Welcome to the Easiest, Smartest and Safest – WordPress Blog or Website Creation Guide.
The fact that you have arrived at this page is a proof that you are skilled enough to set-up a professional self-hosted WordPress Site yourself. Seriously, it’s easy and fun!
First, let’s make one thing clear. The process of creating a BLOG or WEBSITE with WordPress is the same. WordPress is a CMS (Content Management System) which makes it easier for anyone to create any kind of site.
No matter whether you are a photographer, a musician, a businessman, a blogger or any other professional, WordPress caters to all. You’ll just need to choose a WordPress Theme that matches your site’s purpose.
There are many Set-up Guides you will find in the internet. But most of them will only tell you how to install WordPress on your Web Host. But, what after that? Well, this guide will also take you inside WordPress and show you how to set them up so that you can create a site or blog you are visualizing.
So, are you ready? Let’s get started…
1. Register Domain Name and Purchase Hosting
Domain name is the address or the URL (E.g. www.shapemyweb.com) and hosting is the space (server) where everything you upload is stored.
There are many domain name registrars and hosting companies out there. But to create and run a hassle-free site or blog you need secure environment, easy to use features and helpful support staff whom you can count on.
We recommend 5 Best Web Hosts for you to choose from – View Them
If you decide to purchase from one of our recommended hosts, you’ll also be eligible to grab our Amazing Deal on top of an exclusive discount.
So, the first step is to register domain name and purchase hosting.
Web Hosts will offer different hosting packages. As a beginner its better to buy the cheapest package among them to start off.
Proceed to the next step below after you have made the purchase.
2. Install WordPress Using Control Panel (cPanel)
Once purchasing is done, you’ll receive emails from your hosting provider immediately.
In your email, you’ll receive your cPanel login details. Do the following:
- Click on the Control Panel Login URL and log into cPanel with the given username and password.
- Now locate Quick Install or Softaculous which can be found under Software/Services. You can use either Quick Install or Softaculous to install WordPress. So, click on any one of them.
- The page you now arrive at will have many softwares listed there. Locate and click WordPress and you’ll be asked to fill up some details about the installation.
- Fill them up and install WordPress.
Congratulations! You have installed WordPress successfully.
Immediately, you’ll receive an email with credentials of your WordPress login (Admin Area/Dashboard).
So, now you have your WordPress login URL, username and password sent to your inbox to log on to the Admin Area. The login URL is the one that ends with ‘wp-admin’ which looks like: YourDomainName.com/wp-admin.
Login to your Admin Dashboard with your username and password. After login, this is what you’ll get:
The WordPress Admin Area or Dashboard is the place from where you’ll set-up the design, create pages, write blog posts and do the site management.
Know what? Your site is actually ready. Type your domain name in your browser to have a look.
Don’t get annoyed if it looks very basic. You’ll be giving it a look that you are looking for within the next few moments. It’s just a matter of finding a right theme. Continue reading….
3. Choose and Install Your Favorite Theme
Themes are basically made for design and look. But many themes also provide many other features and functionality. One best part of WordPress is that there is a huge community of theme developers around the world creating brilliant themes – Paid as well as FREE versions.
WordPress maintains a directory of FREE Themes where you can easily find a theme of your choice. Installing a theme is as easy as clicking!
Here’s how to do it….
Hover your mouse on the Appearance tab at the left side of your WordPress dashboard. Click ‘Themes’ to go to the themes page. In this page you’ll be able to see all the themes that you can install. Already there will be a few pre-installed themes built by WordPress which you might use.
To install a new theme from the WordPress Directory, click the ‘Add New’ button on the top left. You’ll be taken to the directory to choose a theme you like. A number of themes are categorized as Featured, Popular and Latest.
There is also a search by filter option which you might use to find more themes. You can find every kind of theme here. For example, if you are building a site for Restaurant, search your theme by typing ‘Restaurant’.
When you find a theme that you want to use, just hover your mouse on the theme and click the ‘Install’ button. You might also want to preview it before installing – by clicking the ‘Details & Preview’ button.
When installation is complete, click ‘Activate’ and there you go, your blog theme is ready to work for you.
Alternatively, if you have purchased a Premium WordPress Theme from another site, click on the ‘Upload Theme’ button to install and activate the theme.
You can also search WordPress themes on Google. If you are looking for a high quality Premium WordPress Theme, we recommend MyThemeShop. This site (ShapeMyWeb) is built with a theme bought from MyThemeShop.
The above link is an affiliate link which means if a purchase happens through this link, the site owner is compensated with a commission by the company.
4. Essential Fixes for WordPress
Well, there are a few things you must do in WordPress before you start-off. These are simple and fixing them will make your blog better and make you more familiar with WordPress.
You must visit all the sub-sections under Settings tab like General, Reading, Writing, etc. and set the details according to your needs. They are easy to understand and setting them is even easier, but if you are a beginner, you might get confused in two places solved below:
First, go to: Settings >> General:
Just after Site Title and Tagline, you have WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL).
These two URLs should exactly be the same in order to keep just one version of your site and avoid backlink problems in future.
Ideally, they should be http://www.yourdomainname.com/. So, set them accordingly.
Secondly, go to: Settings >> Permalinks:
This is where you’ll choose the URL structure of your site.
There is no any hard and fast rule to set a particular URL structure but most bloggers and site owners suggest “Post Name” to be the best for many reasons. So, change it to Post Name.
Delete Unused Items
Trash Sample Post: WordPress comes with a pre-published blog post titled ‘Hello World’ just to show you how posts look like.
