How to create a WordPress website for beginners
And as always, for any one-on-one consulting and assistance, you may contact me at email@example.com "
Before we get into the article of ‘How to create a WordPress website for beginners’, let us learn why WordPress.
WordPress (https://wordpress.org) is what we can a CMS – Content Management System. WordPress is, by far, the most popular open source Content Management System (CMS). It is used by approximately 60 million websites. WordPress is free to install, deploy, and upgrade. Thousands of plugins and templates power a flexible and simple interface, which reduces development costs and deployment time.
WordPress powers 35% of all the websites on the Internet. The next best are Joomla with 2.6%, Drupal with 1.7%, Squarespace 1.5% and Wix with 1.3%.
Here is a small list of famous websites built using WordPress
So, you see, WordPress is a robust platform on which you can create your blog, personal or business website. Having said this, let’s dive into the actual content of this article ‘How to create a WordPress website for beginners‘.
I am assuming you have bought your domain name and your hosting from one of the recommended service providers. For your reference, please find along a list of my highly recommended hosting service providers.
Also, I’ve created a step-by-step article on how to buy your domain name and hosting. It’s available in the following article – ‘How to create a website on your own‘.
Once you have completed purchasing your domain name and hosting and set up the WordPress installation (also included in the article ‘How to create a website on your own‘), the next would be to create a full-fledged WordPress website. And that’s the reason behind this article on ‘How to create a WordPress website for beginners’.
For this article, I am creating a new website on the subdomain https://wordpress.bloggersbloom.com, which currently is as show below.
Step 1: Login to your WordPress Dashboard
You can access the login screen for your WordPress website from the following URL: https://yourdomainname.com/wp-admin
Hence for the website under consideration, the URL will be https://wordpress.bloggersbloom.com/wp-admin
The login screen will be as follows,
Key in your WordPress credentials (username and password).
You will now come to your WordPress Dashboard.
Step 2: Get to know your WordPress Dashboard
If you’re a new user, the “Welcome to WordPress” toolset will appear in the dashboard’s top position with a set of helpful links to get you started. If you’ve already dismissed this panel and you’ve installed different plugins, you may see notifications from the plugins you’re using in the same space.
Besides this header section, you’ll notice that the WordPress dashboard includes:
1. A left-hand navigation menu with links to submenus
2. An “At a Glance” section containing stats on your WordPress site content and current version
3. An “Activity” feed highlighting your most recent posts, comments, and other activities
4. A “Quick Draft” form where you can submit new post ideas quickly
5. A “WordPress News” column containing updates from the WordPress team
Depending on the plugins you’ve installed, your dashboard landing page may contain plugin-specific updates or other customized sections. But now that you know the general layout of the WordPress dashboard, let’s hop into a few specific features to be aware of.
1. The WordPress Upper Navigation Bar
Besides the left-hand navigation bar where you’ll be spending the bulk of your time within WordPress, you’ll see a black bar with white text running across the top of the screen when you’re logged into your admin section.
This bar contains plenty of helpful shortcuts, but one you’ll want to pay particular attention to is “Visit Site”, which you’ll access by hovering over your site’s name within this bar. Clicking the text will cause your site to open up in the same tab (right-click it to open in a new tab if you’d like to keep your dashboard open).
As you access your live site, you’ll see the black bar remains, giving you access to the same shortcuts and an easy path back to your WordPress dashboard if you opened your live site on top of it.
2. The WordPress WYSIWYG Editor
Besides the dashboard, you’ll likely spend most of your time within WordPress editing either pages or posts. As a result, you’ll get to know the system’s WYSIWYG (“what you see is what you get”) editor pretty well.
When you go to create a new page or post (or edit an existing content piece), you’ll see the following screen:
For the most part, editing in WordPress is pretty similar to editing in a document editor like Microsoft Word or Google Docs. You’ll enter your text into the main window, just as you’d enter it into the body section of a blank text document. Then, you’ll use the editing buttons on top of this section to adjust the appearance of your web content.
With the latest update in WordPress, you have a number of blocks that you could add to your content page. For e.g., among the Most used blocks, you can add Page Break, Paragraph, Image, Heading, etc.
