WordPress Tips for Beginners

Note: This post was written years ago and is almost completely out of date. Over the years my recommendations have completely changed as the tech landscape has changed. For example, I emphatically do not recommend GoDaddy anymore. For anything.

So much so, in fact that we now as a company offer both WordPress hosting and domain registrations to people as a sound alternative.

Andrew Cunningham recently asked a good question about getting started using WordPress.

Can any of you guys recommend good, simple resources for learning how to use wordpress?

How do you get started? It’s a great question that deserves some more attention.

Your Objectives

Ultimately the best way for you to get started depends on what your overall objectives for you website are. It’s the place I start with all my clients because if you don’t begin with the end in mind you will likely waste a whole lot of time and/or money working on things that don’t move you towards your real goals.

Some possible objectives include

  • Raising brand awareness
  • Increasing personal profile
  • Driving product or service sales
  • Improved search engine visibility
  • Put a more personal face on your business
  • Providing a personal creative outlet

Obviously the possibilities are nearly endless. But until you take the time to work out exactly what you want to achieve with your web site and write it down, you will likely be painting yourself into corners that may be difficult (and expensive) to get out of later.

Get Your Own Domain

Once you’ve got your objectives thought through, you are most likely going to want to get your own web domain. If you are planning to conduct any business via your website having your own domain is a must.

By having your own domain I mean purchasing your own .com name. There are other possibilities besides .com but for most folks, especially in the US, .com is the right way to go.

Having your own domain for your website will do a number of  things for you. The biggest ones that come to mind are

  • People will take your business more seriously
  • You have more control of your site

That second one is huge. Because there is no way to know what the future will bring, you want to give your self the flexibility to make changes later.

Ultimately your web site is yours, right? So you should have as much control over your site as you can.

I get all my domains through GoDaddy.com and I’ve got dozens of domains with them. They are the world’s largest registrar of domain names and for good reason. They are really good at what they do.

It is a good idea to register your domain for a minimum of 2 years for better search engine rankings because spammers tend to buy short lived domains and then abandon them quickly. I also recommend most of my clients get GoDaddy’s “Deluxe Registration” because it bundles some features that can be valuable for business owners.

One note about GoDaddy. They are a bit aggressive on the up-selling. Just be careful not to add on a whole bunch of stuff that you don’t need and you’ll be fine.

Edit: Over the years I became so disgusted with GoDaddy’s hyper-aggressive marketing practices and their distasteful “GoDaddy Girls” advertisements that I elected to offer our own domain registration service here at SuccessCREEations. We have transferred all of our domains away from GoDaddy to our service. We also put together a simple guide to transfer domains away from GoDaddy.

Web Hosting

Another critical piece of the puzzle is good reliable web hosting. And there are a ton of different providers and options out there. It can be a bit overwhelming.

Again, GoDaddy.com provides web hosting that works for many folks. Some find it easier to keep all their web expenses in one place.

Edit: GoDaddy’s hosting is atrocious. Their proprietary hosting control panel is hard to work with and their service has had serious security breaches over the years. We now offer client WordPress website hosting through two of our brands. For business we have WPAnnex and for churches and ministries we offer EmmanuelPress.

Another web host provider that I highly recommend is Host Gator. Their service is reliable, inexpensive and supports WordPress sites just fine.

Personally I use a hosting provider right here in Georgia called A Small Orange. When I was first looking for my own web hosting, top notch customer service was one of my big criteria and A Small Orange got high marks in that department. I’ve been with them for years and am very happy with their customer service.

Note: As our hosting needs have increased over the years we moved all of our hosting to a service called WiredTree. They service more robust needs than the typical beginner starting out requires.

Learning WordPress

Once you get your domain and web hosting sorted out the next thing you will probably want to do is learn about WordPress. That was Andrew’s original question, after all.

Obviously I prefer people to come to my company for their WordPress needs. Not only do we get WordPress websites up and running for our clients, but we also provide personal training for them. We simplify the learning process by focusing on the important things first and then expanding into more advanced features. Our clients get up and running with their sites quickly.

Of course, not everyone has the budget to tap in to our services here at SuccessCREEations. I get that.

Fortunately, the good folks over at WordPressTutorials.com have put together some great video training aids to get the do-it-yourselfers up to speed quickly with WordPress as well. So if a custom training program isn’t in your budget, go check them out and learn how simple and powerful WordPress can be.

