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The Complete Guide To Setting Up A WordPress Website

When you're trying to learn how to create a Wordpress website, there's a lot that goes into it. We'll walk you through common Wordpress terms, how to install Wordpress on your hosting server, how to setup your Wordpress website, and more. We're excited to offer a beginner's guide to Wordpress websites that walks beginner's through the most crucial steps of using the most powerful CMS on the Internet.

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Thanks for following along with our guide to setting up a WordPress website. This week we’re picking up from where we left off. Now that you have a web hosting account, we can easily install WordPress and start focusing on the kind of website you want. Since we used Bluehost last week to show you how to setup your hosting account, we’re starting there. But don’t worry! If you don’t have a Bluehost account, these steps are mostly the same for every hosting provider.

If you need a walk through for your specific hosting provider, you can click on their name below (or search for “WordPress Install For X Hosting” – and insert your specific hosting providers name there).

How To Install WordPress On Your Bluehost Account

First you’ll need to log in to your new account. You can find the Bluehost login link here.

Once you’ve logged in, you’ll see a sidebar on the left side that has several options for you to choose. Since Bluehost is made to serve both beginners and experts – they have several ways of doing the same thing. We’ll be showing you how to do the automated easy install and how to do a manual install.

How to start your easy install for WordPress

  1. Click on “My Sites” in the sidebar.
  2. Click “Create Site” in the top right side of your screen
  3. Enter the name for your WordPress website
    • This is different than your domain name. If you’re creating a website for your business, you’ll want to use your business name as the website name.
  4. (Optional) Enter your site tagline
    • If you have a business motto or want to tell your visitors what your business is about in a short sentence – this would be the place to do that.
  5. Click “Advanced”
    • Under Advanced, you’ll see a place to put your email address, a username, and a password. Although Bluehost can automatically create these for you, we recommend putting a good email for your business, a username you’ll remember (i.e. MyBusiness29), and a difficult password.
    • Once you’ve created these, WRITE THEM DOWN. You can recover your password, but it’s much easier if you have your information protected and saved in case you need them.
  6. Click “Next” to move on to choosing your domain
    • If you’ve already registered your domain with Bluehost, you will see it on the next screen. If you registered your domain name elsewhere, Bluehost should have given you the option to transfer it when you signed up for your hosting account.
  7. Select the domain name you want to use for your WordPress website
  8. (Optional) If you’re tech savvy and want to save your WordPress site to a different directory, you can also type in a directory you’d like to use. If not you do not have to choose a directory.
  9. Before you hit next, Bluehost gives you a couple plugin recommendations. We’ll discuss things like plugins next, but for now just unselect those and hit next.
  10. Bluehost will finish your install and you’ll have a brand new WordPress Website!

How to manually install WordPress

  1. Once you’ve logged in, click on “Advanced” in the left sidebar
  2. You’ll be taken to what is commonly known as CPanel (this gives you more control over your hosting, website, and domain. However, it does have several advanced options so for now we’re just going to focus on installing WordPress)
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the page and you’ll see WordPress under the heading “Softalicious Apps Installer”
  4. Click on the WordPress icon
  5. Click on “Install” in the top left corner
  6. First select the domain you want to use from the dropdown menu
  7. Next, type in a good email for your business, an admin username you’d like to use, and a password for your WordPress site (Write these down or save them somewhere so you can remember them later).
  8. You don’t need to click on any of the checkboxes below where you entered your username and password.
  9. (Optional) If you want a different theme than the default WordPress theme, Bluehost gives you several options to choose from, just click install on the theme you want.
  10. Finally, click on “Install” at the bottom of the page. Bluehost will setup the rest of your WordPress site from there! Once it’s done installing, Bluehost will give you a link that takes you to the admin login for your WordPress website.

Common WordPress Terms You Need To Know

  • Themes: A WordPress Theme is an easy way for you to change the visual aspects, settings, and more for your WordPress website. Themes can give you a default style to use across your site, but some also have additional features like better SEO built-in, fast loading, and more.
  • Plugins: Plugins are one of the best features of having a WordPress website. Since WordPress is really an open-source platform, developers across the Globe create add-ons to help you create a site that works for you. These add-ons can range from securing your site better, offering SEO help, changing the appearance of specific elements, and SO much more. There are millions of plugins, so you can be sure – if you need help, there’s a plugin for that.
  • Dashboard: Your dashboard is the first place you’ll see when you login to your WordPress site. It can display your most recent posts and pages that have been edited, traffic statistics about your site, a quick post section to make a new post, and really anything you choose to display on it. Your dashboard also will display new WordPress news, updates, and more.
  • Updates: Updates can be found under the Dashboard link on your sidebar OR on your top bar in the WordPress Admin (if you have an update you’ll see a circular icon with a number next to it). Updates can be for plugins, themes, and even WordPress itself. It’s important to update your site when you see you have an update due to security reasons (and you get great new features when they are released through updates).
  • Posts: The “Posts” link on your sidebar will take you to your blog post list. If you have blog posts written (which if you’re just now starting a site you won’t), they will display here. From the posts screen you can also select “Add New” at the top to start writing a blog post.
  • Pages: The “Pages” link on your sidebar takes you to a similar screen as posts. Although they look identical, your Pages are the pages displayed on your site (i.e. Homepage, About Page, Contact Us Page, etc). Same as the “Posts” link above, you can create a new page by clicking “Add New” at the top of the page.
  • Menus: Find Menus under Appearances > Menus to start building your navigation bar. Your navigation bar is the list of links listed at the top of every WordPress website. Once you have pages, or other content to link to, you’ll be able to add these to your WordPress menu.

