In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to create a WordPress website. But unlike other tutorials online, this one is different.
First, I don’t promote BlueHost or any other inexpensive web host on this post. I know that a lot of bloggers do that, but I’m not one of them.
Instead, I’m a firm believer in fast loading websites and excellent (and quick!) customer support. And from my expertise in hosting companies from the last 10 years, WPX Hosting is a clear winner.
Yes, the price is higher than an inexpensive web host. Yet, investing in your website and your business is worth it.
Second, this tutorial is very detailed. I’ll tell you everything you need to know to configure your WordPress website properly so that it’s ready for your stellar content.
Alrighty, we have some work to do. So let’s get started!
1. Sign-up with WPX Hosting
The first thing you have to do is to sign-up with a web host. And as you already know, I recommend WPX Hosting. It’s by far the best hosting company I have used in the last ten years.
Why do you need a web host? Because it’s a place for storing your website’s content. You can also use it for hosting your domain name.
So head over to WPX Hosting’s frontpage and choose Pricing > WordPress Hosting:
You then land a pricing page, where you can pick a suitable plan. I’m using the Business plan, and I love it:
Once you have chosen your plan, click the button that says Get Started, and you’ll see two new buttons, USA and UK.
From these two locations, pick the one that is closest to you. Since I live in Europe, I chose the UK.
On the next page, you’ll have to select what type of plan you want:
For this tutorial, I’m assuming that you are starting from scratch and don’t own any domain names. If this is the case, choose I Need A New Domain + Hosting.
(Please note that a domain costs $10.99/year. It’s probably $2 more expensive than registering a new domain through an external registrar. Then again, registering a new domain while you sign up with your web host makes things easier and faster for you.)
You’ll then have to choose a domain name for your website:
When picking a domain, I recommend the rule of four:
- Short: The shorter the domain, the better.
- Simple: I prefer domains without any extra characters like hyphens in it.
- .com: Unless you are using a country-specific domain name, I try to favor .com domains.
- Describes your website: Try to pick a domain name, which represents your website or what you do. When you have a domain like this, your visitors know what your website is all about.
Once you have chosen your domain and it’s available, click Order Now.
On the Domain Name Configuration section, you can leave the settings intact. If you want, you can extend the domain name period from one year to two or three years. I usually register a domain for one year, and re-register it again, if necessary.
If everything looks good on this view, click Continue.
Next, ladies and gents, we will be talking about money.
The thing is that some of you may say that WPX Hosting costs much more than the hosting that a big name blogger recommends. And this is true.
Yes, WPX Hosting costs much more than $3/month. On the other hand, what you are getting is exceptional customer support and a super-fast web host. And yes, there are a lot of folks liking this host, not just me.
When it comes to money, you have two options.
If you want to save money, and you can pay the annual hosting cost upfront, then go for it! On the other hand, you can split the costs into monthly payments by choosing the monthly billing cycle option and then click Continue:
You have now reached the end of the sign-up process. Before clicking the Checkout button at the bottom, enter your personal information on the form:
Once you have submitted your information, you’ll receive a confirmation email, and you have now registered an account with WPX Hosting.
2. Install WordPress
The next step in building your website is to install WordPress into your hosting account. And this is how you do it with WPX Hosting:
1. Log in to your hosting account
2. Choose WordPress Hosting on your dashboard:
3. Choose the product/service you are about to manage:
4. Then choose the Websites/SSL option on the menu on the left:
5. On the list of websites that you currently manage, click the Add New Website button:
6. In the Add new website or alias section, choose a Top-level domain option in the Type dropdown and the Domain Name field, enter the domain that you just registered. Then click Create Website:
7. Once your website is ready, click the turquoise Install WP button to install WordPress on your website:
8. On the confirmation page, click the Install WordPress on Website link:
9. Once you have clicked the link (as mentioned in the previous step), you’ll set the more detailed information regarding your website. All the necessary information is already there, but you can also change the pre-filled values if you want:
10. When the installation is ready, you’ll finally see your log-in information:
OK, so you have now created a website and installed WordPress on it. But you still need to do something extra.
Nowadays, it’s highly recommended to enable the HTTPS protocol on your website. So your next question is, what is HTTPS, and why do I need it?
What the Heck Is HTTPS?
