Now that you domain name and hosting are all setup (see the previous chapter if not), you are ready to actually build your website. There are many different options from building a site entirely from scratch, using a visual editor such as Adobe Dreamweaver, or hiring a web developer. However, each of these options can be very time consuming and/or expensive and there is a better option that is also completely free. WordPress is a content management system that is fully customizable, theme-able, and very user & SEO friendly.
The instructions below are directed toward customers of HostGator but should work for most web hosts offering cPanel.
Part 1: Installing WordPress
1. The first step with WordPress is how to install it on your new web host. You will need to login to your control panel for your web host and upon login you should see a screen that looks like the below:
2. Now find the Fantastico or Fantastico De Luxe icon and click it. Most web hosts will provide Fantastico which is a quick and easy way to install software on your web host.
3. Select WordPress from the left hand menu.
4. Click New Installation to begin the process. Next you’ll need to fill out the settings for your installation. See below for how I filled out the settings for this website.
5. Click “Install WordPress” and then “Finish Installation” to complete your install. WordPress is installed! Note the URL to the admin area.
Part 2: WordPress Setup
Open the URL for the admin area from the previous step and login with the credentials you specified. You will see the main WordPress dashboard.
In the main section of page are various summary tools to help you administrate your website.
On the left-hand side is the navigation bar. There are 2 main ways of posting content using WordPress:
First and most well known are Posts. A post is just a page that can contain any content that is related to the time of posting. If you are creating a blog you can use posts for your blog posts, if you are going to have a news feed, you can use posts, or if you are writing reviews you can use posts.
Second is Pages, pages can contain any content that is static or atleast that the page should always exist. You can post your About and Contact webpages as Pages and you can use Pages to display Posts to add structure.
Now you can begin getting familiar with the WordPress interface and making your first pages and posts!
Part 3: WordPress Themes
The last piece of the puzzle to have a great working is the the theme. A website theme changes the look and feel of your site. You will find the WordPress theme settings under the Appearance heading in the left-hand navigation.
You can manage your themes and install new ones. WordPress comes with a default theme that looks nice but is very generic.
You can better brand your website by installing a new theme. Going to the “Install Themes” tab will allow you to search for free themes through WordPress.org.
Many times the free themes are overused or just not what you needed. Before jumping to hire a web designer to build you a custom theme you can try to buy premium themes. These themes are cheap and can really make your site look great.
One of the premier sites to find great WordPress themes is ThemeForest. Find a theme you like and then you can upload and install it straight from the “Install Themes” page in WordPress.
Your site is now complete! From here you have the knowledge for your website to take off!