Getting Started with Your WordPress Website
Building and maintaining a website based on WordPress does not have to be difficult or confusing. Follow our guide and you’ll have the experience you’ve always wanted!
1. Register your domain.
Our favorite domain registrars are Cloudflare and Namecheap. Cloudflare has the best features and the lowest prices, but is slightly more technically advanced. Namecheap is super easy, affordable, and dependable.
2. Pick your web host.
Hosting can be make or break for your experience with WordPress. A good host can make maintaining your website feel like a breeze, while a bad host can give you endless headaches. With over 15 years of experience with practically every WordPress host, we’ve found a small number of hosts to stand out from the pack.
Your primary considerations should be: technical excellence, support, ease of use, and reliability.
Most modern web hosts will install WordPress for you in one click. You do not need to download WordPress and install manually.
This is the host that we primarily use. The mix of fast and reliable hosting, superb technical support, and a new easy dashboard experience has made this an easy recommendation. They offer free migration services and prompt chat technical support that has handled every situation we’ve thrown at them.
The 1gb cloud servers are enough for most photography sites. You can also host multiple websites (they call them apps) on a single server. This is a significant cost savings for photographers that have multiple websites. You can spend a few dollars per month extra for their premium servers and have marginally faster loading times.
Cloudways offers an affordable Rackspace add-on for email hosting that we recommend as well.
Please note, their servers require an SMTP plugin like Fluent SMTP for your website’s forms and webmail messages to send properly.
Here is a quick video on signing up with Cloudways and creating your first server and website application.
A note on cheap hosting:
If you are on Bluehost, Godaddy, or other entry level hosting, you should heavily consider moving to a more reliable and better hosting company. The number of horror stories that we’ve had to come in and fix afterwards from these companies is far too high. Don’t let bad hosting ruin your entire website experience.
3. Install your Sightsee Child Theme.
First, install and activate your Sightsee Child Theme. (Full instructions here)
The installation process will automatically install Kadence Theme and any required plugins.
This will then prompt you to import the demo content via the Kadence Starter Theme plugin.
You can now activate your Cloud Library using the connection URL: https://www.sightseedesign.com/ and the activation code from your order.
4. Install Recommended WordPress Plugins.
Here are our quick recommendations on WordPress plugins for the typical photography site:
- SEO Press – Our favorite SEO plugin. Similar to Yoast, but with more control and features. Yoast is a fine alternative if you’re already used to that experience.
- Fluent SMTP – If you’re using Cloudways for hosting or simply want more reliable and secure messaging from your site, you should use a SMTP plugin. Fluent is our current favorite.
- Antispam Bee – Get rid of spam comments on your content.
- Code Snippets – Our favorite way to add custom functions to your site.
- Redirection – Our favorite tool for monitoring and adding redirects.
- Shortpixel – The best image compression plugin that we’ve found (use Glossy compression).
- WP Rocket – An easy and feature rich performance plugin that works well with our themes.
5. Build Beautiful Content with the Block Editor.
Building beautiful content in WordPress has never been easier. Simply use the block editor to create the exact layout and experience you have always wanted to craft. No more complicated hidden fields or back-end dashboards. You can use our cloud sections, pre-built WordPress sections, or make your own!