Since its inception in 2003 by Matt Mullenweg, WordPress has grown into a secure, stable and user-friendly content management system (CMS), revolutionising the way users create and manage websites without needing highly specialised skills. Keeping its signature simplicity and intuitive admin dashboard, WordPress now powers an incredible 40% of all websites on the internet. This versatile platform caters to more than just blogs; major corporations and media giants, such as CNN and The New York Times, also rely on WordPress to power their online presence.
I remember first coming across WordPress right at the start and downloading version 1 and using it to power my first blog. Now that blog has come and gone and I’ve tried and failed many more, but I have always been drawn to using WordPress. The admin interface never changed, and in a way it still hasn’t. New features have been added, but the basic layout is still the same. This made it easier to learn and understand, as new versions would come along, but basically stay the same. In the world of IT not everything does this, and often you’d have a completely new format to understand or get your head around.
Also, the huge range of themes that are now available help make your site unique and there is a large community of developers building new themes and plugins to make WordPress even more feature filled and improved. Lastly, WordPress is Open Source, which means that you can see the source code, and if you’ve the skills, you can contribute and write new features that get included in updates.
On my blog, https://Grays.Life, I’m using WordPress and a theme from StudioPress.com. I’ve used many themes over the last 20 years, but for the last 10 years, I’ve stuck with StudioPress. Apart from having a wide range of themes, which are easy to configure (they even have placeholder copy and images that help you visualise your new website), I’ve found their themes to be very stable. StudioPress themes come in 2 x parts, a Genesis theme, which functions as a parent theme, providing a secure, SEO-friendly, and high-performance base for building child themes. StudioPress offers a collection of Genesis-compatible child themes, which are essentially the design layer that sits on top of the Genesis framework. Think of it like this, it’s a bit like a car chassis, separating you from the internal workings of the car. The child theme that you choose from StudioPress is like the colour scheme and seat fabrics, etc…But with this set up, you get a rock-solid site.
Now, today, I’m going to lead you through setting up a WordPress site.
I work in marketing, and we’ve used WordPress for nearly 15 years to host our main website, as well as using it for a host of others, including an internal Intranet. This beginner’s guide outlines the essential steps to launch your very own WordPress website, ensuring you make the most of this influential platform.
Step 1: Establish Your Online Identity with a Domain Name and Hosting Provider
Your domain name is the unique web address that represents your brand online (e.g., www.yourbrand.com). Pair this with a hosting provider that offers reliable uptime, speed, security, and customer support, and you’ve got a winning combination. Top contenders include GoDaddy, Namecheap, Bluehost, HostGator, and SiteGround, but my preference is hosting from Cloudways Web Hosting, which offers low prices and great flexibility.
Step 2: Effortlessly Install WordPress
Once you’ve secured your domain name and hosting provider, it’s time to install WordPress. Many hosting providers offer one-click installations, streamlining the process. If needed, you can always manually download the software from the official website and follow their comprehensive guide.
Step 3: Stand Out with a Striking Theme
Now that WordPress is installed, choose a theme that fits your brand identity and captivates your target audience. With thousands of free and premium themes available, you’re guaranteed to find the perfect match. Explore your options by navigating to Appearance > Themes in the WordPress dashboard. To explore more themes, I suggest StudioPress.com and picking a theme out from there.
Step 4: Customize Your Website to Perfection
Once you’ve chosen a theme, tailor your website to suit your unique vision with WordPress’s robust customization system. Modify colors, fonts, layouts, and functionalities with ease. Access these settings by going to Appearance > Customize, where you can adjust headers, footers, sidebars, and more.
Step 5: Engage Your Audience with Compelling Content
With your personalized website ready, start creating captivating content to engage your audience. WordPress streamlines the process of crafting posts and pages, as well as managing multimedia. To create new content, navigate to Posts > Add New or Pages > Add New in the WordPress dashboard. To get the most out of your site, you’ll need to write on a regular schedule, something that takes practice, but is possible.
Though it may seem overwhelming initially, launching a WordPress website is straight forward with the right guidance. Follow these simple steps, and you’ll have a customized, engaging website in no time. With endless possibilities for customisation and content management, your online success with WordPress is just a few clicks away.