Create your own responsive WordPress website in a couple of hours
If you run a small business (or even a big business) WordPress has become a popular way to create a website or blog. WordPress operates in the Cloud. Website generators and html editors such as Dreamweaver stores the program and data files on your PC. With WordPress you access and use the programs on the WordPress website and store your website files on your hosting site. With Dreamweaver or similar applications the application and data files are worked on and stored on your PC, and then you upload a copy to your storage area on your website hosting site where they are held and accessed from the internet.
WordPress is also free, saving hundreds of euro when compared with purchasing an application like Dreamweaver. Another advantage is that you can access and update your website from any PC, anywhere and at any time you have internet access.
Other than the small cost of purchasing a domain (your website name) and a hosting site, again a small cost, everything can be free with WordPress. You don’t need any html programming skills either. All you need do is select a template (many free templates are available) and change it to suit your needs.
If you think in a logical manner and are not afraid to use Google or YouTube to seek answers to questions as they arise WordPress is really easy to setup with lots of help online.
I spent many years generating and managing a substantial website using Dreamweaver, the popular website developers application. This included designing the layout, pages and basic editing of the html code to achieve the results I wanted. Over the past few years WordPress has been growing in popularity and I recently had the opportunity to try it out for myself (this site has been created using WordPress). The following is my experience setting up a wordpress website.
At this point I will assume you have purchased a domain name and website hosting (see my “setting up a website” blog). Make sure your host can work with WordPress. I used Irish Domains to purchase both my domain name and web hosting for WordPress.
The next thing to do is install WordPress and setup a user name and password so you can access it for the future. Essentially all this does is set up the WordPress files on your hosting site from where you will access them in the future.
When installed the first thing you see is the WordPress Dashboard and the headings listed on it. Let us have a look at each. Some will have a drop down menu and it is worth exploring the important headings before starting.
There are two types of pages in WordPress, Post pages and “pages” (see below). They are almost identical to create. Posts refer to blog posts. Blogs are articles or comments on any subject you care to think of that you want to put on the internet. This option is used to add/write your blog posts if you intend to have any on your website. You simply type your content into the post page, add any graphics/pictures you want, hit update and the rest is automatic.
This option is used to upload and pictures or graphics for your site and where you store them.
This is where you create the “static” pages you want to have on your website and then add the text and graphics you want to each page. Again you don’t have to worry about layout as it is dealt with automatically. These pages can be subsequently placed on a menu that can appear on the front page of your website. If there are to be many pages you can setup pages for the main headings that will be on the menu and then other pages they can be grouped in a drop-down menu to the main pages. All are treated as pages.
If you are going to have both pages and blogs on your website then you should create a blog page in the pages option. This will act as a summary page for all your blogs.
Appearance/Themes > A theme is a design template you must choose and then install in your WordPress. Installing a theme is normally the first thing you do. It will define the layout of your website and how it will look. It takes over all the decisions as regards layout and all you have to do is fill in your data that will make the website unique to you, without the need to use any programming code.
Appearance/Customise > Depending on the theme chosen this will allow you to change the title, set a tagline, etc for your site.
Appearance/Widgets > These are little apps into which you place text/graphics that you may want to appear in a sidebar or small “boxes” often placed down a right-hand column of every page on your website. They provide a useful area to highlight content and when “clicked” can direct a visitor to another page on your site or any other website page.
Appearance/Menus > This program allows you to create a menu and drop-down menus for your site and define what pages to link to each.
Plugins are extremely useful add-on programs that add features to your theme. There are thousands available, often free, which save you writing the code to obtain a feature you may want. I will discuss these again later but by way of example two I use are a contact form generator so a visitor can send me a message and a “Captcha” generator for the form to ensure only real people are using it and I don’t get loads of computer generated spam.
Here you define any users you want to be able to use your site.
