Hi, I'm Ray. I learnt how to build websites in 2008 even though I cannot code (and still can't).
In 2014, I became inspired to put together the detailed website guide (Wordpress) you see below, and have helped numerous people set up their website.
If you want to create a Wordpress website or blog, this page is complete with step-by-step instructions and tools to get your Wordpress site set up in no time.
If you just want to set up a website in a FAST and EASY way, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND my NEW Website Setup guide on another platform instead. I started this website on Wordpress in 2014, and have now MOVED the entire website to this platform, because it's so much easier.
Since I provide 2 Website Setup guides, I'll like you to make an informed decision on what to go for.
I would compare using Brizy Cloud to using an iPad, and compare using Wordpress to assembling computer parts to set up your own computer.
It's a decision between "it just works" vs "full control".
Ease of Use
Super easy to get started and continued updates.
Easy to get started, takes work to maintain and keep up.
Hosting taken care of and with global CDNs = SUPER FAST website for your visitors!
Depends on Webhost and price you pay. But shared hosting can be slow.
Only $49/year for ALL features. That's $4/mth.
There are some very attractively priced shared-hosting plans - about $4/mth. Wordpress itself is Open Source and free to use. Themes and Plugins have both free or paid options.
You don't have to worry about it.
You have to take care of EVERY aspect of maintenance. Plugin conflicts, security, backups, website uptime etc.
Security is taken care of, you don't have to worry about it.
Very prone to hackers. You can install some security plugins.
Brizy has the essential features to create websites quickly. Blog and Ecommerce features are on the way.
3 websites: $49/ year (~$4/mth)
Unlimited: $99 / year (~$8/mth)
Depends on your Webhosting plan, but some offer multiple websites.
You rely on Brizy's platform to make edits. You can, however, export your site as HTML and host it elsewhere.
You fully own everything, the code, the files, relying on open source Wordpress.
Before getting into it, you'll need to know that it will cost you a bit of money.
The website itself, powered by WordPress, is free but extremely powerful.
A domain name (mywebsite.com) and webhosting (someone's computers to keep the website running) are the costs to building a website.
It usually costs about $12/year for a domain name (or free in my case) and $4/month for webhosting to maintain a website.
Here's the exact steps that I took when I set up BoostrapWebsite in 2014. It only took 5 MINUTES.
#1 - Decide on a Domain Name
I first had to decide what domain name to use (i.e. web address). After brainstorming, I decided on BootstrapWebsite.com.
This, in my opinion, is an important step, because once you settle on your domain name, you are going to set up email accounts like firstname.lastname@example.org, and people will associate you with your domain name, so choose carefully and take some time.
l like domain names ending with .com. Other great options are .net or .org.
Use this tool to check if the domain you want is available.
#2 - Choose a Webhost
In order for your website to be shown to visitors around the world, it needs to be installed on a special computer (called a server), rented from a webhost.
A webhost is like a landlord from whom you choose to rent a place to place your website. Even though there many landlords out there, I’ve heard of many horror stories of people with their webhosts.
Just imagine what you’ll do if you rent your place from a difficult landlord – the same is true with webhosts.
I use Bluehost because of their reliability and affordability. I also like it that they throw in a free domain name for 1 year. Here's what I did:
(p/s: you're free to use any webhost you like, but this guide will cover my personal experiences using Bluehost)
Signing up with Bluehost...
I selected the 36 month plan, since it's cheaper in the long run. Since then, Bluehost has come up with a $3.95/month starter plan. You can choose whatever plan you feel comfortable with.
Again, you're free to use whichever webhost you like. Personally, I find Bluehost to be very reliable and customer friendly, and I've never looked back at my decision.
#3 - Install Wordpress
Once you're logged into the Bluehost dashboard, you'll see the screen below. If you've used other webhosts, the interface will look different, and available options may be similar or different.
Select Install WordPress
You'll be brought to another page and click Install
Install the website on the free domain you obtained
Login details will be provided to you on the screen and in email.
To login, go to yourwebsite.com/wp-admin
Logging in, you'll be brought to the Admin area of the website for the website owner.
Admin area (to owner)
Website (to visitors)
As you can see, it is really a few clicks, and takes a total of 5 MINS to having and running a fully functional website. It is certainly doable by yourself, as long as you have a computer and an internet connection.
The great thing about WordPress is that you can basically change the look of your website, simply by changing your theme.
Thousands of free and premium themes being churned out by developers on an every day basis since WordPress is the gold standard for websites.
Once you've successfully installed WordPress, you'll be provided with a default theme. I'll show you how you can change your theme to something that you'll like.
One thing to note - you can change your theme at any time, without affecting any of your published content! Your theme is really a 'skin' to how your website looks.
Installing a Theme
Free themes can be easily found and installed in the WordPress repository, and you'll only need to search for them in your Admin area. Alternatively, you can browse free WordPress themes here.
