How To Create A WordPress Site In 1 Hour

I’m going to show you how to create a WordPress site for your business within an hour, and for less money than it takes to fill the tank in your Toyota Prius.

This tutorial is perfect for new WordPress users creating their first website. It’s also useful for seasoned developers and freelancers who want to produce sites for their clients faster, saving themselves time and earning more money.

create-a-wordpress-site-patches-petsAs an example, I have built a website for a fictional pet sitting and boarding company called “Patches’ Pets.” I will show you how to create a WordPress site that is similar using the same set of tools.

The focus is going to be on speed, quality AND affordability. As a result, I’m going to bypass the time consuming, confusing and costly details involved with creating a self-hosted website by using our Instant Setup service. If you’re interested in every detail, check out our 5 Steps To Creating A WordPress Site.

I’m going to be using and recommending the Natural Lite theme for this tutorial. It’s the same theme that is used on our example site. However, you may use any Organic Theme of your choosing.

Natural Lite is a completely FREE WordPress theme that I personally built after years of experience designing and developing WordPress themes for Organic Themes and WordPress.com. It’s among the best free business themes available today, and currently in the review process for the WordPress theme directory. Meaning, the Natural Lite theme will receive continual updates and improvements. In addition, Organic Themes provides the free themes Swell Lite and Retro.

Now that you know the basic tools, let’s create a WordPress site!

Step 1: Create A WordPress Site, Instant Setup Form

how-to-create-a-wordpress-site

Typically, the first steps involved with starting a self-hosted website are as follows:

  1. Find and purchase a Domain.
  2. Find and purchase Hosting from a provider.
  3. Install a Database on your server.
  4. Install the WordPress platform.
  5. Find and install a Theme.
  6. Find and install any Plugins needed.

That’s a process that can take several hours alone — not to mention the confusion. So we’re going to blast through those steps by using our Instant Setup service!

Instant Setup will register a new domain or transfer an existing domain, setup a managed hosting account with 24/7 support, create a database and install WordPress on the server, then automatically install and activate the Natural Lite theme and Jetpack plugin.

Basically, Instant Setup does all the hard stuff for you within a matter of seconds.

We offer a FREE 14-day trial of our Instant Setup service with the Natural Lite theme. It’s only $20/mo to continue hosting after the trial. There are no hidden fees. The cost covers ongoing managed WordPress hosting with 24/7 support for your site. We guarantee you won’t find a better deal for a managed WordPress hosting solution with the same speed and service.

To start your site using the Natural Lite theme with our Instant Setup service, click here.

Completing the Instant Setup form shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. Upon completion you’ll be logged into your hosting account and receive your account information via email. Within moments, you can login, preview and  manage your new WordPress site using the buttons shown below. The buttons will be located next to your domain name within your hosting account.

create-a-wordpress-site-setup-buttons

Click the “WP ADMIN” button to login to your newly created site. Once logged-in, you will be presented with the WordPress dashboard. The dashboard, or “back-end” of WordPress is where you will manage all the content displayed on your site. Below is a screenshot of the WordPress dashboard upon logging in:

create-a-wordpress-site-dashboard-example

An example of the WordPress dashboard.

Step 2: Adding Your Content

Content can be added to your site in the form of pages and posts when using WordPress. Pages are for static content, such as a “Services” or “Contact” page. Pages are usually added to your main navigation menu. Posts are used for dated content, such as news articles or blog posts.

Pages

For our example site I have created the 6 pages seen in the menu below:

create-a-wordpress-site-example-site-menu

page-editor

The page editor screen.

Let’s create your first Page:

  1. Navigate to Pages -> Add New within the WordPress admin.
  2. Enter a title for the Page.
  3. Add content within the content editor field beneath the title.
  4. Optionally apply a Template within the “Page Attributes” section.
  5. Click the blue Publish button.

I recommend clicking the “Toolbar Toggle” button for more options to format your content. In addition, you may “Add Media” such as images, audio, video, PDF files and more, simply by dragging the files on top of the content editor.

create-a-wordpress-site-toggle-toolbar

Click the Toggle Toolbar button for more options.

create-a-wordpress-site-page-templatesTemplates can be used to change the layout of a page. A template can be set within the “Page Attributes” section to the right of the content editor when editing a page. Natural Lite includes 3 page templates in addition to the Default Template:

  • Full Width — Displays a page with no sidebar.
  • Blog — Displays blog posts of a category selected within the Appearance -> Customizer.
  • Archives — Displays all pages, posts and categories on your site, similar to a sitemap.

