You’re ready to tell the world about your ideas, services, or anything else. One of the most commonly used (and valuable) tools to make it happen is WordPress. The platform has much to offer, including a fast, clean, and simple way to set up a website or blog without having to know a lot about coding. With a true plug-and-play format, it’s easy enough to set up and design your WordPress website, even if you’ve never done so before.
There are a few reasons why WordPress for beginners just works so well.
- It’s built for non-technical people. The WordPress tools for beginners are easy to learn.
- The site is very intuitive and designed to make creating a professional website or blog easy to do.
- Even as a beginner, WordPress users will be able to add key features like contact forms and lists and site navigation features that are easy enough to use to grow a following.
In this WordPress guide for beginners, you’ll learn the process involved in setting up your new Free WordPress blog, as well as how to use the platform and a few best practices that are a must for getting started.
How to Create a WordPress Website for Beginners
This WordPress guide for newbies will take you through most of the steps you need, but there’s a lot to learn (and lots to add to over time to refine your site).
Get a Hosting Plan
You’ll need to set up a hosting plan as one of your first steps. You can link your hosting provider to your WordPress website right on the dashboard. Once you navigate your options to find the best hosting plan, your next step is to set up a WordPress free account online. Follow the basic steps of verifying your identity to do so.
With that account login, take some time to check out the WordPress dashboard and the tools there. You’ll have some step-by-step tutorials available on the platform to help you, too.
You’ll need to pick a domain name that works for you and, whenever possible, includes a keyword that can help the search engines to start ranking your website. Your domain name is the address people will type into the search engine to find you. You’ll be able to purchase your domain name through your hosting plan.
That’s the hardest part of learning WordPress as a beginner.
Any WordPress guide for beginners needs to start here – you have to install the platform. You can use a hosting provider to do this or manually install it. One option for this is to use WordPress Hosting, which makes it a virtual one-click process for installing your WordPress site. You can also use a one-click installer.
There are a variety of options here, but none of them are complicated. Once you choose the method you plan to use, just follow the onscreen steps for installing it. You will need the domain for the installation and the directory location for it. Also, be sure you have the admin account information, including the username, password, and email.
Once you have installed it, you can then go to:
www.yoursite.com/wp-login.php from any browser. Replacing the “yoursite.com” with your domain.
Navigating the WordPress Dashboard
Once you have the actual tool ready to go, play around with it. It’s hard to “break” anything but learning WordPress themes for beginners really is about giving it a try.
Writing Your First Blog on WordPress
Before going further, take a few minutes to write down an actual goal for your blog. Do this before you actually pick a theme or layout. You’ll want to:
- Consider what your topic will be about, and narrow it down as much as possible to reach a very targeted group of people. You also want to be sure that you understand your audience well.
- Do some keyword research. There are lots of keyword research tools for beginners available that don’t cost anything but can give you some insight into the words you’ll want to use on your site to attract visitors.
- Next, find your competitors. That’s an important step not to miss. Do some Googling to find out who is also talking about your topic. That’s not meant to discourage you but rather to give you insight into what you’re up against so you can do better.
Then, create a structure for your blog on a piece of paper. Write down:
- The topic of your blog
- Draw a line from that outward and write down topics that support the main idea
- Go further, listing blog topics that may stem from this
- Consider what you want a person who comes to your site to do – call you, buy something, or sign up. You’ll need to ensure your website has a page for them to take any actions desired
Now that you have some idea of the framework of your website, based on the navigation features you think are necessary (home page, service pages, topic pages, contact page, about us pages), you can then begin the process of constructing your blog.
Take the time to write your blog following these steps:
- Log into your WordPress dashboard.
- Move your cursor to “posts” on the left-hand side, and you’ll see “add new” become available. Click it.
- The WordPress Editor for beginners will pop up. You can then fill it in with the content you want to write about.
- You can add a video to your YouTube channel or even just an image using the tools on the right-hand side. To do this, you’ll add a “block.”
- Follow the onscreen instructions for uploading the image from your media library.
Once you have your blocks filled out and your blog post is outlined the way you desire, you can then move to “publish” it, which is simply done by clicking the button on the top of the page.
What about WordPress themes for beginners? There are a lot of these out there, and not all of them are going to be a good option for newbies. A theme is a format or layout of the blog that you like. It is much like a template that you can then customize to fit your blog. This is what makes WordPress great for beginners – the themes are ready made and highly professional looking, but you do not have to use one ounce of code to create them.
How to pick a theme
A theme is how the WordPress blog looks, including the layout of the pages and the site overall. Once you launch a blog, you have a theme active, but you do not have to stick with that specific one. You’ll see dozens of options available for you in the WordPress.org theme directory. You can choose a free WordPress theme for beginners or go with something that’s more complicated and customized. Either option is just fine as you are starting your blog.
Once you find one that works for your goals, the next step is to install the theme:
- Back at your dashboard, move your cursor to “appearance” on the left side, and you’ll see “themes show up.”
- Then, click “Add New” at the top of the screen.
- Choose the theme by name and click “Install” for the free version. If you invested in a premium WordPress theme, you’ll need to upload the zip file that was provided to you.
- Click “Activate” to make it active on your site.
