DETAILED GUIDE ON SETTING UP A WORDPRESS WEBSITE FROM SCRATCH
This post is to give you a detailed guideline on setting up a WordPress website from scratch to finish and as well build any type of website you want using just Wordpress. some of the websites include
- E-commerce website
- forum for social connections
- small business website
- A dropshipping website, etc.
WHAT IS WORDPRESS
WordPress is an open-source Content Management System (CMS), which allows users to build dynamic websites and blog. WordPress is the most common blogging system on the web and it makes creating and managing content hitch-free.
You don’t need to know how to write HTML or CSS to set up, run and manage a WordPress website. WordPress powers about 25% of the world’s websites making it the most popular CMS.
Content Management System (CMS) is software which stores all the data such as text, photos, music, documents, etc. and is made available on your website. It creates the avenue for editing, publishing and modifying the content of the website.
WordPress first release was on 27th May 2003 by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little. And finally, it was announced a free open source in 2009.
ADVANTAGES OF WORDPRESS OVER OTHER CMS·
- It’s well documented and still in continuous support.
- Is open-source and free to use.
- Is easy to install.
- They give users the option to customize the look of their websites, plugins, themes or virtually anything that you can find on the website
- It is search engine friendly so SEO is not a headache with WordPress
- In case you didn’t find the plugin or theme that suits your need you can easily create one or contact developers to do that for you.
- It powers about 30% of all the blogging websites online this means that you can always get help from other users. It has vast plugins for majorly anything users will want in a website.
- It is very easy to edit the content as it uses WYSIWYG editor
- You can easily modify the roles of your website admin by creating admin, editor, author and so on as you might within your admin dashboard
Though WordPress has some few limitations the limitations are not extensible to hinder you from trying it out.
The following are a few limitations you may encounter while using WordPress.
LIMITATIONS TO USING WORDPRESS
- The website tends to get heavy and run slowly if you install too many plugins just to achieve all you want the website to function.
- Though it’s free and allowed to modify the plugins and themes. It’s not what you can do without the knowledge of PHP, HTML and CSS.
Now that you have seen a few of the features including the advantages and disadvantages of WordPress let’s get into the business of how you can benefit from this awesome CMS called WordPress.
Cpanel is the backend of your website where you have access to customize anything that is being displayed on your website.
To know more about how you can get your hosting and Cpanel see this detailed article on how to get a hosting and domain name.
If you already have your domain name and hosting let's go-ahead to installing WordPress on our website
WordPress – INSTALLATION
There are different ways to install WordPress. But since I assumed that you are using shared hosting with Cpanel the procedure will be almost the same, the difference will probably depend on the version of Cpanel your hosting provider provided you.
But notwithstanding this tutorial will serve you the necessary knowledge you need to have WordPress up and running on your website.
This guide is based on the hosting provider that I’m using and it’s one of the best hosting providers in the world, everything you need to set up your website is all set up for you and you have unlimited support with them. The company is Qservers and they are very nice so you can check them out to get your domain name and hosting.
TO INSTALL WORDPRESS USING QSERVERS HOSTING
Login to your Cpanel account using the link provided to you by QSERVER upon registration. This is also the same as any other hosting provider using shared hosting.
You will have to log in with the default user name and password which was sent to you by email.
- When you login the first thing to do is to change your password to a more secure password that will be available to you alone.
- Read more on how to configure Cpanel for beginners
- Now that you are logged in scroll down to softaculous App installer.
- Click to open the link and you will see a lot of software you can install on your website
- Choose WordPress and a new page will open just like the one shown below
- Click install and some options will show like below image
Fill it correctly as shown below and you are good to go. Ensure that you use a strong password for security reasons. Also, the password must be what you can remember.
That’s all there is to installing WordPress using QSERVER Cpanel or definitely, any shared hosting that uses Cpanel.
Now that your WordPress is installed the next thing to do is to start using WordPress to design any type of website you want
SETTING UP WORDPRESS ADMIN DASHBOARD.
The WordPress admin area is the admin area that only you can log in to using the password you provided during installation. This area is also referred to as the backend of your website.
A backend is the part of the website that you login to make changes to your website that users will see when they visit your website.
Any other person you share your login details with will be able to login to your admin area and make some changes to keep it confidential.
