This complete WordPress guide for beginners will teach you everything you need to know to build, manage, and grow your business website with WordPress.
Here’s what you’ll learn:
- Installing WordPress and using the WordPress admin
- Adding a WordPress theme and customizing the settings
- Adding (and designing) the correct pages
- Creating a sales funnel to sell a product or service
- Building an email list
- Much more
Each lesson is broken into chapters, which cover the basics of WordPress and building a successful website.
You will also find links that point to more detailed tutorials on WP Confidence and external sites.
Think of this guide as a starting point for learning WordPress basics, how to sell products or services, and generate traffic using content marketing.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: WordPress Hosting
All the files, images, and text that make up your WordPress site need to be stored on the internet somewhere.
This is where web hosting comes in.
When you buy web hosting for WordPress, you’re basically renting server space to store all the files.
Side note: A server is a computer that is connected to a network, or in this case the internet.
When people visit your domain name, your website is available 24/7, because the server is always online.
There are thousands of web hosting companies, but they essentially offer the same thing.
The two hosting companies I recommend are Namecheap hosting and Cloudways.
Namecheap Hosting: Great for Beginners
Namecheap are an excellent choice if you’re building your WordPress site for the first time.
They’re one of the cheapest options because they don’t overcharge you for paying monthly.
Most cheap web hosts advertise low prices, but you only get those prices if you pay for the whole year.
As you can see from the above image, the cheapest plan is just $4.88 per month.
You can still get a discounted price if you pay yearly, but it’s much less per month than other web hosts.
Note: Namecheap will also give you a free domain name for the first year if you buy the full year of web hosting.
You can start off on this plan and upgrade to more powerful features when you need it.
Cloudways: More Control and Scalability
Another great web host for WordPress is Cloudways.
This one is ideal for those who don’t mind spending a little extra for a lot more.
With Cloudways, you get more control over the server and its features, like the Cloudways SSL feature and automatic backups.
You can launch your WordPress site starting at $10 per month and then easily scale to more resources later on.
I’ve been using Cloudways since 2017.
If you’re a fast learner with technology, then Cloudways is perfect, but if you want something cheaper and easier to use, then go with Namecheap.
Chapter 2: Installing WordPress
To install WordPress on your hosting account will only take 10 minutes.
All you need to do inside your web host is select WordPress to be installed and follow the instructions.
The process might be slightly different depending on the hosting platform you choose.
Either way, it’s fairly straight forward.
Chapter 3: WordPress Admin, Dashboard, and Settings
Your WordPress Admin is where you, the owner of your website, can change the design, add or edit pages, create blog posts, add new functionality with the use of plugins, and much more.
It’s where you’re able to take full control of how your WordPress site functions.
Want to add a new page? Check.
Want to redesign the home page? Check.
Want to create a landing page for a new lead magnet? Check.
It all starts in the WordPress Admin.
Chapter 4: WordPress Themes
Using a WordPress theme makes it very easy to change the design of your website, without knowing how to code.
Choosing a theme is also very affordable with many free options available.
You can use a free theme in the beginning, which offers basic features, then upgrade to better features later on.
This means you will have more money to invest on things like marketing, hiring a team, or premium plugins to help you grow your audience in the beginning.
More basic customizations, like adding a logo and changing font settings, are all done in the theme’s customizer.
Chapter 5: WordPress Pages and Navigation
Every website is made up of pages that contain information about your product or service.
The intention behind this information is to help build trust with your audience so they can make a decision on whether to work with you or not.
The most common pages include:
- The home page
- About page
- Product pages
- Service pages
- Contact page
- Blog or articles
- Legal pages
These pages are then displayed in the navigation menu and within links throughout the site to help people find what they’re looking for.
If you want to make some pages look better or do things like duplicating a page, there are plugins to help you do this.
Chapter 6: WordPress Header and Footer Layout
The WordPress header and footer are important areas of your website that displays your logo and navigation links.
These links help visitors navigate your pages so they can learn about your business and how you can help them.
The header and footer is usually the same layout and design on every page of your a website.
You can often change the layout of these areas with the theme you choose and different themes give you different layout options.
For example, some free themes let you edit the copyright text, whereas others only allow it in the premium version.
