BEGINNER'S GUIDE FOR USING WORDPRESS / START YOUR WEBSITE TODAY

Have you always wanted to start a blog? Thought about how cool it would be to express yourself freely, do something creative that felt great?

“I did”, and if you felt anything like I did, you felt it was too complicated so why even bother!

In this article, we are going to help bust that myth.

Furthermore show that you don’t need to be a techie or a coder to build a beautiful blog.

It truly is all about knowing the process, and following the same steps over and over, just like a recipe.

Breaking it Down – What You Need to Start A WordPress Blog

There are three crucial ingredients to creating a WordPress Blog:

  1. A domain name (this is the name of the blog), how people look you up online and find your content. This should be unique but also simple for people to remember.
  2. A web hosting account, this is where your blog is held and maintained on the internet.
  3. Lastly is the belief in yourself that you can actually do this, and do it well! with focus and complete attentiveness, you can create a WordPress blog in about 45 minutes to an hour.

You read that right! In under an hour you can have a beautiful blog from scratch. We will be with you, guiding you to the finish line step by step.

In this tutorial you’ll learn How To:

  • Get Hosting
  • Choose a Domain Name
  • Install WordPress
  • Choose a Theme
  • Write Your First Blog Post
  • Set up Pages
  • Add Plugins
  • Optimize Your Site For SEO
  • Create a Contact Form
  • Create a Custom Menu

That’s right, you’re going to learn all this, I hope you’re exciting! let’s get started!

Setting up

The first thing you must do when starting a blog is to find the right blogging platform. That is a huge mistake most beginners make, but you’re not like most beginners.

You’re here on WP with Me so you don’t have to worry about that mistake.

So for your blog platform, you’re going to be using… yup you guessed it WordPress.org. This is also known as a self-hosting platform.

So you may be asking what’s so special about this blogging platform? well, for starters, it’s free.

Equally important you have full control over all of your features and design capabilities.

And most importantly to many, you can make money with your site without any restrictions.

You can learn more about the difference between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org here.

Why is WordPress Free?

You might be thinking, wow! with all this freedom what is the catch, why is WordPress Free? It’s free because you are the one that will be setting it up and hosting it.

What does this mean in words that we can all understand? It means you have to get a domain name, and a web hosting account.

What is a Domain Name/Hosting?

A domain is your address on the internet, it is how people will find you. Based on your unique name (aka your domain name).

Web hosting is where your website spends its time, it’s pretty much where your website lives. Every single website ever made needs a web host(a home).

A domain name can cost $17.99/year and hosting normally costs anywhere from 7.99/month to upwards of $19.99/month.

Now that could be a lot for a beginner just starting out!

SiteGround: leagues above the rest

Didn’t we say WP {with} Me had you covered? Yes, we did. Thankfully SiteGround a hosting provider officially Recommended by WordPress.org, can offer our users over 70% on web hosting!

This is a ginormous deal.

SiteGround is a Modern, fast and reliable web hosting company. They offer the one of a kind SG Optimizer plugin.

This plugin not only assists with security on your site but also offers image optimization.

In addition to that, it includes options on how to speed up your site to be blazing fast!

SiteGround was tested against the best web hosting providers out there for security and speed and smoked the competition. They have also customized there entire site to provide a simple and easy user experience. Making it easy for beginners.

WordPress.org would not have them as a recommended hosting provider if the quality was nothing short of perfection. Did we mention SiteGround is servicing more than 2,000,000 domains worldwide.

The Best Web Hosting

Note: Here at WP {with} Me transparency is extremely important. If you sign up with SiteGround using our referral link we will receive a small commission.

This is at no cost to you, (as a matter of fact, you are going to receive a huge discount. And you will have the best possible web hosting provider available) locking you into that price.

Honestly, it would not matter what hosting provider we recommended, we’d still get a commission.

Although we only recommend what is best for our readers.

