WordPress is the most popular website builder platform today. It powers more than 34% of the internet, and every day 616 new WordPress Websites are created.
So we are not that surprised that you have chosen to create your new website using WordPress.
However, you might not be sure where to begin, and It could be overwhelming when you first get started.
Well, you can relax – you have come to the right place.
In this guide, we will show you how to make a WordPress website in less than an hour, and you can launch one for less than $20 a month.
To help you with your journey of creating a WordPress Website, we will cover the following steps:
- STEP 1 – Register and Purchase a Domain Name
- 1.1 What Is a Domain Name?
- 1.2 Should You Choose a “.com” Domain Name?
- 1.3 Where Can You Purchase a Domain Name?
- STEP 2 – Choose a Hosting Provider
- 2.1 What Is a Hosting Provider?
- 2.2 Where Can You Purchase Hosting?
- 2.3 Choosing a Reliable Hosting Provider
- STEP 3 – Install WordPress
- STEP 4 – Select and Install a WordPress Theme
- 4.1 What is a WordPress Theme?
- 4.2 Free Themes vs Paid Themes
- 4.3 Where to Find a Theme That Suits You?
- STEP 5 – Customize & Personalize Your WordPress Website
- STEP 6 – Update your WordPress Settings
- 6.1 General Settings
- 6.2 Writing Settings
- 6.3 Reading Settings
- 6.4 Permalink Settings
- 6.5 Discussion Settings
- 6.6 Privacy Settings
- STEP 7 – Update your Menus & Widgets
- STEP 8 – Install Plugins
- STEP 9 – Celebrate the Launch of your new WordPress Website
So, let’s get started…
STEP 1 – Register and Purchase a Domain Name
The first step in your journey to creating a WordPress website is to purchase a domain name.
If you have already done this – feel free to skip to STEP 2 – Choose a Hosting Provider.
If not, follow along as we will answer some commonly asked questions when purchasing a domain.
1.1 What Is a Domain Name?
Chances are you have already decided on your business name.
Now we need to find you a domain name.
The domain name is your website name. It is the name people will use to find your website on the internet.
It is what they will type into the address bar to reach your website.
Let’s say your business name is John’s Pizza – then you would have a domain name johnspizza.com.
Since your intention is to make your own WordPress website – then we can assume that you perhaps already know this.
Most internet users are familiar with this (even if they don’t know the technical term for it).
1.2 Should You Choose a “.com” Domain Name?
Most of us recognize the most common domain extension – .com
All your favorite websites that you visit every day – “google.com”, “facebook.com”, “netflix.com’ – all use the universal .com domain extension.
However, you don’t always have to choose the same to make your WordPress website.
The domain extension you choose will depend on your business situation, requirements, location, industry, etc.
There are over 500+ domain extensions in the market, and ultimately the choice is yours.
We recommend you choose a .com domain because it is the most common and widely recognized.
1.3 Where Can You Purchase a Domain Name?
The cost of purchasing domain names ranges anywhere from $10 to $20 a year.
There are many options for you to purchase your domain name.
These are just some of the most popular options (we are sure there are many more).
- Google Domains
And many more…
For the purpose of this guide – we will choose a domain registration – namesilo to find and purchase a domain name.
When you visit NameSilos’s home page – there is an option to search for available domain names right at the top.
We are going to create a demo WordPress website for this guide, and we have decided on the name “My WP Website”.
My goal is to purchase the name “mywpwebsite.com”.
However, as you can see the domain name “mywebsite.com” is already taken.
This is one of the situations where people end up choosing another domain extension such as .info, .co, .net, .biz, etc.
Alternatively, you can choose another domain name closely related to your business.
We are going to choose something that is similar to “our-wp-website.com”.
Surprisingly, it is available and we will go ahead and purchase it.
Registrars like NameSilo always have promos or coupon codes.
Check for promo codes and coupons online, and you might be able to save a few dollars of your purchase.
Most domain registration companies will try to upsell you with a slew of features (SSL, Domain Privacy, Website Builder, Email Addresses, etc.).
You may or may not need them based on your business requirements.
I will leave that to your discretion to choose, and I strongly encourage you to do your own research to see which of these.
Once you have purchased a domain name, you can proceed to the next step in your journey of creating a WordPress website.
STEP 2 – Choose a Hosting Provider
The next step in the process of creating your WordPress website is to choose a hosting provider.
