How To Start A Website With WPEngine
This is a simple, step-by-step guide on How to start a website with WPEngine
Every business, big or small needs an online presence in today’s world. Think about the first thing you do when you see a product or service that catches your eye – you Google it. But building a website, even with our current technology, is not that simple, is it? Yes, it actually is. With the WPEngine website builder, starting a website is child’s play. In fact, you will be amazed by how easy it is to start a website with WPEngine, you will be amazed.
So if you are ready to:
- Build your own promotional website;
- Start a blog WPEngine
- Start an online store with WPEngine
- Promote your business online with WPengine
Then this is the perfect step-by-step guide to help you claim your place among the digital market today.
This guide will help you:
- Set the right goals for your new website;
- Market your brand like a professional;
- Build an amazing website with WPEngine;
- Find the right template for your brand;
- Publish and manage your new WPEngine website;
- Bring traffic and promote your business online;
- Find great third-party tools and plugins;
- Learn how to Make Money online with your WPEngine website;
- Find answers to FAQs about the WPEngine website builder.
A Complete Guide to WPEngine Website Builder
WPEngine, at its core, is based on the professional WPEngine website builder and a WordPress Managed Hosting solution. As one of the oldest and best Managed Hosting solutions with a professional website builder, WP Engine has a strong presence in more than 140 counties around the world as over a hundred thousand websites use it every day. Also, the WPEngine, a.k.a the WordPress Digital Experience Platform comes with more than 30 open-source tools catering to a business’s every need.
There are many benefits of the WPEngine website builder we will discuss today in this step-by-step guide. However, some of the best-regarded features are their security and scalability. WPEngine uses cloud-based services for esteemed providers like Google Cloud, Amazon Web Solutions, CloudFlare, and Relic to ensure that your website is safe at all times, no matter what. Aside from that, WPEngine also comes with:
- Easy to use WordPress visual content editor;
- A beautiful and professional Genesis Framework
- More than 35 themes from StudioPress;
- Comes with Development, Staging, and Production environments;
- Perfect for Blogging and eCommerce;
- Fast migration solutions;
- Enhanced security with automatic daily backups, daily monitoring, and free restorations
- 24/7 live and one-on-one customer support.
With a features list like that, it’s no wonder that hundreds of thousands of business people and entrepreneurs prefer WPEngine for their digital needs. From small blogs to massive eCommerce sites, WPEngine is ready for it. It is scalable, secure, and fast.
And if you are ready to take your seat at the big table and become one of the best in your industry, then this guide is for you.
Start building your WPEngine website.
Start a website with WPEngine in 9 quick steps
The only downside of this otherwise amazing tool is that WPEngine does not come with a free plan or a trial version. Instead, WPEngine offers a 60-days money-back guarantee, if you are unhappy with their services. However, considering that WPEngine has almost 100% uptime, they provide 24/7 support, and they are one of the most secure WordPress Managed Hosting solutions on the market, having only paid plans is understandable. That said, our first step is choosing a plan.
1. Choose a WPEngine premium plan
Like all other website builders, WPEngine comes with several different plans, catering to different needs for a website. But, if you’re just starting out, then the most you will need is the starter plan. This option gives you hosting for one website, a free SSL, the possibility to connect your domain, and more.
Moreover, this plan will also provide three environments for your future website – Development, Staging, and Production. Having these three environments ensures that your development, testing, and public versions of your site are kept seThe development is where you build your site. No one aside from you and your contributors can see this.
The Staging environment is a kind of testing “limbo”. Your contributors can continue to make changes in the development environment without affecting this version of the site. At the same time, your users can’t yet see these changes. This gives you the opportunity and time to test your changes before publishing them so your users can see. And finally, the production environment is what your users see and interact with.
2. Get a domain for your WPEngine site
Unlike many hosting solutions or website builders, WPEngine does not provide domains. This means that users have to find a domain provider like GoDaddy, then point them to WPEngine. Another option is finding vendors selling expired domains, and purchase the one you want from there.
The reason why an expired domain is sometimes a better choice is mostly usage, or “history”. That domain has domain authority, some backlinks, and overall some sort of rank on Google. Compared with a new domain, which is a blank canvas, this gives you a bit of a head start.
