If you want to learn how to make a WordPress website, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve built countless WordPress websites over the years, so today I’m going to show you how to build your own in six steps:

  1. Choose a domain
  2. Select a WordPress host
  3. Choose a theme
  4. Install essential plugins
  5. Design your homepage
  6. Add other essential pages

The steps to build your own WordPress website

What is WordPress?

WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS) that helps you create, organize, and manage a website without using code. The creators of WordPress made it originally for blogging, but the CMS has since become popular for creating all kinds of websites. In fact, 43.2% of all websites use WordPress [1].

This popularity, combined with the open source nature of the software, means that there are many tools available for WordPress users. In fact, the official WordPress directory offers 11,900 free themes and 59,700 plugins to help you extend the functionality of your website. And, there are many more available through third-party sites. This makes it possible to do almost anything you can imagine with a WordPress site.

Note that WordPress comes in two types: WordPress.org and WordPress.com. WordPress.org is the free, open source software that you can install on most web hosts’ servers. WordPress.com is a paid hosting service powered by the WordPress.org software. For this article, we’ll focus on how to make a website with the WordPress.org version.

Step 1: Choose a domain πŸ›°οΈ

A domain serves as the address for your website. It’s what users type into the browser to navigate to the site. For example, our domain is revive.social (with .social as the domain extension instead of more common options like .com, .org, or .biz.)

Choosing the right domain is important because this is how people will find your site. Also, it’s often the first thing people see about your brand, so you want to make sure it fits certain criteria:

  • Memorable. Your domain should be short and easy to spell so that people can remember it and don’t make mistakes when typing it in.
  • Easy to say. This ensures that people can recommend your website to others.
  • Relevant. Your domain should tell people something about your brand. Ideally, it also includes keywords – terms frequently searched for on Google – to tell both visitors and search engines what your site is about. Yet, forcing keywords into a domain is never a good idea, so focus more on relevance to your brand than getting one or two keywords in there.
  • Matching your business name.This means people only need to remember one name to find your business, rather than needing to recall a business name and a separate domain name.

You can use a domain name generator like DomainWheel to find the perfect domain name in seconds. All you have to do is type in relevant words and click Search Domain to see dozens of ideas.

DomainWheel domain generator.

Step 2: Select a hosting provider (and sign up) 🌐

The second step in how to build your site on WordPress involves choosing a web host. Hosting companies provide servers for your website files to live on, making the site accessible to anyone with an internet connection. There are many web hosts, including several that offer WordPress-optimized plans.

Here are three of our favorite WordPress hosting providers:

  • Bluehost – Wide range of WordPress hosting plans, including specialized WooCommerce plans for building an online store. All of Bluehost’s WordPress plans include pre-installed WordPress, automated updates, and access to custom WordPress themes. These plans start at $2.95 per month, billed annually (renews at $11.99 per month).
  • Hostinger – Specialized WordPress hosting plans with pre-installed WordPress, automated updates, WordPress acceleration through LiteSpeed, and a WordPress vulnerability scanner. These hosting plans also come with WordPress Multisite capability and let you host up to 100 sites from one dashboard. Best of all, these plans are highly affordable, starting at $2.49 per month and renewing at just $7.99 per month.
  • SiteGround – WordPress hosting with pre-installed WordPress and automated updates. You get a free CDN (content delivery network) and caching tools to improve your website’s loading speed. If you want to start an online store, you can invest in WooCommerce hosting. SiteGround’s WordPress plans start at $2.99 per month, billed annually (renews at $17.99 per month).

These are all great hosts, so we recommend choosing the one that best fits with your long-term budget and goals.

Step 3: Choose your theme 🎨

The third step in building your site is to choose a theme, which is a collection of files that decides the overall appearance of your website.

To select a theme, log into the WordPress admin area, head to Appearance β†’ Themes, and click Add New. This takes you to the WordPress theme library, where you can view over 11,000 free themes.

how to make a WordPress website with popular themes.

