Build a WordPress Website: Introduction
How to Build a Website Using WordPress Series:
- Step 1: Buying a Domain Name through GoDaddy
- Step 2: Self Hosted
- Step 3: Web Security
- Step 4: Applying a WordPress Template (coming soon)
- The WordPress Dashboard (coming soon)
- Posts vs Pages (coming soon)
- Ecommerce (coming soon)
- Plugins (coming soon)
In this series, I will be teaching a step by step on how to get your website up and running by yourself. If you don’t want to hire a web designer or programmer, and want to build a basic website on your own, and are willing to learn with some really simple steps, you have come to the right place.
Do you need to be tech savvy?
You should have basic knowledge on how to navigate the internet, basic terminology, time commitment and a willingness to learn.
Do you need to have an eye for design to build a website?
I would go out on a limb and say yes, just in case my peers come to my house with pitchforks, but in reality, all you need is really good photography, a solid marketing plan, an eye for overall design, what looks good and a knowledge of what colours go together. I would stress that Photoshop should be in your back pocket, however there are alternatives to Photoshop for editing photos and making titles. A little OCD rounds out the entire game plan.
Do you need to have programming skills?
My answer would be no. I went to school for design and art. When I graduated, the internet had just started, so I was building sites with animated gifs, 3D photoshop titles and basic HTML in Macromedia Dreamweaver. Technology has changed so much in the past 15 years. The one thing I stuck with was my eye for design and that is what I always fall back to. Most of my web skills learned were through trial and error, on the job learning, working and collaborating with other partners as I go, and sometimes winging it with clients and praying. I realized at some point that I could not do it all. I could not fake that I knew how to code and program and that I needed to work with a programmer who did all the behind the scenes stuff. For information websites with relatively low maintenance ecommerce, I was able to build this on my own with my own companies and for clients as well. Fortunately nowadays, there are so many tech companies that help everyday people with no design experience get their website up and running with really user friendly web interfaces and virtually no programming knowledge is required. However, most people feel overwhelmed and do not know where to start or how to start even with building a professional website.
There are 4 basic components to building a website:
A domain name is www.marinalovescooking.com. Think of your storefront sign.
A web host is a place where your files are stored virtually. Think of your store space where it houses your products.
- Web Security
Think of an alarm monitoring system that will alert you if an intruder comes into your store and decides to steal or deface your products (your files). And even better than an actual alarm company, they will repair the damages that the intruders messed up so that your store is fully functional and ready to be back in business.
- Applying a WordPress Template
I will discuss more on this later. There are several different places you can get themes from.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is an open source platform and it is free. This means that developers and coders are able to customize plugins and apps to sell or give away for free. However, just like with Facebook, or Gmail, you will likely not find a reliable tech support contact number should you run into issues. Most of your troubleshooting will be browsing forums and discussing with community members. The upside to WordPress is that it is a rather large community, in the millions. The reason I love WordPress is because of it’s flexibility and ability to use specific plugins for whatever task that you need.
There are 2 ways to host your site using WordPress:
- Hosted through wordpress.com
You do not have to worry about your files being stored on a remote server through a 3rd party hosting company which is added additional cost. Go to wordpress.com and click “Get Started” and be set up in a matter of minutes for free. If you know how to use Microsoft Word, then you will be able to use their WYSIWYG editor. Keep in mind that your domain name will be www.marinalovescooking.wordpress.com. And this looks unprofessional and cheap if you are a company, but perfect for a personal blog on cats (I have a couple of personal blogs like this so I am not judging!) Note that you will be stuck with their really basic WordPress templates that looks very cookie cutter. You can upgrade and get your own domain name through WordPress for a fee which is comparable to other leading domain name services, however there are limitations when going this route, such as the inability to add Google Adsense. Premium templates are also offered a price, but I find that these themes are rather limited in functionality compared to other self hosted themes.
- Self Hosted using wordpress.org
You purchase your domain name through a domain name registry service like Godaddy.
You purchase your hosting through a web hosting company. I recommend Hostgator.
You apply a template from Themeforest.
I will be focusing my entire “How To Build a Website Series” on this Self Hosted option.
If you don’t want to use WordPress, another option is going in a completely different route and using squarespace.com. Squarespace is an all in one where you can register a domain name and use their hosting services along with their templates. It’s like using WordPress.com however it is not an open sourced platform and you will get very good tech support for a monthly fee. A really good article that compares WordPress.com and Squarespace.com can be found here. Again, the only downside to this is because it is not an open source platform, you are not exposed to the thousands of available plugins that are available on the market.
So, to summarize, there are four main steps to get started:
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