Every new site I build nowadays, I build with WordPress.
If you use WordPress already, you know how powerful and flexible it is.
The clear choice for building websites in 2014 and beyond, is WordPress for many reasons. Mainly because it is 100% free and it is the easiest platform for anyone to learn.
What’s more, WordPress is as “plug and play” as you get and with literally thousands of themes and plugins available, you can change the look and even your monetizing strategy literally overnight.
Google loves WordPress because of the way it organizes content and you’ll love it for how simple it makes everything from adding content to making changes.
It should be noted that when I mention WordPress, I’m not talking about WordPress.com where you get a username and host a blog there. You need a “self hosted” WordPress site.
The main difference is that you’ll take a few extra extra steps like getting a domain name, a web host and then installing WordPress via Fantastico, Softaculous or QuickInstall. The installation process literally takes minutes and I’ll walk you through it step by step in this issue.
This text may seem lengthy but trust me, the whole thing can be done in an hour or less, especially after you go through the process once.
To start the website setup process, sign up with a low cost, reliable web host that offers the cPanel interface, such as HostNine.com. I now use HostNine for all my sites including this one.
Next log into your web host and connect to the cPanel interface. Then scroll down until you see the menu named “Software / Services” and look for an icon labeled Fantastico, Softaculous, QuickInstall or Fantastico De Luxe.
Once you find that and click it, you should see a “WordPress” link in the left hand menu. Then, select “New Installation”. This will bring you to a form where you enter the domain where WordPress will reside, the login and password you want and a few other fields.
Next you simply press the “Install WordPress” button then “Finish installation”.
You now have a website online!
Admittedly, there’s not much there yet, but it is a real website and you can go visit it. Type your URL into your browser (e.g. http://www.mydomain.com) and you’ll see a simple site with a colorful header and a small entry titled “Hello World!”
This is the standard (default) WordPress theme. You can easily replace this with a free or premium WordPress theme to customize the look and feel of your website.
To get started customizing your site, simply log into you new WordPress dashboard. You’ll find this at www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin.php
Choosing and Installing Your Theme
A WordPress theme is simply the framework that gives your blog it’s appearance and layout. It’s sort of like a website template on steroids as it eliminates a lot of setup work for you.
Remember, WordPress is not just a blogging platform. Your WordPress site can have an active blog as its home page if you want, or you can have a static page, such as a sales page or squeeze page.
There are thousands of themes available on the web from free to premium. Your theme selection will be based primarily on how you plan to monetize your site. There are themes for blogging, adsense monetization, affiliate marketing, magazine publishing (like the theme I use here called Magazine3) and many more.
Before you start looking for a theme, you need to have an idea of what you want from a theme. Will your site be a blog? A traditional website layout? Both?
And most importantly, how do you plan to monetize the site?
Once you decide how you want to monetize your web property, it’s easier to pick a theme. While there are free themes and paid themes, I feel that a paid theme works best. That’s because you get updates from the theme creator and these updates can keep your site working well when WordPress releases new versions.
Once you have all those questions answered (and maybe a few more that you think of on your own), you’re ready to go searching for your theme. To find a great theme for your site, simple search for the type of theme you want + “premium WordPress theme” at Google and you’ll find countless demos to try before you buy!