While it is often said that anyone can create a website, it can still be a daunting prospect if you have never built one before. Before you become lost in a maze of jargon, tips, and code, you might want to turn to WordPress, the world’s most popular web publishing platform. Attractive to novices and professionals alike, WordPress themes simplify the process of web design and make it easy for anyone to launch and manage a site. With the help of plugins and customization, you can create a website that not only reflects your sensibility, but also is search engine friendly. For beginners, the key to designing for WordPress is to start small and think in terms of steps. Follow the process below and the website you envision will soon be a reality.
Choose a theme
Choosing a theme may sound easy enough, but there are literally thousands of WordPress themes available. While there are plenty available for purchase, you should be able to find a free one that suits you. Before you delve into your many options, spend some time thinking about your site and looking at others. You should be able to articulate not only your site’s purpose but also its aesthetic. Be as specific as possible and do not forget to consider carefully what visitors will experience when they land on your pages.With a succinct but detailed mission statement in hand, visit your three favorite websites and identify three design elements you like most about each one. Also, note three things you dislike about each site. This exercise will help you formulate your aesthetic and concentrate your focus as you peruse themes. Since there are so many, narrow your options down to the top three contenders before ultimately selecting the winner. If down the road you decide something else will suit you better, you can always change themes, so hold onto these notes for reference.
Download and install your theme
Once you have chosen a theme, you will need to download the compressed zip file. If you are uploading your theme through an FTP client, you will need to extract its contents, but most people will add new themes through WordPress’s Administration Panel. You can find detailed directions on WordPress’s website, but to summarize, once you are logged in, simply go to the Appearances panel, click on “Themes,” and select “Install Themes.” Next, upload the zipped file from your computer, and once it is listed under “Available Themes,” activate it. It should be active immediately.
Plugins are essential to any WordPress site, and like themes, there are thousands of them. There are some, however, that every WordPress site should have because they enhance your site’s performance and make it more search engine friendly. Five universal favorites are:– WordPress’s All-in-One SEO Pack
– W3 Total Cache
– Google XML Sitemaps
– SEO Slugs
– Trackable Social ShareYou may find plugins that have different developers but essentially accomplish the same tasks. If they seem a better fit for you, by all means feel free to install those instead, but make sure you have some form of these in place.
As you can see, WordPress makes it possible for anyone to build a website, but one of its best features is that it also grows with you as you become increasingly comfortable and more advanced. Through the use of personal options and plugins, you can develop your site into something truly remarkable. First things first, though, start with a theme that reflects you and the rest will fall into place.