You have created your website with WordPress and it looks really stunning, functional and attractive but you have a small problem; do you need hosting for your WordPress website?
The short form answer is yes and in this article we will discuss why as well as highlight the best options to host your wordpress website. Strap in we are getting started.
What is wordpress:
First things first, what is wordpress? Developed by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little wordpress is a free and open-source content management system. With features such as plugin architecture and a template system, wordpress allows both professional and casual (personal) website developers to create functional websites.
In order to function properly wordpress needs to be installed on a web server as either part of an internet hosting service or a computer running the software package WordPress.org in order to serve as a network host on its own right.
Basically you can stop here and the question of the topic would have been answered, but read on there is more valuable information on how wordpress websites can be set to work at maximum efficiency.
Steps in creating a wordpress website:
Now we know what WordPress is. On this next part, we will be discussing the steps you can take in creating and running a WordPress website. These steps may not differ much from creating any other website but it has what I call a ‘WordPress twist’.
Identify your wordpress option:
First, you need to identify the WordPress offers which give you the services you require from your website. There are two main options when it comes to WordPress;
WordPress.com: this option is free and still allows you to create your website of choice. However, like all things that come free this one too has limitations on its features. The templates might be limited and so will the hosting features.
WordPress.org: this is the self-hosting option on wordpress. It is also free to access but you need to have web hosting and domain name registration done first. The upside of this option is the freedom of customizing your site and gives you complete control on key features you need to incorporate in your website for optimum efficiency.
Choosing your domain name:
Your domain name will be your primary identification on the internet and it’s through it that your traffic will be able to find your website on the internet. When choosing a domain name be careful to avoid any misconceptions or confusion. It should be clear and reflect the purpose of the website if possible.
Decide on your web hosting plan:
Web hosting is the avenue where all your website configurations, information and files are held securely for the operations of the site. Hosting plans are different based on storage capacity, number of users on the server, type of website and its content, leeway for customization and expected traffic.
The main types of hosting plans are shared hosting, virtual private servers (VPS), adaptive hosting and dedicated hosting.
Depending on the needs of your website you should choose a hosting plan to compliment it for maximum efficiency and saving on costs.
Once you have linked your domain name with your hosting service the next step involves a simple matter of installing wordpress. In the past one had to download wordpress script then upload it again on your host but thanks to the development of technology that is no longer the case. Many hosting platforms have now incorporated a direct wordpress script download in their features.
To install just log into your host control panel (c-panel) and locate the wordpress script. Click on install and direct it where you want the script to be installed.
You can choose to have your whole website on wordpress or have certain sections only such as a blog. Whichever option you choose wordpress will guide you better on how to go about it.
Browse the WordPress dashboard:
This gives you a good overview of the features available for you in wordpress. Once you have logged in to your account you can browse to see which functions with wordpress is suitable for your needs. Some of the standard options availed include;
The dashboard: this is the homepage of your dashboard.
Posts: gives you the option of blogging.
Media: allows you to upload pictures and videos either directly or on the fly through blogging and posts.
Pages: this is the static content that will feature on your website. The ‘Our projects’ page for example will be highlighted here.
Comments: this allows you to view, manage and moderate comments left by the users of your website to improve efficiency.
Appearance: in this section wordpress allows you to control and customize the theme of your website, organize your side bar widgets, create menus and access the theme’s editor. In essence here you can control how your users will see your site.
Plugins: this one allows you to add, delete or update your plugins.
Users: this window allows you to see the people who have access to your website as guests as well as those who you want to give special permission to your website functions such as virtual assistants.
Tools: this window allows you to import and export wordpress data. You can also access some plugins settings through the tools menu.
Settings: here you can set up various aspects of your website such as how your blog is read, how comments are made, create your permalink structure (how your blog URLs look) plus many other settings as you deem fit.
Decide on the wordpress theme:
There are many default wordpress themes to pick from once you are ready to decide which theme to employ. You can however customize the default theme to get your desired color scheme and overall design.
Additional themes can be found on the theme library within WordPress. However, you can still import other themes from external sources on to WordPress to allow you to work on it.
Set up your sidebar widgets:
Widgets are small blocks which carry out specific functions within wordpress. These widgets can be added in sidebars also known as widget ready areas of your website.
