If you have chosen WordPress to build your website, you deserve a round of applause. WordPress is the world’s number one open source content management system, but I’m guessing you already knew that or you wouldn’t be here. Learning how to use WordPress is incredibly simple. It’s ease of use is one of the main reasons why 22% of all websites are currently powered by it. If want to start your own blog or website and you know little to nothing about coding or html, then WordPress is your new best friend.
This guide takes you through the steps of building your very own WordPress website. From customising your theme to installing the best plugins, by time you finish reading this post you will be well on your way to creating the best possible WordPress website for your business.
WordPress.com Vs WordPress.org
Before we can get into the fun stuff like customising your theme and adding your first blog post, you must choose between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. WordPress.com is completely free and as long as you’re happy with its basic features and functions, it will remain free forever. However, it is limiting and you have to pay extra if you want to upgrade to a Premium account or use your own domain name. If you are just starting out and you want to make yourself a personal blog to share with friends and family, then WordPress.com is perfect for you.
WordPress.org is more suited for businesses and individuals who want to have more control of their sites. This option allows you to customise your theme and implement great plugins that can help improve your sites performance. The only downside is the fact that you must pay for it.
Domain and Hosting
If you don’t want to install WordPress.org yourself, you can choose to use a hosting provider which will basically store all your sites information on their servers. If you want your own domain name and want to avoid the amateur appearance of having something like yourdomainname.wordpress.com, then you should consider paying that little bit extra for a personal domain name. This is a lot more professional, especially if you plan on running a business online. You usually have to pay a yearly fee for your domain name and either monthly, quarterly or yearly for your hosting. Make sure to do your research and choose a hosting company that you can depend on.
Customising your Theme
Now that all of that is out of the way, you can choose your theme. WordPress has a lot of theme templates to choose from. Many of these are customisable, allowing you to decide exactly how it looks on the screen and how it presents your content. You can customise your menu, page layouts, sidebars and social links etc. You can even install your own bespoke theme if you wish, but if you are just a beginner and have no coding or html experience, then sticking with a theme template for now is probably your best option.
Pages and Posts
Understanding the difference between pages and posts is very important. Pages are usually static, meaning that there is no time and date assigned to them and the content rarely changes. Your about page and contact page are perfect examples of static pages that are not included in your RSS feeds. You can add sub-pages within a pain page. For example, if you have a range of services, you can include each one as a sub-page beneath the main “Services” page in the menu.
Posts, on the other hand, show up on your blog’s homepage. They are essentially blog entries that list in chronological order and are dated. You can organise your blog posts according to tags and categories and they are always syndicated via RSS feeds. Posts are considered to be social, meaning that users can interact with them on their social channels by sharing and posting them on sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter etc.
WordPress offers a massive range of useful plugins to help improve your website. You can easily search for plugins within your WP Admin to install and activate them as you please. A great example of a popular plugin often used by WordPress users is Yoast SEO. This plugin aims to help users improve the SEO performance of their pages and posts. For example, when you are working on a new blog post, the Yoast SEO plugin provides useful tips and advice on how you can optimise your post by improving readability and optimising your meta data and keywords etc.
Securing your Site
It is important to take the necessary precautions to ensure your site is free from potential hackers and robot interferences. If you are using WordPress to host your website, you’ll notice that you will often receive notifications to complete different updates. Backing up your data is important, but it’s also vital that you complete these suggested updates to make sure that you are using the latest version of your theme and plugin etc. to help keep your data and your website safe. Use a strong password that includes both small and capital letters, numbers and even various symbols to make it more difficult for potential hackers to guess.
Publishing a New Blog Post
Publishing your very first blog post is an exciting time. However, many WordPress newbies find the entire process very confusing and slightly intimidating. But believe me, once you get the hand of things you’ll wonder why you ever doubted yourself to begin with. To update your site with a new post, simply log in to your WordPress admin area and select Posts. This will bring you to a list of all of your published posts and drafts. Select Add new and you will be brought to a new screen that allows you to enter text, images, sliders and even video content to your post. You can also add the post title and include links within the text. On the right sidebar, you will have the option to add certain relevant tags to your post and assign it to a specific category. Once you are happy, click publish and there you have it, your very first published blog post on your new website – congratulations!