In this beginners guide to using WordPress, get the quick version of how to get your wordpress website up and running. While some hosting companies make it super easy, there are still a few steps that might confuse you. But… Don’t worry, here you’re going to get the typed version with screen-shots and videos sprinkled on top. Let’s get Started!!
Essentials You’ll Need To Install WordPress
This tutorial assumes a few things:
- That you have picked out a domain name and purchased it
- You have stand-a-lone web-hosting – Not wordpress.com hosting
- And… you are logged into both your domain registrar site and your hosting site
If you don’t have a domain name and hosting yet, use the search box. You can use Bluehost’s domain name search feature to see if the domain name you want is available:
The cool thing about Bluehost is that right now you can get your domain name for Free! If you sign-up for hosting through them, they offer a Free domain name. Some alternatives for getting your domain name registered are Godaddy.com and Namecheap.com (Disclaimer)
Before you can go any further you’ll need to get your domain name purchased. Already have your domain name? Then your ready to get web-hosting.
If you took advantage of the Bluehost deal, then you are ready to move on. Want to shop around for web-hosting? take a look at Siteground or All In One Profits. I use Siteground when building sites for my clients and can vouch for the customer service and ease of use. All In One Profits is an inexpensive alternative that includes web-hosting, an email auto-responder, a sales page/Squeeze page builder (Click Here to read my All In One Profits Review).
Connect Your Domain To Your Web-Host
Now that you have your domain name & web-hosting, we’ll need to make sure your domain name is connected to your web-host. If you purchased your domain name through Bluehost with hosting, your domain name and host are already connected.
If you purchased your domain and hosting separately, log-in to your domain registrar site (Godaddy.com, for example) and your web-host. After purchasing your web-hosting, you will have been given log-in information for cPanel. You will want to log-in to your cPanel dashboard.
Go here to learn How to Install WordPress in cPanel
If you purchased your Domain name and Hosting from Bluehost, go here to Install WordPress (https://my.bluehost.com/hosting/help/wordpress)
Key point: You may have heard people call their WordPress website a blog . It can get confusing as to how you set up your website. Don’t get confused. WordPress is actually a Content Management System or CMS. Once the WordPress CMS is installed on your web-host, you can define the Theme or layout.
A theme gives you a pre-determined layout. Most Themes give you the option to have a static Home page for visitors to land on when they first visit your site. You can also have your visitors see your most recent blog post.
WordPress Log-in For The First Time
Once you have successfully installed WordPress on your web-host, things get a LOT easier. During your WordPress installation, you picked out a username and password. It will have been displayed on your screen and/or emailed to your chosen email address.
To Log-in to your WordPress site:
Go to: http://[your-domain-name.com]/wp-login.php (replace with the domain you purchased and add /wp-login.php)
Enter your user name and password (found in the email you were sent after installing WordPress)
The first screen you will see is your DASHBOARD:
I suggest that you bookmark your WordPress Log-in page in your web browser for future use. This will be the page you use a LOT in the coming days and weeks while building out your site. This is a more convenient way to get to your site and into the pages and posts.
Get Started with WordPress
On the left side of the Dashboard is the menu you will use to add posts & pages. You’ll also be able customize the look of your site and configure how you would like certain features to work.
The Pages That Every WordPress Site Needs
A LOT of your visitors will go to this page because they want to see and learn more about YOU. Here you will tell your visitors how your website and content will benefit them. Tell your story, but make sure you create content that shows how you will help your visitors.
If you have a brick and mortar business, you want to give your phone number, address, & hours of operation. Maybe even highlight important members of your team on this page.
If you business is online only, this is a great place for links to all of your social media accounts. Also place an email opt-in form so you can collect email addresses from your visitors.
From day one, you should be setting yourself up to add affiliate income to your site. By sharing the tools, products, learning sites, books, etc. you use in your business. If they like your content, your visitors may be interested in using things you recommend. Here is the Resources page from this site, to give you an idea of what you might see. (https://kaikauai.com/resources/)
Products or Services Page
If you have products or courses that you sell online, don’t be shy. PUT THEM HERE. If you’re not running an ecommerce store, put a link to your products on this page instead of your Home page.
Why you ask? Consider this.. How are your visitors finding your website? If they found your content, but weren’t searching for your specific product, you are gaining authority in your niche. Authority and credibility builds trust and people are more likely to purchase products from people they trust.
Easily Add these pages by finding and clicking on the ‘Pages’ link, on the left side of your Dashboard:
If your theme hasn’t already added the pages for you, click on the ‘Add New’ button. Remember, you can always edit these pages. Also, make sure to Publish the pages otherwise your visitors will not see them.
Better Search Results and Visitor Interaction
For this part of the beginners tutorial, you will be working further down the Dashboard in the ‘Settings’ menu. We will not go through all of the settings, just the ones that will get your site operating efficiently.