SiteGround has crafted a newer interface that promotes ease of use and quality. Products that we personally use is all that’s recommended by WP {with} Me.

Step 1. Let’s get Hosting

Let’s start now and purchase your domain + hosting.

Open up SiteGround in a new window and follow along.

The first thing you need to do is click on the get started button underneath the managed WordPress hosting.

siteground main page
Start here

On the next screen you will be selecting the plan you need, (WP {with} Me recommends the GrowBig plan. It’s the best seller and it gives you the ability to have as many sites as you like, and premium WordPress features).

The StartUp plan is very basic. Not allowing for growth, and let’s face it we all like to have more options when being creative.

Click on get plan, this will show you the plan details at the bottom of the screen. There is a dropdown tab, allowing you to pick between different monthly options, pick the one best for you.

Follow the steps by adding your credit card info, and confirming your details.

Then click on pay now and follow through until your web hosting is all set.

grow big plan image
Grow big plan

Step 2. Time To Pick A Domain Name

After you set up your web hosting you will get some emails. SiteGround will be welcoming you to the family.

Equally as important they will be reminding you of the username and password you set up. And giving you access to your SiteGround dashboard.

siteground my account dashboard
Your SiteGround Dashboard

Now click on the websites tab to open up your website’s dashboard. Currently, there is nothing there except a box that says add a new site.

This is where you will manage all the sites you create.

We will come back to this screen again later in this tutorial. Click on the bright orange button in the top right corner that says new website.

siteground website dashboard
Websites Dashboard

Next, you will see the add new websites screen, this page will bring you through three steps.

  1. Choose Domain
  2. Set Up Site
  3. Add Extras

We will focus on the first choice, of a new domain name. This is a beginner guide. I am going to assume a domain name is needed, so we will be staying with the new domain option.

siteground add a new website page
Pick Your Domain Name

After you select (the first option) new domain, and you pick a domain name, SiteGround will tell you if it is actually available.

If the name is available(not used by anyone else) click on the orange add button.

You will now move on to step two, in this three-step process. Setting up your site and installing WordPress!

Step 3. Creating Your Website and Installing WordPress

So now we are creating your new site and installing WordPress. You should be on the ‘add new website’ dashboard page. All you need to do here is click the select button on the option that says start new website.

siteground start a new site screen
Select Start New Site

This will open up several selections for installing WordPress, and some other options, only focus on the first choice which is the WordPress software by itself, this is the choice you want to select.

Select WordPress

Now a drop down will be revealed asking you to set up the email and password you want to use allowing you to login to your new WordPress Dashboard (make sure your password is secure but also something you remember).

siteground email and password setup for wordpress
Pick your email and password for your login

Extras

Excellent, after you select this first option and you pick your WordPress email and password, you will be moved on to step three, this is the extras page. This offers you SiteGround site scanner, this just means SiteGround will monitor your site for malicious activity and inform you if they find any.

SiteGround Add Extras Page
Add Extras If You Want

You can move on without purchasing this but if you feel you need it you can always add it later.

Now once you hit finish your new website will begin to be built, it can take some time, normally about 2 minutes or so. After it is done a confirmation page should appear offering you some options on how you want to proceed.

Here you can go to your go directly to your WordPress admin dashboard by clicking on the login to admin.

Now it’s time to customize your brand new website and start blogging!

Step 4. Selecting Your WordPress Theme

Welcome to your WordPress dashboard, the appearance of your site is controlled with a theme. Themes turn your blog from bland and ordinary into a visual masterpiece.

Today we will focus on getting the theme installed and making sure we pick something light and fast and leave the major customizations to your imagination.

When you first visit your blog it will look something like this:

Screen of simple theme.
Default Theme on Your Blog

I have to say this would not be very appealing to most.

Creating your blog by customizing a theme is by far one of the most exciting parts of creating your WordPress blog.

Finding The Right Theme

There are thousands of WordPress themes, you can install on your site. Some of them are free, and some can be paid. We are going to stick with the free themes.