Once you purchased your domain, you have to “point” it to WPEngine. Now, this part is a bit techy but don’t worry. WPEngine has a comprehensive article with guidelines on each step, making it easy for even the least tech-savvy of its users.
3. Add an SSL certificate to your WPEngine website
Now that your domain is connected with your WPEngine hosting, you need to make your site secure with an SSL. This certificate is a must-have for all websites, which is why search engines like Google make is a mandatory requirement for your ranking. In simple terms, the SSL certificate is an encryption tool for data traveling between two points on the web – the user and the server.
There is a free SSL certificate that comes with your WPEngine subscription and you connect it from your WPEngine dashboard. Simply go to SSL, and then click on Add Certificate. Here you will notice that the free SSL is provided by Let’s Encrypt, so click on Get Free Certificate, check the box with your domain name and then Request SSL Certificate. This will automatically add it to your domain, but it will take a few minutes, so you will get an email when it’s ready.
4. Add environments to your WPEngine website
When you first create your WPEngine account, your new site goes automatically into the Production environment. This is because of how WordPress works in general and you will have to create the staging and development environments yourself. Then simply copy the site in the development environment.
To do so, from your WPEngine overview page, click on Add Development and Add Staging a copy of your Production version. It is recommended you create all environments, and start setting up your site in the development environment. Then move it to Staging – or the testing – environment and only after your site was properly tested, you move it in Production.
5. Design your WPEngine website
Here comes the fun part, designing your website with WPEngine website builder, which uses for the most part the traditional WordPress builder. So from Overview, go to WordPress Admin and reset the password to your account from the automated generated one you received when creating the account, to one of your choosing. Make sure it’s a secure one so use capital letters, numbers, and symbols as well as normal text. Once that is out of the way, let’s begin.
5.1. Pick a theme
Once you login you are redirected to the WordPress admin panel. From this dashboard, you will control every aspect of your site, starting with the aesthetics. So let’s pick a theme and this step is quite important for several reasons.
- First, the theme is the user interface of your site, including colors, text, buttons, icons, and so on. All of these elements affect how your users perceive your business, and if the UI doesn’t fit your brand, it can be very damaging.
- The second reason is responsiveness. Not all WordPress themes are optimized for mobile devices. So you will want to make sure the one you choose for your site is mobile-ready.
To add or change a theme, go to Appearance in your admin dashboard – on the left-hand menu – and click on themes. As a WordPress-based technology, the WPEngine website builder comes with a pre-activated theme and a full library of available replacements.
So, you can either keep the current theme, activate another one from the list, or add a new one form WordPress’s Theme Repository. To activate a new theme, simply hover your mouse over the theme and click on Activate. If you want to add a new theme, click on Add New at the top, find the theme you like, and install it into your WordPress theme library. The theme will now show in your list, and you can click Activate to replace the current theme.
5.2. Optimize your theme with the Genesis Framework
The WPEngine website builder also comes with the Genesis Framework. This framework is meant to make your life easier, in the sense that it provides some much-needed content for your websites. Most importantly, it installs recommended plugins for your theme. To do so, go to Genesis Framework on the left. You will see a screen saying “Get started with x theme”, depending on which theme you activated previously.
If you selected your main theme the Genesis Sample, then you will have to install one of the available packs, first. But whether you choose that specific theme or a different one, the Genesis framework gives you two options, set up your website, or go to theme settings. Click on setup your website and allow Genesis to install the recommended plugins, demo content, and the rest of the elements on the list. Once the process is done, you can either click on View your website or start editing your home page.
5.3. Edit your Sitemap
Each theme comes with its own menu, based on what goals the theme serves. For example, if your theme was intended as a portfolio, your new sitemap would have a homepage, a portfolio page, an About page, and maybe a contact page.
Regardless of what the sitemap includes, you can control this by adding a new page or removing them. And in WordPress, there are two ways you can do that. First, you can do that from the Admin dashboard, by going to Pages and then add new. You can also do that while viewing your website from the WordPress quick edit bar at the top of the page.
5.4. Customize the Theme
There are two ways to access the customization panel. One is to go to Themes in your admin dashboard, find your active theme, and press Customize. The second option is to go to your site directly by clicking on the Home button at the top of the screen then Visit Site. This will take you to your homepage, from where you can click on Customize at the top.
