In this post you will learn how to create a WordPress website – an easy to follow guide for beginners, a complete step-by-step tutorial that leaves nothing out.

Keep reading if you:

  • Want to start your own company website or ecommerce store
  • Want to start a blog but don’t know how
  • Want to build affiliate sites to earn money through affiliate marketing
  • Don’t have the budget to hire a website designer
  • Want to discover some of the best resources for running a successful self-hosted WordPress website

By the end of this post, you’ll have a brand new website for your business or for your personal blog.

Using WordPress will allow you to create any type of website you want, from a traditional blog, a directory site, an online store; you name it, you can create it!

This article gives you the complete foundation you need to build any website that you like using WordPress, and as you get familiar with the process of installing WordPress, you’ll easily be able to start creating WordPress websites for family, friends, and maybe even customers.

Introduction

I have been using WordPress to build sites for over 10 years. I have tried other platforms but I always end up returning to the platform I love the most, WordPress.

There are lots of courses on how to start a WordPress blog, some good and some bad, but I wanted to put together a resource that I wish was available when I first started out.

A resources that is EASY TO FOLLOW & FREE!

Below you will find everything that you need to get started on your website owning journey.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. I only recommend products and services I personally use or I have tried-and-tested.

Before I dive into building a WordPress website, let me answer a few questions that I’m often asked.

Freqeuntly Asked Questions

Is Running a Website Expensive?

No.

The only recurring cost when you start out is the monthly/yearly cost for hosting and registering a domain name. Hosting is extremely cheap these days. You can get fast and reliable hosting from companies such as Hostinger.

As with most things, the more you can afford in the way of hosting packages, the more power, speed and add-on features you will gain access to.

As your website and income grow, you can move from shared hosting to VPS Hosting or Cloud Hosting packages that have greater performance benefits but also cost more.

Additional costs are optional, such as the purchase of a premium WordPress theme or premium WordPress plugins.

Do I Have to Keep Creating Content for My Website?

Yes and no.

You can have a fully functional WordPress site that you do not need to update with regular content if your site has a specific purpose, such as being a brochure site or an online resume, etc. These sites will not require you to keep adding new content and may only require the occasional edit.

A business blog or affiliate site will need fresh content. You will want to grow your audience, and blogging is a great way to do that. Writing content that your readers find useful can be time-consuming but the rewards can far exceed the time investment involved. People link to great content from their websites and your audience will share it across their social media channels.

If you do not have the time to create your own content or do not think you have the writing skills required, then you can hire content writers from Fiverr or Beesy for as little as $5 per article.

Should I Hire a Freelancer Web Designer or Web Design Agency to Design My WordPress Website?

Yes and no.

Yes, hire a freelancer or web design agency if you have no time to build a website yourself or you cannot get someone on your staff to follow this tutorial.

Hire a freelancer or web design agency if you have a budget ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand pounds and you want a truly bespoke design.

No, do it yourself if you have the time and want to learn how to manage and edit your own site. This will save you fees on paying a designer / freelancer to update your content or to make small changes to the design of your site.

Would you like us to do it for you?

Click here to learn how we can install WordPress for you for FREE!

Are There Alternatives to WordPress?

Yes.

These days, there are lots of options when it comes to website builders and blogging platforms. You can quickly start a blog with WordPress.com or Blogger.

You can even build beautiful looking website with ease using services like Wix or Weebly. These services are free to start but you will have to upgrade (pay) to access more options or to use of your own domain.

Joomla and Drupal are great self-hosted alternatives to WordPress but both have a steeper learning curve and do not have the huge array of themes or plugins that the WordPress community enjoy.

None of these options give you the freedom and functionality that owning your own self-hosted WordPress website gives you and this is why WordPress is typically my number one suggestion.

Owning your own site, on your own hosting account, gives you more control over your content, and your lead-capture and promotional methods.

Do I Need to Know How to Code?

The short answer is, NO!

However, knowing some basic HTML and CSS will give you the skills to edit the design of your site without being overly reliant on the default styling of a theme.

You can go one step beyond a WordPress theme and use a WordPress site or visual page builder such as Divi. Divi allows you to build and customize theme layouts and style elements quickly and easily in just a few clicks.

Another way to make changes to any WP theme, and learn as you go, is the very powerful CSSHero plugin.

Learn to Code From Experts

Get a FREE 14-Day Trial and Start to Learn HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP, and Learn the Skills to Build Your Very Own WordPress Website From Scratch!

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org, What is the Difference?

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is a ‘hosted for you service’ provided by Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com and WordPress.org.

If you want to get started with creating a website and do not want to worry about all that technical stuff like hosting and ftp clients, then starting with WordPress.com may be a good option for you.

WordPress.com provides you with different packages for all types of websites.

