How to Get Started on a Wordpress Site

Posted on Wednesday, Sep 04 2019 @ 15:32 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
You’ve probably heard a lot about how easy it is to build new websites using Wordpress. However, if you’ve never used the platform before, then you probably still need some help getting started. This Wordpress crash course breaks down the initial set-up process into three easy steps that will build the foundation you need to launch a successful Wordpress site on the web.

Step 1: Customize your Site
This is where you can begin to build and design your site. Once you’ve registered with your web host and successfully installed, you have full access to all of Wordpress’ web design features to give your site a unique look. The first thing you’ll want to think about is your theme. When you first open Wordpress, it defaults your site design to a basic theme. Wordpress offers hundreds of free templates for you to choose from, and hundreds more that are available for purchase. To change your theme, go to Appearance > Themes > Add New, which will direct you to Wordpress’ theme marketplace. You can preview any look before you apply it to get a feel for how it will appear with your site. If you don’t like Wordpress’ offerings, you can also use a theme developed by a third party. Again, these third party themes are available for free and for purchase. All you need to do is install the third party theme using the theme directory and clicking Upload Theme, which will prompt you to upload the theme file. To apply the theme to your site, just click Activate.

Step 2: Plugins
Plugins are to Wordpress what apps are to your smartphone. They are small applications that widen the functionality of your site by providing it with additional features. There are hundreds of plugins available for free, and there are many more available for purchase. Just about anything you want your site to do can be done with a plugin, but be careful - too many plugins can slow your site’s loading time and impede its overall performance. Just go to plugins > Add New to find and install new plugins from Wordpress itself. Just like themes, you can also install plugins you’ve downloaded from a third party by clicking on the Upload Plugins button.

Step 3: Key Pages
In order for your site to function properly, it’s generally going to need to be more than one page. Your homepage is the first page users will see when they enter the site. Most themes come equipped with a homepage template, but if you want to custom design your page, you can install a page builder plugin to add any features you want. Wordpress was originally designed for blogs so the default setting is to make your main page your latest post. If you want to change this, just go to Settings > Reading, select the static page option, and then choose the page you want to be your homepage. To set a blog page, go to Settings > Reading > Static page and choose the posts page option for the page you want to become your blog. Again, most templates come with a blog template already built-in, but you can always custom build a blog page by going to Pages > Add New and selecting the blog template option. You can follow this same process for just about any other kind of page you want, including an about page, a contact page, or a gallery. If your theme doesn’t come with a template for the kind of page you want, you can always install a plugin that will help you to custom build the page yourself.

And that’s all you need to get your site ready for users to view! Creating a website using HTML and CSS can be hard but see how easy it is to build new websites using Wordpress. Once you get used to using Wordpress’ many tools, you’ll discover more and more things you can do to make your site more streamlined and user-friendly. But to begin, these are the three basic things you need to get your site up to a point where it’s ready for other people to see.