Building your own website has never been easier thanks to flexibility of WordPress platform. Read below to learn how to easily build a simple WordPress website or a blog without coding or any other technical skills. First we will start with a domain name and a hosting.
1. The domain name / hosting
In order to have your future website visible online, you need the domain name. For the domain name (example.com) you can use your own name (johnsmith.com), the name of your company or any other name you prefer (mytravelblog.com for instance or some combinations like johnsmithtravelblog.com etc..).
When you decide what kind of website you need, try to come up with some short and meaningful domain name and then check if that name is available at GoDaddy.com or Namecheap.com. These websites are the domain registrars where you can purchase domains, configure domain settings and make many other domain related changes.
If some domain name is available, purchase it and finish the purchase process by creating a GoDaddy or a Namecheap account.
Now you need the hosting account where all the site files and the database will be hosted. I recommend Hostgator’s shared web hosting: https://www.hostgator.com/web-hosting (Choose “Hatchling” Plan if you want to host only 1 site/domain. Other plans can host multiple sites.)
Both domain name and the hosting can be purchased at Hostgator, but I always suggest to purchase the domain at the domain registrar and to keep it separated from the hosting. One company hosts the site and the other one hosts the domain.
~ If you purchased the domain at GoDaddy for instance, and Hostgator will be hosting the site, you need to change the domain nameservers so that the domain can be pointed to certain hosting server. You can do this by editing the domain settings (at GoDaddy or other dom. registrar). First log in to your Hostgator hosting account, go to “Launch the cPanel” and on the right side you’ll see 2 nameservers similar to the ones below:
Copy these 2 records, go to your domain registrar (GoDaddy) and click on that domain you already purchased. Find an option to change the DNS settings and edit the nameservers. At GoDaddy this option is visible when you go to “Manage DNS” > “Nameservers” and then click change (Enter my own nameservers) and enter the nameservers you copied from Hostgator (ns5269.hostgator.com etc..).
After you click Save, it may take up to 24 hours until your site/domain become visible online.
If you decide to purchase both the domain and hosting at Hostgator, then all these DNS/nameserver changes are not required, everything will be configured automatically.
If you are not sure how to make these DNS changes, you can contact your domain registrar support and they will update the DNS within a few minutes.
Quick WordPress Installation
You can quickly install WordPress by using Softaculous Apps Installer that can be found on the bottom of your HostGator cPanel. Simply select WordPress > Install now and in the installation URL select your domain if it’s not already selected.
Then, change the password and username on the right side, and scroll all the way down to the bottom and click “Install”.
Once the installation process is completed, your new site should be visible when you type in your domain name in browser address bar.
Now is the time to login and start making changes in order personalize the site. You can log in as an admin by going to yourdomain.com/wp-admin URL. Type in the username and password you previously added during installation process and hit enter.
Once you logged in, the first thing you should do is to install the classic editor so you can more easily make content changes. Click here to read how to install and enable the classic editor plugin.
Now, we will work a little bit on the visual part of the site. From your WP Admin panel, go to Appearance > Themes > Add new and you’ll see a big list of available themes. Select the one you like or use a search function in the top right corner and type in the relevant keyword (blog, hotel if the site is for a hotel for instance etc..).
Once you found the theme you like, hover over the theme screenshot, select install and then select Activate.
When you go to your site homepage (yoursite.com), you’ll see that your new theme is visible. The next step is to work on text content, images etc..
There are 2 main types of content, pages and posts. Even though both types look almost the same, the difference is that posts are mostly used for blog and other categorized content. For instance, when you go to some news site you’ll see many different categories and each category will have latest news listed along with other details, date, comments etc..
Pages usually contain content that is not categorized and the best way to explain what kind of content should be published as page is to list a few examples. “About us” should be published as a page, same goes for “Contact us”, or a “Gallery” etc.. etc.. while “The latest recipes” where you are planning to frequently publish recipes (posts) should be a post category.
Go to Settings > Reading > and in the “Your homepage displays” select “Your latest posts” if you are planning to have a simple blog. Then, go to Posts > Add New, add some content, hit Publish and you’ll see that your newly created post is visible on the homepage.
If your goal is to have a simple company presentation with a few pages, go to Pages > Add New, add some content and publish the page. Then go to Settings > Reading > and in the “Your homepage displays” select the page you just published and hit save.
The content editor is similar to Word and you can use it to style text, align it, “Add Media” to insert images, with Enter you can create new paragraphs etc.. etc.. and once you’re done with content editing, simply hit Publish.
All those pages and categories (Posts) should be visible in the main menu so that visitors can easily navigate through an entire site.
Go to Appearance > Menus, click Create a new menu, add menu name and add the menu items from the left side (Pages or post categories). On the bottom in the menu settings you’ll see one or multiple locations that are available for menus in your theme. Some themes may have only one menu, top header menu for instance, other ones may have more than one (header, footer menu etc..).
Usually, the main header menu is named as Primary or Main etc.. If you want your new menu to be visible in the top header location, select Primary and then save the menu (bottom blue button).
Feel free to experiment with different themes, pages, posts and menus, there’s nothing you can break.