This article will guide you through all of the steps required to build yourself a fully functional WordPress website that is available to anybody with an internet connection.
We will use SiteGround to host our website, which is consistently rated as one of the top hosting providers. There are many other hosting providers available, however the steps may differ slightly.
We will explain all steps in as much detail as possible, if you have any questions, feel free to drop us a comment at the bottom of this post. Alternatively the SiteGround support team are a fantastic resource and are always on-hand to help
This course is aimed at beginners so you do not need any previous experience, just a computer with an internet connection.
You will also need to purchase a hosting plan from SiteGround to store your website as well as a domain name. This is all covered in detail below.
Sign up to a SiteGround hosting plan
The first step in building your WordPress site is to register for a hosting plan at SiteGround. There are a lot of different options available when it comes to hosting which can seem daunting and confusing at first.
We will be using a shared hosting plan, which basically means that your website will share certain resources with other sites stored on the server. Don’t worry, your site is still secure, it is just a way for hosting providers to reduce cost and is great for starter websites.
SiteGround has 3 shared hosting options available, StartUp, GrowBig and GoGeek. As you can see in the image below, the main differences between the plans are down to how many sites you can host, available disk space and number of monthly visitors.
To begin with, I would recommend StartUp which is the basic (and cheapest) package. This has everything you will need to get your WordPress site up and running.
Once your site starts to gain traction and traffic begins to increase, it is very easy to upgrade to a different hosting plan to scale with your business.
SUMMARY: Sign up to a SiteGround hosting plan
Set up your domain
Now that you have chosen your hosting plan, you are asked to set up your domain. So you may be asking, what exactly is a domain… and how does it relate to my hosting account?
The best way to describe how these 2 pieces fit together is with an analogy. Imagine the internet is a big city of houses, all linked together with giant cables. Your hosting plan would be a house. It is full of all of the things that make your house (or website) functional. Your domain on the other hand would be your street address, allowing others to easily find your house (or website).
A domain is therefore simply your website address. For example, our domain is classerole.com. There are millions of others, google.com, amazon.com etc..
Back in SiteGround, after you have chosen your hosting plan, you are now presented with 2 choices:
- Register a new domain. This is the simplest option to get started.
- Use an existing domain. Use this option if you already have a domain name registered that you’d like to use.
Domain names and hosting are separate entities, there is no requirement to register your domain name with your hosting provider. In fact, a lot of website owners prefer to register domain names with a dedicated domain name registrar such as Namecheap. We will cover both scenarios below.
Option 1 - Register a new domain
Enter your chosen domain into the box provided and click proceed. If your domain has already been taken, you will be presented with a few alternatives. Feel free to choose one of these, or try entering another one of your own.
Note that most one word domains have already been registered, so you may need to have a play around to find a suitable domain that is available.
Option 2 - Use an existing domain
If you have already registered a domain name, perhaps with a domain registrar such as Namecheap, enter the full URL into the box provided. SiteGround will ensure that the domain has already been registered before you can proceed to the next step.
SUMMARY: Setting up your domain
Review and complete purchase
On the next step, you will be able to review the information so far supplied, as well as provide additional details to register our account with SiteGround.
- Enter your email and chosen password. These will be used to login to your SiteGround hosting account.
- Fill in your personal details.
- Complete your payment information. You will be able to review the total amount at the bottom of the form.
- Ensure your chosen hosting plan is correct.
- Select a renewal period for your hosting plan. I would personally recommend a minimum of 12 months else it will work out much more expensive in the long run.
- If you have chosen to register a domain through SiteGround, it will be displayed here.
- When registering a domain, your details will be publicly visible in the WHOIS online database. For a small fee, your details can be hidden.
- SG Site Scanner is a monitoring service to protect against threats to your website.
- Read the small print and confirm if you agree to the terms and conditions.
- Click Pay Now and SiteGround will set everything up for you.
SUMMARY: Review and complete purchase
Welcome to SiteGround
After completing the signup process, you will be presented with a message confirming that your account has successfully been created. Well done, you are now one step closer to having your very own WordPress site up and running on the internet!
You will also receive several emails to the email address supplied in step 1 of the previous section. We will address each of these in the next few steps
At this point, you should have received a few emails containing important information about your account. Sometimes these emails can take an hour to arrive, so please be patient.
If you still haven’t received any emails after a few hours, it may well be worth checking your junk email, or contacting SiteGround support.
After signing up and verifying your account details, navigate to your customer dashboard. This can be accessed by clicking the proceed to customer area link, displayed after successfully registering in the previous step. You are also able to access your dashboard by clicking on the link in your account information email.
SUMMARY: Welcome to SiteGround
If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! The real fun can now begin and you are able to start configuring WordPress. Grab yourself a coffee and let’s begin 🙂
First up, ensure that you are in the SiteGround customer dashboard, if you’re not already, look back at your account information email and follow the link provided. From the dashboard, select Set Up Site.
- Select Start New Website
- Select WordPress
- Enter an email address and choose a password. Important! This should be an existing email account that you have access to as you will be sent login details. You will also use this to sign in to the admin area of your WordPress site. Keep these details to hand for the next step.
