Setting up a new WordPress site can feel overwhelming. Where do you start? Follow this checklist of quick steps to start customizing your site.
Before you start, it will help to have some content. You can use the default content, but it’s always nice to see how your own work is going to look.
- a blog post
- an about page
- add an image to one or both
It’s okay if they aren’t finished; you can edit them later.
General title settings
- Change the site title – Under Settings>General in the Site Title field You can set it as your name, or any other title relevant to your site. It will appear at the top of your site.
- Change or delete the tagline (site description) – Under Settings>General in the Tagline field you can change the additional description displayed by some themes.
Remove the default content
By default, WordPress comes with a “Hello World” post and a “Sample” page. It’s a good idea to remove these.
- Delete “Hello World” post – Posts>All Posts. If you plan to have blog posts on your site, you may want to create one or two initial posts with featured images. (You can edit them later.)
- Delete sample page – Pages>All Pages. Don’t simply edit the sample page, as the slug is often “sample.” Instead, create a new About page with a brief bio that you can edit later.
Choosing a theme
In WordPress the Theme controls how your site looks and, to a lesser degree, some of its capabilities. The content you create in posts and pages will look different in different themes but it won’t be altered. Think of it like pouring the same water in differently tinted cups. It looks different but the water remains the same.
That gives you the option to try different themes without fear. You can find themes under Appearance > Themes. If you’re on SITES dot, you’ll be able to choose from the themes you find there but you can’t install your own. If you’re on MiddCreate, you can install additional themes. Find more details about installing a theme here.
Which theme is right for me?
Like choosing a pet, choosing a theme is a personal decision with lots of factors. It’s a mix of functional desires (I need a menu that supports three levels of nesting.) and your own personal tastes (The color blue enrages me.). Themes, like pets, also vary quite a bit and there are a lot of them out there.
There are some universal suggestions though. One is to use the WordPress Theme directory and search for themes that are Accessibility Ready. This gets you a solid start for creating accessible content. This browser is also very useful for finding technical components that you want your theme to have.
We also suggest avoiding freemium themes unless you’re willing to purchase the pro version down the road. These themes are usually just good enough to get you in the door but soon have glaring problems that are only solved by purchasing the pro version.