WordPress is a great solution to create a blog or website. This is because the software is open-source (free), easy to install, customize, maintain and is search engine friendly. One of the biggest problems site owners have is how to set up their WordPress website. This can be achieved within a few minutes by following the steps below.
WordPress Website Basics Resources
1. Register your Domain
Although you can create a WordPress blog at WordPress.com, I recommend registering your own domain name so you will be able to use WordPress.org and have more control over it. This will allow you to brand your business. Select a domain name that is short, easy to remember and includes your business name or a keyword related to your business.
Best Domain Providers:
- NameCheap (affiliate link)
- 1 & 1 Domains
2. Choose a Hosting Provider
A web hosting service allows your website to be displayed on the web. Choose a web hosting plan that has sufficient disk space and bandwidth to host your website files. Get at least 50 MB of space and 10 GB of bandwidth and make sure you have the option to upgrade your hosting plan should you need more space and bandwidth. Make sure your Web hosting plans include the installation of WordPress. Check tech support service by calling or e-mailing the company to see how fast they respond and how friendly they are.
Recommended Hosting Providers:
- Schofield Studios – We may be biased but the best hosting service if you also want website maintenance.
- SiteGround (affiliate link) – Great mix of value, services, and price. Overall a great value for hosting.
- BlueHost (affiliate link) – Great hosting, with great service! Very competitive on price!
- WPEngine (affiliate link) – Expensive but best hosting provider for WordPress sites.
3. Selecting a Theme
There are hundreds of free and paid WordPress themes on the net. Google “free WordPress themes” to receive a list of themes to choose from.
Choose one that suits your business and download the zipped files to your computer desktop. Unzip the files, and then upload the new theme to the themes folder on the server (wp-content-themes) using FTP software (e.g. Filezilla, SmartFTP). Login to the admin panel, click on “appearance” to select your new theme then click “add new.” Refresh your browser to display the new theme.
You may also like a premium theme. These themes will include more functionality and options to customize your website.
Here are some of our favorites:
4. Optimize your Website for Search Engines
Click on settings –permalinks and check “Post Name.” This enables your web pages to have search engine friendly addresses.
Another way to optimize your content is to install and configure the Yoast SEO plugin.
Other resources for improving SEO:
- Open Site Explorer – This tool will tell you the authority of your site and backlink profile for FREE.
- Moz – Great “all in one” SEO software. Helps a lot with many different aspects of SEO.
- Moz Local – Amazing tool to check your citations and many other local SEO metrics.
- SEMRush – Amazing all in one SEO Software. My personal favorite!
- Serps.com – Keyword research tool
- Majestic – Great tool for checking your backlinks and competitors backlinks.
- GTMetrix – Checks the speed of your site and how to improve it.
- AnswerThePublic – Amazing tool for finding topics to write about.
- BuzzSumo – Find content topics ideas by seeing what is shared the most and more!
5. Promote Your Website
Here are 10 methods for promoting your site:
- Write good quality content
- Write and submit articles to article directories
- Offer a newsletter or e-zine
- Encourage interactivity by responding to comments
- Submit RSS feed to RSS directories
- Submit blog to Blog directories
- Add social media icons to make it easy for visitors to share your content with others
- Create videos of your content and submit them to video sharing websites
- Write a press release and submit it to press release websites
- Submit your website to online directories and search engines
6. Track Your Visitors
You web hosting plan usually includes site statistics which tell you how many visits your website receives, where they are coming from and the keywords used to find your site. View these statistics regularly to track traffic coming to your website.
WordPress Plugins – Making Your Website Do More
Although WordPress comes complete with the most commonly used tools and widgets that you will need, you can easily add new features using plugins. Plugins are installed through the WordPress interface, using the Plugins menu in your control panel.
There are plugins available for just about any task, most of which are available free. At the time of writing, the WordPress Plugins database features 21,500 plugins, all of which are searchable by category, rating and name.
Here are just three must-have plugins for any website.
1. Use Akismet to Stop Spam
WordPress supports user comments right out of the box, and your visitors will be able to post their thoughts on the content that you publish. For your blog posts in particular, this is a great way to build a community around your business, improve your visibility on the web, and improve your search engine rank.
Unfortunately, as you begin to attract attention from visitors and potential customers, you will also attract attention from spammers that will fill your comments section with rubbish. Spam comments are easy to spot, but time-consuming to remove one by one.
Akismet is by far the most popular and most effective anti-spam plugin for WordPress. Akismet automatically detects the signs of spam comments, including lots of links to other websites and content that does not make sense. When Akismet finds a spam comment, it quarantines it and prevents it from cluttering up your website. Akismet is available free of charge for personal blogs, or at a low cost for business use.
Download Plugin here or search for it from your WordPress dashboard > Plugins.
2. EWWW Image Optimizer
Are you images optimized? This plugin will tell you if they are and will optimize them for you. It isn’t as good as manually resizing and optimizing the images but it does a good job of compressing your images. This will speed your site up and improve load time.
Install and activate the plugin then click “Media > Bulk Optimize.” Then click “Scan for Unoptimized Images.” This will tell you how many images on your site need to be optimized. Click “Start Optimizing” and sit back and watch the magic happen!
Download plugin here
3. WP Fastest Cache
This plugin will speed your website up a ton. It is very simple to use. Simply install and activate the plugin. Then click WP Fastest Cache and follow the image below to configure the plugin correctly.
4. Contact Form 7
Contact Form 7 is a great plugin for allowing visitors to your site to contact you. This eliminates the need to have an email address on your website (which is not recommended.) To set up contact form 7 watch and follow this video.
5. Contact Form 7 MailChimp Extension
This is one of my favorite plugins. It easily lets you integrate Contact Form 7 with MailChimp. When someone fills out a form the name and email address will be added to one of your specified MailChimp lists. You can use this as newsletter sign up or just to maintain a list of everyone that has contacted you.
To set up this plugin follow this video.
6. GA Google Analytics
This plugin will allow you to integrate Google Analytics with your site easily. It has simple instructions to grab a piece of code from Google Analytics and put it in your header. Then you can track who visits your website and tons of other analytics about your visitors.
Wrapping it up
These resources should be able to help your WordPress website get off to a great start. Remember that success with websites does not happen overnight. None of the above resources will give you overnight success but with a lot of hard work they will drastically improve your site!
What are some of the resources you are using with your website? We would love to hear about them in the comments!