How to Make a WordPress Website with SiteGround (A Simple Step-by-Step Video Tutorial)
SiteGround (one of the three officially WordPress.org-recommended web hosts for WordPress) offer almost unparalleled value for money. If you’re looking to get a new website up and running as quickly and cheaply as possible, without sacrificing competency and trust in your web hosting, SiteGround are a solid bet! In this video, we show you, step by step, exactly how to make a WordPress website on SiteGround!
Let’s get started…
How to make a WordPress website using SiteGround:
aSiteGround is a WordPress-approved web hosting company that prides itself on being a the forefront of technology. They constantly update their servers and software for added reliability, speed, and security. Plus, they offer free daily backups, free setup and site transfer, one-click installs, and some of the most easily accessible technical support in the industry. They are some of the best shared hosting in the business. In this video, we’re going to set up a WordPress site using SiteGround. We’re going to go step-by-step and with no steps skipped. Let’s get started. If you click the link in the description below, you’ll be taken to this page where there’s a special deal for WinningWP visitors. You can also type the URL in the address bar. Just go to winningwp.com/ref/siteground-special-offer. WinningWP will get a small commission if you use this link. But don’t worry, it will not impact how much you pay. From here, we’re going to choose a plan at their special pricing. SiteGround offers three different plans, StartUp, GrowBig and GoGeek. If you’re looking to host one website or you want to just get started with WordPress, the StartUp plan is great for you. But, if you’re looking to host multiple websites or you want to host websites for your clients, GrowBig or GoGeek are the plans that we would recommend. In this video, we’re going to use the StartUp plan. So we’ll click Get Started and we’ll be brought to screen where we enter a domain name. If you already have domain name, you can check that, but we don’t have one so we’re going to register a brand new one. Just keep in mind that domain registration is an additional $ a year on top of our hosting plan. The website we’re going to create today is a books blog and the domain is going to booksboat.com. We’ll click Proceed and SiteGround will double check that this domain is available and, if it is, we’ll have the opportunity to create a new account and spin up our hosting environment. We’ll go ahead and fill this information and then move on to the next screen. Once we fill in the address and the credit card information, we’ll have the opportunity to review our purchase information. So, we are choosing the StartUp plan. We want to do it for a period of months in order to get the special pricing. We also have the ability to purchase extra services. We definitely need the domain registration, but we also have two optional services. The first is domain privacy. By registering a domain, the information that we filled in above will become publicly available, which means that other people can contact us in regards to our domain name. In order to protect it, we would need to purchase Domain Privacy, which takes that information and makes it private. That’s an additional $ a year for the special pricing and $ a year otherwise. We’re going to opt out of this for now. We’re also going to opt out of the SG Site Scanner which is a monitoring service to let us know if our website has been hacked or has malicious code. If you’re concerned about security, and we all should be, this is definitely a service worth exploring. The total, with the domain and hosting for a year comes to $.. We’re going to check that we have read and agreed to the terms of service and we’re going to click Pay Now. Once we do that, our account will be created. And once our account is created, we can proceed to the Customer Area. The first thing that we’ll need to do is set up our new website. We’ve got three options here. We can start a new website, we can transfer a website, or we can choose that we don’t need help now. Since we’re starting from scratch, we are going to click Start a New Website. Then, SiteGround will ask us what platform we want to use. We are going to choose WordPress. We’ll put in our admin email, a user name, and we’ll choose a password. Then we’ll click Confirm and SiteGround will install WordPress for us. We’re going to skip over the enhancements and click Confirm. And then, we’ll click Complete Setup. Once everything is setup, we can proceed, again, to the Customer Area. And now we’ll see our SiteGround account. Under My Accounts, we’ll see a list of our domains, which at this point is just the one. You’ll also notice that our domain is pending verification. Do to a regulation by iCan which controls domain name activations, we now need to verify that we’ve actually purchased this domain. So, in your email, you should see a link that you need to click in order to verify. Once you do that, it’ll take some time for the status to update, but you have verified your domain at this point. Now, it’s time to go to the control panel for our website. You’ll see, from the Manage Account area, we can go to cPanel, which is the Control Panel, or go directly to our admin account for our WordPress site. But there’s one more step we need to take before we start configuring our WordPress installation. So we’ll go to cPanel, and we’re going to scroll down to the security area of cPanel. Here, you’ll see a button called Let’s Encrypt. Let’s Encrypt allows us to freely secure our domain name by making it HTTPS. This will allow us to send personal information, like our username and password over the internet without it being intercepted by hackers. So we only have one domain name on this account, booksboat.com, and we can choose the Let’s Encrypt SSL Type: a standard Let’s Encrypt SSL or a Let’s Encrypt Wildcard SSL. If we intend on using multiple versions of our domain name, like sub-domains, we’ll want to use the Wildcard. And since by default, SiteGround will allow us to configure both booksboat.com and www.booksboat.com, we are going to use the Wildcard SSL. So we’ll select that and we’ll click Install. We’ll click Confirm and then SiteGround will go through the process of verifying our domain and creating the SSL certificate. Again, Let’s Encrypt is completely free. There are paid SSL certificates that offer things like insurance, but a free SSL certificate is perfectly fine for our purposes. Now that the SLL certificate is successfully installed, we’ll click Okay. There’s still something missing with our domain here and that’s the HTTP part of the domain. You can see that our default WordPress domain is not HTTPS yet. Don’t worry though