How to Start a WordPress Website
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Have you been putting off the decision to start a website for your business or blog because you don’t know where to start? Feel like it’ll be too complicated and time-consuming? I’m here to help!
I’m happy to tell you that creating a website or blog isn’t a tedious task that takes up months of your time or requires you to spend thousands of dollars on professional developers and web designers anymore.
Today, more than ever, whether it’s for a blog, a website for your business, or an eCommerce store, you can easily DIY, with no need for coding or development skills. In this guide, I’ll walk you through a simple 5-step process to help you create your very first WordPress website.
Before We Get Started
wordpress.com vs wordpress.org
You may not know that there are actually two versions of WordPress, which can be confusing! Let me explain the differences:
AKA a “self-hosted” WordPress website. You won’t actually go to the wordpress.org website to create your website (confusing, I know). What you’ll do is: sign up for hosting from somewhere like Siteground, grab a domain name, and the host will install WordPress onto your site. WordPress.org will always be free– you’ll only need to pay for hosting + domain name. Most of the time, when people say “WordPress”, they mean self-hosted WordPress. This guide is going to teach you how to create a self-hosted WordPress website!
This is a free and very limited service. Websites built on WordPress.com places a lot of limitations on users and doesn’t allow you to upload the custom theme you may have purchased. The paid “business account” plans on WordPress.com do allow custom themes, however, most WordPress theme designers do not design or test their WordPress themes on this platform, and recommended plugins are not always available.
A domain or domain name is your unique address on the internet. It’s your website’s URL (e.g., heartenmade.com). Most of the time you can purchase your domain name from the same place you’ve purchased hosting.
HOSTING / HOST
Hosting consists of all your website files, server and data and allows you to publish your website on the internet. There are many different hosts you can choose from, and most of them offer “managed WordPress plans”, which means a lot of administrative tasks are handled for you, such as installing WordPress, website backups, WordPress updates, security, server-level caching, website support, and more.
Choosing a reliable website host is crucial when starting a WordPress website, because it has a significant impact on site speed + SEO and website security. Here are some great website hosts I highly recommend:
Let’s Create a Website!
I personally love and recommend Siteground to everyone I know who is just starting a website. Siteground’s support team is top-notch, and they have amazing optimization + security plugins. Although this guide focuses on building a website with Siteground, you are free to choose any hosting provider you prefer and the process will be very similar!
It’s also worth noting that, if necessary or as your website and business grows, you can always switch to a different host in the future!
Step one: Choosing a domain name
Choosing a domain that fits you and/or your brand, and choosing one that isn’t already taken by someone else, is probably the hardest part of this process. Before getting your heart totally set on a name, you’ll want to research to 1) search to see if the domain name you want is available, and 2) see if the name or a variation of the name is available on social media.
Step two: Purchase domain & hosting
The next steps are to secure the domain name you want and purchase hosting. I recommend buying your hosting and domain name from the same place to make things a bit easier, but if you’ve already bought your domain name somewhere else, we’ll cover that too!
When you go to purchase Siteground hosting, you’re first going to be asked which hosting service you’d like to select. Since we’re going to be using WordPress, I recommend the Managed WordPress Hosting package. *prices below may vary
Differences in the plans:
- The StartUp plan is perfect for someone with one small website who is just starting out and doesn’t have a lot of website traffic.
- The GrowBig plan is a great value-for-money offer. The main difference between GrowBig and StartUp is that you have more website storage, faster PHP, on-demand website backups, and can create an unlimited amount of websites.
- The GoGeek plan includes everything above, plus even more site storage, advanced priority support, and more. This is great for larger websites and businesses that generate more than 100k website visits a month.
After you select the plan you want, hit Get Plan, and you’ll be taken to this screen:
Choose whether you already own your domain, or register a new one. Domain prices vary.
If you selected “I already have a domain”, we’ll cover that soon.
Review & complete:
In the Review & Complete tab, you will fill in your personal information and payment information.
Under Purchase Information, you can select your payment period. You can choose to pay month to month or annually.
Under Extra Services, I HIGHLY recommend the Domain Privacy add-on. When you register a domain name, your personal information becomes publicly available through the “whois” services. Your name, address, and sometimes your phone number will be public. To protect your personal info, purchase the Domain Privacy!
Click Pay Now.
Now you have reserved your domain name, paid for your hosting account, and WordPress was automatically installed onto your site!
*What if I have a domain name already that I purchased from somewhere else?
If you selected “I already have a domain” and purchased a domain name from somewhere other than where you purchased hosting, you can easily transfer an existing domain to your hosting provider. For example, if you purchased a domain at GoDaddy, and then purchased hosting through SiteGround, we just need to tell GoDaddy where our hosting is. This process is called “changing nameservers”. Changing nameservers will point your domain to the servers at SiteGround.
When you selected “I already have a domain” and entered in your domain name, you should have received an email from Siteground that has your nameservers inside it. You will use these nameservers with your domain registrar (where you bought your domain name) to point that domain to your new hosting. You’ll simply copy and paste these nameservers to replace your old nameservers.
Here are the instructions for a few popular domain registrars where you might have purchased your domain name:
If you don’t see your domain registrar on this list, you can simply Google the name of your domain registrar + change nameserver”.
If you’re having trouble pointing nameservers, simply contact Siteground and they will be able to assist you. Also please keep in mind that when you update your nameservers, the process can take up to 12-48 hours to propagate.
Step three: Log into your new WordPress website
After you’ve purchased & completed your order, you’ll receive an email with the link to log in to your new WordPress site. It will look like this: https://yourwebsite.com/wp-admin
This link takes you to your “WordPress dashboard”! You will use the same login credentials you used when signing up above unless you chose a different username and password.
The WordPress dashboard, sometimes called “dashboard” or “WP Admin”, is essentially the control panel for your entire WordPress website. It’s where you write blog posts, create pages, install plugins, upload WordPress themes, and much more. Just about everything can be done through your WordPress dashboard when you log in through https://yourwebsite.com/wp-admin
Step four: Choosing a WordPress Theme
Now for the fun part!
It’s time to learn about our Kadence Child Themes and then browse the shop to choose a theme that you love + best fits your website goals. Once you’ve purchased your theme, you’ll immediately gain access to the theme files and all of our tutorial videos & guides.
Step five: Install, customize & launch!
The last step is to visit the Support Docs to learn how to install, set up, customize, and add content to your website. If you need any help with your new WordPress theme, you can submit a support ticket. I’m happy to help you if you run into any issues, and normally respond to support tickets within 24 hours!
Once everything looks good, it’s time to launch your dream site!
Have questions about starting a website? Not sure which hosting provider to choose? Get in touch with me!