This Guide is for complete WordPress beginners, people who are just starting to use it, and WordPress beginners, who already started using it, and now want to learn more about how to use better WordPress.
To help all types of WordPress beginners, I will give you a detailed guide, and walk you through every step of creating a WordPress website. I will focus on writing a simple guide to install WordPress, that even my mom could easily follow. Note that I have written this blog post on September 18, 2020, and all the statistical data is valid on that date. I recommend reading this post as it is much shorter than the whole book like WordPress For Dummies.
Full disclosure, not long ago I was a WordPress beginner, too. I spent hours and hours searching for advice, tips, and how-to tutorials, feeling mostly overwhelmed. I remember well how hard it is to find useful information all in one place. So, having that in mind, I wrote this WordPress Guide for Beginners to help you out.
Ready? Me neither…
Just kidding! Gotcha!
- 1 What is WordPress?
- 2 Is WordPress free? How much it costs?
- 3 Why choose WordPress?
- 4 Before you install WordPress
- 5 How to Install WordPress
- 6 Design with WordPress Themes
- 7 Is WordPress secure?
- 8 How to use WordPress at an advanced level
- 9 Keyboard Shortcuts
- 10 Invitation
- 11 Conclusion
What is WordPress?
WordPress is a software system.
WordPress enables you to DIY a website. WordPress started back in 2003, as a brainchild of Matt Mullenweg, CEO of Automattic. The company’s products include WordPress, Akismet, Gravatar, Simplenote, WooCommerce, and most recently, since 2019 Tumblr.
WordPress was and still is a popular blogging platform because you don’t have to be a web designer, a computer programmer, or great at computers even. With WordPress, anyone can create a fully functional and great-looking website. Ordinary people install WordPress because it is quick and easy to use, customizable, with lots of themes and tools to choose from. When you install WordPress you gain access to the latest software and plugins.
Is WordPress free? How much it costs?
It is important to mention — it’s completely free.
Why choose WordPress?
According to a diagram published on W3Techs.com, 14 September, 2020 WordPress is used by 38.4% of all the websites, which is a content management system market share of 63.6%.
WordPress is a mega technology, as it is used by at least 27,021,750 websites on the entire Internet, according to builtwith.com. WordPress is the most popular on the Entire Internet in the Open Source category, Blog category, and Content Management System category.
builtwith.com analyzed CMS Usage Distribution in the Top 1 Million Sites. Their chart shows that 380,026 websites use WordPress, which is 38%. WordPress is used by the small and by the giants. NY Times, CNN, Forbes, and other well-known sites all use WordPress.
WordPress Alternatives (Top 5 WordPress competitors)
- 1. 1,623,153 live websites using Joomla!
- 2. 576,477 live websites using Drupal
- 3. 517,052 live websites using Blogger
- 4. 301,844 live websites using TYPO3
- 5. 110,304 live websites using Tumblr
Before you install WordPress
You can’t rush the already fast process. You have to decide on and complete a few steps before you get down to the actual How to Install WordPress step.
First, you have to choose your domain name and hosting. Beware that you have to purchase domain and hosting, while WordPress remains free.
Choose your Domain name
A domain name is the name of your website. It is smart to choose a name that is easily associated with the content on your website. For example, if you intend to write a blog with recipes, you can choose a name that is related to that type of content like Mary’s cookies or My Delicious Treats.
It is a good idea to choose a name that can describe other content as well if your site grows. For example, Mary’s Kitchen Adventures is a better name because it doesn’t focus only on a smaller niche (desserts), but can be applied also to dinners, menus, cooking tips, etc.
For business owners, it is advisable to think about your future business expansion possibilities and don’t get stuck with a name that won’t suit you in a couple of years.
Check your Domain name availability
Unfortunately, the name you choose could already be taken. There are many domain name checkers you can use to check the availability, like Bluehost. If your chosen name is taken, you can come up with a different name or buy .org, .net, etc.
There is another solution to your problems if your domain name is taken, but your heart is set on it. You can choose a local domain register. With a name like .com.uk instead of just .com you can make your website more national rather than international.
Register your Domain name
Registering your domain name is not free. It can cost around $10 per month.
However, some platforms offer a free domain name with their packages. It is always a smart idea to check out the prices on different sites, as offers vary from provider to provider. Namecheap offers start from $8.88. Bluehost provides a free domain name if you choose their hosting services. Other options include GoDaddy, domain.com, etc.
Design your Logo
Early on in the process, it is smart to choose a logo for your website. If your designing skills are at the entry-level, take a shortcut, and ask the Internet for help. There are websites specializing solely in creating Logo designs. You can create a free logo in a minute. Answer a few questions, give them a few hints, directions, and generate hundreds of options you can choose from. Check out looka, LogoMaker, and FreeLogoDesign for free options. If you are interested in a logo professionally done, you can turn to 99designs.
