Getting Started with A WordPress Website A Beginners Guide

Embarking on your WordPress website creation journey with WordPress can be both exciting and a bit daunting.

WordPress website

But fear not! This guide will walk you through the basics, from purchasing your domain to setting up a WordPress website demo, ensuring you're well-equipped to start crafting your online presence.

1. Firstly What is a WordPress website?

"WordPress" is a powerful and versatile content management system (CMS) that enables users to create, manage, and modify content on a website without needing to have specialised technical knowledge.

Originally launched in 2003 by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little, WordPress began as a simple blogging platform. But has evolved into a comprehensive tool that powers over 40% of all websites on the internet. Its flexibility, ease of use, and extensive feature set make it a popular choice for bloggers, small and large businesses, and even large-scale media sites.

2. How do I Buy a Domain and Hosting

A couple of things you need to work out is the name you want for your domain and potentially how big your website will be. Never be afraid to call and ask questions first.

* Domain Name

Your digital address on the internet. Think of it as the cyberspace address for your online shop or office. Choose a name that reflects your business or personal brand.

* Hosting

(Most of these businesses offer both domain name + hosting, try to keep them together for convenience, you'll thank me later). This is essentially the online space where your website lives. It's a server that stores your site and makes it accessible to visitors around the clock.

Look for reliable hosting providers that offer WordPress-specific hosting, such as VentraIp (an Australian business). They provide features like one-click WordPress installations, making your job smoother.

3. Loading WordPress

Firstly, once you've secured your hosting, it's time to install WordPress.

  • Log into your hosting account.
  • Navigate to the control panel.
  • Look for the WordPress or Website icon.
  • Click to install and you'll be prompted to fill in some basic information about your website.

4. Next you Need to Pick a Theme

A WordPress website theme is a collection of files (including code, style sheets, and graphics). It determines the overall appearance and layout of your website on the WordPress platform.

Essentially, it provides the design framework and visual elements that dictate how your site looks and feels to visitors. From the layout of pages and posts to the colour scheme, font styles, and other design elements.

Themes can be simple, offering just the basics for a blog or small site. Or highly complex, providing advanced features and customisation options for more sophisticated websites. Primarily your theme dictates the look and feel of your website. Think of it as the interior design for your WordPress website. WordPress offers thousands of free and premium themes tailored to various niches.

  • Navigate to your WordPress dashboard.
  • Go to Appearance > Themes > Add New to browse available themes.
  • You can preview and install a theme directly from here. Remember, your theme should reflect the purpose of your site and be user-friendly.

Next you need to add the copy and images. The nitty gritty of your website. Although there are many WordPress Pagebuilders out there, on this occasion we'll talk about Gutenberg the biggest project WordPress has created ever to battle the pagebuilders.

5. Understanding Gutenberg Blocks

Gutenberg uses blocks to represent all types of content. This makes it easier to manipulate, move, and edit content within posts and pages. Blocks can be anything from paragraphs, images, videos, buttons, to more complex layouts like columns and widgets.

Getting Started with Gutenberg

Getting Started with A WordPress Website

When you create a new post or page on your WordPress website, you're automatically taken to the Gutenberg editor.

Here's how to navigate and use it effectively.

  1. Adding Blocks

    To add a block, click on the "+" button located at the top left of the editor or in the body of the editor where you see the "+" inside a circle.

  2. This action opens a menu of available blocks

    You can search for a specific block type or browse through categories such as text, media, design, widgets, and embeds.

  3. Using Blocks

    After adding a block, you can type directly into it or adjust its specific settings. Each block has its own set of options that appear in the right sidebar when the block is selected. These options allow you to customize the block's appearance and functionality.

  4. Manipulating Blocks

    Hover over a block, and you'll see a toolbar with options to move the block up or down, change its alignment, or transform it into another type of block. You can also access more settings by clicking the three dots in the block toolbar, allowing you to duplicate, insert before/after, edit as HTML, add to reusable blocks, or remove the block.

  5. Reusable Blocks

    If you create a block configuration you like and want to use it again in other posts or pages, you can save it as a reusable block. Simply click on the block's options (three dots) and select 'Add to Reusable Blocks'. Give it a name, and it will be available in the 'Reusable' category next time you add a block.

  6. Layout Elements

    Gutenberg includes layout elements like columns, groups, and spacers, allowing you to create more complex layouts. For example, the Columns block lets you insert a row of columns into your content, and you can then add any type of block inside each column.

  7. Preview and Publish

    Use the 'Preview' button to see how your content will look on the front end. Once you're satisfied, click 'Publish' to make your content live.

Tips for Using Gutenberg

  • Keyboard Shortcuts Gutenberg supports numerous keyboard shortcuts to streamline your workflow. For example, pressing "Enter" creates a new block, while "Ctrl + Z" undoes the last change. Use "Shift + Alt + H" to view all shortcuts.
  • Block Patterns Explore the Block Patterns available in the 'Patterns' tab when adding a new block. These are pre-designed layouts that you can insert and customise, saving time on design.
  • Experiment The best way to become proficient with Gutenberg is to experiment. Try different blocks and settings to see what they do. The undo feature is your friend, allowing you to revert changes easily.

Gutenberg's block-based approach offers a more visual and intuitive way of creating content in WordPress. By understanding and utilising blocks, you can craft rich, engaging layouts that would have required complex coding or page builder plugins in the past.

6. Setting Up a WordPress Website Demo

By now you're probably saying "what have I got myself into" but before going live, you might want to set up a demo or staging site. This allows you to experiment with themes, *plugins, and content without affecting your live site.

Some hosting providers offer staging environments as part of their package.

This step is crucial for testing and ensures your site is exactly how you want it before making it public.

WordPress.org have a great playground resource. Navigate by the button below.

Starting with WordPress Website is a journey of discovery and learning. By following these steps, you're well on your way to creating a website that not only looks great but also performs well.

Finally, remember, the key to a successful website is not just in its creation but in its ongoing maintenance and optimisation. It's like a relationship, it needs to be nurtured. Welcome to the wonderful world of WordPress!

A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. In the context of WordPress, plugins are like apps for your website.

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