Are you looking to start a website? It could be anything. You may want to start a blog or ecommerce site or even just an information guide on a familiar topic. Regardless of the actual topic of the website there are a host of different ways to develop the actual site that your visitors will see in a browser.
Long gone are the days when it took only people skilled in HTML or Java to make websites. Now you can build, own, and develop a website in as little as 60 minutes with no experience. How you might ask? The simple answer is the development of click, drag, and drop editing of the site characteristics.
Building a WordPress Website: What is WordPress?
WordPress is a content management system based on PHP and MySQL. Or more simply, WordPress is a platform where the user (you) can download plugins into a website theme and customize the layout on the fly.
Similar to building with blocks, you can physically move the plugins around on the website layout to fit your needs. The plugins themselves give your website its functionality.
So, you could include in your site a calendar, or information on your recent articles, or security login features. The possibilities are literally endless!
And that is it! Once the site is up and running the only thing you need to do is make updates to the software, alter the plugins as needed, and add content to the site. This article will help you get up and running and all you will need is the following:
- A domain
- A hosting platform
- 60 minutes to install a theme and relevant plugins
How do you pick a domain?
A domain is your website address. So “facebook[dot]com” is a domain. “Google[dot]com” is a domain as well. Your domain needs to be simple. It can’t be a string of letters or words and should reflect either what you do or who you are.
For example, the company Nike has the “domain nike[dot]com”. This would be an example of a site with a domain reflecting who they are, the name of the company. However, you don’t have to do this.
You could get a domain such as “BestReviewsOfDrones[dot]com”. The company could be something else but it is easy to tell what the site does; it provides reviews of drones. Here are a few tips to remember when picking out a domain:
- Keep it short
- Keep it simple
- Try not to use numbers
- Try not to use dashes
- Use actual words
- Use only .com, .net, .org or something relevant to your site
- Pick a name that reflects who you are
- Pick a name that reflects what you do
How do you pick a hosting plan?
Hosting is whose server the site is located. The 1s and 0s may be digital but there still needs to be a repository of all of those digits that make up your site. You will need a monthly hosting plan that allows you to rent space on their server.
Think of it like a skyscraper. You can rent out a floor, closet, or penthouse based on your budget. If you are starting out the most basic plan is usually recommended. You can always upgrade later if you either you run out of space or your visitors skyrocket. There are many services that can provide you with a domain name and a hosting package. But do your research! No two hosting packages are the same.
Similarly, most of the more common services can provide a WordPress specific hosting package. These usually come with WordPress pre-installed and possibly other nice features that allow WordPress to work more smoothly.
A few examples of service providers that offer both domain and WordPress hosting packages are namecheap.com, godaddy.com, and bluehost.com. There are probably a million others.
A hosting service like Wix.com is run off of its own type of WordPress and isn’t the same. So, be aware and make sure you are buying a WordPress compatible hosting plan. Here are a few tips to remember when picking out a hosting plan:
- Buy from a reputable provider (don’t use anything like Bob’s Discount Hosting)
- Either buy the cheapest hosting plan or the WordPress specific hosting plan
- Try to get a free or cheap SSL in the deal, these are necessary for customer security
- Often times a professional email is part of the deal ie instead of firstname.lastname@example.org you can get an email with your domain as the @ portion
How do I set up a WordPress site?
Well, fortunately for you at this point you’ve done all of the hard work. Now comes the fun part.
WordPress has a fantastic built in platform where you can choose or upload themes to act as the basic staging ground for your website. Think of the themes as an empty house. After you buy the house that looks and feels like the website you want you get to fill it with loads of different plugins, the furniture of the house.
Remember that these plugins give your website its functionality just like furniture in a house. There are a literally thousands of different plugins you could use. Here is a handy guide if you are just starting:
- Find websites similar to what you want to create
- Write down all the things that attract you
- Start searching for those types of plugins
- Read reviews and look at screenshots to see how the plugins look when installed
- Note that not all free plugins work well, you get what you pay for
- Paid plugins also provide for post purchase technical support
This is where most of your time will be committed: picking out plugins and organizing them on your site. Due to the fact that there are literally endless possibilities to how your site looks and acts you can go wild with your imagination.
The amazing nature of WordPress is its ability to act easily as library of plugins. Want a new plugin? Just add it and to your library, activate it, and fill in any necessary details. Don’t want a plugin anymore? Not a problem. Just go into your library, deactivate the plugin, or straight up delete it.
Need some great and popular plugins? CreativeMinds has an awesomely large and popular variety of plugins fit for any type of website. Here are a few plugins to see the variety that you could include:
Whatever you do, let’s be honest, it won’t be correct the first time. The most important part is just start! And get dirty! WordPress is the most popular website platform because of its ease of use and flexibility.
The worst thing you could do is not try at all. Get in, pick a theme, get some plugins, change the theme like 3 or 4 times and finally find your winning website. So what are you waiting for?! Start it today!