How to Make a Website with WordPress?

WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) in the world. It’s been around for more than a decade and is often considered the gold standard for blogging platforms. Perhaps even more significantly, WordPress is free and open source, meaning that it’s completely customizable and any developer can contribute to the project to help further its development.

If you’re looking to make a website but don’t know where to start, this article will describe the steps necessary to get you up and running with a functional, customizable WordPress website in no time.

Step one: Get the basic setup done

The first step in creating a completely functional WordPress website is installing the platform itself on a web server. Let’s assume for the sake of this tutorial that you already have a web server running Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Long Term Support) operating on the AWS (Amazon Web Services) cloud. For the purposes of this tutorial, we will be using the freely available Linode web hosting service, which is designed specifically for beginners and develops resources to help you get started.

To install WordPress on Linode, navigate to their website and click on the Get Started button. You’ll then be brought to the Linode dashboard. From here, click on the Dashboards tab and then click on the Create New Dashboard button. A new dashboard will open up with the WordPress icon in the upper left-hand corner.

On this dashboard, click on the word Options in the upper right-hand corner. You’ll then be presented with various options. Near the bottom of the page, you’ll see a section named SiteGround Services. Unchecking the Automatically Collect Statutes box will prevent your website from automatically complying with online advertising laws in the U.S.A. and other countries.

One of the most essential WordPress capabilities is the ability to create and customize pages as per your needs. These are known as posts, and they’re what make up your blog. To begin with, head back to the Dashboard and then click on the Add New Post button. A blank, dialog-like box will open up where you can start typing your content. Make sure to type in the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) friendly `

` and `

` tags around your content as these will be displayed (by search engines) as headings in your blog posts.

Step two: Install WordPress’ essential plugins

Now that you have WordPress installed on your web server, it’s time to begin installing the important plugins that will assist you in making your blog stand out from the crowd. WordPress is a very versatile platform and boasts more than 5000 plugins available for download from its official website. The best and most popular WordPress plugins are all free and open source, meaning that anyone can contribute to their development; reducing the chances of poorly designed, insecure or potentially dangerous plugins cluttering up your blog.

Since we’re assuming that you have a secure web server running on the cloud, it’s time to begin installing the WordPress plugins that will allow you to take advantage of https (secure web connections). As noted above, one of the best and most popular plugins for WordPress is called HTTPS Everywhere. This plugin makes it easy for anyone visiting your site to access it securely via HTTPS connections whenever possible.

To install this plugin, visit the WordPress plugin repository (wordpress.org/plugins/) and search for HTTPS Everywhere. After installing the plugin, you will need to visit the HTTPS Everywhere site and create a small HTTPS proxy (HTTPS proxy is a special type of server that sits between your web server and the outside world and allows you to maintain a secure connection with your visitors even when they’re on unsecure networks or devices). This is known as establishing a secure connection or tunnel for your site.

Step three: Install WordPress’ secondary plugins

The majority of the plugins that you’ll need to install on your blog are going to be designed to assist you in maximizing its performance. These range from improving the user experience (UX) of your blog (e.g., SEO Statuses, Browser Notifications) to enhancing its functionality (e.g., Contact Form 7, Custom Headers).

To continue with our example blog, we will now be installing the following plugins:

  • SEO Statuses (optional): Improves your blog’s SEO by adding specific headers to your HTML to optimize your blog for various search engines
  • Browser Notifications (optional): Notifies the user when content is downloaded or when WordPress is updated
  • Contact Form 7 (optional): Enables you to create contact forms which send emails to specified addresses
  • WP Quick Edit (optional): Displays the visual editor of WordPress in case you need to make some quick changes to your blog’s layout
  • WP Smush (optional): Removes background images, decreases the size of images, optimizes for web usage, and improves the appearance of your blog’s posts
  • WP Super Cache (optional): Caches your blog’s content, which can significantly improve its performance especially for busy websites
  • W3 Total Cache (optional): Combines the features of WP Super Cache and Yandex Web Cache to provide a greater level of caching for your blog
  • Cloudflare CDN (optional): Hosts your blog’s content on remote servers which are closer to your readers
  • Akismet (optional): Provides spam detection for your site while also allowing registered users to submit posts
  • WP GDPR (optional): Registers your site as a Data Subject in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation in EU
  • WP Delta (optional): Provides the ability to create and manage lists of posts, comments, and other elements
  • WPLocal (optional): Manages posts, comments, and other elements located on the local server
  • Jetpack (optional): Enables you to create and manage custom domains for your blog
  • Revslider (optional): Displays captions and short descriptions of your blog’s images
  • Bavarian Blogger (optional): Provides the ability to translate your blog into different languages

With all of these plugins installed, you will now have a fully functioning, customizable WordPress blog ready to go live. Of course, you have the option of installing a different, more advanced blogging platform (e.g., Joomla!, Drupal, or static websites) if you want to take your blogging experience to the next level.