So you’ve decided you want to use a web template to build your website? That’s a great idea. There are thousands of templates available online, and these templates can greatly simplify the website building process. But what kind of web template do you need? This really depends on what type of website you are planning to build. There are literally countless types of websites online, but generally there are templates available for almost all of them.
Luckily there is a website building platform that offers an all-in-one solution, and has thousands of templates available. That platform is WordPress. You may have heard of it as a “blogging” platform. However, it has evolved to be much more than that. WordPress can be the platform behind almost any type of website imaginable. Whatever type of site you are planning on building, the chances are that WordPress can power it, and has a web template available that will fit your needs. On this page I will guide you through the step-by-step process to get set up with WordPress and install a template or “theme”.
Hosting and Domain Name
If these words sound daunting to you, don’t fret! I have a simple solution that should only take a few minutes to get you all set up. If you do not have a domain and hosting already, I would recommend Bluehost*. They offer a low cost shared hosting package that comes with a free domain name. They also offer a one-click installer for WordPress. This is quite honestly the simplest way to get set up with WordPress on your own domain and hosting. I will walk you through this process below.
First of all, click here to visit Bluehost* (link will open in another window). Now at the top of the page hover over the hosting tab and then click the shared hosting link as shown in the image below.
The next page gives you three hosting package options: Basic, Plus, and Prime. There is also a Pro option at the bottom of the page. If you are just starting out you should only need the Basic plan. This plan has everything you need to get started, and you will be able to upgrade to a larger plan in the future if your website grows bigger. If you feel you need the Plus, Prime, or Pro package right away, then by all means choose one of those packages. However, for most starter websites the Basic plan should be fine. Once you’ve decided on a plan, click the big green “Select” button and continue on to the next page.
On the next page you will be asked to choose a domain name. Use the box on the right if you already have a domain name. However, since you are reading this guide, I am going to assume you do not have a domain name. Use the box on the left titled “new domain”. If you don’t already have a domain name in mind, then you’ll need to brainstorm here and come up with a good one. Here are a few tips for selecting a domain name.
- Choose a short and catchy name that visitors will remember. Nobody will remember a domain name like MyFavoriteDogBlogSite.com, but they will probably remember something like DoggyBlog.com
- Keep it relevant. If your site is about widgets, then your domain name should probably imply this
- It is best to stick with top extensions like .com, .net, or .org. If your domain is not available with any of these extensions, consider choosing a new domain, or use another extension like .co or .info.
Once you’ve decided on a domain name, type it into the box and select the appropriate extension from the dropdown box. Then click the blue “next” button. This will take you to the next page where you will need to enter your account information. Enter your account details and then scroll down to the package information section. Here you will choose the account plan and any extra features you would like. The main extra feature that you may want to include is “Domain Privacy Protection”. Privacy protection keeps your name and address private when other people search the whois information for your domain name.
The other extra features have a “more information” link below them that will tell you exactly what they offer. Choose the extra features you want, and then scroll down to the payment information. Enter your payment details, click the checkbox to agree to the Terms of Service, and click the green “submit” button. Congratulations, you are now setup with a domain and hosting! The next step is to install WordPress. I will walk you through this step in the next section.
If you took my advice above and set up your hosting with Bluehost*, then this step will be very simple. Bluehost, and many other hosts, offer a 1-click installer for WordPress. What you need to do is login to your cPanel (the information for how to do this will have been emailed to you when you signed up for hosting). Once logged into your cPanel, scroll down until you see the “Install WordPress” icon. It should look like this:
Clicking this icon will take you to the next page. On this page all you need to do is click the green “Install” button as shown below.
The next page will ask you where you want to install WordPress. Your domain name should be selected by default (if not just select your domain from the dropdown). Once your domain is showing in the box, click “Check Domain” as shown below.
The final step is to input your website title, username, and password. Don’t worry too much about the website title as you can change this later. Make sure to save your username and password in a text file, or write them down somewhere. You will need the username and password to login to WordPress. Check the box that says “Automatically create a new database for this installation”. Check the “terms and conditions” box as well. Then click the green “Install Now” button as shown below.
Congratulations! You now have hosting, a domain name, and WordPress is installed. That wasn’t so bad was it? In the next section I will show you how to login to WordPress and install a web template.
Install a Web Template in WordPress
The first thing you will need to do is login to your WordPress back end. You can do this by typing in the following address (replace yourdomain.com with your domain obviously).
This should bring up a page that asks for your username and password and looks something like this:
Enter the username and password that you used when you installed WordPress and login. This should bring you to the main dashboard of WordPress. On the left hand side of the dashboard hover over the “Appearance” tab and then click the “Themes” tab as shown below.
On the next page click “Add New” at the top, as shown below.
Now you will be on a page that lets you search for free themes. You can also upload a theme that you have downloaded (like a premium theme). The graphic below illustrates the different options.
If you are going with a free theme just search for the type of theme you want in the search box, then choose a theme from the list and click the blue “Install” button as shown above. Once the theme is installed you will click the blue “Activate” button and voila, you have your web template all set up!
If you are going with a premium theme, then you will likely have downloaded that theme file to your computer. In this case you will click “Upload Theme” at the top of the page and then choose the file from your computer and upload it. Then you will activate the theme and you’re done!
If you are unsure about whether to go with a free theme or a premium theme, I will go over the benefits of each in the next section.
Free WordPress Themes vs. Premium WordPress Themes
As with most things in life, you get what you pay for. There are plenty of free web template files available for WordPress. The major benefit of these free themes is that they are, well…free. The downside is that free themes often have limited functionality in comparison to premium themes. If you can afford to go premium, it is definitely worth it. You will have many more features and customization options available to you with a premium theme.
So where can you get your hands on the best premium themes? There are plenty of different sellers out there. I have listed two that I have used in the past here. Both companies have a plethora of themes available for basically every type of website imaginable. You really can’t go wrong with either one of the below mentioned marketplaces.
- Elegant Themes* – High quality themes in various styles for many different niches
- Template Monster* – Another high quality theme marketplace with lots of themes to choose from
You’re All Set Up With A Web Template!
Congratulations! If you’ve made it this far then you’ve installed WordPress on your own domain and hosting, and installed a web template for your website. Amazing! If you have any further questions don’t hesitate to comment below, and I will help out as best I can.
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