Build a Website Using WordPress
Edited by Aliyyah Camp, Eng, Shelley, Melissa Rae
There are millions of websites on the web displaying information about an infinite amount of topics. Someone built each and every one of those websites before it could be available for the public to see. Creating a website is not as hard as it may sound. It involves a lot of web navigating and service modifications at first. But once you have the main parts established, getting a site up and running on the web is more than doable. This tutorial walks you through seven detailed steps on how to build a website using WordPress. You will need a credit card to make a couple of purchases along the way. Besides that, all you need is some time to complete the processes and content ideas to make your website complete.
Purchase A Domain Name
The first step in building a website is purchasing a domain name. A domain name is the phrase that goes between the "www" and the ".com" for a website. Your domain name will be how people find and recognize your website. A domain name to the Internet is what your home address is to navigation systems. It provides an exact location for your content to live.There are many different registrars that sell domain names. For the purpose of this tutorial, we will be using GoDaddy to register a domain. No matter which registrar you choose, you will have the same selection of domain names from which to choose. Below is a list of ten different domain name registrars:
- 1Simply type in a desired domain name in the "Search Domain" field. If the domain name is already taken, the next page will alert you. You have the option to contact the owner of the domain name and purchase it directly, but this is often pricey. Type in another domain name and then hit "Search Again". Select the available domain name and then hit "Continue to Cart".Advertisement
- 2Follow the prompts until you reach the checkout page. You will have the option to protect your personal information. This will prevent WhoIs.ICANN.org from displaying your personal information that you use to register the domain. You will also have the option to purchase Website Builder, Hosting, and Email services.Advertisement
- 3On the checkout page, you can choose the term for which you would like to buy your domain. Domains are purchased for yearly usage. If you purchase a one-year term, you will be able to use the domain for exactly one year. After a year has passed, you either have to purchase additional terms or forfeit your rights to the domain name.
Purchase Web Hosting
The second step in building a website is purchasing web hosting. Web hosting is the services that provides space for a website on the Internet. Web hosting works by storing all website files on servers and connecting them to a network. The Internet then connects to the web servers hosting the files in order to display the information for everyone to see. For the purpose of this tutorial, we will be using BlueHost to provide our web hosting. Below is a list of 10 different web hosting providers:
- 1Hit the "Get Started Now" button on the home page and continue to select a plan. BlueHost offers a variety of plans to suit different website needs. If you have only one domain name and do not plan to build an enormous website, the Starter plan should suffice.Advertisement
- 2Select the Starter plan and then enter your already purchased domain name in the field under "I have a domain name".
Connect Your Domain Name To Your Web Hosting Account
To actually display your domain on the web after purchasing web hosting, you will need to connect your domain name to your web hosting account. In Step 2, we notified BlueHost that we already have a purchased domain. Now log into your BlueHost account and select "domains" from the main menu.
- 1Select "Assign a domain to your cPanel account" from the Shortcuts menu.
Now that you have a purchased domain name and established web hosting for that domain name, you need a content management system to maintain and display your website content. Think of the content management system as the actual house, while your domain name is the address. The content management system we will be using is WordPress. It is one of the more popular website platforms, used by many of the top sites on the web. WordPress works very well is web hosting services like BlueHost.
- 1To install WordPress, log into your BlueHost account and select "Install WordPress" under the Website Builders menu.
- 2Choose the 'Do it yourself (FREE)' option by hitting the "Install" button.
- 4Once the installation is complete, you will receive your custom administrator URL. It will be "www.[YOURDOMAIN].com/wp-admin/". Your login credentials will be those that you specified during the WordPress installation.
Customize The Website Theme
Now you have an official website. If you visit www.[YOURDOMAIN].com, you will see a WordPress landing page stating that the website is coming soon. This landing page will remain present until you command WordPress to launch your site. This is good because it gives you time to perfect the look and feel of your website before the world sees it.The theme of your website is a set of CSS and HTML coding that determines how your website looks. WordPress offers hundreds of themes from which you can choose.
