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Before we learn how to use WordPress

Before I show you how to use WordPress, we need to get a few things sorted.:

  1. Domain name – your internet address
  2. Hosting – your website storage
  3. WordPress theme – your website building blocks

These three components are the key building blocks of any WordPress website.

1. Domain name

The first step in understanding how to use WordPress, is getting to grips with domain names.

A domain name is your ‘internet address’. This is what your visitors will type in to visit your website.

You can purchase domains relatively inexpensively from most major hosting companies.

When purchasing a domain think about a few things:

  • What is the website for
  • Does my suggest domain name match the purpose of my website?

The best policy when it comes to domains, and most things, is to keep it simple.

Where do I purchase a domain?

There are lots of cheap domain deals on the market, however, cheap doesn’t mean good.

I would recommend you purchase your domain from Siteground.

Siteground are the best option on the market in terms of customer support, quality of hosting and quality of service.

How to use WordPress

Lots of people will try to shove Bluehost down your throat, because they offer a great affiliate scheme (where you receive a small commission if you refer them business).

However, if you were to do a bit of research, you’d see exactly why you shouldn’t use Bluehost.

Bluehost Trustpilot

Their customers don’t seem to be too fond of them. And that small cost saving you’d make by purchasing your domain with them would soon be lost in wasted hours on the phone to their customer support when things go wrong.

How to use WordPress - Siteground Trustpilot

Siteground on the other hand, have excellent customer service and from experience resolve most issues almost immediately over live chat, or within a few minutes of logging a support ticket.

*Disclamer* I am a Siteground customer and participate in their affiliate scheme where I receive a small commission from any business I refer to them. I will only ever recommend the best providers regardless of what’s in it for me!

2. Hosting

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Understanding hosting is important if you want to learn how to use WordPress.

If a domain is your ‘internet address’, hosting is your ‘internet storage unit’. Your website is stored on an internet server, which you rent space and use of through hosting plans.

There are hosting plans of all types and sizes. Here’s quick overview of the basics:

  • Shared hosting is the most commonly used hosting plan. It’s good value for money and the best option for a small business or new website.
  • Virtual hosting is the ‘middle tier’ as far as hosting performance goes. This is a good option for a growing business looking for small gains in the performance of their website.
  • Dedicated hosting plans offer the highest levels of performance, but also the biggest price tags. A dedicated hosting plan is a good option for a large business serving lots of customers and dealing with high volumes of traffic.

Hosting providers

The two biggest hosting providers on the market are GoDaddy and Siteground.

GoDaddy have the best marketing and most attractive storefront and customer account area.

Siteground offer the best customer service, performance and value for money.

Siteground packages start as low as $4 per month for a Startup WordPress Hosting Package moving up to $12.50 per month outside of the introductory offer.

How to use WordPress

Purchase the Startup Package unless you are a large business, or receive lots of traffic.

3. WordPress themes

WordPress Theme Installation For Only £35.00

Themes are what power WordPress. I defined WordPress themes in another Medium post, Why WordPress Is The BEST Option To Build Your Business Or Startup Website On:

“A WordPress theme is a collection of code, functionality and styles that you can install onto your website in the form of a theme. Installing this Theme on your WordPress website allows you to access and use the functionality and styles of the Theme using the WordPress CMS interface, page builders and any plugins provided by your theme, without having to touch any of the code.”

Basically, your theme is what makes your website go (to use the super technical definition). You need to purchase a theme.

Where do I get a theme?

There are several popular theme marketplaces and loads of independent theme creators.

The best place to start is Themeforest. The biggest, coolest theme marketplace on the interwebs. 

How to use WordPress

To save you the leg work, here are the themes we recommend:

  1. Divi. One of the most popular themes on the market with the easiest visual page builder for building great websites without touching any code.
  2. Avada. The top selling theme of all time. A responsive, multipurpose theme with an absolute ton of features.
  3. X Theme. Another great looking theme with a modest price task, only running you $29.

