Installing and configuring WordPress
This is where the fun really starts! When you hear the words ‘installing’ and ‘configuring’ I wouldn’t be surprised if your eyes glazed over, but once you know how to do this stuff you will want to know more. Trust me!
I’m going to show you how to:
- Install WordPress
- Get it set up and ready for your new website
- Plan for your content and design
You’re going to need website hosting including a database to do all of this which was already covered in this post.
I will try and keep everything as simple and easy as possible, but if I get too technical let me know in the comments below or ask in the Facebook group and I’ll do my best to help out.
There are a lot of different ways to do the steps I’m going to talk about below which you may have found if you’ve been doing any research on this topic before now.
I have tested this method hundreds of times over the years and find it to be the cleanest way to install WordPress without spending too much time learning overly technical skills.
Uploading and installing WordPress
Head over to https://wordpress.org/download/ and download the latest WordPress package to your hard drive.
Once the package has finished downloading you will need to upload it to your hosting. There are a few ways you can do this and I would normally use FTP but the easiest way not involving downloading any new software will be to use the hosting control panel file manager.
- Login to your hosting control panel and go to the File Manager.
- Upload the WordPress package .zip file and extract it to the public folder.
- Make sure all the WordPress files and folders are in the public_html folder.
- If they’re in a folder named ‘wordpress’ move all the files and folders to the public_html folder.
Now you’re ready to install WordPress!
Go to your domain http://example.com and follow the prompts. You will need to enter the database details you saved when you set up your website hosting. In most cases the database server will be localhost. Use something other than ‘admin’ for the WordPress administrator username.
Once you’re all done and assuming it went smoothly you will be looking at a shiny new WordPress admin dashboard! Woo hoo!
There’s a bit of housekeeping to be done when you log in for the first time. All of these settings can be changed at a later date but it’s a good idea to get it set up before you start working on anything else.
In the menu on the left hand side got to Settings > General
Check your title is correct and update the tagline. This should be something describing your business in one line so keep it fairly simple. It doesn’t display in all themes so you can leave it blank and update it later if you like.
Scroll down to Timezone and update the drop down menu to your timezone. You can adjust the date and time formats but usually they are ok as is.
You can update the site language to whatever you like at the bottom of the page.
Click the Save Changes button.
Now go to Settings > Permalinks, select ‘Post name’ and click the Save Changes button. This can be updated later but for now it’s the best setting.
Planning your website structure and adding pages
If you haven’t thought about this already you will need to come up with a few pages to start with.
Don’t worry if you don’t have any content right now, you can add new pages, add some filler text or just leave them empty for now.
Go to Pages > Add New, add a page title at the top and some content in the text area underneath. Repeat this process until you have all the pages you need. Don’t worry if you think you might have more pages or the page titles aren’t correct, you can always update them later.
It’s a good idea to paste plain text with only basic paragraphs. Sometimes if you copy and paste text with extra formatting it can mess up the design of your site by pulling in unwanted formatting. On Mac use ‘shift option command v’ to paste without extra formatting.
If you plan on having a blog or news section add a new page with the title Blog (or whatever you would prefer to call your blog section) and leave it empty.
Setting up a menu
Every website needs a menu so visitors can find their way around. WordPress has a built in menu system making it super easy to manage.
Go to Appearance > Menus and click ‘create a new menu’ next to the ‘Select a menu to edit’ drop down. Give the menu a name such as Main Menu and click the Create Menu button.
On the left you will see the new pages you created, tick each page you want to appear in the menu and click the Add to Menu button. You can then drag and drop them into the order you want them in.
You may see an option for Display location. This changes depending on which theme you are using. For now just select Main Menu.
Click the Save Menu button when you’re done.
Setting up a separate home page and blog
By default WordPress displays Posts on the home page. To set a separate home page and blog page go to Settings > Reading, next to ‘Front page displays’ select ‘A static page (select below)’, for the front page select your home page and for the posts page select your blog page. Click the Save Changes button.
By now the back end of your WordPress website should be starting to take shape. Your site is now ready to get started on setting up the front end design and layout using a theme.
In the next post I’m going to talk you through finding a theme and getting it set up.