Creating a basic WordPress website opens doors to endless possibilities for your online presence. As a beginner, you may feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information and options available. However, this guide will simplify the process, providing you with the essential knowledge to build a stunning and functional WordPress website with ease.

basic wordpress website

By following this tutorial, you'll learn how to set up your domain and hosting, install WordPress, and customize your new website to fit your vision. Additionally, you'll gain insights on how to optimize your site for search engines, incorporate engaging content, and ensure it is user-friendly and accessible.

Diving into the world of WordPress doesn't have to be daunting. With the right guidance and a steady pace, you'll master the basics quickly and create a website that matches your goals and caters to your target audience. Here's a step by step WordPress tutorial to get you up and running as quickly as possible.

Please note that this article deals with self-hosted WordPress, not Self-hosted WordPress is a better way to build a site that you can have greater control over and eventually monetize.

Choosing a Domain Name

When creating a basic WordPress website, the first thing to do is pick the perfect domain name. Your domain name is your website's online address, so it's important that it represents your brand and is easy for your audience to remember.

Consider the following tips when selecting a domain name for your website:

  1. Keep it concise. Shorter domain names are easier to remember and type, reducing the chance of errors by your visitors. Aim for a domain name with fewer than 15 characters if possible.
  2. Include your brand name. Integrating your brand name into your domain helps with brand recognition and creates a cohesive online presence. Additionally, it makes it easier for customers to find your website.
  3. Consider relevant keywords. Incorporating keywords related to your niche can improve search engine optimization (SEO) and help potential customers understand what your website is about. For example, if you run a bakery, including the word “bakery” in your domain can be helpful.
  4. Avoid hyphens and numbers. These characters can make your domain name harder to remember and may create confusion. Stick to letters for a smoother online experience.
  5. Verify that it's fresh. Before committing to a domain name, ensure it isn't too similar to existing websites to avoid potential legal issues and confusion.
  6. Differentiate it from others. Stand out from the crowd by choosing a domain that's unique and distinctive, setting you apart from your competitors.
  7. Check for available social handles. To maintain consistency between your website and social media presence, verify that related usernames are available on popular platforms.
  8. Choose an appropriate TLD (Top-Level Domain). While .com domains are the most popular, consider other TLD options like .net, .org, or specific industry options like .tech if they better represent your website.

Once you have chosen your domain name, register it with a reputable domain registrar, and connect it with your WordPress hosting to get started on building your website. 

Selecting a Hosting Provider

When you're ready to create your WordPress website, one of the first decisions you need to make is selecting a hosting provider. A good web host will offer fast, reliable service, excellent support, and a variety of plan options to meet your needs.

There are a few key factors you should consider when choosing a hosting provider. First, pay attention to the performance and reliability of their servers. You want your website to load quickly and be accessible at all times. Look for a provider with a high uptime guarantee, ideally 99.9% or higher.

Next, consider the provider's customer support. If you encounter any issues or have questions, it's essential to have access to knowledgeable and responsive support staff. Check if the provider offers 24/7 support via chat, email, or phone.

Another important aspect to consider is the provider's compatibility with WordPress. Make sure they have an easy-to-use, one-click WordPress installation feature. Some hosting providers also offer managed WordPress hosting, which is optimized specifically for WordPress websites, and takes care of updates, security, and performance for you.

Lastly, choose a hosting plan that fits your budget and requirements. The most common types of hosting are shared, VPS, and dedicated. Shared hosting is usually the most affordable option, and is suitable for small websites and blogs. VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting offers more control and better performance for growing websites, while dedicated hosting gives you a full server to use – this option is more expensive and suitable for large, high-traffic websites.

Taking these factors into account will help you make an informed decision when selecting a hosting provider for your WordPress website. With a reliable host, you'll have a strong foundation to build and maintain your online presence.

Installing WordPress

Before you start creating your WordPress website, the first step is to install WordPress on your hosting platform. The process can be quite simple if you follow the instructions carefully.

When signing up for a web hosting service, most providers offer a 1-click install option for WordPress, which is the easiest way to get up and running. One popular option is Softaculous, which can be found on various hosting platforms. If your hosting platform offers such a feature, simply follow the on-screen instructions, and WordPress will be installed within minutes.

If you're more experienced and prefer the manual approach, you can install WordPress using FTP. To do this, first, download the latest version of WordPress from the official website. Then, extract the files in the ZIP archive and upload them to your web server using an FTP client. After the files are uploaded, create a MySQL database and user for your WordPress website. Finally, edit the “wp-config.php” file with your database information and complete the WordPress installation by opening your website URL and following the on-screen instructions.