- 3After you select a theme, you can customize it by selecting "Customize" under the Appearance menu on your WordPress administrator page. For most themes, you can change the following things such as the site name, color scheme, header image, background image, menus and site layout.
- 4Another way to customize the WordPress theme is to add and move around widgets. You can do so by selecting "Widgets" under the Appearance menu on your WordPress administrator page. Some widgets you can customize include: Calendar, Categories, Custom Menu, Archives, and Search Bar.
- 5You can place these widgets on various pages on your website in order to give visitors a better user experience. For example, you can post the Calendar widget on an Events page so that visitors can easily see when you are hosting events.
If you are tech savvy, you can play around with WordPress Plugins. WordPress Plugins enhance the functionality of features on a WordPress site. For example, there are many Contact Form plugins that are more advanced than the contact form that normally comes with a WordPress site. To add plugins to your website, simply select "Plugins" in the main menu on the left-hand side of the administrator screen. You can search for plugins by those that are featured, popular, recommended, and favorites. You can also search by keyword.
Once you have finished customizing your WordPress theme, the last step before launching your website is adding content. You can add content to both pages and posts. Pages are static and appear in your menus for visitors to navigate and find consistent information. Posts appear based on date and can rotate throughout your website depending on your preferences. You can add as many pages and posts as you like. The options to add both pages and posts are located on the main left-hand menu on the WordPress administrator page. Select "Add New" under either "Posts" or "Pages" and fill the fields with your desired content. Hit "Publish" and the post/page will appear on your website immediately.
There is a wide variety of content you can add to a website to make it complete. Here are some examples of pages that you can include on your website:
- Home - main landing page with evergreen information about your website
- About - page on which you detail what your website is about
- Services - page on which you specify what services you offer, if any
- Products - page on which you display what products you sell, if any
- Frequently Asked Questions - answers to questions visitors may have
- Testimonials - proof that you are legitimate and that people like what you offer
- Contact Us - a method for visitors to get in touch with you
You can also add posts that are sorted by date on your website. Posts can serve as blog content or as general updates to your visitors. Here are some examples of posts that you can put on your website:
- Reviews of products related to your website topic
- Tutorials that help visitors complete a difficult task
- A photo gallery of a recent event
- A giveaway or contest
- News commentary
- A list of top products in a category
- An interview with an expert
When everything looks good and all content has gotten your final stamp of approval, launch your website and it will become public. Your content is now available for the world to view.
Keep Your Website Up-to-Date
Now that your website is launched and public, all you have to do is maintain it and make sure that it is up-to-date. There are three main things that you will need to keep up-to-date: WordPress version, plugins, and content.
- 1To make sure your website is running the latest version of WordPress, go to "Dashboard" in the left-hand menu on your administrator page and then select "Updates". You will see a message at the top of the screen that either tells you that you need to update your WordPress or that you are currently running the latest version of WordPress. Making sure you have the latest version of WordPress ensures that all functionality continues to work and that your website is protected from harmful spam.
- 2To update your plugins, select the checkboxes of the plugins you wish to update and then hit the "Update Plugins" button above the list of plugins. Updating WordPress plugins also ensures that they continue to function properly.
- 3Lastly, it is good to get into the habit of updating your website content regularly.
- When purchasing a domain name, capitalization does not matter. However, when you promote your website, using capital letters for each word makes the domain easier to read. (www.VisiHowExample.com is easier to read than www.visihowexample.com).
- Some web hosting services also sell domain names. If you choose to purchase your domain from the same place you purchase web hosting, you can skip Step #3.
- WordPress allows you to customize most things on your website using WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) tools. If you want to customize your website even further, you will have to learn CSS and HTML coding.
- To avoid losing data after making changes to your site, check out Back-up a WordPress website without using a Plugin.
- It is entirely possible to build and maintain a website on your own. If you have any questions during the process, reach out to the team at VisiHow and request an answer. Someone will post an answer or even write a related article.