Page templates vary considerably per theme. Our premium version of the Natural Theme has additional templates for displaying slideshows, portfolios and pages with multiple column layouts.

Go ahead and add pages as necessary to suit the needs of your business. When creating a blog page, apply the “Blog” template in the “Page Attributes.”

Posts

create-a-wordpress-site-categoriesCreating a post is similar to creating a page with a few minor differences — namely categories, tags and the excerpt field.

Categories and Tags allow you to organize posts through the use of taxonomies. Categories are hierarchical. For instance, you may use categories to organize posts relating to specific dog breeds and sizes. Tags are non-hierarchical, and may be used as keywords for your post. You can learn more about using categories and tags here.

In the case of the Natural Lite theme, categories are used to display posts within specific locations of the theme. For instance, the featured slideshow on the home page displays posts from a particular category selected within the theme options of the Customizer.

The Excerpt field is used for displaying optional summaries of your post content, like an introduction.

Okay, let’s create your first blog Post:

  1. Navigate to Posts -> Add New within the WordPress admin.
  2. Enter a title for the Post.
  3. Add content within the content editor field beneath the title.
  4. Add a new Category titled “Blog” within the “Categories” section and apply it to the Post.
  5. Click the blue Publish button.

Next, let’s create another Post for the featured slideshow on the home page:

  1. Navigate to Posts -> Add New within the WordPress admin.
  2. Enter a title for the Post.
  3. Add content within the content editor field beneath the title.
  4. Add a brief Excerpt in the field beneath the content editor.
  5. Add a new Category titled “Slide” within the “Categories” section and apply it to the Post.
  6. Add a Featured Image to the Post (See below).
  7. Click the blue Publish button.

create-a-wordpress-site-featured-imageFeatured Images can be applied to posts or pages. A single featured image can be applied per post or page, and it will display a prominent featured image for the post or page. In the Natural Lite theme, the featured image will be displayed on the slide for posts applied to the slideshow.

The Excerpt field can be found just beneath the content editor. If for some reason you don’t see the excerpt field, make sure the box is displayed by checking your “Screen Options” at the top of the post edit page as seen in the screenshot below:

create-a-wordpress-site-screen-options

Within the Natural Lite theme, the excerpt content will be displayed across the featured image of the slideshow, so keep it short. It’s a great tool for making announcements for your business within your slideshow.

Continue adding new posts as you see fit, applying the proper categories to each post.

Widgets

create-a-wordpress-site-footer-widgetsWidgets provide another option for adding content to your site. There are a variety of widgets that can be added to any widgetized area of your theme. The Jetpack plugin provides several additional widgets such as a profile, image, gallery, Facebook Like widgets and more. With the Natural Lite theme, widgets may be added to the footer and sidebars of your site.

Navigate to Appearance -> Widgets to begin adding widgets. For example, add a “Text” widget to the “Footer Widgets” section that contains information about your hours of operation. Text widgets also allow for HTML code that can be used to enhance the content within the widget.

Continue adding widgets as you see fit. It’s easy to get carried away with widgets, so try only adding widgets that are useful or helpful to the navigation of your site.

Example Content

The content for our example site is available for download here. After downloading and unzipping the demo content file, you may optionally install the content within the Tools -> Import section of the WordPress admin to be used as a guide. We only recommend doing this if you are not planning to add the content for your business at this time.

Step 3: Theme Setup

Once your content has been added, it’s time to make sure that content is displayed within the appropriate locations within your theme. Setting up the Natural Lite theme will be a breeze using the WordPress Customizer.

The WordPress Customizer provides the ability to set and save theme options and change the appearance of your theme while allowing you to see those changes in real time.

Navigate to Appearance -> Customize within the WordPress admin.

create-a-wordpress-site-customizer-example

The Customizer should look similar to the example image above, with a preview of the site on the right and a list of options on the left.

Theme Options

Within the Customizer, select the “Theme Options” panel.

create-a-wordpress-site-theme-optionsWithin the panel you will be presented with all the necessary options to setup your theme. Since your pages, posts and categories have already been created, just go down the list of options — setting the categories and pages for the home page sections and your blog page template. Your options should look similar to the example image on the left. Click the blue “Save & Publish” button at the top of the Customizer to save your changes.

