Business 101: How to Get your Website up FAST! A Beginners Guide to Building a WordPress Site

Remember back in the good old days when if you wanted a web site, you had to hire a web programmer? Thanks to tools like WordPress you can get a basic site up and running in less than an hour. All you need to get started is a domain name!

What makes WordPress so appealing for non-programmers is how easy it is to install. I promise you the most time consuming part is trying to find the theme that best represents your business personality (see the bottom of the post for a few resources to get you started finding a theme).

Before you start, the first thing you want to do is to make sure you have a hosting package that has the “one-click WordPress install” option. If you have a host such as WebHosting Buzz, Bluehost, or GoDaddy that option is in your cPanel. Note: the screenshots included are based on the configuration of the WebHosting Buzz configuration – yours may look slightly different.

Ready? Grab your kitchen timer and see how long it takes you to do the following steps:

5-Minute WordPress Install Instructions

#1: Log into your host company cPanel and find the Fantastico icon (normally towards the bottom and a pale blue smiley face)

#2: Select “WordPress”

#3: Next choose “New Installation” and you will be guided through the next several steps. The most important thing at this point is if you have multiple domains hosted on the same site be 100% certain you are not over-writing any existing website.

#4: Under “Install in Directory” leave this blank

#5: Fill in the next few fields as indicated and click “Install WordPress”

*WordPress Security tip * Do not chose “Admin” as the admin name – chose something that is a little harder for hackers to guess.

#6: You’re done!

#7: Log into your WordPress dashboard at the URL they provide – most likely in this type of format: http://yourwebsite.com/wp-admin.php

By default the free theme 2010 is installed. Check the resources at the end of this post for free theme collections.

WordPress Dashboard Settings and Configurations

Let’s do some backend maintenance under the Settings section of your brand new site. None of these steps are actually required; you can start blogging or creating your pages now, if you wanted.

On the left, scroll down to the Settings section and go to “General”.

  • Add or change your Site Title and Tagline as you would like. Some themes will show the tagline and others will not.
  • Membership: I suggest leaving this box unchecked.
  • Change your timezone, date and time format as you desire.
  • Be sure to save your changes and then go back to Settings and we’ll go to “Reading”.

Determine if you want your home page to show your latest blog posts or if you want a dedicated home page. If you want a dedicated home page and a different page for your blog then there are a few things you will want to do. On the right side menu go to “Pages” and create the page you want to be your home page (or rename the one that was installed by default). Create another page called “Blog”.

Go back to your settings and chose “Reading” and select the bullet for “A static page” and chose the pages from the dropdown options presented.

Save changes and go to Discussion settings – update this entire section as you want.

If you’ve made changes to your Discussion settings save them and then hop back over to Privacy. If you are using this site for business, then please be sure the option to be visible to everyone is selected. If your new site is for personal reasons, you can decide which of the two options you prefer.

Last, but not least, let’s edit your “Permalinks” – the option you chose is entirely up to you. However, many SEO experts will advise that you at least choose “Custom Structure” and use, at minimum, %postname% as the structure.

You officially have a site that is ready to go!

Most certainly you can (and will) spend several more hours of work by doing any of the following:

  • Setting up a service, such as Feedburner, to allow visitors to sign up for new posts via RSS or email
  • Install a commenting system, such as Disqus and set up your profile (be sure to add your avatar)
  • Set up Askimet or G.A.S.P. to help reduce the amount of spam comments
  • Install plug-ins (my list of favorites)
  • Add widgets to your sidebar (depending on your theme)
  • Be sure to get a Gravatar (if using the WordPress commenting system)

Note: Most free themes will have either (or both) a Meta and Blogroll section on them. They can normally be removed by digging into the “Sidebar” code under Appearance>Editor. Some free themes will also have coding in the footer. You may be able to remove it but often it is hard to find and remove.

Need help finding a WordPress theme? Try one of these lists of free theme collections:

Premium themes typically start at about $25. If you want a truly unique and one-of-a-kind website, then you will want to hire a designer to custom code and design your site.

So how long did it take you to set up your basic framework on the new site?

If you want more tips and tricks on using WordPress, stop by my blog where I share time saving tips, fun software finds and more!

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About Michelle Mangen
Michelle Mangen is owner of Your Virtual Assistant providing virtual bookkeeping, social media and administrative services to smart business owners. Other interests include reading, spending time with her son, social networking and learning. For more information you can visit Your Virtual Assistant and connect with Michelle on Twitter (), Facebook and LinkedIn.

Comments

3 Responses to “Business 101: How to Get your Website up FAST! A Beginners Guide to Building a WordPress Site”
  1. Carla – thanks for having me as a guest on your site again. 

  2. Val says:

    This would have saved me about 8 hours a few months ago. Thank you for documenting all this!

  3. Val:
    The first time I did it, it was also quite painful and time consuming.

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