Making a website in 2019 is not all that complicated.
Now, with so many different content management systems out there – my favourite being WordPress – making a website is super easy.
So, I decided to write this detailed guide on how to make a website using WordPress.
In doing so, I hope to help you avoid making the same mistakes I made, when I was starting out.
How do you make a website using WordPress?
- Register a Domain and Web Hosting Account
- Install WordPress
- Install a Theme on WordPress
- Create New Pages and Add Content in WordPress
- Configure and Customize WordPress Settings
- Install Plugins to get more out of your WordPress
- 3 Essential Plugins for Your New Website
But before we get into all that …
What is a CMS and Why Should I use it to make a website?
If you are looking to make a website for your business or even a personal blog, you have probably heard a lot about CMS (Content Management System).
Simply put, A CMS is a software which lets you easily create or organize content on your website.
It helps you organize all the pictures, videos or other content and data files which make up a modern website.
Building out your own fully functioning website is quite easy using a CMS.
Not only that, it makes it super easy for you to go back in and easily edit your content or make changes to your website.
Even a complete novice, who does not have much experience with computers or making a website can learn to master a good, user-friendly content management system.
There are many different CMS out there – each has its own pros and cons.
The most used CMS in the world by far is WordPress. According to W3Techs.com, over 34% of all websites on the Internet use WordPress!
… and out of all the CMS in use today, WordPress enjoys 60% of the market share!
THAT IS HUGE!
Another interesting fact I came across is; of all Pakistani websites using a CMS, 92% are built using WordPress!
That is not the only reason I would recommend that you use WordPress to create your website, though.Let’s talk about some of the benefits of using WordPress as a CMS for your new website.
Benefits of Using WordPress
- Free to Use
WordPress is opensource and free. All you need to do is buy web hosting and a domain name and you can be up and running in no time at all.
- Easy to Use
WordPress is very user-friendly and intuitive.
If you are comfortable using software programs like Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Outlook, chances are you will have no problem publishing or editing your website using WordPress.
- Flexibility through Themes and Plugins
WordPress has a huge user-base and a very large community of developers who actively create and update different themes and plugins for it.
With over 54,000 plugins available for WordPress …
… Yes, really that many …
… you can very easily add simple to complex functionality to WordPress, making it the most customizable CMS in the world.
With thousands of themes available – both paid and free – changing the look and feel of your website is a breeze.
Using these themes, you would not need a professional web designer to make a stunning website for your company.
- Mobile Friendly Design
Ever since Google rolled out Mobile-first Indexing, it is essential that your website displays well on any device.
With WordPress, almost all modern theme designs are responsive.
This means, you can very easily make a single version of your website which is responsive (looks good on any device) without having to learn how to code a responsive website.
- WordPress is Search Engine Friendly – Out of the Box!
Another great benefit of using WordPress is that it has great Search Engine Optimization capability right out of the box.
This is important because on top of creating content, you would want your website to be found and indexed by all search engines like Google, Bing etc.
Although WordPress was originally meant as a software to support blogging, it has grown to support a range of websites with complex structures.
WordPress can be used to run large eCommerce websites, huge portfolio websites or can even be used to build social networking websites!
WordPress can even be customized by using custom plugins and themes to cater the most demanding needs of an organization or project.
- Great Community Support
Since WordPress is opensource, it is supported by a huge community worldwide.
This worldwide community is responsible for continuously updating the code to keep WordPress up to date and secure.
The same community has – over time – built huge resources where a novice and expert alike can learn how to best use their copy of WordPress or fix any issues they face with their websites.
To get the best out of WordPress, you should always choose a webhost which either offers specialized plans tailored for WordPress or has a proven track record of hosting large websites made using WordPress.
Which brings us to the next step in making your website ….
Register a Domain and Web Hosting Account
The first two things you will need to make a website, are:
- A Domain Name
- A Web Hosting Account
If you have no idea what web hosting is, here is a short video explaining exactly that 😊
Where Should I buy a Domain and Web Hosting From?
