Simple WordPress website guide

You want to offer paid memberships to your audience and understand that WordPress is the best, most secure option. Problem is, you've never used WordPress before and don’t know where to start. Luckily, with one-click hosting and a great theme—it's easier than you think!

In this guide, we'll show you how create a simple, yet powerful WordPress website. Then, once you’ve set up a strong foundation, you can add Memberful to the mix to sell memberships to your audience and restrict content for members only.

 

How to build a simple WordPress website

  1. Choose reliable, managed WordPress hosting.
  2. Register your domain name.
  3. Install an SSL certificate on your site.
  4. Install a theme on your site.
  5. Set up your pages and menu.
  6. Customize and tweak your site.
  7. Install key plugins.

Some terms you should be familiar with:

Choose reliable, managed WordPress hosting

WordPress.org is a free website building platform; it’s the house for all your content. Once you build your website, you need to make it available for people to access on the web; this is accomplished through hosting providers. Hosting is the street where your website lives.

Having reliable, managed hosting is important. If you’re running a business, you can’t afford for your site to go down for a few hours or for pages to load slowly.

Choose a hosting provider who offers one-click WordPress installation. Siteground is a good option for smaller sites (pricing starts at $3/month). After you sign up for a hosting plan, your host will take you through a few steps to set up your website.

Register your domain name

Your domain name is your website’s address (e.g. https://companyname.org or https://yourname.com). You need a domain name so people can access your website by typing your address into their browser’s URL bar. Choosing the right name is important so give it some thought.

To keep it simple, choose a host that includes domain names with their plans or sells domain names for an annual fee. Alternatively, you can buy a domain name from companies such as Hover.com and Namecheap.com and then transfer it to your host. Just don’t forget to renew your name before the end of your term (yearly or other) so your domain name registrar doesn’t put it back up for sale!

Install an SSL certificate on your site

SSL establishes an encrypted link between your website and a web browser to ensure data passed between them remains private. You’ll know a website has an SSL certificate when the web address starts with https:// instead of http:// (“s” stands for secure).

Think of SSL as an alarm system for your website: When a customer makes a purchase through your site, SSL keeps their personal information protected.

Let's Encrypt is a free, high-quality SSL certificate. All our recommended WordPress hosting providers support easy SSL certificate installation.

Install a theme on your site

A WordPress theme is a template you add to your website to set the design and layout. Themes are the decorative aspects of your website akin to the paint color in your living room. There are many free and paid themes to choose from.

We recommend the Make theme from our sister company The Theme Foundry. It’s a clean-looking theme with a built in page builder. Page builders make it easy to build and customize your website. If you’ve chosen a theme that doesn’t have a built in page builder, we recommend Beaver Builder.

To install your theme, navigate to Appearance → Themes from the sidebar in your WordPress dashboard, and click Add New. Search for the Make theme and click Install.

Install a theme

Just like the paint color on your living room walls—themes aren’t permanent. You can change your theme without impacting the pages, posts, and content on your site.

Set up your pages, posts, and menu

With WordPress, you can create pages (and posts) for all your content. Pages and posts are like the rooms in your house.

To add a page, navigate to Pages from the sidebar in your WordPress dashboard, and click Add New. This will open a WordPress editor (not unlike Microsoft Word), where you can build your page with text, images, and more. Click Update to save your work.

Edit a page

To add a post, navigate to Posts from the sidebar in your WordPress dashboard, and click Add New. Add your content, categorize your post, and then click Update to save your work.

To add your pages or categorized posts to the navigation bar, navigate to Appearance → Menus from the sidebar in your WordPress dashboard. Click the checkbox next to the pages and categories you want to add to your menu, and then click Add to Menu. Rearrange the menu items if required and click Save Menu.

Create a menu

Customize and tweak your site

There are a few settings you’ll want to tweak to further customize your site; it’s like adding a few potted plants and maybe a welcome mat to your house.

You’ll want to:

Install key plugins

Now it’s time to install a few key plugins to enhance your site's functionality. Plugins let you add features and functions to your WordPress site that don’t come built-in. This is like adding a surround sound system to your home.

To add a plugin to you site, navigate to Plugins from the sidebar in your WordPress dashboard, and click Add New. Some basic plugins we recommend installing are:

Important! WordPress and the third-party plugin developers will make bug fixes, add new features, and release security updates periodically. You must update your WordPress site and plugins as soon as the updates are released so that you’re running the latest, safest versions. Note: Many managed WordPress hosts automatically update WordPress for you.

Add a plugin

Nice work! 🎉

You now have a simple, yet powerful, WordPress website up and running.

What's next?

Start selling memberships the easy way! 🚀 🙌 💪

Join some of the world's biggest audience-supported creators.

Try Memberful for free today →

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