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Setting up a WordPress website or blog

In this guide we will show you how to create a website for your business or hobby by building a WordPress website from scratch.

WordPress powers more than a quarter of the world’s websites that are viewed by 131 million people every month.

It uses open source software which means a lot of the hard work has been done for you.

Sites that use WordPress include the New York Times, National Geographic and Forbes – but it is also the perfect platform for a start-up.

Here is the site we created for Hot Lotus, a yoga and pilates start-up in Stockport.

First steps in WordPress

First choose your domain name – these are readily available from online shops lie 123 Reg and GoDaddy.

Next decide if your new site is going to be a blog or a website – the crucial difference is cost; a blog is free to run on WordPress while a website will need someone to host it.

Hosting costs will depend on the size of your website – for a smallish business site the monthly fee shouldn’t be more that £3-£5 a month.

If you have a large site with lots of products or blogs/images then you may need your own hosting container which will be in the region of £10-£15 a month.

Choose a WordPress theme

Like anything in life, you get what you pay for.

There are thousands of free WordPress themes out there but they can be limited and sometimes a little basic – if you only want to blog then a free blogging site might be best.

It is also vital that your site is mobile-optimised – around three-quarters of web traffic now comes from mobile phones or tablets.

Create a list of things you want your site to do – will it be a shop, will it host blogs, does it need to showcase your work or photographs.

Once you have that list, browse the many pre-built themes out there – one of the best sites to have a look at is WordPress itself to try Theme Forest, where you can also see the themes tested and rated.

Also check ho many times the theme has been downloaded and when it was last updated – old themes might be more vulnerable to hacks.

Setting up your WordPress site

Once you have your domain name, hosting space and WordPress theme you are ready to start creating.

Get your domain host to set you up a WordPress hosting package and either a staging site (not live) or put it in maintenance mode (live but no one can see it).

Your theme should come with instructions and documentation to show how to set up the home page and any other pages you might want – About, Contact etc – plus menus and blog posts.

From there you can customise your site, move things around and change colours and fonts very easily.

Any major changes to the site may requite the expertise of a developer who will charge £40-£100ph depending on what you require.

For more help and advice, simply go to WordPress where there many guides and forums.