You’ve decided you want to build a website. Maybe it’s a blog to write about your passion. Maybe you want to create a marketplace to trade services and goods for a particular niche. Perhaps you want to build a fully functioning social media website like Facebook or Twitter. It could be that you simply want a professional looking website for your small business or a portfolio website to showcase your awesome photography and artwork.
…I’ve created them all with a platform called WordPress
At this moment, you might be thinking “yeah….right” but I can promise you these ideas are within reach of everyone.
Trust me, I’ve done it and I’ve created them all with a platform called WordPress.
What is WordPress?
WordPress powers something like 20% of the worlds websites. Given that there are millions of websites that number is fairly large.
WordPress is a content management system (CMS) which is a fancy term for software that allows you to create and manage digital content (think blog posts, images, videos, files, databases, etc), typically with an easy to use front-end interface.
WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS and powers everything from small blogs (like this one) to Fortune 500 websites (a lot of online publications use WordPress).
Summary: WordPress makes it easy for anyone to create a website and manage content. That’s really all you need to know :).
Why is WordPress Awesome?
- Open Source: WordPress has been open source from the beginning which means anyone with the technical know how can create themes, apps, plugins, widgets, etc.
- Massive Theme Library: There is a huge library of free and paid WordPress themes. Themes are what give your website style and functionality. There are pre-built themes for just about every use (marketplaces, Kickstarter clones, splash pages, blog themes, etc).
- 29,000+ Plugins: Plugins allow you to add even more functionality to your website that is not covered by your theme. There are plugins to help with email marketing, social media marketing, accepting payments, optimization and analytics, etc.
- Easy to Use: WordPress was developed with the non-coder in mind. The admin dashboard is intuitive and easy to use. You can publish a blog post in 2 steps.
- Large Support Community: Given that over 70+ million websites use WordPress it should come as no surprise that the support community is huge. For simple tasks, just Google the issue and it’s likely that it has already been solved.
- Flexible: Wordpress can be customized to your hearts content. I’m trying to think of a website that can’t be built on WordPress but I haven’t been able to do so. I’ll edit the post if I think of any.
OK, enough of this. Just take my word for it, build your website in WordPress. The only exception to this is if you’re building an eCommerce site. If that’s the case, check out my 5 Step Guide to Building a Shopify Website.
3 Step Guide to Building a WordPress Website
- Buy a hosting package: Hosting is what allows your website to be seen by others. Basically, you are paying a company to house your website and all it’s information.
- Blue Host (Recommended for beginners): Packages start at $3.95/month and go from there. They offer the best value at the best price. Blue Host is a great place to start for the newbie.
- UpThemes: They provide a 2-in-1 service by providing hosting and access to 40+ themes. Keeps it simple!
- WP-Engine (best in class): This hosting company was created specifally for WordPress. They provide the best customer support, built in backups, optimization, etc. If you get over 1000 visitors per month, use WP-Engine.
- NameCheap: Great company for both hosting and domains.
- Buy a domain name: A domain name is what a person types into their browser to visit your site. Mine is www.life-of-ty.com.
- Blue Host: If you are going to host your site with Blue Host you might as well get the domain name there as well. Keep as many things in the same place as possible.
- NameCheap: They provide a real slick service at good prices and have an easy domain search function to find your new domain name. If you didn’t host with Blue Host go with Namecheap.
- Install WordPress: Both UpThemes and WP-Engine come with WordPress already installed. Blue Host provides a 1-click installer. Don’t fret on this step, it’s really simple. If you hit a snag, just contact support and they’ll sort it.
That’s it! In 3 simple steps you have a fully functioning website that’s ready for blogging, posting pictures/videos and more. You can access your admin area at www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin.
Once you’re inside, start clicking buttons and seeing what you can do. Learn by doing and experimenting or buy a tutorial ebook. Also, remember that Google is your friend and can provide you with a ton of answers.
Install your custom theme: WordPress comes with a pre-installed theme. It’s generic and ugly and your first order of business is to replace it with a new one.
- Once you install WordPress, access your admin area by going to www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin.
- Click “Appearance” on the left menu bar.
- Select “Themes” and click “Add New”
- Buy a theme or use a free one:
- 50+ Free Themes: Free themes are always worth looking into. They are a good starting point but like most free things they are lacking. I’ve always used a purchased theme for my sites as they have the features I’m looking for.
- Elegant Themes – These guys have some killer themes, over 87+! With a yearly payment you get access to all of them!
- Themify – Awesome pre-built themes plus all purchases come with their drag and drop theme builder.
- Theme Forest – Huge selection of themes and plugins. Have bought many pre-built themes from here and have never been disappointed.
- My Theme Shop: Great selection of themes and plugins.
- Upload and activate your theme.
Done! Now you have a website with an awesome theme!