How to Design a WordPress Site from Scratch? [Important Steps]

Nowadays, many companies and individuals alike opt for WordPress as their website platform. 

The main reason is that WP is also one of the best and most popular content management systems (CMS) in the world. You can basically customize every aspect of your website the way you want it and in most cases, you can do it yourself.

That being said, around 41.5% of all the websites in the world are powered by WP. This gives WP an astonishing 64.9% market share. It seems that web owners prefer to have the ability to tweak their website on their own instead of hiring someone else to do it for them.

Although WP has numerous features and plug-ins to help you create and design a website from scratch, there are things you can't do on your own, especially if you lack the necessary knowledge and skills. 

Nevertheless, WP still provides you with a lot of control over your website's looks and functionality. With that in mind, here are a few important steps of designing a WordPress site from scratch.

Choosing the hosting service and provider

No matter what you do, your website can't operate without a hosting provider. Choosing the right provider and the right service is, therefore, of the utmost importance.

Aside from that, your hosting provider is also responsible for providing your website with a domain name of your choosing. That, of course, as long as the name you've chosen is available.

So, choosing a hosting provider is important, but how do you know which one is the right one for you? After all, there are numerous hosting providers and services out there.

The simple answer would be to first determine your needs and then conduct thorough research. 

That being said, here are a few things you should look out for when choosing a hosting provider.

  • Your hosting provider should have a variety of domain names for you to choose from.
  • They must ensure optimal website speed and page loading time.
  • They should explain their offers, such as the difference between shared hosting and dedicated hosting or virtual private servers (VPS).
  • They should guarantee exceptional customer service and support.
  • Your hosting provider should ensure at least 99.9% uptime for your website.
  • They should provide your website with proper cybersecurity measures, such as SSL/TLS certificate.
  • They should guarantee a backup and recovery feature for your website.

WP theme vs. a custom website

Once you've chosen a hosting provider, it's time to decide how to build your WP-powered website. There are two ways you can do this, and the choice is entirely up to you. The first method is to choose one of the pre-existing or pre-made WP themes.

As you may already know, WP has a vast collection of themes for your website. Some of them are free, some of them you have to pay for. 

Either way, regardless of which theme you opt for, they are all fully customizable through WP UI and console. You can do whatever you like, ranging from tweaking colors and fonts to creating custom pages and visuals.

The second method is to opt for a custom-made website. What that means is that you create an entirely new theme for your WP website. Of course, this method involves a lot of coding and good knowledge of programming languages, such as CSS, JavaScript, HTML, etc.

The main advantage here is that you're making a unique website that will stand out from all the other websites that use the same or similar themes and templates. 

However, if you have no knowledge about coding and web development, you'll have to hire someone who does so that they can create a custom WP website for you.

Also Check: Best WordPress and HTML5/CSS3 Blog Templates

Creating a unique design

Whether you've chosen to go with a WP theme or a custom-made option, your website will need the right design. WP themes are fully customizable, but your options are fairly limited. 

In other words, your website will have the same distinct layout of the theme, but you can customize the theme's elements as much as you'd like.

If you want a design that pops out, you should consider going for the custom-made option. That way, you'll have more freedom and flexibility in choosing the right design for your website. 

If you don't know how to design a website on your own, you can always look for the best website design agency Chicago has to offer.

Working with a local agency allows you to communicate your vision to them and help them turn your idea into reality. Eventually, you'll have a unique WP web design that will help your website stand out from the rest.

Adding plug-ins

As mentioned before, WP is also a CMS, but more importantly, it's also an open-source platform which means that its source code is free and available to all. That means that pretty much anyone with the right know-how can create features, add-ons, extensions and even patches and updates for WP.

WP is famous for its wide variety of plug-ins everyone can use to power their WP website in one way or another. You can choose any number of available plug-ins and install them through your WP UI. That also means that you can create custom ones the same way you can create a custom WP website.

However, the majority of plug-ins are third-party software. Some may work well with your website, but others may not; it all depends on various factors. 

One thing is for certain though, if you have too many plug-ins, your website may become bloated, and it will, therefore, slow down significantly.

So, if you need plug-ins, make sure you chose a selected few that are well-known. If you happen to need additional features for your website, you should strongly consider creating custom ones or hiring someone to do it for you.

Fill your website with content

Now comes the fun part, which involves creating and placing content on your web pages. The type of content you should include depends on the purpose of your website. 

For example, if your WP website is also an e-commerce store, you should include product descriptions, high-quality images, product videos and so on.

You can also add a blog to your WP website if there's a need for additional content, such as articles and blog posts. Now, what's interesting about WP is that it allows you to tweak everything as you go. 

You can create custom web pages for content purposes and then adjust website navigation and set permalinks for those pages after you're done.

The range of customization features on WP is truly limitless. 

That said, make sure you add all the content to your website and tweak everything so that it all comes together quite nicely. 

You must ensure everything is in order because you want to provide website visitors with the best experience possible.

On-page SEO

Before you finish polishing your website, take the time to engage in some on-page SEO. WP websites provide you with an option to decide whether or not to discourage search engines from indexing your pages.

Before setting your website as public and allowing search engines to index your site, conduct a full audit to determine if your website is properly optimized. After all, you may have missed something, and SEO is vital for your website's visibility. That said, here are a few things you should check out.

  • Check title tags and meta descriptions.
  • Check keywords for your content.
  • Go over your URLs and ensure they are SEO-friendly.
  • Look for any missing or duplicate content.
  • Check Dofollow and Nofollow attributes for internal links.
  • Add XML sitemaps.
  • Include your site in the Google Search Console.

If you don't know how to optimize your WP website for SEO, you can always use a plug-in that will help you out. The important thing is to go over your website and ensure you haven't missed anything important before making your website visible to the search engines.

Test your website

The last step involves testing everything out and making sure that everything is working as it should. Unlike on-page SEO, you're focusing on more technical stuff. As mentioned before, you want to provide your website visitors with an exceptional experience and avoid forcing them to bounce off. That said, here are a few things you should go over.

  • Test website speed.
  • Test mobile-friendliness.
  • Check website navigation.
  • Ensure your pages are properly organized.
  • Check website security.

Designing a WP website from scratch is not an easy task. However, it's not as difficult as it seems if you take the time to do things the right way. 

If you rush the process, you might end up making a mistake that will cost you more than you've bargained for. That's why it's important to check everything before you finally launch your website.

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