WPBeginner has been helping WordPress beginners since 2009. Over these years, we have received tens of thousands of questions. We have noticed that some questions are asked more frequently by users. In this article, we will answer some of the most frequently asked questions by WordPress beginners.
Since this is a lengthy article, we have added a table of contents for easier navigation.
1. How do I start a WordPress blog?
First you need to make sure that you are choosing the right blogging platform for your website. Self-hosted WordPress.org site is the best platform in our opinion. It offers you the flexibility and freedom to grow your blog without any limitations.
Next, you will need to sign up for a WordPress hosting account. All websites on the internet needs hosting. This will be your website’s home on the internet.
You will also need a domain name. This will be your website’s address on the internet that your users will type in their browsers to reach your site (e.g. wpbeginner.com or google.com).
We recommend using either Bluehost. They are one of the largest hosting companies in the world and an official WordPress hosting partner.
Once you have signed up for a hosting account, you can go ahead and install WordPress. For complete step by step instructions, see our guide on how to start a WordPress blog, and you will be up and running in minutes.
2. How much does it cost to build a WordPress website?
While WordPress itself is free, you will need a web hosting account and a domain name to use it on a live website. These will cost you money.
You can get started by signing up for a shared hosting account. After that you can use a free WordPress theme with essential free plugins to get started. This would cost you roughly around $100/year.
As your website grows, you will need more features, tools, and services to better serve your users. Some of these services and tools will cost additional money. Your goal will be to keep the costs down while offering the best experience for your users.
We have made a complete breakdown for you to look at. It shows you how much does it really cost to build a WordPress site for DIY users.
3. How do I make money from my WordPress site?
There are countless ways to make money from your WordPress site. In fact, website owners are coming up with new ways to make money online from their websites every day. You can run advertisements, sell products, recommend affiliate products, teach courses, sell paid content, and the list goes on.
Check out our list of 25 legit ways to make money online blogging with WordPress to explore more options.
4. Can I use WordPress without using any blog features?
Yes, absolutely. Many WordPress websites are business sites that don’t use any blog related features at all. WordPress started out as a blogging platform, but now it is a full-fledged CMS and an application framework.
You can create a website using only the pages. If you want to completely turn off blogging, then check out our tutorial on how to easily disable blog features in WordPress.
5. How do I install plugins in WordPress?
Plugins are like apps for your WordPress site. They allow you to add additional features like contact forms, photo galleries, etc to your website.
To install plugins, first you need to visit Plugins » Add New page in the WordPress admin area. Next, you need to search for the plugin you are looking for by typing in keywords (like photo gallery, contact form, etc).
If you know the name of the plugin that you want to install, then you can just enter the name of the plugin.
In the search results, click on the install button next to the plugin that you want to install and WordPress will install it for you.
Next, you will need to click on the activate button to start using the plugin.
You can also install plugins sold by third party developers. Those plugins come as a zip file.
Simply head over to Plugins » Add New page and then click on the upload button.
Next, you need to click on the choose file button to select the plugin zip file from your computer and then click on ‘Install now’.
For more detailed instructions, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.
6. Why I don’t see the Plugins menu in my admin panel?
Most likely you are using WordPress.com, which is a blog hosting service created by WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg.
It is a solid blog hosting service, but there are some limitations to using WordPress.com. One of them is not able to install plugins.
See our article on the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org for more details.
If you want to move your WordPress.com blog to WordPress.org, then follow the instructions in our step by step tutorial on how to move your blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org.
7. Which WordPress plugins I should install on my website?
At the time of writing this article, there were more than 49,000 plugins available in the free WordPress plugins directory alone. Not all of them are great, which leads to the question that which WordPress plugins should you install on your website?
We have compiled a list of essential WordPress plugins that you should install on your website. For more plugin recommendations, you can check out our WordPress plugins section.
8. How to select a theme for my WordPress site?
Themes control the appearance of your WordPress site. There are thousands of free and paid WordPress themes available for every kind of website.
First, you will need to decide whether you want to use the free or premium theme. Premium WordPress themes come with support and guaranteed updates.
This does not mean that free WordPress themes are low quality. In fact, free WordPress themes that are available on WordPress.org theme directory go through a very rigorous review process.
For more details see our article on pros and cons of both free vs premium WordPress themes.
You will also need to consider your audience, your website’s topics, compatibility with plugins, and language requirements.
We have compiled a list of things you should consider when selecting the perfect WordPress theme for your website.
For theme recommendations check out our showcase section where we regularly publish our expert pick of the best WordPress themes.
Here are some of the our recent expert selections
9. How do I install a WordPress theme?
After you have selected a theme for your website, you will need to install it.
