How long does it take to learn WordPress? You can learn in one weekend if you start with the basics! Follow along step by step, and you'll be blogging in no time.

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Understanding WordPress.com vs WordPress.org

WordPress comes in two flavors: WordPress.com (hosted) and WordPress.org (self-hosted). WordPress.com is a service that hosts your site for you, making it great for beginners but with limitations in customization. WordPress.org requires you to host your site, offering full control over customization. For my tutorials, WordPress.org is the preferred choice due to its flexibility.

Chart illustrating the differences between WordPress.org vs WordPress.com. WordPress.org is recommended for building a fully customizable website.
Self -hosted WordPress (WordPress.org) is the best and cheapest way to build your website.

Choosing a Domain Name

Your domain name is your digital address. Keep it short, relevant, and memorable. I recommend Namecheap: you can search for names and check availability. Remember, your domain name is a significant part of your online identity, so choose wisely! Don't try to be cute – choose a name that reflects the subject of your blog and include words that people might search for.

Setting Up Hosting

Web hosting is where your website lives. There are many affordable and reliable hosting services: I recommend BigScoots. Start with a basic shared plan, you can always upgrade as your blog grows. They offer one-click WordPress installations, making your setup process smoother.

Installing WordPress

After choosing your hosting, install WordPress. BigScoots offers easy one-click installations from their control panel. Once installed, you'll access your WordPress dashboard, the command center for your website. If you can't figure out how to install WordPress, don't waste time! Ask your host for help.

Selecting a WordPress Theme

Themes define the look of your site. There are thousands of free and premium themes available. I recommend using Kadence. The free version is fine to use, it is very lightweight, reliable and customizable.

Customizing Your Website

The WordPress Customizer is where you can control your site's appearance. Change colors, fonts, and layout settings to match your brand or personal style. Preview changes in real time before making them live. The customizer makes global changes to your site. You can override these settings on individual pages and posts.

Adding Plugins

Plugins add functionality to your WordPress site. Essential plugins for beginners include Kadence Blocks for extra customization options, RankMath (for search engine optimization), AntiSpam Bee (for spam protection), and One Click Accessibility (for people with visual, cognitive, and physical impairments). Install plugins directly from your dashboard.

Creating Essential Pages

Start with key pages like Home, About, Contact, and Blog. I also recommend a Start Here page, especially if you are a blogger. Use the WordPress editor to add content and media. Remember, quality content on these pages can greatly impact your visitor's experience.

Setting Up a Navigation Menu

Navigation menus guide your visitors. Create and customize menus under the Appearance > Menus section in your dashboard. Ensure your navigation is intuitive and includes your primary pages.

Understanding WordPress Posts vs Pages

Posts are for blog content, while pages are static and suited for timeless content like your About or Contact pages. Posts use categories and tags to organize your posts effectively.

SEO and Site Visibility

SEO (search engine optimization) helps your site rank higher in search engine results. Plugins like RankMath help you optimize your content. Focus on creating quality content with relevant keywords.

Backing Up Your Website

Regular backups protect your site from data loss. Plugins like UpdraftPlus can automate this process. Schedule regular backups to ensure you never lose your valuable work.

Maintaining Your WordPress Site

Maintain your site by regularly updating WordPress, themes, and plugins. This ensures security and performance. Also, monitor your site's health and make improvements as needed. Never set your themes or plugins to auto update, instead, you should manually update them to monitor any conflicts that may come up.

So, how long DOES it take to learn WordPress?

If you follow step by step, you can have a WordPress site set up in a weekend. Most beginners have similar stumbling blocks:

  • Overthinking your domain name: don't try to be cute or overly creative. Find a domain name that reflects the subject of your blog, or use your own name.
  • Not using their hosting company's customer service: you're paying them! Ask for help in installing WordPress if you can't figure it out right away!
  • Trying to find a template that looks perfect: templates are just jumping off points, and they are made to be customized. If you see one that has the elements that you are going to need to build your site, then go for it. You're going to be changing the colors, fonts, etc. to reflect your own brand. Also, consider starting from scratch.

Additional Resources:

My Facebook Group is free, you can ask questions there.

My Monthly Membership has courses, quick guides and a custom Design Library.

WordPress Forums for community support (https://wordpress.org/support/forums/)

Get a head start on your web design with custom blocks!

Get access to WP Designs!

I built a custom Kadence Design Library built with bloggers in mind! You'll find a large assortment of free blocks to use as you please, and pro blocks that are available in my monthly membership! Both the free and the pro collection will be updated with new blocks every month.

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