Earlier, the HTTP protocol was commonly used. This meant that everything that moved between the server and your browser was unencrypted and unsecured.
However, nowadays, it’s recommended to enable the HTTPS protocol on your website. Besides, Google likes the HTTPS too (although how much it helps with your website ranking is probably just minimal).
How to enable HTTPS
1. Go to your WPX Hosting dashboard and choose Websites/SSL on the left navigation. Then click the SSL button and choose Install FREE Certificate:
2. Next, on the confirmation screen, click Install:
3. Once the installation is ready, you’ll see a confirmation on the screen.
4. Log in to your WordPress admin panel and go to Settings > General. On the WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL) fields, make sure that it says https:// instead of the http:// prefix. Also, if the www prefix is missing from either one of the addresses, add them here too:
5. Click the Save Changes button at the bottom to confirm your changes.
6. When you revisit your website, you’ll see the lock icon in front of the domain:
The lock indicates that the website is using a secure transfer protocol (HTTPS).
3. Configure WordPress
You have now installed WordPress and configured your domain name. So this means that your website is ready, waiting for a flood of visitors any minute. Hold on a bit, buddy!
Surely you can access your website, and you see something on your browser:
But that’s not the way you should leave your website. There are plenty of steps to do before you can announce your website to the world.
So first, let’s make your website more enjoyable to look at.
1. Install a New Theme
So what’s a theme? Well, it’s a template that that sets a uniform look to all of your web pages on your website. There are probably thousands of themes available for WordPress, both free and paid.
The most inexpensive way to get started is to use the themes that come with your WordPress installation. You can access them by logging into your WordPress admin panel and choosing Appearance > Themes:
At the time of writing, Twenty Nineteen is the default theme with new WordPress websites.
Although you can use these themes, I recommend that you use the one which better matches your website’s identity. And to find this kind of theme, the help is closer than you think.
On the themes page, click the Add New button at the top:
And what do you see: A new world opens in front of your eyes!
So take your time, browse around, and pick the theme that best fits your website.
Alternatively, if you want to invest some money into your template, I suggest you take a look at what ThemeForest or StudioPress has to offer. Both marketplaces are great for finding premium themes for your WordPress website.
So how do you install a theme, then?
Let’s say you wanted to install the Momoyo theme, which is a free one. So hover your mouse over the theme thumbnail in the Add Themes page in WordPress, and click Install:
Once the installation is complete, the Install button text has changed to Activate. All you have to do then is to click it so that the theme gets activated on your website.
Go to the front page of your website, and you’ll see your new theme in action:
How to Install a Premium WordPress Theme
So how do you install a commercial theme, like any of the StudioPress themes?
Well, the process is pretty simple and happens almost as quickly as with free templates, offered by WordPress.
I have written a separate tutorial on how to do that. After reading it, you know why I love StudioPress themes so much!
2. Install Plugins
So your website is now ready? Well, sort of.
One of the best things about WordPress is that it’s extensible. And the way you extend your website is with plugins.
There are both free and paid plugins, and here are the ones I use with my websites. Your website is going to be different, and the ones you end up installing will be somewhat different.
Still, this list is a great starting point for any brand-new WordPress website:
- Yoast SEO: Increases the visibility of your blog in front of search engines (OK, in front of Google!).
- WordFence: Firewall and a malware scanner for your website.
- WP Forms: Create contact forms on your WordPress site.
- Easy Updates Manager: Keep your website up-to-date with the latest security updates.
- AntiSpam by CleanTalk: Effective way to prevent spam comments on your blog. This plugin is a premium one, but the price is worth it (8 USD/year/website isn’t that much, don’t you think?)
- W3 Total Cache: Speeds up the loading times of your pages.
- Google Analytics: View analytics of your website. For instance, the plugin helps you to identify what pages/posts are popular, or how many page views your site gets.
There is one plugin that I would typically include on the list. However, WPX Hosting makes it unnecessary: a backup plugin.
WPX Hosting makes the backups automatically and keeps the data stored for 28 days. You can also do manual backups if you want. Just know that the manual backups eat your storage space, and they are kept “alive” for 24 hours.
How to Install a Plugin
Installing a plugin can be divided into two parts:
- The installation and activation.
1. Plugin Installation and Activation
You have two ways to install a plugin.
