WordPress Start to Finish
In this WordPress tutorial, you will find all tips and tricks you will need in order to create a stunning and fast website with WordPress. We discuss how to install, design and even optimize your WordPress website.
Be sure to check out the list of our newest posts on WordPress at the bottom of this page.
WordPress was first released on May 27, 2003.
WordPress is a CMS and has many uses as in creating a blog, business or personal website, online shopping website, wikis and even much more other uses. It was designed and created using PHP and MySQL. Most people refer WordPress to be a content management system (CMS).
Its currently the most popular CMS in the world hosting millions of websites.
Why You Should Choose WordPress for Your Website?
After finding out that millions of websites around the world use it for their own websites, there must be a very good reason this is so. Lets this a few points as to why we think it is a good choice for your website.
WordPress is Free and opensource.
WordPress has tons of free plugins and themes that help customize it.
WordPress is based on PHP making it easier to troubleshoot.
WordPress is so easy to install.
WordPress is fast and updated frequently.
Let’s start explaining how to install WordPress easily, Softaculous Auto-Installer.
The steps below show how to install WordPress on our control panels:
Access your web hosting control panel.
Locate the option called Softaculous Auto Installer and open it.
Click WordPress and click on its icon.
Now fill in website details:
URL – The URL where WordPress should be installed. If you want to install it on root domain name (example.com) for eg.
Admin Username – Your WordPress admin username.
Admin Password – Your WordPress admin password.
Admin Email – Enter your email address.
Site Name – The title of your WordPress website.
Site Description – A short sentence explaining what your website is about.
Press Install button and watch it install easily.
Installing WordPress Manually
To install WordPress manually is actually quite easy.
The first thing to do is go to WordPress website (wordpress.org) and download the latest version of wordpress.zip file and place it on your desktop.
Then login to your web hosting control panel and create an FTP account unless you have your FTP login details already.
Note you can also use the File Manager of cPanel, Directadmin or Plesk aswell to perform this step.
Upload the file using your FTP program to the public_html folder or whichever folder will be hosting your website. Most commonly its the public_html or httpdocs folder.
Extract the file in that folder and ensure all the files are directly displayed in that folder
Once done login to your control panel and search for the database section for MySQL. Create a database choosing a good strong name. Usually the db would have a username_ already added there so just add to it something like wpblog5123, etc.
The Database name will then look like username_wpblog5123 in this example but yours may differ.
Create a strong username and password aswell and ensure you assign the db user to the db name if required as some control panels do not auto assign the database user to the database itself.
Now you may go to https://yourdomain.
If all went well it should load the WordPress installer.
Select the language, fill in the title , description and then database details as it requires. Once done it should be fully installed and redirect you to the website.
Using in WordPress Dashboard
Once the installation is complete, the first thing you would want is to login to the WordPress Admin Dashboard.
Go to https://yourdomain/wp-admin
Once logged in you will now be displayed with the WordPress features you can use to design your website.
Here you will find sections like:
Posts – Where you can add blog posts for example.
Pages – Where you can create seperate pages for your website.
Appearance – Where you can customize the look and feel for example themes or menus.
Settings – Where all the common settings are stored.
Plugins – Where you can add extra features for your website, like social plugins, caching plugins, security addons, woocomerce (convert site to shopping site), etc.
Publishing your first page or post
WordPress all starts when you first create a page or post. This is the main part and building blocks of a WordPress website.
WordPress posts can be categorized, tagged, archived. WordPress posts are used to publish things like blog posts or content that needs to be updated regularly.
Pages are more for things like Website pages or pages that dont change to often and that are static in otherwords.
Creating Your first Post
Create a new WordPress by opening up the Add New section under Posts or choose New -> Post option from the top menu toolbar.
An Editing screen should be displayed with many posting features. The first thing to do here is to enter a title for your post.
Thereafter enter the content of your post in the field below it. Here you can change the font style,etc. while doing so.
On the right menu section you will find things that help search engines know what the content is about so ensure you go through the Meta boxes and fill them in or correct them. An example to is check the permalink section to ensure the url is displayed the way you want it. Dont make it too long.
At the top right you will find a Save Draft, Update and publish button. You could may the post private, password protected or public. Private means no one can view it on the web, password protected indicates you will have to insert a username or password to get the post displayed and Publish is the main option is to make it live on the website.
You can delete the post aswell on this page.
We recommend always adding a Featured Image. Try and create a theme with all the images you use in your posts so you have some consistency and the look and feel stays professional on the website.
Creating Your First Page
To Create a new WordPress page, open the Add New section under Pages menu or click New -> Page button at the top menu toolbar.
The page is created in much the same way you did it when creating a post above.
Here you can set what page is your primary page or order the pages in the order you like.
Installing a few WordPress Plugins
Plugins can be your best friend or a nightmare. So be sure to choose the best plugins and only those you require.
