How to Use WordPress
Tutorial [2020]

Your step by step guide to creating a WordPress site!

 

Dale McManus

Co-Founder & Web Developer

Jan. 9, 2020

 

Hey, my name is Dale! My partner Alex and I have helped tens of thousands of people build beautiful websites around the world. In this fully-packed, step-by-step guide, you’ll learn How To Use WordPress and how to create a website and publish your first post. Let’s dive in!

  • Level of Expertise:
    Beginner
  • Time To Complete:
    1 Hour
  • What You Get:
    A Functional Website

For the record: It’s super important for us to keep this site 100% free for you and 100% high quality. To help us do that, we’ve partnered with some of the products we recommend and earn a commission if you buy through our links. Read our full disclosure and partners list here.

What’s up y’all!

If you like the video and want more tutorials on creating a professional website you can also subscribe to our YouTube channel!

More the reading type?

Looking to start a website?

The post:

WordPress is definitely a solid choice for creating awesome, professional websites.

Now you’ve just got to figure out how to use WordPress…

Good news: as always, we’ve got your back fam!

Here we’ve got a complete walkthrough of one of the best tools for building a website best website builders around including what you need to know about the dashboard, how to add pages and posts, install themes, and a ton more.

And because we were once beginners ourselves, we’ve got it all nice and organized in an easy-to-follow, step-by-step fashion so you can tackle this beast of a project and learn WordPress a piece at a time (it’s not as hard as you think, we promise!).

Alright, let’s get after it!

how to use WordPress tutorial featured image

What is WordPress and how does it work?

Short answer: WordPres is free to use open source software called a “Content Management System” (CMS) that lets you build your website and share it with the world – without knowing how to code.

With the help and support of a huge community of web developers and designers from around the world, it’s one of the most popular website publishing platforms in the world (an estimated 30% of the Internet is powered by WordPress and that’s a damn impressive accomplishment in our book).

Long answer: Check out the video above and our complete written guide on the what is WordPress question!

Now onto today’s tutorial…

Step 1: How to get a domain name and web hosting

wordpress web-hosting-domain-name

So step number one in our WordPress tutorial is to get a domain name and web hosting.

Quick reminder/low down a domain name is the address people type in to get to your website (example: createaprowebsite.com) and web hosting is basically just a way to “rent” space on the internet so you can host all the images, text, videos, and code on your website.

More details aka the “high up” on what is a domain name and what is web hosting in our posts linked in this sentence for your convenience (oh how handy!).

Now, for this tutorial, we use HostGator to get both a domain name and hosting.

If you use this link you’ll be able to get a special discount we’ve worked out with them for both your domain name and hosting.

Note: we will make a bit of a commission if you buy through that link, but we used and loved HostGator for years before we started working with them so while we’ll earn a bit of cash as a thank you for recommending them (and you’ll get a discount), that’s not the only reason we recommend them.

In fact, we like a few different sites to buy domain names and get web hosting, so if you want to learn more about your options you can check out our Best Domain Registrars and Best Web Hosting Services guides.

For the rest of this section and for step 2, we’ll go through the process of buying a domain name, hosting, and installing WordPress using HostGator.

If you decide to get hosting/your domain name somewhere else the process will basically be the same.

But things will be exactly the same whether you work with our friends over at the big HG or not starting with step 3 (how to login to WordPress).

Alright, so with HostGator we recommend the Hatchling plan because it’s the cheapest and more than enough when you’re starting out with your first site.

With that, you’ll get one website/domain name, one-click WordPress install, unlimited bandwidth, and a free SSL certificate.

wordpress website hostgator hatchling plan

A proverbial “complete package.

So go ahead and smash that buy now button and you’ll land on a page where you can choose your domain name.

wordpress site hostgator domain name

Now if you’ve already grabbed your domain name just click the “I already own this domain” tab and enter it in, you’ll be able to connect your site to that domain name later.

If you’re still in the pre-domain days then those days are about to be over because you can buy one now.

Just type one into the search bar, in this example we’re going with “beginnerwptutorials.com.”

Hit enter and…

wordpress site tutorial domain name available

Boom, this one was available so we’re gonna buy it!

If your #1 domain name choice was taken (and, unfortunately, a lot of times they are), you’ll see a red warning and will have to try another domain name.

You’ll likely see some other variations of your chosen domain name like “[yourdomain].club” or “[yourdomain].site” but we highly recommend sticking with a “.com” or “.co” – those are the most professional for most sites (though there are cases where “.org” or “.io” are solid choices too).

Now with an available domain name chosen, scrolling down you’ll see some other recommended options but we can just ignore those for now (you only need one domain name for a website and we recommend you don’t start your website creation journey buying domain names that seem cool but you’ll probably never use #beentherelol).

“Add domain name privacy” should be automatically checked, make sure you leave it that way.

getting started with wordpress domain privacy

The reason being this keeps your contact information, which is needed to register your domain, from being posted publicly (which is the default; weird, yes, but people thought that was the right way to do it when the internet was being built).

That will lead to a flood of calls from people who will scrape the public listings and call you eight times a day saying they can build your website for you (another #beentherelol).

Scrolling down some more, you’ll see some plan options:

wordpress tutorial video choose hosting plan

Hatchling plan yes, 36-month billing cycle probably not.

You’ll get the best discount if you buy your domain name and hosting for 3 years, but that’s a long time, especially when you’re starting out.

We recommend going with a 12-month billing cycle as, no matter what, you’ve gotta get your domain name for 12 months so you might as well save a bit of money with your hosting as well (you can get hosting on a monthly cycle but that’s the most expensive option – even with our discount).

Next up, enter a username and security pin:

learning wordpress hosting username security pin

Then enter in your billing info just like you do for every other thing you buy online: 

wordpress basics hosting billing info

Heading down to the additional services, you’ll get a free SSL certificate which is great because it helps keep your site secure for visitors and is now essential if you want to rank in Google through SEO.

So go ahead and make sure that’s checked, but uncheck anything else they’re offering – a lot of stuff offered here like backing up and securing your site can be done for free in other ways (which we’ll get into below!).

wordpress for beginners hosting additional services

Continuing on, make sure the coupon code “createaprowebsite” has been applied so you can get our special discount.

wordpress tutorial hosting coupon code

Then you can just check the box to agree to the terms of service then click that checkout now button:

learn wordpress hosting checkout now

You’ll then be sent over to a thank you/“setting up your account” page (which will take just a couple of minutes to do).

wordpress tutorial for beginners setting up account

And now we’re ready for…

Step 2: How to install WordPress

Alright so after that few minutes you’ll be taken to a page that might have a “tell us about yourself” popup just go ahead and click out of that (you can answer it if you want to but it’s not gonna help you with installing WordPress lol).

Then go on over to the Marketplace tab.

how to install wordpress hostgator marketplace

From there, just scroll down until you see the big blue “one-click installs” button and… click that bad boy!

installing wordpress one click hostgator

Then just click on “WordPress,” conveniently, oh so conveniently located at the top of the page.

hostgator one click wordpress install

Then just select your domain and click that next button.

how to install wordpress select domain

This’ll take you to a little settings form, fill out all the details, check the box to agree to the terms of service, then it’s time to click the install button.

hostgator installing wordpress details

Once WordPress is finished installing, be sure to copy your installation information and save it somewhere safe because you’re going to need that info/ridiculous password to log into WordPress (and change that password to something much more reasonable).

how to install wordpress login details

Now, if you open up a new tab and go to your domain name you’ll see a page that looks something like this:

installing wordpress domain name propagating

Why? Well, because your domain name has to “propagate” – basically, HostGator has to tell the world about your new domain name so people all over the place (including you) can access it from the web.

HG will tell you the process could take up to 24 hours, which is technically the case…

But in our experience, it’s never taken more than 20-30 minutes so go ahead and grab yourself a break then come back in a bit to keep truckin through step 3.

Step 3: How to login to WordPress

So once you’re back after that 20-30 break (hope snack time was awesome) time to check on your site and find your WordPress dashboard login page.

To start just type in your domain name again/refresh the page (if you’ve been waiting on the edge of your seat #beentherelol) and you should see a page that looks like this:

wordpress tutorial for beginners after propagation

Which means propagation has finished!

We’re going to ignore that that WordPress “Admin Login” button here because once you publish your site this will go away.

Because you should know how to access WordPress your admin section/dashboard always and forever (or at least for the year you bought hosting for).

To do that, just add “/wp-admin” to the end of your URL.

WordPress dashboard login url

In the future, if you’re already logged in this will automatically take you right to your WordPress dashboard!

If you’re not logged in (like we are now, there’s a first time for everything), it’ll take you to the WordPress admin login page that looks like this:

WordPress dashboard login page

Copy/paste your username and password and you’ll get taken to your dashboard.

This’ll look a little crazy at first because of a ton of “your new, you must need to know this” popup boxes.

Let’s just go ahead and click the “x’s” on all of those, we’ve got you in this tutorial.

wordpress tutorial for beginners dashboard

Step 4: How to navigate the WordPress dashboard

Now that we’re in the dashboard, let’s explore!

First off, WordPress has a couple of main places where you’ll make changes to your site.

The first is this here dashboard, where you’ll find the majority of tools to make changes to your site.

It’s only available to you/people you make WordPress accounts for.

There are also some “customize” options when you’re viewing your main site (and logged in), we’ll cover those below.

First, let’s go over the most important parts of the WordPress dashboard.

Those needles in the proverbial haystack of buttons and pages and options WordPress just dumped on you.

First, you’ll find the name of your site in the top left corner – mouse over this and click “visit site” to go see what your website looks like at the moment (and every time you make updates and changes):

wordpress tutorial for beginners visit site

On the left is the main menu where you’ll find all the tools you’ll use when creating your WordPress website.

wordpress tutorial for beginners dashboard options

Any WordPress website will include the following tools:

  • Updates is where you’ll be able to find and install updates to the WordPress platform as well as any plugins and themes you’ve installed.
  • Posts is where you’ll create new blog posts or update existing ones – things like “Top 10 WordPress Secrets” or “How to Use WordPress Tutorial”. Here you can also view and create categories and tags to help organize your posts.
  • Media where you can add or update all of the pictures, images, or other files on your site.
  • Pages is where you can create or update pages that aren’t part of your blog like the all-important “About” and “Contact Us.”
  • Comments is where you can read, approve, delete or respond to all the comments people leave on your posts and pages.
  • Appearance has a ton of options underneath it, for our purposes the main thing you can do here is install themes. BUT you can also manage widgets, menus, edit your blog’s header, and a few other things depending on the theme you install.
  • Plugins is where you can install different pieces of code that add apps and functionality to your website.
  • Users is where you can create or update accounts for other people on your site, as well as change your WordPress profile (name, password, etc.)
  • Tools by default, here you’ll be able to import and export blog content; plugins can add other options here.
  • Settings has… settings for a whole bunch of things like your blog, the WordPress page/post editor, comments, media, and permalinks.

On top of all that, you’ll also find menu options for plugins you install.

Depending on the plugin’s functionality and how it’s coded, you might find it in the main left-hand menu, or as an option underneath any of the above main menu items.

For example, in our tutorial, HostGator automatically installed a few extra things:

  • WP Forms is actually from a plugin; if you install WordPress through HostGator, they’ll automatically add this plugin for you, if you went with another host that didn’t include it you can add that later – it basically makes it super simple to create contact forms for your site (check out that tutorial here).
  • Marketplace is also something installed by HostGator specifically, it’s a place to get premium themes. We use other sites so this usually gets ignored.

For those of you who really like to be in the know, we’re about to deep dive into all of this.

If you’re looking to just follow along in a quick tutorial fashion, you can go ahead and skip on over to step 5 – how to install WordPress themes.

The WordPress dashboard: A deeper dive

Updates

wordpress dashboard updates option

Like any popular software (content management system or otherwise), WordPress releases a lot of updates – some that make major changes like new features, some that make minor bug fixes and security patches.

