How to Create a WordPress Website, for Beginners
To create a WordPress website can seem daunting, but the basics are really approachable. In particular, to create a WordPress website from scratch puts the power in your hands to make all the choices that will make your site what you want it to be.
Of course, with great power comes great responsibility, so let’s make sure to get your WordPress website started on the right foot with this step-by-step guide to launching a WordPress website.
How to Create a WordPress Website, Step by Step
The sections below cover all the basics for getting a WordPress site working, without going too deep on technical details. Each section aims to cover enough of the core terms and ideas of how to build a WordPress website from scratch.
This isn’t a comprehensive guide to building a WordPress site from scratch, so when you’ve started here, read more here at WPShout and elsewhere around the web.
1. Choose Your Host for Your First WordPress Site
The first major hurdle someone wanting to create a website in WordPress will face is that you’ll need to find a host for your WordPress website. I’ve already covered a little more about what it means to find a host for your WordPress website in this article:
In short, you’ll need to run the WordPress application on a web server. And since most people don’t have a web server in their basement (and half of those who do probably shouldn’t be using it to host a WordPress website for the first time anyway), you’ll basically hire a company to do that. We often recommend SiteGround, as the best compromise to our rather-experienced minds of price-for-newbies and support that they’ll need.
Selecting the Right Web Hosting Plan for You
SiteGround (or any other web host) will often have many “plans” or tiers of service, and often even various levels of plan types. It can all get a little confusing. We’ve got a wealth of content on this topic, much of which is centralized here:
Choosing the Right Hosting for You: Honest WordPress Hosting Recommendations
If you’re already wanting to just take my advice and go with SiteGround, here’s our guide to their specific WordPress hosting plans:
Which is the Best SiteGround Plan? The WordPress Shared Hosting Comparison
If you’d rather not make the click, my recommendation is that a SiteGround GrowBig plan is the best-fit for most people and starts at a bargain of $5.95/month. On renewal you’ll pay a good chunk more ($20/mo, essentially) but that’s still a relative bargain for its quality. And what’s more, if you buy multiple years up front your WordPress site may be making real money by the time the renewal rates kick in. 🙂
Registering Your Domain Name for your WordPress site
The next thing you’ll probably need for a WordPress site is a domain name. Our domain name is
wpshout.com. You’ll probably want to choose a domain that contains your brand, your name, or some other identifier.
Where you register this domain name can be as diverse as your hosting choices. Again, if you just want to stick to our happy-path, SiteGround can serve as your domain registrar as well. There are arguments both for and against keeping your domain names registered at the same place that hosts your website. The basic trade-off is that you’ll pay a little more on SiteGround than you would getting a domain on sale from Namecheap, Name.com, GoDaddy, etc. But because they’re great WordPress hosting with great support, I think you’ll be way happier with that than most other options. And you’ll have a single place to go when you have problems, which can be super helpful if you ever get a little confused.
How to Create WordPress Websites In SiteGround
To create a WordPress website on SiteGround I recommend using their installer. In short, you’ll using an installer called Softaculus, that you’ll find is available inside your SiteGround administration cPanel. Here’s our Quick Guide on that topic:
2. Build Your Site: Get a WordPress Site with Real Content
Once you’ve built the WordPress site, you’ll want to start to customize it and fill it with content. Out of the install you’ll probably want to create a few posts and pages, which are the heart of WordPress’s content. Making it easy for you to make webpages without understanding HTML or other programming languages is one of the biggest reasons to pick WordPress over other alternatives. This power, generalized across different softwares is called a “content management system” or CMS.
Create your First WordPress Page
Pages and posts are WordPress’s two basic content types. Which should you use? In short, “posts” are for time-sensitive content. Pages are for things that don’t change much.
Let’s imagine you work at a dental practice. You’d want to use a page for things like “Our team” and “Location,” but you’d use posts for things like “We went to this trade show” or “Our current deals.” This isn’t universal–WordPress sites can be developed to have even more “content types” and then you might have a specific one for “deals.”
Set your site to have static homepage
A common desire for people with WordPress sites is to make a page–rather than a more traditional list of posts in reverse-chronological order–into the homepage. This is a little complex, but you’ll find the setting under “Settings > Reading.” There you’ll set the page you want to be your new homepage to be the “Static Front Page” and then you’ll need to make a new page to house your blog posts.
Obviously, this is completely optional. But it’s popular enough as a feature that I thought I’d summarize it.
Write your first blog post in WordPress
The last thing that you’ll want to do to really create WordPress magic is make a blog post or two. Write about anything that’s relevant to your site and sounds fun to you. Part of the joy and magic of WordPress is the ability to write about whatever whenever and share that writing with the world.
3. Customize WordPress: Create a WordPress Website that Works for You
Pick Your Theme: Get a Beautiful WordPress Site
Out-of-the-box, WordPress looks alright. It’s not mind-blowing. You’ll probably be seeing a WordPress site that’s decorated with a theme with a name like “Twenty Nineteen” (the current default) or something like that.
If so, you’ll maybe want to change themes. It’s pretty easy to use the free theme search features of WordPress to find beautiful themes. Or you can use your old friendly search engine to get the one that works for you. If you buy a commercial theme, you be may be helped by our guide to installing a theme zip file (which is how most themes are distributed.)
Customize the Look and Feel of Your WordPress Site
Nowadays, WordPress has a cool and powerful tool called the Customizer. The Customizer is great for WordPress for a lot of reasons, but one of the biggest is that it lets you easily and with visual feedback see what the changes you’re making are doing your WordPress site.
If you’re on the front-end of your WordPress site but logged in, you’ll probably see a “Customize” button in the top bar. If you’re in the backend of your WordPress site, you’ll probably find it easiest by looking for “Appearance > Customize” on the left-hand menu.
Add Plugins: Create a WordPress website with super powers!
WordPress plugins are huge and diverse. They range all the way from the popular e-commerce store in WooCommerce, to something much simpler like a social-share-buttons plugin. These are all available most easily from your WordPress site by going to “Plugins > Add New” in the left-side menu.
There are some WordPress plugins that aren’t available there. (This selection you see there is often called the “WordPress plugin repository” or “on WordPress.org”)
Add a Contact Form
It’s common to want to have a contact form. There are a lot of ways to do this in WordPress, but one of the most popular is to use a plugin tool called Ninja Forms. And for basic things like letting prospective clients email you. Here’s Quick Guide on that:
Don’t Stress About Writing Code
A lot of our content here at WPShout is about how to write code for WordPress. We don’t focus as much about what’s useful for absolute beginners to WordPress. But we do have some content for that. I’d say you should definitely scroll through our archives of Quick Guides, which are little text-and-video tutorials about how to do specific pointed things.
Other than that, I mention our specialty hoping that if you someone you know does want to learn WordPress development, you’ll think of us here at WPShout. We’ve got a wealth of free courses, and some paid ones too.
Wrapping Up on Creating a WordPress Website for Beginners
Hopefully this has been sufficient to give you enough understanding to answer for you how to build a WordPress website from scratch. Because I do have a word-limit and will-limit, this hasn’t been the how to create a WordPress website step-by-step you might be seeking. If you were looking for that, leave a comment so I know. If not, I hope you feel like you’ve got a good start.
As a beginner, creating a WordPress website can feel both really overwhelming and really uplifted. I hope, for you, more of the latter. WordPress is a powerful system to publish on the web, and once you wrap your head around if you gain a lot of internet superpowers. To new powers!