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Whether starting a small business or having an established company and you’re looking to expand your online presence, a professional website is key. There are several ways in which you can build a website, but WordPress is one of the most popular website hosting providers due to its versatility and customization options. In this guide, we’ll show you how to build a WordPress website in just nine simple steps.
1. Get Web Hosting and a Domain Name
The first step is to get web hosting when building a WordPress website. While WordPress is a free website builder, you should use a web hosting service for your site for it to be available on the web. Generally, it costs under INR 830 per month, getting web hosting first, can save both time and money as the best WordPress hosting services include a free domain name along with one-click installation to make the process of creating a WordPress site much easier.
Choose a Domain Name
If you choose a hosting plan that includes a free domain name (e.g., businessname.com), such as DreamHost, then you will be led to choose a domain as a segment of your account registration process. If you don’t want to do this then directly purchase a domain name from one of the best domain name registrars like GoDaddy or Google Domains and then manually connect your desired domain name to your web hosting service.
When choosing a domain name, keep the following in mind:
- The shorter the better.
- Avoid numbers and dashes.
- Try to stick with .com, but there are other good options too.
- Avoid using trademarked names and copyrighted material.
- Make sure the domain is available.
- Don’t use words that are difficult to pronounce or spell.
For additional insights, learn more about how to pick a domain name for your business.
Once you complete your purchase of a web hosting plan, such as one from our favorite, DreamHost, it’s time to install WordPress, simply connect your web hosting service to WordPress. To do this, you have to go to your user dashboard (or cPanel), navigate to “Websites” from the vertical menu on your left-hand, then click “Manage Websites.” From there, locate the site you want to build, click “Manage” and then lastly click “Install WordPress.”
Note that this process can take a few minutes and the steps will vary slightly by web hosting provider.
2. Find and Install a WordPress Theme
In the WordPress world, a theme is a website template. The templates control how your website looks along with its functions and what it comes out of the box capable of. There are thousands of templates to select from, with sites such as ThemeForest where you can browse and purchase premium templates, so investing your time is worth it, find one that matches best the site you want to build. Once you find the best theme, purchase it, and then download the theme files.
Also, you get free themes from WordPress. However, many times they require a lot more work, so in the long run it’s wise to invest in a well-designed premium theme.
Here’s how to install a premium WordPress theme:
- Navigate to your WordPress dashboard by signing in or logging in to your account (yourdomain.com/wp-admin).
- From the left panel, select “appearance” and then select “themes” from the menu section.
- Click “Add new” at the top of the page.
- Select “upload theme.”
- Click “browse” and locate the zip file containing the theme files you downloaded upon purchase.
- Lastly, select “Install” and then click “Activate”
3. Install Plugins
After installing your theme, you need to install and activate all required plugins, which will help you expand the functionality of WordPress. In addition to the plugins that come with your theme, there are thousands to select from that can do anything from enhancing site security to adding live chat or turning your page editor into a drag-and-drop editor. However, you need to try to keep a limited number of plugins you use as too many can sink your site a bit or cause other plugins to break.
For example, we recommend the following plugins for every business website:
- Yoast SEO: This plugin helps you optimize your posts for search engines.
- Google Analytics: Track your website’s activity and traffic. If you’re a blogger, this is a necessity as most brands won’t work with you if you don’t have this installed.
- Jetpack: This plugin provides security, maintenance and performance enhancements for your website.
- Akismet: Protect your website from spam comments.
- Elementor: Use a page builder plugin, such as Elementor to transform your page editor into a more beginner-friendly drag-and-drop editor.
Here’s how to install WordPress plugins:
- From your WordPress dashboard, select “plugins” from the left-hand vertical menu.
- Click “add new” from the drop-down.
- Type in the plugin’s name you want to install.
- Click “install now” and then lastly click “activate.”
4. Import Demo Content (Optional)
If you choose a premium theme, you will want to import your theme’s demo content. Your website will be much more difficult to build without the demo content, as it will have the theme’s plugins, styling, and capabilities, but it won’t have any of the pre-built web pages.
The process of importing demo content differs by theme. Oftentimes, upon installing your theme, you will see a tab in the vertical menu on your left-hand with the name of your name. This is where the demo content is typically accommodated. If you are unable to find it there, refer to your theme’s documentation on how to import demo content, which can typically be found with your theme’s files (from the provider that you bought it from).
5. Configure WordPress Settings
Before you begin customizing your web pages and building out website content, you need to configure your settings, such as indicating your homepage and blog posts page along with updating your site’s name, tagline, and icon.
Here’s how to configure the most commonly used settings:
- Logo: Go to “Appearance” > “customize” > “site identity > “change logo” > upload your logo.
- Site title: Go to “appearance” > “customize” > “site identity > input site title (a.k.a. your business name).
- Site tagline: Go to “Appearance” > “customize” > “site identity > input site tagline (or simply delete the default WordPress tagline).
- Site icon: Go to “Appearance” > “customize” > “site identity > under “site icon” click “change image” > upload the image you want to display as your site icon (a.k.a. favicon).
- Homepage: Go to “Appearance” > “customize” > “homepage settings” and select the webpage you want to set as your homepage.
- Blog: Go to “Appearance” > “customize” > “homepage settings” and under “posts page” select the page you want to set as your blog.
