Build a WordPress Website Easy Guide
There are two types of WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Both are free open source programs, which are built and supported by a large online community.
Today WordPress is the most commonly used self-hosted blogging tool in the world and is growing constantly not only in numbers of users but also programmers and developers.
Because it’s open source it is in my option better than any software you can buy. I have been training and designing websites in bought software since 1999, but the simplicity and powerfulness of WordPress make it a world class platform that attaches some of the larger company’s and e commerce shops.
Perhaps the most exciting new development that is available with WordPress is the ability to make a phone app. Not everybody has a personal computer at home much many more people have phones especially children.
Phone apps have the ability to reach a larger advance and are portable. However if you are not ready to go do the phone app route yet, WordPress offer an easy option to make your website mobile friendly.
So which WordPress is for you .com or .org?
If you are just starting out or a blogger then I would recommend WordPress.com.
If you are a small to large business then I would recommend WordPress.org.
WordPress com is free open source WordPress software and you can make a website online without download the software. WordPress.com will give you a sub domain web address, which you can choose the first part off and host it free for you. Your WordPress.com name will have the WordPress name after it, for example
If you have purchased a domain name already then you can arrange with the company that you bought it from to have your Domain name point to your free WordPress.com site. This means that whenever anyone types in your domain name into the browser they redirected to the free website and the free website name is masked by your own domain name.
In my experience it does not affect your google ranking if you have your own name or a free WordPress.com name as google takes in to consideration many other factors when they rank you, such as content and how regularly your information is updated.
If you’re new to blogging or building a website then it is often hard to think about what contact to have. I would recommend using as many images as you can. There is an old adage, ‘One Picture worth Ten Thousand Words.’ With the internet we are able to make best use of this. Before the internet, printed media was used to get your word out, images where expensive not only to take using a camera and developing. But to print, as a metal printing plate would need to be made. So only very carefully and sparingly images were used and mostly the cheaper black and white option. Today with digital cameras and smart phones there is no need to print and if you join Instagram, which is free, you can get your images posted onto your blog instantly for you as well as your other social media sites.
Staring with WordPress.com
When you are taken through the easy sign up for WordPress.com you are offered a wide range of free or paid for themes which you can customize. You can add your social media sites, and twitter, Instagram and Facebook feeds. WordPress.co host his site for free on their servers. You can add as many pages as you like and make contact forms. The downside of WordPress.com is that you are limited in the amount of themes and plugins.
The WordPress.org program is also free and can be built online however it needs you to buy a name and some hosting. You can then add WordPress software onto your server, usually one click process. WordPress.org gives you more flexibility with customising your site by using seemingly limitless plugins.
Building a wordpress.com website for free
Go to https://wordpress.com/
Click on the large blue button Create Website
You will be asked to choice a theme for your website, you can change this later.
To start making your website you need to make an account on WordPress.com https://wordpress.com this is free you just need an e mail address.
Click on the Get Started link in the top left corner.
Then you are presented with this screen which has a few options about what category your website fits into.
Don’t worry too much about which category you select, it will not affect your search ranking by google it this information is used by WordPress to make suggestions for the look and feel of your website and the templates that they offer.
One of the best things about WordPress is its flexibility, and during the next few pages you will be offered to choice a theme or to purchase a custom domain name from WordPress. Any option you choice now can be changed simply at a later date.
Under the list called ‘What is your website about?’ I am going to make a website about touring around the university collages where I live, so I pick ‘Arts & Entertainment’
Then I am offered a new screen
As you can see that none of these options really categorise what my site will be about. However I pick ‘Education and Culture.’
The next screen gives you the option to break down the subject into a sub subject but again I pick ‘Education and Culture.’
The next screen gives you three options of how you would like your site laid out.
As a dyslexic I am hoping to include a lot of images and not so much text, I am selecting the option, ‘A grid of my lasts posts.’
The next screen offers you a choice of themes to select from. Remember that you can change your theme very easily at any point.
For this demonstration I am selecting Cubic.
The new screen is about your Domain name and if you want your own, have your own or just want to use a free WordPress subdomain.
This page offers you three options
Subdomain yourname.wordpress.com which is FREE
Your.com name which is Included in WordPress.com Premium paid for package.
Or if you already own your domain name WordPress offer to Map it with WordPress.com Premium paid for package.