WordPress.com Packages

Package NamePackage DetailsPriceLink
FreeBest for Getting Started - Create a beautiful, simple website in minutes.£0 for lifeStart with Free
BloggerBest for Bloggers - Customize your blog with a .blog domain and start sharing your ideas.£2.25 per monthStart with Blogger
PersonalBest for Personal Use - Add some personality to your website with a custom domain and access to 24/7 support.£4 per monthStart with Personal
PremiumBest for Freelancers - Build a professional site with everything you need to design, edit, and control your content.£7 per monthStart with Premium
BusinessBest for Small Businesses - Power your business with a professional design, Google Analytics, and live support.£20 per monthStart with Business
eCommerceBest for Online Stores - Open your online store with a powerful, flexible platform designed to grow with you.£36 per monthStart with eCommerce
Prices are shown as monthly but are billed yearly.

I recommend you go with WordPress.com if you want to:

  • get started instantly
  • have a test run at ‘blogging’or ‘site ownership’
  • get an idea of how easy it is to use WordPress
  • allow WordPress.com to manage your hosting

If you do go with WordPress.com, you can upgrade at any time to use your own domain.

NOTE: You can build your blog with WordPress.com and when you are ready to switch to a self-hosted WordPress site when you you can easily export your content from WordPress.com and import it to your blog hosted on your own server in just a few clicks.

Get started with a free WordPress.com blog

WordPress.org

WordPress.org allows you to download the open-source version or WordPress.com and host it on your own server.

The self-hosted version of WordPress gives you complete control over the entire site, content, design, and marketing and advertising options.

As I write this, WordPress has been downloaded 23,925,523 times and powers one-third of the websites on the web.

To use the WordPress.org platform, you will need to have a domain name and your own hosting with a hosting provider.

The domain is how people will find your website and the hosting account is where your WordPress files will live.

When people type your domain into a browser address bar or a search engine, the domain points your visitors to where your website files live on your server, provided by your hosting service.

A self-hosted WordPress installation gives you access to free and premium themes, free and premium plugins, frameworks and visual page builders.

Why Self-Hosted WordPress?

WordPress has humble beginnings as a pure blogging platform and has steadily grown and evolved into a full-fledged CMS (content management system).

A CMS allows you to manage your website, add content, images, videos, etc, without having to edit static code files, like the good old days of pure HTML coded websites.

WordPress is free and is constantly being updated for better performance, security, and functionality.

Out-of-the-box, WordPress is very easy to get started with and learn. You can change the look of your website in seconds by activating a new theme. You can access a large number of free themes on the WordPress.org theme directory.

WordPress also has a large community of theme developers who provide premium themes. Premium themes usually have more features and come with a greater level of technical support.

You can search for premium themes on directory sites such as ThemeForest or RocketTheme, and you can purchase premium themes directly from theme creators such as TeslaThemes and StudioPress.

In addition to premium themes, you can also access a number of free and premium site builders, allowing you to get your hands dirty and put your own theme, page and post layouts together. In this space, you’ll find Divi, BeaverBuilder, ThemifyBuilder, amongst others.

One barrier to using a site builder is not knowing basic HTML and CSS. Just having a fundamental knowledge of coding will truly enhance what you can create with site builders.

If you are interested in learning HTML and CSS then be sure to check out Treehouse. You’ll be able to learn everything needed to start your journey as a web designer and developer.

Another reason I always end up using WordPress to build websites is because of how easy it is to extend the functionality of a site by installing a plugin.

Just like with themes, WordPress.org has a huge library of free plugins that you can add to your site in just a few clicks.

You can also purchase premium plugins from plugin creators on directory sites like CodeCanyon, or directly from plugin creators such as the amazing MonsterInsights (Google Analytics on steroids), Monarch (stylish social sharing buttons), or GravityForms (add powerful contact forms to your site).

With the introduction out of the way, let’s get started and create your WordPress website.

Register for a Domain

The first thing you need to do is to register a domain.

Before we get into that though, it is very important to think about what your domain will be.

This is what people will type into the browser address bar or into a search engine to find your website.

dkpmarketing in google search showing what a domain name looks like

If you prefer to purchase your domain with your hosting provider, then skip to the next step. If you register a domain with a hosting provider, you won’t have to worry about step number 3, pointing your DNS (domain name servers) to host.

I like to keep my domain separate to my hosting provider in the majority of cases. This is a personal preference. If you would like to grab a free domain or purchase your domain with your hosting provider then jump ahead to learn how to register for hosting.

Follow the link to head on over to NameCheap.

Click Here to Search for a Domain on NameCheap

As you can see, registering for a domain is extremely easy.

register a domain

If you already have a domain name in mind, then type that in to the search bar. For this example, I am going to use biglittlemarketing.com.

type in domain in domain search box and click on the search domains button

Enter the domain that you would like for your website in the ‘search domain’ area and click on the search domains button.

You will need to filter through the results and choose the domains that make the most sense to you. There are lots of domain extensions to choose from but I recommend getting a .com or .co.uk when available.

Click on the ‘add to cart’ button to add your selected domain(s) to your shopping cart.

