Creating Your Own Website with Wordpress

by lakeerieartists

Creating a website used to be difficult, but with Wordpress and a little bit of education it is much easier. Here are some tips to get you started.

It used to be that creating a website took years of training and specialized knowledge as well as being immersed in geek speak which the average person would need a dictionary to understand, however, that is no longer true.

While Wordpress is only one of the solutions to creating your own website, and won't fit every situation, it is a good way for new webmasters to create their own website on their own domain. Wordpress is relatively user friendly, and once you understand the structure of how a Wordpress website/blog operates, you can create your own blog or site.

Creating a Site with Wordpress

Not just for blogs anymore

If you are just starting out online, and are looking for a relatively easy solution to being found online, Wordpress is extremely versatile, and can be learned by the average person with some study and guidance.

Understanding the Main Sections of a Wordpress Structure

What does a Wordpress site consist of?

If you want to create a Wordpress site or blog, (for the remainder of this article, I am going to use the word site), you need to understand how a Wordpress site is put together.  No matter how complex a Wordpress site is, they all have the structure of the back end or operational end in common.

  • Basic Wordpress installation: With Wordpress, all sites start the same way.  You install a basic Wordpress.org installation to start off.  The basic package allows you to install all the other features that you need on a Wordpress site.
  • Theme:  Every Wordpress site has a theme.  The theme is the look and feel of the public side of the site, and may also include functional features as well.  Themes can be free, but the best themes are paid, like these themes from StudioPress.
  • Pages:  Pages are static pages on a Wordpress site, that remain in the position that they are in unless you physically remove or change them.
  • Posts:  Posts are essentially blog posts, although they can be extremely complex.  These will continually create a stream that has a feed.  For most sites, the newest post shows at the front or top, with subsequent posts showing afterward.
  • Header:  The header is what you see at the top of your pages, and posts, including the front page which usually contains the name of the website on it.
  • Footer:  The footer is at the bottom of all pages, and depending on the theme, can have just a few lines of text or several sections with content.
  • Plugins:  Plugins or plug ins are little pieces of programming that you can add to your site to increase the functionality.
  • Widgets:  Widgets are physical areas on the site, usually in the sidebar, front page, and footer that can be used to show specific functions.  Some of these functions can include a list of recent posts, RSS feed, or links.

Wordpress Dashboard

This is where you control all the functions of your site
Wordpress Dashboard
Wordpress Dashboard

Using the Wordpress Dashboard

The image above shows you an actual Wordpress Dashboard.

At the top of the dashboard, you can see a dark gray bar that gives you a few shortcuts to edit posts, pages, and the appearance of your site.  This bar is optional, and you do not have to include it.

The right sidebar contains links to all of the operational sections of your site.  The more plugins that you install the longer this sidebar will be.  The sidebar is divided into several sections including dashboard, posts, pages, media, links, tools, appearance, and settings.

The rest of the dashboard consists of shortcuts to some of your operations.

Have you used Wordpress to Build a Website or Blog?

   Login
Nope, Wordpress scares me!
lisaauch on 09/07/2011

I have lovely ladies like yourself to hold my hand as I leave blogger and migrate to WP!

irenemaria on 06/26/2011

Not yet. I have to take time to read about it first

kajohu on 06/07/2011

Well, maybe Wordpress doesn't exactly scare me, but I bought a domain name and have been meaning to set up a Wordpress site with it, but.....haven't taken the plunge yet. Your article has good advice to get me started.

Yes, I love Wordpress!
WordCustard on 09/07/2011

I have a WP website and have more planned. There is a learning curve but easier than starting from scratch.

TilenHrovatic on 08/17/2011

Yes, I use WordPress to make websites and blogs and I think that it's the best blogging platform that exists today! I really recommend it! :)

dustytoes on 06/19/2011

I love WordPress because it is easy to understand and their forums are very helpful.

kimbesa on 06/08/2011

Yes. I've learned a lot, and have lots more to learn, too.

Sunforged on 06/04/2011

hundreds

That_FishLady on 06/02/2011

All of my sites use WP - I haven't really tried any other platforms, because as Pukeko said, WP meets all my blogging needs. I'd love to learn how to build my own themes!

RhondaAlbom on 05/25/2011

I love Wordpress! Don't know anything about the other blogging sites, and don't need to. WP meets all my blogging needs.