Similar to the ‘Most used’ block, you will notice there are a number of blocks that you can make use of while creating a page or post.
Spend some time playing around with different editing features. Remember, until you press “Publish” the content you create within the WYSIWYG editor won’t be visible to the public. You can preview the drafts you’ve created as if they were live as often as needed until you’re happy with their final appearance.
3. The Media Library
Your Media Library hosts all the visual files used to build your WordPress site, such as your images and videos.
The Media Library can be accessed from the left-hand navigation bar or called from within many of WordPress’s different editing features. Once you’re inside, you can grab the individual URL for each visual asset if you’ll need to manually code it into your site (for example, in a text widget within your site’s sidebar). You can even handle basic asset editing needs within the Media Library.
4. Quick Edits
On occasion, you may find yourself needing to make several quick changes to your WordPress posts or pages. Depending on the type of edits that need to occur, you may be able to handle this using WordPress’s quick edits feature, rather than opening each post or page manually.
To access the quick edits option, hover your cursor over the title of the post or page you want to change from the summary screen.
This will cause the quick edits option to appear. When clicked, this will allow you to edit the following fields:
- Password or Private post box
- Allow Comments
- Allow Pings
- Make this post sticky
You’ll still need to open each post or page individually to change its content, though making quick edits to these fields using this menu will still save you time.
5. Post Scheduling
One of the WordPress features active bloggers like most is the ability to preload posts and schedule them to go live at specified times. Post scheduling can also be useful if you work with a team in which multiple members will need to access and review a new piece of content before it’s taken live.
To access post scheduling, click the “Edit” link next to “Publish Immediately” in the “Publish” sidebar panel. Use the date tabs that appear to select your preferred publishing date and time, then click “Ok.” The blue “Publish” button will become “Schedule,” and you’ll be able to see your scheduled updates on the post summary page.
Finally, new users should know that, by default, WordPress creates URLs for posts and pages using the asset’s unique ID number. This results in URLs like the “Default” shown below
These default URLs are unhelpful from both a user experience (UX) and search engine optimization (SEO) perspective. Instead, most users will want to use the “Permalinks Settings” screen (found within the “Settings” menu) to select another option, such as post name, which will result in more readable, keyword-rich URLs.
Again, this list isn’t all-inclusive. WordPress is a richly-featured platform that’s easy to learn but requires time to master. Start here, but always be on the lookout for additional features, tools, tips, and tricks that’ll make your WordPress experience more efficient.
Step 3: Cleanup Plugins, Pages, Posts & Settings
Before we start installing plugins for our WordPress website, let us understand what is a Plugin and its functionalities.
A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can enhance the functionalities or add new features to your WordPress websites.
WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress.
In simple terminology, a plugin is similar to an app that you would download in your mobile to add new features.
Visit the WordPress Plugins page and you will notice they have, at this point of time, more than 55,000 plugins to choose from.
What happens when you download a number of apps into your mobile? Does your mobile performance slow down? Does it hang? Is it really the number of downloads or is it the quality of the app that you’ve downloaded?
While installing a number of plugins that sends constant backend requests to your web server (e.g., for an ecommerce website which is sending queries to the database) can slow down your website, it eventually boils down to the quality of plugin you have installed.
A thumb rule while selecting plugins is to identify plugins that have a good rating and a higher number of active installations.
Notice some of the most popular plugins on WordPress above. Check out the number of ratings and the active installations they have.
A good number of plugins to have in your WordPress website would be anywhere between 20 and 30. Again, I give more emphasis to the quality of plugins. You would not want a faulty plugin to crash your website!
A Tip Before We Start Installing Our Plugins & Creating Pages & Posts
When creating a website, how I look at it is, the site has to load fast, which helps reduce the bounce rate, eventually helping in Google SERP (Search Engine Results Page).
So, I like to start with a clean slate. For which, I will delete all pages, posts and plugins which came as default in my WordPress installation.
So, let’s start with the Plugins. Go to Plugins > Installed Plugins
Clicking on the box adjacent to the Plugin header will select all the plugins currently installed in your WordPress website.