These days, WordPress will automatically install minor updates on its own and prompt you to make major updates (because these can sometimes break plugins and themes and they’re smart enough not to do that to you for the sake of everyone’s stress levels).

You will have to update plugins and themes yourself though, which can be done on this page or on the plugins/themes pages.

Posts

wordpress basics post settings

The Posts menu lets you control the content you add to your blog, a few options here:

  • All Posts takes you to a page that lists all of the posts in your dashboard. From here, you can quickly edit one or more posts to change things like categories, tags, and author, or you can click on a particular post to view it or edit its content.
  • Add New will automatically fire up a page where you can create a new blog post.
  • Categories lets you view all the categories your posts are listed under, then edit those and add new ones.
  • Tags is just like Categories, only for tags options-wise. The basic idea here is that each post should only have one Category that groups it with other posts that are similar, while a post might have a lot of Tags based on topics or keywords mentioned in your post.

Media

wordpress dashboard media options

The Media menu item lets you upload videos, images, audio and other files to your site then manage them (change meta details, add them to posts, pages, sidebars, etc).

You’ll find a couple of options here:

  • Library lets you view and edit all of the media you’ve uploaded to your site.
  • Add New is just like it sounds… a quick way to upload new media to your site!

Pages

wordpress dashboard pages options

Unlike blog posts, which show up on a “blog” page that lists all your blog posts in reverse chronological order (aka the last one you post is at the top), Pages are places on your site that don’t change much; things like About, Contact, Our Services, etc.

The usual suspects as far as options:

  • All Pages is basically the pages version of the “All Posts” option above (you can quickly edit all your pages or deep dive into editing one).
  • Add New lets you create a new page. Whoda thunk it!

Comments

wordpress dashboard comments option

Comments lets you manage messages left on your site from other people – both on pages and blog posts.

Clicking on this option will let you read comments that have been left across your site, approve, disapprove or delete them (because spam happens), and leave responses as well.

Appearance

wordpress dashboard appearance options

This menu item is how to a lot of the options for changing the design of your site (though not all of them – see below!).

Lots of options here (these are what any WordPress site will have, if you install certain themes and plugins you’ll find more):

  • Themes is where you can search for and install new themes from the WordPress themes directory, or upload and install themes you’ve found somewhere else online.
  • Customize this one changes a lot depending on the theme you’ve chosen. The basic options are your site’s title and tagline, color, background image, and whether or not you have a static homepage (or one that shows your latest blog posts). Themes/plugins will add a ton of other options to this list.
  • Widgets are boxes of special code you can add to various places on your site, like your homepage, header/footer, or sidebar. What’s “special code” mean? Anything from calendars, social media links, and recent posts to videos, audio players, and contact forms.
  • Menus are lists of links to pages/posts on your site; any WordPress website will have a header and footer menu, certain themes will have more.
  • Header will provide options for customizing your header menu; those options depend on the theme you’ve installed but generally include changing the background color and uploading your logo.
  • Theme Editor is for advanced users as you’ve gotta know at least a bit about coding to use it. Basically, this gives you access to the backend code files that WordPress uses to generate your site so you can add CSS, HTML, JavaScript, and PHP to change the look and functionality of your site.

Plugins

wordpress dashbord plugins options

Plugins are pieces of easy to install code that change how your site looks, feels, and functions.

They can add entirely new features like contact forms that integrate with an email management software like Mailchimp, extend your theme’s capabilities with a drag and drop editor, or let you do backend things like manage page redirects.

Options here:

  • Installed Plugins is the plugin version of “All Pages/Posts” – lets you manage and update the plugins you’ve already installed.
  • Add New lets you find and install new plugins.
  • Plugin Editor is like the theme editor – only for advanced users, definitely requires coding skills.

Users

wordpress dashboard users options

This menu item lets you create new accounts for people on your site (for example, for someone to write blog posts for you or for a web developer to make changes), as well as edit existing users and your own user account preferences.

Options you’ll find:

  • All Users lets you manage all the user accounts on your site.
  • Add New …we’ll let you guess this one.
  • Your Profile is where you can update your user account preferences (email address, password, profile image, etc.)

And each new user you add can have the following roles:

  • Administrators can do anything on your blog from adding new pages/posts/users, to installing plugins and themes and editing everything.
  • Editors can access all posts, pages, comments, categories, and tags but can’t edit appearance, themes, plugins or add new users.
  • Authors can publish and edit posts as well as upload media.
  • Contributors can write and edit their own posts, but can’t publish them or edit other posts/pages.
  • Subscribers can comment on posts and pages (by default anyone can comment, but you can enable “only people who are logged in can comment” in the settings).

Tools

wordpress dashboard tools options

Tools is kind of a catchall bucket for backend functions.

Plugins will add to this list but by default you’ve got three options:

  • Available Tools takes you to a page with a list of tools from certain plugins.
  • Import lets you import data from other website platforms (either another CMS or a website builder) into WordPress.
  • Export Lets you export content so you can import it into another WordPress installation.
  • Site Health shows stats, tips, and info about your site so you can make sure it stays running optimally.
  • Export Personal Data lets you export any personal information about users with accounts on your site.
  • Erase Personal Data lets you erase any personal information about users with accounts on your site.

Settings

wordpress dashboard settings options

This menu holds most of the general settings options for your WordPress site.

Plugins will add more options, the defaults include:

  • General – which lets you configure basic options like timezone, date format, site name, URL, etc.
  • Writing – which lets you set default categories and post format.
  • Reading – which lets you set your homepage to either a static page or your latest blog post and the number of posts to show on your blog page.
  • Discussion – which has settings for controlling how comments work on your site.
  • Media – which lets you change the default sizes for images you upload.
  • Permalinks – which lets you customize the structure of URLs on your site.

Step 5: How to install WordPress themes

Now that we’ve got the basic lay of the WordPress dashboard land, let’s add a new theme.

A WordPress theme is basically just a template you can install with a couple of clicks to drastically change (aka improve) the look and style of your website.

With the right WordPress theme, you can quickly and easily make a website that drops jaws and waters mouths.

So from the main dashboard mouse over to “Appearance” and click on “Themes.”

wordpress tutorial for beginners themes

From here you’ll see that the active theme at the moment is the basic WordPress default “Twenty Nineteen,” and that there are a few other themes (past year’s defaults, when you add a new theme they’ll show up on this page as well).

wordpress tutorial for beginners active theme

But we can do so much better fam, so scroll down a smidge and click on the giant “Add New Theme” box.

wordpress tutorial for beginners add new theme

From here, you can use the little bar to search by featured, popular,  and latest themes to find the one that speaks deeply to your website-building soul.

wordpress tutorial theme filters

By far our favorite “WordPress for beginners” theme is Hestia, which you can find by just typing that into the theme search bar next to the options we mentioned above.

Hestia’s great because it’s super clean, easy to use, and fairly customizable.

If that’s not quite your jam, check out our Top 5 Best Free WordPress Themes for Beginners and Top 10 Best and Responsive WordPress Themes [2019] posts!

Once you’ve picked out a theme (for our WordPress tutorial for beginners, we’re using Hestia), just click on the “Install” button then click that same button again once it becomes  “Activate.”

install theme wordpress tutorial for beginners

You’ll then get taken back to the Themes page, there’ll be a congratulations message at the top, and you’ll see Hestia in your themes list.

Boom, done, got it, nice job, theme installed!

Step 6: How to add plugins to WordPress

Once you’ve got a super sweet theme installed, plugins are the next major thing you’re going to want to look into/install.

Plugins allow you to expand the functionality website.

For instance, if you want to make an online store, you’re going to need product pages, a shopping cart, payment processing, etc.

A lot of work to set up on your own, done for you in like 4 seconds when you install the WooCommerce plugin.

To install plugins, go over to the “Plugins” tab in the main menu, then click “Add New”.

add new plugins wordpress tutorial for beginners

From here you’ll see all the featured plugins and have sorting options just like with themes.

wordpress tutorial plugin page

Click on any of these and you’ll get a popup to learn more about what each does.

wordpress tutorial plugin details

For demonstration purposes here we’re going to install a WordPress plugin called Orbit Fox which adds a bunch of awesome customization options to whatever theme you installed.

So we’ll just search that in the plugin search bar:

search plugins wordpress tutorial for beginners

Click on “Install Now”:

orbit fox wordpress tutorial for beginners

Then once again, Activate once the install button changes over:

install plugins wordpress tutorial for beginners

You’ll then be able to find it in the list of installed plugins, also under the “Plugin” menu in your WordPress dashboard.

If you go there now, you’ll see there are a bunch of default plugins installed and as a WordPress beginner, you don’t really need any of these.

So to get rid of them, just click the checkboxes next to each one you want to deactivate:

bulk select plugins wordpress tutorial for beginners

Go up to the “Bulk Options” dropdown then click “Deactivate”:

deactivate plugins wordpress tutorial for beginners

Then smash that apply button.

Then to delete them, just follow the same checkbox process, just click “Delete” in the dropdown instead of “Deactivate.”

Ahh, feels so much cleaner now!

WordPress plugins: A few of the best

For the sake of keeping our WordPress tutorial quick, we just installed a few plugins and for the sake of time, those are a good place to start.

There are 100,000+ plugins out there so don’t go trying to find and explore them all. Please. For all our sakes.

But if you want to take a slightly longer route working your way through all this “how to use WordPress” stuff there are a few more plugins you’ll want to check out.

Features Plugins

Website Optimization Plugins

  • Yoast SEO – the go-to search engine optimization plugin for WordPress.
  • WP Rocket – helps speed up your website’s load times (good for both SEO and your visitors).
  • Autoptimize – makes your site faster by optimizing CSS, JavaScript, images, fonts and more.

Security Plugins

Step 7: How to customize your WordPress theme

Alright, for the next step in our WordPress tutorial, let’s customize the look and feel of your site using your new theme.

We choose Hestia and Orbit Fox for this tutorial because they give you a lot of options and is easy to customize.

If you chose a different theme, you’ll have a lot of similar options but some might be different/missing.

So, to start customizing your theme, head back over to your actual WordPress site by clicking your website name and the “Visit Site” link at the top of the dashboard.

Once you’re there, start customizing by clicking the “Customize” button at the top of the page.

customize wordpress tutorial for beginners

Bam, the website changes to show all the cool stuff Hestia includes by default.

customize homepage wordpress tutorial for beginners

This is exactly how our site is gonna look, minus all the stock images and text and the little pencil buttons.

And we’re gonna make all of it even more awesome!

All the items in the left-hand menu are the controls you can use to change your theme, every WordPress theme will have these (though different themes will give you some different options here).

customization settings wordpress tutorial for beginners

But with Hestia, if you want to change anything on your page, all you have to do is click one of the little pencil icons next to it – not something every theme has, definitely very “WordPress for beginners” friendly and that’s why we love it.

So if we want to change the title or header image, all you have to do is click that little blue icon:

customize element wordpress tutorial for beginners

That’ll open up the options on the left side to make those changes.

new homepage title wordpress tutorial for beginners

So if we change our title here to “Beginner WordPress Tutorials,” it’ll instantly be updated on the page!

new homepage title wordpress tutorial for beginners

Once you’ve made a few changes you’ll want to save your work, just like we used to do for those grade school English papers (this is very arguably more important than lol).

The “Publish” button at the top of the left sidebar will save your page changes and make them live on the internet, go for that if you want.

But, if you’re not quite ready to show your work to the world, click that little gear icon next to the Publish button.

page publishing settings wordpress tutorial for beginners

Click “Save Draft”

save draft homepage wordpress tutorial for beginners

Then that Publish button will now save a draft – your changes will be safe but they won’t be visible on your actual site when you click this.

So now that we’re safe and secure from the “internet is down” demons, let’s swap out the image in our header (that’s the section behind the page title we changed earlier).