You can change your theme by going to your WordPress dashboard and clicking on Appearance, then clicking on themes.

The theme link will be highlighted and the page will show all the themes that are pre-installed on your site.

WordPress Dashboard appearance and themes page
Themes Page

Click on the Add New button at the top of the page.

This will bring to the next screen, where you can search over 5000+ free WordPress Themes that are available in the official WordPress theme directory.

You can see the number 15, this tells you how many themes are on that page.

Search by featured, popular, latest, favorites, or even really narrow down what you’re looking for by using the feature filter theme search option.

Lastly, if you know the name of your theme you can find it by typing in the name of the theme.

theme page showining highlighted featured and search bar sections.

Previewing and Installing Your Theme

Take your mouse and hover over the theme your interested in, you will see an option to preview this theme. Click on preview and it will give you an idea of how that theme will look on your site.

detail preview theme
Preview a Theme

Now it is not going to look exactly how its shown on the screenshot but that is okay, you will get to customize and set up the theme later. For now, we want you to pay attention to, design, color scheme, typography (the way the words look) and other elements that stand out to you.

Some Theme Advice

The best possible tip when looking for a WordPress theme is simplicity, this helps in many ways, the first is, by making the site clean looking, and the second is offering your users an easy and enjoyable experience when using your site.

Once you’ve found the theme you like, just hover your cursor over that theme, it will again show you the details and preview option, also there is a bright blue button that says install, you want to click on that button.

WordPress will install this theme making it available for you to use, once the installation is complete the install button will now show Activate (if you have clicked on preview, you can install the theme from the preview page as well, the install button is in the upper left corner of the page).

You need to click on the Activate button in order to make your theme the current theme in use.

Now that you have selected and completed installing your theme, you can customize it, using the customize link in the sub-menu of the Appearance tab. We will do this a little later in the tutorial.

You are now ready to create your first blog post!

Step 5. Creating Your First Blog Post

To create and write your first blog you must click on the Posts link inside your WordPress dashboard menu, then click on the -> Add New menu link inside sub-menu.

You will see an editor area open up in the working area where you can write your first blog post.

new posts working area
Add a New Post Editor Area

Once you have written your post (which is a blog post or article) you just need to click on the publish button on the right, to publish your post and make it available publically for the world to read.

publish button
Publish Your Post

On the post page, you will see other options and settings, like permalink, categories, tags and featured image to name a few. These settings allow you to organize your blog posts.

Often beginners are confused about the difference between a post and a page, the simple version is a post is an article or blog that you write and can have dynamic information( info that changes).

Pages are more static, they tend to be set up and left alone, containing some images, and content that is not touched once it is created.

Permalinks

Quickly I’d like to have you adjust your permalinks for your blog. A permalink is what shows up at the end of your URL when someone goes to visit your blog, it lets the user know they are on the right page and reading the right blog.

Click on the settings link in the WordPress dashboard, then hover over the permalinks link and click that. You will be on the Permalinks Settings page.

Please select the radio button that says Post name, then scroll down to the bottom and click the save button. This will make your url links for your blog post more readable and easier on the eyes of your users.

permalinks settings page
Permalinks Settings Page

Step 6. Creating Pages For Your Blog

Pages are important to your blog, it allows you to set up your website to tell people what your blog is about, who you are on an about me page, and lastly allows you to set up a contact form if you want people to be able to get in touch with you.

This is a simple example, you can have as many pages you want about whatever you want. Let’s set up 3 pages, a Home page, About page, and Contact page.

Let’s start by clicking on the Pages link inside the WordPress dashboard area, then click on Add New (are you seeing the pattern here).

add new page screen
Create First Page

After you add the page title the images and content you want on your page, just click on publish on the right-hand side of the page, to again make your page visible on your site.

Pro tip: You only need to add a title for your page which will allow you to publish it, then you can go back and add the content later but your pages will be built.

publish page button
Publish Your Page

So I want you to create a home page, about page and contact us page following the steps above. Don’t forget to publish each page before adding the next page.