Once all the plugins are selected, select the ‘Delete‘ option under the ‘Bulk Actions‘ dropdown box. And click Apply.
Click OK in the prompt that appears at the top of the page.
All your installed plugins will be deleted and you will get a confirmation message as shown below.
Reload the page. This is done by clicking on the refresh icon on the top left hand side icon on your browser.
Your Plugins slate is clean. Now, let’s follow the same steps mentioned above and delete the pages and posts under Pages and Posts.
Great! You now have a clean website with no pages, no posts and no plugins. We can start creating the website from scratch. Rather, we can now really follow our article on How to create a WordPress website for beginners.
You website should appear as below now.
Before we begin, few necessary changes to be made under Settings
The changes you make here under settings reflect across the website.
To begin with, you can change the ‘Site Title’ and ‘Tagline’. If you choose not to have a logo for your website, the ‘Site Title’ and the ‘Tagline’ will appear instead.
After you make changes in the settings based on your preference, you should click on Save at the bottom of the page.
Next is ‘Permalinks‘ under the ‘Settings‘ tab.
By default, the ‘Plain’ option would be selected under ‘Common Settings’.
Let’s say you are creating a blog post on ‘How to create a WordPress website for beginners’.
Now, if the option ‘Plain’ is selected as it is, the URL of your article ‘How to create a WordPress website for beginners’ would be similar to https://yourdomainname.com/?p=123.
‘p=123‘ is a page ID given to each post that has been created.
However, if you select ‘Post name‘ (which is what should be done), your post (How to create a WordPress website for beginners) URL will be https://yourdomainname.com/How-to-create-a-WordPress-website-for-beginners.
This is not only a far easier way to mention the URLs, but also for SEO and page rankings.
If your focus keyword, for the purpose of SEO, is ‘How to create a WordPress website for beginners’, you must have the keyword in the URL. This is one of the many requirements for your page to show up in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page).
Hence, select the ‘Post name‘ option and click ‘Save changes‘.
Ok, lets start… How to create a WordPress website for beginners
Step 4: Installing Plugins for your WordPress website
Standard instruction. For any plugins that you will install, the process is the same.
Click on ‘Add New’ under ‘Plugins’
Next, search for the plugin you want in the “Search plugins” textbox in the right and click enter.
The first plugin we will install is Sucuri Security.
The Sucuri Security WordPress plugin is free to all WordPress users. It is a security suite meant to complement your existing security posture. It offers its users a set of security features for their website, each designed to have a positive effect on their security posture:
- Security Activity Auditing
- File Integrity Monitoring
- Remote Malware Scanning
- Blacklist Monitoring
- Effective Security
- Post-Hack Security Actions
- Security Notifications
- Website Firewall (premium)
So, search for ‘Sucuri Security’ (as shown below) and click enter.
Once you find the plugin in the search results, click on the “Install Now” button and then click “Activate”.
Once activated, you will notice ‘Sucuri Security’ is added in the left hand side menu links.
Also, under ‘Installed Plugins’, you will notice ‘Sucuri Security’ is in your list of plugins installed.
In the similar fashion, let us install all the below mentioned plugins.
The next important plugin to install is UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore
UpdraftPlus simplifies backups and restoration. It is the world’s highest ranking and most popular scheduled backup plugin, with over two million currently-active installs. Backup your files and database backups into the cloud and restore with a single click!
Backup into the cloud directly to Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3 (or compatible), UpdraftVault, Rackspace Cloud, FTP, DreamObjects, Openstack Swift, and email. The paid version also backs up to Microsoft OneDrive, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Storage, Backblaze B2, SFTP, SCP, and WebDAV.
The next, very important plugin is Site Kit by Google.
Site Kit is the official WordPress plugin from Google for insights about how people find and use your site. Site Kit is the one-stop solution to deploy, manage, and get insights from critical Google tools to make the site successful on the web. It provides authoritative, up-to-date insights from multiple Google products directly on the WordPress dashboard for easy access, all for free.
