How to Build a Website With WordPress

build-websieOver the last few years building your own website has become much easier.

When I first built this site over ten years ago there was only one way to build it- Using an HTML template and a Web Editor.

A good knowledge of HTML, basic web design, and a web page editor like Dreamweaver or FrontPage were essential, and it wasn’t easy for beginners, and the less technically minded.

Today using Content management systems (CMS)  like WordPress  there is no need to:

  • Become a web designer
  • Purchase expensive software
  • Become an HTML or PHP guru

However you still need to be be prepared to learn, and making a website or blog isn’t for everyone!

Why Build Your Own Site or Blog?

Building your own site has several advantages:

  • The DIY (doing it yourself) approach is cheaper.
  • You can make changes to your site whenever you want.
  • You have complete control over the site
  • It’s a useful skill to learn

About This Site

The purpose of this site is to provide a  step be step guide to help you build your website or blog using  WordPress , and also to help you:

  • Install WordPres and Setup Your Website
  • Administer, Maintain and update your website.
  • Customise and add new features to your site.
  • Optimise your website and get listed and found  in the search engines.

3 Steps To Making Your Own Website

Whether you’re building a business, personal, or hobby website there are 3 main steps involved. They are:

  1. Decide on the site building technology.
  2. Decide on the Domain Name and hosting provider.
  3. Build and publish the site

Site Building Technology

steps-1
In my opinion this is the most important step, as choosing the wrong option could cause you to spend a lot of time, effort and money without a result.

Over 50% of the new websites being built today will use WordPress .

Over 76 Million websites run on WordPress, including this one.

Well known brands like CNN and UPS use it as well as over 50% of the top 100 blogs on the web are built on WordPress.

This website is focused on Building websites using WordPress, but it isn’t the only option.

You can find a summary of the other main options and their pros and cons in the  website building options tutorial.


Domain Name and Host

step-2Once you have decided on the technology you will need a domain name, and hosting account to host the website.

WordPress requires Linux based hosting  with PHP and at least 1 MYSQL database.

For ease of install look for a provider that supports scripted installs.

Many hosting companies provide managed WordPress hosting.

With Managed WordPress hosting the provider takes care of upgrades, backups,security and site speed.

This type of package is suited for a business website that receives a reasonable amount of traffic (1000s visitors per day), and for those who don’t want to worry about website maintenace.

It is more costly than standard shared hosting.

Personally I use shared hosting on a UK hosting provider ( 1&1-UK) for my UK sites, and Blue Host for all other sites.

You can find a personal review of 1and 1 uk here and of Bluehost here.

Because most hosting providers will provide a free domain name with their hosting package it it normal to use the hosting provider as the domain name registrar. See Choosing a Domain Name for more details.


Building The Site Using WordPress

step-3
Although WordPress was originally designed for building blogs it can be used to:,

  • Create a standard blog
  • Create a standard website
  • Create a website plus blog combination

WordPress can also be used for creating ecommerce sites (shops), membership sites, social networking sites and much more.

To help you easily build you own website from scratch I’ve created a free three step beginners guide to take you through the process step by step.

Installing WordPress

Most hosting providers provide simple install scripts that simply involve you completing an online form.

These guides show you how to Install WordPress Bluehost and how to Install WordPress 1and 1.

using a scripted install.

If you hosting provider doesn’t support scripted installs then you can do a manual install, but beware this is much more difficult.

This guide to WordPress manual installs should help

Setting Up  WordPress

Once installed you will need to login and make some changes to WordPress to get your site looking as you want.

For Example, you will need to choose a theme,set up permalinks and more.

The  How to Setup a WordPress Website guide will show you how.

Using WordPress

Once you are familiar with the control panel and have made the necessary changes to the settings it is time to add pages/posts and other basic tasks.

When you create content it will be in the form of a page or a post.

For beginners the difference between pages and posts can be difficult to understand, as they appear to be the same,

Pages are used when you are using WordPress as a standard website, and posts are used when using WordPress as a blog.

Most WordPress websites will use a mixture. Static content like contact page,about us pages will always use pages.

Other Pages like the home page and content pages can use either depending on your preferences.

I prefer to use:

  • A static home page
  • Pages for contact, About us,testimonials and other very static content pages.
  • Posts for news and general tutorials etc.
  • Small sites (<10 Pages) should just use pages.

Here are some important points

  • Posts can have categories and tags but pages can’t have either.
  • Posts appear in the WordPress loop and on RSS feeds and Pages don’t.
  • Pages can be parent pages to other pages to create a hierarchy.
  • Posts can’t have sub posts.

Related Articles –  Using the WordPress editor, and Page and Post titles,

WordPress Maintenance

WordPress like any software package is frequently being updated with new features and fixes for known problems.

As a website administrator you will need to perform periodic maintenance activities like updates and backups.

See Backing up and restoring WordPress and Updating WordPress and WordPress Security Basics


Newsletter

I publish an occasional newsletter with Tips and tutorials to help you build,maintain and promote your site. If you are interested just enter your email below and Sign up:


Tutorials

You can find a complete list of tutorials here. They cover all WordPress,hosting and domain names and website promotion.


Common Questions

How Much does a Website Cost? – There are two main costs involved.

1. A domain name which costs around £10 per year for a .com domain name. This is often included with the hosting cost.

2. Hosting costs which are approximately £50 per year.

Can I use a Free Host and Domain Name? – Yes for a personal/hobby websites. WordPress.com and blogger.com are popular choices. Business sites should always use their own domain name and hosting.

Do I need to Learn HTML? – Yes and No. Having a basic understanding is necessary regardless of what most other sites would like you to believe.

However you don’t need to be an expert. My starting HTML course covers all you really need to get started.

Do I need to Learn Web Design?– No -There many professional designs available in the form or themes( WordPress) and templates (HTML/PHP).

Providing you don’t want a completely bespoke design, then It is simply a question of choosing a design for the site rather than creating a new design from scratch.

I’m Not very Technical Can I still do it? – If you can use a modern Word processor like Microsoft Word then you should be OK.

Technical aspects like installing WordPress, backups etc have become much easier, but you don’t have to do it all yourself if you don’t want to. You can always outsource more technical tasks if you need to.

Can I really Create a Professional Looking Website myself? -Yes because you will be using a theme from a professional web designer.

What about building a shopping Website ?– Shopping websites are more complicated than standard content based sites. The building an ecommerce website article should provide a good introduction to get you start.

Questions?

The Website Building questions and answers page is updated frequently and tries to answer the most common questions.

You can also use it to ask your own questions.

Why not BookMark This Page – Use CTRL+D and add it to your favourites.

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