As a WordPress beginner, it can be pretty overwhelming trying to familiarise yourself with all the different options when you just want to get your site online now. If going live is your main priority, there’s very few things you actually have to do in WordPress for launch, and they’re all right here!
If you want slightly more background and depth I’ve given a full overview of the WordPress dashboard here, plus you can check out my list of top 10 FREE plugins for WordPress beginners!
- Install a theme
In the interest of going live fast, installing one of the many free themes WordPress has available is really quite straightforward. Hover over Appearance in the left sidebar and open Themes. A few default themes will already be available for you; simply click Activate on the one you like the best and your site will have colours, fonts and basic structure set up automatically. Click Add New at the top if none of the default themes take your fancy, or if you’re happy to move on, click on Customise to make tweak colour changes and upload logos.
- Set your homepage
While you’re in Customise, find homepage settings and an option usually called Static Front Page (where this is located will change depending on what theme you have installed). Here you’ll choose what appears on your home page: a static page (like mine) or a feed of your blog posts. If you choose a static front page, you can create those pages here (usually named Home and Blog) and edit them later.
- Insert your content!
If you aren’t fussed about layout, head straight to Pages, edit the home page you just made (if you chose that option) or create as many other pages as you need and publish when you’re done. If you’d like more control, head to Plugins first, click Add New and install a page builder like Elementor (just search for it in the search bar). Then you can create your pages and click Edit in Elementor for a customisable drag and drop page building experience.
- Set your menus
Now that you have pages on your site, you need to make it easy for people to get to them. Hover over Appearance again and select Menus. How many menus you have will be dependant on your theme, but you’d usually have at least a Main Menu and a Footer menu. On the left you’ll have a list of your pages where you can select and add to menu as needed. Drag each item up and down in the order you prefer, and slightly indent one under the other if you’d like to make it a drop down menu. Click on the down arrow for further configuration options. Down the bottom you’ll select the display location for this menu and then you can save it.
- Choose your Settings
OK last one! Click on Settings and review your General Settings first up. Here you can change your Site Title and Tagline, select your preferred timezone and your date format. The only other thing I recommend you should do if you’re in a hurry is head to Permalink Settings and choose your preferred URL structure now. This will save you needing to do redirects later down the track when your site is already established and gaining traffic.
And that’s it! Five things you have to do to get your WordPress site online now. If you’ve already got your content ready, your site could be up and running and ready for visitors within the hour - definitely not as complicated as you thought, right? There is absolutely more you should do as you go on, or as a user who isn’t in a huge hurry, and if you want your site to look a certain way it’s definitely going to take you much longer than an hour! Check out some of my other WordPress posts for more detailed info!
My aim here is to take some of the fear away from WordPress, so if you enjoyed this post, please let me know! And drop me a suggestion of what you’d like to learn next.
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