Decide which version of WordPress is right for you vs

WordPress comes in two flavors. The hosted SAAS (software as a service) version, and the self-hosted Both use the same software under the hood, but each configuration has it’s own benefits and drawbacks. (Self-hosted)

Pros – More flexibility – You can use any theme or plugin that is compatible with your WP version. You can also customize just about every aspect of your install.

Cons – More overhead. You’ll have to setup your own hosting and domain name as well as troubleshoot any issues that arise during the setup of your site. The good news is, with the proliferation of of CloudVPS services and hosting control panels, many providers, such as Cloudways, make installation and setup of your site a snap. (SAAS)

Pros – Largely hands-off. Your hosting, maintenance and updates are set and forget

Cons – Largely hands-off. You are limited in what themes and plugins you can use, as well as customizations that can be made.

Purchase a domain name

What is a domain name?


Recommended providers


Choose a hosting provider

What is a hosting provider?




Point your domain name

Now that you have chosen your hosting provider, the next step is to point your domain name to your hosting server. Note that many providers will give you a temporary domain name. In these cases, you can always migrate your site or change your domain name later.

To point your domain name, go to your hosting provider and find the IP Address of your server. Once you have the information, you’ll need to go into your DNS settings and change the IP address of your “A” record to the IP address of the new hosting server.

Install WordPress

Setup additional settings

Checking site health

Filesize maxupload



Choose and install a theme

Overview –

A few Recommendations

Divi –

Divi is a mature, full-featured theme designed to make getting a site up and running easy. It features a large number of pre-built modules and layouts. It has a rich visual builder, and a very shallow learning curve. It’s great for getting up and running quickly with WordPress.

Pros –

Affordable, lots of pre-built modules and layouts, easy to learn, and fun to work with.


Can be slow especially on poor quality hosting, limited form functionality (no re-captcha), Can be hard to customize if there’s not a layout that’s pretty close to what you are trying to accomplish.


Great starter theme, especially if you are new to WordPress and don’t have a lot of experience with HTML and CSS

Oxygen –


Custom theme



Setup your permalinks

One of the first things you’ll want to do before you start writing, is to set your websites permalinks. These tells WordPress how to display the URLs of your site.

By default WordPress will display your URLs like

For search engine optimization readability, you’ll often want to change these to something more descriptive and human readable.

To update these settings in WP, go to settings->permalinks and choose the style that matches your desired result, or create a custom permalink struction. One common structure is to include the category in your URL

to do something like this in WP, you can select custom structure and set the structure to


Install plugins

One of the biggest selling points of WordPress is it’s rich ecosystem, including a huge library of plugins that aim to give additional functionality to your WordPress Site. From event calendars to contact forms to security plugins and more, if you can imagine it, there’s probably a plugin for it.

A note about plugins

While plugins are one of WP’s best features, they are also one of the most abused. It’s important remember that plugins are community created content, and in many cases are created by amateurs. This can lead to performance problems and security issues creeping into your WordPress site. I strongly recommend using discretion when adding plugins to your site. Here are a few guidelines I recommend when deciding what plugins to use:

  1. Make sure you really need a plugin before installing.
  2. Always vet plugins – The WordPress Codex is a great place to start. Look for plugins with many positive ratings, and a large number of installs. Avoid plugins with low/no ratings and use caution downloading plugins from outside the codex
  3. Check the WPScan database for known security vulnerabilities in any plugin before installation
  4. Do a quick Google search for known performance and security issues.

Preferred Plugins

  • Classic editor – A plugin for removing the Gutenberg UI from WordPress
  • Yoast SEO plugin – The go to Seo plugin for WordPress
  • Gravity Forms – A form plugin that supports integrations with many services, such as Constant Contact, Mailchimp, Zapier and more. A great balance of ease-of-use and customizability.
  • Advanced Custom Fields Pro – A plugin that makes it super easy to add custom fields to your posts. When used in combination with custom post-types, you can do almost anything in your WP theme