However there is also another option. I own the name www.janeyates.co.uk which I purchased from a domain name seller. I was able to point the domain name to my free WordPress.com website www.amreadinganwriting.com
if you own your domain name and want to afford extra costs contact the company that you bought your domain name from and check to have it pointed to your free WordPress site is free.
However there is one big disadvantage with this. If you are a blogger and you wish to share a post or page on your social media account. All pages are masked by your domain name, so if I click on the page Example ‘Guest Blog Interviews’ after typing in the address www.janeyates.co.uk you will be able to see the page Example ‘Guest Blog Interviews’ but not sharing it. However you can still use your free WordPress name to share the page the page that you want. https://amreadingamwriting.wordpress.com/author-guest-blogs/
So what are your options?
Start by searching the name that you want in the search field. As the blog will be about Oxford City and the University’s, I typed OxfordCity into the field. Most domain names have gone now, but as I am just looking for a subdomain of WordPress, the top option ‘oxfordcityblog.wordpress.com,’ seems ideal. So I click to select that.
The next screen offers options from free to paid
As the site that I am building for this experiment is a blog, I click free. The only downside of the free choice is that you may get adds on your website and you have less room. The paid plan is add free and gives you more storage space for images and videos.
After clicking the free option, the next screen asks you to add your e mail address, it shows your domain name and asks for a password.
Here you get to read and agree to WordPress Terms of Service. Then Click ‘create my account’.
A message will be sent to your e mail address asking you to confirm your site. When you have confirmed it you will be automatically be directed to your dashboard of your new WordPress.com site.
This is the admin area, and lets you control the content of your site.
On the top tool bar you will see the WordPress icon labelled My Site, click on this will bring up a menu on the left which allows you to change the settings, add content and manage your site.
The second icon on the top tool bar is a blog icon labelled Reader, which allows you to explore and follow other WordPress websites that interest you and so helps towards building an online community.
On the right side of the top tool bar there is an icon which lets you quickly create and publish a post.
Next to this is your profile icon. I feel it is worth spending a few moments of your time filling in the fields in this section and adding an image. If you’re shy, it does not need to be a photo of yourself but what your blogging about. However that said, unless you’re a business with a business logo and personal photo engages the audience far more and makes them connect with you and could make the difference between them reading or not reading your blog.
Keep it short, add your social media links at the bottom of the page if you wish. To add an image you will be redirected to www.gravatar.com this is a free site and you can sign in with your WordPress website details. Then you can either upload an image of your choice and crop it or take an image from your webcam or even use a URL of an exciting image online.
To use a URL find the image that you like, then right click to save the address and then paste the address in the field on the gravatar site.
Once your gravatar image is saved, it will automatically attach itself to any blog posts or comments that you make on your own site or other WordPress sites that you comment on. It’s worth doing as it adds a personal touch and people will recognise you and hopefully be more willing to interact with you.
The information will be displayed publicly on your profile. You can view your gravatar profile by clicking on the blue link above your name in the WordPress profile form.
It’s worth getting your other social media sites, such as twitter and Facebook to match your new WordPress.com site as well. If you already have a Facebook page or a twitter account you can change the name to suit your new blog name. This is far easier than setting up a new Facebook and twitter page, plus you get to keep all of your likes and followers.
The last icon on the top tool bar is a bell icon. This will change colour from blue to have a red dot in, when you have a notification or message. Just click on the bell icon to read these.
Next take a look at your account settings which is the next tab under my profile.
Here you can update your account name, however you can only pick a name that is not already in use. You can also update your e mail address.
There is an option to select a primary site, this is useful if you have multiple WordPress websites.
Your web address is shown in the next field, and when you make any comments on other WordPress sites this web address will appear next to your comments alongside you gravatar image.
Finally there is a drop down menu which you can select your Interface Language. This is the language that you write in primarily. WordPress is available in 150 different languages.
Once you have made any changes make sure you click safe changes, but don’t worry as WordPress will flag up a warning to remind you that you haven’t saved if you try to exit the page without doing so.
The next tab on the left is manage purchases, here you can upgrade and also keep tabs on anything that you have purchased from WordPress.
On the following security tab. You can change your password and add extra layers to your websites security.
If you have problems trying to think of a strong password, WordPress has an automatic strong password generator built into it. Just click on the link to generate one, it will tell you that it can be saved. Then click on the eye with a line crossed through icon to see the password. You can either write this down or cut and paste it and save it somewhere on your computer.