You can type any word into the search bar to find relevant options. You’ll find themes suitable for almost every type of business. For instance, I was able to find plenty of book-related themes when typing in “bookstore.”

WordPress theme search for "bookstore" with three themes visible.

Personally, I recommend using a mobile-first, drag-and-drop theme like Neve. This theme helps you build any type of website. It comes with a wide range of customization options and even offers starter sites to minimize the amount of setup required.

the Neve theme.

Customize your theme

When you install a theme, it uses theme defaults for things like font size and color, background colors, and other core elements of your website. You can modify all of these things by going to Appearance β†’ Customize. This opens the WordPress customizer.

Example of the WordPress customizer.

You’ll find all of the customization options in the customizer sidebar. Simply click on a category like Header to see all of the related choices.

WordPress customizer with "Header" options visible in the sidebar.

You can then select an individual item, like Logo & Site Identity, to customize it.

WordPress customizer with the sidebar menu open to "Logo & Site Identity".

You don’t need any coding knowledge to customize these items unless you choose the Additional CSS to add some extra code.

Keep in mind that the customization options vary widely depending on your theme. However, there are some constants:

  • Layout
  • Header
  • Footer
  • Colors & background
  • Typography
  • Menus
  • Widgets

Some themes may have additional options like WooCommerce displays and sidebars. Many themes also come with a premium version that offers even more customization options. If you’re considering a freemium theme, be sure to look up the differences between the free and premium versions before you set up a website with it.

Step 4: Add plugins πŸ”Œ

The next step is to install plugins. Plugins aren’t required, but they can be helpful in many situations. They act as extensions to improve upon the built-in features of WordPress. As I mentioned before, there are almost 60,000 of these available for free, which you can access by going to Plugins β†’ Add New in your WordPress dashboard.

WordPress plugin library.

You can use the search bar to look for a specific type of plugin. For example, if you search for “SEO”, you’ll see a variety of options like Yoast SEO, All in One SEO and Rank Math SEO.

WordPress plugin library search options for "SEO".

You can install any plugin easily by clicking Install Now.

For additional plugins, you can shop directly from premium developers you find with a simple Google search or browse plugins from a marketplace like CodeCanyon.

Essential plugins to consider

Although you never have to install plugins on your site, we recommend a few essential plugins for the vast majority of WordPress sites:

  • SEO plugins. These plugins help you optimize both your overall site and individual pieces of content for increased visibility on search engines. I recommend Yoast, since it’s quite easy to use even if you know nothing about SEO β€” and you learn a lot of the basics for free through the online Yoast Academy.
  • Image optimization plugins. Fast loading times are essential for keeping people on your website. One of the best ways to ensure these fast loading times is by using an image optimization plugin like Optimole, which automatically reduces the file size of uploaded images.
  • Spam protection plugins. If you’re going to run a blog and let people comment, you’ll need to protect your site from spam. We recommend Akismet for effortless and effective spam filtering.
  • Social media plugins. You’ll want two types of plugins for social media: something like Social Share Icons to make it easy for people to share your work, and a plugin like Revive Old Posts to automate the publication of blog posts on your social media profiles.

If you’re looking to start an ecommerce site, you’ll need to install an ecommerce plugin. WooCommerce is by far the most popular solution, and it offers numerous extensions that you can use to expand your business with things like paid membership programs later on.

You may also want to grab a page builder plugin like Elementor to gain access to more advanced design options than what’s available in the standard WordPress editor.

Step 5: Design your homepage πŸ–ŒοΈ

The next step in how to make website on WordPress pertains to building individual pages. That starts with your homepage.

There are a few things to consider when building a homepage:

  • What you want visitors to do. Most of the content on your homepage should get visitors to do one specific thing. For example, if you run an ecommerce store, the goal of your homepage might be to get people to browse the store area of your site.
  • What goes “above the fold”. This is the content people see before they scroll down. Make this content tightly focused with an attention-grabbing headline, high-quality images, and a call to action button to get visitors to take do something.
  • What goes “below the fold”. This is what people see when they scroll down. Below the fold, you can share more content to win people over, such as detailed product/service explanations and product reviews.
  • What the navigation should look like. Your homepage may have a primary goal, like getting people to subscribe, but it’s also the starting point for people on your website. This means there needs to be a clearly visible, simple way for them to reach other pages. If your site allows visitors to create user accounts, there should also be quick links to sign up and log in.

