WordPress has played a massive role in enabling businesses of all sizes to start, own and manage a website. This is largely thanks to its accessible pricing and ease of use.
However, many business owners still need some help getting started with WordPress. With that in mind, we’ve created a series of WordPress tutorials for users with even the most basic levels of knowledge. Since not everyone can be a tech whizz, we’ll assume no prior knowledge.
In the first part of this series, we’ll start with the basics of buying, configuring, and launching a WordPress site for your business. With that in mind, let’s start with the most basic question.
Want to build a custom WordPress site but don’t know where to start? This definitive guide holds your hand walking through every step from choosing the right hosting to fine-tuning your WordPress site for faster speed and higher conversions.
Whether you need to migrate an existing site over to WordPress or start totally from scratch, we make it easy to get online fast following our structured blueprint. With screenshot visuals illustrating each phase, you can have your fully functioning site up within 60 minutes.
From installing core WordPress with one click to selecting a stylish theme to configuring must-have plugins, our handpicked recommendations help avoid beginner pitfalls. We reveal insider techniques to amplify security, customize design past out-of-the-box themes, and integrate high-performance features for rankings and traffic growth.
Follow this guide’s proven methodology for launching and scaling your WordPress site above the competition. Time savings and expert advice at your fingertips.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is one of the world’s biggest blogging and website management platforms. Essentially, WordPress offers a combination of an easy-to-use content management system and other features, like hosting and a front-end design tool.
This makes WordPress the perfect option for people with relatively little technical expertise to create and manage professional-looking websites.
Beyond this, WordPress offers several additional features to ensure your website is as well optimised as possible for search engines, conversion rates and user experience. Some of these are native, while others are offered using third-party tools known as plugins.
Table of Contents
Set Up a WordPress Site in 6 Easy Steps!
With that definition in mind, here’s our step-by-step guide to creating a WordPress site from scratch.
Step 1: Choosing your Site Name and Other Details
The first step to creating a WordPress site is navigating to the website itself. You can see in the above image the URL/web address of this. When you are on the site, you will be brought to a place to sign in to your account or create a new one. You can also hit sign up, and you will be brought to the screen above.
The above is the first step of three to creating your WordPress.com site. Here you will choose the name of your site and explain what the site will be about. It’s worth putting the effort in here, as WordPress offers many suggestions to help you manage your site.
These are targeted at best practices in different industries, taking the leg work out of various kinds of website optimisation.
Step 2: Choosing your Domain Name
The next step to creating your WordPress.com site/blog is choosing your domain name. In the above image, you can see that there is a search bar to help you define the domain name you would like. We have chosen game design.
From here, WordPress.com shows you suggestions for your domain name. You can choose one of these names (which are free of charge). Once you select a name, you will be brought to the third step.
This is choosing your domain name. This step is crucial, as your domain name is highly tied up with your users’ ability to find your website. As a rule of thumb, your domain should be short and memorable while also matching the main focus of your site as closely as possible.
Of course, if you’re building a website for an existing company, your best bet is to match your domain name to your existing brand rather than starting a new brand from scratch. This will save you time and effort in promoting your new site by drawing on existing brand awareness.
Step 3: Choose a WordPress Plan that is Right for You
The next step in creating your WordPress site is choosing the right subscription plan for you. There are three different pricing tiers which you can choose from. There is the basic plan, the choice plus, the online store and the pro plan.
The basic plan costs $2.95 a month and offers one blog or one site and SSD storage of 10 GB.
WordPress.com recommends the choice plus plan for its added privacy and security features. It offers free CDN and a one-year domain, as well as 3 websites and SSD storage of 40 GB. It costs $5.45 per month.
The third and newest option costs $9.95; it is suitable if you are starting your online selling business. Similar to the choice plus plan, it offers free CDN and a one-year domain, as well as 3 websites and SSD storage of 40 GB.
Finally, the pro plan, which costs $13.95 per month, offers more optimised web resources. It offers free CDN and a one-year domain, as well as 5 websites and SSD storage of 100 GB.