You will be presented with optional resources that you can purchase along with your domain. You can skip these as you will not need them for this tutorial.

view cart

Click on the ‘View Cart’ button. Now you will be able to select how long you wish to register your domain for.

select years to register domain then set auto-renew and confirm your order

  1. Select the longest term possible for your domain registration. If you are just starting out. If you can only afford 1 year right now, then go with that, but the longer the term the better.
  2. Set the domain to ‘auto-renew’ so that you are billed automatically when your domain registration period comes to an end. This means you will never have to worry about your domain expiring and you missing the all important ‘domain about to expire’ email.
  3. Now click on ‘Confirm Order’ to login to your account or create a new account and finalize your domain registration.

sign in and continue  or create an account to continue

Now all you have to do is:

  1. Sign in and continue, or
  2. Fill out your details and click on ‘Create Account and Continue’.

Enter your payment details, credit card or PayPal, and that is it. Once your payment has cleared, you have purchased a domain.

Now let’s get your hosting account setup.

Register for Hosting

To have a self-hosted WordPress website you will need hosting.

You have plenty of options when it comes to hosting.

For this tutorial, I’m going to use Hostinger. Hostinger is a fast, secure and reliable host and is super affordable for you if you are are just starting out.

Click here to sign-up with Hostinger

Alternative Hosting Options

Without getting too technical, you can get dedicated WordPress hosting from providers such as WPEngine or Kinsta.

Dedicated WordPress does cost more than other hosting environments and you’ll gain access to high-level WordPress experts as part of the support teams.

You will also find certain restrictions on the plugins you can install on your site when using dedicated WordPress environments.

This is often due to how the specialist WordPress hosting providers have their server environments configured: this can be because certain plugins have an impact on site speed and security.

Before you go with the host provider, Hostinger, that I’m using in this article, be sure to check out the following:

WPEngine boasts premium WordPress themes from StudioPress and the powerful Genesis framework as a bonus feature to their pacakges.

Get WPEngine from $35 per month

Kinsta provide secure hosting, free migrations, daily backups, and ultimate speed as a basis of their service.

Get Kinsta from $30 per month

If you don’t need dedicated Hosting and want an alternative to Hostinger and similarly priced, then I recommend SiteGround.

SiteGround have a stable and reliable host environment, allowing your WordPress website to load quickly, especially when you use their WordPress SuperCacher plugin that helps optimises your site for their server environment.

SiteGround also boasts one-click staging environments on their GrowBig package and above.

Get SiteGround Hosting from $3.95 per month

Some host providers will ask you to choose your data center when signing up. It is best to choose the data center closest to your target audience. For example, if you are creating a local business site in London that serves people in and around London, then the nearest data center to that location will be best.

If you audience is in the US, then a data center in the US will make the most sense. This allows your site to load quickly for your audience.


Right, let’s head-on over to Hostinger and register for an account.

Click here to sign-up with Hostinger

When you arrive on the Hostinger webite, click on the getting started button.

get started with Hostinger shared hosting account

You’ll be presented with the different account options. I recommend you go with the account that is most affordable to you.

If you can stretch to opening a Premium Shared Hosting account or Business Shared Hosting account, then I would recommend that you do so.

These accounts will give you access to more features such as unlimited websites and email accounts.

Here is a table showing all features of the Single Shared Hosting, Premium Shared Hosting and Business Shared Hosting accounts.

Compare Hostinger Web Hosting Plans

FeaturesSinglePremiumBusiness
Processing Power & Memory1X2X4X
Websites1UnlimitedUnlimited
SSD Space10GB20GB30GB
Bandwidth100GBUnlimtedUnlimited
MySQL Databases1UnlimitedUnlimited
Free Domain Registration
Free SSL
Daily Backups
Email Accounts1UnlimitedUnlimited
Easy Website Builder
Sign-Up NowGet SingleGet PremiumGet Business
99.9% Uptime Guarantee
24/7 365 Support
Powerful Control Panel
Webmail Access
DNS Management
Subdomains Per Account2100100
Parked Domains2UnlimitedUnlimited
FTP Accounts1UnlimitedUnlimited
Inodes200000400000400000
FTP Over SSL
Sign-Up NowGet SingleGet PremiumGet Business
File Manager
Weekly Backups
Access Manager
Multiple PHP Versions
PHP Configuration
Remote MySQL
phpMyAdmin
InnoDB
1-Click Installer
Cache Manager
Sign-Up NowGet SingleGet PremiumGet Business
SSH Access
Cronjobs1UnlimitedUnlimited
WordPress
Cloud Linux
Curl and Curl SSL
Hotlink Protection
GIT
Sign-Up NowGet SingleGet PremiumGet Business

Choose the hosting account that suits your needs and click on ‘Get Started’.

premium shared hosting

Click on ‘Get Started’ on your chosen package. You’ll then be presented with a few options.

choose host account term and additional extras

Select (1) the longest term you can afford to get a bigger discount on your hosting package.