The main reason I used the word “few” is that the more WordPress plugins you add the more “bloated” the site becomes and the possiblity of WordPress feeling slower. The same way that the more people in a household there is the more food or electricity usage occurs So with WordPress the more plugins you have the more “memory” and “cpu time” it will require for the website to load better.
Hence try to stick the most common, most updated, and most essential plugins that you actually require.
Note some plugins are not updated often so keep a look for those and use alternatives where a larger community or updates occur. This ensures your site stays stable and fast.
Let me discuss on the most common or best plugins we prefer when designing websites.
LiteSpeed Caching Plugin
If you want your website fast and cached well this is the best plugin to use on our servers as it performs server caching and browser caching aswell as something called object caching which not many plugins offer to ensure a smooth and fast website loading experience for your customers/viewers.
Secure your website from brute force attacks by using this plugin to ensure its protected. Note if using Contact Form plugin for pages like Contact Us ensure you install a Recaptcha plugin or some protection to ensure spammers do not use it to spam email accounts on the web.
This allows good image compression to your images. Does not help having a good caching plugin but your images are of large sizes. Image compression plugins try to decrease quality a little thus making the file sizes of the images smaller and making the site load faster. Note there are better paid plugins for image compression like Imagify which we have also personally used and recommend.
Yoast SEO or All-in-one SEO plugins
These plugins help get your website rank better. They display how to use words and your keyword density used and if your titles are well written, etc. Plus many other features.
I would not recommend leaving this plugin installed but if you want to scan your website to ensure it is clean and no malware or hacked files exist this is a great tool which is free and that can auto-clean your site well. Be sure to uninstall it once done as it does slow your site down a bit as its a security plugin. We have server level security installed hence this is not really required to be a permanent solution.
The look and feel of your site is important but not at the cost of performance of the site.
Hence we recommend a few good options when designing your WordPress website.
The fastest theme we found which is free is the GeneratePress theme. We will list a few other onces below and note you can easily install these using the Appearance -> Themes section and clicking Add New option. If you have purchased a theme on the web you can use the “upload theme” option to do so.
Alternatively you could use any of the built in themes which are quite fast and optimized well aswell.
Other WordPress Caching Plugins
If you do not want to use the LiteSpeed Caching plugin or already purchased another here are some tips on a few we have tried.
Note however with LiteSpeed Caching Plugin we were able to get our Hostking website rank on https://pagespeed.web.dev/ from 92% to 100% for desktop loading and from 88% to 97% on mobile. This is a massive improvement where we used a plugin called WP-Rocket before.
Here is the list and our comments and opinion on each.
WP-Rocket Caching plugin
An exceptional plugin making it easy to install and manage. Allows linking to a CDN or even cloudflare to increase performance with great recommendations. For us this is number 2 on our list.
Just as easy but completely free to use. Great caching features
WP Fastest Cache
Very easy to use and setup however in our opinion not the fastest.
Optimize your WordPress Images
Image optimization is a very important task to never forget about if you would like your website to rank fast.
The 2 main issues that make websites load slowly when it comes to images is.
- The size of the image itself and quality displayed. Websites do not need very high quality images like photographs do so making it web optimized is important. Hence using image compression tools to help can assist in speeding up your website alot.
- The dimensions of the image. Why have an image that is larger that your monitor? not necessary right. So ensure images are scaled down to the size of the required size on the website itself rather than having it auto-scale it which still leaves the file size quite large and creates a tiem consuming task for the browser which could affect performance.
Alot of new websites using scripts like Live Chat plugins or discount banners, plus much more others.
This can help increase your page speed drastically and improve your scored on websites like GTMetrix or Google’s Pagespeed thus possibly assisting in increasing your Google Ranking.
Using a CDN
CDN stands for Content Delivery Network. These services which are usually paid except for Cloudflare Free where the service has many POPs (Points of presence) in many countries of the world. This ensures that some content of your website like, images, css or js are stored on the pops where it was copied to so that your viewer for example in India will get those files for your website from a server closest to them thus improving the performance for the viewer drastically.
Note implemeting a CDN may be technical and is usually not required in most instances. But its probably once the last things you could consider if you want to push out even more performance.
Lazy Loading for Images
Lazy loading of images is a feature where you website loads image on a browser when in “sight” or “view” and not when loading exactly. It basically takes it time to load images only when “required”.
This improves the feel of the site and all images dont need to load “exactly” when the viewer loads your website.
This is also a good option to use. Be sure however to exclude the main files on lazy loading which should be seen on first view of your website. For eg. The logo or first banner image of your website.
Note this feature is available within Litespeed Caching Plugin aswell.
Keep WordPress Updated
Once of the most overlooked but most important things is to keep your site updated. Luckily in the latest versions of WordPress you can set your plugins and themes to auto -update from within the panel itself. We recommend you do this which increases the security of your WordPress site and keep it more secure.