Are you thinking of creating a website, but don’t know where to start? If the answer is yes, you’re not alone. Creating a website is a big thing and a scary thing for most people. The reason is most people don’t know what’s the first step. This article will help you cover the step-by-step about how to create a website for free using WordPress.
Why use WordPress?
Before creating our website using WordPress, we must ask a very important question. And the question is Why use WordPress for creating our website? Is this the only option available?
The answer is NO. It is not the only option available but it is the most widely used content management system (CMS) in the market today. There are a lot of other options too when it comes to CMS. We will list down the top 5 CMS options available in the order of the market share they hold as of January 2022.
Note: All the figures below are taken from W3Techs.
WordPress(WP, WordPress.org) is an open-source content management system (CMS) first launched in 2003. It is written in PHP and comes with a MariaDB or MySQL database. Being one of the most popular CMS available in the market today, it holds a ~66% market share. It is completely free to use.
You must not confuse WordPress.org(the one we’ll be using) with WordPress.com. Both are two different platforms but used for very similar purposes. WordPress.com is used for blogs etc. and follows a freemium model, whereas WordPress.org is free to use by anyone.
Shopify is a bit different from other CMS’s mentioned here because it is essentially offered as a SaaS (Software as a Service). Currently, it holds a market share of ~7%. Shopify does not provide free service, all of its plans are paid.
You don’t need to do any configuration and you also won’t need to install WordPress on the machines because it is offered as part of the cloud. You need to directly dive into the content.
Wix is a website-building tool and is not a pure CMS. It provides hosting to the users as part of the cloud platform, so you don’t need to buy a hosting service. The users don’t need to install anything. It holds ~3% market share among CMS’s. It provides a free version, although with limited service.
Squarespace is a CMS that provides everything right from domain to hosting to SSL certificates. You don’t need to approach any other providers if you purchase a premium plan from Squarespace. It holds ~3% of the market share among CMS’s. Squarespace does not provide a free plan, you need to purchase a premium plan to use Squarespace.
Joomla is an open-source content management system (CMS), first launched in 2005. It is written in PHP. Joomla currently holds ~2% market share. It is completely free to use.
Steps to Create a Website using WordPress
Let’s go through the step-by-step process of how to create a website using WordPress.
1. Come up with an idea for the website
For any website to work, you first need to come up with an idea about what the website will be all about. You can’t just create a website and then think about what you’ll be posting. Many of you might already have an idea about what topics you’ll be covering on the website. But some might not. So take some time and think about what topics you want to focus on in your website.
While brainstorming ideas for a website, make sure it is something you relate to and feel passionate about. If you don’t pick something you are interested in, it might feel like another task you have to do. And you won’t be fully invested in it. So pick something you love to write about or talk about.
There is a lot of subjects to pick nowadays. We have mentioned a small list of subjects below:
- Home Appliances
- Food Recipes
This list is just to give you a kickstart of what the different subjects can be like. You don’t have to necessarily pick the subjects mentioned here. In fact, if you pick a topic on which there is little to no information on the internet, your website is more likely to succeed. Think about it, there’s a subject which has information from around 10000 websites. No one will read your content because there’s so much content from so many other sources.
2. Pick a domain name & provider
Once you have decided upon an idea, the next step to create a website using WordPress is to pick a domain name. The domain name should be simple and should be directly related to the main focus of the website. Like for a website on home appliances, it’s illogical to have a domain name like travelwithme.com. If it’s a travel website or a tech website, the domain name should reflect that.
Choose a domain name that is pretty simple for people to remember. If it’s a long and difficult name, people won’t be able to remember it. And they won’t return to your website because they can’t remember the domain name. While choosing a domain name, you also need to decide if it will be a .com domain or a .net domain, or a country-specific (.in, .us) domain, etc.
The second step is an important one. Once you have decided on a domain name, you need to buy it. Wait, but didn’t we say create a website for FREE? Yes, we did. And indeed it is. But you do need to buy a domain and a hosting service for your website. These are the only two steps where you’ll need to pay.
While buying a domain, you will need to first check if it’s available. If it’s not available, you’ll need to brainstorm again.
For buying a domain, you have various options and various providers you can use. We have listed some of the popular providers below:
While choosing a provider, keep things like per year cost and support services in mind. Some providers might provide a cheaper service but might not offer good support. You can decide on the tenure for the domain too, whether you want it for 1 year or 2 years or 5 years etc.