I recommend you go with (2) ‘Daily Backups’ of your website. The low monthly cost is nothing compared to the headache this feature can save you if you ever mess up your website and need it rolled back to the last ‘saved’ version.

If you feel confident, you can backup your site manually, but I prefer to not have to worry about it! Another alternative is to manage your backups with a plugin such as UpDraftPlus Premium.

Click on (3) ‘Checkout Now’ to start the checkout process.

Before you complete the checkout process, if you skipped registering a domain with NameCheap as recommended above, you can register for a free domain now using Hostinger (limited to Premium and above packages).

If you have registered a domain already, then you can skip this step and go to ‘Complete Hosting Account Sign-up‘.

Register a Domain with Hostinger

During the checkout process that we have just gone through, you will also see a section where you can add a domain to your purchase.

search for a domain with Hostinger

  1. Enter the domain that you want to register.
  2. Click ‘Search’.

If the domain isn’t available, you will have to keep trying different options until you find the domain that you wish to register.

If the domain is available, add it to your purchase.

hostinger domain registration term

Again, if you are serious about your business then choose the longest registration period for your domain.

Now, let’s continue with setting up our hosting account.

Complete Hosting Account Sign-Up

Now, with or without the domain name added to your basket, click on ‘Checkout Now’ as mentioned above (and shown below).

You will now either have to register for an account with Hostinger or login to an existing account.

signup to hostinger using social accounts or email address

  1. Use your social accounts to sign-up to Hostinger.
  2. Or use your details (name and email) to sign-up for an account.
  3. Click on ‘Create Account & Checkout’ to go to the payment options.

On the next screen you will be able to choose your payment method.

payment methods for hosting account

I tend to use PayPal as it makes purchasing quick and easy, but you should use the option that is best for you.

Now, all you have to do is to go through the payment steps and then we will be ready to go on to the next step of pointing your DNS (domain nameservers) to your host account.

If you have purchased your domain through Hostinger, you can jump ahead to the famous ‘one-click WordPress installation‘.

The last thing you need to do now is add you domain to your Hostinger account.

Add Domain to Host Account

Now you have purchased your hosting account it is time to add your domain.

Go to your Hostinger admin area and find the section that says ‘Domains’.

add website to your hosting account

Click on ‘Add Website’.

enter domain details and add to host account

Select (1) ‘My Own Domain (you must have domain already registered’ and, (2) enter the name of the domain you registered with NameCheap.

Enter a (3) password or click the button to ‘Generate’ a password. Now click (4) ‘Add’ to add your domain to the host account.

addon domain has been added to your hosting account notification

You will see a notification that confirms that adding the domain to your hosting account was a success.

Configure SSL

If you have setup SSL and you can access your site over HTTP then you will need to ensure that you change this so that your site is only accessed through HTTPS.

Why Do I Need SSL and What is It?

SSL is a layer of security that provides a secure channel between two machines or devices operating over the internet or an internal network.

With SSL configured on your domain, this turns HTTP to HTTPS. The ‘S’ stands for ‘secure’. You see, http is insecure and allows data being transferred from a web browser to a web server to be intercepted. Not good for you if you handle sensitive data (if you have a contact form on your site, you do handle sensitive data) and definitely not good for your users.

SSL supports data encryption, authentication and data integrity and there really is no reason why you should not have it configured for your domain.

All the way back in 2014, Google indicated that they were using HTTPS as a ranking signal and they have confirmed as much in more recent years.

To configure HTTPS for your website you will need to have an SSL certificate for your domain that is configured with your host provider.

Contact your host provider and they will configure your SSL certificate for you. You can get free SSL certificate from the brilliant Let’s Encrypt.

Point DNS to Host

Now we need to point DNS to host. This sounds much more complicated than it is.

This is the process of ‘pointing’ your website URL (domain) to where your files live on your hosting accounts server(s).

click on domain list and then manage next to your domain

  1. Click on ‘Domain List’ to see all your domains if your dashboard does not show all your purchased domains.
  2. Click on ‘Manage’ to see the nameservers for your domain.

click on the dropdown arrow to enter custom domain nameservers

Click on the dropdown arrow next to ‘Namecheap BasicDNS’ to select ‘Custom DNS’.

select custom DNS

Now enter you nameserver information that you received from your host provider. If you are following along with this tutorial exactly, then your details will be from Hostinger.

If you do not know your nameserver information then simply contact your hosting account provider or check your welcome email when you signed up for your hosting account.

enter nameserver details and add more nameservers if required

  1. Enter your domain nameserver details here. Remember the nameservers usually start with ns1 and ns2.
  2. If you have more than the two default nameserves, click on ‘add nameserver’ to add more to your domain.

To save the nameserver changes you have made, click on the tick.

click on the tick to save domain nameserver changes

That’s it! You have now updated your domain nameservers (DNS) and pointed them to your hosting account.