The admin area consists of numerous features ranging from adding a post, creating special pages, choosing a theme, adding some plugins, creating beautiful navigation menus, up to managing everything that can be displayed on your website. It packs a lot of features that you are going to love playing with.
You can easily navigate to your admin area by typing
(where example.com is your domain name), or better still log in to your Cpanel again and go to installed software. Click on WordPress and you will see the link to the admin area. Click on it to log in to your admin area.
Always have it in mind that your login details are the ones you used during WordPress installation.
After you have logged in, in case you were not redirected to the admin area simply click on your website name to get there and start the necessary configurations.
If you have successfully logged in to the admin area follow the following instructions to make some basic changes.
Choosing a Theme
Choosing a beautiful theme that will match your niche is the first thing you should do when you are first setting up your website. This gives your website the overall view you want. Each theme offers different options and page templates, so it is important that you carefully review a theme before using it.
Cheat Sheet: you can experiment with some of the themes while you keep making changes until you got the one that will match your desire. This is done by installing and removing it until you are good to go. Note that removing a theme doesn’t gonna change or remove the contents of your website.
Next, find the appearance menu item in the long menu found on the left side of the admin area. Choose the submenu “themes”.
Click Add New at the top.
Choose and install a theme from the list of themes.
Setting up a Theme
Each theme will be a bit different to set up because each developer has different setup options incorporated with their theme.
You will have to refer to the theme’s documentation for how to set it up. A link to the documentation is always placed near the theme download option.
However, some theme options will remain the same across every theme. These options can be found in the admin area by clicking appearance>customize.
Click on customize to set up the look of your website.
You will find a place to upload your logo, give your site a title, tagline and write default description.
It’s important if you read through this guide before coming back to theme customization so that you could have set up some of the things that the customization option needs.
SETTING UP A HOME PAGE
Create a page and give it a title like “home” (you can give it whatever title you want though) this option will be added to your WordPress customizer as the home page.
Create another page and name it about, contact, or anything. All these pages will create a link that you can access in your
appearance > customize > menu item.
Add the links to the appearance > customize so that it’s arranged the way it will appear to your website users.
Hint: always preview changes until it looks good to you, then hit save changes and continue to the next option.
Play around with them and have fun!
TO CREATE A PAGE:
Click pages in the admin area.
Click add new at the top.
Add your title and content.
Choose a template which is a dropdown found under page attributes.
The template will be used to format how your page will look to your users.
Publish your page or save it as a draft.
You can design your page using the built-in WYSIWYG editor or if you are familiar with HTML and CSS you can click the text tab at the top left of the page editor and enter your HTML and CSS there.
You will probably find the WYSIWYG editor to be a bit lacking for page designs. There are some themes like Divi themes which have a page builder included. Keep in mind that these are not professional methods for building and designing websites and they are geared toward DIY (do it yourself) by simple drag and drop. If you are serious about creating a website for your business, consider hiring a professional (like myself) to design and build your website.
Wordpress is just to get things done easily and for those who underestimate the worth of presenting their business professionally.
WRITING A BLOG POST
Writing a blog post is simple.
Make sure you are in the admin area, then on the left-hand menu.
Click Add New
Add your title, content, categories and tags.
Click publish or save a draft if you would like to save a draft that you will publish later.
Blog Post Categories
Categories help to organize your site’s content, especially if you have many posts to write, each belonging to a different category.
When creating or editing a post you will see a meta box (one of the white boxes to the side or below the editor) with the word Categories at the top.
Here you can add new categories and select the categories you’d like to add your blog posts too.
These categories you just created will be also added to your menu options in the appearance>category area of your website.
A lot of the things you will see under post creation and publishing are self-explanatory because WordPress has taken time to make their UI user-friendly, but if you ever get stuck, drop me a comment and I will be glad to help you out.
WordPress includes a media library for managing all of you pictures, videos and file uploads.
The media library can be found in the admin area in the left menu.
Click media to navigate to the media library. Any media you upload can be used in your posts and pages.
It’s important to understand that once you’ve uploaded a file (image, video, etc.) that it is now on your server (your website) and doesn’t have to be uploaded again.
Adding Media to a Post or a Page
When creating or editing a post or page click “add media” which is a button found just above the content area.
