The article provides brief instructions on how to create a WordPress site from scratch. Here is a sequence of actions that will result in a fully functional website.
Main resources and steps on how to create a WordPress site
Essentially, to create a WordPress site, you need to have basic resources:
- Domain and hosting
Hosting is the place where your website is stored.
A domain is the name of the site.
WordPress is the essential software for the site.
3. Theme and plugins
The theme will determine the basic design of the site. Plugins determine the functionality of the site
If you follow the steps below, the site’s creation will take several hours, depending on the complexity.
Here I am assuming that you already have the idea and design of the site. You’ve defined the purpose of the site, the format of the site (business card, online store, landing page), and who your target audience is.
To create a WordPress website from scratch, you need to go through four main stages:
- Domain and hosting
Set up hosting, link the domain name to the site, and set up e-mail.
On the site install and configure WordPress
3. Theme and plugins
Install and configure the selected theme and selected plugins
4. Content (menus, pages, posts)
Create menus, and pages, fill the site with content (products, articles), configure the parameters for SEO on the site
Below, I’ll take a closer look at these, as well as some additional stages of creating a WordPress site from scratch.to table of contents ↑
1. Selecting a website name, registering a name, choosing a hosting
First, you need to choose a name for the site and register it. You can choose a site name and register it at a name registrar company. For example, Hosting-Ukraine company registers the names of sites and places sites on its hosting.
For domain registration and its maintenance, the registrar will charge money depending on the zone where this domain will be placed.
The site name and zone together will give the site a unique address on the Internet. Register the name in the selected zone. And after the expiration of the term, continue to support (pay) this name further.
In fact, the site address is a record in the global “book” (register) of all Internet addresses. No more than that. But for the site to work properly, you need to physically place texts, photos, and videos (content) on specific server computers and link them to the selected website address. This is done “on hosting” with a “provider” – a company that must provide a certain amount of computer resources (disk space, memory) and ensure the 24/7 operation of the site. For the money, of course.
Physically, the site’s content can be somewhere on server computers or in Ukraine, Germany, USA. This is the concern of the provider company. But regardless of the physical location of the site, it will open for users at a single address.
2. Installing WordPress and its basic configuration
The latest version of the Ukrainian edition of WordPress can be found here. There are also instructions for installing WordPress on the site.
Below is a video of installing WordPress on a site from a hosting provider Hosting-Ukraine
After installing WordPress, go to the WordPress login page. The link to enter the site administration usually has the following address:
where you can change the address “www.site.com” to your website address.
A dialog box will open where you can log in to the administrative panel of the site. To log in, you need the site administrator login and password created earlier when installing WordPress:
After installing WordPress, you can extend its functionality by installing a number of plugins on your website.
A plugin is a separate program module that connects to WordPress and provides it with additional features.
Plugins are installed or disabled in the “Plugins” menu of the website admin panel:
See the catalog of WordPress plugins here.
Some useful plugins:
- protection against spam: Akismet Anti-Spam
- change Cyrillic names in page addresses to English: Cyr to Lat enhanced
- limiting attempts to enter the site’s admin panel: Login LockDown
- database optimization:WP-Optimize
- additional website protection: Cerber Security, Antispam & Malware Scan
- SEO setup: Yoast SEO
- website archiving: Duplicator
- +49 points to improve your WordPress site (paid plugin): Clarify Pro
2.1. Installing the Maintenance Mode plugin (optional, but recommended)
While you are setting up the site, it will be accessible from all over the Internet. Everyone can see your “construction work” on the site.
A plugin like Maintenance Mode is used to avoid unwanted crawling and indexing of the site by search engines during development. For visitors, the plugin creates a “site maintenance” splash screen where you can inform them that the site is under reconstruction.
There are a lot of plugins of this type. For this task, I use the YITH Maintenance Mode plugin.
Another way to hide your site from unwanted viewing is to use the Password Protected plugin. This plugin allows you to view the site only after entering your password.to table of contents ↑
2.2. Setting up plugins, ensuring website security
Almost every plugin requires attention to customize it.
You may need to spend some time on the .htaccess and .htpasswd files. WordPress generates a .htaccess file when setting up permalinks and this is often enough.
However, if you want to further protect your site from intruders, you will have to spend some time improving the security of your site.
2.3. Setting up permalinks
When publishing posts, WordPress provides them with URLs where they are available on the Internet. WordPress allows you to specify the URL structure of website pages.
Go to the menu of the site admin panel “Settings” – > “Permalinks”. Here you can make your URLs aesthetically pleasing, and usable, and ensure compatibility in the future when you change the site structure:
to table of contents ↑
2.4. Defining the home page
By default, a WordPress site sets up a homepage with the most recently published posts. The home page is the page that opens when you enter the site name.