Make sure your logo is memorable and catchy. If you want, you can incorporate a secret sign or a secret message like many famous companies. Did you know that the arrow in the Amazon logo points from A to Z, pointing out they have all kinds of products.
Hosting is best explained as a service that gives your website home, as it stores your stuff, or the files to be more exact. You have to buy a hosting service. Make sure you choose hosting that supports WordPress. There are hundreds of hosting providers, and thankfully HubSpot compiled a list of 23 of the best WordPress hosting providers available today, in 2020. It is quite difficult to choose the best because every one of them offers different plans and prices. Sometimes, too many options is a nuisance.
Bluehost is a great choice because it provides you with a free domain name and easy 1-click WordPress installation. It is after all officially recommended by WordPress.
“Just like flowers need the right environment to grow, WordPress works best when it’s in a rich hosting environment.”WordPress
The best thing about Bluehost is a one-click automatic install for WordPress, and a free domain name. You can choose between three plans differing in price and features. Just like 2 million websites powered by Bluehost, you too could be blogging in no time!
How to set up Bluehost?
Go to bluehost.com. Click on WordPress hosting in the upper left corner of the screen.
Choose a plan. For new bloggers, the basic plan is more than enough.
Choose a Domain name. Put in the domain name you chose. You can also choose later.
Go to Create Your Account page. Fill in the needed information — your name, address, the chosen account plan, check/uncheck the boxes of the desired package extras, and provide the billing information. Note that all plans and packages renew automatically unless you cancel. You can easily upgrade when your website grows.
How to Install WordPress
Check your email for verification notice. Use it to activate your account.
You can find in the email from Bluehost instructions on how to access your control panel. On the Bluehost control panel, simply click on Install WordPress to continue. Select the domain for installation from the drop-down panel. Click Next. Enter your site name and fill in other missing information to complete your install WordPress. Click Install. When the installation is complete, click on the link to see your installation details. That’s it. You’re done.
Login to WordPress to install WordPress and start your adventure. To log in, you must enter the admin username (or email address) and password. Make sure to save this important information somewhere safe, just in case.
You can now explore different features, write new content, and post it online right away.
Design with WordPress Themes
After you install WordPress, your first theme will be a default theme. This is the entry-level design. Look at custom themes to make your website look more professional. WordPress offers hundreds of themes, for every need, whether you are blogging, or an e-commerce website. Simply go to your dashboard, click on Appearance, then Themes, and browse until you find something you like. Click Install when you find the theme right for your content. Just follow closely the guide to install correctly. This is where you can check which theme is active, and update it if there is a new version available.
Themeforest is another place where you can check out thousands of WordPress themes.
Astra WordPress Theme is an ideal beginner theme with over 70 designs.
Check out this Astra Theme review. Astra WordPress Theme Review – An Ideal Beginner Theme Boasting 70 Designs!
In July 2020 wptavern.com reported that Astra became the only non-default WordPress theme with 1 million installs! This is the highest number any WordPress Theme has achieved. You can see the Brainstorm Force team behind Astra, who worked in designing and continuously improving here, celebrating.
“Love the versatility of the Astra theme. The site-building process is simplified and even the free version offers much versatility with its element options and attractive templates. You can also find Astra dedicated plugins. Support is second to none, stepping up quickly to help you get your site running. Feeling really good about my choice.”Tiger Lily on WordPress.org
WinningWP gave an in-depth review of WordPress Astra Theme features.
It is easy to see why so many WordPress users have stuck with Astra Theme and decided to upgrade it. If you are still weighing in on the pros and cons, this article will undoubtedly help you.
Wptavern.com lists other WordPress Themes: Aside from the default themes that ship with WordPress, there are currently five themes with more than 100,000 active installs:
- Astra – 1 million
- OceanWP – 600,000
- GeneratePress – 300,000
- Hello Elementor – 300,000
- Storefront – 200,000
Abundance of WordPress Plugins
We covered WordPress themes, but what are WordPress plugins for? They complement WordPress and do what WordPress can’t. Not all functions come with WordPress, and here is where plugins come in.
So, a plugin is something that adds a function to WordPress. After you install WordPress, check out the WordPress.org plugins page, and browse through 58,241 plugins, all available to use for free.
Here you can find different eCommerce plugins that can turn your ordinary WordPress site into a real shop.
Maybe you are more interested in forums plugins? WordPress has a solution for that, too. There are more than 300 pages of different plugins to create a forum.
A very useful type of plugin is forms so that people can contact you or sign up for something.
How to use the WordPress Dashboard. How does WordPress work?
WordPress dashboard can be explained as the control room for your website after you install WordPress. Familiarize yourself with different features as soon as you install WordPress so that you can customize your website more efficiently. You can choose from different fonts, styles, colors, add social media buttons, etc. It is your choice entirely how your Main page will look like, and what content will be displayed.