You will see a notification telling you that this process can take 48 hours to take effect. It is usually much quicker.

dns server update may take up to 48 hours to take effect notification

Now we can get to the good stuff, and install WordPress.

success domain and hosting done now to install wordpress

Install WordPress

The days of downloading WordPress from WordPress.org, then uploading all the files via an FTP client (file transfer protocol) to your server on your hosting account, and then finally configuring WordPress, is thankfully a thing of the past.

Now, I’m pretty sure, all hosting account providers have the famous one-click installation process for WordPress.

The process will be pretty similar if you are using hosting providers such as SiteGround or Bluehost, but here are the steps for Hostinger.

Login to Your Hostinger Admin Panel

wordpress auto installer

In your control panel area, scroll down to the ‘Website’ section and click on ‘Auto Installer’. This will start the famous WordPress quick installation.

select install wordpress from other poppular blogging platforms

Now click on ‘WordPress’. You can find it under ‘Most Popular’.

On the next screen you will have to decide whether to install WordPress on a https:// or http:// site. You should have configured SSL already, if you haven’t, go to Hostinger and do that now.

select https

Select https:// from the dropdown menu.

choose a domain to install wordpress on

Now choose your domain and click on ‘Next’.

You will be taken to the next screen where you will have to create your administrator account.

enter wordpress admin details

Enter your (1) administrator username, choose a strong (2) administrator password.

Enter your (3) administrator email address and click on (4) ‘Next’.

add your wordpress site name

You will need to choose your (1) site language. Then add your (2) website title. For this site I would put ‘DKP Marketing‘ here. (3) press ‘Install’ to complete installation.

Remember, your website title doesn’t have to be exactly the same as your domain URL, but it is recommend that it should make sense to your visitors.

wordpress will complete installation

After WordPress has finished installing on your server, you will be presented with the following screen.

click on wp admin button to go to wordpress installation

Click on ‘WP Admin’ next to your domain to be taken to the famous WordPress login screen.

To access your site directly in the future, be sure to bookmark the login page.

You will also find the login page by going to your URL with /wp-admin appended to it. For example:

https://www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin

enter wordpress login details on wordpress login page

Now, using the details you created when installing WordPress in your Hostinger control panel, (1) enter your username, (2) your password, (3) click on remember me to login quickly on your next visit, and now click on (4) ‘Log In’.

You are now in your WordPress admin dashboard.

your wordpress dashboard

Now it is time to configure your WordPress settings.

Configure WordPress

WordPress is pretty much ready to go out of the box but there are some things we need to do before we get started.

If you have setup SSL and you can access your site over http:// then you will need to ensure that you change this so that your site is only accessed through https://.

Set Your Site’s Tagline

When you install WordPress using Hostinger, your site title has already been set.

However, you will need to change your tagline.

Some themes display the tagline on the frontend of the site. It is a quick description that says what your site is about.

Let’s say you are a ‘food blogger’, you would put something like that in the tagline section.

On your WordPress admin dashboard, go to ‘Settings’ and then ‘General’.

wordpress admin dashboard general settings

Head to the ‘Tagline’.

default wordpress tagline

Change it to something that represents what your site is about.

optimized site tagline

Whatever you change your tagline to, make sure it accurately describes what your users can expect from your site.

Change Admin Email

Underneath the ‘Tagline’ section, you will see ‘E-mail address’.

This is only necessary with some hosting providers. Some hosts give you a default email address such as admin@dkpmarketing.co.uk.

Admin Email

If this is the case, this is where you will need to change your email to one that you actually use.

You will need to confirm that the email has changed. You will be sent a confirmation email to the new email address that you are using, simply click on the confirmation/verification link in the email to confirm the changes.

Site Language, Timezone, Date and Time Format Settings

In the same area, set your (1) ‘Site Language’ and (2) ‘Timezone’.

site language and timezone

Here you can also set your (3) ‘Date Format’ and (4) ‘Time Format’.

One of the most important things you will need to do after installing WordPress is to set your permalink struture.

Set Permalink Structure

A permalink is a static (permanent) link to your page or post.

The best structure for you visitors is also the best structure for the search engines.

This structure is the ‘post name‘ structure.

It is the best option because it allows you to add keywords to your URL without having any additional words preceding it. This reduces the chances of the URL being too long that it gets truncated in the search engine results page.

For example:

truncated permalinks in google search results page

Here you can see (1) the URL is being truncated with the ellipses (…) and (2) has extra words that may not be useful to the intent of a searcher.

Using the ‘post name’ format, will also strip the category base from the URL.

So instead of

https://www.dkpmarketing.co.uk/blog/keywords-here/

or

https://www.dkpmarketing.co.uk/marketing/keywords-here/

you end up with

https://www.dkpmarketing.co.uk/keywords-here/

Here is an example of the ‘day and name’ permalink structure setup in your WordPress dashboard.

date permalink structure format

As you can see, it isn’t as friendly on the eye as it could be.

