Building a Website With WordPress

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 – April 14

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. vs.

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

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

Class website

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

You’ll receive a link to your site as well as login credentials to log in.

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).


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.


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 and Never use Google! You may need to resize images (I like pixlr). 


Before the next class:

  • Write out the goals you have for your website
  • Start to gather content and images
  • Look through my blog posts and read any that look interesting to you
  • Plan for your site after the class is over; think about a domain name and research hosting providers

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

Week 2 – April 21


Last class we talked a bit about caching. Here is the link I mentioned with a great explanation of what caching is!


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

  • Wordfence (security)
  • UpdraftPlus (backups)
  • Yoast (install but don’t activate)

If you need a Dropbox account to store your backups separate from your website, sign up for a free basic account.


We’ll look at two themes, Astra and Blocksy.


You’ll need to keep WordPress as well as your themes and plugins up to date. There are two ways to do this:

  • Easy Updates Manager
  • Log in to your site and perform the updates once a week or once every few weeks


Before the next class:

  • Finish your content and search for images
  • Set up security and backups
  • Choose a theme and design

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

Week 3 – April 28


If you used an Astra starter site, it will have created some pages for you. Go ahead and update those pages with your own content using the Elementor page builder.

Create a new page by going to Pages, Add New OR duplicate an existing page by using a plugin.


We’ll do a quick run-through of how to use the Elementor editor and the Gutenberg editor. 


Visit Settings, Reading to set your home page (and blog page if you have one).

Settings, General is where you can set your site name and tagline. Settings, Permalinks is where you’ll set the permalink structure (how the URLs appear).


If you used an Astra starter site, it created a menu for you. If you have to add/remove any pages, go to Appearance, Menus. 


Check Appearance, Customize to look at the customizer. Each theme will have a different set of options here, but many are also the same.

Privacy Policy

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


Keep working on your site and put all the pages together.

Week 4 – May 7

To round out our four-week class, we’ll discuss the following.


Depending on your theme, you’ll have different sidebar and widget options. You’ll be able to set your sidebar and footer with widgets (generally). 

Contact form

If you used an Astra starter site, a contact form was created for you. If you didn’t, I’ll help you install and configure a forms plugin. Then, we’ll make sure your contact form works.


I’ll introduce Yoast, Google Analytics and Google Search Console. You may want to write some meta titles and descriptions for your site with Yoast. We’ll also cover other best practices for SEO.


I’ll show you how to take a page speed test as well as how to make your site faster.


Thanks so much for signing up and completing this course! 

Once you have your content and images in, do some testing.


If we have time, we’ll discuss a bit about social media and email marketing.

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