Millions of websites are powered by WordPress. That’s roughly 17.6 percent of all websites in the cyberspace today. It is currently the most popular publishing platform in the Internet. Not only is WordPress user-friendly and easily customizable but the icing on top is that it’s completely free. Whether you’re out setting up a simple personal blog or a business blog to show off your portfolio, WordPress is a great place for beginners to start exploring.
Contrary to popular belief, creating a website with WordPress is not as complicated as what many people perceive it to be. Even with no coding skills, you’ll get by just fine. For beginners who want to join in on the fun, WordPress is not a thing to be afraid. When starting out, you’ll only need the most basic of skills.You only need to follow the four steps below to create your first and even succeeding websites with WordPress.
Getting your hands on all the available information about WordPress is the first step when starting out. Doing your homework before getting your hands dirty will undoubtedly save you time in the long run. Being well read on the subject will also allow you to fully appreciate the platform’s features, subtle power, flexibility and art.
To kick things off for you, let’s look at WordPress and its features at a glance. At the heart of the platform is an incredibly easy-to-use interface. Even with no coding knowledge and skills, you can set-up a website without glitch. Most people, in fact, have learned the basics without any professional or formal training.WordPress is that simple to use. If you know Microsoft Word, chances are high that you’ll know your way around the platform too.
More than a website, WordPress is designed as a content-publishing platform. Once you have a website set-up, sharing content and luring readers is not a hardship. The website in the first place features a format that is optimized for search engine results.But best of all, WordPress is just wonderful for the vibrant community support. When you’re stuck somewhere while building your website, all you have to do is get in touch with the community of WordPress users who are always more than willing to lend a hand.
To get started with WordPress, therefore, you only really need research skills. If you know how to read, ask questions and seek help from the platform’s ever growing community of users and core contributors, you’re on the right path.
Now that you have sufficient information to get you started, the next step is to put your planning skills to good use. Before you can install and set-up your website with WordPress, you need to take care of a few things. Having a list of these “to dos” is highly recommended to keep things more organize. When making your list, make sure to cover the following details:
- Website name – You must first brainstorm a good name for your website. You’ll need one that will capture the essence of your website so take your time when deciding on a name.
- Web host requirements – In order for a website to go live in the Internet, you need to host it. There are numerous hosting providers to choose from. Whichever way you go, make sure your provider supports WordPress. WordPress recommends providers such as Bluehost, Dreamhost and Laughing Squid.
- PHP and MySQL versions – While you’re at it, you should also check and verify the versions of PHP and MsSQL that the current WordPress server requires.
- Core Update compatibility – Also check WordPress’ list of hosts that were compatible with the platform’s Core Update feature. Checking plugins and themes compatibility is also highly recommended.
- Text Editor Software – While you don’t need any coding skills to get your website up and running, you’ll need a text editor when editing your files. A text editor lets you edits files in plain text format as opposed to binary format in Microsoft Word. When editing WordPress file formats, you need to use Notepad or similar editors.
- FTP Client Software – In order to get files into your website and change them whenever you like, you need FTP client software. You can either use popular file manages such as cPanel and DirectAdmin or use an FTP or SFTP client such as FileZilla.
- Web Browser – You must also decide which web browser you want to use.
In addition to the aforementioned list, you also need to cover key factors about how you want to use WordPress on your website. Will you want to install it in the root directory or subdirectory? What type of categories and pages would you want included for your website? Do you already have any idea about the type of header art you’ll use? How about with respect to your content? Do you already have a strategy and a topic in mind? And will you integrate social media into your WordPress website?
Above are some of the questions to ask yourself when planning for your website. This is a critical step if you want a website that’s perfectly tailored for your purposes.
At this point, what you’ll need to move forward with creating your website is your ability to follow instructions. Under most cases, installing WordPress can be completed in a breeze. In fact, majority of web host providers now have tools which let you install WordPress automatically. You may install the platform yourself if you wish to but who wants to complicate things when you can have it ready in five minutes or less by following the 5-minute installation?
Not most beginners definitely. Because you’re also reading this article, then you’re also likely not to take the more complicated route. In that case, let’s preview the instructions for the 5-minute installation shall we?
- To begin, download the WordPress package then unzip it.
- Next up is to create a database on your web server. You should also create a MySQL user.
- If you are not keen on renaming files, skip this step. Otherwise, rename wp-config-sample.php to wp-config.php. Then you’d want to edit the file and add it to your database.
- Now it’s time to upload the WordPress files to your web server. Choose a desired location where you want them. You can either upload them into the root directory of the web server or to the directory via FTP.
- Access the URL using your web browser of choice to run the WordPress installation script. That’s either http://example.com or http://example.com/blog/ if you installed WordPress in the root directory or the blog subdirectory respectively.
Just five simple steps and you’re done. WordPress is now installed and you have a website which you can use for whatever purpose you have in mind. Again, there are no coding skills needed here, just your very basic skills to read and follow instructions to a tee.
Now that you’ve installed WordPress successfully, the next and last step is to customize WordPress according to your preference and the way you want it to work.
WordPress has a range of features you can play around with. From creating your user profile information to setting the site name, publishing posts and adding pages as well as categories, sky is the limit with WordPress. All you need is a willingness to experiment and keep learning.
With just a few clicks, you may also change how your WordPress website looks. There are thousands of WordPress themes you can choose from via the platform’s extensive theme directory. You may also add widgets to hearts content. If you really want to dig deeper and customize your theme further, WordPress has a ton of guides for beginners and experienced users alike.
If you want to create your own theme, now that’s a different story. This is where you’ll need some coding skills. Otherwise, you can always leave the complicated jobs to professional and expert web designers. If you want a unique theme that is custom-made for you, you can pay someone to do it without you needing to learn any type of coding.
As you move forward, you can add plugins and learn more about advanced features where you use permalinks and employ advanced WordPress techniques. Just remember that if you’re willing to learn and explore, there is so much more you can do with your WordPress website.
Coding Skills are Optional
Users who are just starting out with WordPress need not be intimidated. Even if you have the most basic skill level, you can build a WordPress website without trouble. As you start to explore and customize your WordPress site, however, you’ll encounter three types of code at some point. They are the HTML, CSS and PHP codes. There are other codes you might encounter along the way but those three are the most basic.
Again, just to reiterate, you are not obliged to learn those codes. You are, however, recommended to learn the bare minimum if you want to do more customizations.But only if you want to.
About the Author: Scott Donald is Chief Strategist at Creativ Digital an agency specializing in ecommerce website optimization. He designs builds and provides marketing for websites to perform at their best. Head over to his site to get a free digital success plan for your business. Follow him on Google+ and Twitter.