Welcome to Building a Website with WordPress, offered by Westmoreland County Community College. Here you’ll find plans, notes and links for our four-week class.

Week 1 – February 23

Welcome to week 1!

This week, we’ll get to know each other and start to gather everything we need to build a WordPress site.

wordpress.com vs. wordpress.org

We’ll start the class with a little about WordPress including the difference between wordpress.com (a hosting platform that limits what you can do with WordPress) and wordpress.org (the free software that we’ll use on the hosting platform of our choice).

I’ll also mention the Pittsburgh WordPress group and online meetups everywhere.

Class website

Pair Networks has graciously provided free Managed WordPress hosting for the duration of the class and for 30 days after.

After class

Upon completion of the 4-week class, you can do one of the following:

  • Purchase a domain name and reach out to Pair to take over billing of your account
  • Purchase a domain name and migrate your site to another host (like Flywheel or WP Engine)
  • Do nothing and your site will be removed after 30 days

Domain name

Your domain name is your URL or website address. Finding the perfect domain name can take a bit of time. You’ll want to select something that’s easy for people to remember and that is meaningful. Oh, and a domain name that’s available is good, too!

Domainr is great for searching for possible domain names and GoDaddy and ThemeIsle have good articles on selecting the perfect domain name.

You can secure a domain name from anywhere, but I recommend Namecheap because they are easy to use and include privacy (which cuts down on spam).

Hosting

Website hosting is where your files will live. I recommend Managed WordPress hosting at Pair Networks, Flywheel or WP Engine. The top features I look for in a website host are quick and helpful support, free SSL certificates, additional backups and staging environments.

We’ll also discuss the difference between managed and shared hosting.

Email

You may or may not want an email address at your domain name. If you do, I recommend Pair Networks (included with hosting), Zoho, Fastmail or GSuite.

Goals, content and images

We’ll talk about why you want a website and what you’re hoping it will do for you.

I’ll encourage you to think about your target audience; if you say everybody you’re not being specific enough and end up generic.

You need content.

As you’re writing your content, think about what you want the visitor to do. Guide your user through your site and use calls to action.

You’ll also need images for your website. I like pexels.com and unsplash.com. Never use Google! You may need to resize images (I like pixlr). You may want to compress images (I like tinyjpg.com).

Your site

You’ll receive an email where you can set the password for your WordPress site. Make sure you’re using a strong password and keep the information safe!

Here are a few items to change on your site:

  • Remove the Hello World post
  • Remove the Sample Page
  • Remove all themes except Twenty Twenty One
  • Removed widgets
  • Remove Akismet and Hello Dolly
  • Configure your settings
  • Change the administrator email

Plugins

Plugins are added functionality for WordPress. We’ll install and configure the following to start:

I’ll cover how to install, activate and configure each of the plugins above.

Updates

You’ll need to keep WordPress as well as your themes and plugins up to date. I recommend enabling auto updates for all plugins and themes as you install them.

Homework

Before the next class:

  • Write out the goals you have for your website
  • Start to gather content and images
  • Plan for your site after the class is over; think about a domain name and research hosting providers
  • Set security and backups

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Week 2 – March 2

Review

Let’s review what we covered last week and I’ll answer any questions you have.

Theme

Theme Settings

Media

  • Upload images and other items to the media library
  • Adding alt text for accessibility and SEO

Privacy Policy

Privacy policies are good to have; I use Termageddon, but here is a template, a generator, a plugin and a walkthrough. Also check the guide under Settings, Privacy, Check out our guide.

Homework

Before the next class:

  • Finish gathering content and images; upload images to your media library
  • Install and activate an Astra child theme
  • Set your theme settings
  • Build your header and footer

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

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