WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system, a powerful tool supporting more than 455 million websites as of 2020. One reason for its popularity is that it’s an open-source platform, making it accessible and adaptable to a vast range of developers.
However, the claim of “one-click installation” is not as simple as it sounds. From choosing the right hosting service and the right template to installing the right plugins, you have many decisions to make in launching your website with WordPress.
First, forget the “one-click” part. You must follow several steps to launch your WordPress site successfully. Read on to learn the crucial steps that will help you avoid a stressful endeavor.
Why Use WordPress?
One question is common among people looking to launch a website: Why should I choose WordPress over other platforms like Magento, Joomla, Drupal, Weebly, and Wix?
WordPress is an excellent option for many reasons:
- WordPress is free. You can freely download, install, use, and modify WordPress to suit your specific needs. While the WordPress software itself is free, you’ll need to purchase a domain name and web hosting to install it.
- WordPress is easy to customize. You don’t need to be a trained programmer or web designer to use WordPress. The platform offers thousands of themes and plugins to help you customize your website’s appearance, layout, and functionality without writing any code. Learning how to use WordPress is also easy.
- WordPress is SEO-friendly. Search engines such as Google and Bing love WordPress because it’s written using standards-compliant, high-quality code. WordPress sites often rank higher than others on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
- WordPress is safe and secure. Your site’s safety and security are paramount when you’re running an online business. WordPress is one of the safest and most secure platforms.
- WordPress is versatile. This platform supports many media types, and its built-in media uploader can handle audio, images, and video files. It also supports oEmbed-enabled sites, allowing you to embed tweets, YouTube videos, and Instagram photos.
Now that you know the benefits of using WordPress, read on to learn how to start a WordPress website.
How to Launch WordPress in 5 Steps
Define Your Website Concept
Every successful business starts with an idea, and a website is no exception. So, the first step in launching a website is to define your niche. What do you want to write about? What product or service do you plan to sell?
Before you start creating your WordPress site, you should have a concept clearly spelled out. Otherwise, you may end up getting confused and wasting valuable time.
At this stage, you should try to answer these questions:
- What do you want your website to focus on?
- What is your website’s ultimate goal?
- Who do you want to be your target audience?
- What are the names you would want to give your site?
Choose a Domain Name and Hosting Provider
Another step that needs critical consideration is selection of the domain name. This is an important decision because your choice will represent your overall brand. A good domain name should be unique and short. A complex name that is difficult to spell or to remember can be a turn-off to potential website visitors.
Consider using a domain name generator if you find it challenging to develop a good domain name. Once you find a good name, check to ensure that it is available and then register it.
To launch a WordPress site, you also need to purchase a web-hosting service. Here are essential factors to consider so you choose a hosting provider that best suits your needs:
- Your blog or business needs – What resources will your business need to run efficiently now and, in the future, as it grows?
- Uptime scale – You should choose a stable web host with 24/7 reliable operation.
- Customer support – You want a web host with reliable customer support, so you can rest easy knowing that you’ll get prompt assistance when your site is down or experiencing any issues.
- User-friendly – The web host’s control panel should be easy to use and navigate, even if you don’t have any programming or web design knowledge.
- Affordable – Cost is an integral component of running a website. Consider your budget when choosing a web host, and be sure you pay for a hosting service that meets your needs.
Once you find the right web host, it’s time to install WordPress. You can do that with just a few clicks from your web host’s control panel. Then, you’ll be able to launch your WordPress site in a few minutes.
Choose the Appropriate Theme for Your Website
Now that WordPress is up and running, it’s time to work on your website’s layout and appearance. You’ll achieve that by installing a theme that reflects your desired website style. You can choose from two primary types of themes:
- Niche themes – Themes that work with specific types of websites.
- Multipurpose themes – Themes that are flexible and can work with any type of website.
Your choice of theme should be a long-term decision. Take the time to select a theme that best suits your needs before proceeding to the next step. You might want to test several themes before choosing one.
Install Appropriate Plugins
Another crucial step when launching a WordPress site is to choose and install suitable plugins. Plugins are add-ons that help enhance your website’s functionality, and your choices will depend primarily on the features you want to incorporate into your website.
However, some plugins are must-haves for most WordPress sites. WordPress offers more than 50,000 free plugins, so invest a little time to find what suits your needs. Here are some of the essential plugins you can start with:
- XML Sitemap plugins – Sitemaps help search engines with your website structure, boosting SEO by making it easier for users to find things within your website. Many XML Sitemap plugins will automatically map your site for you. Those plugins include Yoast SEO, Google XML Sitemaps, and WP Sitemap Page.
