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How to build a WordPress website: Complete step-by-step guide

Reading Time: 13 minutes

WordPress is a versatile platform that caters to a wide range of websites, including ecommerce stores and small businesses. So it’s not a big surprise to learn that WordPress powers 43.2% of all websites on the internet — making it one of the world’s most popular self-hosted content management systems.

Chances are, it’s a suitable choice for your website too. And the best part is, WordPress is user-friendly and accessible to people of all skill levels.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through how to build a WordPress website for your business.

Planning your WordPress website

We’ll discuss the technical aspects of how to build a website with WordPress shortly. But first, let’s briefly discuss the most important step: strategic planning. 

To build a website with WordPress, you must identify your website’s intended purpose, structure, and target audience.

Determining the purpose of your website

Every website exists for a reason. Here are some questions to ask yourself to define your site’s purpose:

  • Target audience: Who is your target audience? Determine who you’re targeting, then tailor your content and design to resonate with them.
  • Visitors’ action: What action do you want visitors to take? Do you want them to contact you, subscribe to your newsletter, or make a purchase?
  • Unique selling proposition: What makes your website unique? Identify what sets you apart from competitors in your niche.

Planning website structure and content

Once you know your website’s purpose, it’s time to plan how you’ll deliver your message. 

The following tips can guide you on how to make a WordPress website structure:

  • Start with essential pages like “Home,” “About Us,” and “Contact.” See other essential pages you might need for your business website below.
How to build a WordPress website: Website structure and content example
Image via Red Website Design
  • Organize your pages in a logical flow. All the pages should be easily accessible from the homepage.
  • Brainstorm the type of content you’ll create for each page. It can be text, images, or videos.

How to build a WordPress website from scratch

The steps involved in how to make a website with WordPress may seem overwhelming. However, WordPress’s functionalities are easy to understand and navigate.

Learning how to build a WordPress website for a small business is made a lot easier thanks to the platform’s vast collection of built-in themes and plugins.     

Here’s a quick roadmap on how to build a WordPress website from scratch:

1. Choose a domain and hosting provider

2. Install WordPress

3. Select a theme

4. Customize your theme

5. Add plugins

6. Create essential pages

7. Set up a blog (optional)

8. Add ecommerce functionality (if required)

9. Optimize for SEO

10. Ensure website security

11. Launch your website

12. Maintain and update your website

In the following sections, we’ll explore each step in detail and provide clear instructions on how to use WordPress to build a website.

Setting up WordPress

Before you learn how to build a WordPress website, you have to complete the initial setup process. Let’s explore how to set up WordPress to build a website for your business.  

Choose a domain and hosting provider 

Your domain name is your website’s identity on the internet. Consider a name that reflects your brand, is easy to remember, and is relevant to your niche. 

Once you’ve decided on a domain name, register it through a domain registrar. This involves searching for availability and purchasing your desired domain.

Install WordPress

After successfully setting up your domain and hosting, the next step is to install WordPress. Many hosting companies provide simple, one-click installations in your control panel or dashboard. 

Follow the provider’s instructions to install WordPress on your domain. After installation, access the WordPress dashboard to customize your website.

Custom WordPress website development 

Businesses that require unique features that are not available in built-in WordPress templates often encounter certain limitations. However, you can bypass these limitations by customizing the WordPress website. 

Unlike pre-designed themes, a custom WordPress site is created from scratch to meet specific needs.

Here’s an example of a custom website created to fit the company’s corporate identity:

How to build a WordPress website: WordPress website development by Houston Zoo
Image via Houston Zoo 

Website customization can include distinct designs, functionality, user experience aspects, and more. 

This level of customization can require advanced skills, so it may be worth working with a reputable WordPress development company

These specialists can craft custom themes and also provide bespoke plugins to meet your website’s specific needs.

Designing your website

To design your website, you’ll go through the process of selecting a suitable theme and customizing it to suit your brand’s needs. 

Select a theme

WordPress gives you access to a vast library of free and premium themes that cater to diverse needs and aesthetics. When choosing a theme, keep the following factors in mind:

  • Design: Does the overall aesthetic of the theme resonate with your brand and target audience?
  • Functionality: Does the theme offer the features you need, such as contact forms or ecommerce functions?
  • Responsiveness: Is the theme mobile-friendly and adaptable to different screen sizes?

