WordPress 101: 5 Steps to Get Started
WordPress is by and large one of the most well known content management systems (CMS) in the world. At the time this post was written, it is estimated that WordPress powered sites account for about 30% of all websites on the internet. This staggering statistic alone is a testament to just how versatile WordPress is, but that being said, this amazing and powerful tool can be used by just about anyone at any skill level to build a website best suited to their needs. This short introduction will walk you through the basics of arguably the most powerful CMS in the world!
Domain and Hosting
In order to begin building your site, you must first purchase a domain name from a registrar such as GoDaddy, Namecheap, or any other of the many registrars out there. After the domain has been purchased, it’s time to find a place for your site to live. Choosing the right host and plan for your site is incredibly important, though thankfully there are many wonderful options available. Some big names in WordPress hosting include BlueHost, GoDaddy, HostGator, and iPage. I typically use GoDaddy as I’ve found their support and service to be top notch, but if you are looking for something a little cheaper, HostGator and BlueHost are used frequently by many professional WordPress developers.
There are a few different ways to setup WordPress on your newly hosted domain. With GoDaddy, as with some other hosts I’m sure, I have the option of installing it directly through my cPanel. However, if for whatever reason you don’t want install that way, WordPress can also be installed using an FTP connection to your sites public_html folder. Using this method, you must download and extract the base WordPress files, then upload them to your site. Once either of these things is done, you can navigate to your site using any browser and finish the setup by following the prompts. Any information entered at this stage can be changed, so don’t worry about getting something wrong!
With countless themes available for your new WordPress site, some are probably going to be better than others depending on what kind of site you are building. There are also additional things to consider when choosing a theme: mobile responsiveness, ease of use, browser compatibility, plugin support, and SEO friendliness being among the most important. Typically, premium themes cover all of these bases, and some even come bundled with a theme/page builder such as WPBakery or Beaver Builder that provide a suite of tools to help you you build a beautiful site without needing to have much coding experience. However, there are free options that include most of the important additions, and typically you can find plugins to add things like SEO friendliness and ease of use.
Plugins are extremely useful tools that can be used to solve nearly any problem you come across in your experience developing a WordPress site. Looking to speed up your site? There’s a plugin for that. Want to add Google Analytics to see what your site traffic is like? There’s a plugin for that, too. Plugins can come in many shapes and sizes, with some being very small and focusing on a very specific site aspect, and others being extremely comprehensive and helping you build an entire site from scratch. The best advice I can give as far as plugins go is to make sure to do your research before downloading and installing any plugin. Some questions you need answered before committing to a plugin are: What is the scope of its uses? How many active users does it have and what do they say about it? When was it last updated? Is there a different plugin that would suit my needs better? The answers to all of these questions can be found with a simple Google search, as every plugin has a description page with very useful information on it.
I hope this brief introduction to WordPress and explanation of some of its elements helps to get you interested in starting your very own site using this amazing CMS. And if you aren’t comfortable creating your own site, we here at JI Design would love to help you realize your goal!