Just take a look at the following URLs.

https://www.dkpmarketing.co.uk/2019/04/29/start-a-wordpress-website/ (day and name)

and

https://www.dkpmarketing.co.uk/?p=28073 (plain)

are not as eye-catching, user-friendly as the post name structure shown below.

https://www.dkpmarketing.co.uk/start-a-wordpress-website/

This is what it looks like in a browser.

keyword rich permalink

To set your permalink structure in the same way, go to ‘Settings’ and then ‘Permalinks’.

Select ‘post name’ from the options and then click on ‘save changes’.

post name permalink structure

It is much better to set your permalink structure now, as changing it later on a large site can be problematic, redirecting all the old URL structures to the new permalink structure.

Now it is time to install a theme.

Install a Theme

Installing a theme on WordPress is quick and easy and will dramatically change the way your website looks in a matter of seconds.

WordPress comes with plenty of free theme options to get your started. WP also comes with a huge array of premium themes and site builders.

You also have a few ways you can add a new theme to your site.

In this article I will cover how to install a free theme directly from within your WordPress dashboard and how to upload a premium theme .zip file using the WordPress dashboard.

You can also install a theme using an FTP client or your file manager in your hosting account, but I will not cover these options in this post.

Install a Free Theme

Installing a free theme is very quick and easy.

Before you continue, the downside to many free themes that are available is that they are not always supported for the long term (essential if you need help from the theme creator), and many do not come with demo content.

Demo content is a quick way of getting your theme to look just like the ‘demo’ of the theme by installing the necessary content that the theme author has already created.

You can then edit and delete this content as you wish.

To install a free theme, go to ‘Appearance’ and then ‘Themes’.

wp admin dashboard wp appearance theme

You will now see your (1) ‘active’ theme and the other (2) installed themes that come pre-installed with WordPress.

active theme and installed themes

Now click (3) ‘Add New’ to search for a free WP theme.

free theme search parameters

Here you can (1) filter themes by ‘Featured’, ‘Popular’, ‘Latest’, ‘Favourites’, and ‘Feature Filter’. You can also (2) search for a theme using the search feature.

The feature filter section allows you to select specific search criteria such as by ‘Subject’, ‘Features’ and ‘Layout’.

feature filter

I will use the search box and type in the word ‘blogging‘ to see what comes back.

search free blog theme on wordpress.org

Now hover your cursor over a theme to see the ‘Details & Preview‘ text.

details and preview

Click to open up the theme preview. This allows you to see what the theme will look like on your site.

theme preview and detailed information

The (1) preview will load and you can scroll up and down on the site and (2) you can read more information about the theme.

back to theme search or scroll through themes or click to activate theme

You can now (1) click the ‘X’ to close the preview and continue searching.

Click the (2) arrows to scroll though the ‘previous’ and ‘next’ theme to the one you are previewing, and (3) click to install the theme.

click to activate theme

Find the theme you want and click ‘Install‘ and the button will then change to say ‘Activate‘.

Your chosen theme will now be ‘live‘ on your site for your visitors to see.

activated free theme on the frontend

Congratulations, you’ve just installed a free WordPress theme.

Install a Premium Theme

The steps to install a premium theme involve downloading the purchased theme to your computer and then uploading the theme to your WordPress admin area.

Head on over to Theme Forest and find a premium theme so that you can follow along.

Click here to find a WordPress premium theme

Once you purchase a theme, whether from ThemeForest or somewhere else like TeslaThemes or StudioPress, the installation process will be the similar.

I’m going to install the The7 theme from ThemeForest.

theme forest wordpress themes

You can search for themes based on niche, such as ‘Corporate’, ‘Nonprofit’, ‘Blog/Magazine’, etc.

Because I’m going to be installing The7 theme, I’m going to preview the theme.

click to preview the 7 theme

This will load your chosen theme to show how it will look on a live website.

the7 live preview

If you like the way the theme looks, then you will need to add the theme to your shopping cart and go through the checkout process.

add to cart button

Click to add the theme to your shopping cart.

You will then see the following screen.

Now you can choose the (1) licence (regular is enough for your own site), now choose (2) the duration of technical support from the theme author.

If you change your mind you can click on (3) ‘Cancel’ to go back to searching the themes or click (4) ‘Add to Cart’ to continue the checkout process.

You’ll now see the ‘item added to your cart’ confirmation message.

item added to cart confirmation screen

If you decide to (1) extend the term of your theme support to 12 month, you can tick the checkbox here. Click (2) ‘Go to Checkout’ to complete the payment process.

Because I already own the theme, I will not get a confirmation message. You will be redirected to a download page after your payment has been successfully processed.

To get to your purchases to download your theme, you can hover your mouse over your admin area and click on ‘Downloads’.

themeforest admin area downloads area

Find the theme you want to download.

Hover your mouse over (1) ‘Download’ and then click on (2) ‘Installable WordPress files only’. If you download ‘All files and documentation’, you will have to extract the files, locate the theme .zip file and then upload it.

Save the file to a location on your computer that you can locate easily such as the desktop.