Find that image in the sidebar.

update header image wordpress tutorial for beginners

Click “Remove” then “Select Image” when it appears once the image is removed.

homepage select image wordpress tutorial for beginners

From here, you can upload your own images by dragging/dropping them or clicking the button to search the files on your computer.

upload image wordpress tutorial for beginners

Upload an image, click on the “Choose Image” once it’s been uploaded, and boom

choose image wordpress tutorial for beginners

Now let’s say we don’t want the words of our title right in the middle, just click on the “Extra” tab in the sidebar.

customization back button wordpress tutorial for beginners

And you’ll get some layout options to move this over to the left, right, or middle.

font alignment wordpress tutorial for beginners

If you want to change the color of the button underneath our website title, click the back arrow twice to get out of the customization settings for this section:

extra customization options wordpress tutorial for beginners

Then go down to “Appearance Settings,” then “Colors.”

appearance settings wordpress tutorial for beginners

And you can change that pink accent color to whatever you want. We do love blue!

change button color wordpress tutorial for beginners

Now let’s change our fonts and font sizes, click that same back button again to get out of the Color settings and go to “Typography.”

typography settings wordpress tutorial for beginners

Here you’ll get options to change the “font family” for your headings and body text (that’s the text that’s not super big in the titles).

font settings wordpress tutorial for beginners

As well as your font sizes when you click on the, you guessed it, “Font Size” tab.

font size wordpress tutorial for beginners

Step 8: How to add pages in WordPress

Awesome, now that we know how to make our site look super spiffy, time to add some pages like “About” or “Contact” – things aren’t your homepage (always included) or blog posts (we’ll add those next).

Back in the trusty ol’ WordPress dashboard, go down to Pages and then Add New.

add new page wordpress tutorial for beginners

That’ll open up a new page to edit/create.

blank new page wordpress tutorial for beginners

The background around the “Add Title” is pink because that’s what Hestia comes with by default, change that by finding “Featured Images in the right-hand sidebar and add any image you want just like we did when customizing above.

set featured image wordpress tutorial for beginners

Now you can change the title text by clicking on it and typing in something new.

change page title wordpress tutorial for beginners

Then, we can start adding other text to our page by clicking the “Add Block” plus icon in the top right corner.

add block wordpress tutorial for beginners

We’re going to start by selecting a heading from the list here.

add heading wordpress tutorial for beginners

Then type in a heading, hit enter, and you can start typing in body text for your page.

add body text wordpress tutorial for beginners

When you’re at a good stopping point with your page content, hit “Save Draft” at the top of the page to save your work.

save page draft wordpress tutorial for beginners

Then the “Preview” button to see how your page will look when published.

preview page wordpress tutorial for beginners

Do that by clicking the “Publish” button next to the preview button, twice (WP wants you to be extra sure, thanks for having our backs WordPress!).

Now if you want to add this page to your header menu, go back to your main site using the “Visit Site” button at the top, then click “Customize” again, then on the right you’ll see the little blue pencil icon next to “Home” and “Blog” at the top of the page.

Guess what we’re gonna do?

Yep. Click that bad boy.

add menu option wordpress tutorial for beginners

On the left sidebar, the menu options will pop up.

This is our “Primary Menu” so we’re going to click the “Edit Menu” link underneath that.

edit menu wordpress tutorial for beginners

Then “Add Items.”

add page to menu wordpress tutorial for beginners

Then, in the case of this WordPress for beginners tutorial, click the “Our Mission” under “Pages” to add it.

add mission page to menu wordpress tutorial for beginners

Donzo.

mission page added to menu wordpress tutorial for beginners

Some key pages you’ll probably want to have

We just whipped up one page for our WordPress tutorial to show you what’s up on that front.

You’ll probably want a few pages for your site though (unless it’s a one-page design which is a thing these days).

Which pages you’ll want exactly depends on what your site is for, but we’ve got a list of the essentials in our How to Design a Website post here.

Step 9: How to create a blog post in WordPress

Blog posts. They’re what WordPress was built for. 

The how-to guides.

The top 10 tips.

We’ll show you how to add them to your site below.

First, a brief explanation of…

WordPress blog posts vs. pages

wordpress posts vs pages graphic

Well, both posts and pages will:

Posts, pages, what’s the big deal/difference?!

  • Have a title/headline (like “How to Use WordPress Tutorial” or “5-Day Free eCourse”)
  • Have body content (like all the words and images in this post)
  • Have meta info (author, publishing date, etc
  • Can be added, edited, and deleted.
  • Can be seen by anyone or password-protected so only certain people can see them.
  • Can contain text, video, auto, links, and images.
  • Can be spruced up visually and functionally with plugins and themes.

The difference is this:

Pages are less fluid, you tend to have a limited number of them that doesn’t change much over time, and they cover general info about your site, your services, products, etc. 

You might have an about page, contact page, and home page, and that’s it (in addition to your blog posts). 

Posts are displayed on a special “blog” page (like our Written Guides page) and you’ll continually create a lot of these. 

If you’re helping people out with a tutorial (like this ‘un ‘ere), sharing a travel story, recipe or your thoughts on proper deadlift form, that’s probably going to be a post.

Now back to the tutorial stuff…

Back in the dash, Posts -> Add New.

add new blog post wordpress tutorial for beginners

And you’ll have something that looks a lot like the page we made earlier.

That’s because they’re basically the same as far as creating them is concerned, a couple of differences with blog posts.

When it comes to creating your blog posts, the biggest difference is that posts can have “Categories” – groups of posts that all relate to a certain topic.

To add a category to a post, just find that option in the right-hand sidebar.

add new category wordpress tutorial for beginners

Then you can either click the checkbox on a category you’ve already created, or create a new category by typing one into the “New Category Name” box that pops up.

You might also use some different types of blocks like images, galleries, lists, quotes, etc. (You can add these to pages, too!).

Find all the different things you can add to your post in that “Add Block” plus icon at the top left of the page.

types of blocks wordpress tutorial for beginners

One other thing you might do a bit differently with your posts is have multiple heading sizes so that you can have sections of your page (like “Step 8: How to Create a WordPress Blog Post”) as well as sections within sections (eg we could have a “How to Change Your Heading Sizes” subsection inside of this section).

Heading sizes are labeled H2 through H4 in WordPress (H1 is reserved for the page/post title), just click on a heading block and click one of those labels to change that heading’s size.

change header size wordpress tutorial for beginners

When you’re done creating your posts, just hit that Publish button on the top right and you’re set!

Step 10: How to publish your WordPress site

So we’ve definitely smashed that publish button a few times to save our work, but for a new WordPress site, your work won’t be live on the internet for the world to see until we publish… the website.

On the WordPress dashboard, you’re gonna see a little notification at the top that says “Your site is currently displaying a ‘Coming Soon’ page.”

Once you’re locked, loaded, ready to explode it (there’s a reason we’re not pro rappers)…

Crush that “click here” link and let the sparks fly!

publish website wordpress tutorial for beginners

Step 11: How to speed up WordPress

Ahh but we’re not done there yall!

Well, you could be for now – the above steps are all the basics to go from zero to “grandma can visit my website via the internet tubes.”’

BUT. WE’RE. NOT. GOING. TO. LEAVE. YOU. HANGIN’. THERE. FAM.

Because, in addition to creating your actual pages and blog posts and fully customizing your site to your heart’s content, there are a few other things you’ll want to do (on an ongoing sort of basis) to keep your WordPress site running in tip-top shape.

Starting with site speed.

This one’s important for 2 reasons:

  1. If you want free traffic from Google, they’ll want your site to be fast.
  2. If you want people to like using your site instead of leaving out of frustration, you’ll want your site to be fast.

As your website grows, so will the amount of text, images, code, etc.

The more you have, the longer it will take to load, in general.

BUT there are ways you can optimize your WordPress website to keep your pages loading faster than an Olympic 100 meter sprinter (much faster, if your site takes 9.58 seconds to load like our boy Usain took to run no one will visit you).

AND thanks to plugins and the bit of knowledge we’re about to drop, you can keep your site blazing fast and optimized without knowing how to code.

Here are your basic WordPress speed optimization tools and techniques.

WordPress caching plugins

wordpress caching plugins graphic

Step one in the optimization game is Caching using a plugin.

Without getting too technical, a “cache” is a temporary storage of data so it can be loaded faster, in the case of WordPress this include caching on your web hosting server and in the browsers of people that visit your site.

WordPress caching plugins work by creating static versions of your websites so they can be delivered to your visitor’s computers and loaded by their browsers a lot faster than if your web server had to send all the PHP and other code for their browser to compute first.

Some of the most popular WordPress caching plugins include:

WordPress image optimizer plugins

wordpress image optimizer graphic

On the whole, images are probably going to be the largest kind of file on your site.

And large files mean slow loading times.

But we’ve gotta have them in the highly visual world we live in, so what do you do to keep your site as fast as possible while having tons of super sweet images for people to drool over?

Well, there are two main reasons images might slow your loading times down:

  1. Your images are too large

For example, if you upload an image that’s 1080×1080 pixels but your site resizes that down to a 500×500 space when loaded, you’re losing speed for two reasons – you’ve gotta send that larger file over the internet, then your visitor’s browser has to scale down that image before it can be properly displayed.

  1. Your images aren’t fully compressed

Let’s say you’ve done the above work and have that same 500×500 scaled-down image. At full resolution, uncompressed it might be a 3MB file. You can then compress that image – maybe losing a bit of quality that no one will notice, maybe while maintaining full quality – and get that file size down to 2MB. Smaller file = faster loading speed.

Now, you can manually scale and compress your images before you upload them to your site.

But that takes a lot of time when you’re creating a lot of content!

That’s where a WordPress image optimizer plugins come in, including:

Enable gzip compression for WordPress

wordpress gzip compression graphic

Enabling gzip compression increases your WordPress site speed by manipulating the code and text to make it smaller.

It does this by finding similar pieces of text in files and replacing them (temporarily, when your page is loaded everything will show up just as you wrote it lol) which, because HTML and CSS files have so many repetitive pieces of text, can reduce the size of a WordPress page by 50-75%.

There is a technical way to enable gzip compression via your sites .htaccess file that’s less likely to break something… IF you know what you’re doing.

So in the meantime, let’s use plugins like:

Yep, the caching plugins we recommend above all have gzip compression built-in!

Defer parsing of JavaScript in WordPress

wordpress defer javascript parsing graphic

Most of the themes and plugins you’ll use in WordPress use a lot of JavaScript code to make fancy things like sliders and smooth scrolling happen.

By default, browsers will load that JS code first, which makes HTML and images only show up afterward, which makes the site feel slow.

The hack for this: make visual elements load first so people who visit your site see something, then load the JavaScript after so your page’s full functionality is up and running.

Plugins that’ll do that for ya:

Use a WordPress CDN

wordpress cdn servers in the sky graphic

A Content Delivery Network (aka “CDN” because that’s a mouthful), speeds up your WordPress site by caching (saving copies of your site’s files) in multiple data centers around the world.

Example: let’s say your website host has your site on a server in Los Angeles, and someone tries to access your site from London (UK).

It’s going to take time for your website’s files to get sent from LA across the pond to jolly old England (we’re talking milliseconds but it makes a difference).

Would be much faster if those files were already on a server in London; with a CDN, they could be.

To get these speedy speed improvements, you’ll need both a plugin to enable the CDN for your site, and an actual CDN service to distribute and host those files.

Plugins:

WordPress CDNs:

WordPress lazy loading plugins

wordpress lazy loading man snoozing

Normally, when someone visits a page on your site, all the content is loaded at once.

That’s called “eager loading.”

But some content, like images way down at the bottom of your page, doesn’t need to be loaded when someone first gets to the top of your page.

Instead, they could be loaded when, say, a visitor gets 75% of the way down your page, which means the top of the page will load faster.

Another WordPress speed hack!

Plugins that’ll let you lazy load images:

Step 12: How to secure your WordPress site

how to secure wordpress site laptop lock shield

Definitely don’t want your shiny new site to get hacked!