Once WordPress is installed, you will need to log in to the backend dashboard, where you can configure and manage your website. To do this, append “/wp-admin” to your website URL (e.g., “”) and enter the username and password you selected during the installation process.

With WordPress now installed and accessible, you have the foundation for building your new site. The next steps involve customizing your site's appearance and adding content to make it unique and engaging for your visitors.

Understanding the WordPress Dashboard

The WordPress Dashboard is the central hub for managing your website's content and appearance.

Posts Vs Pages

Posts are the building blocks of your WordPress blog. They are dynamic entries that appear in reverse chronological order on your home page or in specific categories. Posts are ideal for regularly updated content, such as news articles or recurring topics. Some key features of posts include:

  • They can be assigned tags and categories.
  • Posts have a comments section for user interaction and engagement.
  • They can have a custom post format (e.g., video, audio, gallery, etc.).

Pages are the static content of your website. These are standalone items that don't change frequently and are usually organized hierarchically. Common examples of static pages include “About Us,” “Contact,” and “Services.” Features of pages include:

  • They are hierarchical which means parent and child relationships can be established.
  • Pages don't have tags, categories, or a comments section.
  • Custom templates can be created to give a specific look to individual pages.

Themes and Plugins

Themes determine the overall appearance and design of your WordPress website. They control the layout, color schemes, typography, and other design elements. There are many premium themes available, but the good news is that there are plenty of free themes that give you all of the functionality that you need. You can install and activate new themes from the Dashboard's Appearance section or the WordPress Theme Directory. Key points about themes:

  • Customize your theme's design and settings using the Customize panel or theme options.
  • Use child themes to make advanced customizations without directly modifying the original theme.
  • Always keep your themes updated for better security and performance.

Plugins are extensions that enhance your WordPress website's functionality. They can add new features, improve existing ones, or even streamline backend operations. There are plenty of free plugins that will work just fine, however, sometimes a paid plugin may be necessary. You can add a new plugin from the Dashboard's Plugins section or the WordPress Plugin Repository. Remember these plugin tips:

  • Only install plugins from trusted sources to avoid security breaches.
  • Regularly update and delete outdated plugins to maintain optimal website performance.
  • Avoid using too many plugins, as it can cause compatibility issues and slow down your site.

Creating the First Page of your basic WordPress website

Log in to your WordPress website's dashboard to begin building your WordPress site.

Begin by navigating to the Pages section in the left-hand menu. Click on Add New to create a new page. An editing screen will appear where you can start designing your page. Start by adding a relevant title to the page, for example, “Home” or “About Us.”

Now, it's time to add content to the page. WordPress utilizes a block editor, known as Gutenberg. Click on the + symbol to add a block to your page. Blocks can be tailored to various types of content, including text, images, videos, and more.

Once you're satisfied with the content and design of your page, you'll want to ensure the proper visibility settings are in place. Locate the Document tab on the right side of the editor, where you'll find options for visibility and scheduling. Choose Public if you want the page to be accessible to all visitors, or Private if you want to restrict access.

Lastly, remember to save your progress. Before publishing, you can preview how the page appears on your website by clicking the Preview button next to the Publish option. If everything looks good, hit Publish and your page is now live.

Choosing a WordPress Theme

When you create a website, one crucial decision is picking the right WordPress theme. Keeping in mind a few key factors will help you make the best choice for your website's overall design and usability.

First, consider a simple and minimalist design. While some WordPress themes come with flashy animations and complex layouts, a basic design will often suffice. This approach helps your site load faster, improving user experience, and it's usually more visually appealing.

Second, choose a lightweight theme to optimize website performance. A clean codebase and minimal bloat are essential to minimize load times and keep your site running smoothly.

Here are some additional guidelines to follow when selecting a WordPress theme:

  • Responsive design: Your theme should adapt to different devices (desktops, tablets, and mobile devices) to provide a user-friendly experience.
  • Customization: A theme with customization options (fonts, colors, and layout) allows you to make your website truly unique.
  • Compatibility: Ensure your chosen theme is compatible with essential plugins and works well with the latest version of WordPress.

Remember that the perfect WordPress theme will depend on the purpose and goals of your website. Take your time to research the available options and make a thoughtful decision. Don't be afraid to experiment and change your theme if it doesn't meet your expectations. With persistence, you'll find the ideal theme that showcases your content and brings your vision to life.

Customizing Your Website

After setting up your basic WordPress website, it's time to customize it to fit your needs and preferences. In this section, we'll go through some essential steps to personalize your site.