Note: WordPressTutorials.com no longer exists. If you want to do everything yourself WPBeginner is a resource that I can heartily recommend. I met their founder Syed when he was first starting the site and he’s a stand up guy and knows his WordPress. We will be adding our own tutorials here at SuccessCREEations for WordPress users who don’t want to get into any of the coding stuff soon.

SuccessCREEations.com runs on the Genesis Framework

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Check out these incredible features and wide selection of designs. There are so many to choose from they created this handy theme chooser to help you find the perfect theme for your needs. With automatic theme updates and world-class support included, Genesis is the smart choice for your WordPress website or blog.

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Comments

  1. Chris,

    Nice introductory post. I think “improved search engine visibility” is a subset of “raising brand awareness”, but that’s probably nit-picking on my part.

    Mike

  2. I’d say search engine visibility is someone different than raising brand awareness, but they are somewhat similar. In any case, I thought it was a good post for people just starting out with WordPress.

  3. I thought the post would have something to do with the installation process. Although wordpress is claimed to be the most easy to install, I have found it very difficult to do by own. May be thats why professional helps are needed.

  4. I used to inquire regarding A Small Orange before for all my hosting blogs but it seems there are only a few feedbacks from them. How about Hostgator for wordpress hosting?

  5. Nice tips for all the new users of WP, Chris.

    Yep, I agreed that it’s better to get our own hosting domain than using the WP.com, as you’ll have more freedom and addon features here…

    Plus, if we’re really serious about our site, there won’t be any reasons not to pay for the domain hosting fee!

  6. Good starter post. Blogging can certainly help the average business and word press seems to be one of the easiest to use. And it sure can give you a good boost with the search engines!

  7. I completely agree that WordPress is one of the the best ways to start your presense online. In adduition It has a lot of cool and completely free plugins that will make your site very easy to manage.

  8. I just got my domain name from godaddy as well, but I still have to shell out some cash for hosting. So in the meantime, I have my blog hosted at blogger. Been thinking of transferring over to wordpress. This is a good resource to start, I believe. Thanks.

  9. i found wordpress better than blogspot. wordpress is best!

  10. Great tips. Keep em coming. WordPress I think will lead the blogging platform. It’s definitely here to stay.

  11. @parantar: yes wordpress is definitly the best of the best !

  12. Hi Chris

    Thanks for the tips, I am thinking of adding a WP blog to my e-commerce site as a way to stay in touch with customers and allow for easy feedback and sugestions.

    Mark

  13. I think it’s important to add if you’re going to use WordPress that a good cache system for the blogging platform is a must. If you start to get good traffic to your WordPress blog and you don’t have a cache installed your site will put a strain on your server big time.

    WP Super Cache is the best one Ive tried so far. You can Google it very easily to find it.

  14. I waited for a while before I set up a blog. Fortunately, I chose wordpress. Had I started earlier, I probably would have gone with blogspot.

    I am glad I waited because all the plug-ins make wordpress so easy to customize. I am in the process of setting up a new site. You don’t even know it’s the wordpress platform.

  15. DCMA Collective Clothing says:

    Awesome post. Installing the plugins, also, is a breeze with WP. They Rock!

  16. It’s very important to get your own domain name if you’re going to blog and SEO your blog. There’s no point in spending all your time SEOing a domain name that you don’t own. It’s also likely that you can get the exact name you’re looking for with a URL. Keywords in your URL have proven to be very important in SEO.

  17. WordPress is an excellent software and very easy to use and understamd. The community is strong and even if you do not have any technical knowledge you can manage. There are many addons and extensions and you are bound to find few that are of interest to you. One of the main benefits of wordpressis that the posts get indexed in Google very easily. Sometimes I have found my posts indexed within a few days and with good rank as well.

  18. We have recently added a wordpress Blog to our company website. Although it has been there for a relatively short time, we have already started to see the benefits on our website’s rank on Google. It is also an easy way to add new content to our site.

  19. Wonderful post. I am just getting into wordpress and am glad I came across this page. I hope to be making a custom theme for myself in the near future! We’ll see…

  20. I’m putting together my own blog, and I have everything except the last item knowledge of WordPress. I’m still learning.

  21. Site design (especially which WordPress theme) is such a subjective thing and how do you know if it works or not really?

    I just tried this http://www.clicktale.com/ for example.

    It is free for a good single site owner user and you have to pay if you use more than three sites but it is the absolute best tool I have ever seen or used and because of the free test I got I am now using it on everything I do.

