Two out of every five sites are already using the WordPress platform. In this beginner-friendly guide, we show you how to build a WordPress website with WordPress!
WordPress is designed to be easy to use. However, creating your own website can still seem like an intimidating task. This is particularly true if you've never made a site before.
Fortunately, it is possible to build a WordPress website with zero previous web design and development experience. You can do it relatively quickly, whether you're creating a hobby blog, a business site, or an e-commerce store.
In this guide, we'll show you how to build a website with WordPress from scratch. Along the way, we'll share advice and best practices to set up your new online venture for success. Let's get started!
Step 1: Buy a domain name
The first step of building a WordPress website is purchasing a domain name. This is the address people will enter into their browsers when they want to visit your site.
Your domain name plays a huge role in your online branding. As such, it's essential to make the right decision. While you can change your domain at any point, this can hurt your branding. It may also harm your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) rankings.
If you're creating a business website, you'll typically want to feature your company name in your domain. If this name is short, you could also add relevant keywords. Doing this can boost your SEO rankings.
Just don't get carried away! Long URLs are more difficult for customers to remember. They also create more opportunities for spelling mistakes and typos.
If you're feeling uninspired, then entering a few keywords into the BlueHost domain finder may help fire up your imagination. You can usually expect to pay $8 - $15 for a domain name. But you can get a free domain with Bluehost.
Step 2: Purchase web hosting
Every website is hosted on a web server. You could set up your own server. However, most WordPress site owners choose to pay a third party for hosting.
When you choose a hosting provider, they are responsible for maintaining the server, including replacing outdated hardware. Depending on your choice of provider, it might even help you out with routine maintenance tasks. For example, the company might assist with creating regular backups, installing the latest versions of WordPress core, and monitoring your site for performance issues.
There is a wide range of providers, hosting types, and packages that you can choose from. The best WordPress hosting provider for you will depend on factors such as your budget and the volume of web traffic you're expecting.
However, downtime is bad news for any website. For this reason, we recommend looking for a provider that offers high uptime rates and even an uptime guarantee:
Security is also a massive concern for website owners. Ideally, your hosting provider will offer built-in security features. For example, your plan may include firewalls, virus scanners, and a complimentary Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate.
Page speeds can also affect how high your site appears in the search engine results. If your WordPress website is going to attract traffic, then performance is vital. With this in mind, we recommend opting for a provider that offers speed-boosting features, such as a Content Delivery Network (CDN).
Step 3: Install WordPress
If you opt for a managed WordPress hosting service, your account will come with WordPress pre-installed. However, depending on your hosting provider and package choice, you may need to install this popular content management system (CMS).
The steps will vary depending on your web host. However, as a general rule, you'll need to log into your hosting control panel. There, you can search for any options labeled Popular Apps or Popular Software.
Alternatively, some hosting panels include the Softaculous installer. This program has everything you need to set up WordPress:
After installing WordPress, you'll typically need to answer a few questions. For example, you'll need to choose the domain you want to use and the directory where you're installing WordPress. Your provider will then get to work and tell you once the installation is complete.
The next step is configuring your primary domain. This is the address that people will see in their address bars when they visit your site.
In your provider's control panel, search for any options labeled Domains. In this section, you can select the custom domain you want to use as your primary URL.
Step 4: Choose a WordPress theme
Whenever you create a website, WordPress applies a default theme automatically. However, this is just one option among many. There may be a free theme that's a much better fit for your website:
As part of the WordPress community, you have access to a wide variety of third-party themes. For example, you can use options designed specifically for different types of websites, such as e-commerce stores:
You'll find plenty of free WordPress themes in the official WordPress repository. To access this feature, navigate to Appearance → Themes → Add New in your WordPress dashboard:
From here, you can browse, preview, and install WordPress themes. Alternatively, if you want to splash out on a premium theme, then you open up tons more options. For example, Astra is designed to work great with page builders like Elementor.
