How to build a WordPress website

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WordPress is a popular content management system (CMS) that offers an affordable way to establish a one-of-a-kind online presence. In this post, I’ll outline how to build a WordPress website the easy way.

While many people associate WordPress primarily with blogging, it’s also a great choice for building a small business website. In fact, WordPress powers 30 percent of all websites currently online — from lifestyle blogs to the biggest news sites.

The 3 basic steps to create a WordPress website

If you’ve decided to build your website with WordPress, you’re in good company — 30 percent of the sites on the internet are built on WordPress.

  1. Install Managed WordPress.

  2. Set up your WordPress website.

  3. Choose a WordPress theme.

Before we get into the steps, let’s examine what makes WordPress such a great choice.

Why WordPress?

WordPress is a powerful and flexible CMS with a wide range of third-party support. It’s an open source project, which means it’s not owned or sold by any one company — in fact, the platform itself is free. An army of developers around the world continue to improve WordPress, contributing their time and expertise for a community effort.

WordPress is the perfect foundation on which to build a business website or online store, since those developers have created plug-ins to make WordPress do all sorts of useful things like:

  • Add contact forms.
  • Connect your website to Google Analytics.
  • Collect email newsletter signups.
  • Button up your website security.
  • Backup your website.
  • Manage inventory.
  • Accept payments.
  • Handle product shipping and fulfilment … and much more.

While WordPress is free, keep in mind that you will still need to pay for website hosting, a domain name and an SSL security certificate. Certain plug-ins also entail paying a fee.

Creating a WordPress website

If you’re feeling confident and are keen to get started, you can download WordPress for free from WordPress.org.

From here you need to work through the steps of:

  • Creating an online database.
  • Setting up PHP.
  • Uploading your WordPress files to your hosting service.
  • Configuring everything via the online interface.

You can find official WordPress instructions here.

The easy way

Don’t stress if this all sounds a bit complicated, as there is a much easier way. Hosting providers like GoDaddy let you install a WordPress website with just a few clicks, ensuring that everything is pre-configured and ready to go.

One advantage of using Managed WordPress is that GoDaddy automatically installs all the latest WordPress upgrades and security patches.

They also make it easy to access backup and restore features, to help protect your site and get it up and running again quickly should you run into any trouble.

Even with one of these pre-configured WordPress installations, there’s still a bit of a learning curve when creating a WordPress website compared to using your typical website building tools.

But it’s worth the extra time and effort to create a perfectly customised website that can grow with your business.

1. Install Managed WordPress

GoDaddy offers several tiers of WordPress hosting, adding important features such as malware scanning, an SSL security certificate and search engine optimisation (SEO) to the higher tiers.

WordPress Website MWP Plan Options
Managed WordPress includes reliable hosting, a domain name and SSL encryption.

To get started creating your WordPress website with GoDaddy, choose a plan, then log in to your GoDaddy account.

WordPress Website GoDaddy Account Dashboard

Select My Products then click the arrow to the left of Managed WordPress. Next, click Manage to the right of the hosting account you want to use (if you only have one, this will be easy).

WordPress Website MWP Installation

GoDaddy automatically downloads WordPress while you get a fresh cup of coffee. Compare this installation process to the five-minute installation WordPress.org provides.

2. Set up your WordPress website

Now you can either use the QuickStart Wizard to get started or configure your site on your own. You’ll find step-by-step instructions for both options here.

If you use GoDaddy’s QuickStart Wizard, it will ask a few questions about you and your business, then suggest a theme you might like (this can be changed later). The Wizard also installs useful WordPress plugins including Page Builder. This is an enhanced drag-and-drop page editor that lets you customise your site without needing to dive into any code.

Once WordPress is installed, you can access it any time by typing www.YourDomain.com/wp-admin into your browser bar.

Use the login and password you created during installation to log in. Alternatively, you can access the WordPress admin pages via your GoDaddy account.

3. Choose a WordPress theme

At this point, you can customise the theme provided by GoDaddy or browse the unlimited number of themes online — some free, some that cost. It’s important to note that some WordPress themes are not compatible with Managed WordPress (i.e. any theme that relies on one of these plug-ins).

A WordPress theme is like a style template for your website — colours, typefaces and design are automatically applied to new pages so it’s quick and easy to expand your site.

Themes make it easy for you to create a consistent look and feel across your site.

WordPress Website MP dashboard

To install a WordPress theme from the WordPress admin dashboard, go to Appearance> Themes and then click the Add New button at the top. There are thousands of free WordPress themes, so take your time choosing one to ensure that it’s right for you. Use the Preview button to take a theme for a test drive without installing it. You’ll find complete instructions on how to install a WordPress theme here.

Choosing a theme is an important decision, so take your time.

 

Alternatively, if you’ve downloaded a free or paid WordPress theme elsewhere, you can click Upload Theme and upload it from where you’ve saved it on your computer.

Paid vs. free themes

You’ll find a great variety of paid WordPress themes from developers on sites like TemplateMonster, MOJO Themes and Envato Market. You can also check out WordPress eCommerce theme providers like WooCommerce and InkThemes.

Keep in mind that if you choose a free theme, the theme’s creator is unlikely to offer regular updates or tech support to help you get (and keep) everything running smoothly. If you’re paying for a WordPress theme, be sure to ask about your support options before you buy.

When choosing a theme, don’t just consider the style. Also, consider:

  • The layout and navigation options.
  • Whether or not it’s responsive, or mobile-friendly (this is a deal-breaker).
  • Features like custom background, footer widgets, right-to-left language support, etc.

With your theme in place, you’re ready to create a website that will look unlike any other site online.

Start your WordPress website

WordPress is for much more than blogging. It’s flexible enough for anyone to build a great website to meet all their needs when doing business online.

It’s not hard to get a WordPress website up and running — especially if you use your hosting provider’s pre-configured WordPress option. These take the hassle out installation and configuration. With this taken care of, you can get on with the task of finding the perfect theme and building your gorgeous new site.