Select  ‘Appearance’ on your WordPress menu to select a theme to add to your website. 

How to build a WordPress website: WordPress design examples
Image via WordPress

Alternatively, you can manually upload a theme file in a zip file:

How to build a WordPress website: WordPress themes
Image via WPBeginner 

Customize your theme

You can customize your theme to make your website represent your brand’s identity. Here are the key ways you can tailor your theme to suit your brand’s needs:

  • Design your layout: Many themes offer built-in options to adjust the layout. For instance, you can rearrange sections or modify the number of sidebars. Explore these options to find a layout that best suits your content and user flow.
  • Choose your color scheme: Select a color scheme that aligns with your brand identity and complements your content — but don’t forget visitors still need to be able to easily read your content.
  • Add a logo: Ensure your logo integrates into your theme’s design, is clearly visible, and maintains consistent sizing across different devices. 

Add plugins

If you want to know how to build a WordPress website, you need to get familiar with plugins. They can help you with everything from page loading speed and user experience to turning your site into an ecommerce store.

WordPress allows you to easily install plugins directly from your dashboard. In the left-hand navigation menu, hover over ‘Plugins’ and click ‘Add New.’ You’ll also see a search bar where you can enter keywords to find specific plugins:

WordPress plugins
Image via WordPress

Once you click on your chosen plugin, click the ‘Install and activate’ button on the next screen to install it.

WordPress plugin MailPoet
Image via WordPress

You can also manually upload plugins. Download the desired plugin as a zip file from a third-party source or the WordPress directory, then simply click the ‘Upload’ button on your dashboard.

WordPress plugins
Image via WordPress

You can drag the zip file into the file upload field on the following screen.

How to build a WordPress website: WordPress plugins
Image via WordPress

Here are some categories of the best WordPress plugins to consider for your website:

  • SEO: These plugins help you optimize your website for search engines like Google. They can improve your ranking in search results and drive organic traffic. 
  • Marketing: Marketing plugins provide tools for building email lists and capturing leads.
  • Security: These plugins are crucial for protecting your website from malware, spam, and hacking attempts. 
  • Caching: Plugins under this category can improve website performance by storing frequently accessed data. This can lead to faster loading times for your visitors. 

How to make a WordPress ecommerce website

Building a strong online presence is crucial for any ecommerce business. A WordPress website offers a robust and versatile platform to achieve this. 

When learning how to make a WordPress ecommerce website, there are some key aspects to pay close attention to. These include:

  • Choosing the right ecommerce plugin: The right ecommerce plugin turns your website into a powerful store.

    Omnisend, a popular email marketing plugin, provides a variety of distinct functions, and allows you to create targeted email campaigns for your ecommerce business. 

    You can get inspiration for ecommerce plugin selections from successful WooCommerce online stores

    However, it’s important to consider your specific needs and desired features before diving in. This will guide you toward the plugin that best suits your WordPress ecommerce website.
WordPress ecommerce website - Omnisend
Image via Omnisend
  • Ensuring website security: Protecting your ecommerce store is important. 

    To accomplish this, you must implement stringent security measures. This includes implementing an SSL certificate, which encrypts sensitive information during checkout.

    You also need to update your WordPress core and plugins to patch any security vulnerabilities.
  • Optimizing for user experience: An efficient website hinges on a user-friendly interface.

    This means prioritizing an easy-to-navigate layout that allows customers to navigate with ease. Use clear menus, category structures, and prominent search bars for a smooth user experience.

    Customers appreciate websites that are easy to navigate. However, a simple layout is insufficient: you also need to provide detailed and informative product descriptions and include high-quality images to empower customers to make informed purchasing decisions.

    Speed is another crucial component for user experience. Ensure your website loads quickly to offer a seamless and pleasant browsing experience.

After launching your website, you’ll need effective marketing strategies to reach your target audience. 

You can utilize WordPress email marketing plugins like Omnisend to create marketing campaigns to engage customers.

The Omnisend plugin integrates with WordPress, making it quick and easy to set up.

Ready to unlock the potential of email marketing for your WordPress site?