- Permalink settings: Go to “settings” > “permalinks” then choose your preferred structure (typically “post name”) and save changes.
6. Create Pages
It’s time to create your web pages, which are what websites are made up of. For instance, a business website on average includes several pages, such as the homepage, pricing, services, about, and contact. In WordPress, every page that isn’t a blog post is considered a page.
Here’s how to create and/or customize pages in WordPress:
- From the WordPress dashboard, go to “pages” from the left-hand vertical menu.
- To create a new page, click “add new.”
- To customize an existing page, go to “all pages” and then locate the page from the list of pages, and click “edit.”
- If you have installed a page builder plugin, select the option at the top to edit with the page builder (e.g., “edit with Elementor”).
- Write your website copy and customize your pages.
- When you’re done, click publish.
- Repeat these steps for any other pages you want to create.
Now that you’ve set up your pages, create and construct your menu. This is how users navigate through your site, depending on your theme, you may have quite a few menus (such as a menu at the top of the site and one in the footer).
Here’s how to configure your site menu:
- From your dashboard, go to “appearance” > “menus.”
- To add pages, select the page from the left-hand list.
- Click and hold pages to re-order your menu or to nest pages as sub-pages below others.
- Click on save changes.
Once you have set up your menu, scroll down on the same page and find the section called “menu settings.” Under the section “display location” check the box next to “primary.” This will set the menu as your website’s main menu that will be displayed in your header.
8. Write Your First Blog Post (Optional)
In addition to web pages, many businesses also choose to add blog posts to help improve their probability of getting found in search engines, such as Google. To write a blog post, first go to “posts” from the vertical menu on your left-hand and click “add new.” From there, you can write or edit the blog post the way you would a web page. The only difference is, unlike a page, you can write a blog post and then schedule it to publish at a later date.
Here’s how to create a blog post in WordPress:
- Select “posts” from the left panel of your dashboard and click “add new.”
- Type in your post’s name.
- Select the category you want to put it in.
- Write your blog content.
- Once you’re done with it, click publish.
Note that if you’re not able to see your blog posts show up on your site, you might need to check that you’ve denoted your blog page to WordPress. To do this, go to “appearance” > “customize” > “homepage settings.” From there, find “posts page” and select the page you want to set as your blog.
9. Market Your Site
Last, but not least, you should plan to market your website. The reason behind it is, websites are not necessarily a “build it and they will come”-type of thing. Instead, businesses that are easily found online are those that have invested in a variety of strategies of website marketing to help their site obtain online visibility, which will help drive audiences to your site.
Here are a few of the most effective ways to market your site:
- Submit your website’s URL to Google Search Console to help it rank immediately.
- Create your website’s social media accounts and include links in your posts (e.g., a Facebook Business Page, an Instagram account or a Pinterest business account).
- Submit your website to relevant online directories (i.e., Yellow Pages, Tripadvisor, Yelp).
- Create a Google My Business account to get found in local search.
- Add your business to the Better Business Bureau.
- Add your URL to your email signature, business cards, or any other marketing materials you’re going to use.
The best way to market your website is to use a variety of these strategies, giving your site maximum exposure and the best chances of getting found online by the users.
WordPress is the most popular blogging platform, with 43% plus of the internet using it. It is popular for a reason. WordPress is used to construct websites, complex portals, blogs, business websites as well as applications, everything comes with massive flexibility and customization options. The WordPress.org software is open-source and free, making it a coder’s dream. WordPress is also vouched by a large community of users and developers who are always keen on creating new plugins, widgets, themes and other goodies to add value to the experience.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is there a difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?
Yes, there are several differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. The main difference is that WordPress.com is fully hosted while WordPress.org is self-hosted.
Can a beginner build a WordPress site?
Yes, while WordPress is often used by developers to build very complex websites, beginners can also use WordPress. It’s not the most beginner-friendly CMS, but with a bit of time, anyone can learn how to use it. And because it is such a popular CMS, there is a ton of information available for free online to help you learn how to build a WordPress website.
Can I build a WordPress site for free?
It’s possible to build a WordPress site for free, though if you want to use your own domain name as opposed to a subdomain (e.g., businessname.wordpress.com) you have to pay for hosting. Granted, hosting is affordable at around INR 249 to INR 830 per month, so it’s a small price to pay to appear professional and credible.
How much does it cost to create a website in WordPress?
The cost to build a WordPress website can vary greatly depending on a number of factors, such as whether you build it yourself or hire a web designer, your hosting needs, as well as the cost of theme and plugins. For insight, the average small business willing to invest the time to learn how to use WordPress can build their own site for as little as around INR 8,305 or so, with just a premium theme (typically around INR 2,076 to INR 6,644) and a web hosting plan (around INR 249 to INR 830 per month).
How scalable are website builders?
Website builders are highly scalable, and your plan can be modified easily to meet the needs of your growing team. If you outgrow even the top-level package of your service, many vendors offer enterprise-level functionality with customized pricing. It may be worthwhile to get in touch with your system’s customer service team to learn more.
Which is better: WordPress or Wix?
WordPress is generally a better choice for website builders with technical experience, or for larger websites that need more flexibility. Wix is a good choice if you want a no-code website builder and a drag-and-drop editor. That being said, you can build a simple website with WordPress templates. You can read more about how they compare here.