Build a Website
Get Started with WordPress
Building a WordPress website does not have to be intimidating or even a challenge, in fact, it can be fun. Follow the roadmap laid out in this post, and you will not only have your site up and running in no time, but you will also enjoy doing it.
Step 1: Buy a Domain Name
This step sounds easy, but this may be one of the most time-consuming parts of the entire process. Choosing the right domain name for your business is extremely important, and you should not take it lightly. There are a few things you must consider to ensure you pick the best possible domain name, so read on.
There are four critical things you need to consider before you purchase your domain name and we have listed them below. Please take this seriously and do your research before you choose a domain name, or you will certainly regret it later.
IS YOUR DOMAIN NAME….
- The same as your business name?
- As short a possible, keeping in mind #1?
- Available on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites?
- Choose a .com domain, period! No .net, .org, .anything!
The .com thing and keeping your domain name short as short as possible were clear enough that we don’t need to go over those, right? Great, let’s focus on points 1 & 3, so you understand how important they are to the success of your website.
One and three are quite similar, in that your business, website, and social media names should all be as similar as possible, in fact, it is best if they are exactly the same. This may be difficult depending on the name of your business, but if you have not registered a business this is the perfect opportunity to create a business name that can satisfy all three of these points.
Business Name: My Island Designs
Get the idea?
Step 2: Create a Web Hosting Account
There are hundreds of web hosts to choose from, but we highly recommend selecting a host that offers cPanel and a script installer. cPanel is user-friendly, and an excellent tool for managing your hosting account. cPanel is also very widely used and thus well documented, so your questions can be answered with a quick Google or Bing search.
All web hosts are not equal, and merely having unlimited storage and bandwidth is not enough. Far too many hosts put too many users on underpowered servers, which will make your site load slowly, especially during peak demand, which will cause visitors to back out of your site before it even loads. We recommend purchasing a mid-tier account at a reputable web host since this should offer the best balance of price and quality.
The My Island Designs website is hosted by a2 HOSTING, and we are very satisfied with their services and support. They offer a good selection of hosting products at great prices and their shared hosting accounts include cPanel and free SSL.
At the time of writing this article, we do not have an affiliate account with this company and we are not linking to any of the sites we list here, even though we may have affiliate accounts with some of them. This recommendation is based purely on our personal experience with this host.
Step 3: Find the Perfect WordPress Theme
We are not going to go into great length on this topic since it was addressed in a previous blog post, so please read our previous post to learn how to pick the Best WordPress Theme.
Step 4: Building a WordPress Website
One of the reasons we recommend purchasing your hosting from a company that offers cPanel and Softaculous is how easy it is to install WordPress. On some hosts you will need to install WordPress manually by creating a database, downloading WordPress, editing the configuration file to add the database information and then upload your WordPress files via FTP.
Although this is not hard to do for someone who is tech savvy, it represents a steep learning curve for someone who just wants a website up and running and has no interest in learning to do this manually, especially if this is the first and possibly the only site they will create.
One Click Installs With Softaculous
With Softaculous creating a WordPress site is quite easy, you log in to your cPanel, scroll to the Softaculous section, choose WordPress, and click a button to install it on your domain. Now you can log in to your WordPress dashboard and install a theme, plugins, and start creating your pages and posts.
Step 5: Add These Essential WordPress Plugins
Depending on the type of website you are creating, your business needs and the purpose of the site you may want to add plugins that we have not listed here. This is not intended to be a comprehensive list of plugins; it is only meant to be a starting point that will be useful for the vast majority of websites.
- All-in-One WP Migration: Backup and migration.
- Caldera Forms: Our favorite form builder
- Companion Sitemap Generator: XML sitemap generator.
- Duplicate Post: Create new pages by cloning existing pages.
- Duplicator: Backup and migration.
- Revision Control: Limit page and post revisions.
- UpdraftPlus: Backup/Restore
- W3 Total Cache: WordPress performance.
- Wordfence Security: WordPress security.
- WP Smush: Image optimization.
- Yoast SEO: Search engine optimization.
You may notice there are THREE plugins used for backups and migration. That is because this is one of the most important things to consider when managing your site. In our experience, no plugin is perfect when it comes to backing up and restoring a WordPress website, so having options is highly recommended.
There are alternatives for most or all of these plugins, but we have used these plugins together on many of our sites and the websites of our clients’, and they play nice together, which is not always the case for WordPress plugins.
Step 6: Get Traffic to Your Site – SEO – Social Media
Learn how to drive traffic to your website by reading our blog article Get Better Rankings. This article goes into detail on how to achieve higher rankings in major search engines like Google and Bing. However, there are no shortcuts, unless you want to risk being banned at some point in the future. The way to get better rankings is to create a great site that is useful to your target audience, and filled with awesome content.
Search Google for almost any topic and you will see authority sites like Wikipedia rank well for countless keywords. If you want to rank well for your target keywords you should consider establishing yourself as an authority on that topic. At the very least you need to build your website with these keywords in mind and create enough high-quality content for the searches engines to clearly understand the focus of your site.
Give careful thought to each step of this process and you will save yourself a lot of trouble creating and managing your WordPress website. If this process is too hard or boring, you are most likely not following the recommendations in this article. Take your time, plan, and enjoy the process of creating your WordPress website.
- Register a Great Domain Name
- Purchase Hosting with cPanel
- Find the Perfect WordPress Theme
- Build Your WordPress Site with One-Click
- Install Essential and Compatible Plugins
- Search Engine Optimization