YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE
Welcome to a guide on how to setup a WordPress website. In today’s society, it is almost painful to not have a website for any kind of business – Even if you are just starting out. Establishing an online presence, your website is the first mission in the long run.
But when it comes to building websites, some people cringe, shy away, and prefer to pay thousands to web developers for a simple website. As a veteran web developer myself, this is not a bad situation… However, to the many who wishes to save some money, this guide will walk you through the steps, and it really isn’t that difficult.
AN HONEST DISCLOSURE
Quick, hide your wallets! I am an affiliate partner of Google, eBay, Adobe, Bluehost, and more. There are affiliate links and advertisements on this page. Whenever you buy things from the evil links that I recommend, I will make a commission.
Nah. These are just things to keep the blog going, and allows me to give more good stuff to you guys - for free. So thank you if you decide to pick up my recommendations!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
WHAT IS WORDPRESS?
This section is for you guys who are new to WordPress, so if you already know, feel free to skip this section altogether. WordPress is a popular content management system (CMS) that has been around since 2005.
What is a content management system? Simply put, you log in to the administration panel of WordPress, write a new post, and publish it. That simple. It’s just like using a word processor, but for websites – No technical knowledge required.
FINDING A HOST
The first step in setting up a website is to find a host, or in human terms, finding a company that will provide you with a server to run the website.
For you guys who do not want to spend any money on hosting, you can sign up for a free account at wordpress.com. I personally don’t recommend the free option for a number of reasons:
- No technical support.
- WordPress.com reserves all rights to put advertisements on your website, and you don’t get a single cent.
- Limited website design, themes, and customizations.
- You cannot choose your own domain name (website address).
- The free domain name does not look professional (you can only choose from the WordPress subdomain, e.g. http://noob.wordpress.com/) Yep, anyone looking at that will know that you are using a free website. Not very convincing if you are trying to sell.
Nonetheless, if you just want to test things out, feel free to go ahead.
This is the better option if you are serious, and I have 2 recommendations on paid hosting. Firstly, Wealthy Affiliate if you are serious about building an online income and do not know where to start.
The premium membership does cost quite a bit, but it comes with everything you need – Hosting, support, tools, tutorials, and most importantly, access to a community of like-minded people who wants to make money online. Click on the banner below to get started, or read my review here.
If you are not willing to shell out too much money, I will recommend the good old reliable Bluehost. They have very affordable hosting plans, and I do not any major issues with them.
INSTALLING WORDPRESS ON BLUEHOST
If you have decided to register with Bluehost, there is one additional small step to go – Login to the Bluehost control panel, and install WordPress, which is a one-click process.
THE INITIAL SETUP
If you have successfully completed the above step and signed up for a paid hosting plan, then congratulations, you now have a WordPress website. But with a fresh installation of WordPress, there are more ground works to be done. Here are some recommended plugins and settings.
ACCESSING THE WORDPRESS ADMIN PANEL
By default, you can access the WordPress from http://yoursite.com/wp-admin. So for example, http://red-dot-geek.com/wp-admin, which you will notice is disabled for security reasons. We will get more into that later, but for now, access your admin panel.
PLUGINS & HOW TO INSTALL
Plugins are something like WordPress extensions, and there are a ton of these – Everything ranging from simple image galleries to creating a complete eCommerce store. To install a new plugin:
- Cleantalk anti-spam filter: When your website starts to become popular, you will get a lot of spam comments and stuff. The Cleantalk filter really removes a lot of such spam and a real lifesaver.
- Super Socializer: Automatically adds “share on Facebook, Google, Twitter” buttons on your posts.
- W3 Total Cache: Helps your website to load faster.
- Wordfence: A free WordPress firewall. Additional security is never too bad.
- Yoast SEO: We will dive into SEO later, but this free plugin is just super useful.
- WPS hide login: Remember that the default admin panel is deployed at “/wp-admin”? You can change that with this plugin. After installing this plugin, access settings > general > change the login URL.
- Ninja Forms: Helps you to create forms – feedback forms, contact us, request for quotes, etc… Free and very useful.
Don’t like the way your current website look, choose a different theme.
What is SEO? Search engine optimization, so that search engines will better rank your website for search results. Some of you guys may have already heard of it, and thought of it as something that you pay the “gurus” to do. Well, no. Here are a few simple stuff that you can do, by yourself.
THE BIG 5
Create these 5 pages, if you want users and search engines to slightly trust your website more. Yes, most people will think that these are “boring” pages that serve no purpose, but they do. New WordPress users, it’s Pages -> Add New.
- About: About your blog, maybe write something about yourself.
- Contact: Just a simple page with the means to contact you. Through email, phone, or maybe just messaging a Facebook page.
- Disclosure: Another simple page to state that your blog is making sales, and has affiliate links what-not. Most affiliate programs will require you to have this disclosure page.
OF SLUGS AND PERMALINKS
What is a slug? We are definitely not referring to the slimy critter here. A slug refers to the URL of posts and pages that you create, e.g. http://red-dot-geek.com/a-test-article. WordPress does give you quite a lot of option, such as adding the date to it – http://red-dot-geek.com/2018/02/a-test-article or even categorizing it – http://red-dot-geek.com/category/a-test-article.
While these may seem like good ideas, I will recommend to keep it as short as possible; Search engines seem to like short-and-precise slugs more. To do that:
- Go to Settings -> Permalinks.
- Set it to “Post Name”.
TITLES AND DESCRIPTIONS
Never judge a book by the cover. Sadly, the Internet equivalent of “never judge an article by the title” does not work. Always think of an awesome title for your articles, and write a short description for it. If you have successfully installed the YOAST SEO plugin, you should be able to do so at the bottom of the page.
PLEASE NOTICE ME. GOOGLE, BING, AND YAHOO.
While you can do nothing and let the search engines slowly realize your existence on the Internet, there is a much faster way. Simply register your blog in both Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools. Even though this takes some administrative work, it is well worth it, as these free tools do give you additional insight.
We have come to the end of this guide and well done if you have followed every step. This is a lot of administration work, and you survived. You now have a full-fledged website, and one step forward… But there’s more, and that is a story for another time. For now, take a short break and celebrate.
I NEED FREE IMAGES!
If you need images for your website, please don’t grab them from the Internet – Some images are protected by copyright, and you will get into trouble. There are plenty of totally free images (public domain), and visit my other blog for a long list of websites offering totally free stock photos –
Need more help with WordPress? Here is a short video.