Thinking about building a website from scratch on WordPress? Read on to learn about critical steps you need to take to boost your website’s success.
There are nearly 2 billion websites online right now. That number grows every day, and the rate of its growth has gone up as since platforms like WordPress have made it easier than ever for people to get up and running online.
If you’re a business owner, WordPress is an excellent platform to lean on in order to achieve your online ambitions.
For the uninitiated, WordPress is a content management system built by Automattic. It creates conditions where people with no technology background can build and self-manage professional-grade websites.
While setting up a site with WordPress makes the web building process easier, there are still some hoops you’ll need to jump through to get your site off the ground.
Below our team outlines 13 critical steps you’ll need to take when building a website from scratch through WordPress.
1. Think About Your Needs
As we’ve said already, WordPress is a fantastic platform to build your website on. Still, using content management systems when building a website from scratch does come with drawbacks.
Consider what your needs are for your business and how desperately you’d need a heavily customized website in order to achieve those needs.
While most people will be satisfied with the customization WordPress offers, some are better off staying away from content management systems.
2. Pick a Domain Name
Once you’ve determined whether or not WordPress is right for you, the next step in your building a website from scratch journey will be to pick a domain name.
Domain names are the web addresses you see at the top of your browser window. An example of one would look something like this: “www.my-example-domain-name.com“.
To register a domain, head over to any domain registrar like NameCheap or GoDaddy.
Remember, different registrars will offer different prices on domains. Furthermore, some will lure you in with promotional pricing for your first year but will renew your domain the following year at well above market price.
To make sure that you can get the best long-term deal, be sure to look at a domain registrar’s pricing closely.
Once you’ve found a good registrar, use their tools to find a domain that’s available and purchase it.
3. Pick a Web Host
Web hosts are one of the most confusing concepts that non-techie people run into when building a website from scratch.
Put simply, web hosts provide the house your website lives in online.
When people type your domain name into their web browser, their browser directs them to your website’s house (which is provided by your host) and your host then shows people your site’s content.
There are a lot of web hosts out there and not all of them are created equal.
For starters, different web hosts show people your website at different speeds. That means with one web host your site might take 10 seconds to load while with another may take 1 second.
To make sure your website is getting what it needs, do your research on web host quality and also learn about the difference between shared, VPS, and dedicated hosting.
4. Set up SSL
SSL is a type of website encryption. That encryption protects your customer’s data and, when it’s present on your site, earns you the green padlock you see to the left of your browser’s address bar.
Many web hosts offer free SSL. We recommend finding one that does rather than paying a monthly fee for it when building your website from scratch.
Having your site “SSL Secured” could boost your Google rankings, so be sure to not forgo encryption.
5. Install WordPress onto Your Hosting Account
Once you’re set up with your web host, you’ll get a link to access your hosting account’s “cPanel”.
From cPanel, you can start to install WordPress to your website.
The good news is that most web hosts offer one-click WordPress setup. Just look for the icon that says WordPress in your cPanel or talk to your host’s customer service team to get started.
If your host doesn’t have one-click WordPress, you’ll need to set up a database through “My SQL Wizard”, download WordPress from the WordPress site, extract the downloaded files into your domain’s root, and walk through the installation process by typing your domain name into your address bar.
If you’re having trouble, your web host’s customer service team can help you with your manual setup.
6. Configure Your WordPress Site
Once your WordPress website is up and running on your domain, you’ll want to start getting your configuration in order.
To do that, head to your WordPress site’s back-end, and once you’re logged in, go to the “settings” tab in the left side-bar.
From there, be sure that your site’s name, tagline, URL, and everything else appear correctly. Ensuring that the information in your settings section is correct will help your site get indexed by search engines correctly.
7. Assess Access
Are you going to be the only person using your WordPress site? Do you have a team of people that need access? Do each of those people need different levels of privileges?
No matter what your access needs are, WordPress has you covered.
To set up user accounts, just go to the “Users” table and click “add new”. Then, select what level of access that user should have.
8. Set Up Security
IBM estimates that data breaches cost business 3.9 million dollars on average. If losing that kind of money sound like something you’d rather avoid, you’re going to want to make sure your WordPress security is in good shape before proceeding any further.
The simplest way to tackle security with WordPress is to tightly control user access and privileges. Also, you’ll want to leverage a good security plugin (more on plugins in a moment).
Our security recommendation when building a website from scratch on WordPress is to download WordFence.
9. Find a Backup Solution
One web host issue. One cyber attack. One accidental deletion of a file.
Each of those small things could render all of the work you’ve done on your website null and void.
To avoid that reality, get a good backup plugin installed on your WordPress site immediately. Then, run a backup and download that backup to your computer for safe keeping.
A good WordPress Backup plugin is BackupBuddy.
10. Pick a WordPress Theme
With your website now technically sound, it’s time to start making it look good! There’s no better way to do that than by installing an awesome theme.
Themes are what make the WordPress world go around. With a good theme, at the click of a button, you can have a website that formally only fortune 500 companies were able to commission.
Shop around online and find the best, most well-reviewed theme for your business needs.
Once you buy it, upload and install it on your WordPress site.
A word of caution… Beware of free themes. Many have malware baked into them that can cause massive security issues.
Only get themes from reputable publishers.
11. Start Publishing Content
This step is self-explanatory. With your website working and looking its best, it’s time to start publishing content.
Make sure there are no sections on your website users can access that are empty. If there are, unpublished them or fill them in.
The more content you publish, the more likely you’ll be to start generating traffic.
12. Install More Plugins
As you start to publish content to your site, you’ll start to see where your site needs some additional functionality.
Maybe you have an area where you need to collect email addresses. Maybe there’s an area where you’d like people to be able to contact you.
Whatever your site’s needs are, WordPress plugins can give you the expanded functionality you’re looking for.
Just be sure to only install plugins you really need as having too many can slow down your site.
13. Start Marketing
Like we said when we opened this WordPress user guide, there are almost 2 billion websites out there. In order to start out, you’re going to have to market yourself.
If you’re a strictly online business, start learning about SEO. If you’re a local-based business, check out guides like The Ultimate Guide To Local SEO by The HOTH or engage a local marketing agency.
Whatever you do, make sure that you invest time and money in marketing your site. We promise that your investment will pay for itself many times over!
Wrapping up Critical Steps When Building a Website from Scratch on WordPress
If you’re building a website from scratch on WordPress, we recommend that you follow our steps above to get the most out of your site and to avoid problems.
Building a website from scratch, even with the help of WordPress, can be a daunting task. By using our steps above, you’ll be able to breeze through the process!
For more of the best web development and marketing info you can find online, check out additional content on SEOTechyWorld today!