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Building a WordPress Website from Scratch

Building a WordPress website from scratch is not as difficult as many people think. In fact, it’s very easy if you know what you’re doing.

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If you are looking to build a website from scratch and don’t want to use an existing template, then you should consider using WordPress. It is one of the most popular content management systems (CMS) available today. You can learn how to install WordPress on your hosting account here. Once installed, you will be able to create a new site in just minutes. If you have never used WordPress before or need help setting up your first blog, this guide will show you everything that you need to get started with building a beautiful and functional website for free!


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Before we begin, I would like to mention something about me. I am a freelance web designer who has been working online since 1999. Over time, my skillset expanded beyond simple HTML websites into more complex CMS platforms such as Joomla!, Drupal, Magento and WordPress. Today, I work exclusively with these technologies because they allow me to do things much faster than when I was only coding static sites. That being said, there are still times where I prefer to code a basic HTML page by hand instead of using any kind of software. This article is meant to teach anyone interested in learning how to start their own blog from scratch. Whether you are completely new to blogging or simply want to try out some different themes, this tutorial will walk you through every step of creating a professional quality website without spending hundreds of dollars.

What Is The Best Hosting For Your New Site?

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When choosing which host to go with, make sure that you choose a reputable company that offers great customer service. Also look at reviews of other customers who have had similar experiences with them. There are so many hosts out there that offer cheap prices but poor support. Make sure that you find a provider that provides excellent customer service and also gives you plenty of options for customization.

How Do I Install WordPress On My Own Server?

Once you have chosen a domain name, purchased a hosting plan and set up FTP access, installing WordPress is pretty straightforward. All you really need is a computer running Windows 7/8/10 and a copy of Microsoft Visual Studio 2015 Community Edition. Before starting, make sure that you back up all of your files and data. Then follow along below to see exactly how to complete each part of the process.

Download & Install WordPress

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Download the latest version of WordPress from wordpress.org. After downloading, open the zip file and extract its contents onto your desktop. Now navigate to the folder containing the downloaded archive and double click on wp-admin.exe. Follow the instructions displayed on screen until installation completes successfully.

Create Database And Set Up Login Details

After completing the initial setup, log into your newly created database via phpMyAdmin. Navigate to the “wp_options” table and add two columns called ‘option_name’ and ‘option_value’. Enter the following values under option_name column:

Database Name – wp_db

Table Prefix – wp_

Option Name – dbprefix

Value – WP

Next, enter the following values under option value column:

Database Name – wp_db

User ID – 1

Remember to replace user id and password above with your actual login details. Once completed, save changes to the database. Next, create another entry in the same table named ‘siteurl’. Enter the URL of your site here. Save changes to the database. Finally, create an additional row in the ‘users’ table. Enter the email address associated with your account and then select the role ‘administrator’. You can now close phpMyAdmin.

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Upload Theme Files

Now that everything is ready, let’s upload the theme files. First download the free starter kit from WordPress.org. Extract the ZIP package and place the entire directory inside your root directory. Open the main index.php file located within the extracted content. 

This will create an empty page for you to start building out your website. Now we can begin adding our own custom code! Let’s add some CSS first. Create a new style sheet called stylesheet.css in your child themes folder. Add this simple CSS to make things look nice:

container {width: 960px;}

mainContent{margin: 0 auto; width: 880px;}

* html.clearfix {height: 1%; } /* IE6 */

body * + body { padding-top: 50px; } /* Opera 10.5 */

/* This line removes any margin between header and footer */ 

Activate Plugin Folder

Now that you have installed WordPress, activated plugins and uploaded your theme, it’s time to activate plugin folders. Click install next to the one titled “plugin directory.” Select the location you wish to store the plugins and click OK. If prompted by a security warning, simply accept the default settings.

Configure Permalinks

Permalink structure refers to where links point when users visit your blog posts. It determines whether or not search engines find your pages easily. By default, permalinks are configured as /%postname%. However, many people prefer having their URLs more SEO friendly. So, before proceeding further, change the permalink setting to something else. Go to Settings → Reading → Permalinks. From there, choose either Post Name or Pretty Link.

