Creating a site for your business or a blog seems like a difficult thing to do. You don’t have any programming skills, you know something about SEO, but not enough, you also know that once you’ve launched a site, you should keep it safe.
In the beginning, things may look a little bit daunting, but the good news is that you don’t have to do anything alone and that are tons of helpful tools online ready to easier your mission.
That’s why in this article you’ll find out:
- what do you need to start a WordPress site?
- what is WordPress?
- what is CMS?
- what’s the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?
- what should you know about WordPress’ themes and plugins?
- what’s free and what’s paid at WordPress?
- what features do you need?
What Do You Need to Start a WordPress Site?
Either you are planning to start an online business (online shop, online services, etc.) or becoming a blogger, the first thing you have to do is to create your own website.
There are tons of points to discuss on this topic, but I know how valuable time is for you. So I’ll cut straight to the chase and deliver you a list with what you need to start a website:
- choose [wisley] a domain name – this should be: easy to remember, representative for your website’s main activity, and available;
- find a highly customizable WordPress theme in accordance with your technical skills. If you are a beginner, there are multiple themes that are offering a free drag and drop website builder.
- make your own stock of high-quality images to be sure you give your website the glimpse it deserves;
- select a web hosting plan that suits best your interests (I’ve put below, in this article, some advice on how to choose the right one).
What Is WordPress and How Does It Work?
As I previously said, first of all, WordPress is an excellent option for your website. But let’s start from the beginning: what is WordPress, and what makes it so unique?
WordPress is a powerful content management system that over 75 million websites use today. What makes it so popular among bloggers and online business owners is the fact that it is designed for everyone, has plenty of free features, and offers tons of useful HowTo resources.
CMS (Content Management System) – What Is This All About?
While you’re looking for info about how to start a website, I bet you’ve run multiple times over the acronym CMS (without knowing precisely what it is all about).
CMS (Content Management System) is a user-friendly software application that allows site owners to create, manage, and organize their digital content simply and intuitively.
From photos, to embed videos and texts, you can manage any type of digital content without worrying that you don’t have technical skills or that you have to code everything.
WordPress.com / WordPress.org – What’s the Difference?
WordPress.com and WordPress.org are two very different platforms, and most of the times, people confuse the two, and they end up choosing the wrong platform.
With WordPress.org – a self-hosted WordPress platform – you host your blog or website, and you can download the free WordPress software and install it on your own hosting plan.
When using WordPress.org, you have full control of your website and are free to do pretty much anything you want and customize it as you please without any restriction whatsoever.
What Should You Know About WordPress Themes?
A theme is a collection of templates and stylesheets used to define the appearance and display of a WordPress site.
Being so popular, there are lots of themes available for WordPress, both free and paid. To see the wide variety of free WordPress themes that are available, please visit https://wordpress.org/themes.
While free themes are a great way to get started, premium (or paid for) themes are the new standard. Premium themes offer more customization and often include many more features than the themes you’ll find in the free theme directory.
There are many premium theme marketplaces where you can purchase a new theme for your website. Themeforest is a good place to start to find a premium theme, with over 11,000 themes to choose from on different categories of interest.
After you choose a theme, the next step is to install it. The most common way to install a WordPress theme is by using the WordPress administration interface. However, if you already have a .zip file that contains a WordPress theme you bought, you can install it manually.
Once your WordPress theme is installed, you can start to customize the appearance of your site, using the widgets, menu(s), header and background. These can all be changed using the Customize feature which you can find under Appearance.
What Should You Know About WordPress Plugins?
WordPress developers create plugins to help users increase the functionality on their sites for different needs.
Do you want to have efficient control over your content optimization for SEO? Yoast SEO plugin is exactly what you need to do that (it gives you real-time feedback on the rate of your content optimization and what actions you should take into account to improve it).
Do you need a contact form to collect leads and opportunities on your site? You’ll find a dedicated plugin that will do that for you.
There are over 50,000 plugins to choose from, and if you want to be sure you’re making the right choice, check out some reviews first. Once you’ve decided which plugin suits best your needs, all you have to do is install it:
Navigate to Plugins > Add New, and you can browse and search for plugins from within your dashboard.
Each plugin listed in the WordPress directory has an “Install Now” button so you can easily add it to your site.
Click Activate to activate the plugin.
What’s Free and What’s Paid With WordPress?
From WordPress you’ll get for free:
- free updates;
- free access to create your own website;
- free access to thousands of themes;
- free access to the content management system;
- free access to thousands of plugins to increase your site functionality;
- tones of features.
You’ll still pay for:
- some complex themes (custom, premium, and business theme templates) – that are not already included in WP’s free offer;
- some plugins (custom plugins);
- WordPress hosting. While lots of free stuff are just one click away from you when it comes to WordPress hosting, you have to pay for it, though. Choose your provider carefully and make sure it can guarantee you great features and support.
There are multiple hosting providers, which are offering WordPress hosting at a fair price, and by including all the features, you need to run your website in a performant manner.
How to Choose the Best WordPress Hosting Provider?
Just starting your online presence through a website means 0 objectives achieved and tons of things to do on your growth plan. By choosing the best WordPress hosting provider, things will become much easier.
Take a look at the WordPress features that can help your website to grow fast:
Expert WordPress support – even when things are simple, you still need some professional support once in a while.
Speed – Nobody likes a slow website. Lookup for a web hosting provider that is offering you SSD storage and cutting edge speed technology to make your site fly. You can consider web hosting which is offering LiteSpeed or NGINX as the webserver, HTTP/2, the latest PHP version and a free CDN (content network delivery). The speed of your site improves your Google rankings and gives visitors the best experience possible
Security – Your web host should be able to keep your website safe against constant threats. This can be done with custom web application firewall rules and real-time 24/7 server monitoring.
Backups – Ensure that your future web hosting is taking daily offsite backups of your website and that they have tools that allow you to restore anytime from your control panel.
Uptime Guarantees – Uptime is crucial for any site, even if we are talking about a business owner or a blogger. Lookup for a web host who is able to provide you with a 99,99% uptime guarantee.
Worldwide Server Locations – The server location does have an impact on your website’s speed from the end-visitor standpoint. Therefore, it’s recommended to host your website closer to your visitors. Choose a web host that is offering you multiple server locations to choose from.
Additional WordPress Hosting Features to Consider
Free SSL certificates – your hosting plan should include Free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates for all your domains allowing you to use https for added security and SEO benefits.
One-click WordPress installer – with app installer, you’ll be able to easily install WordPress with just 1-click and start creating an amazing website in minutes.
WordPress Staging – with a WordPress Staging tool, you can quickly test and deploy changes or updates on your website before publishing it live for everyone to see.
WordPress Caching – In simple terms, caching refers to the process of creating static versions of your content and serving that to visitors. Static pages are generally rendered quickly in browsers. This leads to faster performance of your website.
While lots of free stuff are just one click away from you when it comes to WordPress hosting, you have to pay for it, though. You should choose your provider carefully and make sure it can guarantee you great features like support, speed, security, backups, uptime guarantees, worldwide, and performant servers.