Choosing WordPress to build and design your website is a smart decision. WordPress is user-friendly, free, and customizable. Like anything, getting started may seem overwhelming, but we are going to break it down in this step-by-step instructions to give you the WordPress basics to building a beautiful website.
WordPress.com or WordPress.org
What is WordPress.com?
- WordPress.com is an online hosting website that will allow you to create, design, and manage a website.
- WordPress.com offers free and paid accounts.
- Free accounts are fully functional but have less additional options than paid accounts. The domain you choose will be a subdomain of WordPress.com. (Example: www.yourdomain.WordPress.com)
- Paid accounts will allow you to include features, additions, and extras that are otherwise unavailable with a free account.
- WordPress.com does not allow you to add your own plug-ins. This can limit your website’s maximum functionality.
- WordPress.com does not allow you to access the html, database, or any backend code that makes up your website. This means limited customization for your website.
- Choose from WordPress.com themes only. There are themes for free accounts, and additional themes for paid accounts. You cannot upload themes to WordPress.com.
We wanted to be fair and provide all of the information about both WordPress options but honestly, I would NEVER use WordPress.com. My advice? Skip it.
What is WordPress.org?
- WordPress.org will allow you to download the WordPress software for free.
- You will need a web hosting site to host your WordPress webpage.
- WordPress.org will allow you to fully control and customize your website. You can add plug-ins, access the entire backdoor html, coding, and files, and upload personal website themes.
- WordPress.org will allow you to use your own domain name as your URL.
Should I Choose WordPress.org or WordPress.com?
If you are going to be creating your own website, your best bet is to use WordPress.org. This will allow you to create a personalized website completely customizable and tailored to your preferences. Simply download the WordPress software from www.wordpress.org and you can begin building your website.
Step 1 – Link Your Domain
So we have talked about domain names before, but if you need a refresher, a domain is the name of your website that comes between www and .com. You can link your custom domain to your WordPress site by hosting the domain on a web hosting site.
Step 2 – Customizing
You have endless customization options using WordPress, as well as the option to upload your own theme, should you wish to do that.
There are many installed themes to choose from in the WordPress catalog. If you wish to change a specific area of the theme, you have access to the HTML for you to customize that specific area.
You can customize as much or as little as you wish at this step. The premade theme you choose may be exactly as you need it to be and require no additional customization.
(Pro Tip: There are a lot of free layouts to download online, and even some affordable ones to purchase from graphic designers.)
Step 3 – Plug-ins
This is an important step in creating your WordPress site. Plug-ins are a resourceful (and free) tool to incorporate on your website. Plug-ins allow your site to simply do more. Think of it as taking your website to the next level.
There is a good chance the plug-in you need is one of the 54,837 plug-ins found on WordPress. Yes, you read that right, there are 54,837 plug-ins available on WordPress for you to add to your wordpress.org website.
If your plug-in is not available on WordPress, have no fear. There is a WordPress plug-in developer tool that will allow you to develop and host your plug-in on WordPress.
Step 4 – Posts and Pages
WordPress is designed to be a weblog website. This means it is tailored to bloggers and blogging designs. WordPress began to grow and more users began choosing WordPress for their website. WordPress now gives users the choice to control the type of website they want to have, rather than restricting users to the blog-only interface. Because of this, you will need to know the difference in creating a post and creating a page.
You will want to create a page when you would like to send a reader to a specific area of your website. Think of areas such as “About Me,” or “Contact Us.”
These pages are not intended to promote comments or discussion. They are simply static pages to help your readers better understand a specific area of your website. You typically would not include a social media share button on a page.
This is the section of your website where you will update readers about a particular topic, product, or service. You will create a post to promote discussion and dialogue among readers. You will want to include a social media share button or plug-in to these posts. Allowing readers to immediately share to their favorite social media platforms will help drive traffic to your website.
The Sky is the Limit
Now that you know the WordPress basics, it’s time to put this knowledge to use.
You have an endless variety of websites you can create with WordPress. You can create a store, a membership website, an affiliate site, and much, much more.
Take time to go through the layouts and themes that are included in your WordPress account to find the best one that fits your business. Don’t be afraid to play around with the HTML; there are many free resources online that help users understand HTML and coding!
Once you have created your WordPress account, linked your domain, and personalized the theme, you are ready to add some content. Posting relevant content frequently will keep your readers engaged and coming back for more.