This is the first thing your visitors will see, so put some thought into the design. You can customize the footer and header area of the main page. Design your own Navigation menu. Don’t forget to add the Contact page, and About page and introduce yourself to the world. All this can be accessed from the dashboard after you install WordPress.
Make sure your content is grammar and punctuation-proofed. You can install WordPress with a free checker — Grammarly, which is extremely convenient and easy to use. Premium features (suggesting stylistic changes) are not free. You can also use Hemingway Editor, an online checker for grammar, punctuation, and style. After you have written a post, you have the options to save it as a draft or hit publish immediately. After publishing, your content is “live”, which means it can be seen by other people online.
Choose a Font
One thing I learned from Steve Jobs is the importance of typography. Digitaltrends reminds us how Steve Jobs became fascinated with typography and later included it in Apple iOS. After you install WordPress, personalize your website with this option.
WordPress Plugins are like apps on your phone. They offer more functions. There are many plugins made not by WordPress, but for WordPress to increase its functionality. The number 1 WordPress plugin is Yoast SEO. It helps with optimizing your website, and Google ranking.
Because there are so many plugins available, start slow and don’t overdo it, as it may compromise your website’s functionality and security.
According to codeinwp, there are more than 50,000 WordPress plugins, with new ones constantly being added. Codeinwp shows a lot more interesting statistics; all WordPress related, including security — an Achilles heel of many WordPress users.
For bloggers, it is important to be able to analyze trends, know your audience. You can achieve that by installing Google Analytics.
Connect with Google Analytics using a plugin by MonsterInsights. Google Analytics shows you when, what, where, and how your readers are finding your website. This way, you can target your audience more efficiently, and fine-tune your content to achieve better results.
After you install WordPress, I also recommend installing the Easy Social Media Share Buttons. It makes easier publishing to various online media, like Facebook, Twitter, etc.
If you feeling young at heart, no stranger to pranks, install a meme generator WordPress Plugin. It costs only $6, but keep on entertaining and entertaining.
WordPress Widgets are small blocks that can be displayed on your website. You can see what WordPress Widgets are available, only after you install WordPress, then go to your Dashboard, then Appearance, and Widgets. You can select a widget (on the left side) and drag it to an area where you want it to be (on the right).
Is WordPress secure?
You have to make sure to update your theme, plugins, and widgets. Make sure to do regular backups. Choose a strong password, and change it regularly. This will secure your website from the majority of hacker attacks. If you are still concerned about security, or just interested in making your site bulletproof, read the article in Smashing Magazine — How To Secure Your WordPress Website. You can feel safer to install WordPress after this.
How to use WordPress at an advanced level
When you master blogging with WordPress, you can take it to the next level. Using different e-commerce plugins, it is easy to set up your own online store. You can have fun and try out an auction plugin, or a forum plugin to start discussions on your website. To take your marketing results to the next level, offer a free checklist, or a free e-book. Free perks can turn readers into longtime fans, and eventually buyers. If you install WordPress to use it at an advanced level, you can turn your website into a brand. Monetizing a website is something most WordPress beginners aspire to.
I always recommend using keyboard shortcuts to increase efficiency. It is smart to print a list of your most useful shortcuts and keep it close for faster reference. I use them mostly when I edit posts, as they save me time and patience. The basic ones you should know are:
- Text editing:
- Select All: Ctrl+A
- Copy: Ctrl+C
- Paste: Ctrl+V
- Bold: Ctrl+B
- Text alignment:
- Align left: Alt+Shift+L
- Align right: Alt+Shift+R
- Align center: Alt+Shift+C
- For changing headings, links:
- Heading 1: Ctrl+1
- Heading 2: Ctrl+2
- Heading 3: Ctrl+3
- Heading 4: Ctrl+4
- Insert a link: Alt+Shift+A
- Delete a link: Alt+Shift+S
- Insert an image: Alt+Shift+M
- Insert blockquotes: Alt+Shift+Q
Check your WordPress knowledge with a short quiz designed by wpshout.
Check out when and where the next WordCamp will be and join the club. WordCamp is a conference that focuses on everything WordPress. They are informal, community-organized events that are put together by WordPress users like you. Everyone from casual users to core developers participates, share ideas, and gets to know each other.
WordCamp Finland Online will be on November 12, 2020. Speakers will present their knowledge, skills, experiences, and stories with the WordPress community.
Tickets to WordCamp Finland Online 2020 will be free of charge! Registration is not required but recommended for getting the full experience and all the offers from our sponsors.
Take action! Install WordPress today. You are perfectly ready to start your passive income adventure.
It is quite easy to install WordPress. It is fun to play with design and various plugins. I hope you can avoid hiring a professional, or spending money on designers.
The hard part comes later — writing great content. Learning the basics of SEO, marketing options, etc., is best left for other posts.
If my how to install WordPress guide has left you with more questions than answers, leave a comment below.