- Easy-to-understand stats directly on your WordPress dashboard
- Official stats from multiple Google tools, all in one dashboard
- Quick setup for multiple Google tools without having to edit the source code of your site
- Metrics for your entire site and for individual posts
- Easy-to-manage, granular permissions across WordPress and different Google products
SUPPORTED GOOGLE TOOLS
Site Kit shows key metrics and insights from different Google products:
- Search Console
Understand how Google Search discovers and displays your pages in Google Search. Track how many people saw your site in Search results, and what query they used to search for your site.
Explore how users navigate your site and track goals you’ve set up for your users to complete.
Keep track of how much your site is earning you.
- PageSpeed Insights
See how your pages perform compared to other real-world sites. Improve performance with actionable tips from PageSpeed Insights.
- Tag Manager
Use Site Kit to easily set up Tag Manager- no code editing required. Then, manage your tags in Tag Manager.
Use Site Kit to easily set up Optimize- no code editing required. Then, set up A/B tests in Optimize.
So, now you have installed a plugin to take care of security, back-up & restore and to analyse the traffic source & page speed on your WordPress website.
The next important plugin is for SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
There are a number of plugins for the same. But I will recommend either Yoast SEO Plugin or Rank Math. For a long time I have been using Yoast SEO. But with some of my new sites, I’ve started using Rank Math. This plugin not only takes care of SEO, but also the rich snippets that is so very important.
I will have a separate article on Rank Math and its benefits included later on.
For now, you can install the Rank Math plugin.
Huge images (which eventually will be uploaded on to the website) do take time to download/ appear on your website. It’s always a good practise to optimize the size of the images that are uploaded. To take care of this, we have a plugin – Smush.
Smush has been benchmarked and tested number one for speed and quality and is the award-winning, back-to-back proven crowd favorite image optimization plugin for WordPress.
- Lossless Compression – Strip unused data without affecting image quality
- Lazy Load – Defer offscreen images with the flip of a switch
- Bulk Smush – Optimize up to 50 images with one click
- Image Resizing – Set a max width and height and large images will scale down as they are being compressed
- Incorrect Size Image Detection – Quickly locate images that are slowing down your site
- Directory Smush – Optimize images even if they are not located in the media library
- Automated Optimization – Asynchronously auto-smush your attachments for super fast compression on upload
- Without Monthly Limits – Optimize all of your images up to 5MB in size free forever (no daily, monthly, or annual caps)
- Gutenberg Block Integration – View all Smush stats directly in image blocks
- Multisite Compatible – Both global and individual Multisite settings
- Process All Your Files – Smush will process PNG, JPEG and GIF files for optimum results
- Super Servers – Smush images with no slowdown using WPMU DEV’s fast, reliable Smush API
- Convert to WebP (Pro Only) – Upgrade and automatically serve images in Next-Gen WebP
- And many, many, more!
And now, for the pagebuilder. Yes, the by default WordPress editor is available. However, there are a number of other page builders, e.g., Beaver Builder, Divi Builder, Elementor, SiteOrigin Page Builder, Thrive Architect, Themify Builder, WPBakery Page Builder, etc.
I’ve used most of the page builders, and I’ve found Elementor the best of the lot. The ease with which you can create web pages is unparalleled.
Once you have installed all the mentioned plugins, your installed plugin screen should be as follows,
Step 5: Installing a Theme for your WordPress Website
A theme is the skin for your WordPress website. It’s the look and feel of your website. You can change the themes from the Appearance section on the left hand menu links.
You also have premium themes and the same can be bought from websites such as Themeforest.
To begin with, the free version is more than good to go.
Goto Appearance > Themes.
By default the “Twenty Twenty” (the current year) theme will be selected. We will go ahead and add a new theme.
Click on ‘Add New‘ above. Will will come to the below shown screen.
Click on the ‘Popular’ tab. Then search for Astra in the ‘Search themes’ area. While you can select any theme of your preference, for the sake of this example, I will go ahead with the Astra theme.
Once the Astra theme appears, click on ‘Install’ and then ‘Activate’.
Once activated, you will notice a change in the website design.
We will now customize the theme and create a home page design for your WordPress website.