Customize Appearance

To customize appearance, head over to Appearance → Editor. Here, you’ll notice three tabs: Header, Footer and Widgets. Each tab contains different sections that allow you to edit various aspects of your site. For instance, if you want to remove the logo on your homepage, go to Header → Site Title & Tagline. Then scroll down until you see the Logo section. Simply delete the text beneath the image. The same goes for removing navigation items like About Us, Services and Contact us.

Install Plugins

Plugins extend functionality beyond what comes standard with WordPress. They’re often used to enhance features such as social media integration, eCommerce capabilities, contact forms and much more. There are thousands available to help build websites just about anywhere. In fact, most popular sites use at least 20+ plugins.

But how do you know which ones work best? That’s why I recommend using a third party tool like AllInOneOnline.com to test them all. Just type in the names of each plugin you’d like to try and get instant results.

Set Up Your Social Media Accounts

Social media accounts play a big part in today’s online marketing strategy. Sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn offer great ways to connect with customers and potential clients. Plus, they provide valuable insights into customer behavior and preferences. Before getting started though, be sure to set up these accounts so you don’t miss anything important.

Head over to Dashboard → Network Admin → Connections → Manage Connections. On the left side menu bar, hover over the icon labeled “Add New” and select “Facebook”. Enter your username and password then follow the prompts. Repeat this process for other networks.

Create an Email List

Email lists can prove very useful for promoting content across multiple platforms. Whether you send out regular newsletters or blast special offers only to subscribers, email is still considered one of the top methods of reaching consumers. To create an effective list, start by signing up for MailChimp. Once signed up, navigate to Lists→Create List.

Give your new list a name and description then save it. Next, add members by clicking Add Members. You may also import contacts directly from Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo! or another service provider.

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Optimize Images

Images make up a large portion of webpages. And yet, some images aren’t optimized properly. When done correctly, photos load faster and consume less bandwidth than larger versions. Unfortunately, optimizing images isn’t always easy. Fortunately, tools exist to assist. Both programs require registration but both come highly recommended.

In addition, users won’t see thumbnails until the full size file loads. So, optimize images by reducing file sizes and removing unused ones. There are plenty of online services available to resize and compress images. One option is TinyPNG.com. Just enter the URL of the original image and select “Compress Image File Size.” Another option is Smushit.org. Upload one or two sample images and choose between lossy compression or lossless compression.

Use Google Analytics

Google analytics helps website owners track visitors’ activity on their site. It provides information including where people came from, what pages were viewed, when those visits occurred and even whether someone clicked through links within the page. This data allows businesses to better understand user habits and improve future campaigns. If you already have a Google account, simply log-in and click “Signup now” under Tools → Webmaster Tools. Otherwise, sign up for a free account here.

Optimize Page Speed

Page speed matters because slow loading times negatively impact conversions. According to research conducted by Google, users will leave a webpage after 3 seconds if its not fast enough. So, while there are many factors involved in creating a speedy experience, improving page performance starts with making sure everything loads quickly.

One way to achieve this goal is by reducing file size. A good rule of thumb is to keep files below 2MB. Another option is to host static HTML instead of dynamic code. Lastly, consider hosting on a CDN network like Cloudflare. These services cache frequently accessed resources allowing them to serve requests without having to wait for the original source.

Implement SEO Best Practices

Search engine optimization refers to techniques designed to increase traffic to a specific URL via search engines. While SEO has changed dramatically since 2005, certain practices remain relevant today. For example, websites should include keywords throughout text and meta tags.

In addition, sites need to use Schema markup to ensure that all pages contain structured data. Finally, it’s best practice to link back to authoritative sources whenever possible.

Install Security Software

Security software protects against malware attacks such as viruses, spyware and spam emails. The most popular security tool is McAfee which comes preloaded on Windows computers. However, Macs do not ship with any form of protection. Instead, Apple recommends using third party apps like Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition.

