Maybe you’re not much of a techie but you’d like to jump into the internet world with a WordPress website…
Don’t worry, I am a techie and I’m here to save the day! I can help you tackle the beast of building a WordPress website all on your own! I prefer WordPress over Squarespace and Wix because it has a ton more options and flexibility.
If you’re severely tech-phobic then Squarespace would be my second choice. You can still create a beautiful website that is user-friendly, it just has a lack of options compared to WordPress and its vast amount of plug-ins.
Let’s jump right in! I created this free printable checklist that will help you stay organized and on track while tackling your new project.
• First You Will Need to Buy a Domain Name and Hosting
I run all of my websites through SiteGround; you can buy your domain name and get hosting that has around the clock support all in the same place. SiteGround earns its value through its high-performance level for long term growth.
I have a few clients who have websites on GoDaddy and I have to say, I have not been happy with their hosting at all. To secure your website on GoDaddy with an SSL certificate you have to pay a monthly fee, getting the free version is a bit of a chore. SiteGround, on the other hand, makes setting up your free SSL certificate simple. I could go on, but that’s for a whole other blog…
Follow the link to SiteGround and click on the orange “Get Started” button in the “WordPress hosting” box. (Or follow the instructions for your chosen WP host.)
Usually, the “Start Up” plan is a great starting point, unless you’re expecting over 10,000 visitors right off the bat (go you!). You’re able to upgrade to bigger hosting plans any time you have the need.
Then select the options “Get a new hosting account” and “Register a new domain”. Scroll to the bottom of the page and select any add ons you might want, I personally use SG Site Scanner to keep my site safe from hackers.
Then pick your domain name; keep it simple and easy to remember.
Now you have your new domain name and website hosting! Woo hoo!
• Next You Will Need to Install WordPress on Your SiteGround
SitGround’s Set Up Wizard makes this easy as pie! In the Home section of your new SiteGround account, you will see a box in the right corner that says, “Get your new site up and running!” Click it!
Then select the option that says, “Get WordPress preinstalled on this account.” Next, click the orange “Proceed” button. Then fill in the log-in details for your WordPress website. This is the information you will use to log into your WordPress website. (yourdomain.com/wp-admin)
You can also select a WordPress theme here for your website, but you don’t have to. We’ll select a WP theme directly from the backend of your website later.
Finally, click “Submit” and your WordPress is ready to customize!
• Customize Your WordPress Website
Congratulations! Look at you! You made it to the fun part!(At least for me it is) Let’s get creative!
Log into your new website! Visit YourDomainName.com/wp-admin or .net, .org, etc. This is where you go to get into your WordPress website for customization, maintenance, and writing blogs. Use the login information you set up while using the Set Up Wizard in SiteGround.
You should now be in your dashboard (like the picture below). Go to your menu on the left side and click “Appearance“. Another little menu will pop up, click “Themes“.
At the top of the Themes window, there is a button that says “Add New“, click it!
Now have some fun browsing through the different themes. When you hover over the Themes there is a “Details & Preview” option.
Once you decide on the perfect theme click “Install” and then “Activate“.
Now head over to your dashboard, hover over “Appearance” and click “Customize“.
In the new Customize window find “Site Idenity” on the left side menu. Once you click on it, upload your logo and fill in the website name and tagline. Don’t forget to upload a Favicon or “site icon”, this shows up on your browser tab.
You’ll have to play with different settings within the Customize window to get the look you want. Each theme is a little different.
Time to explore all the great plugins WordPress has to offer! Head back over to your dashboard!
The abundance of plugins on WordPress is a major reason why they dominate the competition. These help you customize your website in ways Squarespace and Wix cannot.
Head back to your Dashboard and in the menu on the left side click the “Plugins” option. At the top of the page click “Add New“.
Now let’s talk plugins; here are the must-have plugins for launching your new website!
