How to build a WordPress website
WordPress is our favourite platform for delivering high-quality, engaging websites for our clients. It’s flexible, easy for our clients to use, and has a huge support network with plugins for any functionality that you require. In this guide, we’re going to show you how to build your own WordPress site, following our very own process and leveraging the tools that we use.
Step 1 – Setting up a domain and hosting
The first thing you’ll need to do is buy a domain – this will be the name of your website. In our case, as you can see, it’s jdbm.co.uk. The easiest way to do this is buy a combined domain and hosting package. Some people recommend using separate vendors for your domain and hosting, however this will complicate the process and we want to keep things as straightforward as possible for you. You’ll often get your first domain for free too, if you take a hosting package with the same company.
With regards to hosting, choose a package which reflects your needs. If you are planning on running lots of websites and expect lots of traffic, you’ll be best to choose an unlimited plan, so you’ll never need to worry about running out of server space or going over your bandwith.
We HIGHLY recommend Vidahost – they are UK based and have a fantastic support team.
As a bonus, you can get a 10% discount on us by using the code JDBM10.
Step 2 – Setting up a professional email address
The great thing about owning our own domain and setting up hosting is then having the ability to set up your very own professional email address (or multiple email addresses). Your web hosting provider should provide instructions on how to do this within your welcome pack. If not, it’s quite simple – log into your Cpanel, find “Email Accounts”, and set up the accounts that you need. Depending on your hosting plan, you’ll be able to create one or as many email accounts as you need. For example having a general “info@” email account, as well as more personalised “firstname@” email accounts.
You’ll then need to configure your email client to send and receive on behalf of your email accounts – whether that’s using Gmail, Outlook or another email client is entirely up to you. We love Gmail and tend to stick with that. Again, your hosting provider will provide instructions on how to do this as it’s quite technical and differs for each hosting provider.
Step 3 – Installing WordPress
Before you can start designing your website, you need to install the WordPress on your server. As mentioned earlier, we love Vidahost for hosting – you can do a simple “one click install” of WordPress, making it very straightforward. Simply log into Cpanel and find the section called “Softalicious” and then click on the WordPress icon to begin the installation. Make sure you note down the username and password for logging into the admin area of your new WordPress website and ALWAYS change the default password once you’re logged in.
Step 4 – Configuring WordPress Plugins
Before getting into the actual designing of your website, we recommend you install some WordPress plugins to extend your website’s functionality. We have a selection of core plugins that we use for every WordPress install that we do, helping your website’s SEO, security, spam protection, speed and other things. You can read more about these plugins in depth here.
Step 5 – Installing a WordPress theme
In addition to the many thousands of WordPress plugins, there are also many thousands of beautiful WordPress themes to help make your website stand out and look professional. While plenty of free themes exist, and some work well, your options will be limited. We recommend one fantastic premium WordPress theme which will give you lots of flexibility in design, is straightforward to use and is mobile-responsive straight out of the box. You can download The7 WordPress Theme here, it’s a small investment which you won’t regret!
Step 6 – Creating pages
One you’ve installed your theme and configured the basic settings, you can then build the pages which your content will sit on. We recommend building a home page, about page, service pages, blog feed page and a contact page. Try to write as much copy as possible and make use of header tags and images – this will help your SEO efforts.
Step 7 – Widgets
Widgets allow you to add some additional functionality to your pages – these can be added to the side of your main content as well as your footer. For example, you can list your blog posts, highlight special offers, list contact information with social media links, show reviews, integrate a Twitter feed and much more.
Step 8 – Creating menus
User experience should be your top priority when designing your website. A good menu ensures that your content is easy to find and your users don’t waste time trying to find contact details for more information about your services, for instance. Add your main pages to the header of your website and if your website has lots of content, make use of sensible sub menus to keep things neat and tidy.
The steps outlined above give a basic overview of the steps you need to set up your own WordPress website. You can add as much or as little functionality as you like, but some extras that we recommend:
- Install Google Analytics and Google Search Console
- Integrate your business social media accounts – this is easily done using our suggested theme above
- List your business address and contact details
- Embed a Google Map of your business address
- Include image and video content to make it as engaging as possible
- Have clear calls to action at the end of each page e.g. contact us, sign up for our newsletter, learn more etc
As always, we hope you found this useful and can use these steps to help grow your business. Please show your appreciation by sharing this article on your social media accounts and with fellow small business owners. If you’d like to discuss any of the content or require any advice, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Also published on Medium.