A website is one of the most effective ways of marketing your brand to a global audience. Although there are several web building platforms, WordPress is by far the most popular. It powers close to 40% of the web, among many other impressive statistics. This platform is also incredibly easy to use, which makes it a favorite of both small and established webmasters. If you’re planning on creating a WordPress website, this article will provide a general guideline.
Benefits of creating a WordPress website
The biggest advantage of this platform is its beginner-friendly nature. Its intuitive interface allows you to build a fully functional website without any coding experience. It’s possible to create a WordPress website in minutes! Apart from ease of use, other benefits are:
- Flexible and customizable
You can create any kind of website with WordPress. Whether you want a simple personal blog or an extensive ecommerce site with shopping carts and global payment gateways, this is the best platform for the job. Even though WordPress powers tens of millions of websites, they all appear unique.
Whether your website has hundreds or millions of members, WordPress can accommodate all their needs. No matter how complex the functionality is, you can achieve your online objectives.
- Search engine friendly
WordPress’ clean, beautiful, and simple code makes it easy for search engines to index. It allows you to make SEO-friendly additions such as meta tags, links, descriptions, images and videos, and headers. The team behind this amazing platform also consistently provide useful updates that keep up with major search engine changes.
- You have total control of your website
Unlike in the past when you needed to hire a web designer or coder, creating a WordPress website is a breeze. With the help of themes, plugins, and helpful resources, you can do all the work by yourself. You can also log into your website from any internet-connected device and make necessary changes.
- WordPress is mobile responsive
A huge chunk of global internet users access the web from mobile devices. Google and other search engines are increasingly ranking sites that put the mobile experience first. The WordPress platform has thousands of themes and plugins that extend this responsiveness.
What you need before creating a WordPress website
There are four main aspects of any website:
1. A domain name
If you love food and want to share your passion with the whole world, you’ll need a catchy name for your blog. Let’s say you decide on food.com (even though it’s already taken!), that will be your domain name.
The .com part is what is referred to as a domain name extension, and indicates that you’re using your website for commercial purposes. Other extensions include .org (mainly reserved for charitable organizations), .edu (educational institutions), .gov (for American government websites), and .net (network).
They are known as top-level domains (TLDs) because they’re the most popular. We also have country-specific domain names such as .uk (united kingdom), .cn (China), .ke (Kenya), .af (Afghanistan), and so on. If you pick one of these, it indicates your specific base of operation, as well as your preferred target market.
Domain name search
Once you decide on the name of your website, you must claim your unique domain name by buying it from a domain name seller. Most of them have a search bar that shows you whether your desired name is available. Before creating a WordPress Website, visit a neutral site such as bustaname.com and search for the name.
From the example above, food.com won’t be available, so you’ll have to tweak your search. You can try variations such as goodfood.com, tastyfood.com, yummyrecipes.com, until you come across one that’s available for purchase. Try to keep the domain name as short as you can. For our example, tastyfood.com is better than mytastyfoodblog.com.
Buying your domain name
Once you find a suitable and available domain name, you can proceed with the purchase. Most cost between $5 and $20. Some sellers give enticing offers such as 1 cent for the first year. Although it sounds tempting, such offers are made with the intention of locking you in, after which you get charged exorbitant renewal fees.
Before buying a domain name, consider its renewal cost. For example, if seller A sells you a domain name for $1, but renews it at $15 per year, in a 10 year period you’ll have paid $136 ($1+ ($15×9)). If seller B offers a flat rate of $9 per year, you’ll pay a total of $90 over a 10 year period. So while first year offers might tempt you, look at the long term cost.
I buy my domain names from namesilo.com because they’re incredibly affordable, without any hidden fees or renewal hikes. They’re also transparent because they tell you exactly how much your renewal will cost.
2. Web hosting
Without web hosting, your website wouldn’t be accessible to your audience. Think of it as the cloud which stores your content, and retrieves it every time search engines and users need it. Although web hosting companies also sell domain names, you don’t have to buy from them.
You can buy your domain name from namesilo, then host your website on interserver.net or another suitable web host. These companies also have intuitive dashboards and control panels that make the process of creating a WordPress website easy.
I find Bluehost to be extremely friendly to newbie webmasters. They give you secure and affordable hosting packages, as well as top notch customer support and helpful resources. They also allow you to install WordPress and start posting in a few clicks.
3. User interface (UI) and functionality
UI design heavily influences how your users interact with your website. A good user interface is one that simplifies otherwise complex computer concepts. Functionality allows your audience to get the most out of their interaction. You can extend a website’s functionality from a simple blog to one that contains an ecommerce section, forum, premium membership, and payment gateways.
The two main tools that make it easy to improve UI and functionality are:
Themes provide the overall look-and-feel of the website. They allow you to change colors, fonts, columns, header details, and several other aspects of your site’s appearance. What’s more, you can switch themes while retaining all your content.
There’s a theme for every type of niche, including news, real estate, online shops, freelancing, fitness, etc. Most developers allow you to use their themes on one website. Although convenient, these costs can add up especially if you create multiple websites.
The solution is to subscribe to use bundled themes. One of the best is Elegant themes. For $89 per year, you get access to more than 80 fully functional themes, including the extremely versatile Divi and Extra themes. The price includes use on unlimited websites and unlimited support.
If you don’t like the yearly renewal option, you can buy the lifetime package for a one time fee of $249. Other than themes, Elegant’s package includes a number of plugins that would otherwise cost you a pretty penny.
Plugins are comparable to smartphone apps. Whatever functionality you want to add to your site, there’s a plugin for that! Do you want anti-malware protection, website analytics, social share buttons, search engine optimization, and email marketing solutions? There are thousands of plugins to choose from for each issue you might have with your website.
Your website can have all the bells and whistles, but without high-quality content, it will be useless. That’s why they say content is king. Your audience comes primarily for the constructive information you offer. A beautiful look and feel just make it easier for them to consume your content.
Another point to remember while creating a WordPress website is to pick quality over quantity. You don’t have to post a blog post every day when you can do so once a week. Long-form content is also more suitable than short posts. A 1500-word and above article is more constructive than several 300-word posts.
You don’t necessarily need a website to come up with content. You can have a collection of articles on Word or Google Docs, then copy and paste them on your WordPress dashboard when ready.
Other than text-based posts, there are several other types of content you can share with your audience. They include infographics, images, videos, ebooks, case studies, white papers, testimonials, and product reviews.
In summary, you need the following ingredients if you’re interested in becoming a webmaster:
- A suitable domain name
- Reliable web host
- A beautiful UI and practical functionality. These are easy to achieve with the right themes and plugins.
- Top-notch content.
These are the basics of creating a WordPress website. Once you have them in place, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to share your content with a global audience. In my next blog post, I’ll show you how to transform your website from an idea into a pleasant reality.