Settings/General > This program alows you to set your site title, tagline, (also available from appearance/customise), email address to use for the contact form, and more
Settings/Writing > These settings are used as default for posts
Settings/Reading > A standard website would normally have pages and maybe also a blog page that lists any blogs you post. In that case you would use this program to choose the static page option, then define the page to use as the front page or index page (often called “Home” page) and the page to use as your blog page (if required)
Let us now look a little further into some of the WordPress terms you will need to be familiar with:
A theme is a template used in a WordPress website that defines the style of the site and how it will work. Choosing a theme takes all the decisions out of designing your website and defines how it will be laid out leaving you to concentrate on content. There are many free themes available to download from the themes option in your WordPress installation (see Appearance/Themes). You will also find many more with an internet search. A little research is important before you start as you will need to decide on the style you want to use and then install a suitable theme. You can change a theme without effecting content already created, although I have yet to try this, but it is always better to try and get it right at the start.
Another important consideration in choosing a theme is to decide what devices people will use to view your website and choose a style to suit. For example, web access from mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets is increasing rapidly. They have very small screens and I would prefer that a normal website display is not squashed down to fit and difficult to read as a result. I would want my website to look well on any device.I would choose a “Responsive” design to achieve this as is used on this website. If you are using a PC try resizing this display and see how it adjusts to the new size automatically.
As outlined earlier plugins are small apps or programs that form add-ons to the theme which allow it do things the theme itself cannot do. There are thousands of them, many are free and they are really handy. For example, I have selected and added the following plugins to this site.
- Plugin/BackUpWordPress > automated backups of WordPress powered website
- Plugin/Black Studio TinyMCE Widget > Adds a WYSIWYG visual editor for widgets.
- Plugin/Contact Form 7 > Simple and flexible plugin to generate a contact from page.
- Plugin/Really Simple CAPTCHA > Really Simple CAPTCHA module for the Contact Form 7 plugin. This will reduce the amount of computer generated spam as your site becomes more popular.
- Plugin/Google Publisher Plugin > For use of Google AdSense and other Google tools with your WordPress site
- Plugin/WordPress SEO > SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is one of the most important things to consider when setting up a website. While a whole subject on its own essentially it is about ensuring the content on your page is seen by search engines and ensure that the content features well when web users search for your subject matter. This plugin provides a really helpful All-in-one SEO solution for WordPress, including on-page content analysis, XML sitemaps and much more.
A Widgets adds content and features to your Sidebars and other areas.
Categories provide a helpful way to group related posts together, and to quickly tell readers what a post is about. Categories also make it easier for people to find your content. Categories are similar to, but broader than, tags.
Tags provide a useful way to group related posts together and to quickly tell readers what a post is about. Tags also make it easier for people to find your content. Tags are similar to, but more specific than, categories. The use of tags is completely optional.
This is not referred on the WordPress screen but is important to understand. FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. In order to install any plugin WordPress will ask for your Hostname (such as www.businessman.ie or 220.127.116.11), your FTP user reference and FTP password. Look these up in the FTP area of your hosting site in advance or ask your hosting provider to give them to you and keep a note of them in case you need them.
What to do now and in what order
There are lots of videos and articles available on the web that will take you through the detail, so the following are simply key sequence pointers:
- Research, Select and download your theme
- Create a couple of pages including a home page (first page on your site), one or two content pages and a blog page (if creating blogs)
- Add your pages to a menu in Appearance/menus
- In Settings/Reading set Front Page Displays to a “Static page” and then enter the name of the page you have created that you want to use as your home or index page, such as “Home” page. You can also set your blog page here if you have one.
- Select Settings/Gereral to set a title and tagline for your site. Ensure www. is shown before your website wordpress address and site address. Add if not there, like http://www.businessman.ie
You have now created a WordPress website. Hover your curser over the site name at the top of the page to the right of the wordpress logo and Click View Site or enter your site URL in your browser. You should now see your web site
Other WordPress help
As mentioned, there are many videos on youtube that will show you how to create a wordpress website or take you through various parts. Some I found useful at the early stage when I setup this, my first WordPress website, included:
One of the best by Tyler Moore and is worth viewing if you want to create a responsive wordpress website.
- Visit the WPBeginners website and register for their WordPress videos
- You should also check out the many WordPress support forums.
Finally, I do hope you have found this article has been helpful to you and have loads of fun setting up your site.It merely touches the subject of creating a simple WordPress website but at least shows you how to get started and introduces some of the WordPress terms.