So You Want To Start A Site Of Your Own?
Whether for your blog site, portfolio, or e-commerce site, we all need a personal website. In this series of tutorials, we will check out how to make a functioning website with various plugins and SEO best practices to help you get up to speed on creating a personal website that will stand out and rank higher in search engines. By the end of this tutorial series, you will have a modern, attractive, and well-performing site of your own, and you will have the skill to build upon your acquired knowledge to make many more websites.
What are the options when it comes to building a website?
Just like almost everything else in technology, there are countless paths you can take to achieve a result that will satisfy your needs. But not all of them are equal in terms of difficulty. Some are more difficult than others. Sure, you can deploy a JAMSTACK to serve a static site. Is that doable? Sure. Is that convenient? Absolutely not.
This is where WordPress comes in.
WordPress is a CMS (Content Management System) that can bootstrap you to make various websites ranging from personal blogs, portfolios, or shops. WordPress is not the only CMS that can do this, though. There are different CMS like Drupal, Joomla, and Ghost that can achieve the same thing. But we think, and we hope that you would agree, that WordPress is the easiest because along with having the most amount of deployment and documentation, your tooling choices are vast. But before we get too ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look into the various things you need to start a WordPress site.
Necessary tools to have your website:
Before starting a website, you need a list of things. These things are essential for you to get going. Let’s talk about them.
- Domain: Websites are hosted in a computer; thus, by default, a website’s address will be the address of the computer it is hosted on. This is where a domain name comes in. You need to buy a domain to redirect you to your website when someone types a domain name like https://yourwebsite.com. There are some free domains that you can get from freenom. But for a professional website, you should get a paid domain. There are many domain name sellers. Most of them are fine, but we recommend Namecheap.
- Hosting provider: You need a hosting to host your website so that people can connect to it. You can host your website on your computer locally, but you can not scale this as you have more and more visitors. Besides, many consumer ISPs impose a restriction on hosting. Hosting providers come in two flavors. Some hostings are managed, and some are unmanaged. Managed hostings are ideal for people with little to no time to set up and maintain a server. Or if you feel like you are not yet proficient enough at Linux. Managed hostings will offer support to fix most of your issues, and they will install WordPress for you. But they can be expensive. This is the price you pay for someone else to work on your system maintenance. You can look at WP Engine, Site Ground, and Blue Host, among managed services. Unmanaged providers are VPS or Virtual Private Server. They just sell you a virtual machine where you install Linux, keep the box updated, and install WordPress. You can get expensive VPS from Google, Microsoft, or Amazon. But for our need, we recommend Linode and DigitalOcean. Depending on your experience and time, buying either managed or unmanaged hosting providers is fine.
- WordPress: Since we will be using WordPress for this series, it’s a no brainer that you need to install WordPress. WordPress is famous for its ease of installation. For managed hosting providers, you don’t need to worry. WordPress will be installed for you. But if you are with a VPS provider (unmanaged host), you have a couple of options. You can either go to the docker route and install WordPress that way. The docker files are here. If you don’t want to go the docker route, you can install it on Ubuntu following this tutorial.
- Themes: Themes are paramount in the WordPress ecosystem. When you install WordPress, you are offered some free themes. But they are very rudimentary, to say the least. While there are very good free themes you can take a look at here, we suggest you purchase proven and tested themes like Divi, Astra, Avada, or Hestia.
- Page Builders: Page builders are an alternative to themes. You don’t need page builders, but if you do not use a theme, a page builder can help you get started quickly. Most page builders have a free tier and a paid tier. While the free tier is ample for many tasks, a paid page builder is needed if you are serious about your website. We suggest Elementor or Beaver Builder. There are not as many choices when it comes to page builders as there is for themes. If you are confused about the difference between page builders and themes, don’t worry. We will cover their difference in details later on in a post.
- Plugins: Plugins are essential in any WordPress. You might not have a custom theme or page builder, but you will definitely have a slew of plugins that add functionality to your website. Be it to reduce spam comments (Akismet) or to increase your website security (WordFence), or achieve better SEO (Yoast). Fret not; you do not need to know about any of these right now. We will cover them as we go through.
- Patience and Perseverance: Exploring new things is never easy. You need to dedicate some time and effort to build up your skill and hone your craft. Learning doesn’t have to be frustrating, though. We will create a working website together, and it’ll be easy, fun, and rewarding. It’ll also be enjoyable and educative for you, we promise.
That’s all there is to it. In our next post, we’ll tackle the necessity of programming to create your website.