3. Pick a hosting service
Once you have picked a domain name, we should move to the next step. The next step to create a website using WordPress is to pick a hosting service. A hosting service is a provider that allows you to publish your website on the internet. The hosting service will provide the computer or the server(s) which will have all the code and all the content related to the website.
Make sure you select a good hosting service for your website as the speed and reliability of the servers will be very important for your website. If you select a hosting service and your page takes 5-10 seconds to load because of slow servers, nobody will ever visit your website. People want web pages to load quickly in no time. The server speed is very important to quicker response times. And the server speed depends on the hosting service.
Just like domain name providers, there are a lot of hosting services available for you to choose from. Some of the popular providers are:
- GoDaddy Hosting
Types of Hosting
There are different types of hosting for different sets of customers. While choosing hosting services, you can choose:
- Shared hosting – This is the hosting service mostly used by new website owners as it is the cheapest option available in the market today. In this type of hosting, your website data will be stored with the data from other websites on the same system.
- Cloud hosting – This is the most sought option nowadays because it provides scalability for users who expect their traffic to grow. It is costlier than shared but cheaper than dedicated hosting.
- Dedicated hosting service – This is a step up from shared hosting. It is one of the costliest options but more secure. It means only your website will be stored on the server, no sharing resources with other websites. You have full root access and admin controls.
4. Install WordPress
The next step to create a website using WordPress is the most important, that is to install WordPress. Most hosting services nowadays provide a very simple one-click installer for installing most software for websites.
The below screenshot is from Softaculous Apps Installer. For other providers too, there might be a similar WordPress option. The first step is to click on WordPress as seen below.
The next screen appears something like this. You just need to click on the “Install Now” button and the installation will be done.
Once the installation is complete, you will receive an email from your hosting service with details about the URL you have to use to log into WordPress along with login instructions. You can use them to log into WordPress.
5. Selecting a WordPress Theme
Once you are done installing WordPress, the next step to create a website using WordPress is actually using WordPress. The first step in the process is selecting a theme for your website. How your website looks on the internet is decided by the theme you select. So make sure you select a good theme, which is appealing to your end-users.
WordPress provides a lot of themes for users to select and apply on their websites. The themes page on WordPress displays a lot of themes options to users, some paid and some premium. It is up to you whether you want to go ahead with a free theme or purchase a premium theme. Some of the free themes have limited customization options, you need to pay for using all the features. Whereas some are completely free.
You can change your theme by going to Appearance -> Themes. If you want to add new themes, click on the “Add New” button as shown below.
When a new window opens, you’ll be given a list of themes. You can choose the one you want and click “Install“. Once done, to activate the theme, click “Activate“. The new theme will be applied instantly to your website. Any user who visits will see the new theme now.
6. Choose Your WordPress Plugins
If you want to create just a basic website using WordPress, you are good to go. But if you want to add extra features to your website, you will need to install plugins. Adding plugins to WordPress is just like adding extensions to Google Chrome.
There are a lot of extensions available for WordPress. You can install plugins to WordPress by clicking Plugins -> Add New. The process of installing a plugin is the same as installing a theme. You need to click on “Install” first and then click on “Activate“.
Some must-have plugins are:
- Site Kit by Google – If you want to track the number of people visiting your website or the most popular content on your website, this is a must have plugin. And it has a lot of other features too which add value to your website.
- Yoast SEO – This plugin is a must have for the people who want to improve their SEO rank and want to attract more users to their site using SEO.
- Visitor Traffic Real Time Statistics – If you want to know what are the most recent users to your website, this plugin is a good option. This plugin acts as an addition to “Site Kit” plugin.
7. Start adding Content to your website
The next step in creating a website using WordPress is adding content to your website.
There are two types of content you can add to your website. Pages and Posts. Let’s understand the difference between the two.
Pages are static content on your website which can be thought of as common content across your website. Examples of pages are the “About Us” page, “Contact Us” page, “Terms and conditions” page, etc.
Posts, on the other hand, are the actual content of your website. Chances are you’ll be using posts for the majority of the time.
You can add new pages to your website by clicking Pages -> Add New. You can add posts can by clicking on “Posts” -> “Add New“.
After you are done adding the content, you can preview the page by clicking on the “Preview” button. If it looks good to you, you can publish by clicking the “Publish” button. The post will be live on your website.
You are all set now. Your website is ready to roar.
That’s all folks!!!
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