2.1 What Is a Hosting Provider?
A web hosting service is what makes your website (it’s content, pages, images, etc) accessible to your users on the WorldWideWeb.
All your website data and information are stored in the hosting provider’s servers, and every time a user sees or searches something on your website – it is routed from service providers servers to visitors’ browser tab.
2.2 Where Can You Purchase Hosting?
In some cases, the domain registrars such as GoDaddy, Name sell their own hosting services.
However, most website users tend to use another service or provider for their hosting needs.
There are many players to choose from depending on your needs. Here is just a small list:
The hosting provider you choose depends on your needs, your location, privacy requirements, scalability, speed, etc.
2.3 Choosing a Reliable Hosting Provider
We recommend SiteGround as they provide top performance and keep your websites secure with advanced approaches. They have amazing customer support that can help you through every step.
SiteGround becomes the best choice as their servers are specifically optimized for WordPress. They provide WordPress support, easy WordPress install, auto-updates, an in-house built WordPress Starter tool for easily starting a website. Additionally, they provide WP caching plugin that drastically speeds up the site’s performance.
For your ease, all plans come with free CDN, pre-installed SSL and daily backups of your website. So choosing SiteGround
- makes it really easy to install WordPress.
- offers great value for the money.
- is transparent with its pricing options.
- has excellent tech support.
- has a proven track record with over 1.8 Million websites using SiteGround.
Let’s walk through how to setup hosting using SiteGround.
Once you are on their homepage – you will notice a few options.
SiteGround provides Managed WordPress Hosting as one of its options.
The benefit of going this route (for a non-techie or a beginner) is that it takes away all the confusion, and makes it really easy to launch a WordPress website much faster.
Next – you will choose which plan you want to start with.
If you purchase through our link today, you can get up to 70% discount from your first bill.
- The StartUp plan ($3.95) is suitable for 1 website and can manage up to 10,000 visits per month. This is a perfect plan to get started.
- If you want the best site performance and planning to host number of websites, you can go for the GrowBig plan ($5.95). It comes with SiteGround’s in-house built plugin – the SuperCacher, which drastically increases your site’s speed.
- If you are building a website that requires more resources, such as an e-commerce website go for GoGeek plan ($11.95). It has the highest tire of server resources and comes with Priority advanced support, which means your tickets will be handled first from SiteGround’s most experienced agents.
Next, you would enter your domain name.
If you have already purchased your domain as discussed in Step 1 – then choose the “I already have a domain name” option, and enter your domain name.
We have typed in ”ourwpwebsite.com” to match my newly purchased domain name.
On the next page – SiteGround will ask you for your information to complete the purchase.
You have to fill out the required information:
- Account Information
- Client Information
- Payment Information.
At the bottom of the page – you will notice under “Hosting Services” there are a few options.
The “Period” is the term of your purchase. There are multiple options you can choose:
- 1 Year
- 2 Years
- 3 Years
This depends on your comfort level and how long you plan to keep the business alive.
Usually, the longer-term implies that you will get a bigger discount.
The “Data Center” shows you the options about where your data will be stored.
This depends on where your primary traffic is coming from, and also where you are located.
You have the option to choose between USA, United Kingdom, Europe, and Singapore.
If you are a business based in Europe then you have to comply with the recent GDPR requirements, and in this case, you will choose “Europe” as your option.
Once the purchase is complete – you will receive a confirmation.
Please make sure to update your DNS records with your domain registrar (in our case NameSilo).
Once update, this process usually takes a few hours. This will ensure that your website is active.
One of the many benefits of using SiteGround is that they make it very easy to set up and install WordPress in the client dashboard.
You can install WordPress without having to leave SiteGround, which will cover in the next section.
We recommend SiteGround to create your WordPress website because of it’s simplistic client dashboard and the ease of use.
STEP 3 – Install WordPress
In just a couple of clicks, you can set up your WordPress.
There are a few ways to install WordPress, but we recommend the SiteGroud Wizard as shown in the image below (it is self-explanatory).
Once you select “WordPress” – you will be asked to create a username and password, and in less than a minute your WordPress account is setup.
If you already have a WordPress instance set up and is hosted elsewhere – SiteGround makes it very easy to migrate your WordPress in a matter of few clicks (and it’s very fast).
Once installed, you can always go back to your SiteGround client dashboard to look at your installations (this is handy if you have multiple websites)
Click on the “Websites” icon on the top menu, and it should show you the list of your websites.