Full Disclosure: I am the founder of Inspedium Corp. At the same time, I would not recommend my own company if I did not know for a fact that the services offered are superior to those offered by companies recommended by many bloggers.
Since I can virtually guarantee the high level of service you will get at Inspedium, I recommend that you choose them for your domain and web hosting needs.
The entry level Unlimited Personal Web Hosting plan will cost you approximately Rs. 3,700 per year with a domain name!
That is a great price for an account which offers;
- Unlimited Disk Space
- Unlimited Data Transfer
- Free SSL
- Free Daily Backups
- LightSpeed Web Servers
- Free CDN Access
The best benefits here being the Free Daily Backups (for peace of mind) and LightSpeed Web Servers (for blazing fast websites)!
This means …
- Your data is safe in case of a disaster and can easily be recovered at ZERO cost
- Your website is potentially 10 times faster than it would be if it were hosted on Apache servers!
OK, so how to order your domain and hosting account…
How to Buy a Domain and a Web Hosting Plan from Inspedium
OK, now that we are on Inspedium’s Website, let’s browse to the page which lists all the “Unlimited Web Hosting” plans offered.
Here, we will choose the entry-level plan “Unlimited Personal” which is the cheapest and will help us get started.
We can always upgrade to a bigger plan as our website grows and we need more resources 😊
Let’s click “Get Started” ….
Choose a Domain Name and Fill Out the Order Form
Once you click the “Get Started” button, you will be taken to the following screen where you can choose the domain name you wish to use with your web hosting account.
You should put some thought into choosing a domain name for your website.
A domain name is an easy to remember name which people type into their browsers to visit your website.
It is essentially your website’s unique address on the internet.
It is not necessary to register your domain name through Inspedium. If you already have a domain name, you can either;
- Choose to transfer the domain name to Inspedium (Costs one year’s Renewal Fee)
- Choose to update the name servers for your existing domain name (You save on the registration/transfer cost)
Since domain registration through Inspedium costs Rs. 2,170 per year, you might want to register the domain with a domain registrar which will give you a lower price than that.
This would also mean that the price for this order just went down to only Rs. 1,549 per year.
OK, so, we will be choosing the second option, which is…
“I will use my existing domain and update my nameservers”
Once you enter your existing domain name and click “Choose”, you will be taken to the next screen…
Here, you can see the some of the features offered by the Web Hosting plan you chose and you can use the dropdown at the bottom to choose a signup term.
For this example, we will choose 12 Months (One Year).
The table to the right will show you the price for the plan.
Clicking the “Continue” button will bring you to the following screen where you confirm your order and click “Checkout” …
You will now be taken to the following checkout screen where you can enter all your contact details…
Once you have filled out all relevant details, you can proceed to the end of the form where you will be able to choose your payment options.
You can choose to pay using any one of the following payment options:
- Bank Transfer / Direct Deposit
Once you click “Complete Order”, you will receive an email with the invoice attached.
This email also carries the relevant account details needed to pay for the invoice you received.
Once you have successfully made payment, you can reply to the invoice email with your transaction ID and the amount you paid.
Your account will be setup within the next 15 to 30 minutes and you will receive an email with relevant account details which you can use to login to your hosting account.
How to Install WordPress in CPanel using Softaculous
OK, the boring stuff is DONE! On to the good stuff …
Inspedium makes it very easy to install WordPress through the Softaculous CPanel Plugin.
Once you have logged in to CPanel using the account information you receive from Inspedium, you can scroll down to the “Software” section and click on the “Softaculous Apps Installer” …
Once there, you will be taken to the Softaculous dashboard …
You will see WordPress as the first app you can install. Clicking on the “Install” button, you will be taken to the following screen:
In the first section, you will:
- Choose the latest version of WordPress to install
- Choose the protocol you would like to use
- The domain you would like to install WordPress on
- The directory you would like to install WordPress in
TIP: I recommend you always use the “https://www” protocol when installing WordPress. This has a few benefits but to keep it simple for now, it will be easier for you to setup your website on the CloudFlare CDN through CPanel (CName Setup) in the future.