    Iit is so insightful I am now going to redesign everything I do as finally I can see what needs doing because of this tool. I can’t say more than that – if you have a site and you care about getting it right then you need this tool http://www.clicktale.com/

  22. Tim Harrington says:

    I would stay away from Godaddy.com as well. They’re an inferior product and there’s much better solutions for affordable prices.

    In addition to starting a WP blog, it’s a good idea to join business and entrepreneurial networks. We have a pretty good one for finding startup funding

  23. i am a student of B. Bus. Com. and this article gave me a very good insight on how my academics will help me in real life! very informative and well summerised.

  24. i am just getting into wordpress and am glad I came across this page

  25. I am really glad to got these tips .I am a beginner and these tips are very useful for me .I learned a lot of things about WordPress from this post.Now I can say that WordPress is a best software.

  26. Yup, wordpress is kinda solid if you want start a blog you want to be in control of.

  27. Information on this site is wonderful

  28. Hi,
    I happened upon your post regarding the bad wordpress site. That is good to know. It never ceases to amaze me the lengths people go to get people’s info.

    I do have a question after reading your posts on new blogs.. I have a website that I sell things from and my blog is off the main directory of the website, not on its own dot com.. Do you think it is beneficial for me to purchase a direct domain for my blog and just link it back and forth? If you have a second, I would really love your opinion on that.. Trying to figure out this whole blogging thing is confusing. :-)

  29. Megan, I hear you on the challenges of figuring out the best options with the sea of choices out there.

    To clarify what I meant above, you already have your own .com domain with thejeweledlizard.com unlike many folks who grab a free blog with something like thejeweledlizard.blogspot.com or thejeweledlizard.wordpress.com.

    In your case your blog is already on your own domain, but in a subdirectory off your main site. Separating the blog onto it’s own domain may be something you do (or not) depending on your own business objectives. But that is a whole other discussion.

    I think, based on a quick glance at your site, that you would gain more in the SEO department by using some form of custom permalinks rather than the default ones you are using now.

  30. I remember setting up my first wordpress site. I had only heard about it vaguely and didn’t do any training before I set it up. I used simple scripts that came with my host monster account and had the site up with content in about 2 hours.

    WordPress has a short learning curve, many templates to chose from and can do just about anything. Still waiting for it to clean my dishes but that will happen one day I’m sure! Ha-ha

  31. Great post for a newbie like me. I have added this page to my bookmark already

  32. Thanks for helping out. It´s a jungle with all those domain hosts that promise so much. Difficult to choose, but this made it easier! Thanks again. Saved me a lot of researchtime :)

  33. What makes wordpress so great besides it being a great piece of software is that its accepted by so many people and these sheer number of plugins and themes is absolutley astounding, and most of them can be gotten for free!

    You can even scour youtube and find some pretty good videos that will show you just want to do it you aren’t sure where to start.

  34. Great post…Setup my blog using wordpress in 5 minutes through Godaddy, great software.

  35. I love WordPress because it is so easy to use.

  36. WP is the best blogging software ,but has anyone some tips for improving SEO ? I want to get 1 in google

  37. This post very useful to those who wants to start blogging. Even I have learned something from it.

  38. Good post, I found wordpress a nice easy platform to start blogging on, either wordpress or blogger would be my recommendation

  39. Great tips wordpress is probably one of the best and seo friendly blogging platforms avaliable

  40. Great post. I was only doing the blogger thing for the longest time until I started doing some online marketing consulting. Given the style of sites that WordPress can provide..it is SO much more than a blog.

    I almost always recommend wordpress to clients who want to have a flexible site and the capability to manage it on their own if they want to

    Justin

  41. Just to add to your tutorials link, there are some good official lessons here:
    http://codex.wordpress.org/WordPress_Lessons

    Also, one tip I’d include is to just write and write often.
    Many people, myself included, fret over the design and branding at the expense of content but, at the risk of stating the obvious, the blogs that succeed in the long run are where the author regularly writes what people want to read.

  42. I’d agree with staying away from GoDaddy. They’re cheap, but there are better products out there with more reliable service.

    As far as having a successful blog goes, remember one thing – content is king! Write often and your readers will come back often.

  43. I agree that Hostgator is a fantastic web host. Another good option for beginners is anHosting. I also definitely love WordPress.
    Thanks for the tips!

  44. Would agree that Hostgator is a good webhost. Especially for WP users. Another good option for beginners is anHosting. Thank you for putting together these tips.

  45. I have my blog at blogger, simply because that was the only one I knew when I started blogging in Dec. Being unfamiliar with WordPress I was wondering do you like about better about WordPress than Blogger? Just curious.