- Click Continue.
SiteGround may try to upsell you a few additional products. Feel free to ignore and click Finish. After a short while, you will be presented with confirmation that your WordPress installation has been successful.
1. If you registered your domain through SiteGround, you can ignore the message about pointing your domain. Confirm that everything has worked by opening up a new browser tab and typing in your new website address.
If you did not register a domain through SiteGround, there are a few additional steps that you will now need to take. Every domain registrar will handle things slightly differently, however the basic premise is the same.
You need to point your domain’s nameservers to the ones displayed on your screen. In the example above, I would point my domain to NS1.GUK1011.SITEGROUND.EU and NS2.GUK1011.SITEGROUND.EU (beware, they may differ to those above so please ensure you copy yours carefully).
Once re-pointed, it may take up to 48 hours for this to take effect, this is due to a process called propagation. If you are at all unsure on how to do this, please reach out to your domain registrar’s support team for assistance.
Ok, so you should now be at a point where you can access your new website by typing in your URL in a browser. Feel free to try and load it from a mobile device as well. You’ll note that it currently looks a bit drab and dull. We will address that in the next few steps.
SUMMARY: Install WordPress
Great, so now you have a WordPress website up and running, we can now tweak a few settings to make it look and feel more like a professional website. To get started, you will need the username and password that you set in the previous step whilst installing WordPress.
A WordPress site can be configured in many different ways, 2 of which are through themes and plugins. Themes are used to update the look and feel of your site. In contrast, plugins are used to extend the out-of-the-box functionality. We will look at both of these in the next few sections.
Note this isn’t a comprehensive guide on configuring WordPress. That is a whole new topic in itself which we will start exploring in future articles. The steps below will however get you up and running with a new theme and a some essential plugins.
Install a WordPress theme
- Navigate to your WordPress admin dashboard. This was sent in an email, to the email address that you used to install WordPress in the previous section.
HINT: You can also log in by appending /wp-admin to your website address. For example
- Enter your email address and password which you also set in the previous section.
- You will be presented with a Welcome page. Click Start Now.
- You will be presented with a list of free themes which allow you to change the appearance of your site. You can easily change this later so feel free to pick any design that you wish and then click Continue.
Install WordPress plugins
- After selecting your theme, you may be presented with a screen asking you to install a few plugins. These are required in order for your theme to function correctly. Select Confirm to continue.
- On the next screen, you will be offered a chance to install a few additional plugins, such as a contact form and a calendar. Feel free to select anything that you feel may be useful on your site. Don’t worry if you’re not sure, you are able to install these later, or even remove any that you decide you no longer require. Once you have made your selection, select Continue to complete the installation.
SUMMARY: Configure WordPress
Congratulations, you've made it!
If you’ve successfully made it this far, congratulations on your new WordPress site. Your site is now configured and accessible on the internet. Take a breather and click View Site to see how your new site looks with the new theme installed.
If you’d like to take a look around the back-end of your website, feel free to click Go To Dashboard. There are a TON of options in here which allow you to really customise every little detail of your site.
Where to go next?
There are literally hundreds of different options that can be configured within the admin dashboard and if that isn’t enough, each theme or plugin comes with its very own bunch of configurations. The WordPress ecosystem is enormous! If you feel really brave, you are even able to extend WordPress yourself through a custom plugin or theme.
Where you decide to take your website is completely up to you. See below for some useful references to help you get started on your journey. Depending on the theme and plugins you chose to install whilst configuring your site, your menu may contain more or fewer options than the ones shown.
- Home – provides an overview of your WordPress site.
- Updates – notifies you of any available updates to WordPress, including installed themes or plugins.
- Posts – this is where you create posts for your site, such as the one that you are now reading on this website 🙂
- Media – manage media such as images, video and video.
- Pages – create static pages of content for your site. Think of pages as your home, about and contact pages. In contrast, posts are created more frequently, think of it as your blog.
- Comments – manage all of the comments on your site.
- Woocommerce – this is an e-commerce plugin that allows you to turn your site into an online store. Woocommerce is one of the most popular e-commerce plugins on the market and even has a free plan to get started. This is not part of WordPress core, so you will only see it if you chose to install it.
- Elementor – again, this is not part of WordPress core so you won’t see it if you haven’t installed it. Elementor is a page builder plugin that enables you to visually design your content using a drag and drop interface.
- Appearance – change your theme, add widgets and create menus for your WordPress site.
- Plugins – download new or manage existing plugins.
- Users – manage users who have registered on your site.
- Tools – import / export data from your site.
- Settings – contains core WordPress settings and enables you to update site title, description and timezone settings.
- SG Optimiser – SiteGround install this plugin by default. It aims to speed up your site using a range of caching techniques. You are able to uninstall this if it is not required
Unfortunately, that is as far as we will be going in this tutorial, however we will be delivering more detailed guides in the near future covering all aspects of WordPress customisation.
Most importantly, GOOD LUCK on your WordPress journey!
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