You can include existing media already uploaded to your website or upload new media. Try not to upload the same file more than once as it will take up extra space and add clutter. If you’ve already uploaded the file, select it from your media library!
Setting Up Menus
People need a way to navigate through the content on your website. This is where menus come in.
Each theme has different menu locations. Every theme should have at least one menu location. Some themes will have several menu locations such as the main menu, top menu and footer menu.
Menu locations are theme dependent, so make sure to choose a theme that supports the menu locations you need. You can, however, hire a developer to modify an existing theme to support any menu location you want.
In the admin area select appearance from the left menu.
Click create a new menu.
Give the menu a name.
Click create menu.
On the left-hand side, you will see a list of pages. Select the pages to add then click “add to menu”.
You can now drag and drop the pages in the order you like.
You can also create submenus by dragging any menu item underneath its parent and positioning it slightly to the right.
Click save menu.
Now you have a menu created, but you haven’t placed it anywhere yet. If you haven’t placed the menu somewhere, it won’t show!
There is a tab near the top of the page called manage locations.
Click it. Select the menu you just created from the dropdown for your desired theme location and then click save changes.
Your menu will now appear in the place where your users will be able to see it.
Widgets can do all sorts of different things from showing your latest blog posts to showing recent comments.
The most commonplace for widgets is in the sidebar.
To place and choose widgets:
In the admin area click the appearance menu item, then click the submenu widgets.
Now on the right-hand side of your screen, you will see the available widget areas. Every theme will have different widget areas.
Expand the widget area you would like to add a widget to by clicking the little arrow.
Drag a widget from the list of widgets into that area.
Expand the widget you just added by clicking its arrow.
Select and enter your desired options.
Plugins are used to expand upon the core functionality of WordPress. If you ever find yourself needing to do something with your website that WordPress doesn’t do by default, you’ll want to try to find a plugin that will do that.
Some common plugins are used for:
Contact forms (Contact Form 7)
Website backups (Updraft Plus)
Quizzes (WP Pro Quiz)
Membership Restriction (Paid Memberships Pro)
Invoicing (Sprout Invoices)
To install a plugin:
In the admin area select plugins from the left menu.
At the top click add new.
Search for the desired type of plugin you are looking for.
Click install for the plugin you would like to install.
After the plugins are installed, click activate the plugin.
The plugin will now be installed and ready to use. Every plugin will be different. You will have to refer to the plugin’s documentation on how to use the plugin. Try to only install plugins that have good ratings and are tested with your version of WordPress. While rare, a plugin can break your site. Installing only trusted plugins will reduce this risk.
It’s also a good idea to only install plugins that you need. Installing too many plugins can slow down your site.
That is it for the basics of setting up a WordPress website and you can follow up with the next article for more guides on WordPress
If your goals are to set up a blog you can share with friends and family, then this guide is already good to get you started but If you are a busy business owner looking to grow your business, please hire a professional to design a good website for you. Your business will thank you.
Why Hire a Pro?
A lot more goes into building a website than you are probably aware of. Everyone knows a website has to look good if it’s going to be taken seriously and perceived as being credible. This is likely something you won’t be able to achieve on your own. It takes thousands of hours to get good at designing websites and good website design is only the first step in succeeding online.
You may be thinking that you can grab a theme or template and that’s going to be good enough. Yes, there are some amazing looking themes, but you won’t find one that perfectly suits your business, branding and messaging. You should never squeeze your business identity into a prepackaged theme. You should be designing your website around your business and your customers.
Some professional developers and designers will start with a theme, but customize it to suit your business and its requirements to be online. This gives you the best of what you want. It saves time (and thus dollars), but no compromises are made with your business and how you get exposed to your clients.
Consider as well the amount of business you expect to come from your website. For small businesses, this is usually tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands per year. Medium and large-sized businesses can see millions through their website every year.
So, aside from nice design, what else is there to think about when creating your website have been listed and explained here.
There is a lot to think about when it comes to your business and its website!
While I’ve covered the most important aspects of setting up a WordPress website, there’s a lot more to discover and learn. This post is only meant as a quick starting guide. The best thing to do from here is to get started first with WordPress.
If you have any question concerning the tutorial on WordPress feel free to ask using the comment box below.
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