And since WordPress powers around 30% of the internet, there are plenty of hackers (tens of thousands? millions?) trying to break into WordPress sites 24/7.

So you’ve gotta make sure you keep your seals tight and your WordPress site secure.

That means a few things:

Use unique usernames and passwords

“Admin” is the username set by default for the first user created in all WordPress installs.

Definitely want to change that by creating a new Administrator account with a unique name and password.

Because there are a variety of ways a hacker can get or guess your password but not your username.

If that’s the case and you’re still using the “admin” username, well that part of the login equation is done for them.

If your WordPress username is something unreal like “donthackmebro69” well, that’ll be harder for them to get at.

Unless you use that same username on other sites (though you probably shouldn’t use it at all lol).

“Unique password” means all the things it usually does: include numbers, capital letters, and symbols; longer is better.

We recommend using a password manager like LastPass to manage your online/website making passwords – keeps them all in one easy to find place and lets you use unique ones for all your accounts without forgetting them.

Restrict access to your WordPress admin area

This one’s a bit more advanced but a good idea once you get comfortable with making changes to website files on your web host’s server.

As we showed above, you can access your WordPress dashboard – which lets you change pretty much anything on your site – by going to “[yourdomain].com/wp-admin”.

It’s actually possible to restrict access to that page on your site to only people from certain computers!

To do this you’ll need to first find your home IP address by visiting whatsmyip.com.

Then, you can go edit your .htaccess file in your WordPress folder and add the following code, replacing “xx.xxx.xxx.xxx” with your IP address.

<Files wp-login.php>

order deny,allow

Deny from all

Allow from xx.xxx.xxx.xxx

</Files>

If you need access from multiple computers (either for yourself or for people you work with), you can simply add the “Allow from xx.xxx.xxx.xxx” line with other IP addresses again.

All that might be a bit convenient and technical, though.

So as an alternative, you can limit the number of login attempts using:

WordPress security plugins

There are a lot of security plugins that have different functionality, but in general, these are going to offer a few things: 

  • Active security monitoring (to check for hacks in real-time)
  • Notifications for when a security threat is detected (so you can secure your site fast)
  • Malware scanning (to check for malicious code)
  • File scanning (to make sure nothing gets infected)
  • Blacklist monitoring (to protect your site from visits by people at IP addresses known to be used for hacking)
  • Post-hack help (to recover your site if it gets hacked)
  • Firewalls (to limit access to your website’s files)
  • Brute force attack protection (aka “limiting login attempts”)

A few of the top security plugins:

Keep your site up to date and backed up

Which we’re covering… now!

Step 13: How to update your WordPress site

On top of adding cool new features and stomping out annoying bugs, updates also patch up security holes.

With WordPress, you’ll have three things to keep updated:

  1. WordPress itself
  2. Your themes
  3. Your plugins

WordPress will automatically make small updates on its own, bigger ones will wait for your approval (because they might break your plugins/themes).

You’ll also have to do theme and plugin updates yourself.

For any of that, the easiest thing to do is go to your updates tab.

There you’ll be able to update all your plugins, themes, and WordPress itself at once.

Here’s what it’ll look like when everything’s up to date (know it’s not the most helpful screenshot we’ve taken, for security reasons we’re not gonna show you what plugins we use/what needs updating on the sites we care about lol):

how to update wordpress site updated example

Step 14: How to backup your WordPress site

Setting up WordPress backups is super easy but a key part of your security game.

No matter how much you lock your sh*t down using the above recommendations/plugins, accidents and hacks happen.

When they do, you’ll want to be able to get back up and running fast.

That’s what backups are for.

If you want a bit more on how to do this than we cover in the video above, check out our How to Backup a WordPress Site for Free post!

WordPress website tips, tricks

wordpress website tips and tricks rabbit magic hat

Alright, rounding out our WordPress tutorial we’re going to drop a few hot tips to help you get started.

Let’s dive in.

  1. Definitely be sure to customize your homepage and spend a bit more time here than you might on other pages. It’s likely going to be the most visited page on your site, so you want to make sure you have all the important info on what your site is about and that it looks super slick to make a solid first impression.
  2. WordPress has some great online support in the form of documentation and forums you can lean on when you get stuck. We also recommend Stack Overflow for technical questions (with WordPress, hosting, really anything web development related).
  3. In the “Reading” settings under “Settings” be sure to set “For each article in a feed, show” to “Summary” so people don’t have to scroll through each entire post when they get to your blog page. Instead, they’ll just get the first few sentences and can then click “read more” to get the full diggity.
  4. Use images and videos to help break up the text on your pages and posts! (This post is a decent example of that though we could probably stand to include even more visuals lol).
  5. Your “About Us” page is likely to be one of the most visited on your site, so be sure to tell your website’s story and mission in a compelling way here.
  6. We highly recommend using the “Post name” permalink setting (on the Permalink page under “Settings”) – it’s cleaner and better for SEO than including publishing dates in your post URLs.
  7. Make sure your WordPress website looks good on mobile; it’s almost guaranteed that most of your visitors will be reaching your site from their phones.
  8. Include your most important pages (and maybe posts) in your header menu.
  9. Disable comments on pages like “About Us” and “Contact” since you don’t need them there; that can be done by editing the page, you’ll find the option to enable/disable comments under “Discussion” in the right sidebar of the editor.
  10. If you use a sidebar on your site, keep the widgets there organized and at a minimum. You want people focusing on your page’s/post’s main content without getting distracted.

Other WordPress tutorials

Alright y’all, that’s it for today’s tutorial but we’ve got so much more for you.

First, here are a few more WordPress tutorial written guides:

And there are a ton more how-to and tutorial videos on WordPress and anything else website creation related on our YouTube channel!

How to Create a Homepage Slider in WordPress
A simple, step-by-step guide to create a custom slider in WordPress.

How To Create A Homepage Slider Featured Image
 

Dale McManus

Co-Founder & Web Developer

Jul. 5, 2019

 

Hey, my name is Dale! My partner Alex and I have helped tens of thousands of people build beautiful websites around the world. In this simple, step-by-step guide, you’ll learn how to add a slider to your WordPress website. Let’s dive in!

  • Level of Expertise:
    Beginner
  • Time To Complete:
    30 Minutes
  • What You Get:
    Full Website & Domain

For the record: It’s super important for us to keep this site 100% free for you and 100% high quality. To help us do that, we’ve partnered with some of the products we recommend and earn a commission if you buy through our links. Read our full disclosure and partners list here.

In today’s post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about how to create a slider in WordPress.

As always, here’s the video guide:

If you like the video and want more tutorials on creating a professional website you can also subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Now to the post…

Wordpress Homepage slider

What Is a Slider in WordPress?

A slider is a super common website design element that showcases text, images, and videos by “sliding” from one slide to the next. 

They’re commonly used on business and portfolio websites. 

There are a ton of great free sliders to choose from, but you can also find some really nice paid sliders, too. 

Sliders can be programmed to run slideshows automatically, the moment someone hits your website – switching to the next slide every couple of seconds. 

Or, sliders can be static and let readers click a small arrow, for example, to swipe to the next slide. 

Some websites use sliders to display their most recent posts. They’ll usually add a link to the slides so that if someone wants to read the article, they can simply click the link and go to the content. 

One thing to keep in mind with sliders is that they may slow down your website a bit when it’s trying to load a bunch of images or other content. But this can be mitigated by speeding up image loading speeds.

Another potential issue is mobile readiness.

Google now prioritizes websites that are mobile-responsive, so you should make sure your website is made for mobile regardless of whether you use a slider or not. 

But if you do use a slider, you have to make sure it’s responsive as well so it doesn’t look weird on mobile devices, ruining the customer experience, and doesn’t match Google guidelines, reducing your SEO impact. 

But with all that said, sliders offer many benefits.

The Benefits of Homepage Sliders

Homepage sliders can help you do a number of things you wouldn’t be able to do without them. 

Sliders can showcase your products for you on your homepage, naturally leading visitors to click on them and see more, which is pretty common if you run an ecommerce website.

Sliders are visually appealing. They capture attention by displaying interesting content and can help ensure your visitors stick around on your website. 

Homepage sliders can be used to display important information. For example, sliders can be used to show all the services a business offers. Or it can be used to show the top projects in a freelancer’s portfolio. 

Sliders can show key text content, such as testimonials, one after another. This can be very powerful in proving to your website visitors they’re in the right place and you offer the right products and services for them. 

Now that you know what homepage sliders are and why you should have one, read on to see exactly how to put one on your website. 

How to Add a Homepage Slider in WordPress

Step #1 – Install the WordPress Homepage Slider Plugin

We’re gonna be using a free plugin called smart slider 3 that’s super easy to use.

First, go into your WordPress dashboard and find the “Plugins” tab on the left-hand side menu and click on “Add New.”

wordpress Plugins tab

Then type into the search bar the name of the slider, Slider 3. 

Install wordpress smart slider plugin

Once you see it, click on “Install Now” and then click “Activate.”

Step #2 – Create a New Slider

Now that you’ve installed Smart Slider 3, you’ll see it on the left-hand side menu in the dashboard. 

Scroll down and click on it. 

You’ll be presented with 2 options:

  1. Create a new slider from scratch
  2. Use a template

We’re all for creating your own template. If you feel comfortable with that, more power to you. 

But to be completely honest, we LOVE templates. It provides a solid foundation for creating something amazing that incorporates your unique flair within a proven framework. 

Plus, if you’re in a hurry or just plain lazy, templates are your best friend for getting things done with plenty of time to spare. 

So for this tutorial, we’re gonna click on “Template Library.”

You’ll be presented with tons of templates to choose from. Over 180 to be more exact. 

Some of them will cost you a pretty penny. 

But many of them are free. And if you only want to see the free templates, just click on the green “Free” button.

If you want to preview any of the sliders, simply click on them and you’ll be given a live preview of what one of these homepage sliders will look like and how it may function on your website.

Once you choose the slider you want to use, hover your mouse over the template and click on the “Import” button that appears. 

Import homepage slider

After it’s imported, you’ll see you now have 3 slides in your dashboard: slide 1, 2, and 3 that all add up to create a single slider.

You can now edit any of them to add text, images, and video. 

To edit them, hover over any of the slides and click on the “Edit” button. 

You’ll notice you’re now in the visual editor. 

If you want to change the text, simply click on the text and a small box will appear editor box will appear.

Inside this editor box, you can change the look and feel of the text by click on the paint can icon. That allows you to:

  • Add a link to the text.
  • Edit the color of the text.
  • Change the font.
  • Choose the size and weight of the font.
  • Etc. 

You can do the same with the button below the text by clicking on it. 

Another feature to change for the button is what it will look like if someone hovers their mouse cursor over it.

If you click on the pencil button you can change the button text and also provide a link that the button will take the reader to.

You can even edit the entire slider box, not just the elements in the box, by clicking on it (I just clicked the white background of the box itself to select it).

Here you can change things like the background color or opacity. If you bring the opacity down, you can make the box a bit more transparent, allowing visitors to see the ship behind the image. 

You have many options for customization. 

Next, we’re going to change the background image for this slide. 

So scroll up and click on “Background.”

Background of homepage slider settings

You’ll see that the image button is already selected so all you have to do is scroll down and find the row titled “Background.” Next to it, you’ll see “Image” and it should already contain an image that you can swap out for the one you want.

Get rid of this image by hovering over it and clicking on the tiny X that appears. 

Then just add a new one by clicking on the green button. After that, go over to “Upload Files” and click on “Select Files.”

Now, simply select the image you’re looking for and click on “Open” and then click “Select.”

Your new image is now in there!

Then go up and click on the Save button in the upper right-hand corner and then click on “Slider” in the upper left-hand corner to go back to the main dashboard. 

Before moving on, I do have one other helpful tip for you. 

Scroll down just slightly and you’ll see a menu bar with tabs that say “Publish,” “General,” “Size,” and so on. 

Click on “General.”