Thankfully Google should offer to remember it for you when you log in with your username. If you don’t us google there other online password managers available to download, both free and paid.
The next tab on Security tab is Two-Step Authentication. This is an optional extra layer of security. Once enabled, logging in to WordPress.com will require you to enter a unique passcode generated by an app on your mobile device or sent via text message, in addition to your username and password and could require a plug in if using WordPress.org.
The next tab shows connected applications, if you have added gravatar it will show up here. If you click on the drop down arrow next to it, you will see the permissions that the gravatar app is allowed to have. This is a good way to keep tabs on 3rd party apps that you use on your site.
The last tab is called Checkup. Here you can add a backup e mail, in case your main e mail is hacked or goes down. Also you can add your mobile phone number for extra security.
On the left hand tool bar there is a link called notifications. Here you have the option to uncheck boxes to choice want you do not want to be notified about. Personally I uncheck all the e mail notification boxes but leave the online ones on. This is just a personal choice. Once you have made your choice then click the large blue button to save your selection.
Other tabs are Comments, Updates and Reader Subscriptions. Once you have selected your options click the save button.
You will notice that there is a special section which shows Get Apps. Apps that are available in WordPress.com are limited and it already comes preloaded with a bunch of the most useful plugins. However wordPress.com will let you access and edit WordPress.com blogs using a variety of apps for both mobile and desktop and this tab lets you choice the right one to download for your device. Note there is no need to use this option unless you are always on the move or it suits your life style as you can just edit and update your website online.
The next step icon, brings up a page which offers short cuts to get you started with your blog.
Below that there is the help button which gives you information on getting help with any problems that you might encounter whilst using WordPress. If you can’t find your answer there are also community support forums which are run by volunteers who are passionate about WordPress.
Here is the link https://en.forums.wordpress.com/
Configure your site settings for WordPress.com
Go to the top far left corner and click on the My Site button. This will bring up a page showing your websites stats as well as a host of links on the left hand side.
Scroll down and under the Configure title click on the link settings
In my example my title was all lowercase and bunched together, oxfordcityblog. I do not want it to appear like this on my final website, so I changed it by spacing the words out and using capitulation. Next I added a brief Site Tagline, which will appear under the title in small text and italic.
You can also set the time zone and the language here. Plus set whether you would like your website public, hidden or private and hide related posts.
A useful option is the Related Posts tab, here you can select to have relevant content to the post that the view has just read displayed under your blog. This is a great option if you have a lot of posts that are related and is a sure way to keep your readers interested and engaged.
You can also delete your site from here.
The next tab is called writing. Here the settings are defaulted to uncategorised category and standard format. However when you start posting you will be able to make and select a category as well as state the post format, whether it be image, video or other. So leave these settings as they are for now.
Also you have the option to add the press this button to your tool bar. This is a useful and quick way to re-blog stuff that you like on the web to your website.
The next tab is discussion options tab, work through these to suit your needs and click the save setting button.
The next tab is Analytics which is only available if you upgrade. But I will give you advice and tips on keywords and google analytics and search engine optimisation later.
And finally Import which allows you to import information from another WordPress website or blog that you might have.
Create Posts in WordPress.com
When you log into your WordPress site you will be taken to the reader page first, so to get into the admin part of your website click on My Site in the top left corner and your admin desktop will appear.
You will see that there are listed on the left hand side Blog Posts and Pages.
If you are going to make a blog then your blog posts will appear in order from the date they are posted, showing the newest post first. You can also add categories and tags to your posts as you write them which helps your readers find a post they are interested in.
Blogs are made so that the readers can leave comments and share with their readers. Also if they have signed up to follow your blog, every time you make a blog post, WordPress will notify them via an email.
If you’re planning a standard website, with the occasional blog post, then you will need to creative pages and give them names and arrange them on a menu. Pages are more permanent and can be viewed and ca be click into from a menu.
To make a post
Click on the Blog Posts Tab, and you will be taken to this example of a blog post which can be easily deleted by hitting the trash tab.
Next to the Blog Posts Tab, you will see a add button, click on this and you are given a new empty post page which will let you add your content.