Divi is the best overall option. It costs more than Avada or X Theme, but provides you with unlimited websites, premium support and the best page builder. Definitely worth the extra $50 for what it will save you in headaches and hours building your website.

How does WordPress work?

Next up on how to use WordPress.

WordPress is a content management system. WordPress is used to manage the content of your website, without touching code, through the use of page builders.

Page builders offer a drag and drop interface, which allows you to setup your page using blocks of code and functionality.

WordPress is installed onto a website using a CPanel or equivalent, then a WordPress theme is installed to build and manage the website.

Installing WordPress

You can use WordPress by installing it onto your domain.

WordPress is installed using CPanel, which is a hosting platform provided by major hosting providers like Siteground.

To install WordPress on your domain follow these steps:

  1. Login to your hosting CPanel.
  2. Find your WordPress installer.
  3. Click install and follow the instructions including setting a username and password.

I’ve provided some supporting images below.

How to use WordPress

 

How to use WordPress

Quick tip – you can also login to CPanel by adding /cpanel to the end of your website URL!

Logging into your WordPress website

Once you’ve installed WordPress, you will need to log in.

To log in to your WordPress website, add /wp-admin to the end of your domain name.

So for example: mybusiness.com/wp-admin

You will need to input the login credentials you created in the previous step.

How to use WordPress - login screen

How to log in - WordPress dashboard

Installing your WordPress theme

Now we get into the real WordPressy (yes it’s a word, I just made it up) section of our how to use WordPress guide.

After you have installed WordPress, it is time to install the theme that you purchased from Themeforest.

To install your Theme, follow the following steps:

  1. Navigate to Appearance in the left hand WordPress menu
  2. Click on Themes
  3. Click on Add New
  4. Upload Theme
  5. Install the WordPress installable theme file

Below I’ve provided some screenshots showing you how to do this, and a helpful video.

How to use WordPress

How to use WordPress – adding a new theme

How to use WordPress

How to use WordPress - browse for theme file

Browse for theme file

After uploading your theme, you be may be prompted to install some plugins. If you see any kind of prompt, install the suggested plugins, as they are probably required to make your theme work.

Using plugins

No how to use WordPress guide would be complete without a section on plugins.

Plugins make the world go round. Well, the WordPress world. Plugins are bolt on’s for your website that give you new functionality. You can install and manage plugins from the Plugins section of your WordPress CMS.

How to use WordPress

You can search for new plugins from the plugin marketplace.

How to use WordPress

How to use WordPress

Plugin marketplace

When you find a plugin that you like, click install and then activate. Don’t forget the activate!

Useful WordPress plugins

Here are some plugins that you might find useful for your WordPress website.

SumoMe

SumoMe is a popular marketing and list building plugin for WordPress. According to SumoMe they provide ‘free tools to automate your growth’.

How to use WordPress

SumoMe WordPress

You can sign up for SumoMe here.

Wordfence Security

Wordfence provides a free and premium solution for protecting your WordPress website from viruses, malware, infection and scripts. This one a must have for any WordPress website, it will also help you prevent comment spam.

How to use WordPress

You can download the Wordfence plugin here.

Enhanced Ecommerce Google Analytics

This is a very useful plugin if you are starting an online store. Enhanced ecommerce Google Analytics allows you to measure the performance of your online store, including give you a dollar value for each channel.

How to use WordPress - enhanced ecommerce analytics

Enhanced ecommerce analytics

You can download enhanced ecommerce analytics here.

Smush Image Compression by WPMUDev

Smush is an awesome image compression plugin. Once you get started with your website, you’ll quickly realise that images take up space! They also slow things down if they aren’t compressed. Smush makes your images smaller in size and load faster, which is great for your website performance and conversion rates.

They have a cool video.

You can download Smush here.

We hope you found this tutorial useful. Make sure to subscribe for future WordPress tutorials, videos and how to’s.

James Thomas

James is the owner of Square Internet and helps build, grow and scale WordPress based businesses for a living.