Once you click on “Site Tools” it will open up this tab below.
By clicking “WordPress Admin” you should be able to access your WordPress Dashboard.
Accessing your WordPress Dashboard
You can also choose your browser to access your WordPress dashboard.
It’s usually “yourdomain.com/wp-admin”.
It will take you to a login screen that looks like this.
Use the username and password you used during the SiteGround installation process.
STEP 4 – Select and Install a WordPress Theme
You have now built the infrastructure supporting your website (domain name, hosting and WordPress).
Next, we will talk about customizing your website in the next few steps..
The first step is to find and install a theme.
4.1 What is a WordPress Theme?
Here is the official definition from WordPress.org.
“A WordPress theme changes the design of your website, often including its layout.
Changing your theme changes how your site looks on the front-end, i.e. what a visitor sees when they browse to your site on the web. “ WordPress.org
A WordPress theme allows you to customize and personalize how your site looks and feels based on your requirements and branding guidelines.
With the help of a theme – you are able to customize the layout, structure, colors, appearance of your website.
4.2 Free Themes vs Paid Themes
If you need basic functionality on your website, then you would go with a free theme.
For example, if you are a solopreneur and you are using your website just to showcase your brand – a free theme would accomplish most of your needs.
However, there are limitations in terms of what you can change or update.
Hence there are paid themes.
They offer more personalization, customization and additional functionality over free themes.
There are over 10000+ themes available in the WordPress ecosystem to choose from.
The average price of a paid theme varies anywhere from $40 to $60 depending on the vendors and options.
4.3 Where to Find a Theme That Suits You?
You can start with WordPress.org and search for many options.
Login into your WordPress Dashboard.
Click on Appearance, and then on Themes.
You will notice some options there, and also the ability to search for other themes as well.
You also have the option to upload a theme
But, we made you a promise at the beginning of this guide, right?
Remember – a promise to show you how to make a WordPress website in less than an hour and for less than $20 a month.
For that, we would recommend the Astra theme.
It’s cost-effective, it installs fast and highly customizable (which we will cover as we go further along in this guide).
And of course, we are a bit biased because it’s our solution. That’s not why we are suggesting Astra.
But, we are recommending Astra because of the raving reviews we have received from our customers.
With over 40000+ WordPress websites that have installed Astra – we can confidently say that it will work for you as well Check out our listing on WordPress.org that showcases 400000+ installation and 2000+ 5-star reviews.
Install the Astra WordPress Theme
Head over to your WordPress Dashboard.
Click on Appearance, then Themes, then Add New
Then, search for “Astra” and click the Install & Preview button.
In less than a minute, the Astra will be installed.
Next – click on the “Get Started” button.
You will notice this screen where it shows you the different options to choose a Page Builder.
We are going to choose the Elementor Page Builder from the list below.
In less than 2 minutes, the Elementor Page Builder will be installed.
Once installed go back to your WordPress Dashboard.
Under Appearance, you will now see a few more options:
- Astra Options
- Astra Starter Sites
Choose the Astra Starter Sites, and you will see a library of 100+ templates you can choose from.
In this video below, you can see how easy it is to choose and install one of these templates.
For demo purposes, we are going to choose one of the Free Starter Site – the Life Coach template.
In less than 30 seconds, the Starter Site will be imported and setup.
This is how your WordPress Dashboard will look once the Starter Site is imported.
At this point, this is how the live website will look like.
This is just a template, and we need to make it look like your website.
We will cover that in length in the next section of this guide.
STEP 5 – Customize & Personalize Your WordPress Website
The benefits of WordPress is that you don’t need to learn coding to create a website.
Even if you are a non-techie – you are able to get up and running with a new website very quickly,500+ new websites are created every day using WordPress.
With the help of Astra Starter Sites – we will show you how can do that even faster.
In this section – we will show you how to customize your WordPress website that’s consistent with your branding and style guidelines (all without having to type a single line of HTML/CSS code).
Head over to your WordPress Dashboard.
Click on Appearance, and then Customize.
This will open the Customizer and this how the default Customizer looks like
We can imagine how confusing it can be especially if this is your very first attempt at WordPress.
To make it simpler – we created a customizer that is easy to use.
Head over to your WordPress Dashboard.
Under Appearance – choose Astra Options.