In here you’ll find a few more customization options for how your slider looks. 

For example, you could change how the animation of the slider works. The default setting is horizontal. If you wanted, you could change it to fade from one image to another when you click on the arrows. 

But we’re gonna leave it be for this guide. 

Step #3 – Display Your Slider on Your Website

I’m going to show you how to do this with the basic WordPress editor as well as the element or page builder.

First, let’s do the basic WordPress editor. 

How to Create a Homepage Slider Using WordPress Editor

All you have to do is simply go to the page that you want to put it on and edit that.

So we went to the dashboard on the left-hand side menu, clicked on “Pages” and added a new one. But you may want a homepage slider, so in that case, just go to your homepage in the WordPress dashboard. 

To add this slider at the top of this page, click on the little plus button in the upper left-hand corner and search for Smart Slider 3.

Plus button wordpress smart slider three

After you click on Smart Slider 3, it will appear on your page’s editor with a big blue button that says “Select Slider.” Go ahead and click it. 

Then select the slider you want to use.

Now all you have to do is click on “Publish” and then click “Publish” again. From there, you click on “View Page” to see what it looks like. 

Now you should see your homepage slider and it should work perfectly. 

Next, we’ll tell you how to display your slider using the element or page builder.

How to Create a Homepage Slider Using Element or Page Builder

So go back to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to whatever page you want to put the slider on, like your homepage. 

The easiest way to do this is to hover over your name in the upper left-hand corner of the WordPress dashboard and click on “Visit Site.”

You should be looking at your homepage. 

From here, click “Edit with Elementor” on that little menu bar on the page. 

Edit homepage slider with elementor

So if you want to add the slider right at the top of the homepage, simply click on the little blue plus button at the center top of the page. 

Then search for Smart Slider 3 in the box that appears on the left. 

You’ll see options to choose from, one with a WordPress icon and one with the slider icon. Choose the option with the slider icon and drag it into the space where you want your slider and then select the slider you want to use. 

You’ll see your slider and be able to test it out right in the editor itself. 

Now, if you’re like me, you might have these little white bars up at the top and the bottom of this slider. If you’d like to get rid of those, click on the “Advanced” tab in the editor menu on the left-hand side. 

Then underneath “Margin” change the value to negative 10. Those white bars should be completely gone at this point. 

Click “Update.”

OK, so that’s how to make a slider in WordPress!

If you found this homepage slider tutorial helpful be sure to check out our other written guides filled with all sorts of helpful website tips and tricks to help you launch your website!

How to Add Google Analytics to WordPress
Easily Set-Up Google Analytics With Just A Few Clicks

how to add Google Analytics to WordPress
 

Dale McManus

Co-Founder & Web Developer

Jun. 28, 2019

 

Hey, my name is Dale! My partner Alex and I have helped tens of thousands of people build beautiful websites around the world. In this simple, step-by-step guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about how to add Google Analytics to your WordPress website. Let’s dive in!

  • Level of Expertise
    Beginner
  • Time To Complete
    20 Minutes
  • What You Get
    Google Analytics, Installed

For the record: It’s super important for us to keep this site 100% free for you and 100% high quality. To help us do that, we’ve partnered with some of the products we recommend and earn a commission if you buy through our links. Read our full disclosure and partners list here.

We’re flipping the script with a special blend of a couple videos mixed in below, so let’s jump straight to the post. Right. Now.

So you’ve heard a bit about Google Analytics and think you want to add it to WordPress?

Smart. It’s an essential tool in the pro website toolkit.

But what exactly is it?

And is there an easy way to install Google Analytics in WordPress (meaning without having to tear your hair out messing with code).

There sure is friends.

All will be explained below.

how to add Google Analytics to WordPress

What is Google Analytics?

So WTF is Google Analytics?

Put simply, it’s an awesome tool that allows you (and over 50 million other websites around the world) to track and analyze your website traffic aka visitors.

It works by adding a piece of JavaScript code to your page (don’t worry – you won’t have to mess with this when you follow our tutorial below!).

That Google Analytics tracking code then monitors the visitors that come to your site to show you things like how long they spend on each page, where they come from, and what things they do while they’re visiting you.

It then does some programming magic to present this truckload of data in the form of stats and reports so you can better understand your visitors and how they use your WordPress site.

Why You Should Use Google Analytics with WordPress Sites 

GAnalytics. Definitely a must-have tool in the pro website game.

Not having it is like driving a cruise ship with a blindfold on – unless you’re the saltiest of sailors with a birdlike sense of magnetic north (for real, we watch way too many nature documentaries), you’ll just have no idea where you’re going.

And that means you’ll go in circles at best (read: create a bunch of content, do a bunch of marketing and earn no $$).

At worst, you’ll run aground on some uncharted island (not so bad except death).

By adding Google Analytics to WordPress, you’ll be able to learn a whole bunch about your website including:

Who Visits

Where do your visitors come from? What browsers and devices do they use? What times do they visit most?

We don’t know.

And neither do you until you install Google Analytics in WordPress!

How They Find You

When you add Google Analytics to WordPress, you’ll also be able to see where your visitors come from – search engines, typing your website directly into the address bar, links from other sites, and social media.

GA also lets you know what percentage of your visitors come from each source, as well as particular breakdowns for each category e.g. for “search engines” you can see how much traffic comes from Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.

What They Do

Last but not least, setting up Google Analytics on WordPress will let you track which pages visitors land on first, where they go from there, and how long they stay on your pages.

And if you get fancy with the setup, you can even see what links people click on and create goals that let you track wins like lead magnet downloads and cart checkouts.

With all this juicy data, you’ll be able to effectively optimize your site to get more traffic and sales.

Examples:

  • Optimize your site for certain devices.
  • Invest in getting traffic from sources that work well for you.
  • Create content that better fits what your visitors are looking for to keep them on your site longer and build a stronger relationship with them.

Basically, installing Google Analytics on your WordPress site cuts out a lot of the guesswork so you can make decisions about where to go next based on what people actually do on your site.

Not gut instinct. We like that kind of moxie but it’s not pro website best practice.

Google Analytics Basics

Before we get into the details of how to add the Google Analytics tracking code to WordPress, let’s have a quick look at the main Google Analytics interface so you can start getting up to speed.

Google analytics wordpress dashboard

On the right, you’ll find a bunch of cool/important stats for your website like how many users (visitors) have come to your site recently, as well as how they’re getting to your site, when they visit, where they’re from, etc.

As you build your Google Analytics ninja skills, though, you’ll spend most of your time in the more specific “Reports,” which you’ll find from the sidebar on the left.

There are a ton of different sections here, but these are general types of reports you’ll find:

  • Real-Time: These reports show you what’s happening on your site in… real-time. Normally it takes 24 hours to see data in other reports, here you can see how many people are on your site, what they’re looking at, etc right now!
  • Audience: Here you’ll learn more about how many people have visited your site over the past x amount of time (you can adjust this), how long they staid on your site, plus demographic data.
  • Acquisition: These will show you where your traffic is coming from. Super valuable!
  • Behavior: Reports in this tab show you things like what pages visitors land on first, what pages they visit the most, how long they stay on each page and more.
  • Conversion: If/when you set up “Goals” in Google Analytics (a topic for another time), you’ll be able to see how well you do at getting visitors to complete those goals (eg email signups or product purchases).

Alright, time to deliver on what we promised in the headline…

Adding Google Analytics to WordPress

Step 1: Set Up a Google Analytics Account

Alright, first step in setting up Google Analytics on WordPress is to set up a Google Analytics account.

Totally free and super simple (especially if you already have a Google account).

Just head over to Google.com/analytics and click start for free.

Sign in to your Google account if you’re not already logged in, otherwise, just click “sign up.”

google analytics wordpress account signup

From here, Google’s going to ask you what you want to track (select “website”), then you’ll type in an account name (your business name works well, in case you want to build more websites later), then your website name (your domain name works here).

Select an industry and make sure your time zone is correct.

google analytics wordpress settings

Leave all the other boxes below that checked, then click “Get Tracking ID,” and accept the terms.

That’ll take you to your new Google Analytics dashboard and this step’s done!

Step 2: Install the Google Analytics WordPress Plugin

Next, time to install Google Analytics on WordPress, no code required!

Because we’re using a plugin baby. B)

Jump over to your WordPress dashboard, then “Plugins” and “Add New” in the sidebar.

google analytics wordpress plugin add new

From here, head over to the search box, type in “Google Analytics,” find the “Google Analytics Dashboard for WP” plugin, smash that “Install Now” button then “Activate” once that’s done.

wordpress google analytics plugin install

Sweet, now we’ve got to link your account to the Google Analytics WordPress plugin we just installed.

Easy enough, just go over to the sidebar menu on the left and scroll down until you see “Google Analytics,” then click on “General Settings.”

google analytics wordpress plugin settings

On the next page, click “Authorize Plugin.”

authorize google analytics wordpress plugin

Then on the page after that, click the “Get Access Code” link.

wordpress google analytics plugin get access code

This will open a new tab/window (depending on your chrome settings lol), from here just sign in to the Google account you signed up for Analytics with, then click “Allow.”

You’ll then get a code to copy:

google analytics code copy

Copy that bad boy, paste it into the aptly named “Access Code” field back in the Google Analytics WordPress plugin page, then click “Save Access Code.”

save wordpress google analytics tracking code

Assuming plugin authorization succeeded (if not you probably copied the code wrong; no biggie, we screw that up sometimes too), just scroll all the way down the plugin page and click “Save Changes”…

wordpress google analytics plugin save changes

And we’re set on Step 3!

Step 4: View Your Google Analytics Data;

Setup’s done, time to start checking out that sweet sweet website data!

We covered the basics of what you’ll find inside Google Analytics’ dashboard above (“Google Analytics Basics” in case you forgot or skipped it).

But one of the cool things about the Google Analytics WordPress plugin we installed is that it gives you a lot of this information right inside WordPress!

To check that out, head over to your main WordPress dashboard (click “Dashboard” in the sidebar if you’re not already there), scroll down and you’ll see a mini Google Analytics dashboard widget

google analytics wordpress plugin dashboard

This will start at zero because we just installed Google Analytics/the WordPress plugin, but over the next few weeks Analytics will record data and start displaying that here.

Here you’ll also find a couple of dropdown boxes to change what data is displayed in the little line graph.

In the one on the right, options include:

  • Sessions (how many times people visited your site; sometimes one person will have more than one “session”)
  • Users (how many people visited your site)
  • Organic (how much traffic you got from search engines)
  • Page Views (how many pages users visited)
  • Bounce Rate (percentage of page views where users left without clicking to another page on your site)
  • Location (where users are coming from)
  • Pages (shows you which pages were visited the most)
  • Referrers (tells you what websites your traffic is coming from besides Google)
  • Searches (shows you what keywords searched when they found/clicked to your site)
  • Traffic (stats on what “channels” [search, direct, social media, other sites] users come from and whether they’re new or returning)
  • Technology (tells you what browsers, operating systems, and types of mobile device people use when visiting your site)
  • 404 Errors (lets you know if any of your pages have a “404 Not Found” error)
google analytics wordpress plugin reports

Using the dropdown on the left, you can set how far back you want this data to go, from Real Time (now!) up to Three Years (one day!).

wordpress google analytics plugin times

Google Analytics + WordPress = Done

Alright yall, that’s a bit on what Google Analytics is and how to add it to WordPress.

If you found our little tutorial here helpful be sure to check out our other written guides for more super helpful pro website tips and tricks.

See you over there!

How to Create a Contact Form in WordPress | For FREE!
A Simple, Step-By-Step Guide To Creating A Contact Form For FREE

 

Dale McManus

Co-Founder & Web Developer

Jun. 20, 2019

 

Hey, my name is Dale! My partner Alex and I have helped tens of thousands of people build beautiful websites through our interactive video tutorials and written guides. In this simple, step-by-step guide, we’ll get you up to speed quickly on how to create a WordPress contact form. For FREE!