On the right side of the page, you will see a box where you can search for the Plugin name. Search for each of the names below and then click “Install Now” and “Activate“.
- Social Media Share Buttons & Social Sharing Icons by Ultimatelysocial (This Plugin adds social media share buttons onto your pages and posts that allow your audience to share your content/blogs.)
- Contact Form by WPForms – Drag & Drop Form Builder for WordPress by WPForms (You can create a contact form so your clients/customers/audience can contact you directly from your website.)
- Google Analytics Dashboard Plugin for WordPress by MonsterInsights by MonsterInsights (This Google Analytics plugin will keep you on top of the latest stats on your website so you can learn how your audience finds you and how to keep them coming back.)
- Yoast SEO by Team Yoast (The “cheat sheet” for keeping your website on top of SEO; Search Engine Optimization)
- MC4WP: MailChimp for WordPress by ibericode (This plugin connects MailChimp to your website where you can create sign up forms to build your email list.) **Always, always, always work on building your email list! This belongs to you; social media is unpredictable and you are at the mercy of any new algorithms and rules they decide to create.
When you activate each plugin make sure you follow the instructions within each one to set them up for your website.
You’re well on your way to launching! Woo Hoo!
• Sidebar Widgets
Most of the plugins you installed will have the option of adding them to your sidebar or footer area as a widget. There are different options depending on the look you’re going for.
You can add the MailChimp plugin to give your audience a way to subscribe to the latest news or blog posts. Make sure you set up your MailChimp account before using the plugin.
In your Dashboard, you will see the MailChimp plugin added to the menu. The plugin I recommended above shows up as “MC4WP” in the menu. Click on it and follow the instructions to set up a new form, then copy the shortcode and head back to your left side-bar menu. Hover over “Appearance” then click on “Customize“.
Depending on your theme the options in your customizing window may look a little different. Don’t be afraid to play with the options, they are not permanent until you press Publish.
Find an option that says “Widgets” or “Sidebar” (depending on your theme), then click the “+ Add Widget” option. A new menu will pop out, this is where you find the “+ Custom HTML” option and click on it. Paste that shortcode you copied from your MailChimp form.
When you’re happy with the way it looks, click Publish.
In the same Widget menu, look around and play with the different options until you’re happy with your sidebar. You can add a video, a calendar, your latest blog posts, etc.
•Add Your Content!
Head back over to your Dashboard and let’s start creating the main menu for your website! Hover over the “Pages” option and click “Add New“. In the title section add the name of your menu option, “Services”, “Contact”, “Reviews”, “About”, etc.
Click “Publish” on the right side and continue this process until you have all the menu options (Pages) you want on your website.
Now hover over “Appearance” and click “Menus“. Edit the Primary Header Menu and select the pages you just created under the “Add menu items” section and click “Add to Menu“.
Now it’s time to add content to your menu pages!
This can be different depending on what kind of website builder your theme is equipt with. Basic WordPress websites can be edited directly in your Page from the dashboard.
Your theme might come with Beaver Builder or Elementor, which will instruct you on each step you need to take in order to add content to each page when you click on it from the Page editing window in your dashboard.
This is where you fill in the text and add images that draw in your audience or clients. I recommend using Canva to create great-looking images for your page without a graphic design degree… 😉 They offer a free membership or a paid one if you want to tap into more features like resizing, additional stock photos and graphics, fonts, etc.
Make sure everything is Published and you’re ready to launch! Woo Hoo!
I realize I wasn’t able to dive into great detail on each step for setting up your WordPress website… That might take an entire eBook to do. If you still find this too difficult or need some guidance, please don’t hesitate to contact me!
I am also offering 5-Page WordPress websites for $450.00 if you want me to take over and get your website up and running for you. Just mention this deal when you submit the contact form.
If you were able to get your website up and running yourself, please share it in the comments below! I’d love to see your masterpiece!
**Affiliate links are used in this blog. I would NEVER recommend something I don’t use AND enjoy myself.