Changing Your Site Title and Tagline

The first step to personalizing your website is changing the site title and tagline. This helps set the tone for your website and communicates the purpose of your site to visitors. To change these settings:

  1. Go to your WordPress dashboard.
  2. Navigate to Settings > General.
  3. Locate the Site Title and Tagline fields.
  4. Replace the default text with your desired site title and tagline.
  5. Click Save Changes at the bottom of the page.

Your site title and tagline will now be updated and visible to your visitors.

Setting Up Menus

Menus help visitors navigate your website and find important content easily. To create a custom menu for your site:

  1. Go to your WordPress dashboard.
  2. Navigate to Appearance > Menus.
  3. Click the Create a new menu link.
  4. Give your menu a name and click Create Menu.
  5. Use the checkboxes in the PagesPosts, or Custom Links sections to add items to your menu.
  6. Drag and drop the items to reorder them as needed.
  7. In the Menu Settings section, check the box for the location where you want your menu to appear (e.g., primary, header, footer, etc.).
  8. Click Save Menu to save your changes.

Now your custom menu should appear in the specified location on your website, making it easier for your visitors to find the content they're looking for. Remember, you can always make adjustments to the menu items and their order as your website grows and your content evolves.

Securing Your WordPress Website

When creating your basic WordPress website, it's essential to prioritize security. By following specific steps, you can keep your site safe from potential threats. Here are some tips to help you protect your WordPress website.

First, ensure that you always keep the core WordPress software up to date. Regularly updating your WordPress version will prevent hackers from exploiting known vulnerabilities. Additionally, only use trusted WordPress themes and plugins from reputable developers. Outdated or poorly coded themes and plugins can leave your site exposed to security risks.

Besides core software, make sure to update any themes and plugins you're using as well. Remove any inactive themes and plugins, as they can act as doors for hackers to enter and compromise your website.

To generate secure login credentials for your WordPress admin panel, implement strong and unique usernames and passwords. Avoid common username choices like “admin” and opt for a more complex password that combines alphanumeric characters and symbols. Additionally, limit the number of users who have access to your admin panel and ensure they have strong credentials.

Be sure that you have an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate for your website. An SSL certificate encrypts data transfers between the browser and server, safeguarding sensitive information like user logins and credit card details. Many hosting providers offer free SSL certificates as part of their hosting packages.

By following these security best practices, you'll be prepared to maintain a safe and secure WordPress website.

Adding Content

Now that you have your basic WordPress website set up, the next step is to start adding content. Your content plays a major role in attracting visitors and keeping them engaged on your site. In this section, we'll discuss how to create and manage different types of content on your WordPress site.

First, let's talk about pages. Pages are static content and ideal for providing information that doesn't change often, such as your “About Us” or “Contact” page. To create a new page, go to your WordPress dashboard and click on Pages > Add New. You'll see a block editor where you can add text, images, and other media. Just hit “Publish” when you're done!

Next, let's discuss posts. Posts are primarily used for blogging or news articles, as they display in reverse chronological order on your site (i.e., the most recent post appears first). To create a new post, simply go to Posts > Add New in your WordPress dashboard. Much like creating a page, you'll use the block editor to add all the necessary content and media, and you can assign categories or tags to your post for better organization.

It's essential to format your content to make it visually appealing and easy to read. Use headings and subheadings to break up the text, along with bullet points and numbered lists where appropriate. Bold and italic text can emphasize key information, and don't forget to include relevant images and videos to support your content.

Another excellent tool to improve your content's presentation is tables. Tables are perfect for organizing and displaying data in a clear, structured manner. You can easily add tables in the WordPress editor using the ‘Table’ block. Just click the “+” icon and search for “Table,” then adjust the number of rows and columns to your liking. After creating the table, you can insert your data and even customize the table's appearance using the options available in the block settings.

Some web designers use website builders such as Elementor or Beaver Builder. These builders can be helpful, but also have a tendancy to slow down a site if they are not used correctly.

Remember that your website's success relies on the quality and relevance of the content you provide. By consistently producing engaging and well-structured content, you can establish a loyal audience and keep them coming back for more. If you're feeling overwhelmed looking at a blank page, try doing a brain dump.

Search Engine Optimization

Creating a basic WordPress website is just the beginning. To make your website truly successful, you need to focus on search engine optimization (SEO). Good SEO practices will ensure that your website ranks higher in search engine results, driving more traffic to your site.

You can start by choosing an SEO-friendly theme for your WordPress website. A well-coded, responsive, and fast-loading theme will make your site more attractive to search engines.

Next, make sure your website has an optimized URL structure. A simple and descriptive URL helps both users and search engines to understand your content better. You can do this with a plugin such as RankMath or Yoast.

