How to Make a Sweet WordPress Site Like a Frickin Pro

Starting a new site is easy, not daunting. There is information out there, but it is scattered, and it seems at every turn, there are different tips for different parts of the process.

In the past 6 months I went from zero knowledge to creating my own sites, sites for other people, and more recently, a site for my brother’s new venture. I’m going to tell you in easy terms exactly how I would go from start to finish in creating a WordPress site.

If you want your own site with a sweet domain name of your choice, here’s what it boils down to:

1. Buying a domain name

2. Getting hosting for a site (paying for a server to hold onto your site’s files and have them there ready for when a visitor comes to your site).

3. Putting stuff on that hosting account so people can see your site

4. Optimizing your site

So let’s get started:

Step One: Buying a domain name

Head over to goddaddy.com and see if your site name (domain name) is available. I always shoot for a .com, but a .org or a .net is also cool. There is a mixed bag of campers who say that .info’s aren’t as search engine friendly because they have been cheap, so spammers have been and still do buy up loads of .info sites and create spam sites. Noone can say for sure this is true, but let’s be honest, .com is in this day and age, king.

You can buy domain names at tons of different sites. I prefer Godaddy, as there are tons of coupons out there for discounts. If I want to grab a name, I google ‘Godaddy coupons’to get a cheeky discount when buying a domain name. Sweet now you have your own domain name.

Step Two: Getting hosting for your site

Hosting is essentially some other server or computer holding yor site’s information. When someone points to your domain on their browser, the stuff they see is ‘hosted’ on your hosting account. So obviously the more reliable your hosting is, the better. Otherwise, people are going to see nothing if your hosting is always down.

I use Godaddy, but have heard Hostgator is awesome, and there are obviously a gazillion sites out there that will do hosting for you. Go with one that has great, free support. Cos let’s be honest, noone wants to be on hold for half an hour on the phone when your site is out of action at the worst possible time. I’d say start with a package of a year and see how it pans out. You can always extend or jump ship if things aren’t going the way you want.

Step Three: Putting stuff on that hosting a/c so people can see your site

So hopefuly you have your domain and hosting sorted by now. It is time to get WordPress onto your hosting account. WordPress is an open source web application that drives a ton of popular sites as well as a ton of blogs. There is tons of development going on for it and it has a plug-in for almost everything that you would want a site to have.

After setting up hosting, some will already have WordPress as a one click install option, but I like to get my hands a little dirty. First, you will need to create a database for the site. Normally in your hosting, there should be an option to create a database. Once you have done that, make sure you note down the database user, password and name.

Next, you need the FTP details for your site. These can be found in your hosting account. I use a program called FileZilla for FTP stuff. Download this program, boot it up and enter the FTP details (site, username and password).

Once in, head over to the folder you want to put wordpress in. This varies depending on if you have one or multiple sites. Unzip WordPress and add all the files into the folder on your server via. FTP.

Once you have done this, you will need to open the wp.config file and add your database settings as well as ALL the salt keys (these salt keys can be genereated with the given link in the wp.config file). Double check to make sure you have the database settings correct within the ” signs, as well as ALL THE automatically generated salt keys. Rename this file to wp.config and transfer it over to the hosting folder where WordPress is and replace the existing sample wp.config file.

Next fire up a web browser and navigate to yoursite.com/wp-admin

If everything was done right, you should be at a screen that will guide you through the famously fast WordPress install process. If you do not get this, be sure to double check the location of your WordPress files as well as your wp.config file as this is where stuff always goes wrong.

Step 4: Optimizing your site

Now that you have WordPress set up, it’s time to go into the back-end. Bang in yoursite.com/wp-admin and type in your chosen username and password. Welcome to the WordPress back-end. You can add themes and plug-ins to your heart’s content. However there are a few things I like to do to create a solid base:

1. Make sure Askimet is going by signing up and getting a password

2. Install Google Analytics if need be (great to do in the beginning to maximize the biggest range of stats in terms of time)

3. Create/ install some sort of back-up plan for the site

4. Update the site title and tagline

5. Change the url ending to be more SEO friendly (basicaly so that it will show the article title in the url)

6. Create an XML sitemap (use a plugin), terms and conditions page, contact page and a privacy policy.

7. Under the ‘writing’ section, I like to add more lines for when I am adding posts.

8. Change the ‘ping’ list for creating a new article

9. Depending on the theme, jazz up the site with a nice design. I use Headway and like to create a nice header and favicon in Photoshop.

And that’s how you go from zero to a nice functoning website in a nutshell without any hassle of coding or getting confused along the way. Creating your own site is fairly easy. It gets even easier after the first time. I wish you all the best, and of course if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact!

Author: Edwin

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