First, you can click any of the links on the list above and then Install Plugin. You’ll then land on the WordPress plugin page:
When you click the Download button, a zip file downloads to your computer. In your WordPress, head over to Plugins > Add New and click the Upload button at the top. Then choose the downloaded zip file and click Install Now:
After the installation has finished successfully, activate the plugin by clicking the Activate button:
The second way to install a plugin is probably more straightforward than the first one and takes fewer clicks.
The process starts by going to Plugins > Add New menu in WordPress. Then, in the search box, enter the name of the plugin. Once you find the right plugin on the search results, click the Install Now button:
Once the installation is ready, the button text Installation Now has changed to Activate. Once you have clicked Activate, your plugin is “live” on your website.
You may be wondering why I’m showing you two ways to install WordPress plugins.
Well, the fact is that while most of the plugins exist in the WordPress plugin directory; sometimes, you might run into a situation where the only way to install a plugin is by downloading the zip file and uploading it to your WordPress.
After installing a plugin, you'll have to configure it. And the steps to do that depends on the plugin. I will cover the configuration of these plugins mentioned above in future posts.
4. Setting Up the Rest of the WordPress
What you have done so far covers 90% of the work that you need to do when setting up a new website with WordPress.
However, there is some work left, and I suggest that you set the rest of these settings right away before you start publishing content on your blog.
- Delete the sample post
Go to Posts > All Posts and delete the Hello world! post. It’s there by default when you install WordPress:
Select the post by check-marking it and under the Bulk Actions menu, choose Move to Trash and then click Apply.
- Set a New Default Category
You want to categorize your future content the right way from the get-go.
By default, WordPress has set Uncategorized as its default category, and it cannot be removed. Instead, you can create a brand new category, and set this as the default one. Here is how to do it:
Go to Posts > Categories, and add a new default category:
Once you have defined the new category, click the Add New Category button.
Next, you want to set the new category as your default one. Go to Settings > Writing and in the Default Post Category, change a value from Uncategorized to your new category:
Confirm the changes by clicking the Save Changes button at the bottom.
- Delete Default Page
Go to Pages > All Pages, and delete the default page. Click the checkbox in front of the Sample Page, and Bulk Actions dropdown, choose the Move to Trash option. Then click the Apply button.
- Delete Extra Themes
When you install WordPress, it comes with a couple of default themes.
In most cases, you don’t use these themes at all, so it’s better to remove them entirely. And to do this, follow these steps:
Go to Appearance > Themes. Then click on top of any of the themes you want to delete:
Then, when you have opened a theme, click the Delete link at the bottom-right of the screen. Confirm the deletion by clicking OK.
- Delete Extra Plugins
Time to get rid of extra plugins.
Once you have installed WordPress, delete at least the Hello Dolly (say goodbye to Dolly!) and Akismet plugins. However, if you don’t have AntiSpam by CleanTalk, then keep Akismet.
Since Akismet is an anti-spam plugin too, it’s essential to have at least one of these kinds of tools installed on your website.
Just check the boxes in front of the plugin names, choose Delete in the Bulk Actions menu, click Apply, and confirm the action by clicking OK:
- Customize Your Theme
The overall amount of configuration you have to do depends on your theme.
In this particular case, let’s check the Site Identity section.
So first, go to Appearance > Customize > Site Identity. This section is the place where you set your site name, a tagline if you have one, and a site icon.
The site icon refers to the small image that you might see on your browser tab when you visit a website. This image is also referred to as favicon. Favicons are used for branding purposes and giving an identity for your website.
For instance, this favicon is displayed on your browser tab when you visit Wikipedia with Chrome:
To set the favicon, create an image with a size of 512x512 pixels.
Once you have this type of image available, click the Select site icon button under the Site Icon section. You can then choose the image file, either by using the media library of WordPress or by uploading an image from your computer:
- Set your Menus
(OK, folks. After you have installed WordPress, you may not yet know what your menu is going to contain. So, if you are unsure about this, skip this part and return to it once you what items you want to include in your navigation.)
Your excellent content on your website is not enough. There also has to be a way to let your visitors navigate from one page to another. And to help them do that, you provide a menu on your website.