Go to Appearance > Themes
Click Add New
Find the theme you want, and click Install. By default, installed themes are not activated, so be sure to click Activate to use it.
If you've purchased a 3rd party theme, you can simply download the zip file provided, and upload it into WordPress with a few clicks.
Choosing a Theme
What to look for in a theme?
Free vs Premium Themes:
There are plenty of free themes in the WordPress depository, which you can easily select and install.
You can also find free and premium themes outside of the WordPress repository.
The key benefits of a premium theme:
I found it is better to start with premium themes than pay for upgrades.
Elegant Themes produces beautiful WordPress themes that look not only great, but are also highly easily customizable by the user.
Building pages are also really easy with the inbuilt Divi Builder that comes along with the themes. Simplicity is key.
These are 2 of their best themes ever - The Divi Theme and Extra Theme.
The Divi Theme
The Divi Theme, along with all the other themes in Elegant Themes, are highly customizable and easy to use.
Here's an example of how easy it is to customize the font, color, styling of the theme.
The inbuilt Divi Builder makes building stunning webpages a breeze.
Elegant Themes are beautiful, and really easy to use yet highly customizable.
I highly recommend it if you're a beginner looking out for a premium theme, because it's so easy to use it to get started.
(p/s: since I've received numerous questions on Elegant Themes, please click here to refer to the FAQ and answers).
Once you've purchased a theme, click here to learn how to install purchased themes.
Another great place to look for professional, premium themes is Themeforest.
Themeforest is a marketplace for theme makers to sell their themes. It is full of high quality themes for purchase, and you can view the ratings and comments of themes.
Don’t know how to choose?
Since I received questions on this, I've put together a guide on choosing a theme from Themeforest. Click here to learn how to install purchased themes.
Adding content in WordPress is easy. No, you don't need to know how to code, and I'll share with you how it works.What you need to know is there are 2 types of content, namely Pages and Posts.
Here's an example below:
Pages are usually single page information. Most people commonly use it to build pages like Home, About, Contact, etc.
Posts are really blog posts, and the difference mostly is blog posts can be a chronologically series of posts that you write and readers can follow.
Basic Content Editing
Pages and Posts both make use of the Visual Editor below.
You can use Headings for different headers of your content. You'll use Paragraph for normal text.
To add images, click on Add Media.
To add links, highlight text or image, and click Insert/edit link
Adding Videos & Maps
Adding special content like videos and maps is really easy as well. Check out the below quick tutorials:
Last but not least, here are some video walkthrough on adding content in WordPress.
Advanced Content Editing
If you're building more complex looking pages, inevitably you'll end up needing Columns, Buttons and Boxes.
WordPress (since the 2019 Gutenberg update) does now come an editor with some of these capabilities, but are still quite limited in my opinion.
In order to do create beautiful websites (and not just a basic blog), here's some of the best premium plugins that I've personally used, which you may like as well.
To learn how to install plugins, jump to the section below.
1) Divi Builder by Elegant Themes
3) Thrive Architect
Thrive Content Builder (now renamed as Thrive Architect) is my favorite page builder, and what I used rely on when putting together content in Wordpress. It's simple, drag and drop functions, make creating content fun.
If you're building a simple, basic site, you might just want to rely on the inbuilt Gutenberg editor within Wordpress.
If you're still looking for a premium theme, I highly suggest you check out the Divi Theme, which is a simple, beautiful, highly customizable theme, which comes with theme with a super easy to use, drag and drop page builder - Divi Builder.
If you want to build a large amount of content, want to make it look attractive and stand out, I cannot speak more highly of Thrive Architect. That's what I use for all my Wordpress websites and absolutely LOVE it.
Arrange Menu Items
At any given time, you can easily arrange the Menu options.
You decide which of your pages to add to Menu, and simply drag and drop to rearrange or nest them. Depending on your theme, you may even be able to create multiple menus (e.g. 1 top menu, 1 footer menu).
Place Widgets on Your Sidebar
Widgets are little things that you add to your sidebar.
To access it, go to Appearance > Widgets
To use a widget, simply drag and drop what you want to your sidebar.
Check out the video below on Menus and Widgets.
Plugins is just a fancy term for Apps that add new powerful features to your website.
Some of them include: blogging plugins, speed, SEO, forums, social sharing, image gallery etc.
Thousands of developers build free and premium plugins which make WordPress incredibly powerful because you can add all sorts of functionality to your website.
A lot of times, you can get a lot done with just free plugins alone. In fact, I've always used free plugins up to prior to this website.
There are so many useful free plugins in the WordPress depository, and you can easily install them with the following steps:
Go to Plugins > Add New
Search for the plugin by its name (only works for free plugins)
Install the plugin
By default, installed plugins are not activated, so you'll need to click Activate
If you've purchased premium plugins outside of WordPress, you can also install them using other methods here.
Regardless of what kind of website you’re building, having security and back up in place is just crucial to your site’s long term health. What’s more, there are great options available for free.
