WordPress for Beginners: How WordPress Works
The steps to follow to build a website using WordPress are simple and include:
- Decide on a WordPress plan
- Choose a Domain Name
- Choose a Hosting Provider
- Choose a WordPress Theme
- Add pages and/or posts
- Customize your WordPress website
- Install plugins
- Optimize your website
Decide on a WordPress plan
WordPress.com has several options for users that include a free plan and at least two paid plans. f you are not going to monetize your website, the free plan will be sufficient. Or, if you are a beginner, the free plan is also your best choice.
If you intend to monetize your website, then you may decide that one of the paid plans is better for your purposes. One key difference between the free plan and the paid plans is the ability to add or install an unlimited number of plugins with a paid plan.
Choose a Domain Name
Choosing a domain is a crucial decision
A domain can be compared to an address – it is where on the internet your website can be found. Once you decide on domain, you will need to ensure that it is available. In other words, you must make sure it is not being used or owned by another person, business or entity. Once availability is verified, you will be able to purchase the domain for a small annual fee (usually between $9.00-$15.00 USD).
Choose a Hosting Provider
Once a wordpress plan and a domain name are chosen the next step is to make the website ‘live’ on the internet. To do this, a hosting plan is necessary – essentially, a hosting plan is the process of purchasing internet space where your website and the information will live.
There are different types of hosting plans each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
Choose a WordPress Theme
A wordpress theme is a group of files that is responsible for the overall website appearance. The theme can control the website’s layout, color scheme, headers and footers, typography and backgrounds.
There are free themes available as well as premium or paid themes. In considering what theme is most appropriate for a website, one must prioritize website functions and understand his or her requirements in a website.
In choosing a wordpress theme, one might consider:
- Check if theme is customizable
- Check compatibility with plugins
- Check ratings and reviews
- Check optimization for search engines
- Check theme updates
Add Pages or Posts
Create Page in WordPress
In the left-hand side navigation menu within wordpress, use the ‘Pages’ tab. Click ‘Add New’ in the top left-hand side of the next page. This will allow one access to the wordpress classic page editor.
- Add a Page Title
- Add Content on the page
- Click ‘Publish’ in the top right-hand side to make the page live
- Click ‘Update’ in the top right-hand side to update the ‘live’ page if and when one makes changes or additions to the title or content of the page
Create Post in WordPress
In the left-hand side navigation menu within wordpress, use the ‘Posts’ tab. Click ‘Add New’ in the top left-hand side of the next page. This will allow one access to the wordpress classic post editor.
- Add a Post Title
- Add Content on the post
- Click ‘Publish’ in the top right-hand side to make the post live
- Click ‘Update’ in the top right-hand side to update the ‘live’ post if and when one makes changes or additions to the title or content of the post
Customize your WordPress Website
The easiest and most streamlined way to customize your wordpress website is to use the WordPress Customizer.
Once logged into the wordpress admin area of the website, click the ‘Appearance’ tab in the left-side menu and then select ‘Customize’. This will allow one to customize everything the wordpress theme allows to be customized.
Step-by-Step Guide to WordPress Customization
- Configure WordPress Settings
- Add New Users
- Customize the Theme
- Install and Set Up Essential Plugins
- Integrate SEO
- Create your Content
- Build a Contact Form
- Add Widgets
- Setup Menu(s)
- Connect to Google
A plugin is software that is added or ‘plugged in’ to a wordpress website. Plugins enhance or add functionality to any wordpress site that can include ecommerce, directories, portfolios, scheduling, contact forms, website backups, and much more. There are over 50,000 available wordpress plugins as of January 2023.
There are three methods to use to install a wordpress plugin:
- Use the Plugin tool in the WordPress dashboard left-hand side menu
- Manually upload a Plugin
- Add a Plugin using FTP (file transfer protocol)
Optimize your Website
Optimization is the process of enhancing and customizing the wordpress setup to improve overall site performance, speed and discoverability. To achieve this one can adjust specifications, update plugins, update wordpress, optimize WP database, and optimize speed.
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