Who wants to mark its presence on Internet today must develop a website. This is today, thanks to WordPress not a difficult and costly affair anymore. Whether you prefer to create a personal blog, an online business website or an e-commerce site now or you only want to give a showcase to your business, is WordPress, with 1,500 themes and 15,000 plugins; certainly, the easiest and cheapest solution.
I have created here a short check-list to make sure you are well equipped to make your first WordPress site.
The domain name is the address (URL) of your site and usually also the name of your website. You have to register a domain name, unless you integrate in a free hosting like WordPress.com or siterubix.com. In this case, would your URL be “http://mywebsite.siterubix.com”.
But as I presume you want to have your own address, you must register the name. This can be, for example, at godaddy.com. I recommend for a commercial site, a top-level domain name with the extension “.com” or with your country code. (us; ca; de; fr; etc.). But if you should only want to go online for personal interests, you can also use a domain extension like “info”. It’s just a matter of price.
A top-level domain will cost about $ 12.90 per year, an ”info” domain only costs $ 3.90 per year. Should the domain name not be available, godaddy.com will show you alternatives.
In an interesting article from Anja of firstsiteguide.com you’ll find some more information on how to choose the right domain name.
Hosting Your Website ( s )
Select a website host company is important. Making the wrong choice and your website will suffer. A host should make you stronger and not vice versa. For example, some host packages allow only one domain . So, if you want to run multiple websites, then that would be a problem.
- Does the host support WordPress?
- How many domains can you host?
- What is the amount of storage and how much is the bandwidth?
- How much up-time is guaranteed?
- How long the company is already on the market?
- Are there any positive or negative reviews of the company?
- What kind of customer service the company offers?
- How much is the package you need?
- Is it possible to upgrade if required?
- Are there any extra hidden costs?
- Is there a trial period?
The best advice to choose a hosting company you get from friends or acquaintances that have Internet hosting experience. Should it not be the case, I can recommend hostgator.com from my personal experience. They have hosting packages from $ 3.96 per month (Single domain) . But I recommend a hosting plan with unlimited domains, these are available from $ 10.36 per month.
Another option is to become a member of a marketing community; such as Healthy Affiliates who offer free unlimited hosting.
You can watch here a video tutorial on how to get a domain name and a hosting company.
Configure the server
If you bought the domain name from another company, you will need to configure the server. This is done with the company from which you bought the name, ,and you receive from your hosting company two DNS server names, similar to the following: ns1.nameserver.com and ns2.nameserver.com
Sign in at the company where you have acquired the domain. Go to your account, select your domain name and search for “change of the name server” . If you have any problems with that, contact the help desk they give you the right assistance.
With a good hosting this is easy . They should have a C- Panel to manage your site. Search here “Software>Quick Install” and load WordPress on your site.
If your host does not offer this, you must first download at wordpress.com the latest version of WordPress as a zip file and then upload via FTP to your server.
Read this: WordPress to a remote server upload
Build a database
This is , in most cases , just like the upload of WordPress unnecessary . Therefore, it is of great importance that your hosting company offer these two services for free.
Never give as your username “admin” when you install WP, because this name is easy to hack. You will receive a password by WP. You should change this when login the first time on http://mywebsite.com/wp-admin under “Users>your profile”.
Select A WordPress Theme
Since there are over 1,500 WP themes, there is certainly a theme that suits your content. But finding this is for sure not easy . ( read my post : How To Find A Reliable WP Theme ) .
Following requirements are the absolute minimum:
- Great design,
- Valid HTML and CSS,
- Strong readability,
- Compatibility with the latest version of WordPress,
- Compatibility with the most popular plugins ,
- Extensive support and documentation.
- Does this theme meet all of your requirements?
- Can it be customized?
- •How quick will I outgrow this theme?
- Do any of its colour schemes match my brand?
But remember that the appearance has to fit the content, but your future users should like and it should be easy to use.
The Basic Configuration
First, you should adapt the theme to your needs:
Header , colour , fonts , etc. whatever your theme options allow.