Once WordPress Is Installed, Where Do You Start?

Once you’ve installed WordPress on your hosting providers platform, you can take a number of steps. Either you can click the link they provide you after installation OR you can simply go to your domain with /wp-admin after it. For example, you’d login at yoursitehere.com/wp-admin. This link is the default admin login link for all WordPress websites, so that’s why it’s crucial you used a difficult username or password (or both) for your admin login.

Once logged in, you’ll come to the WordPress dashboard. As we explained above, the WordPress dashboard is your “home screen” for your WordPress site. Once you have posts, pages, plugins, and the like – your dashboard will fill up with new information and quick links to use.

From here there are a couple thing you should consider:

  1. You need a WordPress Theme
  2. You should install a few basic plugins
  3. Learn how to setup a page
  4. Make a few important changes

Although there are MANY different steps, tutorials, and ways in setting up a WordPress website that fits your exact needs – these steps are some of the most basic to get started. If you’re wanting a completely custom WordPress website, hiring a design and marketing agency to help can be easy and really profitable in the long run.

1. Setting Up A WordPress Website Theme

So to get started with setting up a WordPress website, we’ll need to setup your first WordPress theme. First, you’ll hover over the Appearance link in your sidebar. From there, you’ll see as the first selection “Themes”. Once you’ve clicked on themes, it will take you to the themes currently installed on your WordPress website.

Installing a WordPress Theme is easy by just clicking Themes and then browsing the various WordPress themes shown

If you’re just getting started, the themes displayed are WordPress’s default themes. While they are normally basic, they are great for simple sites. WordPress actually just released their new theme, TwentyTwenty and it has responsive features (responsive means your site will change sizes based on your visitor’s device). We actually recommend Astra as one of our go-to themes. If you’re interested in downloading Astra, just click this link. Once the file has downloaded, you can click “Add New” at the top of your WordPress Themes page, and it will ask you to upload your theme file. Just drag your file to the browse box (or click browse and double click the theme file). Make sure you click install and activate to setup your new Astra theme!

If you’re unhappy with the default theme and want more options, you have a number of different ways to go. For example, you could use the WordPress Theme Directory to find a free theme that fits your site’s needs. Most often you’ll find a theme that fits you needs through the Directory, but you should be careful not to download a bunch of them. Having more than a few WordPress themes installed can slow down your site. If you’re wanting a theme with specific features, layouts, or a theme for a specific site, WordPress’s Theme Directory can help with that too. You can search for a specific feature, theme for site type, or even layout by clicking “Feature Filters” at the top of the Theme Directory.

If you want to know more about what a theme offers, you can hover over the pictures and click “More Details”. While these themes may not have a ton of extra features, they’re great for new styles and specific site themes.

If you’re wanting a more comprehensive theme (with more features, styles, and add-ons), you can also search for a premium WordPress theme on a marketplace like Creative Market or Theme Forest. These themes are available for purchase, but they offer much more than a free theme can. If you’re looking to purchase a theme, always make sure you compare features, theme details, and most importantly – reviews.

If you’ve found a theme on the WordPress Theme Directory, easily install it to your site by simply clicking “Install”. Once installed, you can click the same button once it repopulates to “Activate” your new theme. You can also activate your theme back on your themes page.

Congratulations! You have a new theme and you can start working on your site.

2. Install Some Basic (But Crucial) Plugins

Getting the right plugins as your setting up a wordpress website is crucial to running a successful wordpress site

Now that we’ve set up a theme that is perfect for your new site, we need to get the tools that will help you not only build it, but also manage it. Plugins are great for doing this because there are many of them and many of them do several different things.

To start installing the plugins we need, click the “Plugins” link on the sidebar. From here, similar to all the other sidebar links in WordPress, you’ll be taken to a page that lists your current plugins installed. If you just installed WordPress, you will see a few pre-packaged plugins already installed but not activated. We recommend keeping “Akismit”, but the others you can delete when you get time. To add new plugins, you can go to the WordPress Plugin Repository by clicking “Add New” at the top.

Once you’re on the main screen, you’ll notice a few plugins already listed that WordPress recommends. While these are helpful in some cases and there are many others you can find through search, we’re going to only recommend a few.

First, let’s walk you through how installing a plugin works by using our first recommended plugin – Wordfence. Wordfence is great because it helps keep your site secure, and only takes a few clicks to setup. Want to download our list of recommended plugins? Click here and just subscribe to our blog to get your FREE Plugin Recommendation PDF!