  • Level of Expertise
    Beginner
  • Time To Complete
    30 Minutes
  • What You Get
    Full Website & Domain

For the record: It’s super important for us to keep this site 100% free for you and 100% high quality. To help us do that, we’ve partnered with some of the products we recommend and earn a commission if you buy through our links. Read our full disclosure and partners list here.

Do you want to create a beautiful image slider for your WordPress website or blog? This tutorial shows you exactly what you need to do to create a stunning WordPress slider without any coding.

As always, here’s the video guide:

If you like the video and want more tutorials on creating a professional website you can also subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Now to the post…

What. Is. Going. On. Yall!

Today we’re gonna show you how to make a WordPress contact form the super easy way.

And for free!!

No matter what kind of site you have – whether it’s an online store, blog, or something else – always important to have a way for customers, clients, even potential partners to get in touch.

Don’t let those golden opportunities slip through the cracks because people don’t know how to reach out!

We’ve got four simple steps to walk through so you can learn how to add a contact form to your WordPress site and keep the growth train rolling.

When we’re done, visitors to your site will be able to fill out their name, email, and message, then you’ll get an email notification so you can follow up!

Alright, let’s get into it.

create wordpress contact form free

Why Do You Need a WordPress Contact Form?

Do you really need a contact form on your WordPress site?

Can’t you just add your email address and let people email you that way?

You could. Please don’t.

There was a time (like ’90s to mid-’00s) that most people did this.

And unfortunately, some still do.

Maybe you’re leaning that way because you think you’ll have to learn how to code to add a contact form to your site.

Good news: you definitely don’t friends!

And there are a few good reasons for using a contact form instead of just pasting your email on your contact page:

Spam

For us, this is more than enough reason to use a contact form.

If your site gets big enough, sure, create a “hello@[yourdomainname].com” and just know spam will be part of the daily email diet for whoever has to check that inbox.

In the meantime, don’t beg spammers to bombard your personal email by posting it on your website where it’s easily scraped by bots.

Automation

If you make visitors send you an email, you’ll get all sorts of different information from them as they try to figure out what you need to know to follow up with them.

Plus, they’ll all have different subject lines – which means you’re more likely to get confused about how/why that person is emailing you, and they’re more likely to forget they sent you that email and what it was about when they see your reply.

Set up your WordPress contact forms right, and you’ll be able to set a specific subject line so everyone knows what’s up, and you’ll be able to automatically collect certain information you need by adding fields for people to fill out before hitting send.

On top of that: when you use a solid WordPress contact form plugin, you can set up automatic confirmations via email or page redirects to let people know that they successfully sent their message and what happens next.

User Experience

Plain and simple: these days everyone knows what a contact form is and how to fill one out. So if they see yours, it’s that much easier for them to get in touch.

For starters, it’s less digging through your site to hopefully find your email, then copying it, opening a new tab to get to Gmail, then pasting in your email address.

Only to then have to think about what they want to say to you (see above).

Plus, for so many reasons, we sometimes avoid opening our emails (grandma sends us too many “forward this email or you’ll die” chains) – other people do that too!

Don’t make them have to face death or a thousand unopened emails to talk to you.

On top of that, contact forms just look awesome. So much more pro, and that’s what we’re going for here.

The Best WordPress Contact Form Plugin

Like we said above, you DON’T have to learn to code to add a contact form to your WordPress site.

We’ve got plugins friends!

Knowing there’s such a huge demand for these, quite a few WordPress developers have cranked away to create free and paid WordPress contact form plugins for you to choose from.

We’re fans of one simply called “Contact Form” by WPForms.

Besides the “of course this is what I need” name, there are a couple of reasons for that:

  • It’s dead simple, super beginner friendly; just drag/drop fields in their builder to create your form, paste a shortcode (more on that later) onto your page, done.
  • They’ve got a free version (WPForms Lite), always handy when you’re getting started. Bonus: they have a sweet paid version, so once you get more advanced with your web work you can get additional features you’ll need without having to switch up your plugin/redo everything (that sucks a lot).

Alright, contact form prep work out of the way, let’s dive into this tutorial!

How to Add a Contact Form in WordPress: 4 Simple Steps

Step 1: Install the WPForms WordPress Contact Form Plugin

First, we’ve gotta install that plugin!

From your WordPress dashboard, just head over to the “Plugins” tab, click the “add new” button, then search for “WPForms” and you’ll see it pop up.

create wordpress contact form free

Smash that “Install Now” button, then activate and we’ve reached the proverbial “good to go.”

create wordpress contact form free

Step 2: Create a Simple Contact Form

Next up, let’s create our new WordPress contact form.

Once you’ve gotten WPForms installed, it’ll send you to a screen to create your first form (if you somehow miss this, just click the “WPForms” tab in your WordPress Dashboard sidebar).

create wordpress contact form free

Scroll down and you’ll find the “create your first form” button. Handy, because that’s exactly what we’re trying to do!

Click that sucker and you’ll be taken to a page to get started.

wpforms simple contact form

Start by inputting a name for your form, then (for the purposes of this tutorial), select “Blank Contact Form.” WPForms has your back with a few templates like “Simple Contact Form,” “Newsletter Signup Form,” and “Suggestion Form.”

We’re going with “Blank” to show you all the basics, once you get this one done feel free to play with the templates.

wpforms contact form fields

From here, just need to click on one of the boxes in the “Add Fields” tab to start adding things to your form.

Name, email, and message (which in WPForms is called “Paragraph Text”) are the basics, so that’s what we added!

wpforms contact form fields

Since our paragraph text in this case is for their “Message,” just click on it and that’ll pull up the “Field Options” tab.

wpforms contact form fields

You’ll see “Label” there – change that bad boy to “Message.” Boom!]

Next, we’re going over to the settings tab all the way over to the left of your screen.

Here, under “General,” you can change a bunch of settings like the text of your submit button.

wpforms wordpress contact form general settings

For now, we’re just going to head to “Notifications” and change the email address that WPForms will send a notification to when someone submits our form.

Simple enough to do: just input your best email address into the “Send To Email Address.”

wpforms wordpress contact form notification settings

Then, head over to “Confirmation” and change the confirmation message if you want something a bit more custom, a bit more snazzy than the default text.

You can also direct them to a different page/URL on your site, for example if you have a fun little “thanks for reaching out, we’ll get back to you ASAP” video to share, you could post that on another page and send people who submit your for to it for bonus “I like you” points.

wpforms wordpress contact form notification settings

Done with confirmations?

Sweet, click “Save” and once the little spinning gear icon turns back into a checkmark, click the “x” right next to it to exit out of the form editor.

wpforms wordpress contact form notification settings

Step 3: Add the Form to Your WordPress Contact Us Page

Step three, we’ve got to add this WordPress contact form to one of your pages!

First up, create a contact page by mousing over to the “Pages” tab of the WordPress dashboard and clicking “Add New.”

wordpress contact page new

Keeping it simple for the tutorial, we’re naming this page “Contact” (feel free to get fancy with “Contact Us” if you’re feeling it).

Once you’ve added the name/title (that’s what WordPress calls page names), add your contact form by going up to the plus button at the top left of the page, scroll down to “Widgets,” click to open this part up and you’ll see “WPForms.”

wordpress contact form widget

Click on that and a dropdown box will pop up on the page that lets you choose a contact form, select the form we just made.

simple contact form wordpress

While we’re here, let’s add a bit of heading text to make it abundantly clear to visitors that this is our contact form (not that they’re dumb and don’t realize that, it’s just that we want to make it as clear and easy as possible for them to reach out!).

Click that plus sign again and add a “Heading” block, type out “Contact Me” or whatever you want to call this thing, then slide that heading up above the form.

Then click the blue “Publish” button in the top right corner twice (WordPress really wants to make sure you mean it when you publish a new page) and it’s live!

One more click, this time the “View Page” link that appears to check it out.

wordpress contact us page

Awesome, this is it. But it could look so much better…

Bonus Step: Make Your WordPress Contact Page Look Sweet with Elementor!

Elementor. Our favorite free WordPress page builder plugin.

Install it the same way you installed WPForms (go to plugins -> add new -> search “Elementor” -> Install Now -> Activate).

Then go to your Contact page and at the top, you’ll see a blue “Edit with Elementor” button.

For our tutorial, we’re going to add the form to Dale’s site’s homepage (since it’s already set up with Elementor).

elementor wordpress homepage

In this case, we’re adding it underneath the “Contact Me” banner (how handy he already had that setup and waiting for us!).

From here, click on the little plus sign under that banner to add a section.

elementor wordpress homepage

Then go over to “Search Widget” in the sidebar, type in WPForms, then drag/drop it into the new section we just created.

Select the form from the dropdown that appears in the sidebar, select our favorite (and only) form and you’ll see it show up on your page!

elementor wordpress homepage

Play around with the design from here by clicking the six dots that show up next to the plus sign we clicked earlier to edit the look of your form to your heart’s complete content.

elementor wordpress contact form design settings

Step 4: Send a Test Email from your WordPress Contact Form

Alright, last step here – let’s test our WordPress contact us form baby out!

Just head over to your contact page (“contact us” if you got fancy) then fill out your form: name, email, quick message (“This is a test” always seems to work for this type of thing).

wordpress contact form test message

Smash that submit button then open up the inbox for the email you set your form to send notifications to in step 2.

When we tried this, our test email wasn’t in our inbox.

It went to spam. Thanks Gmail! [facepalm]

wordpress contact form message sent to spam

We can fix this!

Head over to your email folders on the left side of Gmail, scroll down and click “More,” scroll down again and click the spam folder.

Find your test message in there (we cleared our spam folder for the sake of this tutorial so it was easy, search for the Subject line you set for your form email notifications in step 2 to find it if it’s buried because that’s the more likely scenario).

Once you find and open up the email, you’ll see a nice big “Report Not Spam” button at the top, click that and this test message plus any others your form sends you will end up in your Inbox!

remove wordpress contact us form message from spam

Contact Forms! We’ve got WordPress Contact Forms here!

That’s it friends – how to add a contact form in WordPress!

As always, we hope you found that super helpful.

If you want more tips, tricks, tutorials, step-by-step guides – all the help with creating an awesome, professional website, go check out our Youtube Channel for more of the good stuff!

Rumor has it that for every new subscriber we get, a good boy finds a date to prom…

Top 10 Best and Responsive WordPress Themes [2019]
A Collection of the Most Popular Premium WordPress Themes

Top 10 Best Responsive WordPress Themes Thumbnail

Dale McManus

Co-Founder & Web Developer

May 24, 2019

Hey, my name is Dale! My partner Alex and I have helped tens of thousands of people build beautiful websites around the world. In this simple, step-by-step guide, we’ll cover our 10 favorite WordPress Themes for this year. Let’s dive in!

  • Level of Expertise:
    Beginner
  • Time To Complete:
    30 Minutes
  • What You Get:
    Full Website & Domain

For the record: It’s super important for us to keep this site 100% free for you and 100% high quality. To help us do that, we’ve partnered with some of the products we recommend and earn a commission if you buy through our links. Read our full disclosure and partners list here.

As always, here’s the video guide:

If you like the video and want more tutorials on creating a professional website you can also subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Now to the post…

Finding just the *right* WordPress theme – nay, the BEST WordPress theme – is very difficult.

But you probably already know that. Which is why you’re here reading this post.

And I would guess that the reason you’re having trouble finding a theme is simple:

There are SO MANY themes out there!

Approximately 31,010 themes, to be specific.

Which makes sense…

I mean, 34% of the entire internet is using WordPress to run their websites.

And with 1.68 billion websites in existence at the time of this writing, WordPress powers 574 million of them.

Sooo…

There’s a massive market for WordPress themes.

Which is why I want to make the search for the best WordPress theme much easier for you.

To be clear, we’re covering PREMIUM WordPress themes in today’s post. In the future, I’ll cover the best free themes. But the themes covered today are well worth their price tag, as you’ll soon discover.

