
3. Set Up Your Site for Distribution
Here’s the part you’ll love.
You can have all great ideas and goals for your website, but to drive in visitors, you need to ensure a steady flow of distribution. Like they say, content is king but distribution is queen.
Sharing your amazing content helps keep your website running. It’s what enables people to discover what you are about. Only remember to provide them with quality content to keep your visitors wanting for more.
Distribution helps drive in traffic and conversions.
When you create a WordPress website, you can link your social media accounts to automatically publish content from your site.
To link your social media accounts, simply click the Sharing button in your dashboard. There you’ll find the different sites that you can link to. Click on Connect, provide the necessary information, and it will start sharing content as they are released in your website.
Automation may not do well on your end at Twitter. Hashtags help lead people to you. And the more you use, the more chances you have of getting found.
Once content is published, it will be immediately shared on your Twitter account. And, you will not be able to add related hashtags or modify it any way you want.
You can read about the five key steps in social media marketing in our previous post. Each social media site has its specialty that you can improve on.
Create a WordPress Website that Matters
Anyone can create a WordPress website. It’s super easy to create and use for anything interesting. But, it takes more than a great idea to succeed.
WordPress is the leading content management system. It has millions of users around the globe. Lots of people have tried to wade through the challenges only to find themselves falling short.
“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” -Simon Sinek
It takes a “why” to achieve your goals, because it is that “why” that captivates people. Pair your clear vision with a strong purpose, and determine to stick to them in the long run.
Consider the benefits that your site offers. Think about how it can add value to others, and present that consistently and effectively. Create a WordPress website that matters. 🙂
**Photo credits: WordPress.com