11 tips for creating a WordPress website

There are lots of books, YouTube videos, and blogs devoted to the joys and frustrations of working with WordPress, so what am I going to add to the discussion which you’ll find helpful? Well, I’m going to give you 11 tips in around a mere 1100 words. My hope is that I can save you some time and money, and reduce your frustration.

I’m not a computer geek

I’m not a computer geek, so this post isn’t going to have loads of jargon. I also don’t even have an internet connection in my home, which means I built this site by going to my local library, and I have been writing my posts as I do my weekly shop at my local supermarket, which also has free wifi. If you’re sitting here wondering how you’ll ever manage to learn WordPress, I hope you’ll start to believe you can do it because I’m just not that special: if I can do it, you can do it. You don’t even need your own wifi.

Let’s Begin

Look, lets cut to the chase. I suggest you use one of the hosting companies. I used Bluehost, but they’re all equally as good and probably all the same.

Using a hosting company might cost you around £100 for your domain name etc. But it’s worth the money as it gives you the flexibility to create a website which is unique to your situation, but here’s a link anyway https://www.bluehost.com/

Tip 1: if you use Bluehost, make sure you write down your passwords and usernames at the very beginning because the one you use for your Bluehost account is different from the one you use to login to your WordPress dashboard. If you don’t write them down, you might get confused and frustrated. And it wastes time.

Tip 2: Make sure that you’ve launched Jetpack etc. These start-up plugins create contact and sign up forms which save you from having to design them yourself, saving you time and increasing the functionality of your website in the long run.

Tip 3: Get Akismet it’s a great spam blocker; get Sucuri Security plugin too because it protects against malware and so on.

Tip 4: Just write anything for your first post. You can always edit or deleted that first post later. You need to start on your web pages and thereby truly build your site. Don’t delay.

Tip 5: Most websites have the following pages: Home, About, Contact. You’ll have to add a few more pages depending on what kind of content you want on your site. Simply click on Add New on the Pages tab to create all the separate pages you need. Again, don’t worry about the content yet, just get started. You can edit later.

Tip 6: To make your pages visible online you’re going to have to create a menu which means you have to click on the Appearance tab and click Menu. Once in Menu, you need to create a menu. It doesn’t matter what you call it. You can change it or use a whole different menu later. If you remember, I asked you to create the pages for your site. Well, now you’ll see them on the Menu page. To add them to the menu and in effect create your site, tick the boxes and add them to the menu structure. When they appear on the Menu structure, you can decide to put them in a different order or under another page simply by dragging them up and down the list. Once you are happy with the menu structure, save the menu. Again, you can change this later if you need to.

Tip 7: If you want visitors to your site to see your homepage as the first thing they land on you’re going to have to create a static page. To create a static page,  click on Appearance and choose Customize. You’ll see a list click on “Static Page.” Choose Static Page from  “Front Page display.” Make sure that you’ve picked a front page, usually your “Home” page and separate post page and saved your choices otherwise you’ll find you’ve just wasted a bit of time. Don’t worry if you need to change things later because you can.

Tip 8: Adding pictures and creating slides is simple. It’s not that more complex than adding a picture to a Word document or uploading a video to YouTube. When writing content for a post or web page, click on Add Media and upload pictures or anything else and insert where you want them. If you want to create a gallery, click on the create gallery tab then upload the files you want to use to create a slider. Most of this is pretty self-explanatory, but if you get stuck use YouTube videos to guide you.

Tip 9: If you want to add audio to your site, I suggest using the Compact Audio Player plugin which is very simple to install and will play on old browsers as well as the latest smartphones. It’s very easy to work. I wasted a bit of time trying to work with more complex audio plugins which in the end don’t function properly on some old browsers. And remember, visitors to your site might be using ancient browsers, so while the latest clever audio player might look great, it’s going to be annoying to anyone that can’t listen to it.  Also, from my experience, I’d say it’s just easier to upload audio files using this little plugin. But it’s your site so you should pick an audio player that works for you.

Tip 10: YouTube is unbeatable regarding adding video to your site. Go to the add plugins page and type in YouTube plugin and pick the one you like best. As well as YouTube, I recommend the Max Buttons plugin, Google Universal Analytics plugin, and of course don’t forget Jetpack, WP Super Cache, SumoMe, Popup Ally, Akismet and the Sucuri Security plugins too. Together these plugins increase functionality and give you piece of mind.

Tip11: Once you overcome any problems you have adding audio and video to your site, one of the last and most annoying things you are going to experience is seeing the website you created look great on a laptop and a tablet, but be weird, annoying and frustrating on a mobile. If your menu doesn’t work as well on a mobile, the easiest fix is to go to the customise tab in Appearance and click on the custom menu which should help resolve any niggling issues with visitors on mobile devices struggling to click through your web pages.

So that’s it, folks. I hope you enjoyed reading these 11 tips on building a WordPress website in a little over 1100 words.

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