How do you build a WordPress website? This is a common question we encounter in our line of work.
In this blog, we are going deep and detailed so that you can build your website from scratch!
First of all, you need to consider the cost of building a website and who should do it.
You may read our previous post on this topic “How Much Does a Website Cost?“.
We want this to be comprehensive without overwhelming you.
We’ve divided this topic into three familiar steps or stages:
In this section, you will understand the things that you need to do pre website creation.
Are you excited to know the must-haves? You will find them in this section. (Don’t worry we have recommendations for your primary website needs)
Once your website is live and ready for business, you need to know the essentials. Learn them here.
There are three things you must prepare before we set up your website:
- Research on keywords related to your website to come up with a website name for your business. It’s best to come up with up to 10 choices of names.
- Budget allocation
- Choose and decide on a hosting service and domain provider that match your budget.
If you think you’re good to go and you’re up for a DIY, let’s start getting dirty.
Step #1 Set Up Your Domain and Hosting
Register your domain
Decide which domain provider you want. You can search whether the website name you’ve listed is still available. If it’s available (lucky you!), then it’s time to buy it.
We highly recommend https://domains.google.com with free privacy and no teaser prices.
Type in the name or address you want for your website.
It will show you if your name is available and some other alternatives to consider.
Click the name you’re considering to see Google’s insights. It provides you the advantages and considerations for that particular name choice.
Once you’ve found the name you want, click the cart icon.
Click “Go to cart”.
Google Domains allows you to use FREE email linked into your gmail account if you have gmail. If you don’t or you want to separate your website or business email from your personal email, you can choose a business or basic email product. The business email provides you with unlimited cloud storage, while the Basic plan, you are limited to 30 GB storage. These are optional and can be added later if you change your mind.
When you’ve decided about email, click “Check out”, and that’s it! Just check your email for the details about your domain.
Step #2 Set Up Your Hosting
We use WP Engine (Affiliate link) for our WordPress hosting. Get three months free on annual Startup, Growth, and Scale plans when using coupon code WPE3FREE. As soon as you’ve chosen a plan, click See Plans.
It’s best to take a look at their offers. Here are their plans for monthly billing as of this writing. You can save a bunch by using the annual billing options.
These are the plans for annual billing as of this writing.
Notice the difference? Quite a savings if you can swing it.
Step #3 Point Your Domain To Your Hosting
- Setup your Global Edge Security
- Set up your Site Caching
Setup your Global Edge Security
In order for you to perform this, you need the IP or CNAME value to properly configure DNS records where your website is hosted.
Locate WP Engine DNS Records
- Log in to the User Portal
- Click on the Environment name you wish to find the IP and CNAME for
- Select Domains from the left menu
- The values can be located within the DNS Details section
*A Record is your IP address
*CNAME Record is your unique WP Engine CNAME or your “default domain”
Before configuring any DNS changes, you will want to confirm that GES (Global Edge Security) is enabled for the desired environment within the WP Engine system. This ensures the GES CNAME you will be pointing to is both properly generated and active.
- Log in to the User Portal
- Click Tools
- Select Global Edge Security
- Locate your environment name
- Confirm the environment name is listed in the Provisioned section. If it is listed in the Unprovisioned section, click Enable to provision and generate the GES CNAME
Set up your Site Caching
WP Engine servers employ heavy caching by default. This is part of what makes WP Engine the fastest WordPress website host.
Now that we have domain and host, it’s time to arm our website with the must-haves before it gets live.
Step #1 Create a practice or sandbox “test” website
WordPress is installed by default in WP Engine but on some hosts you may need to install it yourself through their control panel installers. To set up a practice or sandbox, “test” copy of your site on WP Engine:
- Log in to your User Portal, and click on the Installs tab.
- In the navigation bar, select Add Install.
- Fill in a few details about your site.
- Click on Create Install, and await an email with your new credentials. After that, you’ll be able to log into your new WordPress installation. Now you can begin customizing it!
Work on your “test” site to get it ready to go.
Step #2 Choose a theme
Let’s add a design to your website. You decide how your content looks and its display. We recommend Divi* from Elegant Themes because they offer a selection of Layout packs to choose from. They give you some images and text blocks that are easy to replace with your own content. Check them out here: https://www.elegantthemes.com/layouts/
- Login to your WordPress site.
- Click “Appearance” on the left menu.
- You will see the default Theme’s available from WordPress or your hosting company or you can add a new one. There are many free themes available.
- Chose and test out themes until you find the one you like OR if using Divi check out the layout packs and start applyign them.
- Once you have your theme, adjust your theme and layout by adding/replacing content and images**
Step #3 Add Plugins
Plugins add features and functionality to your website. We suggest a variety of free and premium plugins for your website depending on your needs.
a. Free plugins:
- Bloom* to get people into your email list (see #4 below)
- Monarch* visitor social sharing tool.
- Monster Insights* to easily set up and view Google Analytics.
- AutoOptimize* to help your site load quickly.
- Yoast SEO* to help write better content.
- WooCommerce (affiliate link)* for selling your stuff .
- Contact Form 7* a free alternative to Gravity Forms for the DIY-ers.
b. Premium plugins:
- Shield Security* (also has a free version but it’s worth supporting them.)
- Yoast SEO Premium** a better-upgraded version we include for you.
- Gravity Forms** for creating custom forms on your site.
- Affiliate WP** if you want to offer affiliate programs from your site.
- Paid Membership Pro** if you are creating a membership or online Course site.
Step #4 Set up your email list
- We use and recommend Convert Kit (affiliate). They have a 1,000 user free starter account which is a good starting point for you especially that you’re building this website and your business.
- Set up your sign up form on your site.**
Step #5 Set up updates*
You need to keep your PHP, WordPress, themes, and plugins up to date. This will allow you to protect yourself from any possible errors, compromised site, failing functionalities. The update must be done properly and regularly.
Step #6 Set up backups*
You want to be able to restore your site and data if something goes awry.
It’s almost ready but wait before you click Publish! First…
Step #1 Google Analytics*
- Look for a future post to Set up Google Analytics**
- On-Page SEO**
- Look for a future post to Apply schema to site for better SEO crawling**
Step #2 Add Facebook Pixel*
We’ll have a future post for this.
Step #3 Add sitemap*
We’ll have a future post for this as well.
Step #4 Create and adjust content**
- Add Content with excerpts**
- Add/change images with optimization and alt tags**
- Change color schemes**
WP Expert on Development & Support
We, at EvoDynamic, are composed of Expert Ninjas, protecting our partner's websites & provide Software Systems Excellence.
Our mission is to give you freedom from unnecessary headaches, technical overwhelm, and worries by setting up your website, doing the technical support, updates, and setting up your content for your website. May it be a landing page, pop up page, error 404 pages, your podcast episodes, etc.
Your website can be done, partner with us.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Schedule a call with us to discuss how you can own your time