Building a Website
Nowadays you don't have to know HTML/CSS and other abbreviated coding terms to build a site.
There are platforms that are WYSIWYG editors. That is a fancy abbreviation for "what you see is what you get". It literally is. You type, that's what appears. You add a photo, that's what appears.
So, now that there are editors that make it easier, the actual process of understanding where to start, how to use the platforms, and how to optimize the tools can be complex, confusing, and super time-consuming. So I gathered all the information for you to read here. Let's get started!
Get Your Domain Name
First, you need a domain name.
A domain name is the url you want someone to type in to reach your page.
You can purchase your own through sites like or GoDaddy or you can use free websites like Weebly, Wordpress, and Yola.The free sites will insert their domain behind your name so you won't have your own.
For instance www.example.weebly.com would be your domain name if you choose not to buy yours.
Domains are fairly inexpensive and if you purchase through a web hosting company, they are often free with a hosting package.
Purchase Web Hosting
Next, you need a hosting provider for your domain.
Web hosting is a service that allows organizations and individuals to post a website or web page on to the Internet. A web host, or web hosting service provider, is a business that provides the technologies and services needed for the website or webpage to be viewed in the Internet.
For the top 10 rated web hosters, click here.
When you are signing up, look for the platforms they offer. You will want to choose Wordpress. GoDaddy often has packages of free domains with hosting purchase. However; they are not the only provider out there. Do a little research for the right package. You should be able to purchase a great package for less than $100 dollars.
Building With Wordpress
So you've got your domain name and your web hosting provider, next you need to manage your brand new site!
Go to your hosting site, click on your account, and click "manage your domain".This will take you to your Wordpress Dashboard.
Wordpress provides built in tutorials, but they are more beneficial for someone who knows a little about what they're doing. So I'll give you a few tips to help in the process.
Main Components: Theme, Plugins, Pages, Content
First, you will select your theme. Responsive themes are the best to search for as they respond to different types of devices that will be used to view your website. Thus, it will be viewable from a phone, tablet, and a pc.
Start by typing in the theme search bar "responsive" or you can select from the default themes available.
If you select one, and want to change it, no worries, you can change it even after you have built content and not lose it.
Important! Do this before you do anything else!
Start by downloading plugins that will be helpful. I have a list of free must-haves.
On your dashboard on the left side, you will see 'plugins'. Click the tab and click 'install new'.
Perform a search for the following plugins. Once each is installed, you must activate them. There are settings on some that must be configured. I'll touch on those.
- Wordfence: For security on your site. Your site will likely have hack attempts on the very first day you build it. Hackers try to login to your site using 'admin' as the username. Then they will attempt to guess your password, and based on my research, are able to bypass even with a blank password. Then, they take over your site and that's when services aren't free anymore, you will have to pay to get their malware and viruses removed. So, stop the hackers before they try.
Once activated, go to the tab on your left side screen called 'Wordfence' and select 'options'. Scroll down to the bottom and include blocking for any user that tries to login using a username of admin. Lower the login attempts to 5, as they are set to 20. Pick how many days you want an IP address locked out. I chose 60 days, which is the max.
- Akismet: For spam removal/blocking. After installing and activating, you need to sign up via a link and input the access code. It's easy and worth the blocking.
- Yoast SEO: this is a phenomenal tool that will actively guide you as you write content on your website. In real-time it will make suggestions and check lists for how to properly write your content to ensure you're hitting your keywords and optimize your google search results.
- Google Analytics: If you do not have a Google Analytics account; get one. To create a new Analytics account visit google.com/analytics, click the sign in to Analytics button (top right), and follow the on-screen instructions. Analytics provides live tracking data, visitors, source and traffic information, custom reports, and keyword searches. It gives accurate insight to how well your site is doing, how people found you, where they are from, what they used to find you, and how long they stay on your site. You can use this information in your social marketing strategy.
- Google Adsense: This is how you monetize your site. You will link it to your analytics and ads will be placed on your site in the area you choose. Once you get an adsense account, you will place the HTML code of it into a TEXT widget on your site.
Step one: Sign up for a Google AdSense account. If you have a Gmail account, then you can use that account.
Step two: Click on the my ads tab and click new ad unit. You will be asked for the name of your website. Enter it and then you will receive an HTML ad code.
Step three: You MUST embed this code onto your site before they will approve you. This is embedded by using a 'basic text widget' available in Wordpress. Copy and paste the code onto a word document, and then scroll down this article to the 'widgets' section below for set-up instructions.
Once you’ve submitted your application, you will receive an email within a day or two letting you know if you're approved.
Full tutorial here.
- Social Media Plugins: you can use any by searching "social media" to have your social media sites linked via icons for your readers to follow you. After installing, you will need to update the link settings to your pages. BuddyPress and Jetpack are great choices.
- Photo gallery plugins If you have several photos you want displayed in an organized and professional manner, search for these type and review.