Pro Tip: You can also use the dashboard toolbar at the top of your WordPress dashboard to create a page, by hovering over the + New icon and clicking on-page, and the same goes for creating a post. It’s a way to speed up your website development.

Another Way to Create Pages Or Posts

Step 7. Plugins and Customization

You’ve added your posts, and pages you’re probably going to want to start adding other features that a website should have, like a contact form, galleries, SEO optimization and more.

To add additional features to your blog or website you need to use plugins.

WordPress plugins allow you to add new features and functionality to your website, they allow you to make your website unique by giving it ways to do things that other websites might not have.

There are literally over 55,000 free plugins available in the WordPress.org plugin directory. That is great news for you, why? because that means that no matter what you’re trying to do on your site there most likely will be a plugin for it.

We have a step by step guide on how to find and add plugins for beginners.

Now that we have got that out of the way, let’s take a look at adding some common features and plugins to your WordPress Blog.

How to Create a Contact Form In WordPress

Every website should have a way for a user to contact the owner of that site, a contact form allows you to receive messages via email directly by a user. And be accessible if needed.

Since WordPress doesn’t come with a built-in contact form, it is up to you to add that feature to your site. Now there is a large amount of contact form plugins in the WordPress.org plugin directory but we are going to focus on the best one and the easiest one to use.

Enter the WPforms Lite plugin! This is the free version of the extremely popular WPForms plugin. It has over 5000 reviews with a 5-star rating and is co-signed by wpbeginner, so you know its good.

Adding WPForms Lite Plugin

You can add this plugin by clicking to the Plugins link in your WordPress dashboard, then clicking on Add New.

Type WpForms in the search box, next you need to click on the Install button, wait for the installation to be complete then click on Activate.

After the plugin is activated you will be brought to a new set up screen to create your first form, WordPress will also add a new WPForms menu option inside your WordPress dashboard.

You now need to click on the WPForms menu link on the left and then click on Add New button, either in the sub-menu or orange button, this will create your first form.

After clicking on add new, it will open the WPForms builder, the first thing you must do is name your form at the top of the page.

After you name your form, hover over the option in the middle of the page called Simple Contact Form, doing this will reveal a button that says create a simple contact form. Click that button when you see it.

WPForms now does all the heavy lifting, by creating a form for you with all the required fields.

You can click on any field and change them, or add new fields from the column on the left.

wp form editing page
Edit Your Form

Once you have added all the fields you want to your form, you can save the form and exit the WPForms builder.

Adding Your Form to The Website

Now that your form is completed and saved let’s add it to our site shall we.

Remember earlier we created the contact us page, we need to edit that page by adding our new form. Click the Pages link in your WordPress dashboard, this is going to show you a list of the current pages on your site.

wordpress pages link
All Pages Created

Pro Tip: You can save your pages or posts as a draft, this will allow you to make changes, customize and try new things before you make them public on your site. Hit Save Draft instead of Publish when your making updates.

Add The Form To Contact Us

Click on your contact page link, this will bring you into your page and allow you to make edits, you can also hover over the name of your page and click on the edit link that is revealed.

On the edit screen, you need to add the WPForms block that was added to your site when you installed the plugin earlier. It is simple to do.

first add a simple message to your user, something like Want to send your feedback? Send it to us below!

contact us page
Simple Message to Your Visitors

Then find the WPForms block in your widget-blocks first, you click on the plus icon next to the dashboard link, after that, you scroll down to the Widgets selection and look for WPForms button. Click that and it will add the form block.

steps for adding a wp form
Steps For Adding The Form Field

After that, the form will be added giving you a live preview of your new form.

You can now publish the page if you want and see your form in action by visiting it in the browser. You can just hit the preview button directly next to the publish button and that will bring you to your contact page.

Your form is fully functional and messages will go to the email you have set up for your WordPress Site.