On wordpress the usual default widgets include recent comments, recent posts and meta. You can add of remove widgets simply by dragging and dropping them where you want them to be.
Set up your plugins:
On default mode, wordpress comes with the Askimet plugin whose primary function is to keep your website safe from spams. There are a host of other plugin which run in the background to keep your site functioning, secure and running smoothly.
You can also add on extra plugins from external sources according to your needs. Basic plugins one should add include security (to protect from hackers and spams), cache (to improve speeds and performance), backup and search engine optimization (S.E.O).
Add content to the site:
You have set up your theme, made the necessary plugin updates and your site is ready for the final steps and one of those steps is adding content to your website. Bear in mind that prospects will be attracted to your website based on the type of content you offer them. It is therefore clear that your content needs to be creative, engaging, informative, entertaining and diverse.
I know this is a hard combination to muster but if you manage to then your website will be well on its way to make a desirable impact.
Promote your website:
This is an important aspect in website development as it is the primary way to create awareness on the existence of your website. You can leverage on social media platforms as the key driver of your promotions due to it rather cheap costs of engagement. However, other promotional avenues and techniques are still available based on your budget and objectives.
Maintain your site:
It is important to carry out routine checks and maintenance practices to detect and eliminate any issues that may hinder the functionality of the website.
The main areas of maintenance include security measures, software updates, plugins regulation, and information backup and content reviews.
Pros and cons of a wordpress website:
So now you know how to create your website with wordpress but does that mean you should go ahead to create one? Let us evaluate the pros and cons of a wordpress website and let you make a decision.
The first advantage of a wordpress website is the relatively low costs involved in the development stage. As depicted above the steps are easy to follow and can be done even with little knowledge of web development techniques.
WordPress is also user-friendly with simple navigation tools and guides which will be of great help in website development. Organizing and editing of content is also made fairly simple.
The in-built plugin both free and paid for are one of the unique features of wordpress. These plugins allow you to customize your site easily and affordably.
Search Engine Optimization:
With the increased focus towards Search Engine Optimization, wordpress avails numerous plugins which promote S.E.O best practices for increased performance.
These plugins allow you to customize content, meta tags, key word focus and a host of other S.E.O relevant components.
Wordress is also responsive to the needs of its users with the vast themes it makes available to them. It is also well functional across various mobile devices.
The open source nature of wordpress is also a major advantage of using it. Since it is open source anyone can use, study, change and distribute the source code making it one of the most efficient platforms for website creation.
Open source also means wordpress programmers can share codes among the greatly reducing the website development time needed.
Cons of using wordpress:
Here are some downsides of using WordPress for website development.
Updates can be cumbersome on wordpress. Though premium wordpress themes are frequently updated the free versions may cause a website to have minor challenges upon updating which may necessitate the need to revert to older versions of wordpress.
To curb this, one needs a professional host or developer to vet the updates before implementing them and monitoring of site activities once implementation has been done.
Vulnerability is also another major concern when working with wordpress. Since it is open source the system is susceptible to hackers and other security concerns which may hinder website functionality.
Some themes on wordpress bare unnecessary generic codes which when used can significantly slow down the speed of a website and cause slow load times. Professional advice may be needed to identify and avoid such themes.
Customization may also be a bit tricky with wordpress especially after the initial website development has been finalised. As indicated earlier updates may affect the operations of the website hence any customization might need expert opinion and guidance to implement.
Best hosting options for wordpress websites:
I believe at this point you have made a decision to pursue your website development on wordpress.
So what are the some of the hosting options available for your website?
· Hostpoa (ideal for Kenyan websites since it is locally based)
· A2 Hosting
· Site5 hosting.
Each of these options have varying price ranges, features and functionality. You can read our article on hosting to learn more on what to look for when picking a hosting platform.
The deepAfrica promise:
At deepAfrica our team of experts have worked extensively with various content management system with WordPress being a major one among them. Our expertise and experience put us on a good pedestal to offer both advice and technical assistance.
With us you can be guided in the development, customization, maintenance and upgrades to ensure your site is correctly set up, functional and up to par with the visitors expectations.
Call deepAfrica today on 0712-500500 or more on how you can get the most out of your wordpress website.