Last but not least, click here to jump to the section on my favorite plugins.
Most Recommended Plugins
One of the easiest way to edit your pages, creating landing pages and more.
One of the best ways to create pop ups and generate leads on your website.
Super compress your website images automatically - small images = fast websites!
That's It - You Have a Working Wordpress Website!
With the steps above, you will get your website up in no time!
To make it even easier to follow through, you can watch the video walkthrough of the guide below.
Everything below are additional "bonus" tips that you can follow through in your own time.
When you have a website connected to your domain name, chances are at this point, you will realize you need a logo for your website.
I don't know about you, but I'm not that technical in designing a logo myself.
Here are some options that you can consider.
Create a Logo Yourself
One of the great options for online design tool is Crello. They have a logo generator as well, and if you need a quick and simple option, you can create one with Crello. This can be done fairly easily, but bear in mind you will only have a square logo in PNG format as output, and the designs are more limited.
Use a Logo Generator
If you want something consistent, professionally designed which includes YOUR design inputs via an online tool, and get high resolution logo files in multiple color variations and sizes, social profiles, business cards, email signatures check out Looka. It's worthwhile if you will like your brand to be consistent and recognizable.
Here's some other tips that you might find useful in your website / blog building journey.
List of things to do after installing WordPress:
There are numerous factors involving speed:
Install a security plugin like Wordfence.
Since Wordpress is used throughout the web, many attackers target Wordpress website. Installing Wordfence is one of step I take immediately after setting up my Wordpress website.
You may be running a website/blog but may also have products to sell to your readers.
For example, you’re a fitness instructor and you may want to sell meal plans, courses, ebooks, fitness equipment and training programs.
The options below are my favorite ways to sell on your blog/website.
Selling Physical Products
If you have built your website on Wordpress, one of the ways to add Ecommerce capabilities is Woocommerce.
This assumes that your website already has SSL installed (Bluehost provides a free one and is installed automatically by default without you needing to set it up).
Search, install and activate Woocommerce.
Set up the various aspects of your Woocommerce store.
Add your products and details.
Make sure that your store is set up to accept online payment methods.
If Ecommerce is your main focus, however, and you haven't started on Wordpress, and if you're serious about selling physical products, there's another great platform (Shopify) that I highly recommend you use instead.
This robust platform is built and specifically catered to selling products, and you'll save a huge amount of time and headache with it.
Selling Digital Goods
To sell digital goods on your website/blog, one of the best ways is to use this awesome service called Sendowl.
Sendowl provides a simple checkout process, delivery of your digital products (e.g. eBooks, songs, videos, spreadsheets), and collects your customers' information, and you can easily add buttons like what you see in the videos below.
Creating a Product in 20s
Get Customers to Buy in 20s
There are a lot of great tools in WordPress, but I wanted to make a special mention to 3 special ones.
Jetpack contains a bunch of useful features, and comes preinstalled with WordPress.
Even though Jetpack is already installed, you'll need to sign up for a free account to use it.
Here's some useful features I liked:
Thrive Content Builder (premium) (now updated and renamed Thrive Architect) is the page builder that I use to put together all content on Wordpress, and is remarkable in that it simplifies all the difficult elements of putting a page together. All elements in TCB is drag and drop.
Check out the below demo of building a complete page using Thrive Content Builder.
Thrive Leads is a pop up tool that allows you to collect emails and leads from visitors who interact with your website.
The great part is that the design of your forms are fully customizable - drag and drop!
Thrive Leads video below.
As I’ve been getting similar questions from my readers (and answering them), I’ve decided to put together an FAQ for quicker access.
I’ll say only the webhosting (which was paid upfront) was totally necessary. I chose a premium theme because I knew I wanted the premium features & customization options – but I could always have gone for free themes instead.
I bought Thrive Leads as I did not find free opt-in forms meeting my expectations – I wanted to start right with great opt-in areas for email subscribers.
When I started Bootstrap Website, Bluehost only had the Plus plan for shared hosting (they changed my plan’s name to Plus after introducing the Starter plan).
The plans change from time to time, and it depends on how many websites you intend to create.
When signing up for Bluehost, they will try upselling you with more features. It’s up to you, but my personal thoughts are:
Yes. At the Billing Information area, click on More Payment Options to reveal PayPal.
Elegant Themes Questions
Elegant Themes' model works such that on sign up of any plan, you immediately get access to ALL the great themes they have.
And it's really a GREAT deal, because at the price of $69, that's usually the cost for a SINGLE premium theme to be installed on ONE website elsewhere in the market.
For Elegant Themes, you can download ALL the themes they have and use them on unlimited sites.You can, of course, sign up, download all the themes and cancel the yearly subscription.
This is what I got from the Elegant Themes pricing page:
If you cancel your subscription, then your account will remain active for the remainder of your one year term. After that, you will lose access to the members area and all new themes, theme updates and tech support. You may continue using the themes that you have already downloaded forever.
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