If you wish to install WordPress your main website, you should keep the “In Directory” field empty. It is pre-filled with “wp” by default. I recommend you delete that.
In this section, you will choose a Name and tagline for your website
Choosing a secure username and password is of great importance!
In this section, you will be asked to:
- Choose a username
- Choose a password
- Enter your email address
When choosing a username, avoid the default username “admin” at all costs!
Choose a username which is somewhat unique to this website.
Similarly, when choosing a password, avoid dictionary words or words / passwords which are easy to remember.
TIP: Clicking on the Key Icon to the far right will generate a random complex password for you. I recommend that you use this auto-generated password.
You can safely leave the “Choose Language” and “Select Plugins” to the default settings – “English” and no plugins chosen (you can install plugins later).
For database name, you should use a name which would help you easily identify the database later in CPanel’s MySQL section. This helps if you have more than one database configured.
Softaculous automatically chooses a random database prefix for you so you can leave that to the default as well.
It is a good idea to leave the Auto Upgrade to the default “Do not auto upgrade”. This will help avoid any potential complications with incompatible themes or plugins in the future.
… this will also mean that you will have to login regularly to the WordPress Dashboard to keep your copy or WordPress and all plugins up to date.
A very nice feature in Softaculous is that it allows you to schedule periodic backups.
However, since Inspedium provides you with free daily cloud backups, you can safely leave Softaculous backups disabled. 😊
Here you can choose any theme you like. We can always change the theme later, once WordPress is installed.
Now, enter an email address where you want to receive the installation details and click “Install”
Congratulations, you are done!
You have successfully installed WordPress on your brand-new web hosting account! 😊
Installing A Theme on WordPress
A WordPress Theme is basically a web template which makes it easy for you to style the front-end of your website.
A good theme usually comes with a drag and drop page builder which makes it easy for you to change the look and feel of your page and add/edit content without having to write any code.
Now that you have installed WordPress, it is time to install a WordPress Theme…
You will need to login to the WordPress Dashboard.
You can do that by browsing to https://www.<yoursite.com>/wp-admin (replace <yoursite.com> with your domain name).
Enter your username and password 😊
This is what your WordPress Dashboard will look like:
The dashboard might look slightly complicated at first, but I’ll walk you through it. 😊
How to Find a Theme You Like
You can access the WordPress Theme Directory from within the WordPress Dashboard. To do that, click on “Appearance -> Themes – Add New”.
Since this interface gives you over 4,000 themes to choose from, you can make use of the “Feature Filter” to look at themes which have the features you want for your website.
You can even click the “Preview” button for the themes you like, to see how they would look.
While the themes in this directory are pretty good, you might also want to visit Theme Forest.
Theme Forest is the largest online marketplace for premium WordPress themes. Their prices start at $13.
If you need specialized features for your website, getting a theme from Theme Forest would be a better idea.
How to Install a Theme from the WordPress Theme Directory
If you choose to go with a theme from the WordPress directory, you can click the “Install” button to download and install the theme to your copy of WordPress.
Once the theme is downloaded, the Install button changes to “Activate”. You will need to click this button to activate the new theme on your website.
Once that is done, we can proceed to making your website and adding content using this new theme.
I Bought a Premium Theme. How do I upload it to WordPress?
So, you decided to go with a Premium Theme! Congratulations! 😊
Now you have downloaded a zip file containing the theme and you’re not sure how to upload it to your WordPress installation.
Not to worry, we can go about installing this theme in two easy ways…
How to Upload a WordPress Theme using CPanel’s File Manager
- Log on to CPanel
- Search for and Browse to “File Manager” on your CPanel Dashboad
- Once in the File Manager, browse to the directory “public_html -> wp-content -> themes”.