Michey on 05/25/2011

I am using only Wordpress now and prior I use xSitePro. But I love Wordpress, he idea of open-source, the power, functionality, and versatility of plug-ins make a huge advantage.

chefkeem on 05/19/2011

I agree with Bev. Once you've got it down, WP is not all that "scary" and the best choice. I even spend some money on professional themes. Beautiful stuff.

bev-owens on 05/19/2011

After using WordPress, I can't imagine using anything else. The choice themes and the flexibility are just tremendous.

Recommended Plugins for Wordpress

These are the plugins I install when I start any new site

These are my personal recommended plugins for Wordpress:

  • Akismet--blocks spam comments
  • All in One Favicon--allows you to upload a favicon
  • Anti-Feed Scraper Message
  • AntiVirus
  • cbnet Ping Optimizer
  • Easy Adsense--there are numerous Adsense plugins, but this is the one I like the best
  • Google Analyticator--easy way to link to Google Analytics
  • phpBay and phpZon--for selling Ebay and Amazon products.  You need to pay for these plugins, but they are worth it.
  • SEO Friendly Images
  • SEO Smart Links
  • SI Captcha Anti-Spam
  • WP-DBManager
  • WP Policies
  • XML Sitemaps
  • Yet Another Related Post Plugin

You can learn more about the individual plugins on the plugin page.

Getting Started with a WordPress Site

You are off and running

Once you upload and activate your Wordpress site, theme, and plugins, you are ready to get started adding content.  Content is the meat and potatoes of any site.  This is what people come to your site for in the first place.

Depending on what this particular site is set up to do, you can really do just about anything on your new Wordpress structure.  Most Wordpress sites have at minimum a stream of posts that show on the front page, however, many sites use other formats that make them look more like an online magazine, or ecommerce site.  Many sites are combinations of both.  I have listed some sites below that are all Wordpress sites, but you can see that each one is completely different than the other.

Sites That Have Been Created Using Wordpress

Just an example of the versatility of the Wordpress platform
Updated: 03/14/2012, lakeerieartists
 
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Comments


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whitemoss on 06/01/2013

I'm going to refer ti this page as I set off on my new adventure Thanks!

WordCustard on 09/07/2011

I love how powerful WP is, and yet not out of reach of anyone who has the time and patience to get to grips with it.

lisaauch on 09/07/2011

This is what I have been looking for over at Squidu! thanks Paula, appreciate your knowledge and expertise!

lakeerieartists on 06/20/2011

SimeyC--You can add most plugins unless they are premium ones to most Wordpress themes, free or paid, and adding Adsense I know can be added to free sites. For the best flexibility and functionality you need to use the Wordpress.org version of Wordpress. When you use Wordpress.com, you do not own the site.

SimeyC on 06/20/2011

I really have to dive fully into Wordpress one day! It seems to have a lot of functionality - but even simple things like adding Google Adsense seem very difficult! I understand there is a plugin - but can I find it? Noooo! LOL I guess you have to have a 'paid' template or a hosted site though to use Adsense?

It's all about time though - I simply don't have the time to invest in Wordpress and as my blogs and articles are doing well there doesn't seem to be enough ROI for me yet!

lakeerieartists on 06/19/2011

Pam, I do not consider you clueless at all. After all, I do not have a clue how you do such lovely work on Zazzle. :) If you folks, haven't seen Pam's work, look here. http://www.zazzle.com/blue_hydrangea_...

dustytoes on 06/19/2011

I have WP blogs and want a website. I want a site where I can sell my Zazzle products - I've seen your StudioPress themes and love them. I need you to write about how to specifically do that (pretty please). I just don't get the hosting, and all that. (You know me Paula - please write to my level - I can't be the only one who is so clueless about all this... can I?)

lakeerieartists on 06/04/2011

@Sunforged Ahh well, since you have taught me so much, I am sure that we will break even at one point. :P I think I am still in debt to you. I actually need to update my list with a few more that I have been working with.

Sunforged on 06/04/2011

Well written. I was just looking for my own article in the search function here and was a bit mortified to find that I seemed to have replicated the basic structure of an existing article and I even KNEW the person. After reading through I feel a little better as we went in different directions, and figure I get away with the rest of it as your referral ;p You have a few plugins listed that I am unfamiliar with, so am off to dig deeper into them. (right/left)

petunia on 05/26/2011

I am slowly learning wordpress, and I do appreciate your information - especially the plugins list. Some of those are new to me!


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