Adding content to your website

One way to master how to build a WordPress website is by creating high-quality and engaging content to attract visitors and convert them into paying customers. 

Investing your effort in creating quality content lays the foundation for a thriving online presence. Let’s explore what adding content to your website involves.

Create essential pages

WordPress allows for unlimited pages, and some are fundamental to every website. These include your Home, About, and Contact pages, which visitors will expect to see.

Businesses can add more pages like ‘Products’ or ‘Services’ to showcase their offerings in detail.

You can build and edit these pages on the WordPress editor.

To add a new page, navigate to the ‘Pages’ section on your dashboard’s left side:

WordPress dashboard
Image via InMotion Hosting

Adding a new page will prompt a blank page editor to launch as seen in the image below.

WordPress page editor
Image via WordPress

Once you create a page, you can use the content blocks to add paragraphs, headings, images, and more. Simply drag and drop them into the editor to structure your page.

WordPress page editor
Image via WordPress

You can bold, italicize, and personalize your text using the formatting options. You can also adjust the font size, color, and alignment to enhance readability and visual appeal.

Creating your website’s essential pages is just the beginning. You’ll then need to optimize them for search engines to attract organic traffic. 

Here are some basic SEO practices to keep in mind: 

  • Incorporate relevant keywords into your page titles, content, and meta descriptions.
  • Write compelling descriptions that summarize your page’s content. These can entice visitors to click on your website in search results.
  • Use descriptive filenames and alt text for your images. They make your content accessible to search engines.
  • Create links within your website that connect related pages.

Launch and maintain your WordPress website

After following the steps on how to build a website with WordPress, you have reached the crucial stage of launching it. There are a few final considerations to ensure a smooth launch.

  • Launch your website: First, test your website before putting it live. Ensure it looks and functions well across different devices, including tablets, smartphones, and computers, as well as across various browsers, such as Safari, Firefox, and Chrome. 

    Navigate to your WordPress dashboard once you’re satisfied with how your website functions. Go to ‘Settings’ and then ‘Reading.’ 

    There, look for the visibility status. In the image below, you’ll see it says, “Discourage search engines from indexing this site.” Change that setting to allow search engines to index your site and make it discoverable.
WordPress search engines
Image via MotoPress
  • Maintain and update your website: Once your website is live, regular maintenance is important. 

    This involves updating content and checking for broken links. It also includes optimizing images for faster loading times and monitoring site performance.

    Use plugins to identify and fix broken links and 404 errors. For example, Broken Link Checker, a WordPress plugin, can scan your website and report any dead links.

    Keeping your website updated is essential for its smooth operation and security. This includes updating the WordPress core program, themes, and plugins. These updates can help with bug fixes, new features, and security patches. All these help safeguard your site from vulnerabilities. 

    Routine backups are also crucial to prevent website data loss. Consider scheduled backups using plugins or your hosting provider’s backup service.
WordPress broken link checker
Image via WordPress
  • Ensure website security: Cyber threats are always evolving, so it’s important to take steps to safeguard your website’s data. 

    Ensure you use strong, unique passwords for your WordPress login, hosting account, and any other relevant credentials. 

    Security features like two-factor authentication can provide additional protection. This adds a step to the login process, requiring a single-use code from your phone or email besides your password.

    It’s also worth exploring security plugins. They can offer features like malware scanning, login attempt monitoring, and firewall protection, all of which can help detect and prevent security threats.

Cost considerations

Building and maintaining a WordPress website involves several costs, including domain name registration, hosting, themes, and plugins to improve your website’s functionality.

  • Domain name registration: A domain name is your website’s unique address on the internet. 

    It’s advisable to go for a domain name that matches your business name.

    Various domain name registrars like Google Domains or Namecheap offer top-level domains, including .com, .net, and .org, but be aware that prices can differ for different top-level domains.
Domain name registration by Namecheap
Image via Namecheap
  • Hosting: In addition to buying a domain name, hosting is another factor you need to consider when setting up your website.

    While building a site using WordPress.org is free, you still need web hosting to store your files.

    The cost of web hosting depends on the hosting service you use. Popular providers like Bluehost offer plans starting at $2.95/month. 
  • Themes: WordPress provides a vast collection of free themes for different design styles. However, paid themes offer greater customization options so you can tweak your website to your taste. 

