Published on March 13th, 2014 | by Daniel0
Build Your Own WordPress Website
If you are new to building websites, I would recommend you to go with WordPress as a starting point. It is easily the most user-friendly CMS platform available for free. The learning curve is not steep. And due to its popularity, there are many themes (designs) available that you can buy in the market. This makes that you can build a website according to your demands quite easily.
It is a help if you have some knowledge of HTML/CSS, but it is not necessary when you build your website with WordPress.
How To Start
There are basically two ways to run a WordPress blog: base it in their network or use your own domain. In the first case your domain name will be an extension of the WordPress url, like wordpress.oogg.com. This is fine probably if you blog as a hobby, but does not look so professional if you have a more commercial goal.
So in the latter case I would recommend to always host WordPress on your own domain. This is not so hard as it sounds. And over the long run you will have something of value that is really yours.
First, go to WordPress.org and download their software. Make sure you have your own domain name with hosting as well – which you bought from a domain registrar, like Namecheap or Hostgator. Then upload the WordPress software to your own domain. You can follow the clear instructions on the WordPress site for this. A good help also is the use of FTP software, like Filezilla (free), which makes sure that you connect your website to all the files you have on your harddrive of your computer and can upload them.
Especially take care during the installation that create a database (you can do this in your administration area at your hostingprovider, often directadmin or cpanel), and that you edit the WordPress wp-config file accordingly. Be precise, one typo in this file and the installation will not work.
After you have installed the software successfully go to your domain and then a WordPress administration form will pop up. Here you can choose your login details for your website. After that you can login with your chosen credentials. A good thing to do is to bookmark the login address of your website, so you can get there easily every time you want to edit or update your website.
After WordPress Login
When you login to the WordPress CMS of your website you will have a lot of options. But the good thing is that you do not have to worry about all of time, most things are “nice to haves” or are for real fine-tuning.
The most important menu items you have to consider are (from the top down):
Posts – Here is where you publish your articles and website content. There is an extensive text editor so you can make it look great.
Pages – This is to post your static content, like the “about us” or a general page for the website topic.
Comments – Here is an overview of all comments that are given in response to your articles. You can turn the ability for commenting off if you so desire.
Appearance – This menu setting is where you change your theme and design your blog.
Plugins – Very important for customization. You can download different handy plugins that make your website easier to use and more attractive. View also this list of the 10 best for blogs.
Settings – This is where you should start. Among other things, you can name your website, control how your articles are viewed, and how your urls look like. See also the general tips at the bottom of this article.
How to Design
Obviously you can make your own design for your website, but this is not easy if you have little knowledge of HTML/CSS. Better is to buy a design online or even use a free design. There are tons of themes online you can use and download. Most more advanced themes and with better design have to be paid for, prices range from $30 to $60 on average. In my opinion the best spot to buy themes is Themeforest, which is a kind of marketplace for web designers to sell their website themes. The quality on average is very good, and the designs come with good documentation. The great thing is that when you buy a theme, you will get also all future updates. This will make sure that your theme keeps up with the times over the years, and you do not have to change themes every year or so.
Choose a theme that is close to your preferred look and functionality of your website. In that case you do not have to do any customizing. If you want to customize your design though, you could either have someone do it for you (via platform as oDesk, Elance) for a small fee, or learn HTML/CSS a little bit. A good basis to learn HTML/CSS is via Codecademy. HTML/CSS is easy to learn and it is a very useful knowledge with which can make your website just as you want it to look like. I customize all my themes extensively – but then, I like to customize the small details a lot.
The WordPress documentation on their website is very good. Installation is straightforward and quick. There are some things to take into account though. Here some tips:
> If you do not know where to start, draw you whole website on a piece of paper. Start with the basics and create you menu. This will give you an idea how your website will be structured. Then just start. Your website will mature organically over time and everything will fall into place after you published some articles.
> Take care that your login and admin areas are protected against hackers. For this you can use the excellent Better WP Security Plugin.
> In case you enable commenting you can avoid spamming by using the integral Akismet plugin. Here on Tajolo we use the Disqus platform which is excellent and provides a great platform for commenters to use.
> Website speed is important for usability and also for your results in search engine rankings. You can test your website speed with the Google PageSpeed tool. With this tool you can also see what makes you site slow down and they give good tips how to fix it.
> When you start out shared hosting is ok but when you get a lot of visitors you should go to VPS or dedicated hosting. The speed of your website will change from night to day. It will also ensure that you can use more plugins with your website as there is often a memory limit on shared hosting providers.
> Do not focus too much on SEO when you start out – just make sure you provide content that others want to read. See also this article.