A Short Post On How To Make a WordPress Website
Hi everyone! I decided to write this short post on how to make a WordPress website because I thought this info will be useful for not only my friends and relatives who want to know how to do so… But also for any one of you who came across this while searching how to make a WordPress website.
Before I begin, do let me know in the comments if you feel I’ve left something out. Because I may have neglected or skipped some parts (after having learnt 2 years ago on my own and) after getting used to making WordPress-based sites.
Why WordPress? To me, it’s because all I had to do to get a pretty good looking site without knowing a single line of code (‘cept for some basic HTML), was to get hosting and then buy a premium WordPress theme.
Things you’ll need:
A domain name
I get mine from GoDaddy.com. Just key in the name you want, see if it’s available, then buy it. A normal domain name can cost about SGD$21 or slightly more for 2 years.
I also recommend adding Privacy Protection (available when you view your shopping cart) that’s SGD$16.49 per domain/year so that your full name and residential address is hidden and isn’t available for viewing from anyone and everyone on the Internet.
Also, you’ll notice that I keep my domain name provider and host provider separate. That way, you’ll probably get a bit more flexibility and won’t feel that you’re “held hostage” by having everything under one provider.
GoDaddy regularly emails existing customers discount codes that can go up to 35% off for new products, so if you have a friend who is already one, ask him or her for a code.
I strongly recommend Siteground for this. When I first started making websites, I started out with Bluehost… but decided to switch to Siteground because the former seemed to keep going down on me. I couldn’t have that, especially since the (first) website I did was for a retail store with an e-commerce page.
So yes, you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches with Siteground. In fact, over the past 2 years, I’ve never known them to go down at all. And their service is top-notch. They’ve also saved my skin quite a few times when things go wrong…
How can things go wrong? For example, when you update certain plugins without updating your WordPress version first…. Or if you were a noob klutz like me back then and accidentally deleted the whole dang website.
So yes, you can trust Siteground for sure! If you’re happy with the advice and steps I list out in this post, please use my affiliate link to support me a little when you decide to use Siteground for your hosting. Thanks!
Their prices start from US$3.95/month with the StartUp plan. I recommend their US$5.95/month GrowBig plan, as it allows for multiple websites. But you can see exactly which best fits your needs here: https://www.siteground.com/web-hosting.htm
Granted, their prices are not the cheapest, but you’ll be patting yourself on the back for making this wise decision. I’m happy paying them for a real peaceful peace of mind, ha!
Ok, when you install WordPress on your website, you’ll notice that there are 3 free themes already installed. But if you want a really professional looking site for yourself or your customer, you’ll find those lacking…
After doing some Googling and poring through the tonnes of themes available out there, I chose Kallyas from Themeforest.net. This is a non-affiliate link, by the way.
I’ve found Kallyas to be very useful, and the many demos they have included really speeds things up for when you want a site done fast(er). What you have to do after that is tweak the content and copy.
(“Copy” refers to the text that’s in the site, brochures etc that you come across in daily life)
Other popular themes are Avada.
There will be a learning curve when you find out how to best use and modify the theme to suit your use. It took me about 3 months, as a complete noob, to finish the www.bikesnbites.com website.
Each WordPress website can be made loads better with the use of Plugins. I also mention them in another post, but I’ll list them again so you don’t have to navigate away.
When you’re in your Dashboard (backend) area, click Plugins, and then Add New.
Search for and install and activate these Plugins before you do anything else:
- Wordfence. Probably one of the best security plugins. Free, unless you really need the premium features.
- UpdraftPlus Backup/Restore. Backup and restore plugin. Link it to your Dropbox (have a window opened with you logged into Dropbox), follow the instructions and UpdraftPlus will backup your site to it.
- Yoast SEO. This helps to guide you in writing better SEO pages or content. When you create a new page (or work on an existing one), you’ll notice it near the bottom. Edit from there and follow most of their suggestions until you get a green light that indicates the SEO for your page/post is good.
- Google XML Sitemaps. “This plugin improves SEO using sitemaps for best indexation by search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and others.”
- Google Analytics Dashboard for WP (GADWP). “Displays Google Analytics Reports and Real-Time Statistics in your Dashboard. Automatically inserts the tracking code in every page of your website.” Useful for finding out visitor data and which of your pages and posts attracted their eyes. You’ll need to use your Google account (you already have one if you have gmail) to setup your Analytics key. You can follow the instructions and get your key here: https://analytics.google.com/analytics/web/
Not crucial to have, but good to.
- Duplicate Post. Clones posts and pages easily and instantaneously. Very useful if you have pages that you want looking the same, but with different content later on.
- Simple Drop cap. Copywriting trick… Drop caps have a enlarged first letter in the first paragraph. Why drop caps? Because they attract and guide the human eye to start reading from there. Our eyes are lazy, so any little thing that helps with the ease of reading can encourage your readers to stay a while longer on your site.
- All-in-One WP Migration. This plugin lets you download your entire site as a backup, or if you want to move it somewhere else later on. Would also recommend getting the premium version, as that’s only when it allows you to restore a site that’s larger than a certain file size.
While you’re building up your site, you’ll probably have to or want to add pictures. Don’t upload photos that are 1MB or bigger. In fact, if you can, keep the file sizes down to maybe 200kb to 500kb tops. Reason being is that if you have big photo files, your website will load slower, and that affects your Google pagespeed results… AND also your Google ranking.
You can check your Page Speed with Google’s useful tool here: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
If you find that your site is slow, there are some things you can consider…
- Look through and reduce your picture file sizes. I use Photoshop for this, and use the Save For Web option.
- Pay for and use MaxCDN or StackPath. These are Cloud Delivery Networks that do this, according to this wikipedia article: “A content delivery network or content distribution network (CDN) is a geographically distributed network of proxy servers and their data centers. The goal is to distribute service spatially relative to end-users to provide high availability and high performance. CDNs serve a large portion of the Internet content today, including web objects (text, graphics and scripts), downloadable objects (media files, software, documents), applications (e-commerce, portals), live streaming media, on-demand streaming media, and social networks.”
- Install plugins like W3 Total Cache or WP Hyper Speed
- Just a word of caution on W3 Total Cache. When you have updates that you need to run on WordPress, please update your WordPress version FIRST, before you update W3 Total Cache. This can help prevent errors from cropping up.
Once all that’s done, you’ll also have to find out how to get people to know that your website exists, and to come visit. You’ll have to do some advertising… Whether it’s word of mouth, sharing on your Facebook profile or page, or advertising on Facebook and/or Google.
That’ll be another topic by itself…
Care for your WordPress site
Your WordPress site needs care from time to time too. Reason being that WordPress, your theme maker and plugin authors will roll out updates regularly. These also usually include security plugs, as WordPress can be vulnerable to hacks and attacks.
So, just log in maybe once a week and run those updates.
P.S. Did I miss anything out on how to make a WordPress website? Need more info? Do let me know in the comments. Thanks!