You can change this order and set any page of the site as the home page.
To do this, go to the “Settings” menu in the site’s admin panel and select the “Reading” item:
Select the desired page and save your choice.to table of contents ↑
2.5. Site name, brief description and favicon
During the installation process, WordPress will automatically add a keyword phrase to the website title that says ” One more WordPress site“.
The key phrase is a short description of the site: one precise sentence that describes the essence of the site, what topic it is dedicated to, or what task the visitor can solve with the help of the site.
To change the name and short description of the site, select the “Settings” – “General” menu item in the site’s administrative panel
Another important detail for a website is the website icon (favicon). A favicon is a small graphic image that a browser displays in its bookmarks bar next to the name of a website or a search engine in the search results. It has no function, but its use allows you to increase website recognition to some extent.
WordPress has a way to create a website icon. In the admin panel select the menu: “Appearance” > “Customize” > “Site Identity”. In the bottom left, select an image for the site icon with a size of at least 512 pixels per side and save the icon.to table of contents ↑
3. Choosing the theme (in fact, the design) of the site
The WordPress theme is the basic design of the site and its appearance. In other words, a WordPress theme is like clothes on a person. It can be different: the essence is the same inside, but the appearance is different.
WordPress usually installs several themes during installation. But you may want something else.
WordPress themes can be found on the Internet for every taste:
- free themes on the official WordPress website: https://wordpress.org/themes/
- or paid premium themes from different developers, such as the Divi theme by ElegantThemes.
A little bit about the Divi theme. At this point, Divi has essentially become a web design platform. The theme has a built-in website page builder.
In general, a page builder is a library of website page elements: paragraph, image, gallery, etc. with the ability to customize each element and place it on the page by dragging and dropping.
In the page builder, you can quickly create a page and immediately see the results of your work without interfering with the site code.
Developers have created various page builders. The most common builders are Divi, Elementor, and Visual Composer.
It should be noted that the development of WordPress has led to the replacement of the classic text editor built into WordPress with the Gutenberg block editor. Gutenberg is essentially a page builder built into WordPress. The content of a website page appears in the editor as separate blocks.
The development went further – and at the time of writing, WordPress has the ability to create a sidebar using the Gutenberg editor. A sidebar is a column to the left or right of the main content.
The development of WordPress went further and now it is possible to fully edit the site by Gutenberg. But this option is available only for so-called “block themes”. You can choose a block theme in the filter when adding a theme to your site.
Customizing such themes is a bit different from the classic ones. I will talk about customizing block themes in the following posts.to table of contents ↑
3.1. Theme settings + robots.txt file
Each theme provides, to a greater or lesser extent, the ability to change colors, fonts, indents, sizes, and other content display options.
You will probably want to customize the chosen theme to suit your needs. How to do this depends on how the customization panel is implemented in the theme. Of course, if you look deeper, you can customize the appearance of the site using CSS, hooks, and page templates in a child theme. But this is beyond the scope of this article.
I will consider the option of customizing classic themes, i.e. all themes except block themes.
After selecting and installing a classic theme, you will have the opportunity to customize it. To do this, select the “Appearance” line in the menu of the site’s admin panel and click “Customize“.
The theme customization panel will open, allowing you to customize the theme to your liking, as well as use the website preview function. Below is the setup panel for the theme Divi.
It is advisable to have a robots.txt file in the root directory of the site. This file contains instructions for robots that visit the site and periodically index it.
These instructions tell robots which directories are prohibited from indexing and which are allowed. This is done to avoid duplication of content and to prevent service files from being indexed. This file also contains the URL address of the sitemap: a list of all pages with content to be indexed.
Below is an example of the contents of the robots.txt file:
User-agent: * Disallow: /wp-admin Disallow: /wp-includes Disallow: /wp-content/cache Disallow: /wp-json/ Disallow: /xmlrpc.php Disallow: /?s= Sitemap: https://koval.in.ua/sitemap_index.xmlto table of contents ↑
3.2. Setting up the header and footer of a website
A website header usually contains a menu, logo, sometimes social media icons, advertising, etc.
The footer (the bottom of the site) usually contains the copyright of the site, possibly some additional information, or another menu, for example.
For classic themes, the header and footer are customized using the theme tools: “Appearance” – > “Customize”. For the Divi theme, the settings look like this:
For block-based themes, you can access the header and footer settings through the site admin: “Appearance” – > “Editor”. and then select the template you want to edit. For the Twenty Twenty-Two block theme, it will look like this:to table of contents ↑
4. Entering site content
4.1. Creating a website menu
A menu is an important element of a website because a convenient and clear menu makes it easier for a website visitor to navigate the site and understand where he can solve his task with the help of the site.