How To Use SEO To Optimize Your WordPress Blog

Most Beginners don’t optimize their blogs for SEO Because they normally don’t have any idea what that even means.

SEO stands for search engine optimization, and in beginner lingo, it means using the right keywords in your blog so Google and other search engines can find your blog articles.

If you want people massive amounts of traffic to your site, and thousands of readers, SEO is something you must have early on.

To get started you will need to install the Yoast SEO plugin. This is the most trusted WordPress SEO plugin to help you optimize your blog with over 27,000 reviews and a 5-star rating. Once it is installed you will see a new menu labeled SEO (Just like the WPForms menu).

Go to plugins, click on add new and type Yoast in the search bar.

yoast plugin

Install it, then activate the plugin.

Yoast Dashboard

There is a quick set up wizard you can follow when you’re ready to start optimizing your blog.

Theme Customization

We are almost done, can you believe it?! We just want to show you how to navigate to your customize dashboard and change the look and feel of your site based on your current theme.

What is great about this is you can make changes to your site and see them in real-time before you publish them.

Now every theme is different so some themes will have features that others don’t and that is the beauty of WordPress, no two websites can be the same even if you have the same theme or not!

Getting to your Customize Menu

Go to the Appearance tab in the dashboard, you can hover over it and click on customize or you can click appearance and then click on customize directly in the sub-menu.

Once you’ve clicked on customize you will be brought to the WordPress theme customize screen, where everything available to change and design in your theme will be located.

wordpress theme customize screen
WordPress Customize Theme Screen

As you can see, you can customize several things, just click on the drop-down links and see what is available to update. Generally, you can edit the font, color scheme, add a logo, navigation and more.

You can also manipulate what is seen on your blog based on the device viewing your blog.

The icons on the bottom of the page on the left allow you to view what your site looks like on a desktop, tablet or mobile device.

To move away from the customize screen you must publish your changes then click the x button or just click the x button to leave but if you don’t publish your changes you will lose them.

Step 8. Creating a Custom Menu

You have made this far we are so close! and are probably looking at your site saying where is my navigation! Every good website has a menu bar right?! That’s right they do and we are going to create one now.

menu link
Menu Link

Look over at your WordPress dashboard, you can most likely guess what link we are going to use. If you said the appearance menu then your right!

Hover over appearance with your cursor and scroll down to the Menu button.

The next screen reveals the menu dashboard, here is where all of your pages, will be located. There is a lot that can be done with menus but we are keeping this simple.

First, you want to add a menu name, then you want to click the create menu button. Now, most of the time your pages will show up already added to the work area of the page.

Pro Tip: If any of your pages are saved as a draft they will not show up on the menu page.

More Than One Home Page

You also might come across having 2 home pages, the first one is a custom link that comes pre-installed for a home link. When you create a home page you want to make sure you add the correct home page to your menu.

If you have pages listed in the add menu items section but no pages showing up in the menu structure all you need to do is checkbox the pages you want to add then click the button add to menu.

That will move your pages over to the menu structure area. Then click the create menu button, or save menu button if your menu has already been created.

Pro Tip: If you want to remove a menu item, just click on the down arrow and open up the option and click on delete.

That’s it! The blog should have a menu in the header of your home page. The blog page is the default page to show up in WordPress if you want to make it your home page you created follow these simple steps.

Updating your Home Page (extra credit)

Go to the Settings menu in the dashboard, click on reading, then in the, your homepage displays area, at the very top of the page click the radio button listed a static page.

Drop down the homepage link and make it whatever page you want to display first when people visit your site.

If You Want To Change Your Home Page

The next drop down which is the posts page can be a blog page you create, this will be where all of your blog posts will go.

You just have to remember to add that separate blog page to your site. If you just leave everything as it is, your blog will be the first page viewed when a visitor goes to your blog.

We hope you found this tutorial on starting a WordPress blog helpful, you may want to also check out the beginners guide to finding and installing WordPress plugins.

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