To delete the post, go to: Posts >> All Posts >> (hover over title) Trash
Trash Sample Page: In the same way you should also delete a pre-published sample page so that it does not appear on your site publicly.
Go to: Pages >> All Pages >> (hover over title) Trash
Install Important Plugins
Plugins in WordPress are extra pieces of software crafted by developers to add extra features to your site. They make WordPress versatile and you can find a plugin for almost any feature or functionality you want.
Just like Themes, Plugins come in both Paid and Free versions. WordPress also maintains a directory of free plugins.
Installing plugins is similar to that of themes. But before doing this, delete the unwanted plugins that come pre-installed in WordPress.
Go to: Plugins Section >> Select Plugins you don’t need >> Deactivate >> Delete
There are many important plugins you would want to use in due course of time. But the following plugins are a must from the start: (scroll below to see how to install them)
Optimizing your site and blog posts help in getting natural visitors from search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo Search, etc. and Yoast SEO is one of the highly recommended plugins to do this for your blog. SEO is an applied science which can be self-taught.
This mega plugin has been developed by the WordPress team itself and it’s a powerful bundle of many plugins built into one. It has features like Visitors Statistics, Contact Form, Email Subscription, Mobile Site, Social Media Integration and many more. You definitely need Jetpack.
Online world is full of spammers and your blog needs spam protection. Akismet automatically blocks every single spam comment and thus helps you save time while reviewing and approving comments on your blog posts and/or pages. The plugin comes pre-installed with WordPress. So, you only need to activate it.
Here’s how to install a plugin:
Go to: Plugins >> Add New >> Install Now >> Activate
Once you decide to install a particular plugin, use the search option to find it by just typing the name and click ‘Install Now’ button shown on that plugin box. Activate it after installing.
You can also search plugins based on functionality. Say, you want ‘stylish fonts’ for your posts, just search for it and you’ll get a list of plugins made for that purpose.
If you purchase a plugin, install it via the ‘Upload’ button.
Some plugins need a few things to be done correctly to make them work effectively. For example, Yoast SEO involves a number of settings where you might need clarifications. In such a case, for any plugin, just search in Google for a reliable set-up guide of that plugin and follow the instructions.
5. Make Your Blog Secure
Good and evil co-exist in the virtual world too.
Accept it – You do not want your site to be a victim of any attack that can destroy it completely.
So, it’s always a smart move to take some protective measures from the start.
Do the following:
Install a Security Plugin
As a first –hand security measure, you must install a security plugin like WP Security or WordFence. They provide many features including changing your Login Username (which is ‘Admin’ by default) and also your Login URL (which is ‘YourDomainName.com/wp-admin’ by default). Changing this default URL will make sure that nobody knows your Login URL.
Whenever there is update notifications of any plugin, theme, or WordPress in your dashboard, update them immediately. You should keep your site updated with the latest version of software.
Install a Backup Plugin
Schedule automatic backup of your site at regular intervals with a backup plugin like Backup Buddy or UpdraftPlus Backups. This will help prevent losing your site in times of disaster.
It is recommended that you change your password regularly. To change your WordPress Admin password, go to: Users >> Your Profile.
6. Create the Basic Structure
No set-up is complete without creating the basic structure of the site. It usually involves creation of pages, categories, menus and setting the sidebars with required widgets.
To create a page, go to: Pages >> Add New
What pages you should have on your site directly depend on your site’s purpose. But there are a few basic ones which you should have from the beginning:
A page describing your website or blog, whom it is meant for and what can be expected from the blog.
Let visitors contact you with their email directly from your site. If you have Jetpack, you can easily insert an Email Contact Form in a page. Alternatively, you may use a contact form plugin from the plugin directory.
If you need some legal disclosures to be made, create a separate page for them.
Let visitors know that your site does not pose a threat to their privacy and that the visitors’ data is always protected.
A sitemap is a dedicated page presenting the list of pages, categories and even blog posts – all in one single page. This is important for SEO purpose and can be created automatically using Google XML Sitemap plugin. Yoast SEO plugin also has a feature to create a sitemap.
You need to create blog categories to keep your blog posts in an organized way. Categories help your visitors know at a glance about the topics you cover in your blog.
To create categories, go to: Posts >> Category
The placement of the pages and categories depend on you and your theme’s menu features. Keep in mind that the most important pages and categories should be easier for your visitors to discover.
After you have created your pages and categories, it’s time to display their links on navigation menus. Your theme might support upto four menus.
To create a menu, go to: Appearance >> Menu
In your menu, you can add pages, categories and even links. You can set their order as you prefer.
A sidebar in WordPress is that part of your site layout where you can add and showcase various stuffs for your visitors. Many themes have the option of creating sidebars at the left, right and also at the bottom area which is called the footer.
Anything displayed on the sidebar is created with Widgets.
To set-up a sidebar, go to: Appearance >> Widgets
What to show on your sidebar?
You can add almost anything you want. The most common stuffs are – Subscription Form, Social Media Links, Recent and Popular Posts, Categories, Banner Ads, etc.
If you do not find a widget you want, just search for a plugin in the plugin section that provide such widget. Install it and it will appear in the widget section.
If you want to show an author box under each of your blog posts, just go to: Users >> Your Profile and fill up the ‘Bioraphical Info’ box.
As you could see, creating a professional blog or website does not necessarily need any coding knowledge. It’s all about understanding the softwares and the way they work. That’s where comes the learning curve and once one starts learning them, creating a blog or website with WordPress is like making another cup of coffee.