WordPress menus can contain links to pages, posts, categories, tags, products, and other types of data. Therefore, before building a menu, it is advisable to create the necessary site structure (pages, categories, tags).
For classic themes, the menu is created in the admin panel of the site, in the Appearance section -> Menus:
After creating the menu structure, in the “Menu settings” section, specify the display area – “Main”, “Top-level menu” or “Footer menu”. Save your changes and the menu is ready to go.to table of contents ↑
4.2. Create static pages and records
In the initial installation of WordPress, there are two main types of content on the site: “pages” and “posts”. While they have some similarities, they also have some key differences.
Pages are used for creating static content that is not time-sensitive, such as “About Us” or “Contact Us” pages. They are not organized into categories or tags, and they are typically accessed through the website’s main navigation menu.
Posts are used for creating time-sensitive content, such as blog entries or news articles. They are typically listed in reverse chronological order on the website’s home page or blog page, and they are organized into categories and tags. Posts also have the ability to be commented on by visitors.
Themes and plugins can create their own data types. For example, the Divi theme creates the “Projects” data type. This can be a portfolio and a description of the work performed.
The plugin for creating an online store Woocommerce creates the “Products” data type.
To create a new page, either go to the Pages menu and click the Add new button. Next, you will be taken to the editor where you can build the page.to table of contents ↑
4.3. Customize widgets in the sidebar
Sidebar is a separate panel (column) located to the right or left of the main content on the page. The location of the sidebar is usually set in the theme.
The sidebar can contain a search, a list of categories and tags, recent comments on posts, links, ratings, advertisements, traffic counters, and much more.
The sidebar can be customized with the help of widgets. A widget is a separate program code that performs a specific function.
Some themes allow you to use different sidebars for different types of data.
For classic themes, a list of available widgets and sidebars is provided in the admin panel, menu item – Appearance → Widgetsto table of contents ↑
5. Deactivate the Maintenance Mode plugin and publish the site
In fact, at this stage, the “backbone” of the site is ready. If you installed the Maintenance Mode plugin, it’s time to disable it. Deactivating the plugin makes the site visible to Internet users.
Let’s touch on a few more points about creating a WordPress site.
6. Setting up a website connection with social networks
Due to the development of social networks, the connection of a website with them is important for its promotion. There are a lot of plugins and online services that help you connect your website with social networks.
And many themes have a built-in ability to connect the site with social networks.
There are two types of connection between a website and social networks: “Share” and “Following“.
“Share” – if a visitor likes an article, he clicks the button, and a short description with a link to this article is copied to the visitor’s social media feed. This way, the article is shared on a social network.
“Following” – if you want to get more followers on your social pages, you place a link to “follow you on social media” on your website. By clicking the “Following” button, the visitor subscribes to your page on the social network and you get a new subscriber.to table of contents ↑
7. Set up an RSS subscription
RSS technology allows you to inform everyone about the new information that has appeared on the site. You can find different terms on the Internet that mean the same thing: RSS-channel, RSS-feed, RSS-newsletter, and feed.
Actually, RSS is already available for the site on WordPress, its address is http://name_website/feed/.
If you need to create an opportunity for a visitor to subscribe to RSS, you can make an icon and place a link to RSS: http://name_website/feed/. Or you can use the FeedBurner service to organize RSS subscriptions and receive feeds to readers’ emails.
8. Setting up subscriptions and mailings
Unlike RSS, which is automatically updated when new articles appear on the site, the newsletter can be managed manually.
All services have the ability to integrate a subscription form on the website. In fact, the site has only a subscription form, and the list of subscribers, subscription management, and mailings are all stored on the service.
However, there are ways to build a subscriber list, manage subscriptions, and send emails directly to the website. Various plugins can be used for this purpose. For example, you can use the MailPoet or MyMail plugin for this.to table of contents ↑
9. Registering a website in Google, connecting Google statistics
A useful thing to do is to add your site to the Google Developer Toolbar. This service has many useful functions for checking and improving a website, which helps to promote it in search engines.
If you want to track visitors on your website, you need to install Google Analytics codes or other counters. Usually, these codes should be inserted either in the header or footer of a website on the pages that require traffic statistics. For more details, see the Google Analytics documentation.
Creating a WordPress site is to some extent both easy and fast. By following the steps step by step, you can get a working website. To do this, you need to spend time and have the desire.
In this article, I have tried to present the information as accessible as possible. I may have missed something or simplified how to create a WordPress site. Or the information is outdated in some ways. Let me know about it.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in any way you like. And I will definitely answer.
Leave your comments below and share the article with your friends on social networks.