    Carole Leslie
    zendotstudio

  46. I am using wordpress for a week now and I am pretty new to all this . This post has given me a lot of new ideas and tips . Thank you !

  47. Good post. I think WP is a very good template for you. But different people may have different popuse when opening his blogger. But if you want to promote your blog well ,do not forget to do some job for SEO. And this job should be planed well before you design your blog.

  48. Good post. I think WP is a very good template for you. But different people may have different popuse when opening his blogger. But if you want to promote your blog well ,do not forget to do some job for SEO. And this job should be planed well before you design your blog.

    I am sorry that i write a wrong website. This should be the right one.

  49. I am planning to incorporate a blog into my site. Word press is one of my options. I came across this site, found the post is helpful, helping me know more about Word Press. I think I will get more information before I decide which one to install. Thank you for sharing.

  50. I just recently incorporated wordpress into my gaming forum. It is looking like a great idea and is running really smoothly. I’m very glad I decided to use wordpress.

  51. Hi Chris. Definitely if someone plans to start a business online and use WordPress to power their website they need their own domain name and hosting. I always try to sway people away from trying to start a real business on everything free (hosting, blog, etc.).

    Also for tutorials, YouTube has a ton of WordPress tutorials available.

  52. Some really great tips thanks

  53. Thanks for sharing these tips, I am sure alot of people will find them helpful. I am looking to start using wordpress for my blog so I have found some tips here that will benefit me, thanks.

  54. Thanks for providing all such useful tips.

  55. Thank you for the tips on WordPress.

    I use Go Daddy and Lunarpages and will give Host Gator a try for next sites. I think its a good idea to use more than 1 host if you are a site developer for comparison.

    Thanks
    Tony

  56. Fantastic tips which are really essential to getting yourself a decent online presence. Thanks!

  57. I think that for small sites or personal pages without hard work for SQL server you may use any hostings. But if you have big proects and big quantity hits every day, I recommend http://www.pair.com.

  58. I totally agree with you, it is better to setup a self hosted wordpress which you can have full control and good for creating better brand awareness. I have used godaddy in the past but using hostrocket now, which is also great. Thanks for showing the link for wordpress tutorial, which I did not know before.

  59. I use wordpress self hosted. BlueHost.com has been very easy to work with and their tech support is fantastic.

  60. This is really usefull, but I would say these are more general tips how to create a website and not especially for wordpress?

  61. I’m a wordpress beginner and I cant do a lot of things on my blog.This tutorial is goin got help me a lot

    Thanks

  62. Nice tips…but if we dont have enough budget for making the own domain dan own hostings, we could allocate our budget to buy domain, and for the hostings, we can grab thmen from many free hosting outside…right?
    thx for d info…

  63. @Custom Glassware Services – we have a nice collection of WordPress tutorials on our site: Click WordPress Tutorials. I can also help if you ever have any questions.

    @Benny – You really should try and go with paid hosting over free, especially if you’re thinking of making a business out of it. So many beginners make this mistake and what they learn is maybe a year down the road they need to move to their own hosting but . . .

    What about all their links they’ve attracted? When you move your blog, you’ll have to start all over again and people will have to find you, links will be broken, and you’ll probably lose most of your RSS subscribers.

    Paid hosting is not out of anyone’s budget. If you can buy a latte from Starbucks once a month, you can pay for hosting. It generally runs about $7/month.

    If you can’t afford $7/month then I suppose the economy has really hit hard.

  64. Thanks fro sharing these tips, they are extremely valuable for me as wordpress begginer!It helps me a lot!

  65. All the points you have mentioned here are very essential.Preparation is very important before getting started.

  66. You are voted!
    Track back from WebDevVote.com

  67. My friend has mentioned wordpress to me a few times but i’m still unconvinced of it’s use if you already know how to throw a website together. One thing he does say about it is that you need to use a lot of plugins to make it really work for you- there’s ones that help avoid duplicate content, canonicalization etc

  68. Good advice. I just got my first site set up with the help of a friend. Now it’s time to learn it all myself!

  69. Great info you have here, i am gona try them out on my new wp site.

    Thanks.

  70. I agree with your strategy how to build up a new wordpress blog. I allready started to build a new blog for myself and I am not doing so bad.

  71. Great info – a good guide for beginners who have never tried WP. I was looking for somthing like this when starting out, and although there are a lot of guides out there, this one is one of the better.

  72. WordPress is just awsome… so easy to set up new sites & domains. WP is the future!

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