Head over to your site and check it out. Chances are good you’ll see a brand new look in a matter of just a few minutes.
Customizing Your WordPress Blog for Beginners
At this point, you can use your WordPress blog and start getting attention to it. Let others know about it. However, you’ll want to go through and customize the blog to make it your own. To do that, you will need to choose a variety of tools that are available to set up pages, contact forms, and other details.
The easiest way to get started is to use the WordPress Customizer. You can access it under the “appearance” tab under “customize.” Even as a beginner, it’s easy enough to work through this process by just following the onscreen steps.
On the left side of the screen, you’ll see a variety of tools you can use to customize your theme. Most of the time, these will allow you to change up the header and footer, the colors and the background (depending on the theme), as well as the buttons and forms that are used. You can also adjust the menus and even the way the font looks.
As you make changes based on what you like or need, you can then click the button to see a real-time preview of the result. This is excellent because it allows you to test out the look before actually publishing it. Work to preview through some changes now to try out a variety of features.
Once you find what you like, simply click “publish,” and WordPress does the work for you of changing up the site to match what you’ve selected.
The good news is that if you change your mind, just go through the process again to make changes to it. It’s very intuitive to allow you to navigate your options with ease.
You’re not done yet setting up your blog. You can now enhance the way it functions using plugins. Plugins are like added features you’ll be able to select and place on your site. Depending on the theme, you’ll be able to customize a lot of the features of your site using these tools.
Some of the most important plugins to add include:
- Contact forms, which allow people visiting your site to provide information to you so you can contact them
- Social network buttons for all of the social media sites yu plan to use
- Backup tools to backup the data and blog posts on your site
- SEO tools (more on that in a bit)
- Specialized forms and image tools
- Plugins to track visitors
There are thousands of options. You’ll find all of the official plugins provided by WordPress in the directory on the dashboard.
To install these plugins:
- Hover your cursor over “plugins” on the dashboard left side panel and click on “Add New”
- Navigate through the list of available plugins to find the one you want to add, and click “install now.”
- Click “Activate” to make it active on your site.
SEO and Plugins
Before starting to build out your blog, you have to know a bit about search engine optimization or SEO for beginners. SEO allows you to communicate with the search engines about the topic of your blog, so it can help to direct people interested in that topic to your site.
SEO isn’t simple and is quite complex and competitive today (and that means you’ll likely spend a good amount of your time stumbling at first.) However, WordPress offers some great tools to help you with this process. Here’s what we recommend as plugins to help with SEO on WordPress.
There may not be a better SEO tool for beginners than Google Analytics. If you plan to draw people to your website, you’ll need to have the metrics that this tool can offer to you, including:
- The number of people coming to your site
- The number of pages they visit
- The amount of time people spend on your website (so you can engage with them)
- The amount of time that it takes for the page to load
- The bounce rate – how fast they end up leaving your site
One of the key factors you’ll learn about SEO is that it is not just about getting people to the website but also having them engage with the site, moving from one area to the next, and, ultimately, contacting you or taking the action you want them to take. Google Analytics is a plugin that you’ll want to download so you can see what’s happening.
All in One SEO
This tool is an SEO plugin for WordPress that allows you to set up the best SEO settings for your company. Ultimately, you will be able to use the on-page tools for each page or blog you write. That includes help with creating a page title using keywords, meta descriptions, and more. By using this tool, you can just plug in the information you need, and it will help you to streamline or improve the SEO ranking factors.
Another valuable SEO tool for WordPress beginners is SEMRush. It is highly recommended because it can help you to find organic keywords that will help you build out your site. Keywords are the terms people add to the search engines to find the information they need. However, there is a lot of competition for keywords, so you’ll need to know which are best suited for your topic. This tool helps you to make those decisions.
Best Practices for WordPress for Beginners Success with SEO
SEO is a big part of the process of building your WordPress blog once you get the format done and start loading blogs. These are some best practices to keep in mind.
- Don’t cannibalize keywords. When doing research, choose a unique keyword to focus on for that page. Don’t use that keyword on other pages or dozens of keywords on one page. The reason is simple – Google isn’t sure which page to rank higher for, and that means both are ranked lower. Zero in on an SEO strategy for each blog post.
- Don’t keyword stuff. The days of putting every word you could think of related to the topic on every page are gone. Today, it’s better to create high-quality content that’s going to resonate with your readers.
- Get to know technical SEO. While WordPress does a lot of the work for you, you still need to be sure you’re optimizing your site’s meta descriptions, headers, and title tags so that the search engines can rank you.
- Keep your site moving fast. One way to do that is to ensure there are no broken links on your site. Also, ensure you have good, reliable hosting. The key is to ensure people and search engines can easily move through your site.
- Work to build backlinks. There are WordPress plugins that can help you with backlinks, which are links on other sites that link to your site. These are favored by Google and can help with boosting your rank.
- These strategies are a good starting point for those who are launching their WordPress blog. The key to remember, though, is that SEO is a breathing and ever-changing machine. That means you need to stay up-to-date on it, and you need to consistently work to beat out the competition. WordPress is an excellent tool because it does a lot of the behind-the-scenes work for you. Once you get your site launched, continue to optimize it with steady use of new strategies.