You also want to make sure your design is mobile friendly. Most modern WordPress themes use responsive designs, so they should look good on a phone or tablet. However, it’s worth checking how each theme appears on your own phone or tablet to make sure all the elements of your page look the way you want them to.

Step 6: Add other essential pages πŸ“

The last step in our process is to add essential pages, such as:

  • About page. This is where people can find out the story behind your brand and information about your professional experience. If you have staff, you might also want to add an “Our team” page where you share images and bios from your most important employees.
  • Contact page. This is where visitors can reach out to you. The page should include a contact form at the bare minimum. You may want to include an email address, phone number, and physical address if you have a brick-and-mortar location.
  • Services page if you sell services. You may even want to create individual pages for different services. For example, if you offer both consulting and coaching, you may want to have a parent page that discusses both then links to individual pages for each service.
  • Product page(s) if you sell products. If you have two or three big products, you can stick with regular website pages that incorporate ecommerce product images. If you have lots of products, you’ll want to set up a store area.
  • News and/or blog page. If you’re running a blog as part of your business model, you can share news there. If not, you’ll want a blog-style page where you can share important company updates.
  • Privacy policy. If your website stores cookies, runs tracking software, or asks people for signups, you should have a privacy policy detailing what information you collect and how it’s used.
  • FAQ. A page to answer questions you receive from your audience regularly. You can build this page over time with questions you receive via your contact form/email address.
  • Reviews/testimonials. You can build up the content for this page by asking customers to provide a review or testimonial after they’ve received your products or services.

Of course, these are only the base pages. You might need to create additional pages to meet your business goals.

Bonus step: write your first blog post ✍

Writing a blog post isn’t technically an essential step in the process of building a website itself. However, if a blog is an important part of your business model, you’ll want to have your first post published on launch day. Here are some quick tips to make it successful:

  • Write about a general problem in your niche. This establishes that you understand your audience’s problems – and, ideally, that you know how to solve them.
  • Focus on a low competition keyword. Your new site probably won’t rank for a high competition keyword. Instead, build up your reputation with search engines by choosing a low competition keyword with help from a tool like Ahrefs or LowFruits. Ideally, the keyword will also have high search volume, but even low search volume keywords can help you build traffic over time.
  • Make sure there’s a call to action. With each blog post, ask your audience to complete a task. At the very least, provide ways for readers to share your blog posts on social media. Blog posts also give you an excellent way to promote your own products or services naturally.

Most important of all, take your time to make the article both informative and enjoyable to read. You want to make a good first impression!

My summary on how to make a WordPress website

WordPress makes it possible to create many types of websites – from ecommerce stores to standard business sites – without code.

πŸ‘‰ There are just a few key steps when walking through the process of building a site on WordPress:

  1. Choose a domain with help from a tool like the DomainWheel domain name generator πŸ›°οΈ
  2. Sign up for a hosting provider like Bluehost or SiteGround 🌐
  3. Choose and install a WordPress theme like Neve 🎨
  4. Install necessary plugins like Yoast SEO, Optimole, and Akismet πŸ”Œ
  5. Design your homepage with high-quality visuals, attention-grabbing headlines, and convincing calls to action πŸ–ŒοΈ
  6. Add essential pages like your About page, Contact page, and pages for your products or services πŸ“

If a blog is a crucial aspect of the website you’re building, be sure to write a high-quality first blog post you can share when you launch!

Ready to launch your site? If you want to be successful, you’ll need to build a platform for it too. Check out our guide on how to create a social media presence for your WordPress site for tips on how to get started!

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By Dianna Gunn

Dianna Gunn is an SEO strategist and freelance writer who provides content solutions to businesses of all shapes and sizes at www.thedabbler.ca

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