Disclaimer: NONE of the links here are affiliate links. They are just, y’ know, plain links. I’m writing based on my experiences setting up this site, and not promoting or putting down anyone’s services.
Let’s just say setting up a WordPress site for a complete noob and a lazybum isn’t easy.
A couple of weeks ago I had the idea of creating a website for my favourite actress Brigitte Lin. After all, I had amassed a whole bunch of pictures and information about her, why not share it? So I did a bit of research on how to set up a webpage. It seemed that the easiest way to go was WordPress, since it is ranked as one of the three most popular site building platforms (according to Websitesetup.org). The other two are Drupal and Joomla, but WordPress easily takes up over half of the market share.
Anyway, it seems that there are so many tools for complete noobs like me nowadays, that we do not need to know HTML or CSS to create a great-looking website. “Just drag and drop!” was what I kept seeing when doing research. Yeah! I think I’ll take forever to learn to write a single line of code. The days of Geocities ARE over, thank goodness (did I just give up my age?).
When I was doing my research, the first site Google brought me to was Websitesetup.org. The site really gives a easy-to-understand, step-by-step guide on how to set things up.
Okayyy…so WordPress is called a content management system…or a site building platform. Learnt something new. Whatever, so long as I get my page up. I decided to go with WordPress since it seemed like the easiest for complete beginners.
Next! It seems that I need to have a domain name and host. Sure there are free hosts out there but I did not want to tarnish Brigitte’s name with something-free-site.com. And it’s a couple of bucks a month so I guess it was worth paying for.
Websitesetup.org recommends Bluehost. So I tried to go for it, but it keeps leading me to a Shenzhen-based company. I got a bit worried so I searched around for others. Turns out SiteGround has also some glowing reviews from users, and they do provide a free domain name, so I went with ahead with it.
Signing up with SiteGround was quite simple. After entering all payment details, you will be led to a chat with a representative, who will call you to verify your identity (preventing credit card fraud). I appreciate the measure, but I asked them to question me through chat instead (yes, I don’t like calls). They were quite happy to oblige.
Do give some consideration to your domain name though. I am in no position to offer advice but you can easily do a search for some tips.
Within seconds, my hosting account is set up. Voila! Now the next step is to download and install WordPress.org. It seems that one could use the 5-minute installation method , or just do the one-click download from your site hosting account. For SiteGround, it is under My Accounts >> Go to cPanel >> WordPress Tools. Anyway you will be prompted when you first login to your account. Check out the WordPress installation wizard here.
Voila! Now I’m all done with my site host, my WordPress dashboard. I logged in to WordPress and felt pretty good about myself. In a couple of minutes I’m going to create the first page of my awesome website as a tribute to my idol! Woohoo! I’m so freaking excited.
Apparently I should start with choosing and installing a theme. SiteGround offered some themes, and there are some free themes in WordPress. So…themes are supposed to give you some options to customize the look of your website, and some allow you to modify a lot, others not so much. I decided to just go ahead with the twentysixteen theme, and move on to nicer ones when I get a hang of WordPress.
Now I can add pages. But how do I configure how they look? How can I get the cool animations that modern websites are using now? How can I link up one page to another? I was filled with more questions than ever.
Then I did some research and learnt that there are some plugins that could help with composing my pages. These are called drag-and-drop visual content builders. I found a good comparison site at Codeinwp.com. It gives a comparison between MotoPress, Visual Composer, SiteOrigin Page Builder, Beaver Builder and Live Composer. Visual Composer and Live Composer are free, the rest are paid. I went ahead with Visual Composer because I liked the add-ons from Ultimate Addons for Visual Composer. Paid, installed, done.
Twentysixteen theme and Sydney theme as shown above.
I decided that I did not really like the twentysixteen theme that much. After watching a YouTube video on how to set up a WordPress site, which is based on the Sydney theme, I went ahead to install the free version. I thought it was a great choice as it allows for quite a lot of customization, and aThemes.com seem to provide good documentation and support.
Then I learnt that Sydney theme comes bundled with SiteOrigin Page Builder. Dang it haha.
OK this post is long enough, I’m going to leave my misadventures for the next post.
Anyway what I have done up till now:
- Set up a site host
- Set up my WordPress site @ http://brigittelin.info
- Got a Visual Content Builder, added some add-ons (Visual Composer + Ultimate Addons for Visual Composer)
- Downloaded Sydney Theme
It seems that I’m all ready to start!