How to Develop a WordPress Website – The Ultimate Guide
WordPress is one of the most popular and powerful content management systems (CMS) available, particularly amongst bloggers and website owners, due to its ease of use and flexible functionality.
Even if you’re not familiar with WordPress, it’s likely you’ve heard of or used it, as it is one of the most prominent CMS platforms on the web.
While there are many different versions of WordPress, including the most recent version 4.x, for the purposes of this guide we will be focusing on the original WordPress.org version, as this is what is currently in use by the largest number of website owners.
The Essentials Of Building A WordPress Website
If you’re new to the world of WordPress development, the first thing you’ll need to consider is the basics, such as web hosting and installing WordPress.
Web hosting is, in simple terms, where your website is physically stored online. You can either purchase a dedicated server or choose a free web host, such as WordPress.com, to build your site on. If you decide to go with a free web host, you will need to make sure you have a reputable one, as there are some who are more malicious than others. In either case, you’ll need to install WordPress to make your site live online.
As for installing WordPress, this is a simple process that will walk you through the steps to complete. You can either choose to do this manually or use a tool such as WP-CLI to achieve the same result. If you decide to install the software manually, make sure you update WordPress as soon as possible after the installation to receive all the latest fixes and security patches.
Further Reading On WordPress Development
If you’re interested in furthering your knowledge on WordPress development, we recommend checking out some of the below listed resources, which will help you get started.
The WordPress Guides
One of the best places to learn WordPress development is from the source itself, which is why we recommend learning from the WordPress.org documentation. This documentation is, in itself, very extensive and covers all facets of WordPress development, from installing and setting up a site, to creating and customizing themes, to adding functionality through plugins.
If you decide to build a WordPress website from scratch, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the basics, as above, and then move on to the guides, which will help you develop a fully functioning site.
The Ultimate WordPress Resource Guide
If you’re looking for an all-in-one guide that will help you develop a WordPress website from scratch, we recommend checking out the Ultimate WordPress Resource Guide. This online manual is available in either PDF or ebook formats and covers all aspects of WordPress development, from installing the software to creating and customizing themes, adding functionality through plugins, and much more.
It’s extremely comprehensive and, when paired with WordPress guides, will put you on the right footpath to building a strong and successful WordPress website.
The above resources are only the basics required to get you started. If you decide to continue onwards with WordPress development, you’ll need to become familiar with additional tools, such as the ones listed below.
Additional Tools For WordPress Developers
In addition to the basics, mentioned above, you’ll need some additional tools to build a successful WordPress website. Some of the most useful tools for WordPress developers are listed below.
- Sass – The popular CSS pre-processor, used to create responsive, mobile-friendly designs
- Git – Used for version control and collaboration, amongst other things. If you’re not familiar, GitHub is a website that offers a public repository for hosting code, themes, and projects.
- WP Architect – This is a commercial (paid) plugin that integrates with your content management system to make creating and managing a website extremely easy. We recommend this plugin for larger companies that need to build a website with hundreds of pages.
- Honeypot – A free alternative to the WP Architect plugin, Honeypot simplifies creating a protected area within your website (similar to a guestbook or comment area). This is useful for places where you don’t want people to accidentally post sensitive information, such as customer emails.
- Elementor – A front-end template manager, used to create fully responsive websites, used by people like Tim Ferraro and Caitlin Peake.
- Advanced Custom Fields – A free and open-source plugin, similar to the TCF Custom Fields plugin, but more powerful, as it offers templates, custom forms, and more.
As you can see above, we’ve listed a number of really useful plugins for WordPress developers. Some of these plugins are free, some are open source, and some are premium. The important thing to remember is that you don’t have to use all of them to get started, as many are optional.
To install any of these plugins, visit the WordPress plugin directory and look for the “Install” button on the right side of the screen, as shown above. Click this button and you’ll be taken to a page that will guide you through the process of installing the plugin. Once installed, visit the plugin’s settings page and enter your login credentials if needed.
With the basics and tools mentioned above, you’re well on your way to becoming a successful WordPress developer. Of course, there will be instances where you might need a little help along the way, which is why we’ve listed a number of plugins that you can use to augment your capabilities. If you decide to use any of these plugins, make sure you understand their capabilities and limitations before going public with them.