Set Up Social Media Accounts

You’ve probably heard about social networking before. But did you know that more than half of Americans use at least three different social media channels? That means you’re missing out on tons of business opportunities if you haven’t created profiles for yourself. Start by registering for a profile on each platform: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, etc. Then, build relationships with followers who share similar interests.

Update Content Regularly

Content updates help drive engagement and boost rankings. As a result, updating regularly keeps readers interested and encourages sharing. Schedule posts ahead of time to avoid last minute scrambling.

Also, remember to check how often others post. Some sites update every hour while others publish once per day. Keep tabs on competitors too. Are they posting more frequently than usual? How can you beat them at their own game?

Use Responsive Design

Responsive design adapts content based on screen resolution. Users don’t want to scroll horizontally or vertically so responsive designs make reading easier. They also allow your audience to view your content across multiple devices. To create a mobile friendly version of your site, visit Can I Have My Site Mobile Friendly? You’ll find tips on optimizing your site for smartphones, tablets and other screens.

Utilize Video Marketing

Video marketing offers several benefits over traditional forms of advertising. Videos provide an opportunity to connect with customers emotionally rather than just intellectually. Plus, videos encourage viewers to engage with brands. And finally, video ads cost less than banner ads.

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With these advantages, why aren’t marketers doing more video marketing? Because it takes some work to produce high quality content. Fortunately, tools exist to simplify the process. Among them, Animoto makes it easy to create professional looking videos. Simply upload photos and music then add captions and transitions. Once complete, download your finished product directly into your email inbox.

Write Blog Posts Consistently

Blogging isn’t dead. Far from it! Writing blog posts consistently builds authority and increases brand awareness. When done correctly, blogging creates long term value. By publishing new material weekly, you establish a schedule and give readers something to look forward to. It’s important to keep in mind that consistency doesn’t mean writing identical articles week after week. Rather, write unique pieces that are relevant to your niche. This will increase traffic and conversions.

Create Landing Pages

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Landing pages offer another way to promote products without having to spend money upfront. Visitors land on landing pages when they click links within organic search results. These visitors may be ready to buy now but need additional information first.

A good landing page provides all necessary details including pricing, features, specs, reviews, contact info and ordering instructions. If you have trouble creating effective landing pages, try our free template builder.

Configure Settings File

To configure settings.php, first locate the file within your WordPress installation. If you’re unsure what path to use, check the documentation provided by your hosting provider. In most cases, you’ll be able to find the documentations easily enough.

Test Installation

You should now be able to visit your brand new website. However, if you encounter errors while trying to load pages, it may mean that certain PHP extensions aren’t enabled.

Add Plugins

If you want more functionality than the default Starter Kit provides, you will need to purchase or download some plugins. There are many available for sale online but we recommend using only those recommended by WordPress itself. For example, if you’d like to include social media sharing buttons, try Jetpack instead of buying yet another plug-in.

Optimize Your Site

Before launching any major marketing campaign, take some time to optimize your site. This includes things such as removing unnecessary code, fixing broken links and improving page loading speed. 8. Start Marketing!

You’ve just built yourself a beautiful web presence. It’s time to start promoting your business. The best way to do so is through SEO. Search engine optimization involves tweaking various aspects of your site including meta tags, title tag, keyword density, etc., to help search engines better understand your content.

Keep Learning

WordPress has become extremely popular over recent years because it allows users to build their own websites without needing programming knowledge. As a result, there are thousands upon thousands of tutorials out there explaining every aspect of building a successful blog.

Stay Updated

As technology advances at lightning pace, it becomes increasingly important to stay abreast of industry trends. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available to keep you informed about current events.

Make Sure That Everything Works

It can be tempting to skip this step when starting up a project, however, it’s vital to test all features before going live. You don’t want to spend hours troubleshooting issues after launch.

Get Help When Needed

Finally, make sure that you get support whenever needed. Most people who create blogs end up having problems along the way. A good host will offer 24/7 customer service which means they won’t leave you hanging in case something goes wrong.

Enjoy Yourself!

WordPress is a free and open-source blogging tool and a content management system

Congratulations on creating your very own personal website! Now go forth and enjoy it.

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