    Platforms like Envato Market offer premium themes with advanced customization options for different website categories.

    The cost of getting a theme varies and can involve a one-time fee or annual renewals.
Image via Envato Market
  • Plugins: Depending on the website functionality you need, you might want to add certain plugins to your website.

    There are thousands of free plugins you can choose from the WordPress plugin directory.

    Premium plugins often provide advanced features and ongoing support, and their cost varies depending on the type of plugin. 
  • Developer fees: Hiring a web developer enables you to create a distinctive, highly personalized website.

    WordPress developers often charge on an hourly basis. These rates vary based on factors like experience level. On freelance platforms like Upwork, the typical hourly wage is between $15 and $28 per hour.

Case studies and examples

Businesses use WordPress for various goals, including building brand awareness and driving sales. Here are some WordPress website examples thriving in different niches.

1. TED

Image via TED

TED is a renowned platform for sharing ideas in the form of short, powerful talks. The WordPress-powered website is a hub for TED Talks, conferences, and educational content. 

What sets TED apart is the diverse range of topics it covers. This includes everything from science and technology to art and social issues.

Like other WordPress websites, TED has an intuitive design that makes it easy for visitors to discover the content. The content is well-organized and easy to find, with clear categories and tags. 

2. 277 Fifth Avenue

277 Fifth Avenu case study
Image via 277 Fifth Avenue

277 Fifth Avenue is a luxury residential skyscraper in Manhattan, New York City. Its WordPress website showcases the property’s elegant design, world-class amenities, and breathtaking views.

The site utilizes high-resolution imagery, virtual tours, and blocks of images to keep its content engaging.

The website also features an interactive map that allows visitors to explore the properties and the surrounding areas. 

3. Soothing Scents

Soothing Scents case study
Image via Soothing Scents

Soothing Scents is a wellness brand specializing in aromatherapy products. 

The website features informative product descriptions, user reviews, and educational content. 

Inspired by successful WordPress websites, here are some expert tips to guide you on how to make a WordPress ecommerce website: 

  • Ensure your website is easy to navigate and visually appealing to keep visitors engaged.
  • With a large and increasing number of users accessing websites via mobile devices, it’s important to optimize your site for all screen sizes.
  • Provide valuable and relevant content to attract and keep visitors, which will help conversions.
  • Implement SEO best practices to improve your website’s visibility and attract organic traffic.
  • Keep your website fresh and up-to-date with new content, products, or services to maintain audience interest and loyalty.

Conclusion

Building a WordPress website is an accessible process for individuals and businesses. 

Following the steps discussed in this article will guide you in creating a professional and functional WordPress site. 

Remember, a successful WordPress website requires a three-pronged approach: high-quality content, a user-friendly design, and ongoing optimization.

Each element plays a crucial role in attracting and retaining visitors.

Get started with Omnisend today & drive sales on autopilot with pre-built automation workflows

How to build a WordPress website FAQs 

1. Can a beginner build a website with WordPress?

Yes, a beginner can build a website with WordPress. The platform offers a wide range of pre-built designs and extensions, making creating any type of website easy.

2. Can I build a WordPress site for free?

Yes, you can build a WordPress site for free by using the WordPress.com platform. WordPress.com offers a free plan with limited features and customization options. However, this is a hosted blogging platform, so probably isn’t what you have in mind.

WordPress.org is the software that you can use to build your own website. The software itself is free, however, setting it up to become a fully functional website requires additional aspects that often come with a cost.

3. How much does it cost to build a WordPress website?

The costs for building a WordPress website can vary, depending on your needs. This includes how much you pay for web hosting, registering a domain name, choosing a theme, any plugins or customizations you want, and whether or not you hire experts in design, development, or security. 

4. Is WordPress enough to make a website?

WordPress is capable of building a functional website. It’s a powerful and versatile content management system (CMS) that powers websites worldwide, including blogs, business websites, ecommerce stores, portfolios, and more.

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Article by
Karolina Petraškienė

Karolina is a writer, content marketer, and email enthusiast at Omnisend. When she's not curating articles, you can find her in the woods challenging herself in hiking boots or off-roading her bike.


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