Head over to Appearance » Themes page in WordPress admin area and then click on the ‘Add New’ button on the top.
On the next page, you can search for a free theme from WordPress.org theme directory. If you already have your theme as a zip file, then click on the upload button to select the zip file and install it.
For more detailed instructions, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress theme for beginners.
10. How to add a blog post or page in WordPress?
By default, WordPress comes with two default content types. They are called posts and pages.
Posts are part of a blog and are displayed in a reverse chronological order. Pages are static and not part of a blog.
See our guide on the difference between posts and pages.
To add a new blog post, head over to Posts » Add New page.
To create a new page, you need to visit Pages » Add New page.
Both page’s and post’s edit screens look similar with some minor differences.
For detailed instructions, see our guide on how to add a new blog post in WordPress while utilizing all the features.
11. How to embed videos in WordPress?
You can directly upload videos to your WordPress site, but we always recommend against that. For more discussion on this topic, see our article on why you should never upload a video to WordPress.
Instead, you should use a video hosting service like YouTube or Vimeo. Simply upload your video to one of these services and then copy your video URL.
Come back to your WordPress site and simply paste the video URL in the post editor. WordPress will automatically fetch the embed code and display your video.
12. How do I show photos in rows and columns in WordPress?
By default, when you add multiple images to a WordPress post or page, they would appear right next to each other or on top of each other.
This doesn’t look so great. You can easily solve this problem by showing your photos in a grid layout with rows and columns.
For complete step by step instructions see our guide on how to display WordPress photos in rows and columns.
13. How do I add a navigation menu in WordPress?
Navigation menu is a set of links that take users to different sections of your website. It usually appears on top of a website.
WordPress comes with an easy navigation menu management system. It allows you to easily create menus by adding links and displaying them on locations defined by your theme.
For complete step by step instructions, see our beginner’s guide on how to add navigation menu in WordPress.
14. How do I use categories and tags in WordPress?
Categories and tags allow you to sort your content into topics. This makes it easier for you to organize content and for your users to find it.
Categories are for broader topics. You can think of them as different cabinets in a file room. They can also have sub-categories. For example, on a news website you can have categories for national news, international news, entertainment, and op-eds.
On the other hand, tags are used for more specific topics discussed in an article. Think of them as an index of words that describe an article.
For more detailed discussion on the topic, check out our guide on categories vs tags and SEO best practices for sorting your content.
15. How do I add a contact form in WordPress?
A contact form allows visitors to contact you directly from your website by filling out a simple form.
By default, WordPress does not come with a built-in contact form but there are many contact form plugins which allow you to easily create and add forms to your website.
For detailed step by step instructions see our guide on how to create a contact form in WordPress.
16. How do I start an online store with WordPress?
WordPress powers millions of ecommerce websites and online stores all over the world. Using one of the ecommerce plugins for WordPress, you can easily add an online store to your WordPress site and sell both digital and physical goods.
We have created a step by step tutorial on how to start an online store to help you get started.
17. How do I improve SEO in WordPress?
SEO or search engine optimization is a set of best practices that allow you to get more traffic to your website from search engines.
WordPress is quite SEO friendly out of the box, but there is so much more that you can do to make your website even more search engine friendly.
We have created an ultimate step by step WordPress SEO guide for beginners to improve your SEO like a pro.
18. How to deal with comment spam in WordPress?
Comment spam is one of the annoying things that you will come across as your website grows. However, there are tools and tips that you can use to effectively reduce comment spam on your website.
First, you will need to install and activate the Akismet plugin. Akismet monitors your WordPress comments for spam and automatically blocks spam comments. See our Akismet 101 guide to learn more about Akismet and why you should start using it right away.
Next, you need to enable comment moderation on your WordPress site. This will ensure that all comments are manually approved before they appear live on your posts.
Head over to Settings » Discussion and scroll down to ‘Before a comment appears’ section. Check the box next to ‘Comment must be manually approved’ option.
Don’t forget to click on the ‘Save Changes’ button to store your settings.
Now whenever someone submits a comment to your WordPress site, it will go in the moderation queue. You can then go to the comments section to review and approve comments. See our guide on how to moderate comments in WordPress.
For more ways to handle comment spam check out our list of tips and tools to combat comment spam in WordPress.
19. How do I add email subscription to my WordPress blog?
Most users who find your website from search engines will most likely never find your website again. Email subscriptions allow you to convert those users into subscribers.
This way your users will get the content delivered to their inbox. It helps you build a loyal audience that keeps coming back.
For complete step by step instructions, visit our guide on how to add email subscriptions to your WordPress blog.