The Essentials to Build a WordPress Website From Scratch

Posted at 13/07/2020

A quarter of the websites you find on the Web is run on WordPress and this is, by no means, coincidence. For one, this versatile and user-friendly Content Management System (CMS) has scores of dedicated developers who bring better features and functionalities to it throughout the year. It has a loyal user base, too.

It doesn’t hurt that Google has showered WordPress with a lot of love! Why? Because the CMS takes the burden out of sharing fresh, regular content and you know how much Google absolutely loves new content!

Planning to build a site on WordPress? Good! Although not one part of the web building process in this CMS is particularly difficult, know that there will be a lot to take in. That’s why we’ve broken down the entire thing to its bare essentials.

WordPress Site Essentials

You’re probably thinking that it’s impossible for anyone without a background in web design and development to create a website. Thanks to WordPress, this is no longer the case. 

WordPress is a piece of software that’s so easy to use that virtually anyone can host and build professional-looking websites with it. It contains a template system and plugin architecture so you can customise a website to suit your personal, business, or organisational needs, too.

To get started with this seemingly intimidating task, you will need the following.

  • WordPress Plan

In the beginning, you’ll have to select a WordPress plan that works for you. If you go with WordPress.org, you have one plan option that’s free but it requires you to pay for your domain, hosting service provider, themes, plugins, and everything else your site needs from third-party websites.

Go with WordPress.com and you’ll be made to choose between 5 plans. Each plan differs in terms of monthly fees, access to marketing tools, and types of site customisation you can do. 

  • Domain Name

Once you’ve chosen a suitable WordPress plan, get ready with the domain name. Keep in mind that selecting a domain name and choosing a hosting provider happens around the same time in the website building process. This is why you need to understand the distinction between these two essential requisites.

Imagine your domain name as your home address. It’s basically how your site visitors can locate you on the vast world of the Internet. On the other hand, your hosting service provider in your house where your website virtually “lives”.  Your domain name, for the most part, will look like this: www.yourwebsite.com.

Not sure what domain name to go for? For starters, have your brand strategy in mind. Do you want to dedicate your domain name to a component of your business operation? Do you want it to introduce your brand as a whole to the general public? Whichever of these applies, it pays to keep it short and memorable.

  • Hosting Service

Choosing between shared hosting, VPS hosting, and managed WordPress hosting packages is no cakewalk. Picking the right one is crucial because it can have an impact on your website’s subsequent security, speed, and reliability.

Plus, there are hundreds of third-party hosting services to choose from, too. Many will even allow you to create custom domain names. Whichever service provider you select, make sure they meet WordPress’ 3 hosting requirements:

  • MySQL version 5.6 (or greater) OR MariaDB version 10.1 (or greater)
  • PHP version 7.3 (or greater)
  • HTTPS support
  • WordPress Installation

Once you’ve chosen a hosting provider, it’d be time to install the CMS to connect your brand-new domain name to your portal. This is often the case when you go with third-party hosting.

After installing WordPress, you have to answer a few questions related to the domain you intend to use, the directory where you want to put WordPress, and your administrator account information. When your WordPress website is installed on your hosting account, your hosting service will then send a confirmatory message via email. 

If you don’t want to shoulder this burden, your best bet is to pick managed WordPress hosting from the get-go. Since these services were built for WordPress specifically, WordPress will take care of the installation process for you.

  • Themes and Plugins

We’ve now come to the fun part.

In the beginning, WordPress automatically provides you with a default theme. It looks rather plain so you might want to spruce it up a bit if you wish to impress site visitors. Whether you go for a paid or free theme, always keep in mind that the goal here is to make your domain visually appealing and professional-looking.

Once you find a nearly perfect theme for your site, simply install it to begin customising and adding content to it. If you’re not sure how to do this, simply visit each theme’s website has helpful information on the process that will likely be posted there. After the installation, don’t forget to test its 404 pages, archive, search page, etc.

You will then have to decide on the plugins to use. Plugins are pieces of software that add functionality to your theme and enhance the user experience. There are over 55,000 available plugins for WordPress sites and you’ll find one designed for social media function, e-commerce setup, forum management, etc.

While the ones you pick depend on the type of website you’re aiming for (e.g. an online store, personal blog, portfolio, forum, etc.), remember that they usually perform one specific task in conjunction with your selected theme. Whichever plugins you install, it’d be best to test if your theme supports their function.

  • Content / Essential Pages

When the previous components have all been set up, it’s time to start adding content! Although what you put on your website is totally up to you, it’s ideal to have quality copywriting skills to optimise the overall content structure. Below are some pages that are considered essential, and some you’ll be required to have by law.

  • Home Page – If you’re establishing a corporate presence on the Web, this is the best place to present details about yourself or your business. Put in enough relevant keywords and content here and this page becomes your beacon on search engines, telling your target users what your brand is all about.
  • About Page – This is the place where you tell your story or that of your company’s. Although many underestimate the power of this page, don’t follow their lead. The about page is your first step toward letting interested users build their confidence in your brand.
  • Contact Page – For people to reach out to you with absolute ease, create a form showing your basic contact information. Display a map to your office, too, using plugins like Simple Google Maps ShortCode
  • E-Commerce Pages – To sell products online, you’ll often be required by law (or your payment gateway) to publish pages showing the terms of service, privacy policy, refund policy, and contact details. These pages will also make potential customers feel safer knowing that they’re legally protected doing business with you online.
  • Cookie Information Page – With the Privacy Act passed, it requires Australian websites to provide their visitors with information on how their personal information (often in the form of cookies) is used. It’s certainly a good idea to publish an information page about cookies regardless of your website’s location, though.
  • Google Analytics

To get insight into your site’s visitors, approach advertisers, and increase the value of your site, you’ll need analytics tools set in place. Google Analytics is one of those that fulfill this function and you’ll need to use a plugin to add a tracking code to your website.

Once the analytics data comes in, you can then plan toward better search engine optimisation!

WordPress.Org vs. WordPress.com

In the process of building a website on WordPress, you’ll have to decide whether you do so on WordPress.org or WordPress.com. For the most part, the difference between these two has something to do with who actually hosts your domain. On WordPress.org, you host your own website through a third-party hosting provider. On the other hand, WordPress.com offers to host your website for you.

WordPress.com is the best way to build your website with minimal fuss because they do most of the hard work for you. Meanwhile, WordPress.org is the best one to use when you want full power over-controlling and customising your site. But with great power comes great responsibility, of course.

Build a Website on WordPress Today

Nowadays, it only takes a few clicks to come up with a great website that establishes your brand’s presence on the Internet. While the entire process can be daunting, especially to greenhorns, the workload can be more manageable with WordPress by your side.

Even better than that is the fact that WordPress has a special place in Google’s heart. That’s why WordPress sites rank well.

To get started with this exciting endeavour, contact Top Rankings and we’ll show you what your business website really needs to help your business flourish!


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