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.

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.


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 other we’ll use).

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


Before we talk about domains, hosting and email, I want to describe all the pieces and how they fit together.

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 these providers 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 (and we’ll 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 these providers.

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!


Before the next class:

  • Think of and secure a domain name
  • Purchase website hosting
  • Write out the goals you have for your website
  • Start to gather content and images
  • Look through my resources and read any that look interesting to you

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

Getting set up

  • Now that you have your domain name and hosting, I’ll sit with each of you individually and get WordPress up and running
  • We’ll also configure SSL
  • To log into your website, add /wp-admin to the end of your URL


We’ll look at your WordPress Dashboard under Settings, General to see all of the available options for WordPress.


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

  • Coming Soon
  • Wordfence (customize the emails you get from Wordfence by going to Wordfence, All Options, Email alert preferences and Activity report)
  • UpdraftPlus


We’ll install the Astra theme and child theme.

There are two ways you can go here — design from scratch or use one of their free starter sites (choose Elementor and free when searching). We’ll walk through the pros/cons of each and will dive into this next class. (Here’s a video if you want to work ahead!)


Before the next class:

  • Finish your content and search for images
  • Decide on a design. If you’ll design from scratch, choose fonts and colors. Otherwise, choose a starter site that you like best

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


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; 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! Less is more — try to get it to a place where you can show the class next week and possibly turn off the coming soon page.


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 forms

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.

The blog and blog posts

I’ll describe how the blog and posts work, even if you don’t think you want to have a blog on your site.


I’ll give you some tips to keep your website secure.


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.

Remove the coming soon plugin and send me the URL. I’d love to see the final product!