So if you’re ready, let’s get started!

Responsive and best WordPress themes

Table of Contents

10. The7

9. Newspaper 9

8. Avada

7. Massive Dynamic M7

6. Bridge

5. Oshine

4. BeTheme

3. Flatsome

2. X Theme

1. Divi

Top 10 Best and Responsive WordPress Themes | 2019

10. The7

The7 best WordPress theme
The7 comes with tons of options for customizing everything.

Coming in at number 10 is a responsive WordPress theme called The7.

The first thing that stands out about this theme is the price:

$39.

Which is roughly have the price of the average premium WordPress theme.

And you get a lot of bang for your buck with this one.

First off, you get a clean design.

The sections of the theme are separated by white and light grey color schemes. It has a very apple.com feel to it.

Of course, you can choose a different color scheme. In fact, you can customize the entire theme in any way you like. The7 actually bills itself as the most customizable theme on the market.

You also get a ton of cool sections with awesome buttons.

And like all the themes on this list, The7 provides different demos to preview what the theme would look like live on your website.

But better than just showing what your site will look like, the demos give you ideas on how you can structure your content, providing a prebuilt layout and design for your content you just need to fill in with your images, and text, and colors.

Oh, and this is a responsive WordPress theme. All the themes on this list are responsive.

What that basically means is that if someone looks at your website on their mobile device or tablet, it will still look fantastic. Text or links won’t be out of place. The design won’t change. And the user experience will be just as good.

That means more people sticking around on your website. And that’s what we all want, isn’t it?

9. Newspaper 9

Newspaper 9 best WordPress theme
Newspaper 9 is used by all sorts of magazines, news sites, and popular blogs.

Next up we have Newspaper 9.

(I swear, not all of the themes on this list will have numbers in them. It just so happens that some really good themes use numbers in their title. Don’t ask me why.)

It’s a fair bit pricier than the last theme, but still below the industry average.

Apparently, this theme is extremely popular with magazines, news sites, and news blogs.

The base design is great, but then they give you like 70+ different demos to choose from. This is great if you don’t even want to think about designing your own site and want to plug in a powerful demo and run with it.

For example, their “Wine Aroma” demo is super clean, with light, bubbly colors. Perfect for selling various products, but especially beverages.

But if you are going to use this theme for a news-based blog, then another demo I recommend checking out is “Lifestyle Magazine.”

You’ll notice right away that it’s designed to push your blog posts front and center for your website visitors. It also includes an Instagram feed if you want to pull in content from your social media accounts and showcase them on your blog.

This is easily one of the best WordPress themes if you care more about featuring your latest posts and updates and less about having a static homepage.

8. Avada

Avada best WordPress theme
People just can’t stop themselves from buying this epic theme.

OK, number 8 on our list is Avada.

It literally costs $1 more than Newspaper 9 and is the best-selling theme of all time – it’s been purchased 500,000 times in 2019 alone and we’re only halfway through the year!

We’ll have to take the creators word that Avada is the best-selling theme of all time, but regardless, the blogosphere certainly loves it. If you search other lists of the best WordPress themes you’ll find Avada on probably every single one of them.

And for good reason:

It’s very user-friendly, has 48 prebuilt websites to choose from, and has a 5-star customer satisfaction rating.

Avada is one of those themes that can be used for anything.

From ecommerce to news to hobby blogging.

Whatever your jam, Avada will be your jelly.

It comes with a powerful website design software that any non-coder can easily use called Fusion. No coding necessary to use it.

But if you do want a prebuilt theme, I really liked “Freelancer.”

It gives you a cool parallax effect and slanted dividers and comes with a bunch of awesome buttons that are fully customizable.

In short, Avada is a standout winner at an affordable price.

7. Massive Dynamic M7

Massive dynamic M7 best WordPress theme
M7 is the most affordable WordPress theme on our list.

The lucky number 7 theme is Massive Dynamic’s M7.

And let me just say, this one is particularly cool – especially if you’re into fashion and design.

For example, the template “Design Studio” is eye-popping and bold. Very photo-forward. Perfect template if you run your own design or creative agency and want to showcase your gorgeous photography or other images mixed with just the right words.

This WordPress theme is only $39, so it’s another one that’s affordable and offers a lot at a low price.

I mentioned Design Studio, but that’s just one of 70 templates to choose from.

And if you’re already a designer, perhaps a web designer like me, then you can use their simple drag-and-drop editor to whip up your own site in no time.

Oh, and Massive Dynamic integrates with WooCommerce seamlessly. So if you’re selling clothes or photos or anything else through your website and want to use WooCommerce, Massive Dynamic makes it happen with ease.

Considering the price and the options, this is a top choice for you if you’re looking for a visually stunning WordPress theme.

6. Bridge

Bridge best WordPress theme
The Bridge theme just pops with creativity, energy, and color.

WordPress theme number 6 is Bridge.

Right away, Bridge displays an awesome opener that I just really enjoy.

This theme is great for pretty much anything you do online; any type of website you’re building.

They have a TON of demos to choose from. Over 370, to be exact.

That’s why I say, no matter your business, hobby, or online pursuit…

Bridge has something for you.

Like, I gotta keep harping on this. I’ve never seen anybody put so much work into their demos and preset websites.

Each and every template to choose from is perfectly designed for that particular industry, that particular niche.

You operate a fast food restaurant? Grab this template and swap out their content for yours and you’re ready to go.

You’re a makeup artist building your brand online? Here’s a template you must have.

I could go on, but you get the point.

Now because they put so much work into this theme, it does carry a higher price of $59. But considering everything you get, that price shouldn’t scare you at all.

If you simply can’t be bothered to design your own site and want something that will look great and perform excellently right out of the box, Bridge is what you need.

5. Oshine

Oshine best WordPress theme
Oshine has a variety of templates to choose from and thousands of happy customers.

Oshine is the 5th theme featured on our list.

It bills itself as one of the best-selling creative WordPress themes on the market. And it shows.

It comes loaded with 47 different templates to choose from, most of which are very image-heavy. The templates have names like “new photography” and “web design agency” and “modern creative agency.”

Meaning, they’re made for photographers, designers, fashionistas, and a host of creative agencies.

The theme comes complete with sliders, carousels, and even password-protected photo galleries.

Oshine is the same price as Bridge and others on this list at $59. Not bad.

It was built for WooCommerce, so if you’re selling fashion products like clothing or accessories, one of these templates are ready to use right out of the box as your brand’s store.

But you’re more than welcome to design your own site using their built-in webpage builder, Tatsu.

And this theme wasn’t made for agencies exclusively. It was also designed with solopreneurs and freelancers in mind to showcase their work to potential clients.

So however you express your creativity, Oshine will help you show it off.

4. BeTheme

Betheme best WordPress theme
With over 400 pre-built websites, you’ll have yours ready to go in a few clicks.

Over halfway through this list now, and here we have BeTheme.

This one also costs $59 and is full of cool stuff.

The first thing that caught my attention about BeTheme is how it was built to support a variety of multimedia. If you’re going to be using videos on your site, this is the theme for you.

And it comes with over 400 pre-built websites that can be installed in one click. In fact, BeTheme claims that they have the most intuitive website installer ever. Whether that’s true or not, it certainly means setting up your website is going to be a breeze.

It seems other customers love BeTheme, too.

They have 60,000+ reviews, and many of them are glowing with praise.

Plenty of them praise BeTheme’s website builder which lets you choose a base grid style, add in customizable headers and logos, and it’s optimized to be a fast-loading, fast-performing theme.

And this theme is compatible with a ton of essential third-party apps like Mailchimp (for email marketing), Yoast (for SEO), and WooCommerce (for ecommerce shops).

Whatever your needs, BeTheme can satisfy them.

3. Flatsome

Flatsome best WordPress theme
If you’re trying to sell any products through your website then Flatsome is for you.

OK, we finally made it to the top 3!

The theme that gets the bronze trophy is Flatsome.

They make it clear right away that they’re “The #1 Bestselling WooCommerce & Business theme.”

So yeah, you can sell anything with this theme. And thousands of people do.

Which, if that’s something you want to do but don’t know how, I suppose now is a good time to drop a link to another video I’ve done titled, How to Make an Online Store (eCommerce Website).

Actually, in that video I show how to use a free theme to setup your ecommerce site.

But if you want all the bells and whistles, then Flatsome gets my highest recommendation.

They make it easy to segment the different products you may sell using categories like “best-selling” and “weekly featured.”

The theme is also optimized for speed (which is critical when people are making buying decisions).

Bottom line is that this theme is designed to help you sell as many of your goods as possible.

2. X Theme

X theme best WordPress theme
X theme was made for high-powered internet marketing by some great internet marketers.

Number 2 is called X theme.

This is like the ultimate internet marketing theme. One of the creators is Perry Marshall, a living titan of online persuasion, buyer psychology, and business-building.

So if you’re a serious online entrepreneur who wants to scale their sales, this is the theme for you.

It was designed with a heavy emphasis on landing pages, one of the keys to gaining more subscribers and driving consistent sales.

X theme comes with 4 unique designs they call “Stacks.” And each stack comes with different demos to give you an idea of how versatile and customizable they are.

Honestly, I don’t need to spend a lot of time on this one. The price is $59 and it’s got all the features you need to build your business online. ‘Nuff said.

1. Divi

Divi best WordPress theme
Divi is simply the most popular WordPress theme and features a one-of-a-kind website builder.

Well, we made it to number one!

And Divi deserves this spot. They’re apparently the most popular WordPress theme in the entire freaking world!

And they claim they have the ultimate WordPress page builder. Whether it’s the ultimate or not, I don’t know. What I do know is that it’s awesome.

Basically, Divi replaced WordPress’s post editor with a visual editor. It allows you to create phenomenal designs with ease. It really is unlike any editor I’ve seen.

They give you over 40 elements to mix and match in any way you choose, from call-to-actions to testimonials to sliders.

But get this…

Divi comes with over 800 pre-made website designs. And they’re constantly adding new layouts. Plus, they’re always giving you more royalty free images, icons, and illustrations.

But everything is customizable so you’re never stuck with a design you hate.

Divi was literally built for everyone so absolutely anyone can use it.

So What Theme Will You Use?

I hope that list helped narrow down the options to some of the best WordPress themes you can possibly get.

Now it’s just a matter of choosing the one that works best for you.

Anyway, if you enjoyed this post, make sure to check out the other written guides I’ve put together to help you create and run a powerful (and profitable) website in 2019 and beyond!

How to Backup a WordPress Site for Free
4 Simple Steps To Backup Your WP Site

How To Backup A WordPress Site For Free Thumbnail
 

Dale McManus

Co-Founder & Web Developer

Mar. 29, 2019

 

Hey, my name is Dale! My partner Alex and I have helped tens of thousands of people build beautiful websites around the world. In this simple, step-by-step guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about how to backup a WordPress site. Let’s dive in!

  • Level of Expertise:
    Beginner
  • Time To Complete:
    20 Minutes
  • What You Get:
    Full Website Backup

For the record: It’s super important for us to keep this site 100% free for you and 100% high quality. To help us do that, we’ve partnered with some of the products we recommend and earn a commission if you buy through our links. Read our full disclosure and partners list here.

As always, here’s the video guide:

If you like the video and want more tutorials on  creating a professional website you can also subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Now to the post…

how to backup a wordpress site

Setting up WordPress backups for your site is one of the easiest and most crucial ways to up your website security game.

No matter how much you lock your sh*t down, accidents and hacks happen.

And when they do, knowing you’re covered with a recent backup (or two) of your site is like Bengay for the stress you’ll feel. Downtime isn’t cool, but losing all your work is waay less cool.

So today we’ll cover everything you need to know about WordPress backups – from why it’s important, to how often you should do it, your backup options, some of our favorite WordPress backup plugins and a quick tutorial.

Let’s get into it!

Why Should I Backup WordPress?