- Document embedder plugins If you want to embed your resume, or other documents for download.
Auto Responders/Email Subscriptions
- Jetpack: this plugin provides email subscriptions to build your email lists for marketing campaigns. It has numerous other features, but that is the top one for me.
- SumoMe This is another list builder, but it comes with neat little pop ups when visitors arrive at your site. You can design your pop up, the language requesting the email, and the redirected url. It also has a welcome mat pop up, as well as a scrolling reminder to sign up. These are all fantastically designed. You can start a campaign, pause it, and change it anytime. You receive notifications when visitors sign up as well. But beware-it can slow your site down a little bit.
- Live RSS Feed of your blog or another site. This is currently available via your text widget, however I love it so much I want to include it here. You can display a widget to link to live blogs, industry news, or updates right on your website.
I have linked my blog to my website so each time I publish, it displays a box with scrolling links to my articles. Its an extremely professional look and convenient. For information on how to obtain RSS feed information, click here.
To create your rss feed use this simple tool here.
- Performance Profiler Plugin: You'll find so many fun widgets, but some of them can slow you down, like SumoMe. This plugin scans your plugins and lets you know which ones are slowing it down.
- GoodReads: If you published any books, or you have books related to your industry. Create a GoodReads account and get your member id. Search for books on the site and add them to your 'shelf'. Choose from 'read', 'currently reading'. Next, download the plugin. In settings, input your account number and choose your shelf. Images and titles of the books with links will be displayed in a neat little box on your site. It's a great marketing tool.
After you have chosen a theme, you will begin to customize your pages. Pages are available from the dashboard. Simply select "add new" and begin titling and creating pages.
An "about us" page should be included as well as a "contact us" page. Always.
You can choose both a static front page and a secondary blog/posts page. Simply create the page, scroll down to 'page attributes" choose 'front page' for the page you want as the home page. For the page you want to display your internal posts, select page attribute of 'posts'.
Add pages to match your endeavor. If you're selling products, services, or creating a hub of your work for freelancing, customize the pages to suit your needs. Follow your Yoast SEO plugin recommendations. Then, choose which widgets show up on your pages and where.
To reorder your pages go to 'Appearance', then select 'Menu', click on 'Primary Menu' in drop down on left sidebar, and order them how you would like them arranged.
From the same spot you can add a new page that links to a new site. Just click "Custom Links', add the link, and then add them to the arranged pages.
In each page you are able to select the widget tab. Scroll through them and determine which one you want to show and where. You can choose from sidebars and bottom pages on most themes. Once you select it, you can rename it, change settings on it, and reorder all the widgets that appear.
Begin filling in your static pages with related content.
Keep it concise.
No more than three sentences per paragraph.
Ensure you follow your "Yoast SEO" tips as you go. They will populate as you write to optimize your sites results when searched.
During each stage you can 'preview' your site. Make changes as you go.
Protect your site: Update your plugins often. You will have notices on your dashboard of plugins that can be updated. This protects your site from being hacked too.
Analyze the speed: Check the load speed and issues with your site here for free.
Flush your cache: This is available from the dashboard at the top. In the toolbar click your web servicer (GoDaddy) and select 'flush cache'. I recommend flushing your cache each time you update plugins. It prevents a lagging site. A plugin called W3 Cache can also be a great tool for maintaining speed and clearing cache.
You put a lot of time into building it, so maintain it.
I hope my seemingly eternal search for information to build my website with Wordpress made your build a little easier!
I will be adding additional articles focusing specifically on content optimization, monetization, and marketing. I will link to those articles as they are published.
If you would like to see my website for reference, visit it here.
Please feel free to comment below with feedback or requests for additional how-to articles related to web-site building, design, and content writing/strategy.
Dale Anderson from The High Seas on October 26, 2020:
This was a good article. Many of these 'how-to' hubs are filled with fluff and nonsense but this was us
Tammy Winters from Oregon on August 15, 2020:
Tara Mapes (author) from Cincinnati on April 20, 2016:
Thanks for reading Shaoor!
Shaoor on April 18, 2016:
This will surely help in developing a website in Wordpress.
Tara Mapes (author) from Cincinnati on March 05, 2016:
Yes, the plugins are frustrating at first. That's why I included the ones above, because I spent HOURS finding the right ones, with good reviews, and practical functions.
Really plugins are just like add-ons. You type in what you want your site to do or have and 'add it'. But there are so many to choose from. And, as a newbie, most people wouldn't know that their site doesn't have security or virus protection.
I have a weebly site too, and it was super simple to build, but my free version didn't give me the option of widgets and sharing. Thanks for reading :)
Denise McGill from Fresno CA on March 04, 2016:
This seems a little complicated once you get into widgets and plug-ins. I get confused easily. I bought my domain through weebly and they were very helpful as I built my site. A no-brainer. Thanks for the info.