We have kept the options minimal with the Natural Lite theme to reduce the setup time. The theme setup process should only take a couple minutes, assuming content has already been published on your site.

Custom Menus

Your pages should already be displayed within the navigation menu on your site. However, they may not be in the order you desire. So let’s create a custom menu!

Similar to widgets, you can create custom menus that can be applied to various locations in your theme. The Natural Lite theme has 2 menu locations:

  • Header Menu — For displaying your main site navigation.
  • Social Menu — For adding links in the footer to your social networks.

Menus can be created under Appearance -> Menus, or within the Customizer. Since you should still be within the Customizer after saving your theme options, let’s create the menu there. Navigate to the top level of options by clicking the back arrow within the Customizer (Not the back arrow of your browser!):
create-a-wordpress-site-custom-menu

  1. Select the “Menus” panel.
  2. Click the “Add a Menu” button.
  3. Add a name for the custom menu, like “Main Menu.”
  4. Click the “Create Menu” button.
  5. Click the “Add Items” button.
  6. Add Pages to your menu.
  7. Drag the Pages into the order you desire.
  8. Check the “Header Menu” location.
  9. Click the blue “Save & Publish” button.

In addition to pages, you can add other items to you menu such as Categories and Custom Links. Your menu should look similar to the example image above.

create-a-wordpress-site-social-menuThe “Social Menu” in the footer displays links with icons to your social media profiles. The menu is created similarly to the main navigation menu. However, instead of adding pages to the menu, you will be adding Custom Links. Custom links in the social menu should look similar to the example image on the left. The Natural Lite theme will automatically detect which link has been added to the menu and apply the appropriate icon. In addition to social media icons, adding a link to Google Maps will display a location icon, and an email link will display a mail icon.

Step 4: Customizing The Design

Natural Lite has a few helpful options for customizing the design of the theme. Not too many, since we don’t want to spend all day working on the appearance of the site.

For some basic customization to the site, we’re going to add a Logo, and change the Header Image and remove the Background image. If you’re not already in the Customizer from our previous step, navigate to Appearance -> Customize within the WordPress admin.

The Logo

create-a-wordpress-site-logo
Let’s add a Logo within the Customizer:

  1. Select the “Site Identity” panel.
  2. Select the “Change Image” button.
  3. Upload your Logo image, and click the “Choose Image” button.
  4. Click the blue “Save & Publish” button.

For the example site, I used the logo I designed to the left.

We recommend uploading a logo as a transparent .PNG file, but a .JPG or .GIF may be used as well. The maximum dimensions for a logo in the Natural Lite theme is 640 x 640 pixels. Keep in mind the logo may be placed on top of a dark background image. So I recommend uploading a light colored logo, or a logo with a solid background color.

If you don’t have a logo, remove the default logo and the Site Title and Tagline will be displayed in its place.

Within the “Site Identity” section of the Customizer, you can also change the Site Title and Tagline of your site. I recommend making this change, regardless of adding a logo.

The Header Image

By default, the Natural Lite theme will display an image within the header. Adding or removing a Header Image is similar to adding or removing a logo within the Customizer:

  1. Select the “Header Image” panel.
  2. Select the “Add new image” button.
  3. Upload your Header Image, and click the “Select and Crop” button.
  4. Choose to “Crop Image” or “Skip Cropping” to leave the image as-is.
  5. Click the blue “Save & Publish” button.
create-a-wordpress-site-crop-header-image

Crop your Header Image.

We recommend Header Image dimensions of 1600 x 480 pixels. If your image is larger than the suggested dimensions, WordPress will give you the option to crop the image. We don’t recommend images smaller than 1200 pixels wide, or the image may appear blurry on some devices.

Any images included with the Natural Lite theme are public licensed, and free to use on your site. In addition, we highly recommend Unsplash as a resource for finding high quality images that are free to use on your site.

Below, I’ve provided the image used for our example site:

create-a-wordpress-site-header

The Header Image may also be removed by clicking the “Hide image” button, in which case your Logo or Site Title and Tagline will be displayed on top of the Background.

The Background

create-a-wordpress-site-default-patternNatural Lite will display the seamless wood pattern on the left as the default background for the site. For our example, we’re going to remove the default image, and change the background color.