You will see this page that shows all the shortcuts, and you can pick and choose what to customize.
In the next few minutes, we will discuss how to update the following using Astra Options:
- Update Logo and Site Title
- Updating Colors
- Updating Typography
- Updating Layouts
5.1 Updating Logo and Site Title
Head over to your WordPress Dashboard. Under Appearance and under Astra Options section – Choose Upload Logo button.
This will take you to the customizer page where you are able to update your logo, your site title and tagline right here.
You can also see a live preview as you are making these changes.
Once you are satisfied, hit the blue Publish button and the changes will be updated live on your site.
5.2 Updating Colors
You might already have brand guidelines for your business, and you want to make sure that your website is consistent is with those brand colors.
Head over to your WordPress Dashboard. Under Appearance and under Astra Options section – Choose “Set Colors” button.
You will see this screen, and you will notice a list of all the different places that you can control or update the colors on your website.
Take a look at this video which shows all the color changes you are able to make on your website.
In this video, you can see how quickly and easily you can make color changes.
You can also see the changes impact your website – with the help of the live preview.
Once you have made all the color changes to your website using this customizer – make sure to hit the blue button Published to make the changes live.
5.3 Updating Typography
You might also have style guidelines, and you might want to use those all across your WordPress website.
With the help of the customizer – you can control the fonts, font size(s) for each and every element of your website.
If you have not already decided on this I would encourage you to read this
Even if you don’t have style guidelines – you can start with some of the defaults that are already included.
Head over to your WordPress Dashboard. Under Appearance and under Astra Options section – Choose “Customize Options”.
You will notice all the places that you can make changes.
Take a look at this video – we show you some of the typography changes you can make using our customizer.
Once you have made all the changes to the fonts for the typography of different sections – make sure to hit the blue button Published to make the changes live.
5.4 Updating Layouts
Head over to your WordPress Dashboard. Under Appearance and under Astra Options section – Choose Choose Layout Options
You can see all the available options to update the look-and-feel of your WordPress website.
You have control over how the various elements of your site (header, footer, blogs,etc.) can eventually look
Take a look at this video – we will show you how easy it is to make changes to your Header.
You are able to play around with a few options, and like always you can see the live preview.
Once you have made all the changes to the layouts of different sections – make sure to hit the blue button Published to make the changes live.
STEP 6 – Update your WordPress Settings
Once you have made all the front-end changes as discussed in the previous section, let’s look at some more settings that you need to make.
You have a few settings here to update:
- General Settings
Let’s quickly go through them, and also learn how to make the necessary changes.
6.1 General Settings
Head over to your WordPress Dashboard.
Under Settings choose General Settings
This is where you set some roles and rules on your website.
For example, the default time zone, date format, language, etc.
In addition, you can also set up how you want visitors to register on your website.
Since we have already changed the Site Title and Tagline using the Astra Customizer – you can see that it has already been updated here.
6.2 Writing Settings
Next, in the Writing section – you will notice some of the default settings for your default Post Category and Post Format.
You don’t necessarily need to update this today during your initial WordPress website setup.
As you start creating blog posts – you can update this format type.
6.3 Reading Settings
In the Reading Settings, you can set up how all your posts or pages will be displayed.
This is what your readers will see when they visit your website.
You can choose what you want to display on the Home Page when they first visit.
Do you want to show a particular page, blog posts or the home page? You can set that up here.
For today, you can leave these settings unchanged.
Make sure that you leave the Search Engine Visibility unchecked.
You want to ensure that as you publish new pages and new posts – your site gets indexed by the search engines.
6.4 Permalink Settings
Here is another default setting that you can customize – your site’s permalinks.
A Permalink is the “permanent link” of your posts and pages. This is the format that shows up when someone visits a particular page or post on your website.
If you are not a news site, and you are not relying on timely content – then the best recommended format would the “Post Name” option as highlighted in the image below.
Once selected, this will customize each new page or post as you are creating them. You do have the choice to customize the URL of each page as you are creating them.
6.5 Discussion Settings
About 20% of the content on WordPress sites comes from the comments section.
Comments are how your readers interact with your articles, pages, etc..
There are many reasons to keep comments turned on on your website.
The primary reason is that it is an effective way to communicate with your readers.
Under the Discussions Settings, you can set how you want to display and moderate comments.
Let’s leave these settings as the defaults for now (as you can see in the image below).
You can come back and change them in the future.
