WordPress is a godsend for all of us out there looking to build a website. Why would you spend a ton of money on a programmer or even consider trying to learn a programming language when you have WordPress, one of the most accessible and most customizable website builders out there?
Why would you pay for a site like Wix or Squarespace when you can use WP, and it’s plugins – which are largely free or pretty damn close to free – to your advantage?
Customization might seem intimidating because there may seem to be endless choices, but once you understand how to use the tools at your disposal you can make smart and informed decisions when building your site!
Here’s everything you need to know when it comes to using WordPress as a beginner:
Creating your WP Site
Before you start using WordPress, you need to make a website first! The easiest way to go about this is to use a hosting vendor that allows you to purchase a – or includes one for free – domain name.
Choosing a domain may be tricky if the most optimal domain name for your site is already taken… in that case you can reach out to the webmaster and see if you can buy it (I’d do this if the page looks old and un-visited) or you can brainstorm and come up with a new one!
If you’ve purchased your domain name through the same service you’re purchasing hosting through, then this step is usually taken care of for you.
But if you have purchased your domain through a different service, you’re going to have to point your domain to the correct nameserver (sometimes referred to as DNS).
You want your domain to go to the correct server when someone types it into an address bar, and this is why nameservers (DNS) are important! They usually look something like this:
Choosing a great theme is super important if you want to catch the attention of your audience. Additionally, you really need to make sure that the theme is easy to use for what your goal is so that your viewers don’t get lost or frustrated. For instance, if you’re mainly using your site as a blog, you shouldn’t be using a pre-made theme that’s better suited for an online store!
You should look for themes that boast support for some of the most popular and effective plug-ins (which we’ll get to in a second) such as WooCommerce; otherwise, your site might look wonky!
Plug-ins are one of the best parts about WP! Some of them help keep your site safe, running, and functional.
An essential plug-in every kind of site needs is the All in one SEO pack, which helps optimize your site for discovery on search engines. This plug-in will help you get an idea of what your posts will look like in a Google search and give you a bunch of meta-data about each post.
Check out the plug-ins tab in WP for more top-rated plug-ins.
When you’re creating pages, you shouldn’t just be concerned with posts or general information. Make sure that your navigation includes well-filled out pages entitled About, Contact, or pages you need like terms of service for your site if it so happens to be an ecommerce site.