Build Your Own WordPress Website Tutorial – The Complete Guide
You’ve probably heard of WordPress. Launching a new blog or website typically means choosing a WordPress-based theme and building out the content. But what if you don’t want to use the platform? What if you want to build a custom website from the ground up?
In this complete guide, you’ll discover everything you need to know about building a WordPress-based website, including:
What is WordPress?
WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system (CMS). Its popularity stems from the fact that it’s incredibly simple to use and boasts a large built-in community. If you’re looking to build a blog or website, you may have heard of WordPress as well.
Why build a custom website with WordPress?
WordPress offers you a host of features that you may not find in other CMS platforms, such as:
- A large community supporting the platform
- Simple, easy-to-use interface
- Sleek design
- Secure connection – https
- Multilingual support
- Easily integrate third-party applications
- Findability via SEO
- Fully customizable
How can I build a WordPress website?
With the help of WordPress, your custom website will consist of only the content you upload to it. All the complex backend functionality, such as the structure and appearance of the site, is managed via the platform’s various plugins. These plugins can be downloaded from the WordPress plugin directory.
You’ll need to decide how much functionality you want to include in your custom website. For smaller blogs, you may want to go with a lighter weight theme and build only the content area of the site. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a more robust website, you may want to opt for a full-featured theme and incorporate more features.
What is a theme?
A theme, as the name suggests, is the design of the surface of your website. In WordPress’ parlance, a theme is a “theme-stripped-down-version-of-a-regular-wordpress-site,” which means that it’s a barebones site built using only the basics – the content and the design of the site. You’ll often see themes presented as a flat file – a single, plain-text document – which you’ll need to incorporate into your site’s code.
Though the name suggests that a theme represents the appearance of your site, that’s not necessarily the case. As we mentioned above, a theme is essentially a basics-based site built with WordPress. Therefore, it doesn’t necessarily mean your site will look exactly like the theme you choose. Themes often come with several demos that you can choose from, which will give you an idea of how the finished product will look like. Having several demos is extremely useful as it gives you a glimpse of how the site will look like in various conditions.
What kind of themes are available?
There are many different kinds of themes you can use to build a WordPress site. Some of the most common themes are:
Additionally, if you have a specific style in mind for your site, you can look for a theme that incorporates that style. For example, if you want a clean and minimalistic design for your site, you may want to opt for a simple minimalistic theme or try out one of the popular responsive themes.
The vast majority of themes are designed to be used with WordPress 4.x. However, many developers create themes that also work with earlier versions of the platform. If you’re worried about whether or not your theme will work with your site’s hosting provider, you can search for a plugin that will help you determine compatibility before you install the theme. It’s often a good idea to try out different themes and determine which one works best for you. In the end, only you know what’s best for your site and you need to trust your judgment.
How do I choose a theme?
As we mentioned above, a theme is essentially a design document. This document will tell you what your site will look like when it’s finished. Before you choose a theme, it’s important to ask yourself a few questions:
- Is this a blog or a website?
- What’s my target audience?
- What features do I want my site to have?
- How much content do I want to put on the site?
- How much do I want to spend on the site?
- Am I planning on monetizing the site?
- How much functionality do I need from a hosting provider?
- How confident am I that I can build a functional site within the given time frame?
When answering these questions, you may want to consider the kind of content you’ll be producing for your site. For example, if you’re producing scientific content, you may want to opt for a techno-savvy theme, such as CERN or beta testing a new theme.
Once I’ve chosen a theme, how do I install it?
Once you’ve chosen a theme, you can install it on your site via the familiar WordPress interface. Navigate to your site’s dashboard and head to the Plugins section. From there, you can click on Install and select the theme you’ve chosen. WordPress will then download and install the plugin for you automatically.
If you decide against the theme you initially opted for, you can always go back and reinstall it. Doing so will not delete any of your existing content or settings – all you need to do is replace the theme’s interface with that of your previous theme.
How do I use themes?
Once the theme is installed, you can start using it. Go to your site’s dashboard and click on Settings from the appearance menu. From there, you can modify the look of your site by changing the theme’s various colors and fonts or by enabling or disabling any of the plugin’s features, as needed. If you’re reasonably computer literate and have a basic understanding of WordPress administration, you may be able to manage the entire functionality of your site via the dashboard.