- Security plugins – WordPress is attractive to hackers because of its popularity. WordPress security plugins help protect your website from hackers who create malicious programs to attack and alter sites. Your choice of security plugin will depend on your specific needs.
- SEO plugins – Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of making your site more visible. With proper SEO, your site will be easier to find in Google and other search engines. SEO can be overwhelming with many repetitive tasks, but SEO plugins help automate the arduous, repetitive parts of this process.
- Forms plugins – Forms allow you to collect personal information from your website visitors. Visitors enter their information in the forms, and the forms send the information to the appropriate place, usually an email address. Forms must be secure and discourage spam, and they must be customized for the specific target audience. Choose forms plugins that are easy to configure and customize. These can include WPForms, weForms, and Contact Form 7.
- Caching plugins – Caching helps accelerate a website’s load time by saving files in a particular location for speedy retrieval. Four types of caching used by WordPress sites are browser caching, CDN caching, server caching, and site caching. Only your site visitor can use browser caching, so it’s out of your control. You can use CDN caching if you have a content delivery network (CDN) such as Cloudflare. The most popular WordPress server caching is NGINX. You can also use a plugin to add site caching to your WordPress site.
Follow these simple steps to install plugins on your WordPress site:
- Navigate to the Plugins section on your WordPress dashboard.
- Click the Add New button at the top of the page.
- In the search field, type in the keyword of the plugin you need. Then, click the Install Now button next to the plugin.
- If you had the plugin downloaded in advance, just click the Upload Plugin button. Then, click Choose File and select the plugin archive from the computer, then press Install Now.
- Once you install the plugin, hit the Activate Plugin button.
Launching Your WordPress Site
Your WordPress site is now ready for launching, but you still need to do some customization before publishing it. Customization may include making a few more changes to the theme, adding your first series of blog posts, and adding website pages.
Website pages may include Home, About, Services, Blog, Products, and Contact. There’s no one-size-fits-all formula for customizing a website. How you customize your website depends largely on the look you want for your website, the kind of information you want to include, and the website’s intended purpose.
Once every website element looks perfect, the last step is to hit the Publish button and share your WordPress site with your customers, friends, and family.
After launching and publishing your new website, you’ll need to do several other things to set yourself up for success. The next most important step is to build your audience. You can achieve that by promoting your website on various social media platforms and consistently posting high-quality content. You might also want to install the Google Analytics plugin to track your website growth.
How to Launch a WordPress Site: FAQs
Can you launch a WordPress site for free?
You can launch your WordPress site without paying for the upgrade. When prompted to choose a domain, select the free option and skip the purchase.
How do I make my WordPress site private until launch?
You can set your WordPress site to Coming Soon by going to Manage in the sidebar, then selecting Settings and scrolling down to Privacy. Next, select the Coming Soon button.
Make sure you click on Save Settings to activate the changes. While your site is in this private mode, your website visitors will see only a landing page with your website’s title.
How do I install a WordPress theme?
Once you select the appropriate theme for your site, you’ll need to install it. Go to the Appearance > Themes page in the WordPress admin section and then click the Add New button at the top of the page.
On the next page, you can search for free themes from the WordPress.org theme directory. Alternatively, you can install an already downloaded theme from a zip file. Simply click on the Upload button and select the zip file to install it.
Are plugins bad for WordPress?
Security is the major concern with WordPress plugins. While no plugin is 100% safe, you can significantly minimize WordPress plugin vulnerability by learning to evaluate and choose high-quality plugins before installing them.
Use only plugins from reputable marketplaces such as the WordPress Plugin repository, CodeCanyon, or trusted third-party plugin providers.
How do I install a WordPress plugin?
Installing a WordPress plugin is a simple and straightforward process. On your WordPress dashboard, navigate to Plugins > Add New. Then, use the search field to find an appropriate free plugin from WordPress.org and install it.
Alternatively, you can click on the Upload Plugin button to upload a zip file for a plugin you purchased or downloaded from a third-party platform.
Wrapping Things Up
There you have it. Now you know how to launch a WordPress site. It is an easy process if you follow the correct steps. However, you will need careful planning because there are many considerations to ensure everything runs as expected.
Here’s a summary of the steps:
- Define your site’s concept. Define what you want to focus on, your site’s ultimate goal, your target audience, and your site’s name.
- Purchase a domain name and hosting package. Choose a short, unique, and memorable domain name. A good hosting service should meet all your needs at a reasonable price.
- Choose a theme. A good theme reflects the style of your website.
- Install plugins. WordPress plugins enhance your website’s functionality
- Launch your WordPress site. Customize and publish your site.
We hope this guide helps you create and launch a WordPress site that gets your online business or blog up and running.