Content is king, so make sure each of your blog posts and pages is high-quality, relevant, and informative. Use target keywords in your titles, headings, and throughout the text to make it easy for search engines to index your content. Remember to interlink your content with internal links, as this helps search engines crawl your site more effectively.

Images can boost your SEO as well. Always add alt text to your images, and try to use descriptive file names. This will help search engines understand your images better, improving their chances to show up in image search results. Alt text also makes your site more accessible to vision impaired users who use screen readers. 

A valuable tool to help with your SEO efforts is the Yoast SEO plugin. This plugin provides guidance on optimizing your content and helps in creating XML sitemaps, which make it easier for search engines to crawl and index your website.

Lastly, submit your website to Google Search Console. This free service allows you to monitor your site's performance in Google search results and helps you identify any potential issues that may affect your rankings.

By following these basic SEO practices for your WordPress website, you'll be on your way to better visibility and more traffic. Remember, SEO takes time and effort, so be patient and consistently apply these tips to see the best results.

Monitoring Website Performance

Monitoring your website's performance is an essential aspect of managing a WordPress site. Keeping track of key metrics helps you ensure that your site runs smoothly and provides a good experience for your visitors.

One critical metric to measure is the number of sessions, which represents visits to your site and can include multiple page views. You can quickly view the session numbers using tools like Google Analytics or MonsterInsights, which offer user-friendly dashboards for tracking performance data.

Another helpful tool for monitoring your site's performance is a performance test tool. These tools give you a benchmark of your site's speed, helping you identify areas where improvements can be made. Common performance test tools include GTmetrix, Pingdom, and Google PageSpeed Insights.

SEO performance is also crucial for your site's visibility and rankings on search engines. Tools like Ahrefs can help you monitor your site's search engine rankings and optimize your content for better performance in search results.

Your site's uptime performance should not be overlooked, as it directly affects your visitors' experience. Various website monitoring services help you track your site's uptime performance, and send you notifications when your site goes down, enabling you to quickly resolve any issues.

Incorporating performance monitoring into your routine will help you maintain a high-quality WordPress site that delivers an excellent user experience.

Need some help? Join our Facebook Group and get easy-to-follow, step-by-step answers to your WordPress issues!

Updating and Maintaining Your WordPress Website

Keeping your WordPress website up-to-date is essential for security and functionality. To update your WordPress site, first, log in to the admin area and go to the Dashboard » home » Updates. Here, you can update your WordPress core, themes, and plugins. Always make sure to back up your site before updating, just in case something goes wrong.

Performing regular maintenance is equally important to ensure your website runs smoothly. One crucial aspect of maintenance is regularly clearing any unnecessary or temporary data, such as spam comments or post revisions. This helps reduce your database size and optimizes your site’s performance. Additionally, monitor your site's performance and make improvements as needed, like optimizing images or implementing caching solutions.

Broken links are another concern, as they negatively impact your visitors’ experiences and your website's search engine ranking. Make a habit of checking and fixing broken links regularly. You can use plugins like Broken Link Checker to automate this process.

Lastly, always remember to maintain strong security measures for your website. Keep your WordPress login information secure, use strong passwords, and implement two-factor authentication. Regularly scan your website for malware and other security vulnerabilities. Some plugins, such as Wordfence Security or Sucuri Security, help you implement and strengthen these measures.

By regularly updating and maintaining your WordPress website, you'll ensure optimal performance, security, and an enjoyable experience for your visitors.

Troubleshooting Common Problems

When creating your basic WordPress website, you might encounter some common issues. Don't worry; they're usually easy to resolve. In this section, we'll discuss troubleshooting steps for typical problems such as WordPress not sending emails, stuck in maintenance mode, and the White Screen of Death.

WordPress Not Sending Email Issue

To resolve the WordPress not sending email issue, it's crucial to determine the cause. You can start by checking your email service provider's settings, ensuring they are configured correctly for WordPress. If that doesn't work, try installing an SMTP plugin like WP Mail SMTP to improve email deliverability.

WordPress Stuck in Maintenance Mode

When your website gets stuck in maintenance mode, this can be frustrating. To fix this, connect to your site using FTP and locate the .maintenance file in the root directory. Delete this file, and your site should exit maintenance mode with all functionalities restored.

White Screen of Death (WSoD)

The White Screen of Death occurs when your website displays an entirely white screen. This error can be caused by auto-upgrade problems, maintenance mode errors, or compatibility issues with plugins and themes. To fix WSoD, start by disabling plugins and themes one by one to identify the culprit. If that doesn't work, try increasing your site's PHP memory limit.

Remember, always create a backup of your website before troubleshooting, as this is essential to safeguard your data. By following these steps, you'll be well on your way to having a smooth-running WordPress website.

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