If you notice in the right top corner there are two icons, and eye which donates your post visibility and a ribbon, which acts like a pin, and will always pin this blog post to the top of your site if you wish it to always be seen first.
I like to just add a title first and then save the blog. This publishes the blog post but keeps the page open so that it can be edited more. You should aim to keep your title short and to the point as this is used by google to rank your site. However if you need a long title there is an option for you to keep this and edit the page link, by click on the link icon next to the title. Note you can only edit the last part of this web address which is you page title.
You also have the option to copy the blog post address, this can be handy if you want to send to a person or use it in another place.
You will see there is a main section for the body of the text under the title which has a simple tool bar this allows you to add an image and you can also change the text to bold italic, the aliment, use spell check and add links and a contact form.
Also you can add a link to an external website. To do this you write some text which you would like to make into the link and then you highlight the text and click on the link icon on the top menu bar. This will let you add the URL of the website that you want to link to and gives you the option of opening it in a new page.
On the left menu you can preview and publish, and below this is the tab Categories and tags.
Click on this and uncheck the uncategorised box, and add new categories and some keyword tags. Keywords, should be ideally written in lowercase, which a comma and one space between them. You can see in the screen shot below, I have chosen the category periscope and oxford city and the key words oxford, periscope, oxford city, England, tour and history.
Next click on set a featured image tab and this will allow you to add your main image to your post which will appear at the top of the blog post.
The Sharing tab, allows people to share your post, so keep the boxs checked.
Click on the Pages link in the left menu and you will see that WordPress has already set up and published a About page a Contact Page and your Blog Posts page.
Let’s start with the about page, to edit this click on it and the page will open up and show you some example text. To edit this text simple start typing. I would keep your description short but do add an image.
To add an image you can use the image icon on the top tool bar. On this tool bar you can also change the text to bold italic, the aliment, use spell check and add a contact form.
On the left hand menu, you can preview and update your page.
Featured Image this tab allows you to add a featured image to your page
When you have finished writing your body of text it may be very long. To make your blog posts more user friendly and display nicely. Choice to separate the text. You can do this by click in the body of the text, were you would like to separate it and then clicking the icon on the top tool bar which looks like three dashes and two lines.
This will insert a page break and when viewed by your readers will have a read more link.
On the menu options you can choice your blog post format. I always like to keep standard picked.
You can add a short EXCERPT using the tab. This helps as when a theme allows an excerpt what you type here will always show up, plus when your readers share your post this gives you control over what is posted.
If you want to add a video you will need to upgrade unless you do it this way. Click on the HTML tab that is next to the visual tab on the top tool bar.
The text is the same to read just with some bits of code. Work out were you would like to put your video. It’s best if you have saved it online to a YouTube account.
On YouTube click the share option, then the embed option. Copy and paste the code and then just paste into your blog post and save.
Next click the tab on your blog for visual and you can see that the video has been added.
So to add more blog posts return to the main editing area, by clicking on the My Site icon at the top right of the page.
Making Pages in WordPress com
WordPress automatically makes you two pages. About and Contact. Click on the add tab in the left hand column to make a new page.
You will see that the page layout is very similar to the blog post layout.
I have titled this page Gallery as I want to add the photos that I have taken on my IPhone over the last couple of years of Oxford City.
To make a Gallery, click on the link on the top menu with the image icon. Here you can upload all the images that you want to include.
As you see I have selected 32 images that I want to include in my gallery. Next click the blue button called Continue and you will be offered options.
There will be a preview and you are offered a tiled layout which you can change and edit.
Click the edit tab, as this allows you not only to remove images or change the order by drag and dropping but also to add titles to them. Which is great for search engine optimisation.
Also you can choice were to link the images to, if you choice the default attachment page then the image will just link to a blank page to show its self in its full glory.
Making a menu for your pages
Depending on which theme you choose your menu might be on full display or over to one side. To make a menu from your editing website page click on. My Site, Menus.
You will see that only three items are listed here, to add the new page we made called gallery click on the plus sign next to the home text.
You will be offered a choice of positions for your new menu. Click on add abive and type in the page name Gallery.
Also click the button next to the word Gallery on the drop down menu that appears.
The new name will appear in the menu. You can drag and drop the order of your menus.
You may have notice that an option to add menu to children was offerd. This option is for a sub menu. So if I take more images, I may want to have sub pages and menus for the different years that I took the photos.
