Step-by-step guide to building your own WordPress website

I’ve been designing, building & project managing website and digital projects for a LONG time. Over 15 years in fact. And during this time I’ve made a respectable living from working with a range of great clients ranging from national and international corporations such as Toyota, Panasonic, Channel 7 Sydney, the Commonwealth Bank and the like, through to small sole trader and “mum & pop” enterprises. But even while targeting smaller business clients with far lower budgets than the larger corporations I used to work with, I can appreciate that even some of these businesses cannot afford to engage a professional designer or developer to help them build their online business. So guys, this is for you!

Do I expect anything back in return? Not really. I am asking for your email address to view the guide, but only to verify you’re a “real” person, and if I add any updates to this guide I’ll let you know. But you can unsubscribe from any emails you receive at ANY time. And obviously a few using this guide may decide at a later date they want to engage a professional to design/build their site for them instead, which I would obviously LOVE to chat to you about (you can check out my work over here). I do have a handful of affiliate links included, such as my hosting company recommendations, but first and foremost they are ALL companies that I use myself so they come recommended HIGHLY affiliate link or not, and by clicking on the links it doesn’t cost you any extra (indeed I’ve included a couple of coupon codes that will actually save you money!). But mostly I’m looking for some good karma!

What do we cover?

This guide will cover the following topics, providing details and step-by-step instructions for each one:

  1. Finding & registering a domain name
  2. Buying hosting
  3. Installing WordPress
  4. Choosing an appropriate theme
  5. Setting up your site sections and adding content
  6. Sitting back with a beer in hand & congratulating yourself on a job well done!

So let’s get cracking shall we?

1. Finding & registering a domain name

You may already have one of these, in which case you can obviously jump to the next section. If you don’t, then this is what you need to do:

First you need to find a domain name you like. Which can sometimes be easier said than done. Many great domain names are already registered by someone, especially the more generic domains. So if you were hoping to register “www.bestwritingservices.com” then you’re out of luck unfortunately. But don’t despair. In the early days of the Internet, domain names contributed to SEO rankings. Nowadays it’s content that matters, so the objective when choosing a domain name is to find one that is fairly easy to remember, and has branding potential.

An example: My own business name, Zava Design, came from doing a search on available domains 5 or 6 years ago, looking for something with “design” or “media” in the name. Once I found zavadesign.com, with a really easy to remember 4 letter word + “design” then that became my registered business name.

Then there’s the debate about what domain extension you should have (ie. “.com”, “.net”, “.com.au” …etc). I own the domain “zava.com.au” as well as “zavadesign.com”, but due to having clients both in Australia as well as internationally, I have chosen to use the “.com” rather than the “.com.au”. And from my Google Analytics reporting I can see that not many people type in the full domain to find me, if they are coming direct to me website it’s from typing “Zava Design” into Google, which as you would hope has me listed in the top position.

So the domain extension is not really that important. Where possible I would still recommend registering one of the main, top level extensions, but if the actual business name is important then don’t be afraid to use one of the more obscure extensions available.