Getting Started with WordPress

Last Updated: September 4, 2020

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Level: Beginner

Time: 10 minutes or less

Tools mentioned: WHCKinsta, Divi, Elementor, Pexels, Unsplash, DepositphotosSiteground,

Introduction

Getting started with WordPress only requires a hosting account. If you don’t have hosting yet, be sure to read these other articles:

How to Sign Up for Website Hosting with Web Hosting Canada
How to Install WordPress the Easy Way

TL;DR

Getting started with WordPress is easier than ever. The only real prerequisite for a live website is web hosting. Getting your business online is fairly simple after that.

The good news is that you can get started right now.

There is no bad news.

So, what do you need to get started with WordPress?

Since WordPress is free, all you need to get started is somewhere to put it. (WordPress doesn’t come in a box, by the way).

WordPress contains enough built-in and free-to-add features that you can build a complete static website, blog, or ecommerce store without purchasing any additional tools (other than hosting). There is a huge benefit to some of the tools you can buy, however, in that they can make your life much, much easier.

First, you’ll need web hosting. This is required to have your website on the internet.

Next, install WordPress.

You should start with a page builder. We recommend Elementor or Divi.

Then you will need your content.

Next, you will add some plugins for extended functionality.

Finally, you will need people to read it.

What is web hosting and where should I get it?

If your website was a house, hosting would be the lot it was built on. Since you can’t build a house without land, you can’t really publish a website without hosting.

Shared hosting is the most common – it’s like having an apartment – and your website lives on the same computer as many others. It’s usually inexpensive, reliable, and sufficient in most cases, especially when you’re just starting out. Hosting accounts ARE separated, so you still get to lock your own door, so-to-speak. It is as safe as you make it with security measures and strong passwords.

Managed hosting is more like a resort; you pay a little extra and somebody else handles some of the basic tasks for you. This is ideal for those with limited time or technical knowledge to get a stable business website online, with less worry about software updates.

You can get reliable shared hosting for $4/month, with a Web Pro account at Web Hosting Canada.

How do I install WordPress?

Installing WordPress is a breeze. If this is your first time, like anything else you might be a little nervous but trust me – just follow the steps and you will be fine.

Check out our Guide to learn how to Install WordPress the Easy Way.

How do I actually make a website?

WordPress might seem a little complex at first. It is not that it’s difficult, just that it’s new. There are so many things you may be seeing and considering for the first time, and that can get a bit overwhelming. No matter what you decide to use (even the default editor) you are going to need some time, some practice, and we strongly recommend finding some tutorials.

Using a visual builder is the easiest way to design your WordPress website or blog. It’s super easy to add these to WordPress and allows you to create pages out of modules, which you can drag and drop into place. Essentially you create a section, add a row, and then your images, text, etc., all visually.

Elementor is an all-in-one visual builder for WordPress, used on over 5 Million websites. They even have a free version.

Divi is a true visual builder that offers a lifetime license. This means you can build your entire website visually (multiple websites, even), and you only pay once.

There are other builders out there, just remember; you get what you pay for either in money, or time, or both.

Add Content

This part is up to you.

It depends on the structure and topic of your site. If you are designing a basic website for yourself, you will probably create standard pages such as home, about, and contact. If you are building an online store, you should look at adding Woocommerce to your WordPress website.

If you are starting a blog, it will grow over time. Your best move at the start is to read about posts and pages.

There are free and paid stock image sites out there as well as many guides to what sizes you should be using on your website. No matter what guide you follow, this part takes a bit of practice since yours will be different from everyone else’s. Our advice is that you should follow best practices of design in respect to layout, color, etc.

 

Free stock photo sites include Pexels and Unsplash.

For a good deal on more useful photos, check out Depositphotos.

Add plugins for extra features

What are plugins?

WordPress Plugins are PHP scripts that extend the functionality of WordPress. They enhance the features of WordPress, or add entirely new features to your site. Plugins are often developed by volunteers, and are usually free to the public.

Source: https://wordpress.org/support/article/managing-plugins/

There are literally thousands of different plugins out there, both free and paid, that you can use to add features to your website. And you only need a few to get started.

At minimum, plugins you should look for are:

  • Security 
  • SEO 
  • Caching 
  • Backups 

It is always up to the administrator to decide which plugins are best for any particular website they manage. How do you decide which plugins to use? Research, ask around, or test drive them yourself.

Testing your WordPress website

Testing is an important part of creating a website.

Test your links. Test your forms. Test your product ordering system. If you can click on it, click on it, and see that it works properly.

Proofread your writing.

Be sure to view your website on your phone and in other browsers to ensure continuity.

When you are satisfied with how your website looks and functions, the testing is complete.

If you are starting a store it is vital to make a test purchase to verify that payment and orders are process properly. Avoid losing yourself and your customers money by accident!

Share your website with your audience

Once your website is complete you should be ready to launch.

Copy the URL of your website and share it online! If you’re self-conscious about your work, send it to a friend or two at a time at first.

Why else do you make a website?

Thanks for reading!

Do you know someone who would benefit from reading this post? Please share it with them.

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