When you build your site remember that ‘Content is King’. Good well-structured content that is ideally different on each page is key for get listed high up on the search engines. When you make a post on WordPess.com you will have the chance to add keywords.
Keywords, are one word descriptions or short phrases that match your post, and will help the search engines to list you so that someone looking for your information in your post will quickly find you.
For example if your blog is on dressing you dog up in a steampunk Hat. Good keywords would be anything that you can think of that someone searching for information on what you have blogged about. So go through you blog post and look for the keywords you can pick out in your text or about the subject, for this example.
Words: hats, hat, headwear, winter, men’s, formal, dress, sports, children’s, cloth, cap, googles, handmade, steampunk, old, new, dog, dogs, cute.
Single keywords are good as google will add them together, but for a more targeted visitor to your site, try and think up as many phrases as possible. Repeat them in a rearranged form.
Phrases: dogs wearing hats, hats on dogs, steampunk hats and googles, cute dogs dressed up, hats on dogs, steampunk dogs.
The keywords and phrases should always be in lowercase and with a comer and a space after each one. The search engine will look at what has been written by the person searching and then list accordingly.
Google will not only list you blog, but will also list your images on the google image search alongside other images that fit into the same category.
If you want your site to appear at the top of the search results or at the bottom of the search result page then you will need to bid for Google Add words, which are purchased from google.
However you still could be listed free on google second to the top or high up for free, depending on how relevant the content of your blog is to the search phrase that was typed in.
When you buy a domain name make sure that it is from a register. When domains first came out on the market some less than reputable website company, purchased the domain names for you as part of the hosting package. Then you were tied to them, and if you were unhappy or the company failed you found out that you did not own your domain name.
To check this just type your domain name into a ‘who is’ search on the internet. You can check any name like this unless the person has opted out of sharing their information.
Choosing a domain name. When domain names first came out many people opted for names which had a hyphen in them. Such as Joe-Blogs.co.uk, but this is rarely seen today. It might seem logical but try and keep your name short, don’t have Joeblogswholivesinmystreet.co.uk.
There are different extensions for domain names. Com for company, Org for organisation, Co.Uk for care of the UK, Gov for Government, and Edu for education are perhaps the most used in the UK.
Around the world there are Country coded extensions for domain names, such as .WS for Western Samoa, which is marketed for use in general Web Sites.
Domain names are in such great demand so now the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority ICAN.ORG have brought out new shorter extensions such as .UK.
The problem with the new .UK names is that there are classed as Grandfather Extensions, which means that you cannot register any .UK names unless you are the owner of the counterpart .CO.UK name.
There are a wide range of other extensions perhaps most interesting is .app which is owned and operated by google.
If possible I would stick to a co.uk or com name as this is what your customers will be used to seeing and typing into their computer. Therefor it will make the name easy to remember.
There are arguments agents having a domain name that precisely matches your product or service that you’re offering could negatively affect your google ranking. Such as windowcleaning.co.uk however this could work in your favour if you’re targeting a pacific area of the county by adding a geographical location. Such as Oxfordwindowcleaning.com.
This works as google knows where you are search from so will rank the most relevant information in an area for you.
If you’re a company it is wise were possible to buy both your .Com name and your .CO.UK. This is because you can advertise and people can type in the wrong extension. Plus you’re safeguarding your image. You don’t need to host two websites as you can point the co.uk to the com or vice versa.
.COM names are more expensive to buy than CO.UK names.
Names are generally bought for a minimum of two years and should be set up with your Register that they are automatically renewed for you. You don’t have to keep your domain name with the company you bought it with as you can transfer the ‘TAG’ to another company’s ‘TAG’. Contact who you bought your name with to do this. Remember that you can opt out of the ‘WHOIs’, database if you wish to, which depending on who hosts your name could incur an additional small cost.
For more information on domain names go to https://archive.icann.org/en/tlds/
Web Hosts and Resellers
A webhost will host your website on their servers and will keep you informed on any possible downtime by e mail. If there is a problem there is a call centre which is normally within the company that you can call, often a cue. They often offer a wide range of packages and tariffs.
A reseller will resell space that they have bought on the webhosts servers. Often cheaper, just check that you have a phone number that you can ring if there is a problem. Often you can get a more personal response as the person hosting your site knows your site personally.
If you have found this helpful please write a comment and I will write more.