Chapter 7: WordPress Home Page
Your home page can be designed in dozens of ways and depends on your business model, but to keep things simple, most websites will follow these guidelines:
- Header – logo and menu
- Hero – an image with text and a call to action
- Social proof images
Then different sections that summarise your business services or products, listing the problems in the market and how your business/website solves the problem, testimonials, and other info that will help your audience take action.
You can think of your home page as a contents page for the rest of the website.
Or your home page can simply be a list of your most recent articles from your blog.
The last section on the home page is the footer, which consists of links to other pages on the website, contact info, social media links, and legal disclaimers, etc.
The best home pages are kept simple, clutter free, and makes it easy to diguest what your business is about.
Chapter 8: WordPress About Page
The primary role of your about page is to help your visitors understand how your business can help them.
It’s often mistakenly used to talk about the business or business owner, but this is a misused opportunity to build raport and trust with your audience.
The truth is, website visitors don’t really want to know the backstory or personal details of the website owner. They want to know if they’re in the right place and that your business can help them.
It’s okay to have a brief bio about the business ower, but place it at the bottom of the about page instead of the top.
Chapter 9: WordPress Legal Pages
These pages include:
- Terms and Conditions
- Disclaimers (affiliates, sponsored posts, etc)
You can create all the correct legal pages using this plugin.
Chapter 10: Get a Business Email Address
When you build your WordPress website and start running your online business, you’ll want to use an email address with your domain name.
This will separate your personal email account that you might be suing with Gmail or Yahoo from your business email.
It’ll also look way more professional if you use an email like, firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to create a business email, follow my article on how to create a free business email on Zoho.
Chapter 11: WordPress SMTP
SMTP stands for Simple Messaging Transfer Protocol, which is a means of successfully sending email from your WordPress website.
The default setting uses code to send email, which is not very efficient. Leaving the default setting on will usually result in failed email sending or turning up in the receivers spam folder.
When you switch to SMTP, you improve the deliverablity of email, which is essential if you have a contact form, sell a product, or use an email marketing plugin on your website.
Activating SMTP on your site is very straightforward and once it’s done, it’s done.
Related Post: How to Use Zoho SMTP Settings with WordPress
Chapter 12: WordPress Contact Forms
A contact form is a form usually found on the contact page.
It’s rrole is to allow your website visitors to send you an email from the page, instead of them having to go to their email account.
Chapter 13: WordPress GDPR
GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation, which is a data protection law in the EU.
The General Data Protection Regulation is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy in the European Union and the European Economic Area. The GDPR is an important component of EU privacy law and of human rights law, in particular Article 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. – Wikipedia
If your website or traffic is based in the EU, then you need to declare what information your website collects including names, emails, cookies, tracking data, IP addresses, etc, and ask them for permission that this is OK.
Chapter 14: WordPress Sales Funnel
A sales funnel is made up of several pages that take your visitors through the buying journey.
Using content marketing and sales psychology, you can use a sales funnel to automate sales from cold or warm traffic into into customers.
Sales funnels consist of a sales page with a call to action for them to buy, a page where they enter their payment details, and a thank you page explaining how they use your product or service.
Other pages on your website can strategically direct your visitors to a sales page, like articles on your blog, or from a product or service page.
Chapter 15: WordPress Blog
Starting a blog on your WordPress site is an excellent way to drive traffic and convert them into leads and sales.
You can also use plugins with your blog posts to add extra features like adding social share buttons and SEO plugins to improve search results.
Chapter 16: WordPress Optin Forms and Lead Magnets
An opt-in form is a form that people fill out to join your email list or newsletter.
Oftentimes, people incentivize people joining by offering them something for free, aka, a lead magnet.
Side note: A lead is a potential customer that has given you their email, but not yet made a purchase from you.
They are called lead magnets because people are attracted to them and will happily hand over their email address in exchange for them.
Opt-in forms can be added to your website in different ways.
The most common ways are in the header of your pages, in the sidebar of your blog, or on a separate page, aka, a landing page.
That concludes this WordPress guide for beginners. I hope you have learned something new.
Be sure to bookmark it for future reference!
Photo credit Pixabay