For example, we’d probably choose the basic plan for a game design blog since it’s primarily aimed at blogging around personal topics. By contrast, an established digital agency like ProfileTree couldn’t manage without advanced features.
Step 4: Choose Privacy Settings for your WordPress Site
The fourth step is quite simple. You can either choose to protect the details associated with your domain name from being made public. Of course, this is highly recommended. Even if your details aren’t sensitive, making your details public can have incredibly annoying consequences.
Later you can also look into adding additional security features to your WordPress site, either with external hosting or extra security plugins.
It’s also worth noting at this point; it’s also worth noting that you should be conscious of the security implications of any other features to your site. For instance, if you implement an email signup form, it’s crucial that this is GDPR compliant.
This may feel like we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Still, it’s very important to consider the security implications of every decision you make while managing your site.
Step 5: Adding Contact Details
WordPress requires you to then enter contact details for your blog/site. These are the details that the privacy protection will protect. You must enter your name, address, email and phone number here.
This process is self-explanatory, but there are a few things to remember.
For instance, it’s important to use an email address and phone number you regularly access in case you get locked out of your site.
Additionally, suppose you plan on using a custom email address for your website. In that case, you might want to take a couple of steps at this point. For example, it’s possible to set up a mailbox in WordPress, but you might equally prefer doing this through a third party.
Either option is fine, but it’s best to decide how you’d like your business emails to be hosted earlier rather than choosing one option and then backtracking.
Step 6: Next Steps After Starting a WordPress Site
The final step in creating your site/blog is visiting your site. From here, you can start to build your WordPress.com site. Here you will be able to start to write posts and create various pages. At this point, it’s worth considering what content will be on your WordPress site.
You’ll also want to start thinking about the look and feel of your site using WordPress themes. These are essentially pre-made design templates for your website.
Once you’re happy with your site’s configuration, you can move on to the second tutorial in our WordPress basics series and create your first post.
Top WordPress hosting options and the pros and cons of each:
- Very affordable, starting as low as $2.95/month
- Easy one-click WordPress installer
- Shared resources keep costs down
- Can experience slower speeds during peak times
- Less resource overhead limits traffic capacity
- Less flexibility in software configuration
Managed WordPress Hosting
- Performance optimized for WordPress
- Pre-configured security and CDN caching
- Expert WordPress specific support
- More expensive than shared hosting
- Some customization restrictions
- Predictable fast dedicated resources
- Complete configuration flexibility
- Scale compute resources up over time
- Requires technical expertise to manage
- Most expensive per month
The best option depends on budget, traffic needs, and technical capabilities. Shared hosting works well for new small sites starting out, while managed WordPress hosting balances convenience and optimization for medium scale projects. More advanced users can get maximum control via VPS.
Tips on customizing the design of a WordPress site beyond just themes:
- Use a child theme or editor like Additional CSS to override theme styling code for font colors, spacing, sizes etc. Just be careful not to break responsiveness.
Custom Page Templates
- Create custom page templates in your theme for unique layouts around elements positioning, sidebars, headers etc. Applied on a per page basis.
Widget & Menu Manipulation
- Heavily customize sidebar widgets and global menus for structure/navigational changes without touching code.
Integrated Site Builders
- Leverage drag and drop site builders like Elementor or Beaver Builder for advanced customization via their templating/modules.
While off-the-shelf themes handle baseline look and feel, adapting CSS, templates, widgets, integrated builders and code allows much more design flexibility in areas like layout, fonts, colors, and content presentation. Requires more knowledge but enables better realization of custom branding vision.
Important WordPress security considerations I would cover in a dedicated section:
Hardening WordPress Security
Running a secure, trustworthy WordPress site requires putting safeguards in place around areas like:
- User Access Control – Limit admin users, use strong passwords, enable 2FA
- Automatic Security Updates – Ensure plugins/themes/core update to latest secure versions
- SSL Encryption – Add HTTPS protection against traffic interception
- File Permissions – Tighten upload/plugin directories to prevent malicious code execution
- Request Screening – Leverage a Web Application Firewall to filter requests
- Backup & Recovery – Schedule regular automated backups to safeguard site files and database
- Limit Exposed Details – Use security plugins to hide version details from enumeration
While WordPress has robust security measures built-in, the powerful flexibility it provides can expose vulnerabilities if not properly locked down. Taking proper precautions to restrict access, keep software updated, add encryption, monitor activity and maintain backups helps harden sites against cyber threats.
