On Getting Started with WordPress

At our Metro Detroit WordPress meetup last week, I was one of the WordPress experts helping fellow members with questions about WordPress and their sites.

The members I spoke with were starting out with WordPress or had recently created a site, but had a number of questions on where to go next.

What about self-hosted WordPress, WordPress.com, blogs vs. websites, training, and keeping my site safe and secure?

They wanted information and answers to their questions so they knew they were getting started on the right track.

I answered and referred many people to my posts that go into more detail about WordPress.

When we getting ready to leave, a couple of members thanked me for all the information, and asked:

Deborah, do you have a summary post? You know, something that links to all the info you shared? That would be helpful to lots of people.

I don’t, I replied. But that sounds like a good idea.

Here it is.

Where Do I Start?

Handwriting in a journal

The first thing I recommend to anyone thinking of creating a WordPress site is to identify your goals.

Is your site for your business? A nonprofit? Or do you want to regularly publish blog posts of your writing?

Once you answer those questions, you can take the next step to get your WordPress site up and running.

Now that you know your site goals, let’s talk about WordPress and the differences between WordPress.com and self-hosted WordPress.

Many people don’t know there are two ways you can create a site with WordPress. Depending on your requirements and time, one may be a better choice than the other.

What is the Difference Between a Blog and a Website?

Blog vs website- what's the difference?

I admit, it’s a confusing concept when the two words are used interchangeably these days.

But there is a difference between the two terms.

And depending on your goals and objectives, you may have a website or a blog. Or a website with a blog.

Do I Need a Self-Hosted WordPress Site?

looking down on someone writing in open journal notebook, near a laptop computer

I wrote do you really need a self-hosted WordPress site? when I worked with Chris.

She had struggled for months with learning how to create, manage, and design a self-hosted WordPress site.

Chris’s goal was to publish her writing, not learn all the ins and outs of WordPress technology, plugins, and design.

I often compare self-hosted WordPress to a candy store, with thousands of candy choices. Selecting candy can be overwhelming; it’s a lot easier with a smaller candy store that doesn’t have so many options.

Once we discussed her goals and expectations, it was clear that hosted WordPress.com was a better solution for her needs.

How Can I Learn WordPress?

Easy WP Guide

Whether you’re creating a self-hosted WordPress site or a site on WordPress.com, learning how to use WordPress is a lot easier with these five online resources.

One of my favorites? Easy WP Guide by my friend Anthony Horton.

It’s an in-depth online and downloadable guide for creating content in WordPress. Horton updates the manual after every major WordPress version is released.

How Do I Keep My Site Secure?

Once your site is online, you want to make sure it’s kept safe and secure. And that means you need to take steps to keep hackers out.

If you have a self-hosted WordPress site, you’ll want to set up three things on your site.

For backup services and plugins, read the fine print so you know exactly what the service or plugin offers.

And to learn more about site security, check out the resources from my keep your website secure and up-to-date webinar.


I didn’t realize I had published so many posts about WordPress basics, how to get started, and what to consider when you first start using WordPress.

Glad to have the info all in one place now! And I’m hoping the information is helpful to others!

Originally published October 16, 2017

Photo of author

About the Author

Deborah Edwards-Onoro helps small businesses, consultants, nonprofits, and higher ed with creative and distinctive websites. Deborah shares her expertise with web design, user experience, and accessibility on her blog, social media, and at meetup events. As organizer of Refresh Detroit, West Metro Detroit WordPress, and Metro Detroit WordPress, she encourages members to share their knowledge and experiences. In her free time, you'll find her birding, shooting photos, reading, or watching tennis.
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