It seems like you’re all ready to begin, right? But wait, what about your platform? If you’re reading this, you’ve probably chosen – or are considering choosing – WordPress. But perhaps you aren’t sure how to begin. Or maybe you just need a refresher on how it works. This article will help make the process easier by taking you step by step on how to get started with your WordPress site.
Find the Best Hosting for Your Site
Before you can use WordPress.org you need a hosting service. You can set up your own server and install WordPress on your computer, but when you’re just starting out it’s easier to subscribe to a service that already has servers set up and ready to host a WordPress site. Some services are free, and some are paid; we recommend using a paid one, as they will provide higher quality services and features.
Shared Hosting is what most new WordPress users start with. It’s an easy budget-friendly option that has enough resources to host a new website. Most shared hosts offer one-click WordPress installation, a reasonable amount of storage & bandwidth and sometimes a few perks (like Google Adwords coupons or even a free domain name). In our opinion the best shared hosting plan is from Bluehost. Starting at just $2.95 per month (with our special link) it’s a great option for those just starting out with WordPress.
Managed VPS (which stands for Virtual Private Servers) is a step up from shared hosting. You still share a server with other users, but the server is partitioned into sections so you each have your own mini server for better security, privacy and website operation. Plus, with managed VPS you don’t have to maintain your server – the hosting company handles software updates and code WordPress updates for you so you can focus on your website. Our pick for the best managed VPS is Flywheel.
Choose a Domain Name
You probably already have your website name, or a shortlist of names, picked out. That’s great! If you don’t, there are plenty of articles that can help you brainstorm ideas. Just keep in mind your domain name should reflect the purpose of your site and be interesting enough to draw visitors.
The other part of naming that gets somewhat less attention is the domain name. In technical terms, a domain name is the part of a URL that identifies IP addresses (which identify computers or devices on a network) and web pages. More simply, it’s your web address. Every domain name has a suffix, such as .com or .org. You can register any domain name you like that isn’t already taken – for an annual fee. Some hosts will give you a free domain registration for the first year. As part of the sign-up process hosts will also automatically check to see if the domain is available for you to use. But you can always purchase a domain name directly from a registrar like NameCheap or GoDaddy.
Step 3: Customize Your Site Design
WordPress defaults to a particular theme which you can stick with as-is, customize or change it to a new theme.
WordPress has several pre-installed themes to choose from. To see the directory of free WordPress themes, click on Appearance > Themes. If you click the Add New button you’ll see a list of free WordPress themes from the WordPress.org directory along with details about the themes, and the option preview or install them.
While free themes are a great way to get started, premium (or paid for) themes are the gold standard. Third party premium themes offer more variety and often include many more features than the themes you’ll find in the free theme directory.
For example, the Total WordPress theme includes an easy to use visual page builder, built-in options for your porfolio, a customizable blog, custom fonts, unlimited color options and tons more. But most importantly it includes an easy demo importer you can use to import any of the theme’s live demos. So with jsut a few clicks you can have your site design started.
Other parts of your appearance that you’ll want to customize are the widgets, menu(s), header and background. These can all be changed using the theme customizer which you can find under Appearance (just below the themes option). Click on it to open up the love WordPress customizer: