In these modern times and with the evolution of the internet and e-commerce, it’s only natural to want to key into the digital gold mine of websites. Also, it’s more than just putting out your product, business, service or content out there for your potential clients and customers to see, it’s about having a digital identity and an imprint in the global market. However, before you can have a website, you need to actually build one. The magic isn’t in building one, it’s in building one that runs smoothly without hitches. In this piece, we’re going to highlight everything you need to know as a beginner about building a website on WordPress. Let’s get right into it.
Now, there are some platforms with which you can start your web design process. These platforms include Wix, WordPress, Shopify, Weebly, Joomla and lots more. A lot of these platforms have certain advantages over others. Their functionality and features also streamline the kind of website you want to run. Nevertheless, WordPress is very much detailed and perfect for beginners in web development. It is increasingly popular and is also available to users at zero charges.
Things To Note
When building a website especially one via WordPress, there are quite a number of factors to keep in mind, just so you can streamline your site accordingly. These factors include:
- User experience
- Google Analytics
User Experience: the experience of website users matter a lot. If your user experience is ranked low, chances are that your website may not take off as much as you expect. Nevertheless, there are quite a handful of plug-ins with which you can optimize the overall flow and ease of use of your website.
Speed: in websites, there’s what we call Bounce Rate. The bounce rate of your website is the rate at which users leave your site. This may not necessarily be detrimental to your site as a lot of websites provide information that can be accessed at a glance and once the user gets what was required, he goes ahead to leave the site.
Waiting time is also important with respect to speed. This is the amount of time the user spends before your site loads to completion. The size of content, amount of plug-ins and general of your website all determine this waiting time.
Dwell time can be another major factor, depending on your website’s content. It’s the
Google Analytics: Google actually has a lot of tools through which you can see how your site is doing. With these tools and also the necessary plug-ins, you can view the bounce rate, engagement rate, keywords that drive the most traffic, and generally learn and optimize these settings to yield maximum results.
SEO: SEO is really important for WordPress websites. It’s all about getting your website to rank within the first page of diverse search engines. Hence, on WordPress, you can use plug-ins for search engine optimization, or you may use Google analytics to check for the keywords that drive the most traffic to your competitor’s site and tweak yours accordingly.
There are quite a few things you’ll need to figure out before starting the process. This includes:
- Your domain name
- Web hosting service
Let’s explain further.
Your domain name is the web address of your choice. It is the keyword with which people have access to your site. A typical example is google.com. Your domain name needs to represent your website and it is often the actual name of your site. This domain name can be registered on various platforms including Namecheap. Now for web hosting, this is the service that connects your website to the internet and without it, your site will remain invisible on the internet. This is because your host stores all content, files, images on its server and depending on the needs of your website there are 4 popular types of website hosting.
Initially, the first step to successfully building a website can take under 2 hours. Now, using WordPress is free. However, there are some themes, plugins, and features which aren’t available by default and need payments to be accessed. This is what you’ll be paying for. Nevertheless, since you’re only starting, do not try to purchase everything at once. Build gradually and see the returns you get, then you can add more features to your site.
After choosing WordPress as your website platform, you can download and install it. Next, assuming you’ve figured out and registered your domain name and web hosting service we can now move forward. A little disclaimer is that this domain name purchase and web hosting registration will definitely cost you, but WordPress works with any website hosting service and many of them provide free automatic installation. Now, when installing WordPress you’ll need to key in the domain name and your preferred installation location. A password and an admin username will be required of you, which you can change later on via WordPress Settings. After complete installation, you’ll receive a congratulatory message. After this process is complete, you will be redirected to a page which hosts your login URL and password. If you’re at this stage, your login URL should be of the format http://www.yourdomainname.com/wp-admin and then you can log in using the details you set earlier.
Website Design/Theme Selection
In a WordPress website, the selected theme determines its overall visual appearance and choosing one shouldn’t be done without critical thinking. These themes are designed in the form of templates with which you can install on your site to change its appearance. WordPress gives you the ability to preview the selected theme and equally change it on the admin dashboard. There are thousands of themes available on WordPress. Some are free, others need to be paid for. You can even sort them under popular choices, featured, the latest and other available filters. In essence, do not be in a hurry to select a theme, go for one which resonates with the purpose of your website.
When you decide on a theme, you can move on to install it and then customize it via the link. With this option, you can customize and change the selected theme’s settings with a live preview of it as well. Bear in mind that, you do not need to round up customizing your theme right away as tweaks will still be done once you’ve included content. Also, if you ever decide to switch themes in the future, bear in mind that your content, pages and previously made posts will NOT be erased, but you might have to work on restructuring page elements to fit the new design.
This is where the real work is. What type of content do you wish to post on your website? WordPress has provision for diverse types of content including images, blog posts, videos, audio and lots more. You don’t need to have all your content ready at once. You can build, update and edit as you go. Nevertheless, posting content on WordPress can be done either under Posts or Pages. Posts are usually for blogs while Pages are more static in nature. Posts are displayed in reverse sequence which means the newer content is displayed first while Pages do not follow this order as they are meant to be static. Pages could include
You should know that WordPress displays Posts on the site’s front page. You can adjust this setting later on if it doesn’t work for you. Adding new pages can be done in the admin area, but you’ll need to add a title for your page. You can call the first one your ‘Home’ page and then include content as you please. These could be links, texts, images, audio, videos and anything you’re up for. Once you’ve added your content, the publish button awaits you. Make your content visible and go live by clicking this button. You can do the same thing for blog posts by heading to the ‘Add new’ subsection under the Posts icon in the WordPress admin area. Here, you’ll find some options like categories, tags and post formats which you can adjust accordingly and then click save or publish.
This is your website after all and it has to represent your identity and purpose for it. Hence, customizing these details and tweaking the rest is very much needed. Now, as a beginner, it’s only normal that you may add lots of features and content to your site and end up clogging everything. These personal effects, pictures, content, and pages need to be tweaked accordingly, to promote the site’s loading speed. Once you include too many plugins and features, your site becomes really large and takes a long time to complete its loading process. Hence, cut down on some things and stick to the basics. To do this you can start from changing the site title and tagline from ‘just another WordPress site’ to any one-liner that represents your website the best. Remember to set up the comment options on your site. This enables your visitors to leave comments which in turn boosts your website’s engagement and ratings.
To deal with spam on your comments, you’ll need to manually approve each comment before they appear on your site. By so doing, the comment moderation option should be enabled where you’ll see the ‘before a comment appears’ option. Save your changes and move on to navigation. To promote the general efficiency of your site as well as have a good user experience, you’ll need to include a navigation menu. WordPress has a great system for navigation and you get to tweak it as you see fit. Simply click on the appearance menu page, then you’ll be asked to key in a navigation menu name and then click on ‘create’. Next, the pages you want to be displayed on this menu will be selected by you and added to the menu. You can then rearrange them and select a display location. After that, you can click save and see your settings in action.
Installing Proper Plugins
Plugins on WordPress are like little applications with which you can add features and certain functionalities to your WordPress website. They are extensions tasked with the responsibility of expanding the functionality of WordPress even further. They include photo galleries, contact forms, live chat, etc., pretty much every feature which you would want but isn’t built-in. WordPress has an inventory of over 49,000 plugins, all of which are free. However, there are indeed paid plugins which are sold by developers and other third-party websites. With all these options, how does a beginner choose and install the proper one? To do this conveniently, you’ll need to select plugins that are centered on improving the usability, accessibility, and ratings of your site. Let’s group these plugins into security and web optimization
- Security: Plugins like Updraft Plus and Sucuri are aimed at improving the overall security on your website. The former deals with scheduling backups for your website’s content while the latter is a malware scanner. Together they maintain the all-around online and offline security of your website and promotes the site usability.
- Web Optimization: There are a ton of plugins for this purpose, and each one offers something different. Speed, SEO and Google Analytics are necessary features for your site. With plugins like WP Super Cache, Yoast SEO, and Monster Insights you can achieve all three features. WP Super Cache helps with improving your site’s loading speed, Yoast SEO makes your WordPress site SEO friendly, while Monster Insights shows you everything you need to know concerning your traffic, visitors and how you can improve upon it via Google Analytics. With SEO and Google Analytics, there are common mistakes most people usually make, avoiding these mistakes will guarantee the progress of your WordPress website.
Running a website on WordPress is highly efficient and even convenient. WordPress has so many details which need mastering. However, once you’re fully established you can kick your skill up a notch by creating WordPress websites for diverse niches. This could be an e-commerce site, a web directory, a site for coupons, podcasts, cooking, reviews, job hunting, the list goes on. There’s no limit to what you can do with WordPress and success awaits you in your journey.