because if click Go To Admin Panel, you’ll see that SiteGround has already taking this into account for us. So, we’ll put in our username and password and then we’ll be logged into WordPress. We’re given a few tool tips right when we first login that we can get rid of and you’ll see that SiteGround already installs a few important plugins for us. The first is Jetpack, which we can configure by connecting to our WordPress.com account. Before we do that, we want to make sure that our settings are correct. So, we’ll go to Settings → General, and we will change the WordPress address and site address to use HTTPS. This is a precaution because as we change our permalink structure and create more content, we want to make sure that the secure version of the URL is being used. While we’re here, we’ll also set our timezone. We want to make sure that our timezone is the one we’re in because that’s going to affect our publishing schedule. I’m located in the Eastern timezone of the United States, so I’m going to choose New York as my timezone, and then we’ll click Save Changes. Once we explicitly set the URL to use the secure version, we’re going to need to login again because the cookies that we were using have been deleted. And now our settings are saved. We’ll go back to the Dashboard and we’ll take care of some of these configurations. First, we’ll set up Jetpack. Jetpack is a free plugin that utilized a lot of powerful services that are offered by WordPress.com. Again, if you already have a WordPress.com account, you’ll be logged in and automatically authorized. Otherwise, you’ll be taken through the process of creating a WordPress.com account first. Jetpack offers from paid plans, but if we scroll to the bottom, we can click Start With Free and then we’ll be taken back to our WordPress site. Jetpack has over modules that we can look at and enable, but for now we’ll just click Activate Recommended Features. Their recommended features include some sharing buttons, the ability for people to subscribe, a contact form, and much more. Once Jetpack is configured, you’ll also notice that there’s something here called SG Optimizer. SiteGround has installed their own plugin that allows you to make some major performance optimizations for WordPress. If we go through each of these, we can configure them so could say that Dynamic Cache can be enabled, AutoFlush Cache will be enabled, and we can Purge our cache. Cache is an important part of performance for a lot of websites because it will make a copy of a certain page and distribute it in a prioritized and optimized fashion. We’re going to go ahead and enable the Dynamic Cache system. We’re also going to go to the HTTPS configuration. By checking Force HTTPS, we’re going to make sure that WordPress is definitely using our SSL certificate to make sure our site is fully secure. We’re going to ignore the PHP Config settings. These should not be changed unless you really know what you’re doing. And with that, let’s get to the fun stuff. Now that we have our site configured with Jetpack enabled and SG Optimizer doing the heavy lifting, we’re going to find a theme for our blog. In order to do that, you can click Appearance → Themes and click Add New Theme. WordPress will then give us a list of completely free themes that we can use for our website. There are lots of features to choose from here, so they’ve also given us some filters. There are the Featured themes, which are hand picked by the folks at WordPress. There the most Popular themes, which are the ones that get installed the most,. There are the Latest themes. And then there are themes that you have favorited using your WordPress.org user name. So, if you have a WordPress.org account, you can favorite themes and have them pulled in here. You can also try the Feature Filter which will allow you to filter by subject, features, and layout. We’re creating a blog here, so I’m gonna choose Subject: Blog and apply the filter. We’re now given a list of themes that have categorized themselves as blog themes. Choosing the right theme can take quite a bit of time, but it’s important because it’s going to be what makes the first impression of your blog for your readers. One of the themes that we’re a fan of here is Lovecraft. This is a beautiful and simple theme that’s perfect for a blog. So we’ve explicitly searched for that blog and it shows up here and we’re going to click Install. We’re also going to Activate the theme and, once it’s activated, we’re going to Customize it. So, we’ll head over to the WordPress Customizer which allows us to make some small changes to the theme in order to make it our own. The customizer for each theme is going to be different depending on what the theme developer has added. You’ll always see the Site Identity, which we do want to change, we’ll call this Books Boat and the tagline will be, “A place to review books.” And then most will have Colors, Logo, Header Image, Widgets, and more, but you see that we have an additional section for options for Lovecraft. The only option for Lovecraft is to show or hide the sidebar on mobile, so we are going to check this to make sure that our sidebar is viewable on mobile device as well. Now we’ll click Publish and our changes will be made. So now, if we go out to our website, you’ll see that we have our new title and our tagline and we’ve got some default content here. The last thing we’ll do before we start adding content is change this cover image from the default. This’ll go a long way in helping us make this website our own. So, we’ll go back to the Customizer, and we’ll click on Header image. You can see that we’ve got the current header here and we can Add a new image. We’ll use the WordPress Uploader. So, we’ve uploaded and image of classic looking books (and we got this image from Unsplash.com which is a royalty free image website). We’ll click Select and Crop and we’ll pick our favorite part of this image, which is going to display the title, of course. We’ll click Crop and, now, our new header image is in place. We’ll click Publish and then we’ll X out of the Customizer. Now, let’s manage our content. We’ll go back to the WordPress Dashboard to Posts, we’ll delete the default post here, and we’ll add our own. Our first entry will be Bram Stoker’s Dracula, so we’ll add some text here about the book. With our content added, we will upload a featured image, which will be the cover of the book, and then we’ll click Publish. We can now click View Post to see that on the front end. That’s it for this video. In it, we learned how to set up a WordPress website using SiteGround with no steps skipped. If you liked this video, be sure to click the thumbs up down below and subscribe to WinningWP for more great content.
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