Have you just decided to create your first website and join the millions of independent site owners in the cyber world? If so, you couldn't have picked a better time.
Creating a new website nowadays is easier and more affordable than ever. There are numerous platforms that allow even the most inexperienced users to build a website using easy-to-learn visual tools.
In this article, we are going to focus on the most popular content management system (CMS) that is widely used to build and run websites, namely WordPress.
You have probably heard many positive things about WordPress, which is indeed the top CMS choice for novice and experienced webmasters alike. It is free, open source, highly flexible, and easily customizable.
Let's examine the five main steps you'll need to complete to start a new WordPress website and put it on the right track for future growth and success.
Step 1: Find The Perfect Name
Coming up with the right name for your site is the first and arguably the most important step. This is something you should carefully mull over, because once you pick a name, changing it in the future won't be an easy option.
Here are some of the most notable characteristics of a good website name:
Relevant: You want your site's name to be relevant and reflective of its primary topic or purpose. It shouldn't be too general or vague, but at the same time it shouldn't be too specific in a way that may limit future growth and expansion.
Short: There isn't a fixed number for the perfect length of a website's name, but most professionals recommend not going over 12 characters. The shorter the name, the more memorable and easy to type it is, the higher chance of success it'll have.
Simple: You should pick a name that is fairly simple and easy to pronounce without any confusing or complex words. Examples of things to avoid include: numbers/digits, hyphens, misspellings, foreign words, unusual words, and abbreviations.
You will likely have to think up dozens of potential suitable names to find one that is available for registration. Once you have made a final choice, make sure that the name doesn't conflict with a registered trademark or another website using a similar name.
If all looks good, you can proceed to the next step.
Step 2: Register The Domain Name
As soon as you find the best fitting domain name for your site, it's important that you register it and don't wait for other things to be finished, such as the site's design, content, etc. If you put it off, someone else might beat you to the punch and claim the domain you wanted.
It is advisable that you register your domain at one of the numerous reliable domain registrars instead of the web hosting company you intend to use. That's what most professionals do because it's safer to keep all your domains at one secure and trusted place.
When searching for a domain registrar to purchase a domain name from, the following are some of the most important criteria to consider.
ICANN accreditation: The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is a non-profit organization responsible for setting the rules and policies that domain registrars must abide by. You should only buy domains from ICANN accredited registrars.
Whois privacy: Every domain name has a public Whois record that contains the personal contact details of the owner (name, email, residential address, and phone number). A privacy protection service removes all personal data from the Whois database and thus protects your privacy and security. Many registrars offer this feature for free.
Account security: A password alone may not be secure enough these days. Two-factor authentication adds an extra step to increase the security of your account. Additional security features can differ from one provider to another.
Reputation: Some registrars are strongly established in the industry and are known for their good service and reliability. On the other hand, some companies can be a nightmare to deal with when things don't go as expected. You can find plenty of first-hand experiences and reviews of different domain registrars on Reddit and other online communities.
Price: When you buy a new domain, you pay an initial fee for the first year of registration, and then an annual renewal fee for as long as you would like to keep the domain. Some companies have outrageously high renewal prices that aren't clearly listed on the checkout page. You should always check the renewal price to make sure it's within a reasonable range for the TLD/extension in question.
Step 3: Find a Reliable Hosting Provider
Searching for a web hosting service is often a tedious task given the many variable considerations and features that may be important to you.
The type of website you are creating and your budget are the two key factors that determine which hosting service may be best suited for your project.
Without getting into too many details, the following are some general guidelines for finding a decent hosting provider for your WordPress website.
Server resources: The main web hosting server resources are disk space, bandwidth, CPU and RAM. You have to find a plan that offers an adequate amount of each of these resources based on the estimated needs (both current and near future) of your site.
NVMe storage: Many premium WordPress hosts use NVMe SSD drives since these operate at much higher input/output (I/O) rates than both standard SSD and HDD disks. E-commerce and high-traffic WordPress sites perform faster when the I/O speed is high enough to handle all requests without delay.
Uptime: One of the most important issues you have to take into account when searching for a WordPress hosting provider is the uptime guarantee. Anything less than 99.9% isn't worth it nowadays.
Managed WordPress: Normally, the installation of WordPress and all associated tools you'll likely need (e.g. cache, backup, security, etc.) falls on your shoulders. With managed WP hosting, the provider takes care of those tasks for you. Consider using a managed WordPress hosting service if you'd like to spend less time dealing with technical issues and more time focusing on your online business.
Support: Any and all advantageous technical features a hosting company may offer you can be useless if there isn't a knowledgeable and skilled support team to help resolve technical problems promptly. If they promise 24/7 support, don't just take their word for it. Contact them a few times prior to signing up and ask some technical questions to see how quick and helpful their answers are.
Alright, assuming you've purchased a domain name and a hosting plan, you should now connect the two together by changing your domain's nameservers to the values provided by your hosting company. When all is set, you can move on to the next step.
Step 4: Install and Customize WordPress
Installing WordPress can be done manually or automatically (if this option is available in your hosting plan). Either way, you should first make sure that an SSL certificate is installed for your domain so that your site can use secure (https) URLs.
In case of manual installation, you'll have to create a MySQL database from your hosting control panel, then get the latest WordPress version from the official website and upload the files to your server, and then open your domain in your web browser and follow the automated instructions. The whole process should only take a few minutes.
If your web host has an automatic WP installation tool, you should be able to complete the installation process with just a few clicks from inside the control panel.
You can refer to your host's help articles for more detailed instructions on how to install WordPress using the control panel and tools they have in place.
Once the installation is complete, you can log in to your new WordPress site using the username and password you entered during the setup process. You can then start customizing your site's settings, design and functionality.
There are countless themes and plugins on the market to help you build the website you have in mind. You'll probably have to check out many of them to find the ones that best suit your needs.
Step 5: Grow Your Website
Now that you're done with all the pesky technical steps, it's time to start adding content to your website and claim your share of web traffic.
In order to get your website to rank well in search engines and generate free traffic, you'll need to focus on two things: adding quality content on a regular basis and getting some quality backlinks.
You should try to add at least two well-written and helpful articles each week. The more, the better. Don't just rewrite what others have written, but rather create unique content that stands out and adds value.
As for backlinks, one of the most effective ways to build a strong backlink profile is by publishing guest posts on blogs and sites that are relevant to your site's niche.
It's important to keep in mind that for both content and backlinks, quality is by far more important than quantity. So, one interesting and in-depth article may get you more traffic than a hundred short and poorly-written articles. Similarly, one relevant and high-quality backlink can be more effective than a hundred low-quality backlinks.
It takes a lot of hard work and patience to build a successful website, but if you are determined and consistent enough, you should eventually get there.