Introduction to WordPress for coaches & course creators

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When I started my YouTube channel, I asked my e-mail subscribers what videos they wanted me to make.

Shelley said:

I’m scared to change my website from Weebly to WordPress. I’ve heard that a DIY website like Weebly is already “hosted” but I don’t understand what that means.

So in this post, I’m giving an in-depth introduction to WordPress and explaining everything you need to know about WordPress, whether you’re starting your site from scratch or are planning to move from another site-building tool.

What is WordPress?

WordPress is a free and open-source content management system. This means it’s free software to manage the content of your site, so your pages and blog posts.

Being open-source means any developer can contribute to it, so it’s not dependent on just one company to keep it going.

So, if WordPress is free, why do you pay for your website? First of all, you need hosting.

What is hosting?

The files that make up your website need a physical location to be stored, like your files on your hard drive. Web hosting companies provide the space you need, and they connect your files to your domain name so that when someone visits your domain name, they get to see your site. 

If you come from another site-building tool, like Squarespace, Weebly or Wix, you’ve paid one fee for the tool and that’s it. Their hosting is included. 

WordPress actually does have a similar option to the other platforms at, where you pay one fee and that’s it. But, like the other platforms, it limits you in what you can do. 

Which is where comes in. This is the version that allows you full control over what themes and plugins you use, which I’ll explain in just a bit what those are, but for now, you just need to know for the full flexibility of WordPress, you need to use the version.

With, you need to get your own hosting. 

What is shared hosting?

You might be attracted to cheap hosting, but please make sure to use a quality hosting company. 

Hosting companies assign just a small part of their server to your site. It’s more than enough for sites just starting out, and keeps costs low.

This is shared hosting, where your site shares the physical space with other sites. This is not a bad thing, but some hosts put so many sites on one physical location, that it can affect how fast your site loads.

For great hosting, I recommend SiteGround and WP Engine.

What is a domain name?

If you’re moving from another site-building tool, you already have a domain name. But if you’re starting from scratch, you’re going to need to get one. A domain name is the website address, such as A lot of hosting companies offer a free domain with their hosting packages and a quick and easy install of WordPress. 

Once you have the hosting, domain name, and WordPress set up, you’ll want to customize your site with a theme.

What is a theme?

Themes customize the look of your WordPress site. It might be attractive to get a theme with lots of options for you to customize, but I recommend using a simple theme, one that loads quickly and doesn’t overwhelm you. You can then customize your site using a page builder plugin like Elementor.

What is a plugin?

If WordPress doesn’t offer some sort of functionality you need, you can be sure there’s a plugin for it. Plugins add functionality to WordPress, and with so many WordPress plugins available, there’s bound to be one that’s exactly what you need. What should you pay attention to when choosing and installing new WordPress plugins?

Free & Premium WordPress Plugins: What to look for when choosing a plugin

WordPress is set up to make it easy for developers to create plugins. This is great, because it has led to the availability of plugins for pretty much anything you can imagine. But at the same time, there’s lots of badly coded plugins out there. They usually are made by inexperienced developers just starting their first plugin and/or are plugins that just haven’t been updated in a long, long time.

If you’re looking for plugins and don’t know which one you should use, pay attention to:

  • Compatibility with the latest WordPress version
  • Last updated date
  • Amount of downloads
  • Rating

Also check if the plugin is actively supported by the developer.

There are tons of free plugins out there, and if you pay attention to these things, you’re safe to use them. Sometimes though, the free plugins just don’t cut it for the functionality you need. You can find a premium plugin, which costs money. It’s still important to watch for compatibility, updates, and reviews for these, but if they’re from well-known plugin developers or sites, you can be sure these plugins will be actively supported and regularly updated.

How to install & activate plugins from the WordPress Plugin Directory

In your WordPress dashboard, go to Plugins > Add New.

In the search bar on that page, type the name of the plugin you want. A whole list of similar plugins comes up, but it should be the first one if you use the name of a specific plugin.

If you don’t have the name of a specific plugin, just search for the general functionality you want like ‘gallery’ or ‘pin it button’. Then go through the results to see which one seems best for what you want (again, pay attention to compatibility, updates, number of downloads, and rating).