First, type “Wordfence” into the search box at the top of the page. WordPress will automatically bring up the plugin you searched for, without clicking a button. Once you see Wordfence, or any of the plugins you search for, click “Install”. Once WordPress has finished installing the plugin, you’ll see that same button that said “Install”, say “Activate”. Once you click activate, WordPress will finalize the installation and most often, you’ll be directed to the plugin itself (you sometimes have to refresh the page once the activation is complete to select the plugin’s name from the sidebar).

Wordfence itself will redirect you to a screen that asks for your email where you want your security notifications sent. Just type in your email and click submit. You’ll also be directed (either redirected or you’ll see a bar at the top of your page) to enable your WordPress security. Let Wordfence do its think and you’re finished!

While not all plugins are this easy to install, activate, and setup – many of them are. Now that we’ve finished our theme and plugins, we can move on to making a few simple changes.

3. Create Your First WordPress Website Page

in this guide to setting up a wordpress website, we show you how to create your first page - the home page.

Every website needs at the very least a homepage, especially when you’re setting up a WordPress website. So to create your first page, we’re going to focus on setting up the basics of your homepage.

First, let’s click on “Pages” in your sidebar. This will take you to your current list of pages. If you just installed WordPress, you will only see “Sample Page” and “Privacy Policy”. These pages are part of the package that comes with your WordPress installation, so to start your own website, we’re going to delete them.

If you hover over the page name, you will notice a list of options appears underneath. These include Edit, Quick Edit, Trash, and View. For our purposes, we’re going to click “Trash” when hovering over the “Sample Page”.

From here, we’ll create our homepage. First, click on “Add New” at the top of the “Pages” page. You’ll then be taken to the page to setup your public page in the WordPress. This page is VERY similar to what you might see in your favorite word processor, but there are some key differences.

To start first, we’ll enter our title – “Home”. This means the page you create on this page is going to be your homepage. In the future, you’ll be able to show a different title, but for right now keep your title at “Home”.

Although there are a number of steps to creating a complete and full page that is ready for people to view online, we’re going to just publish this page for now. In our next week’s post, we’ll be doing a deep dive into “Gutenberg”, WordPress’s own block editor that makes it easy to design each page.

So once you’ve typed in “Home”, click the blue “Publish” button in the top right hand corner. Once WordPress has finished publishing, it will tell you your page is live. Don’t worry about getting content published just yet, as there are several more things we need to accomplish before jumping into the design of your website.

Next we’ll be setting the front page of your website as your homepage. WordPress is originally a blogging platform, but it has developed overtime into the website powerhouse that it is today. Since WordPress is first and foremost a blogging platform, they list your front page as your blog post page (which is not what you want when building an actual website).

4. Making Some Last WordPress Setup Changes

Although this isn’t the most “fun” part of setting up a WordPress website, it is crucial in making sure people are finding your website online. In the last section, we created the homepage so we could make it the front page on your website.

in this image, we show you how to change your static home page as a part of this guide to setting up a wordpress website

Set Your Home Page On WordPress

To get started, hover over “Settings” in your sidebar. You’ll notice a list of options pops out, one of them being “Reading”. Click on Reading and you’ll be taken to one of the WordPress settings pages. This page is going to help us because it allows us to set the front page of our website to the new homepage we just created.

You’ll notice the very first option states, “Your homepage displays” with two different options. One says “Your latest posts” and the other gives you more options stating “A static page”. We’re going to select “A static page”, then for Homepage we’ll click the drop down and find our new “Home” page that we just created. Once you’ve selected it, we just need to scroll down and click “Save Changes”.

Congrats! You now have a website instead of a blog (:

Change What Your Links Display As (Great For SEO)

changing the permalinks is essential in our guide to setting up a wordpress website.

The last thing we’re going to set is how our links are displayed. To do that, we’ll need to look under “Settings” again, then click on “Permalinks”.

From here you’ll see a page that lists a range of different options to select. Under “Common Settings”, we’re going to select “Post Name” as the Permalink structure we want. Then click “Save Changes” again.

This is important because now, when you create a page or a post, your site will display what your title is IN THE LINK. So instead of having mywebsite.com/1234/posts#[email protected]*#[email protected] (thats pretty exaggerated), it will show mywebsite.com/learn-about-my-website-services. When your site displays in the link what is on the page, it helps Google and other search engines to show your site to people who are searching for what your offering (otherwise called a boost in SEO).

You’ve Just Taken The First Steps To Setting Up A WordPress Website

We’ve gone over how to install WordPress on your hosting provider’s server, common WordPress website terms to understand, how to install your first WordPress theme and plugins, how to create a page on WordPress, and the final steps to setting up a WordPress website.

Just through the steps you’ve learned, you’re ready to start designing your first pages on WordPress and really making your website one to be proud of. In our next week’s posts, we’ll be doing smaller dives into designing a WordPress page, customizing your website, and much more.

Make sure if you want to get our list of recommended plugins, to subscribe to our blog for updates! Have a great week and we look forward to seeing all of the websites you create!

Azuma Media Solutions

Azuma Media Solutions

We're a group of dedicated marketers, designers, and photographers that loves to help our clients reach new heights and thrive with their businesses.

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