How to Set Up WordPress Site From Scratch: A Step-by-Step Guide
March 4, 2016

Setting up a WordPress site is simple. There are only 3 steps that you have to follow:

Step 1: Choose Your Domain Name and Host

You need two things to get your website online:

  • A domain name (a web address like

  • Host (where your website will sit)

Where do I get a domain name and hosting?

Ever since I started my first website, I have been using Siteground as a web hosting and domain registrar. They have excellent customer service for the price you are paying. Moreover, you will get a free domain name for life if you are using their host.

How to pick a domain name?

Your domain should either match your company name or the related brand you are trying to build. They usually end with .com, .org, or .net.

For simplicity sake, just go with .com domain.

You can refer to the following article by Moz in choosing a domain name.

What if the domain name that you want are taken up? You can add extensions before or after your desired domain name. Refer to the below table for some ideas.


Type of websites

Potential Amendments to the Domain Name

eCommerce Shop

-shop, -store, -hq, -mart, -supermart



Mobile / Web Applications

get-, -app, -hq

Interest-based / Hobby-based


Service / Self-Help


School / Learning

-school, -academy, -institute


You can check the domain name availability using GoDaddy.

Setting Up Your Host

Once you have decided your domain name, the next step is to go to your host (as mentioned, I recommend SiteGround).

SiteGround Host Plan

Choose the plan that you are comfortable with. If you do not expect a lot of traffic, choose the StartUp plan. You can always upgrade your plan later.

Then, enter your domain name here.

SiteGround Domain Selection

Fill in the particulars and payment information.

A note on the extra services: By default, SiteGround includes the extra services such as Domain Privacy and HackAlert Monitoring. If you think that you do not need them, you can uncheck them.

Your host is now set up. You can sign in to your admin area once your account is confirmed.

Step 2: Install Your WordPress Using 1-Click Install

Once you are inside the admin area, go to My Accounts -> then click on “Go to cPanel”.

SiteGround Admin Account

Then click on the WordPress icon under “Autoinstallers”.

WordPress 1-click install

You will see an overview page. Click on the blue button “Install”.

WP Installation

This is where you choose your domain. Finally, when you scroll down, you will see that SiteGround has pre-populated your admin details.

WP Admin Password

You can choose your admin username and password.

Warning: Please do not use “admin” or “administrator” as your Admin username.

Click on “install.”

Congratulations. Now your site is set up.

Step 3: Set up and customize your site looks

You probably notice that your site is as bare as it can be. You will have to do a little configuration to make it looks like most of the websites.

Barebone WordPress Site

To configure your website, you will have to log in to your dashboard. The URL to login to your dashboard is usually: Make sure you replace yoursite with your domain name.

WP Dashboard

It seems a bit overwhelming at first glance as there are many options you can use. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how I usually configure my site:

1) Add Your Home Page and Blog Page

Click on “pages” at the sidebar, and add a new page.

Page Area

Type the word “Home”, and something random at the text area. Then click “Publish”.

Adding the homepage

Add another page, and name the page “blog.” This time round, please do not enter anything in the text area. Once completed, you should see something like this in your Pages.

Page Area Completed

2) Change Your Permalink Setting

Permalink is the format of a URL that points to a particular page on your site. It will affect the usability of your website as well as SEO.

To change your permalink settings, go to Settings, then Permalinks. I usually like to set my permalink to Post Name.

WordPress Permalinks

Click “Save Changes”.

3) Change Your Website Front Page

You might have realized that right now your website looks like a blog. If you are setting up a corporate website, that’s probably not what you want.

Go to Settings, and then Reading. Change the Front page displays to “A static page (select below”), and set your Front page as “Home”, and Posts page as “Blog”.

WordPress Static Front

Click on “Save Changes”. Once done, you will be able to see that your home page now looks like this:

WordPress Amended Homepage

5) Install WordPress Theme

I think you do not like how the website looks right now. It just looks ugly. Fortunately, there is a way for you to beautify it without much hassle. This way is to use WordPress Themes.

Themes are ready-made design done by someone else where you can just use for your website. There are both free and premium themes available. Premium themes have better support and more well-designed.

Go back to your WordPress dashboard. Click on “Appearance”, then “Themes”. Then click “Add New”.

WordPress Theme

You will see a wide variety of themes that are available to you for free.

WordPress Theme Selection

Choose one theme that you like. Note that the preview does not reflect well on how your site will look after installing and configuring the theme. For the purpose of this tutorial, I am going to install Maskitto Light. You can search for this theme using the search bar.

Note: Before you install the theme, you might want to Google the theme name to look at what others have said. You can also look at the demo when the theme is fully configured. Finally, you might also visit the documentation page and see whether do you understand how to configure the look of your theme.

Hover around the image, then clicks on “Install”.

When the installation is done, click on “activate” to activate the theme for your site. You should see some message at the top, usually asking you to install some plugins.

Theme Alerts

Click on installing the plugins. Select all the plugins, choose Install in the selection box, and click “Apply”.

Install Plugins

Now your home page looks much better.

Amended Theme Home

Note that every theme should have their documentation to set up the home page. You can find the documentation to Maskitto theme here.

While there are a wide variety of places you can purchase themes, I recommend My Theme Shop. Their themes are usually light-weight and have good performance in speed. They also offer free themes you can use for your website. If you are building a business site, I recommend you to take a look at some of their premium themes.

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Thiam Hock

Thiam Hock is the co-founder of 3Pal Pte Ltd, a full-serviced inbound marketing agency based in Singapore. He believes in using inbound marketing to transform the Singapore's marketing landscape. In his free time, he blogs about marketing, personal development and finance.