Just in case you’re a bit confused about all this backup business, we want to make sure you’re crystal clear: backing up your site is real important. Don’t wait until after your site is broken/hacked to start making them.

Simply put, backups are copies of your WordPress site that are easy to reinstall (“restore” in technical terms) if something goes wrong.

They’re an insurance policy that’s super cheap (read on – we’ll show you how to set them up in a couple of minutes). One of those things that you probably won’t need but when you do you’ll really need them.

WordPress backups have two parts:

  • Your media, theme, plugin, etc files
  • The database that stores your blog posts, comments, and settings

By default, WordPress doesn’t have a built-in backup system, so you’ll have to take some steps to set this up yourself.

To do this, you’ve got three options:

  1. Rely on your web host to back it all up for you.
  2. Make backups manually by downloading your files and database (don’t do this – you’ll forget and it’s a waste of time unless you like playing around with web hosting stuff).
  3. Grab a WordPress backup plugin to manage your backings up right from the dashboard).

We’ll get more into why we think plugins are best below, for now just know that backups can save you a ton of time and stress in a number of ways:

  • When updates or plugin installations go wrong, you’re covered.
  • If you get hacked, you’re covered.
  • If you forget to make a hosting payment (getting a new credit card, always a pain) and your website gets deleted, you’re covered.
  • If any one of a million other random things happens to break your site… you’re covered.

How Often Should I Make a WordPress Backup?

Definitely a good idea to backup your WordPress site regularly – it’s easy to automate (no more thinking about it!) and if something goes wrong, the more often you’ve saved your site the fresher your latest copy will be (meaning fewer changes to get back to where you were from restoring the backup).

How regularly should you backup a WordPress site?

Well, it depends on how complex it is and how often you make changes.

If you’ve got a simple website with just a few pages/posts and plenty of storage on your webhost (or wherever you’re going to store backups) – it’s easy enough to just set up full daly backups (of your files and database).

If you’re just getting started, you should be fine storage-wise, you won’t need much space and if you have good web hosting you’ll have plenty of storage available; maybe go weekly if you’re worried about storage and don’t make a ton of changes.

If you’ve got a big site that will have huge backup files that might hit storage limits, here are a few tips:

  • Really you should do at least weekly backups, even if you don’t make a ton of updates, as hacking/randomness happens.
  • You can also do weekly full WordPress backups (file + database) and daily database only backups if you make a lot of content changes (new blog posts, comments, products on your ecommerce site).
  • If you make a lot of daily changes, you really need to do daily backups – if you’re really pressed for space try saving your files to a hard drive on your computer or an external one or limiting your number of saved backups.

And even if you have automatic backups scheduled at a good interval, it’s always a good idea to make a quick manual WordPress backup:

  • When updating your WordPress version
  • When adding/updating plugins and themes that make major functionality or design changes (just adding some social share buttons, you’re probably fine; switching out themes or adding an ecommerce shopping cart – make dat backup right quick).
  • When making any major content changes like adding/updating a bunch of pages at once.

And in most cases, you’ll be fine if you keep about a month’s worth of backups (whether you make them daily or weekly).

Should I Use my Hosting Provider or a WordPress Backup Plugin?

Like we mentioned above, unless you like playing around with technical stuff don’t mess with manual backups.

Between the other two wp backup options, we definitely prefer WordPress backup plugins but in some cases you might want to use your host’s backup software.

Here’s a bit on the pros/cons of each.

What to Look For in a WordPress Backup Solution

  • Automation – takes one more “gotta do” off the good ole to-do list and means you don’t have to worry about not having a fresh backup when you need it; definitely want this.
  • Backup frequency – like we mentioned above, you’ll want at least weekly backups, maybe daily; some plugins even make real-time backups. Make sure you choose something that lets you backup WordPress as much as you need to keep chillaxin as you make changes.
  • Storage location – can you save backups on your hosting server, Dropbox, or local computer? Ideally you can save them somewhere outside of your hosting (in case their servers get hacked or go down); if the WordPress backup solution you use only lets you save on your host you’ll just want to be sure you’ve got plenty of space.
  • Easy restoration – can you restore a backup with just a few clicks? One time I had to manually re-upload my WordPress database backup and it was like 2 hours talking to customer support (they limited database upload sizes for security reasons, had to explain I wasn’t trying to crack their systems).
  • Full or partial backups – as a beginner, just going with full backups makes things easy, but having the option to just backup certain parts of your WordPress site is nice for when you get super big.

Making WordPress Backups with Your Hosting Provider

Good hosts will definitely have your back here by offering some sort of backup solution for your WordPress site.

But, your mileage may vary.

If your host doesn’t offer backups, might be a good time to make a switch (we’ve got a whole list of the best WordPress hosts for you here).

Some hosts will make you pay for backups; don’t do that, you can do this for free (with WordPress plugins!).

And sometimes even if they do offer free backups, they’re clunky to setup, manage, and restore from.

So, feel free to take a look at your host’s WordPress backup options, if you like what you see, go for it.

Using a WordPress Backup Plugin

Since the quality/price of host backup services varies, we definitely recommend using a WordPress backup plugin to keep your site safe.

While there are paid plugins and versions, most of what you’ll need as a beginner can be found for free.

And they’re simple to install, easy to use (right from your WordPress dashboard), usually offer plenty of backup and storage options (just backup your database, just your plugins, store backups on your host or Google Drive, schedule backups daily/weekly).

So let’s take a look at some of the wp backup plugins we like the most.

3 of the Best WordPress Backup Plugins

VaultPress

vaultpress wordpress backup plugin

VaultPress was created by Automattic, the company that created and manages WordPress (.com and .org) – so you know off the bat it’s legit.

It used to be independent but is now offered as part of their Jetpack plugin (even if you use another backup plugin, we definitely recommend grabbing Jetpack for most of the other awesome features it has).

It’s super simple to use and definitely covers all the backup bases, including:

  • Automatic daily backups standard with plans that include real-time backups (any change you make is automatically saved)
  • One click restore
  • Easy site migration (if you want to move to a new host, for example)
  • 30 days of cloud backups (plenty for most sites, cloud is awesome because you won’t lose your backups if there’s a problem with your hosting or you lose the backups stored on your computer).

Only major downsides are the 30 day limit (again, you’re probably fine but more is nice in some cases) and there’s no free version.

Their basic plan is only $39 a year so the cost isn’t huge, but when there are free options that are just fine for beginners that’s $39 you could spend somewhere else.

BackupBuddy

backupbuddy backup wordpress site

BackupBuddy is another solid, though premium only WordPress backup plugin, with the features you’d expect:

  • Full or partial backups
  • Remote storage options
  • Site migration
  • Backup scheduling (daily, weekly, monthly)

They also offer real-time cloud backups for as part of their Stash service.

Downsides are the cost – no free version and their one-site plan is $52/year (more than VaultPress but still cheaper than VaultPress’ plan that includes real-time backups, which is $299).

While you can backup to Dropbox, Google Drive, etc, if you use their cloud storage you only get 1gb of storage (should cover a month of backups for a smaller site, but if you’ve got a lot of pages or images you’ll run out fast).

And restoring your site will take more than a few clicks (download files then re-upload them to your site) – not super complicated but a few more steps than it needs to be.

UpdraftPlus

updraftplus best wordpress backup plugin

Definitely our fav – UpdraftPlus gives you a ton of features you have to pay for with other WordPress backup plugins, like:

  • Automatic backups
  • Full and partial backups
  • Easy restore
  • Backup to your host’s server, Dropbox, Google Drive, local computer, etc.
  • One-click manual backups (for pre-updates, big changes, etc)

So – everything you need, for flippin free.

But, though we love free, we really love how much value UpdraftPlus delivers in their premium version too, which includes features like:

  • Cloning (make test versions of your site) and migration (move to a new host)
  • Incremental backups (save space by only backing up changes, not the whole pie)
  • Automatic pre-update backups (so you don’t have to remember to do this yourself)
  • Fast support (for when the inevitable “this just isn’t working” happens)
  • Database backup encryption (if you store sensitive customer information)
  • Backup report graphs and emails

So you can start for free and cover the bases, then when you’ve gotten huge and need more, UpdraftPlus has your back with a super valuable premium WordPress backup plugin at a reasonable price ($70 the first year, $42/year after that for up to 2 sites).

And that’s why, for today’s tutorial, we’ll show you how to backup your WordPress site for free with UpdraftPlus.

How to Backup a WordPress Site for Free with UpdraftPlus

Alright friends, four simple steps to get your backup game going.

1. Install the Backup Plugin

First step (obviously) is to install the plugin.

Super easy, if you’ve done this before jump over to step two.

If you’re still learning, just head to your WordPress dashboard, and click the plugins option in the sidebar and click “add new.”

wordpress backup plugin add new

Search for “Updraft” (don’t even need the “plus” – they’re just so popular [star eyes emoji]).

updraftplus wordpress backup search

Click Install now, then Activate.

updraft plus wordpress backup plugin install
updraft plus wordpress backup plugin activate

Updraft will then take you through a quick walkthrough to set things up and run your first backup!

updraftplus wordpress backup plugin tutorial

2. Make a Backup

If you followed UpdraftPlus’ setup, you’ve already made a backup and set an automatic schedule.

If you want to make another WordPress backup yourself (eg you’re still using the free version and are about to update your WordPress site), just find UpdraftPlus in your WordPress Settings in the sidebar.

updraftplus wordpress settings

On this page, all you have to do is click the big blue “backup now” button…

updraftplus wordpress backup now

Make sure the “include database and files” options are checked, then hit “backup now.”

updraftplus wordpress database backup now

Done! Your WordPress backup is now running and should be done in just a few seconds.

3. Schedule an Automatic Backup

Again, UpdraftPlus is awesome so they’ll take you through scheduling automatic backups if you follow their walkthrough, but let’s look at scheduling (in case you skipped that – we’re notorious for ignoring the user manuals too).

While you’re in Updraft on your WordPress dashboard, just click the settings tab and you’ll find the options right at the top.

updraftplus backup plugin settings

For both files and the database, just set them on a weekly schedule (as we recommended above) and keep four backups (a month’s worth).

updraftplus automatic wordpress backup

Next we’re just going to choose where we want to store these backups, our favorite is Google Drive (easy, free).

updraftplus google drive wordpress backup

You can just leave all the other settings on default – if you really want you can check the Email option to get emails whenever a backup is run.

Maybe do this for a couple of weeks to make sure everything’s smooth sailing but after that, we’d definitely uncheck that box ‘cuz we don’t need more emails in our inbox like that (your thoughts, questions, and feedback are always welcome though :).

Once you’re done looking at the other settings (because we know you want to), just be sure to click “Save Changes” at the bottom.

updraftplus automatic wordpress backup save

UpdraftPlus will then ask you for permission to access your Google Drive, just click the link, sign in to Google, then click allow and you’re set.

4. Restore a Backup

Cool, now your backup game’s tight, your swimming in a pool of backups like billionaires do money (one day, friends, one day).

What do you do with all those (once you’re done swimming)?

Restore your site! For practice this time so you know what’s up when something goes down for real for real.

Let’s pretend we goofed up and deleted our homepage and now it looks like this:

wordpress backup homepage deleted

Good news – we’re covered!

We can restore it back to normal by going back to the Updraft plugin page and scrolling down to our existing backups, going to an old backup, and clicking restore.

updraftplus existing wordpress backups
updraftplus wordpress backup and restore

Make sure you check all the boxes to restore everything then click restore again.

updraftplus wp backup restore

A couple of seconds later, website restored and now our homepage looks fan-f*cking-tastic again!

backup wordpress site restored

Backups for Days

So that’s everything you need to know about how to backup a WordPress site.

If you learned one or two or more things and enjoyed this post, we’ve got tons of other amazing tips, tricks, and website-stuff tutorials over on our Youtube Channel and subscribe!

Rumor has it for every new subscriber a baby monkey is born in the rainforest, happy and healthy…