6.6 Privacy Settings
In a post-GDPR world – privacy is on everyone’s mind.
As a website owner, this is not something you should ignore as well. Why not start your website journey with minimal headaches?
Thankfully, WordPress provides you a template that you can build on.
Head over to your WordPress Dashboard.
Under Settings choose Privacy.
You have the flexibility to make changes to your policy based on your business, industry or region.
Additional Questions – What is the difference between page a post?
So far, we have shown you how to update page layouts, blog post layouts, etc.
To clarify any doubts you have – page(s) and post(s) are different in terms of their purpose and also how they are displayed on your website.
A Post is timely and usually has a date associated with it, and have a public author.
A Page on the other end is for static and timeless content.
It doesn’t display a public author or an associated date.
Choosing whether to have a blog and posts is totally up to. It depends on your business.
However, you cannot have a website without having at least a few pages.
Here are the basic pages you must start with for any website:
- A Home Page
- An About us Page
- A Contact us Page
STEP 7 – Update your Menus & Widgets
What are Menus, and how to update them?
You want to make it easier for your visitors to find information on your website, right?
Here’s where Menus are effective and they are widely used in most websites.
In most cases, they show up in the header (top navigation) of your website.
By default, the Astra themes come with default menus.
You can customize the names of the menu as well as how they are displayed.
Head over to your WordPress Dashboard. Under Appearance and choose “Customize”.
It will then display all the available Menus.
For the website that we are building in this example, there is only a Main Menu.
Click Main Menu and then it displays all the default items in the current menu.
You have the option to make changes to the menu right from this screen.
You can also make changes to the position of the Menus by using the Reorder option.
In the same screen – you are also able to add additional menu items.
The goal of optimizing the Menu bar is to make it simpler for your visitors to find information on your website.
What are Widgets, and how to update them?
Have you visited a particular website and you notice that they have some elements on the sidebar? It’s either:
- A Search Bar
- A specific call-to-action
- A list of all their social media
- A list of recent posts
This could be set up using Widgets, and it allows you to customize how the sidebar looks like.
The default WordPress widgets are sufficient for many sites.
However, you will notice additional options based on the theme you have installed.
Head over to your WordPress Dashboard.
Under Appearance and choose “Widgets”.
You will notice the list of current widgets on the right-hand side under “Main Sidebar”
On the left-hand side, there is a slew of options, and you can simply drag and drop the ones that you feel are relevant to the Main Sidebar
Take a look at this video on how to add new widgets to your existing sidebar.
It is also simple to customize any of the existing widgets.
Click on any of the widgets.
We will choose the Recent Posts widget, and you will notice that it expands.
You can choose how many posts you want to display at any time, and also if you want to display the published dates or not.
STEP 8 – Install Plugins
What are plugins?
WordPress allows you to quickly set up a website using it’s free CMS.
However, there are limitations of what you can do out-of-the-box.
To fill the gaps with functionalities – WordPress offers a library of plugins.
A plugin is a software (some free, some paid) that you can install on your WordPress website to enhance the functionality of your site.
It is estimated there are over 55000 plugins to choose from the WordPress library.
We recommend that you start with a few plugins to when launching your WordPress Website.
We have vetted and compiled a small list of must-have plugins you need to have on your website today.
This should at least get you started.
You are free to explore and choose more plugins as you grow your website, and also based on your goals and requirements.
How to install plugins?
You can install any of the plugins recommended by us
To install a plugin, head over to the WordPress Dashboard. Click on Plugins, and this will display the list of your existing plugins.
To search for and add new plugins, choose either of the two Add New buttons.
One is just below the Installed Plugins on the left sidebar.
The other is at the top of the page.
Of all the plugins we have recommended – backups are crucial.
So, we want to install a free backup plugin called UpDraft Plus on our new WordPress Website. We have created a video that explains how this plugin works:
You can follow the same procedure for the other plugins we have recommended in the list here.
STEP 9 – Celebrate the Launch of your new WordPress Website
There you go – as promised we have shown you how to create your own WordPress website.
Congratulations you have just learnt how to make a WordPress Website (and you can do all this is less than an hour)
If at any time during your setup you need guidance, you can refer back to this guide for any help.
We also have additional information in our knowledge base to help you with any questions on the themes and page builders we have discussed in this guide.
To get started with your WordPress website, head over to our library of Astra Starter Sites.