Fortunately, it’s easy to create and maintain a menu in WordPress. To get started with building the menu, just head to Appearance > Menus. Here is what you see next:
Enter a name for your menu in the Menu Name field, and then click the Create Menu button. After you have done these steps, your menu looks like this:
Then comes the fun part (well, at least I think so ;), and you start filling your menu with navigation items. There are four ways to do it:
1. By adding pages:
Go to Pages > Add New. Then create your page and click Publish. Your newly added page is then visible under the Pages section (in Appearance > Menus):
2. By adding posts:
Go to Posts > Add New. As with the pages, when you return to the Menus page in WordPress, your post(s) will be shown under the Posts section on the left.
3. By adding custom links:
Go to Custom Links sections:
Then, enter the name of the menu item, enter a web address it should point to, and click Add to Menu. The Custom Links option can be used, for instance, when building links to external resources, outside your website.
4. By adding categories:
Open the Categories section:
You need to add categories first so that you can use them in your navigation. So head over to Posts > Categories, to do this. You can also take a look at the section “Set a New Default Category” in this post, to see how to configure categories.
Once you have worked with your menu, remember to save your work by clicking Save Menu on the right side of the screen.
- Add and Set Your Widgets
In this section, the amount of work depends on your theme and your needs.
You’ll find the available widgets when you head over to Appearance > Widgets:
For instance, with the Momoyo theme, I can drag the available widgets to the sidebar:
Then, when I load the website again, this new widget is displayed on there:
- Set Your Profile Information
What we are setting next is your WordPress profile information.
So set your First Name, Last Name, Nickname, Display name publicly, and Email fields. The Username field is most likely already set by WPX Hosting, and that is the one you use when you log into WordPress.
When you scroll down this page a bit, you’ll see other profile information that you should configure:
Once you have done all the changes, click the Update Profile button.
Already tired about setting your WordPress?
Well, I’m happy to say that this is the last section that you’ll have to take care of. And once you have done this, you have configured your new website, and you can then start filling it with great content!
Head over to Settings > General, and set the ones marked with a red rectangle in the following picture:
Next, set the reader settings by going to Settings > Reading. Here, the most important section is how your blog posts are displayed.
For instance, you can leave the setting as is, so that the front page of your website displays your latest blog posts.
However, another popular way is to set the front page as a static page, and your blog posts are displayed on a separate page. To set this up, create two static pages in Page > Add New view. Once you have done this, choose the A static page radio button.
On the home page section, choose the page created solely for the home page as the value for your dropdown. In my case, the Homepage is My test page, and the Posts page is Blog. Once you have done these changes, click the Save Changes button at the bottom.
5. Write Your First Post
We have now covered everything that you need to do after installing WordPress. The next part is the fun part: creating content!
To get started with your first post (the same applies to pages, too), go to Posts > Add New. What you’ll see next is the view where you write your content:
In the Add title section, you give a title for your post. Then, under the Title, comes the body of your post. When you hover the mouse over the body text part, you’ll see a formatting box appear above the content:
What’s interesting in this box is the Blocks component. Here, you can add different blocks of content to your posts or pages. When you hover your mouse over a paragraph, you’ll see a plus sign (you can also see this plus sign at the top-left of the post, too):
Just click the plus sign, and a component list opens (the screenshot shows just a part of the list):
Then, by clicking one of the components, it’s added to your page:
And don’t worry if the added block is in the wrong place - you can always change its location on the post/page if needed.
So go ahead and compose your post with the necessary content and blocks. Once you are finished writing, you should also set the proper category, permalink structure, and featured image.
Once you are ready with your post, click the Publish button at the top-right, and your first post is then live on your WordPress website!
OK, this part of writing the post was maybe a bit too light for you. But rest assured, I’m about to create a more comprehensive tutorial on this same topic very soon.
How to Create a WordPress Website: Conclusion
You have now created a website with WordPress, and your journey has just begun. So what happens next?
Well, you need to start filling up your website with high-quality content consistently. You also need to get people to visit your blog so that your website can grow. There are many ways to do this, and I’ll cover these topics in future articles.
I hope that with this post, you now know how to create a WordPress website with WPX Hosting. Once you have set everything correctly, it’s easier to start developing great content on your website.
- Free vs. Premium WordPress Themes: Which One Should You Pick for Your Writer Website? - April 2, 2020
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- 11 Must-Have Plugins for Your Freelance Writer Website - January 20, 2020