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WordPress for beginners: Everything you need to get started

WordPress for beginners
(Image credit: WordPress)

In this WordPress for beginners guide, we'll be cutting to the heart of how you can best use the website builder. Of course, if you’re here, you've probably already checked up on the best website builders (long story shot – WordPress is one of our favourite free website builders). Maybe you are a creative professional keen on setting up your online portfolio. Or perhaps you are an agency in need of an online base. Regardless of your intentions and purpose, WordPress is one of the best ways to build a website, blog, or e-commerce store.

WordPress is a huge platform that helps you build websites and blogs at scale. There is a lot to understand here, which is why we’re offering you this beginner’s guide with the answers to your most commonly asked questions about the platform. How much does it cost? Where do you get started? Are there any alternatives? Read on to find out!

01. Wix: The best website builder for just $3.54/ £3 per month
Build your own website the easy way, with Wix. Choose from 500+ templates, customise with your own content, and you'll soon have your own site online, at a bargain monthly price.
View Deal

02. HostGator: Simple to use and great value
Need to get a basic site up-and-running fast? Hostgator is a great and affordable choice. Offering a drag-and-drop editor and 150 templates to choose from, it's easy to set up – no coding required.View Deal

03. Squarespace: The best option for professionals
Squarespace puts the emphasis on beautifully designed templates that make your portfolio work look great. Plus it's easy to use, and you can add an online store too.View Deal

01. Wordpress for beginners: What is WordPress?

WordPress is more than just a website builder—it’s a content management system (CMS). It helps you build, publish, and maintain websites and blogs of all shapes and sizes. In fact, 40% of all websites on the internet are powered by WordPress. It is the premiere platform for building and managing your own websites and blogs. The best part is that you don’t even need to know how to code HTML, PHP, or CSS. However, coding knowledge can be used to perform advanced customizations if you so desire.

WordPress is open-source. This means that anyone who uses the software is free to modify it to suit their requirements. This has led to the development of a large number of ‘plugins’, modifications that alter the core functionality of WordPress. These plugins are the primary reason people love WordPress. They allow you to create just about any kind of website.

02. WordPress.com vs WordPress.org

People often confuse WordPress.com and WordPress.org. WordPress.org is the actual content management system—a platform that helps you build and manage websites for free. However, WordPress.org is self-hosted, meaning that you still need to pay for your own web hosting and domain registration in order to launch your website. 

WordPress.com, on the other hand, is a for-profit website builder that lets you quickly and easily set up a website, taking care of website creation, web hosting and domain registration, for a fixed price. WordPress.com is easier to use but misses out on a lot of powerful functions that make WordPress.org great, such as plugins. However, WordPress.com and WordPress.org do share a similar UI.

03. How much does WordPress cost?

WordPress.org—the core content management system—is available free of charge. However, people often misunderstand the word “free.” While the platform itself is free, you will still need to pay for web hosting and domain registration in order to build and launch your website. 

Web hosting is the storage space and computing power required to keep your website functioning, whereas domain registration is the link that leads to your website. Think of it as similar to the office space and brand name that you will require to set up any real-world business. Web hosting and domain registration can cost varying amounts depending on the amount of computing power you need and the popularity of your chosen domain.

04. How to install WordPress?

Getting started with WordPress is extremely easy. All you have to do is install it via your preferred web hosting provider. Most web hosting companies these days offer dedicated tools to help you do that in just a couple of clicks. You can also opt for Managed WordPress Hosting—for a premium fee, web hosting companies will have their own experts take care of the setup and maintenance so that you can focus solely on building your website. 

Of course, if you are the do-it-yourself type, you can always install WordPress directly through your web hosting provider’s FTP program. Just upload the required files using your FTP server and set up the database using MySQL. For detailed instructions on how to install WordPress, check out the official guide

05. How to install a WordPress theme?

Once you have successfully set up WordPress via your hosting provider, you are ready to move on to the next step of actually building your website. WordPress websites are made up of predetermined layouts or “themes.” These themes can either be downloaded for free, purchased online, or made by a web designer. 

If you just want to get your website live as soon as possible, consider downloading one of the many free themes available online or buying a premium theme for extended functionality. ThemeForest has a great collection of WordPress themes. But if you have the budget and the time, hiring a web designer to create a custom theme for your website is always the best idea. 

In any case, you can install any theme by uploading its .zip file to your website by going to Appearance > Themes > Add New > Upload Theme on your WordPress Admin. Some themes may require further customization in order to work properly.

06. How to install a WordPress plugin?

To install plugins, you first need to access your website’s admin panel by going to yourdomain.com/wp-admin. Once you’re in the WordPress Admin, you can navigate to Plugins > Add New. From there, you can either search for a free plugin using the search bar or upload a .zip file for a premium plugin.

07. How to add pages to your WordPress site?

WordPress websites are made up of two things—static pages and dynamic blog posts. Pages are updated once in a while, whereas blog posts are supposed to be constantly updated with the latest information. Of course, there is no actual limit to the minimum or maximum number of times you can update a page or post. To add a new static page to your website, go to Pages > Add New. Then, you can enter a title and add the necessary content before hitting Publish.

08. How to publish your first blog post on WordPress?

Blog posts are the individual articles that make up your blog. They are updated often and are therefore dynamic in nature. To create your first blog post on WordPress, simply head over to Posts > Add New. There, you can enter the title, content, and metadata for your blog post and hit publish. Different themes offer different ways to customize your blog posts to make them stand out from other blogs and websites.

09. How to upload media files to WordPress?

There are a few ways you can add media files, such as images and videos, to your blog. The first is to head straight into Media > Add New. However, this will merely upload the media file to your website gallery without displaying it on a specific post or page. You can also go directly into the blog post or static page you want to add the media file to and upload the necessary content using Gutenberg—the built-in rich text editor for WordPress.

10. How to make money with WordPress?

There are a number of ways you can make money with your WordPress blog or website. The most common method is to display affiliate advertisements. For this, you can use a service like Google Adsense. You can also sell advertising space directly on your site.

Other ways to make money include starting an online store, providing specialized services, creating paid content, launching a subscription, or teaching an online course. It all depends on your skills and expertise.

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