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Setting up a WordPress Website

What do you need to start a WordPress website? A domain name, host, and a WordPress installation. I walk you through it in this short post.
A WordPress website = Domain Name + Hosting + WordPress Installation

Ingredients for a WordPress Website

A WordPress website, at its simplest, has three ingredients:  a domain name, hosting, and a WP installation.  These three things give you an interface to design and build your site, a place to store the files, and an internet address.

Domain name

A domain name is what you call your website: in my case, it’s beingfreed.com.  When you add https:// to the beginning, any web browser will guide you to my website.  So, to get to my site you would use https://beingfreed.com.  It works just like a street address; you’re just using a search engine instead of GPS.

You can buy domain names from any number of places, often including wherever you host your site. For people who build their own sites this can be a good option as their assets live in one place, but they’ll cost more. …and by higher I mean the difference between $10 and $40 annually, so it is worth it if you just want an easy package deal.  Fewer accounts means less fuss.

I buy domains from Namecheap.  As their name suggests, their prices are low, but a domain name is a domain name; it doesn’t matter where you buy it, it’s the same quality.  I find Namecheap’s interface easy to navigate, and managing domains there is straightforward and uncomplicated.

See my post on domain names here for more.

Host

Website hosts provide two things: storage and computing.  Hosts are the hard drives where your website’s files are stored.  When someone looks up your site, your host grants them access to the files so the viewer can see your site. 

In addition to storing and granting access to your site files, a good host keeps your site secure, optimizes performance, offers backups and email address, and more. 

See my post on hosting here for more info.

WordPress logo

WordPress installation

For our purposes, we can define a WP installation as a collection of data (a database) plus software.  The WordPress application uses your database plus their software to create a website.

Back in the day, if you wanted a website you had to build it from scratch by coding it.  WordPress gained popularity because it gave away the basic coding framework for a website… and it still does!  See WordPress.org’s about page here

WordPress is open source, which means that anyone can take the software, use it, or tailor it to meet their needs.  Since its inception in 2003, people all over the world have created software that interfaces with WP.  It’s a rich and flexible platform for building any kind of website. 

Add-on software includes themes, page builders, plugins, integrations, and all kinds of other bits and bobs.  What they all have in common?  They all hang on the WordPress framework like cones on a fir tree.  And herein lies the popularity of WordPress, and the reason that at publication of this post, 43% of sites on the web are built on the platform.

An illustration of a computer monitor, two tablets, a mobile phone and a laptop, all showing versions of the the same web design, adjusted to fit the screen.

Putting it all together

So: a WordPress website is a collection of files which is stored by a host, who grants access to the site via the domain name.

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Did you know I'm Mailchimp Certified?

I’ve completed Mailchimp’s Fundamentals training, so you can feel confident about my skills with contact hygiene, templates, customer journeys, and other Mailchimp mysteries.  In coming blog posts I’ll elaborate on various aspects of the marketing platform such as tags, segments, and groups.  I’ll go into depth about customer journeys and why it’s important to design forms such as sign-up and update user preferences.  I’ll talk you through templates and how they can save you time and help reinforce your company branding every time you send a campaign.

Mailchimp Certification

Did you know I'm Mailchimp Certified?

I’ve completed Mailchimp’s Fundamentals training, so you can feel confident about my skills with contact hygiene, templates, customer journeys, and other Mailchimp mysteries.  In coming blog posts I’ll elaborate on various aspects of the marketing platform such as tags, segments, and groups.  I’ll go into depth about customer journeys and why it’s important to design forms such as sign-up and update user preferences.  I’ll talk you through templates and how they can save you time and help reinforce your company branding every time you send a campaign.

Mailchimp Certification