Specifics on optimizing a new WordPress site for SEO:
- Ensure clean W3C valid HTML code output
- Structure markup properly with heading tags (H1, H2 etc)
- Add XML sitemaps to surface all site content
- Implement metadata like titles, descriptions, open graph
- Optimize page load performance with caching/compression
Content & Keyword Research
- Research relevant keyword terms and topics to cover
- Create useful, well-structured blog content pillars targeting terms
- Help pages and categories optimize for long-tail questions
- Set up user profiles to generate branded anchor text links
- Develop internal links across site to distribute authority
- Seed guest posts on trusted industry niche sites
- Earn local citation listings
Tracking & Monitoring
- Connect Search Console to monitor crawl stats
- Submit updated sitemaps as assets grow
- Watch keyword rankings locally and nationally
- Measure traffic growth quarterly
Covering all those areas provides a methodology for continually improving visibility and authority for any brand new WordPress install.
Tips for setting up forms, calls-to-action (CTAs) and social integrations on a WordPress site to boost user engagement:
Install plugins like WPForms, Contact Form 7 or Gravity Forms. Easy drag and drop form building options. Embed on any page or posts including popups and header bars for lead capture. Integrate with CRM and email.
Calls to Action
Insert custom designed, eye-catching buttons with links using Elementor, WPBakery or other page builder plugins. Drive emails, downloads ebooks, promote webinars etc. Place strategically across key site areas.
Connect and display channels using Simple Social Icons to build familiarity. Allow easy social sharing of pages and posts with ShareThis or AddThis plugins to boost virality. Import Instagram feeds, tweets etc via tools like Social Buzz or Mashshare.
Install Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel, hotjar or MonsterInsights. Use heat maps, lead tracking and attribution to optimize conversion performance of calls-to-action and forms.
More advanced users can also add popups, slide-ins, notifications and embed video leveraging the breadth of plugins. Continually test placement, messaging and design. Integration is unlimited with the WordPress ecosystem.
Referencing the WordPress codex and industry experts for best practices as well as providing evidence for claims:
Referencing Codex & Experts:
“According to WordPress codex guidelines for optimal site architecture, it is recommended to include H1 and H2 heading tags on every page for proper on-page SEO (1).”
“Leading digital marketing resources like Moz and SearchEngineJournal advise limiting use of plugins whenever possible to avoid performance bloat, instead advising leveraging built-in WordPress capabilities first (2)(3).”
WordPress now powers over 43% of all websites globally as of 2023, cementing itself as the world’s most used web development platform with little signs of slowing down (4).
WordPress site FAQ
Frequently Asked WordPress Setup Questions:
Q: What are the minimum server requirements for WordPress?
A: At least 2GB RAM, MySQL 5.6+ and modern PHP like 7.3+ for good performance.
Q: Is WordPress really free to use?
A: Yes, WordPress open source CMS software is 100% free. Hosting and domains cost money.
Q: How long does it take to set up a basic WordPress site?
A: Approximately 10-20 minutes for domain, hosting setup. Another 30-60 minutes for theme install & customization.
Q: Is WordPress beginner friendly?
A: Quite friendly for beginners thanks to abundant resources but room for lots of more advanced usage.
wordpress site Conclusion
Setting up a polished, scalable WordPress site is now easier than ever before thanks to abundant managed hosting options with one-click installers as well as nearly 10,000 free commercial themes and plugins available.
While beginners can be online in under an hour, truly mastering WordPress for custom functionality, security hardening, and performance optimization provides unlimited room for growth. The Web’s most successful open source web publishing and development framework only increases in capabilities over time.