WordPress Launch Guide
WordPress Launch Guide
Everything you need to know to launch your own self hosted WordPress website and start publishing your own content to share your story, promote yourself and your business.
Written by Sean P. Twomey — Contact us if you have questions or require support.
Why Use WordPress?
From the endless options for publishing online, we use and recommend a self-hosted WordPress site because it's the best open-source option for independently publishing, owning and controlling what you share online.
The official mission statement of WordPress reads as follows:
"WordPress is software designed for everyone, emphasizing accessibility, performance, security, and ease of use. We believe great software should work with minimum set up, so you can focus on sharing your story, product, or services freely. The basic WordPress software is simple and predictable so you can easily get started. It also offers powerful features for growth and success." — WordPress.org
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
It's crucial to understand the difference between a WordPress.com site and a self hosted WordPress.org site. If you're just getting started, make sure to watch this before setting up your first WordPress site. We strongly recommend using a self-hosted WordPress.org site that you own and control.
Keeping your site secure is not the most sexy topic, but hugely important. The best option is to avoid the frustrations of having your site get hacked. In this section I explain how WordPress sites get compromised and I share the 10 most important tips for keeping your site safe.
Your WordPress Stack
When we talk about the WordPress Stack, we're referring to the different pieces you'll combine to create the site that you need. Like the ingredients of a cake you bake, these pieces will include your hosting provider, the core WordPress files, the theme you use, the plugins you install and any other related add-ons you might want to use to create what you need.
We highly recommend making sure to keep your stack simple and premium. In other words, don't overcomplicate things and make sure to use service providers, themes and plugins that are reliable, effective and well maintained. Rather pay a bit extra for premium options (hosting, themes and plugins). It's tempting to rely purely on free options, but from our experience, this usually ends up being a lot more expensive down the road — the cost being time, money and frustration.
A blank self-hosted WordPress site will need the following:
Setting up these initial requirements, will result in a fully functional self-hosted WordPress site ready for you to publish content to.
Keep reading as we cover all three of these initial requirements in more detail.
We recommend using a reliable web host that provides everything you need to host a WordPress site and that offers great customer support.
At Posmay Media we offer a Concierge Managed WordPress Hosting Plans — in short that means that we take care of everything for you. These plans cost at $19, $29, $59 or $99 per month (billed annually or quarterly.
All Posmay Media hosting plans include FREE WordPress Setup and FREE WordPress Maintenance. Get in touch if you'd like us to take care of your hosting.
Alternatively, if you'd prefer setting up and managing your own hosting, the we strongly recommend the following providers — we've had a great experience using both of these providers:
Beware of Super Cheap Hosting Providers: You will always find cheaper hosting providers, but from our experience you get what you pay for and what we've often experienced has been unreliable hosting combined with terrible customer support, which ends up being really frustrating combination. Some hosts might also lock you into their platform.
There are many domain registrars that will let you register your domain name for a small annual fee.
We use and highly recommend Dreamhost. If you sign up for your hosting plan with Dreamhost, then you'll be able to register your domain name free of charge for the first year.
Make sure to choose a domain name that is descriptive, fairly short and memorable. A .com name is usually desirable, but if you're operating are limited to a specific country, then consider registering the region specific extension — for example .co.za for South Africa, .de for Germany, .co.uk for the United Kingdom, etc. And if you're setting up an organisation, then register .org (International), or .org.za (South Africa), etc.
There are countless other domain name extensions to choose from, as long as the domain name applies to your brand.
Beware of Cheap Domain Registrars: You don't want to use an unreliable domain registrar, as your domain name will become one of your most valuable online assets that you do not want to loose control of.
Once you've signed up for your hosting plan and registered your domain name, you will need to install WordPress. Like many other hosting companies, Dreamhost offers the simple 1-Click WordPress Installer which is really simple to use.
Dreamhost: Simple One-Click WordPress Installation 2018
The theme of your WordPress site controls the overall layout and design of your website. A newly installed WordPress site will use the default theme, which can be changed. If you're logged into your WordPress Admin Dashboard, then you can change this under Appearance >> Themes.
There are thousands of WordPress themes that you can choose from — many of them free and some of them premium (paid for). We strongly recommend not getting paralysed by all the options. Start out with a simple, minimalist theme and get your content online. As your website grows and evolves you can always change and upgrade your theme.
We recommend one of the following:
Beware of Overloaded Themes: Some premium themes provide a never ending list of options, features, layouts, and customisations. These themes are affordable and come with "all the bells and whistles", but beware that these themes might cause major overwhelm, frustration and slow loading times. We recommend against using a theme that has too many features, too many settings and too much code.
At Posmay Media we use, love and recommend Thrive Themes — thanks to their powerful and easy-to-use visual editor (Thrive Architect), their landing page templates, their suite of premium plugins that help create a conversion focused websites, their regular updates and great customers support.
WordPress plugins are simple to install add-ons that let you add additional features or functionality to your website. On your self-hosted website you can install and use any and all available plugins, but keep in mind that plugins use of your hosting resources and can slow down or even break your site.
There are thousands of WordPress plugins that you can choose from — many of them free and many of them premium (paid for). We strongly recommend using plugins that are reliable and get maintained and updated. Avoid the mistake of overloading your site with plugins, as this will slow down your site and increase the risk of your site being hacked. Pick wisely and use them sparingly.
Trusted & Recommended WordPress Plugins
Contact us if you have any questions, comments or require support. We're here to help.