There are links underneath the plugin’s name: Details and Install Now. If you click Install Now, the plugin will be installed (a browser alert may come up asking you if you really want to install the plugin, click Yes). There’ll be a new page with the installation of the plugin. Once it’s installed (it says Successfully installed the plugin [pluginname] ), there’ll be links underneath that say Activate Plugin and Return to Plugin Installer. When you click Activate Plugin, the plugin will be activated, and you will see the page with Installed Plugins.

How to install & activate premium WordPress Plugins

For Premium plugins, you’ll have a .zip file that you need to upload to install it. In your WordPress dashboard, go to Plugins > Add new. Then right underneath the Plugins title (there are several links: Search, Upload, etc.) go to the Upload page, select the .zip file of the plugin you downloaded, and click Install Now. When it’s installed, a new page shows up and says Plugin installed successfully. There’ll be links underneath that say Activate Plugin and Return to Plugin Installer. When you click Activate Plugin, the plugin is activated, and you will see the page with Installed Plugins.

Must-have plugins for coaches & course creators

I’ve already mentioned page builder plugins, which help you easily create and edit beautiful pages. But plugins can do a lot of different things. With nearly 60,000 plugins in the WordPress plugin directory (not to mention the many premium plugins out there), things can get confusing fast. Which plugins are the best for SEO, contact forms, security, and performance? These are the plugins I recommend and use in every web design project.

Page Builder: Elementor PRO (premium)

Elementor makes it easy for you to edit your site and design your pages the way you want. There’s a free version, but you get a lot more options with Elementor PRO. Read or watch my explanation of Elementor basics here. You can use Elementor not just for website pages like your homepage and about page, but also to create beautiful sales pages for your coaching programs, courses, and other digital products.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization): Rank Math (free)

Improving SEO will help you to get more pageviews each month through Google (and other search engines). Rank Math helps you optimize your site and blog for search engines.

The very basics of SEO is just using your keywords multiple times throughout the post. For example, let’s say your keyword (or keyphrase) is “feeling more confident”:

  1. Put those words in the title of the post, e.g. “10 Steps To Feeling More Confident”
  2. Create a pinnable image for your blog post and save it as feeling-more-confident.jpg
  3. Include the words “feeling more confident” in the alt text and description of the image.
  4. Include your keyword or keyphrase multiple times in the body of the post.

Rank Math gives your post a score based on the keyword you put in – where and how many times that keyword is used in your post. It scores your post from 0 to 100 and gives you clear action steps to improve your score.

But you will need to do keyword research first to find keywords you can rank for. You can optimize a post to get a very high score in Rank Math, but if your keyword is something like “health” it’s unlikely to end up very high in Google for that specific keyword. It may rank for other, long-tail keywords instead, but you’d be better off optimizing for those long-tail keywords in the first place.

Google changes its algorithms every once in a while to prevent people and companies from using unwanted techniques that could otherwise help them get higher ranked in the search results. No matter the changes, it still always comes down to creating content that’s valuable to the reader. Write for people, not search engines.

Contact Forms: Forminator (free)

Though there are many different plugins to create forms in WordPress, Forminator is my absolute favorite. It makes it super easy to create & customize multiple forms in WordPress and the responses are sent to you via email, while a copy also remains on your site. It shows you how well your forms convert (what percentage of people that visited the page with the form actually sent the form), and allows for conditional logic, which means you could show certain form fields only when other form fields have a certain input (for example, if someone answers ‘Yes’ on a certain question, show field A, if ‘No’, don’t show field A (or perhaps show field B instead).
It’s user-friendly and allows for super powerful forms, and best of all, it’s free!

Site Speed: WP Fastest Cache (free)

Most people will only wait up to 3 seconds for your site to load. Using caching and compression can boost your site’s “performance” or loading speed. WP Fastest Cache does all the hard work for you.

Migrating your site to WordPress

If you come from another site-building tool, you already have a site with content that you’ll want to move over. WordPress has an importer tool that allows you to move over your content pretty quickly.


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