If you decide to purchase a premium theme, you can download it as a .zip file. Then, navigate to Appearance → Themes → Add New → Upload Theme in your WordPress dashboard. From here, you can upload and activate your premium theme:
When shopping around, it's important to consider each potential candidate carefully. You can do this by checking out its recent reviews and the date of its latest update. An outdated or poorly-developed theme can make your site more vulnerable to hackers.
While it is possible to change your theme later, this can potentially break your site. So, it's worth investing time and effort into finding the best option from the start.
Step 5: Customize your site
After choosing your theme, you'll typically want to customize it. These steps will vary depending on the kind of website you're creating. However, most WordPress site owners will start by changing the title.
The site title is an element that appears at the top of every page. Since it has a prime position, you'll typically want to use the name of your business or your website.
To edit the title, navigate to Settings → General:
While you're here, you may also want to add a tagline. This is a short phrase or sentence that appears beneath the title.
Your WordPress homepage can either be static or dynamic. Dynamic pages display all of your content in reverse chronological order. This choice could be perfect for drawing attention to your most recent blog posts.
The other option is a static display. This selection creates a dedicated page that will serve as your homepage. It tends to be a good fit for business websites.
By default, WordPress uses a dynamic homepage. However, you can replace this with a static homepage by navigating to Settings → Reading:
Next, select A static page. You can then open the accompanying dropdown and choose your new homepage from the list.
Step 6: Create pages and posts
WordPress websites consist of posts and pages. Posts automatically position your most recent content at the top of the screen, making them ideal for WordPress bloggers.
In contrast, pages are static. Since your content remains fixed in the same location, pages are firm favorites with business websites.
To create a post, navigate to Posts → Add New. You can now add a title, embed photos and videos, and insert other elements in blocks:
To save your changes without publishing them, click on Save Draft. When you're ready to go live, select Publish.
If you're running a website, you'll typically want to create a dedicated homepage. To achieve this, navigate to Page → Add New. You can now add content to this area in precisely the same way you would write a post.
It's not unusual for WordPress sites to feature a mix of posts and pages. Even if you're creating a blog page, you might still benefit from an About or Contact Us page.
Blogging also forms the cornerstone of many businesses' content marketing strategies. Therefore, you may also want to consider creating a blog for your business website.
Step 7: Enhance your site with WordPress plugins
Plugins contribute a lot to the WordPress experience. There are WordPress plugins to help you accomplish almost any task imaginable.
To start exploring your options, navigate to Plugins → Add New in the WordPress dashboard:
With a new website, you'll likely want to do everything in your power to appeal to the search engines. Here, a good Google Analytics plugin and SEO plugin can set you up for success.
Gathering potential leads, enabling mailing list signups, and monetizing your site are all possible with WordPress forms. If you want to collect any data from your visitors, a good contact form plugin is essential.
Using Formidable Forms, the best forms plugin, you can build powerful, data-driven forms using a simple drag and drop editor:
Formidable Forms also boasts a wide range of form templates. They include donation, contact us, registration, and payment forms. The combination of ready-made templates and an intuitive editor makes form creation easy. After making your forms, you can explore the collected data with built-in graphs and views.
If you're planning to sell your services or products, it's also worth looking at the WooCommerce plugin. This platform has everything you need to turn your WordPress website into an online store. In fact, WooCommerce is so popular that it powers 28 percent of the top one million e-commerce stores:
If you're creating an e-commerce store, you might be happy to learn that Formidable Forms integrates with WooCommerce. The integration gives you more control over your product pages and WooCommerce registration forms. It also enables you to collect more data from your customers.
WordPress is a secure, reliable, and user-friendly platform for launching your own website. It's easy to see why two out of every five websites use this CMS.
If you're wondering how to make a WordPress website, it's wise to put some serious thought into selecting a domain name. Your choice of web hosting provider can also set up your online business for success. Then, you can customize your site with a relevant theme and plugins.
If you want to collect any data from your visitors, Formidable Forms is a must-have for WordPress websites. Whether you're accepting payments, creating a contact us page, or running a survey, Formidable Forms makes it easy to create responsive, engaging forms in seconds.