Now head back to your WordPress installation and go to ‘Appearance’, ‘Themes’, ‘Add New’ and then click ‘Upload Theme’.

upload theme

Now click on ‘Choose File’.

choose theme file to upload

Locate the theme .zip folder where you saved it on your computer and (1) click on it to select it. Now click on (2) ‘Open’ to upload the theme files.

locate theme and select it

Now click on ‘Install Now’.

install premium theme now button

The theme will upload to your server and unpack the theme files.

activate premium theme

Now click on ‘Activate’ to make the them live on your website.

Congratulations, you’ve just installed a premium WordPress theme.

I’m not going to show you how to configure a premium theme here as they are all different. You will be able to find out more in your themes documentation.

Now we have our site looking the way that we do, let’s install a free plugin and then a premium plugin.

Install a Plugin

Plugins give a WordPress website a lot of extra functionality.

You can find lots of amazing free plugins to use on your site and you can also purchase premium plugins.

Just like with the free themes, premium plugins often come with a greater level of technical support.

Let’s start by installing a free plugin.

Install a Free Plugin

Go to your WordPress dashboard and locate ‘Plugins’ and then ‘Add New’.

wp dashboard plugins and add new plugin

Now you will see a screen similar to the ‘themes’ installation page from above.

wp plugins dashboard

Here you can filter plugins by (1) ‘Featured, ‘Popular’, ‘Recommended’, ‘Favourites’ or by performing a (2) search.

Here you can see that (3) Akismet Anti-Spam plugin is installed but not activated and the other plugins such as Jetpack by WordPress.com is not installed.

akisment antispam plugin information

The plugin information shows (1) the plugin name, (2) reviews and number of active installations, (3) when the plugin was last updated and compatibility with your version of WordPress, and (4) ‘more details’.

Clicking on ‘More Details’ will load up the plugin page from WordPress.org.

plugin page on wordpress.org

This gives you a more detailed page about the plugin. You can also click to install the plugin from this page. Because Akismet is already installed, it tells me that the plugin is up-to-date instead.

I will search for a plugin using the search feature. You can narrow your search by (1) ‘Keyword’, ‘Author’ or ‘Tag’, and (2) enter your search phrase here.

search for plugin by keyword tag or author

I will search for ‘SEO’ plugins.

From the returned plugins, I will install SEOPress. To do so, click on ‘Install Now’.

seopress free plugin click to install button

You will see the following installation loader animation, indicating that your plugin is being installed.

seopress installing notification

When installation is complete, you will see an ‘Activate’ button. Click this to activate your plugin.

activate seopress

When activation is complete, you will be redirected to different admin pages depending on your plugin. SEOPress redirects to the plugins page on your site.

Other plugins will redirect you to ‘complete setup pages’ or a ‘plugin options page’ to continue with the setup of the plugin you have installed.

seopress plugin activated successfully

Congratulations, you’ve installed a free WP plugin.

Now let’s intall a premium plugin.

Install a Premium Plugin

The steps to install a premium plugin involve downloading the purchased plugin to your computer and then uploading the plugin to your WordPress admin area.

Head on over to CodeCanyon and find a premium plugin so that you can follow along with the next steps.

Click here to find a premium WordPress plugin

I’m going to install Inline Call-to-Action Builder from the CodeCanyon website. This is the plugin marketplace related to ThemeForest, both owned by EnvatoMarket.

Once you purchase a plugin, whether from CodeCanyon or somewhere else like ElegantThemes or GravityForms, the installation process will be similar.

codecanyon wordpress plugins

On the WordPress category you will be able to (1) filter for plugins by cateogory, select a (2) popular plugin, or (3) search the site. Because I know which plugin I want to install, I’ve done a search and found the plugin that way.

preview premium plugin inline cta builder

Click to preview the plugin to see it in action.

inline cta builder plugin preview

This is the preview page for the InlineCTABuilder plugin.

Click on the ‘cart’ icon next to the preview button to add your chosen plugin to your shopping cart.

add premium plugin to cart

You will now be able to customize your selection.

customize plugin suport options and add to cart

Click (1) to extend the term of your premium plugin support (well worth the extra cost), click (2) to cancel and continue searching for plugins, or (3) click ‘Add to Cart’ to continue the checkout process.

go to checkout button

You’ll see the item added to your cart message. Again you can (1) ‘extend support to 12 months’ if you didn’t on the previous screen, or, (2) ‘Keep Browsing’ for plugins. Click on (3) ‘Go to Checkout’.

secure payment process for codecanyon

Now click on ‘Secure Checkout’ and complete the payment process and registering or logging-in to CodeCanyon.

downloads

You will find your purchase in the ‘Downloads’ section in your admin area.

download premium plugin inline cta builder

Locate your plugin and hover over the ‘Download’ button to see the options available. Click on ‘All files & documentation’ to download the plugin files.

In some cases, you will have to extract the plugin from within the CodeCanyon .zip file that you download. For the InlineCTABuilder plugin, the downloaded file is ready to upload as it is (no extraction required).

