You have successfully completed Steps 1 and 2 as you create your website:
I highly recommend WordPress as you begin to create your website.
And it is free!
Be sure that you choose WordPress.org and not WordPress.com. The difference between the two is that WordPress.org is self-hosted—you have full control and are able to customize as you wish. With WordPress.com., they host the site and offer a few pre-selected themes on which to build your blog.
For me, this wasn’t any different than my family blog on Blogger, and I wanted more freedom to be creative as well as to monetize my blog.
Steps to Create Your Website
Be sure that you pick both a user name and password that are unique and safe as you create your website. I use LastPass to store all of my password information. LastPass can also generate a password for you using numbers, uppercase letters, lowercase letters and special characters.
Check here for detailed instructions from WordPress.org on how to install WordPress.
This takes you to the WordPress dashboard, and this is where the magic happens. Here you will design pages, create your website, and publish posts. Think of it as Command Central.
Login to WordPress.org Dashboard
Login to your WordPress Dashboard.
I found it very confusing when I logged in after my site timed out because I was given the option to login with WordPress.com or to login with an email and password. Until I realized that it was asking me to log in with WordPress.com and not WordPress.org, I kept requesting and changing passwords because my access was denied. I know, user error. But in case you wonder why your password isn’t working, that could be the reason.
Just login in with the login and password option versus logging in with WordPress.com when given the choice and you should be fine.
Choose Your Theme
To choose your website’s theme (the look of your site), go to your Dashboard > Appearance > Themes and then click on “Add New”. You will find a lot of themes, but not all have a long-standing reputation, not all are well-coded, and not all will be around in two to three years.
Choose a theme that is well-coded, reputable, has longevity, and many active installations as you create your website. I opted for the OceanWP theme, but I also found that Astra was highly recommended as well in my research.
“Install” and then “Activate” and you have now installed the framework for your site.
There are a lot of paid options as well for you to create your website. For me, as I was just starting out, “free” sounded like a good option.
Since then, I have invested many hours in learning and designing. If you don’t have the time for that, perhaps choosing to have someone build the website for you is an option. Or you could purchase prebuilt platforms that you customize to your site.
Once you have installed a theme, build on that theme by choosing plugins to create your pages. Install and activate each plugin. Many of these are free as well. I chose the Elementor page-builder plugin and then upgraded to the PRO version for additional functionality and creativity. (After creating a login on the Elementor website, you can activate the Pro version.)
Plugins add various features to your site, ie., creating headers, adding sidebars, building commerce sites, etc. They are easy to install and activate. First, go to Dashboard > Plugins > Add New. Search for the plugin by name or possibly by function. Make sure that the plugins you are choosing are well-rated, in use by many users, and supported by the theme you have chosen.
Now, if you are as new to all of this as I was in the beginning, you might want to search for some YouTube tutorials to guide you through the process to create your website. I started watching this one, Elementor WordPress Tutorial 2020 by WebYoda, to begin to get an idea of how to design a site. It was my first introduction to WordPress and Elementor.
I have watched a lot of Ferdy Korpershoek YouTube tutorials as well to create my website. I appreciate how he explains the steps to create a website.
YouTube and Google might just become your new best friends in trying to understand how to create your website masterpiece.
There has been a huge learning curve for me in building my site. In fact, when I told my husband what I wanted to do, he said, “I don’t think building a website is in your wheelhouse.” I decided that I was going to make it part of my wheelhouse of skills. (And I am still learning.)
Check out the Best Resources to Create Your Own Website.