Setting up Permalinks
Every page, post or picture has a URL address on your website. By default it looks like this : http://mywebsite.com/p = 123, which looks neither beautiful nor informative. You can change this under settings>permalinks. I suggest to you to choose the %postname% option, which is the best option, which then looks like this: http://mywebsite.com/postname/ .
You can also additionally change the extension when creating a new post and overwrite the permalink settings.
Askimet is already integrated in WordPress. This plugin helps you to sort out all spam comments. Go under plugins and activate the plugin and ask for the required API key . In some European countries it is not recommended due to privacy reasons to activate Askimet . In that case download the plugin Antispam Bee (read Plugins) .
If you don’t allow comments on your website this plugin is unnecessary .
If you do not want comments go to Settings >Discussion and uncheck ” Allow people to post comments on new articles”. You can override these settings for each post.
Add a Gravatar
A Gravatar is an image that is linked to your email address. Comments are a perfect example of Gravatars in use. Some themes have; thus, author boxes did feature Gravatars . The great thing about Gravatar is did you need to set it up only once, and; then, your image will load wherever your email address appears in a Gravatar enabled location.
Secure Your Website
WordPress is relatively safe in and you can iron out the possible vulnerabilities easily. But be aware that there is no 100% security on Internet. The eventual aim is to make abusing your website as difficult as possible.
- Always use the latest version of WordPress , as they also always are up to date what concerns security.
- Do not use “admin” as a user, but choose a personal user name.
The above tweaks need not be done manually. The “WP Security Scan” plugin does some of these automatically and can assist you with completing the others.
Create essential pages
When someone visits your website, it should be as simple as possible to navigate. That means having a few essential pages that will help you help them quickly.
This is the landing page for your visitors. This can be a static page, on which he learns about your business and about you. Or a dynamic page, on which all the most recent posts appear. WordPress provides by default a dynamic page but you can create a static page and then change on Setting >Reading to a static page.
If you have a dynamic Home page, this is the place to introduce yourself and your business. This should be done in a personal way, so that the user gets a good impression of you and your business.
Here you can put a contact form (f.e. Contact Form 7) so that the visitor can contact you. In the European Community, it is necessary to publish here or on a special page the corporate or personal data.
If you take the lead to sell products, it is necessary to guide the visitor directly to this page(s). So, you should create a page for each product category.
All these pages are then made available on your site via the menu . Go here to Appearance>Menu and create a main menu with all the pages you want to appear in the main menu bar.
Optimize Your Website For Search Engines
Some themes have a built-in SEO Optimizer, but I prefer that all my websites are listed in the same way. Therefore, I use the plugin “All in One SEO Pack “.
It includes, among others, the following tools:
- XML Sitemap support – submit your sitemap to Google and Bing and improve your SEO
- Google Analytics support
- Support for Custom Post Types on SEO
- Automatically optimizes your titles for Google and other search engines
- Generates META tags automatically
- Avoids the typical duplicate content found on WordPress blogs
- For beginners, you do not even have to look at the options, and it works out-of -the-box . Just install.
Some themes make it even easier, here you only need to paste the tracking code from Google Analytics on your “Theme Options>General settings “.
Although most hosting companies have a daily backup in their package, it is useful to make a weekly manual backup of the content. Just go to Tools and click Export, thereby the whole content is exported in a file and can be imported as needed.
Some themes also offer the possibility to save the theme options.
Who wants to go naturally bombproof, can of course use paid backups at Vault Press or Backup Buddy.
Set up Caching
WordPress comes with the plugin WP Super Cache. Caching is used to speed up the loading time of your web pages.
Plugins for WordPress give it a dime a dozen. But a word of advice: Load and activate only those that you need absolute, since each plugin slows down the loading time of your website. You have to consider so that not all regions of the world have high-speed Internet connections. As a rule no more than ten plugins should be activated.
You can find some useful plugins in my post: Useful And Reliable WordPress plugins.
This checklist will help you to build a high quality website and running it in a short time. Don’t forget to bookmark this page, in case you need it later on. And good luck with your first WordPress website.
But if you want to build a website in 30 seconds, take a look at this