- Once in the themes folder, click the “Upload” link in the File Manager Menu and upload your theme’s zip file.
- Once the file is uploaded, go back to the file manager screen and click “Reload”.
- Right click on the file you uploaded and click “Extract” on the pop-up menu.
- Once you click extract, a pop-up with the directory path will appear. By default, it would have the correct path pre-filled (public_html/wp-content/themes). Click the button marked “Extract Files”.
- You will see yet another pop-up which displays all the files that have been extracted from the archive. You can now click the button marked “Close”.
- Once you, click the “Reload” link again. You will now see the theme folder appear in the list of directories.
- While logged in to your WordPress Dashboard, browse to “Appearance -> Themes”.
- You will see the freshly uploaded theme in the list of themes available to you. Click “Activate”.
That’s it! You’re done!
Your new premium theme is now installed and active on your WordPress installation.
Wasn’t difficult at all, was it? 😊
How to Upload a WordPress Theme using WordPress Dashboard
- Log on to the WordPress Dashboard
- Browse to “Appearance -> Themes” and click “Add New”
- Once on the Add New screen, click “Upload Theme
- You will be prompted to upload the theme’s zip file. Select the file from your computer and click “Install Now”
- The next screen will show you a success message with an option to “Activate” the new theme. Click the activate link and you’re done!
Your new premium theme is now installed on your WordPress! 😊
TIP: This method depends on the upload_max_filesize PHP option. By default, many web hosts set this option to a low number in PHP.INI. Before using this method to install a WordPress Theme, please make a note of the zip file’s size on your computer and increase the upload_max_filesize using the “MultiPHP INI Editor” in CPanel.
Let me know in the comments if you would like me to write a short how to for this also. 😊
How to Create New Pages and Add Content in WordPress?
Now that you have installed WordPress and your shiny new theme…
Let’s start creating your website’s pages!
- The first thing you will need to do is to log on to the WordPress dashboard and browse to “Pages” from the navigation menu. This will take you to a list of all your pages in WordPress.
- Clicking the “Add New” button on the top of this page will take you to the add new page screen where you can start creating your new page.
- If you chose to install a theme which comes pre-packaged with a page builder, you will have a choice between the WordPress’ Gutenberg Editor or the page builder which comes pre-packaged with your theme.
For the sake of this tutorial, we will create a page with Gutenberg.
- Add the title of your new page, example “Home”.
- Add some content using the content section.
TIP: Do explore the types of blocks you can use within Gutenberg. These make it super easy to add and manage media and different content sections such as headings, paragraphs, code snippets etc. within your page.
- Once you’re done adding content, you can choose to;
- Save Draft – so you can come back and finish the page later
- Preview the page – to make sure it looks the way you want it to look
- Publish the page – once you’re sure the page looks exactly like you want it to, you can click Publish to take it live.
You can use the same process to create multiple pages and then add them to the navigation menu on your new site.
How to Add Your New Pages to the WordPress Menu?
To add your newly created pages to the navigation menu;
- Browse to “Appearance -> Menus” using the left navigation panel on the WordPress Dashboard.
- Based on the theme you are using; it might have more than one navigation menu available for you.
You can choose which menu you wish to add your pages to by selecting the menu from the drop-down on the page.
- Now, using the “Pages” menu to the left, you can select which pages you wish to add to the menu and then click “Add to Menu”
- Once you’re done adding all the pages you wish to, click “Save”.
That’s it! You’re done!
You have now successfully created pages for your new website and added them to the navigation menu 😊
How to Configure and Customize WordPress Settings
For brevity’s sake, I will only be touching on the most important WordPress settings in this article.
I shall be writing a detailed guide on WordPress settings soon.
OK, let’s click “Settings” in the left navigation on the dashboard and get started…
- Site Title – This should be set to the name for your website. You should choose the website title with care.
- Tagline – As with the site title, you should choose your tagline carefully also. Think of it as a very short description of what your website is about and help you attract more visitors/customers.
