New Year, new site!
To say my other half is a whizz at WordPress is something of an understatement! David has 10+ years working with WordPress, building both Themes and Plugins and is a huge WordPress advocate. Naturally it was a no-brainer deciding which platform to use for my new consultancy website!
With no real practical experience of WordPress, I must confess I was a little nervous when I first started, though keen to learn and manage the site directly.
I can imagine how nerve wracking getting to grips with WordPress must be when you’re setting up a brand new website. (And don’t have the benefit of a technical whizz on hand ;-).
For that reason, I wanted to share my experiences in the hope it’ll help other WordPress newbies out there and inspire more WordPress users.
Let’s start with why you should choose WordPress for your blog or website, rather than one of the other multiple site building tools currently out there.
- It’s free!
- Easily customisable – enabling you to create the site of your dreams via WordPress Themes and Plugins
- A powerful, robust CMS (content management system) that would cost thousands if you asked a developer to build something similar. That’s the reason so many commercial businesses use WordPress for their websites.
- It’s the most popular website platform in the world, powering 29% of all websites!
- WordPress is up to date with all the latest trends. Whenever a new update is rolled out by WordPress, a prompt to update will appear in your Dashboard. Couldn’t be easier!
- Most WordPress Theme companies offer free Themes, this means you’ll only need to pay for your domain name and hosting.
- You want a simple site to begin with, i.e. 3 or 5 pages, with the option to develop up as you grow. Choosing the free version of a popular Theme is the perfect solution. As you can scale up to the premium version at a later date – literally giving you the option of trying before you buy!
Installing WordPress and Choosing a Theme
Assuming you’ve already sorted your hosting and domain name, if you haven’t we’re happy to recommend Blue Host as a good solution.
Now you just need to download WordPress. Most hosting companies (including Blue Host) provide an icon in the control panel to download WordPress. In fact many hosting companies will install it for free, if you ask!
Once installed, you can now pick the WordPress Theme you want to use. WordPress comes with a small selection of free, popular Themes you can use. I’d say don’t be limited by these. There are literally thousands of beautiful Themes to choose from. All easily customisable to create a bespoke looking website. Find a Theme you love, that gives you flexibility to grow, with lots of choice in terms of add-on pages, color schemes, etc.
Word of warning! Always choose a WordPress Theme company that offers full support for the lifetime of their Themes. WordPress is updated regularly and any fundamental changes will require a corresponding update to your site. If you’ve chosen a Theme without support, the Theme company won’t provide the necessary updates. This means errors will start to creep into your website and eventually it will cease to function correctly. Fortunately all good Theme companies (including our very own WPGOThemes) offer support for their Themes to prevent this happening!
Creating WordPress Posts
Use the WordPress Visual editor to easily create your posts. You don’t need any prior knowledge of HTML as you can use the tools in the top bar to add headings, bold, bullet points, etc. You can view the HTML tags the Visual editor adds to your content, by clicking on the Text editor tab which will display your content together with HTML tags.
I’m going to confess to a little HTML knowledge here (though I do mean a little!). For this reason, I generally use an HTML editor to create my posts, then copy and paste them into the Text editor. This is because an HTML editor gives me a little more flexibility. However you definitely don’t need to know any HTML to start and the Visual editor is fine for creating posts. If you want to explore learning HTML to create posts, there’s lots of good, free HTML training online to help you get started.
(A completely new way of creating posts on WordPress is in the pipeline – Gutenberg WordPress Editor. Currently in beta and testing mode, it’s been much discussed in WordPress circles and clearly has its pros and cons. I’m summoning up the courage to test and will report back soon!)
To add images to your posts – use the Add Media button at the top of the Visual Editor.
You’ll need to upload images to the Image Library (so you can select from them). If you don’t have many images to begin with and don’t want to purchase any, there are lots of great, free images online you can use. Don’t forget, if your site is commercial you’ll need to ensure the copyright (for any images you use) allows their use for commercial purposes.
Look out for more posts on my user journey!
I hope the above has helped. As I continue to develop my new site, I’ll be featuring more posts on the WordPress knowledge I acquire along the way. Feel free to leave a comment or ask a question – if I can’t help with any of your more technical queries, David definitely can!