How to Stage Your WordPress Site on Your Hosting
WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) in the world, powering more than 27% of the internet. It’s easy to install, set up, and use, which makes it ideal for beginners. With WordPress, you have a ready-made platform that you can start using to create your website right away. Plus, you can integrate third-party applications like PayPal and Stripe for payments and online stores, respectively, into your site without having to learn a new programming language.
Despite the popularity of WordPress, it’s actually quite easy to stage your site on your host’s platform before going live. This article will guide you through the process of setting up your WordPress site in a matter of minutes, without any coding knowledge.
Step one: Choose a reliable host
It’s important to pick a host that you can depend on, especially if you’re planning to stage a site for the first time. Not all web hosts are made equal, and it’s crucial that you choose one which is highly endorsed by large brands and authorities in the field. This is especially important if you’re planning to store sensitive information (like credit card data) on your site. The best WordPress hosts allow you to install the software, set up your blog and begin operating without any headaches or glitches.
As a beginner, it’s recommended that you choose a free web host which offers you everything you need and nothing you don’t, as this will save you both time and money in the long run. One of the best free web hosts for WordPress is Bluehost, which is also one of the most popular and most recommended web hosts in the world. Not only does it offer you a free domain and install the WordPress blog software, but it also offers you a free theme (called the Blog Starter) which you can install and use to create your site.
Step two: Install WordPress
Installing WordPress is very straightforward and requires very little technical knowledge or effort. You can either download the software directly from WordPress.org, or you can use a tool like WordPress Cleaner to install it for you. Either way, the process is very similar and will only take a few minutes to complete.
Step three: Configure WordPress
When you’ve installed WordPress, you’ll be presented with a screen which will ask you to either create a new user account or sign in to an existing one. This sign-in is required in order to use WordPress and will give you access to your site’s dashboard, which you can see below:
In the dashboard, you’ll see three links along the top:
You can click on the Settings link, which will lead you to the WordPress Settings page. Here, you can choose the structure and look of your blog. You can choose from a variety of options including the classic layout (where posts are displayed in a row), the post list format (where each post is displayed individually), or a grid style (where posts are displayed in a two-up, four-down fashion).
You can also choose to display posts published in a certain category on the homepage, or you can choose to display posts by month or year. You can use this page to customize the way your site looks.
The Overview link will bring you to the WordPress Overview screen. Here, you can choose your blog’s name, admin email, and other general settings. Make sure that your admin email is different from your regular email so that if there’s ever a problem, you can easily sort it out.
Step four: Activate WordPress
After you’ve configured WordPress, you can activate it on your host by clicking on the Tools link, which will take you to the WordPress Tools page. Here, you can choose between two links:
- Allowed domains
- Generate RSS
If you choose the first option (Allowed domains), you’ll be presented with a list of domains which you can use with WordPress. Simply add your domain to the list and click on the Save button. This will make WordPress available to the general public (in other words, everyone can use it to create blogs).
If you choose the second option (Generate RSS), you’ll be presented with a dialog box where you can enter the details of a feed which will link to your content. You don’t have to have a feed if you don’t want to, but doing so will make your content easier to find by others.
Step five: Create your site’s content
WordPress is very easy to use and can be accessed from any device, anywhere in the world. This is one of the main reasons behind its popularity. However, if you want to fully take advantage of this CMS, you need to create content for it. Fortunately, WordPress comes with a built-in tool which makes creating your site’s content a breeze: the WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get) editor.
You don’t need to be a pro to use this editor, it’s very easy and straightforward. Just follow the onscreen instructions to create and design your site’s content, which will automatically be integrated into your posts when you click on the Publish button. If you’re having trouble, take a look at the FAQs (frequently asked questions) section of the WordPress documentation for guidance.
Step six: Verify your site’s settings
Once you’ve created your site’s content, you can verify that all the settings are correct by clicking on the Settings link in the upper-right corner of the WordPress dashboard. On this page, you’ll see information about the registered domain (e.g., yourblog.com), the nameservers (these are the domain registrars’ computers which are responsible for handling DNS queries – domain names like yourblog.com are translated into the IP addresses which computers can contact when they need to) and the privacy settings (you can choose which types of personal information you want to make public and which you want to keep private).
If everything is OK, you can click on the Update button at the bottom to save the changes.
Step seven: Install the Jetpack plugin
WordPress has a built-in security system which prevents unauthorized users from accessing your site. However, this security system is easily bypassed with a plugin called Jetpack. If you want to stage your site on your host, you’ll need to install this plugin.
Once you’ve installed Jetpack, you can enable it from the Within WordPress screen (accessible from the WordPress dashboard). Once enabled, you’ll see a screen which will ask you to create a free account if you don’t already have one. You’ll also see the option to install the Collapsible Menu plugin, which is required in order to use the Jetpack plugin.
Step eight: Test your site’s functionality
Now that you’ve finished setting up your site, it’s time to test its functionality. To do this, simply visit your site in a web browser and try out the various functions which you’ve activated (this means log in to your site and then try out the various options – it’s best to test each option separately).
If everything is working properly, click on the “Home” link at the top of the page to return to the dashboard. If you’re having trouble, check the FAQs section of the WordPress documentation for guidance.
Step nine: Customize your site’s appearance
Once you’ve tested out your site’s functionality, you can return to the Settings page and begin customizing its appearance using a variety of tools and options which WordPress has to offer. To begin with, you can change the header image on your site by clicking on the “Appearance” icon in the upper-right corner of the WordPress dashboard. Here, you can choose from a variety of options including the Classic Header, the Blog Header, or the Store Header (bloggerstore.com offers a similar option).
You can then choose the color and style of your header text, as well as the link color of your navbar (the thing which you see along the top of the page when you’re viewing a blog post). To see how all these options look together, simply click on the “Preview” button to the right of the last option you changed (in the case of the header image, this button is next to the “Save” button).