Head back to your WordPress dashboard, go to ‘Plugins’ and click on ‘Add New’.

wp dashboard plugins and add new plugin

Click on ‘Upload Plugin’.

upload premium plugin zip file

Now click ‘Choose File’.

choose plugin file from desktop

Locate the plugin .zip file that you saved on your system, and (1) click on it to select it, and then (2) click on ‘Open’ to upload it to WordPress.

select and upload premium plugin zip file

You can see the file has been uploaded by the file name being displayed next to the ‘Choose File’ button.

click to install premium plugin

Click ‘Install Now’.

activate premium plugin

Lastly, click ‘Activate Plugin‘ to activate your premium plugin.

plugin activated notification and plugin dashboard settings

You will see that the Inline CTA Builder plugin is (1) activated. You will also see the new (2) menu item for the plugin where you will go to access the settings and create a call-to-action.

Other plugins may walk you through additional setup steps, many of the SEO plugins do this to complete installation, but this will have you covered for the majority of premium plugin installations.

Congratulations, you’ve installed and activated a premium WordPress plugin.

Sites You Can Build With WordPress

As mentioned above, you can build a whole range of websites with WordPress.

Here are just a few examples to get your creative juices flowing.

Personal Blog

Soledad Blog Theme

Building your personal brand with a blog is a great way to start out online.

Many people start out with a blog to share their writing, to give their views on the a particular topic, sometimes even just as a place for their thoughts.

When they build an audience, they then start to write about their favourite products and link to them using their affiliate links.

For many bloggers, their writing is the most important thing. Using a personal blogging theme saves you countless hours designing a website.

Personal blog themes such as Soledad WP Theme make blogging quick and easy.

Click here to learn more about the Soledad personal blog theme

Click here to view more personal blog themes

News Site

newspaper 9 news theme

News and newpaper sites are very popular for bloggers because you can display a lot of your content on the homepage and the themes usually have lots of advertising features such as banner ad placements, etc.

Newpaper is a great example of a well designed, stylish and fuctional WordPress news theme. With Newspaper, you can write articles and blog posts with ease, great for a site that publishes regular content

This bestselling theme is excellent for a news, newspaper, magazine, publishing or review site. It supports videos from YouTube, AMP and is mobile ready, is GDPR compliant and the theme is fast, simple, and easy to use.

The theme is integrated with Instagram, bbPress Forum, BuddyPress and WooCommerce. Newspaper supports responsive Google AdSense placement, giving you an instant way to earn from your site.

Click here to learn more about the Newspaper theme

Click here to view more news and editorial themes

Business / Company Site

X the theme homepage

There are no shortage of business and company themes on the market that will allow small local businesses to large international corporations to have a visually appealing online presence.

Themes such as the X theme, allow you to import a numerous amount of demo content so that you can create a stunning business site in seconds, all you will need to do is edit the content.

The X theme comes with nearly 30 additional premium plugins that would cost you a lot of money if you were to buy theme individually.

Click here to learn more about the X theme

Click here to view more business and corporate themes

Classified Ads Site

classiads classified ads theme homepage

Running a Classified Ads website can be a great way to make money from premium ad listings and from affiliate promotions via banner ads and text links.

ClassiAds allows you to quickly and easily have a full-fledged classified ad site similar to sites such as Gumtree.

Go here to find out more about the ClassiAds theme

Go here to view more Classified Ad Themes

Shop / Store Front

pablo guadi jewelry shop theme

Creating a shop / store for you business or for promoting Amazon affiliate products is really easy with themes like the Pablo Guadi theme.

The Pablo Gaudi WordPress theme is geared towards a jewelry shop, but most shop themes can be tweaked for other uses.

It is super easy to create a shop using powerful plugins such as WooCommerce. This allows you to create a powerful storefront without the montly fees of a platform like Shopify.

Click here to learn more about the Paulo Gaudi Jewelry Shop Theme

Click here to view more ecommerce & shop themes

Conclusion

Congratulations on creating your first WordPress website.

This post covered a lot. You learnt how to register a domain, sign-up for hosting, point your DNS to your hosting account, install WordPress, add a theme and add a plugin.

You are now ready to start publishing your content.

Recommendations

Now you are up and running with your own website, here are some essentials to get you started on the right foot.

UpDraftPlus – One of the best backup / cloning plugins on the market. Never worry about losing your site again.

BulletProofSecurity – Secure your site against hacking and other cyber attacks.

GravityForms – Create beautiful looking contact forms with conditional logic for your website.

ThirstyAffiliates – Cloak and insert affiliate links in your blog posts with ease.

All In One SEO Pack – Install the free SEO plugin to optimise your site for search. Get the AIO SEO Pack Pro for extra features.

Karl Foxley Administrator
Owner , DKP Marketing
Karl Foxley is the founder and owner of DKP Marketing, a web design and digital marketing service provider specialising in lead generation and sales optimisation.
follow me
Share This