How to Use WordPress to Create a Website
WordPress is the most popular way to build websites. Part of the reason is that the main code is free to use. But that would not mean much if WordPress itself was not easy to use.
Fortunately, for the most part, it is easy once you get used to it.
Installation of WordPress is generally a matter of a few clicks on most hosts. It will be on your main control panel and you just need to follow a few prompts. When you do this, it's worth changing the main administration name from "admin" to something that is less easy for incompetent hackers to guess – it's a side effect of any popular system that it attracts the occasional poor type who prefers to wreak havoc than do anything constructive but doing that and a couple of other simple tweaks is a bit like having a flu jab and reduces the risk significantly.
Once you've got WordPress installed, it's time to tweak it to your needs.
It is truly flexible and that can simultaneously be a blessing and a curse.
There are plenty of tutorials around which will help you but this checklist will work for most people:
- Install some essential plugins – I use Limit Login Attempts as the second line of defense against hackers, Contact Form 7 to allow people to get in touch, Share Buttons by AddToAny to let people easily share my posts, W3 Total Cache to speed up the site , WordPress SEO from Yoast and WP Shorties to cloak affiliate links. Those are all searchable and easy to add inside WordPress
- Change the defaults – the most important of these is under the Permalinks section. Change the default post format to something more meaningful than the one WordPress comes set up with – you can see the effect on screen before you commit. Apart from that, change the discussion default to make sure that you have to approve all comments.
- Start creating content!
Google thrives on content.
It indexes words best and the whilst built in text editor is not super powerful it does the job OK and does not let you get distracted by too many bells and whistles.
If you've installed the Yoast SEO plugin I suggested then follow the prompts and suggestions it makes to help make sure that your posts are likely to keep Google happy.
Once you've done that, you're well on your way to having a working WordPress site to serve your business.
Then it's a matter of adding useful content at regular intervals and also putting extra content on sites like this one to help drive visitors to your site.
The trick is to not get too worried about lack of visitors initially.
After some claims that you might read, the internet does not work on the "if you build it they will come" model.
It takes time – lots of time – for traffic and visitors to arrive at your website.
You can deal with this in a couple of ways: keep pressing refresh on your stats in the vain hope that you've had a visitor or keep creating content to essentially ensure that once that content gets indexed you actually will get visitors to your site.
So keep going!
It's worth it in the end.