This WordPress tutorial is easy to follow with illustrations and simple explanations. You can now master WordPress quickly and effortlessly.
We have broken down this how-to tutorial into several sections. Jump to the section that most interests you, or go through them all from start to finish.
WordPress tutorial contents
- What is WordPress?
- How do I start using WordPress?
- What is website hosting?
- How do I install WordPress?
- How do I configure WordPress?
- How to install a WordPress theme
- How to install a WordPress plugin
- How do I create a web page in WordPress?
- How do I post an article on WordPress?
- How do I make an amazing website that gets results?
- Additional WordPress tutorial topics
What is WordPress?
WordPress is free software you can use to build powerful and beautiful websites.
It started out as blog software, used to build a blog website and publish posts. But it has evolved into a full-featured robust content management system (CMS).
“Content management system” is just a fancy way of saying that it makes it easy for non-programmers to manage the content — text, images, etc. — on their websites.
In other words, even if you’re not a programmer, you can easily build web pages, create and edit text on those pages, and add images.
How do I start using WordPress?
To use WordPress for your business website, follow these steps:
- Sign up for WordPress website hosting
- Install WordPress in your web hosting account
- Configure the basic settings in WordPress
- Select a “theme” (template) for the appearance of your website
- Install any plugins you will need for your website
- Build your website pages
- Post blog articles (if you want to include a blog on your website)
- Maintain your website and keep it updated
Each of these steps is clearly explained in detail below.
What is website hosting?
A website needs to be accessible to users on the internet.
Building a website on your own computer doesn’t make it accessible to the outside world.
Your website needs to be installed on a special publicly-accessible computer with sufficient processing power to handle a high volume of traffic and connected to the internet via a high-bandwidth connection. This computer is called a “web server” because it serves out web pages to user’s computers across the internet.
Renting out space and bandwidth on a web server is called “website hosting,” and it’s a critical component of your online presence.
Some web servers are configured to be optimized for running WordPress websites. This optimization makes WordPress websites run faster and smoother, creating a better user experience for your website visitors. It also tends to boost your WordPress website’s ranking in search engines (which means more website traffic for you).
Get more information about WordPress website hosting.
How do I install WordPress?
Installing WordPress from scratch can feel a bit intimidating, especially if you’ve never done it before.
Luckily, most web hosting providers offer an installation wizard to automate the process for you.
There are two main ways to install WordPress on your web server:
- Automated through an installation wizard
Many website hosting plans come with cPanel, which is a web hosting control panel. If your hosting plan has cPanel it’s likely you will have access to a software auto installer.
Two common auto installers are Softaculous and Fantastico. There are others as well.
Check in the “Software and Services” section of cPanel to see if your web host provides you with an auto installer. If so, you can use it to automatically install WordPress for you.
If your web host doesn’t use cPanel, or doesn’t provide an auto installer in cPanel, you will need to install WordPress manually. WordPress provides detailed instructions for manually installing WordPress on their website.
You can also hire a WordPress expert or web developer to install it for you. For example, we offer a WordPress installation and configuration service.
How do I configure WordPress?
When you first install WordPress, it will default to a basic barebones configuration.
If you don’t need anything fancier or more advanced, you can leave it as it is and start adding pages and posts.
However, most people prefer to do some customization of the configuration to get the website structured and laid out the way they want it.
These are some of the most common configurations that web designers generally customize:
- Selecting a theme (template) for the appearance of the website
- Installing plugins to add certain functionality and special features
- Updating the title of the website
- Setting the timezone to the local timezone
- Specifying the date format that is used on the site
- Specifying the time format that is used on the site
- Configuring the home page to be either a static page or a listing of blog articles
- Adjusting the layout and appearance of blog posts (and features related to blog posts)
- Specifying the format of URLs (web addresses) for the various pages of the website
These configurations are all optional, so don’t worry if it seems confusing or overwhelming. Just realize that almost anything you’d like to customize with your website can be customized.
How to install a WordPress theme
The appearance of your website is highly customizable in WordPress. A basic principle of web design is to separate functionality from appearance. In other words, you should be able to change the appearance of your website without changing the way the website operates.
In WordPress, this is achieved with the use of “Themes,” which are essentially a “skin” or visual template that you install for your website to control its layout and appeance.
Themes can also include additional functionality and other useful features.
There are thousands of themes available for you to choose from. Some are free, others need to be purchased (generally for a reasonable prices, anywhere from $50-$150 — but can be lower or higher than that in some cases).
If you search of “WordPress theme” in Google, you will find many options to choose from. Be sure to do your research carefully to ensure you choose the right theme for your particular website.
If you purchase a theme from a third-party provider, they will usually include instructions and support for installing your theme.
You can also select from themes that are available directly in WordPress.
To select one of these, click on “Appearance” in the sidebar menu in the admin area of your WordPress site, and then click “Themes.” Here you will see the theme(s) that are currently installed.
From here, you can click the “Add New Theme” button and browse through the available themes.
Once you find one you like, click “Install” and WordPress will take care of the rest.
How to install a WordPress plugin
Plugins are software extensions that you can install as add-ons to your WordPress website.
There is a plugin for almost any functionality you may want to add to your website that doesn’t come standard with WordPress.
Installing plugins is relatively easy.
Simple click the “Plugins” item in the sidebar menu in your admin page.
From there you can search for the plugin you want, install it and activate it.
Be sure to activate it after you install it.
Once you activate it, the plugin settings will typically appear somewhere in the sidebar menu. The exact location is different for every plugin, so you may need to search around a bit to find it.
How do I post an article on WordPress?
The key parts of an article posted in WordPress are:
- The headline
- The feature image (typically this is the large image that appears at the top of the article)
- The text of the article, along with any sub-headlines
- Any supporting images that are scattered throughout the article
In addition to the above, there are other elements that can be useful for your article, including assigning tags and catagories, tweaking the URL (web address) of the article, and including an article excerpt.
You can also decide whether or not you want to allow readers to leave comments at the bottom of the article, whether to include social media sharing links, and having a “related articles” or “related posts” section for helping your readers find other articles on your website that they might be interested in.
For a step-by-step description of how to post an article, along with screenshots and other useful information, see How to Post an Article in WordPress.
How do I make an amazing website that gets results?
There is a lot to know about website design.
Professional web designers spend several years studying graphic design, website structure theory, user experience analysis, etc.
And then it typically takes a few more years of experience working on lots of websites to get good at designing and building websites that are user-friendly and effective at achieving their business objectives.
If you want a quick rundown of the key concepts that will help get you off to a great start, take a look at our primer: How to make a website: step-by-step guide.
If you’re struggling with achieving your vision of how your website should look and function, it may be a good idea to consider having a professional look at it and get it back on track.
We also have a website assessment tool that can help you figure out what areas of your website are good and which ones could use some improvement. Get started by filling out the simple form found in the footer at the bottom of this page.
Give it a try and see how your site stacks up! It’s completely free to use this tool.
Additional WordPress tutorial topics
If you have questions about WordPress that aren’t covered in the above WordPress tutorial, please post in the comments below.
We’ll answer your questions in the comments, and add your topics to the lessons above for other people who may have similar questions.