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Note: This post was written years ago and is almost completely out of date.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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The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Whether you're a novice or advanced developer, Genesis provides the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go. It's that simple - start using Genesis now!

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 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?

  3. 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!

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

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

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

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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

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

  13. Information on this site is wonderful

  14. 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. 🙂

  15. 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.

  16. 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

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

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

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

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

  21. 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

  22. 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.

  23. Some really great tips thanks

  24. 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…

  25. 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!

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

    Thanks.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

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