- General Settings – In this area you will want to make sure your Site Title and Tagline are correct. When your site gets on Google and Bing searches, your Title and Tagline will show up along with a Snippet of what your content is about. This will be the first place where search results let people know what your site is all about. You can also set the correct Timezone for your local area.
- Reading Settings – skip down in the menu to the ‘Reading’ area. Change your homepage settings here. Whether you want to display a static homepage for visitor or take them to a list of your posts.
- Permalink Settings – in this settings page, you will want to make sure you choose the option ‘Post name’. This is important because when you type in a Title for a post, the link to that post will include the title. For Example, my post about how to install WordPress using cPanel uses the page link: https://kaikauai.com/how-to-install-wordpress-in-cpanel/
This post link includes keywords that users will be searching for and then find at your site.
Make sure that once you have made a change in one area, scroll down and click on the save button before going on to the next setting.
The 6 Basic Plugins Every WordPress Site Needs
We now go back up the Dashboard menu to the ‘Plugins’ section for this part. Plugins give your website superpowers. Look at plugins like they are apps that you add to your smartphone. Plugins help you perform specific functions that make your site perform better or achieve a desired result.
SEO – Search Enging Optimization
Yoast SEO – Using this plugin helps optimize your site for Search engines to find. Yoast also helps you dial in your content so it is both readable for your visitors and search engine friendly.
Social Media Sharing
Social Warfare – sharing your content on your favorite social sites will help you reach your audience. And Social Warfare lets you place share buttons anywhere you want so your audience is almost forced to share your content. (Disclaimer)
WordPress Zero Spam – without some way of protecting your site from spammers, your site can easily be crammed DAILY with garbage from unscrupulous hackers who want to use your site as a dumping ground.
Legal Pages and Disclaimers
WP Auto Terms – if you’re selling products, collecting data from users, building an email list from your site, or recommending products or services that pay affiliate commissions, you will need legal pages on your site. When using the free version of this plug-in, you’ll need to purchase a license or manually add your own FTC disclaimer.
Keep Your Site Running Faster
WP Optimize – This plugin does what the name implies, it optimizes your site so it loads faster. It keeps files from building up and bogging your site down. It also helps reduce the file size of the images you use. You can compress images before uploading them or you can have WP Optimize do it for you.
Protect Your Site by Backing it Up
Updraft plus – keeping a back-up of your site could save you hours of headache later. You can auto schedule backups so they happen regularly and you can back up your site whenever you make changes. In case something happens to your site, you can restore it quickly. Or migrate it to a different hosting company if you decide to change it – quickly and easily.
You will find other plug-ins that will make your WordPress site Amazing! These are just the basic plug-ins that keep your site tuned up all of the time.
Choose and Install Your Theme
Here is where you can find yourself going down a rabbit hole. There are literally thousands upon thousands of different themes out there – both free and premium. It can be a daunting task to pick just the right Theme to reflect your style or the layout that catches your eye. Consider a couple of things while you’re looking:
Will it work with the Plug-ins You Want to use
Make sure to pick a theme that is updated regularly. A theme that hasn’t been updated in over a year may not be the best choice. WordPress is constantly updating and you want to use themes that have developers who are keeping up with the changes. That is the biggest reason why you should consider paying for a premium theme.
Is Your Theme Responsive
Consider who your intended audience will be and where they will be viewing and consuming your content. Responsive themes make your site look great and let your visitors to use all of the features – on any Device! Whether they are viewing your site on a smartphone, tablet, or on a laptop.
Keep it Simple
You want your theme to be able to handle multiple forms of media and make your content POP. And…still be easy for you to use. From your visitor’s perspective, you also want the theme navigation to be easy. A layout can also make it easy to consume your content. Having a theme that is too complex can cause distractions and might be too hard for you to use.
Start Building Out Your Site
Now that you have your domain with WordPress installed and your basic settings and plug-ins installed with a theme..What’s next?
You are ready to start adding content. You don’t have to get it done all in one day, but don’t be afraid to publish whatever you add.
Recently, I participated in a Build-your-own-Blog bootcamp where a group of new online business owners were learning the basics of starting a WordPress website. You might think the technical side is the hardest part of your website. The # 1 concern in the bootcamp was – they were afraid of people seeing their content. They weren’t ready for people to see their content.
they were afraid of people seeing their content – or they weren’t ready for people to see their content.
At first, you won’t have a lot of traffic to your site. So Don’t worry if the content isn’t perfect. Start working on your About page and let people know what they will get from visiting your site.
Challenge yourself to get your first post up in the next week and then make a plan to post regularly – once a week or once a month for example. Share your first post in the comments below and I’ll visit your site and leave comments.