- WordPress Address – This will be pre-filled for you and you would not normally want to change it.
- Site URL – This too would be pre-filled for you and does not normally need to be changed.
… if you have setup WordPress in a sub-directory, or if you would like your site’s homepage to be in a different directory than your WordPress installation, you might want to change the URL here.
- Email Address – You can set this to any email address. This is your administrative email for your new website.
- Choose the option “A static homepage”
- Using the “Homepage” drop-down menu, choose the page you would like to be the main page for your website. This will be the page they see when they land on https://www.<yoursite.com>
- If you also wish to include a blog on your website – and have made a page where you would display all your blog posts – you can use the “Posts page” drop-down menu to select the page which will display all your posts.
You can safely leave this unselected if you do not plan on adding a blog to your website.
- Search Engine Visibility – This checkbox should always remain unchecked since your DO want search engines to index your website. This way, people searching for your company/products can easily find you via search engines.
In this section, you essentially define the URL structure for your website.
On this page, it is advisable to select “Custom Structure” and add “/%category%/%postname%/” to the text field.
This tells WordPress to keep your URLs neatly organized while keeping them user-friendly for your visitors and keyword rich for search engines 😊
Now that we have the most important settings covered …
Installing Plugins to get more out of your WordPress
WordPress would not be half as much fun to work with, without plugins!
Plugins help extend WordPress functionality.
Which means plugins help you add more features / functionality to your website, such as …
Help you make an eCommerce Store
Help you make a membership website etc.
Let’s see how you can go about installing plugins to your new WordPress website and then we will look at the most important plugins which should be your first choice.
How do I Install a New Plugin?
To install a new WordPress plugin;
- Browse to “Plugins -> Add New” using the left navigation menu on the dashboard.
- Once on the Add Plugins page, you can use the “Search” field to search the WordPress Plugin Repository for the plugin you wish to install.
- Once you have found the plugin you want to install, click the “Install Now” button next to it. This will download and install the plugin files to your website.
- Once the plugin is installed, you can click “Activate” to enable it on your website.
That’s it! That is how easy it is to install a WordPress plugin 😊
3 Essential Plugins for your New Website
Here is a list of the most essential plugins which I feel every website should install …
- Yoast SEO – What use is a website if it cannot be found?
Being most popular search engine optimization plugin for WordPress, it helps your website to be found by people searching for your company or products/service you offer.
This plugin helps you easily edit and optimize the tags and code necessary for your website to rank higher in search engines.
- LiteSpeed Cache – Since website visitors do not wait around for slow loading websites, it is essential that your website be optimized to load fast!
Good News: If you chose to host with Inspedium, you’ve already chosen the fastest web hosting company in Pakistan!
The second step now would be to use the best Cache plugin so your website loads blazing fast for your clients/visitors.
That is where LiteSpeed comes in.
In my opinion it is the best All-in-One optimization plugin out there, which communicates directly with the LiteSpeed Web Server to speed up your website!
The only downside though, it works best with server running LiteSpeed.
But hey …
You’re already using LiteSpeed Web Hosting with Inspedium! 😉
- Wordfence – Security is of paramount importance …
… and in my opinion Wordfence is a must-have when it comes to securing your website and keeping it safe from hackers and malicious viruses.
most people would recommend a backup plugin as a “must-have” …
I usually do not! … Why?
… because if you are hosting your website with a great web hosting company, daily backups would be included!
Yes, if you chose to host your website with Inspedium, you should not worry about backups!
It is the ONLY company in Pakistan which gives you FREE daily backups and gives you 7 different versions of them!
This means, in case of a disaster, you can choose to restore your website from any one of the 7 daily backups you have available for you.
Isn’t that neat? I think so! 😊
Do let me know if you found this guide helpful?
Did it answer all your questions, or would you like it to have more details?
Leave me questions/feedback and help me make this guide the absolute best!
I’m counting on you! 😊
Digitally Yours, Zahid Sindhu