Let’s remove the image in the Customizer:

  1. Select the “Background Image” panel.
  2. Click the “Remove” button.
  3. Click the blue “Save & Publish” button.

Next, change the background color by navigating to the top level of Customizer:

  1. Select the “Colors” panel.
  2. Click the “Select Color” button for the Background Color.
  3. Choose your color.
  4. Click the blue “Save & Publish” button.

Optionally, you may replace the background image with another tiled image or single large image of your choosing. If you plan to use a pattern for you background, we recommend something that isn’t distracting from your website content. Subtle Patterns is an excellent resource for finding beautiful patterns for your site.

Step 5: Plugins

You’re almost there! Adding plugins to WordPress increases the functionality of your site. Having a self-hosted WordPress site allows you to easily install plugins for added features such as eCommerce, custom forms, social media feeds and much more!

The setup of each plugin varies considerably, and you may need to consult the plugin developer regarding its usage. For our example, we’re going to install and activate the Jetpack plugin:create-a-wordpress-site-jetpack-configuration

  1. Navigate to Plugins -> Add New within the WordPress admin.
  2. Search for “Jetpack” in the search field.
  3. Click “Install Now” for the Jetpack by WordPress.com plugin.
  4. After the plugin installs, click the “Activate Plugin” link.
  5. Navigate to the new Jetpack menu item in the WordPress admin.
  6. If necessary, sign up for a WordPress.com account to connect Jetpack to your site. (You only need this account to connect Jetpack to your site.)
  7. After connected, navigate to Jetpack -> Settings in the WordPress admin.
  8. Configure and activate the desired added features for Jetpack.

Clicking on each feature will give you a description of the functionality it will add to your site. Personally, I usually activate the following features: Carousel, Contact Form, Custom CSS, Extra Sidebar Widgets, Gravatar Hovercards, Tiled Galleries and Widget Visibility.

Install and activate more plugins as needed for your site. However, manage your plugins closely. Delete plugins you are not using, and don’t add too many or it will considerably slow your site down and consume space on your server.

The WordPress plugin directory provides thousands of plugins available for download. That’s one of the many reasons a self-hosted WordPress site can be such powerful solution for your business’ website.

A few plugins I can’t live without on my sites are:

Resources

You should now have a professional website for your business, and a basic understanding of the WordPress platform. For more information regarding WordPress, there are endless resources available. I’ve listed a few to get you started:

Here are some excellent resources for finding images for your site:

In addition, we have provided a legend of the home page from our example site below for a visual reference:

create-a-wordpress-site-legend

15 Comments on “How To Create A WordPress Site In 1 Hour

  1. Thanks, David. This post fantastic it has a lot of information. I run my Web designing business it helpful for me to build WP sites faster than before.

  2. Complete a website just 1 hour!! This is really crazy. This is possible and I did it by following your article, David.
    Thanks for sharing such kind of extra ordinary tips with us, David.

  3. Thanks for sharing such a helpful guide. It is easy to follow and even beginners can install WordPress using the guide.

  4. Thanks for this great article David! It really helped me a lot and i have created a static website with the help of this article.

    Thanks again

  5. Hi, David. Thanks for this article. In using the Natural Lite theme, I’ll have to review this and make sure I incorporated all of your tips. I’m having some troubles with the customization of this theme–I’ve reinstalled the theme’s ZIP file, talked to my hosting company, have reinstalled the php files and it doesn’t seem to solve anything. Can you contact me by email please and we can see what we can do? This theme is great!

    Thanks,
    David

    • Hi David,

      I’ve followed up with you by email so we can look into this further. It’s probably just a question of setting the correct page template to your front page for the options to be working. Please follow up with me via email.

      Thanks!

  6. Excellent resource. Your points are so used to complete a WordPress site less than a one hour. I am absolutely delighted to see your post which comprises a lot of useful data which is very useful for my work and I have already started following these to complete my work.

  7. Hi, David. Thanks for this article. In using the Natural Lite theme, I’ll have to review this and make sure I incorporated all of your tips

  8. Most of the people don’t Know how to create word press site with out any hassle. May be this article gives best hope to all SEO Likely people. Any way thanks for sharing a wonderful information .

  9. Thank for sharing such a helpful guide David! It will really help to beginners those who want to create a website using WordPress.

    • Thanks for the feedback! Glad you found David’s post helpful 🙂

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