Both actions will open the Customization Menu, from where you define your site’s identity. This includes your font family, colors, site logo, and so on. Once you are happy with your changes, press Publish.
Nevertheless, you should learn your website like the back of your hand. So play around, see what everything does, and don’t worry about making mistakes. There is always the Undo button, and for bigger mistakes, WordPress saves previous versions of your website to which you can roll back whenever you need it.
5.5. Install plugins
WordPress is one of the world’s most popular CMS, with thousands of contributors and companies creating functionality and themes for it. As a result, WordPress currently has an impressive library of over 57.000 plugins, at your disposal.
To add a new plugin to your WPEngine WordPress website, go to Plugins in your WordPress dashboard. Here you will see a list of plugins that are or have been at some point activated on your and the option to add a new one. So, click on add new, and simply install the new plugins you want.
Note that WordPress is maintained by an open-source community, which means that not all plugins are working properly or are secure.
When installing a WordPress plugin, make sure the provider of the plugin is a trusted source. If the plugins are paid for, follow each plugin’s installation and activation rules, or contact the support team for help.
5.6. Add a blog post
Adding blog posts in WordPress is probably the simplest task you will have on your new WPEngine site. So, to add a new post, go to Posts in your Admin Dashboard. If you click on that tab, you see a list of all of you published posts. From there, you have the option of adding a new one or editing the existing posts.
Once you clicked on Add New, WordPress will create a blank draft for you. From there, you can set the title of the article, add media and cover image, select categories, and set your general SEO rules – keywords, tags, etc.
6. Add eCommerce to your WPEngine website
For WordPress, the official eCommerce solution is WooCommerce, an add-on created and maintained by WordPress. It is highly recommended you go with this specific technology, and not a different one, as WooCommerce is the safest, and most compatible option on the market.
Installing WooCommerce on your WordPress website is the same as with any other plugin. Simply go to Plugins, search for WooCommerce in the search bar and press Install Now. Once the plugin is installed, you will have to press Activate. This will trigger the WooCommerce Setup Wizard that will help you with the overall setup. If you need extra help, WooCommerce comes with full documentation that will guide you with each step.
7. Add Forms on your WPEngine website
Forms help with everything from newsletters, to campaigns, to contacts, and so on. Simply put, forms are the main way for your site to collect crucial user data, without forcing the user to create an account. This is why it is highly beneficial to use a trusted forms plugin. Similarly, with eCommerce, forms on WordPress also come from different plugins. And while there are hundreds of options available, some are better than others. Two of the most recommended options are Contact Forms 7 and Gravity Forms.
Any of them are installed like any other plugin and come with full documentation. However, Contact Forms 7 is free, while Gravity Forms is not. Nevertheless, they are both highly customizable and very easy to set up and manage.
8. Move your WPEngine site to Staging
Now that your WPEngine website is all set and ready to go, it’s time to test it. This means moving it from the development environment to Staging. Luckily, with WPEngine, moving your new site from one environment to another is a simple one-click action.
So go into your WPEngine user panel, and into the Staging environment. It is important that you make a backup before anything else so your changes are safe. Now, from the top right corner, click on Copy From, and then click on Development. Confirm your action, and select the backup site from the list.
Include your database into your WPEngine site
At this point, you will be asked if you want to include your database into your copy. Since your site is brand new, your database should be included in the copy. Once the copy was successful, you will receive a confirmation email that will let you know when you should check. Now, your staging site should look and act exactly as your development site.
If you want to continue your development and improvements, you can safely do so in the development environment, without affecting the staging version.
9. Publish your WPEngine website
To move your WPEngine to production you have to follow the same steps as above. Go into Staging, copy your site, and remember to make a backup point. Then move the copy into production and there you have it! Your site is now up and running.
Don’t forget that the production database is the one collecting all of your data. This includes articles you publish and content you add to your live website, as well as user data. Replacing your production database with any of the development or staging databases will erase this data. So it is very important that whenever you make changes in the future, you do not copy the database from the development or staging environments.
That said, enjoy your brand new website. You are ready to rock the world.