How to Create a Website with WordPress
Time: ~30 minute setup
Costs: Domain Name: $12 a year, Hosting: ~$50 a year, Website Theme: $0 – $70
This the first of 8 posts I will do as I teach the Technical Marketing segment for the Startup Institute’s RampUp Program. As the Startup Institute puts it – “Our eight-week program gives you the Skills, Mindset & Network to get a job at a startup and thrive in your new career.” Highly recommend you check them out if you are looking to get into the Startup scene (they are in several cities around the world).
Step 1: The Concept
First step is choosing a concept for your website. WordPress commonly used as a blog engine just like how I power this website via WordPress. The best websites are focused on a niche or group of similar concepts. Choose something you are very familiar with and would actually enjoy creating content about. I love tech, travel and business, so I tried to combine those concepts within the posts on my blog.
Step 2: Domain Name
Next, choose a domain name for your blog (i.e. www.yourdomainname.com). You can search for domain’s on sites like GoDaddy. In general, domain names with really common keywords – i.e. www.photography.com – will either already be taken or cost thousands of dollars. Try to find a name with a .com extension, since they are generally more trusted, and therefore end up ranking better in search engines (usually).
Step 3: Choosing a Host
Once you have purchased a domain name, you need space online to hold your website’s data. Think of a host like an online folder that holds the files of your website and displays them in a browser for you. Common hosting sites are:
Pick yours and buy a hosting package. I mainly use Hostgator but also have a site hosted through Webhostinghub. Keep in mind that you can switch out domains with your host. For example, if you start with www.danisawesome.com, but then want to create a site about guitars called www.guitarheros.com, then you can switch out the domains by following the same setup steps below.
Step 4: Linking the Domain to Host
*Note: If you chose GoDaddy as your host, then you can skip this step.
Sign into GoDaddy. Click on My Account in the nav bar, then select Manage My Domains. From Manage My Domains, click on the Domain Name you recently purchased. This will bring you to the following screen.
Click Manage under your name servers. Now, open a new tab in your web browser. After purchasing your hosting, you will get access to something called the Control Panel. This is where you can manage a lot of the backend space of your website. With WordPress set up, you should rarely ever be touching things in the Control Panel. For now, log into your host’s Control Panel.
Find where your host lists out the Nameservers. On Hostgator, it is located towards the bottom left of the CP homepage.
Copy the two Nameservers and go back to the tab where you have GoDaddy open. Choose Custom Nameservers – then paste in the two you just copied from the host.
Click Save and you should be good to go. Now when you type in your Domain Name in a browser window, you will see some sort of ‘Site will be up soon’ or blank page. Don’t worry about that, we will change it in the next step.
*Note: It might take a while for your host to connect with your domain name.
Step 5: Setting Up WordPress with your Host
Go back into the Control Panel from your host. Look for an application that says WordPress or QuickInstall and click it.
If it is WordPress, then it should begin uploading immediately. If it is QuickInstall, then it will bring you to the following page. On that page, click WordPress and follow the installation steps.
Congrats! WordPress is now installed for your website. In your internet browser, type “www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin”. Login with the username and password you just created while installing WordPress (or with your host username and password if it didn’t have you create a new one). And you are now looking at the WordPress dashboard and are all setup to start pumping out content!
Step 6: Finding a Theme
Okay, now that all the boring stuff is setup, you can start looking for website designs. I like using Themeforest to find site designs. Navigate to the WordPress tab, and you can see all the different types of sites that can be built off WP. For our purposes, click the Blog/Magazine listings. Sort by highest rating, and browse through for a while until you find your favorite design. Be sure to look at the demos and test out the website before buying a theme.
Buy the theme, download the .zip file it is contained in, open the file and find .zip file (or regular file) with the actual name of the theme, then drag that onto your desktop.
Step 7: Uploading your Theme
Navigate back to your WordPress dashboard. On the left-hand side, hover your mouse over Appearance and select Themes. At the top, click Add New -> Upload Theme -> Choose the theme on your desktop. It will upload into WordPress. Find your theme, and click Activate, so it appears as the first theme in your Theme folder aka the Active Theme.
Finally, you are all set up with a website. Domain name, check. Hosting, check. Design, check. Now you just have to create content and play with the design until it is up to your liking. Also, search for useful plugins. Jetpack, Google Analytics, Yoast, and MailChimp for WP are all highly recommended. Good work and congrats on your new website!