Whether you’re already a business owner or just starting out, a website is an essential element in your quest to reach ideal clients. If you’ve decided to create your website design on WordPress – that’s great! WordPress is by far the most popular website platform, with an incredible amount of plugins and flexibility with regards to functionality.
how do I start my website design on wordpress?
Before you even think of designing your website, you’ll need to do some groundwork.
Firstly, choose a hosting plan as well as a domain name. Usually, and for convenience, you would purchase your domain name and hosting from the same provider.
If you choose to go to a website design agency for your web design, they might offer hosting, domain name and maintenance as a package.
Choosing a hosting service provider for your WEBSITE DESIGN ON WORDPRESS
If you’d prefer to have full control over your domain and hosting, you should choose to purchase your own separately.
When choosing a hosting service provider, consider the cost, the support you’ll receive, and also their server location. Providers such as Siteground have now partnered with Google Cloud services and offer great client support. They also have multiple, high quality server locations across the globe so you can be assured of fast loading speeds.
These services are extremely important and they can actually make or break your website. Poor hosting, slow speeds, poor support, and website crashes can and will hinder your SEO and, in turn, your business efforts.
Many hosting providers also offer ‘managed WordPress’ for their customers’ website design on WordPress which means you’ll never have to worry about updating WordPress plugins, etc.
Choosing your domain name
Unless you are a professional, freelancer or an established brand, we recommend that you avoid using your own name as your domain name. Using a personal name won’t be useful in terms of SEO.
For example, our own website https://arnaud-brunel.com uses the owner’s name. The company started out as a 1-man agency and projects were mainly based on referrals. People would simply search ‘Arnaud Brunel’ and find the website.
To cover more general (and popular) search terms like ‘website designer’ or ‘web design agency’, we’ve bought additional domain names such as https://capetown.websitedesignagency.co.za which receives traffic based on its backlinks. These domain names all point to our original URL.
If you don’t want to start from absolute zero with your website design on WordPress, consider researching the web (try ahrefs) for expired domain names which already have backlinks and, if you’re lucky, some domain authority. You will then start with a URO which is already being mentioned on the web and potentially has regular traffic.
Another tip for choosing your domain name is to research your keywords using a tool ike Ubersuggest. Find keywords which have a low SEO difficulty and high cost per click. You can choose to insert this/these keywords in your URL (domain name).
Installing WordPress on your hosting account
After purchasing your hosting and domain name, you can head over to your cPanel or your hosting account. Install WordPress on your hosting and link your URL. Most hosting service providers offer a simple automatic WordPress setup. If you use cPanel, you can scroll to Softaculous which manages the WordPress installations. The process varies for each hosting service provider, but it is usually pretty simple and straight forward.
An additional bonus is that these hosting providers usually have many video tutorials available on YouTube or on their own website. If you’re stuck, these videos will walk you through how to install WordPress.
First things to do on your wordpress website
Now that you have WordPress installed, there are just a few more steps before you can create your website design with WordPress.
Your website will need security, a page builder, an SEO plugin and a theme.
Unless you can write code, you need plugins to add functionality to your website.
Installing a plugin is very simple. You’ll see the menu in your dashboard on the left panel and click on “plugins > add new”. From there, you can browse the WordPress repository or upload your own.
How to choose a security plugin for wordpress
WordPress is the most popular platform for website design, but also one of the most targeted by hackers. Generally , the first things hackers will look for are : (1) Is your website running on WordPress and (2) Are your files visible/accessible in the public domain.
The favorite plugin to take care of this problem is Wordfence. With the free version of the plugin, you’ll be able to hide your directory files and the fact that your website is built with WordPress.
There are various plugins available on WordPress too. You can easily find them by searching on wordpress.org website. We’d advise you to use the plugins which are already installed on millions of websites and have great reviews.
Choosing the perfect page builder for your website design with wordpress
There are many page builders available which can help with your website design on WordPress and each one has their own advantages and disadvantages. If you’re after endless WordPress design possibilities, extensive add-ons, support and communities, nothing beats the very popular Elementor. There is a free version of Elementor and a paid version for premium content. In most cases and for ordinary websites, the free version will be sufficient.
Another advantage of using Elementor for your website design on WordPress is that it’s a visual editor with drag-and-drop options. You can put your elements in place and see what it will look like without needing any coding skills.
Choosing the best SEO plugin in the wordpress repository
The most popular WordPress SEO plugins are Yoast SEO and Rankmath. Both do practically the same things: they help you optimise your pages, posts and product descriptions for best results on Google. They will not directly help you rank, but they give you precious guidelines on how to rank as per best SEO practices.
But which SEO plugin should you choose between the two?
We chose Rankmath because, even though both plugins have a free version and a paid version, Rankmath offers much more for free than Yoast. Also, Yoast is a little ‘heavy’. We always favour lightweight plugins for optimal performance.
Choosing the best theme for WordPress
You’re now almost ready to start your website design on WordPress! The final thing you need in order to get started is a theme.
Uploading a theme is as easy as installing a plugin. Head to Appearance in the left panel of your dashboard and choose Theme. From there, you can search the WordPress repository or upload your own. There are various themes available for free on WordPress.
Now you have different options:
Start with a blank wordpress template for your website design on WordPress
You can use the theme “Hello Elementor” which is basically a blank theme. This theme is fully compatible with Elementor page builder and will give you the full flexibility to exercise your creativity and create an amazing website design on WordPress.
The possibilities are endless and you can just drag and drop widgets from the Elementor editing panel to your webpage directly and edit their content.
Build a website with templates using “Hello elementor” theme
Feeling a little low on website design inspiration? Elementor page builder has got you covered. Elementor offers multiple pre-designed sections, blocks and full pages. You can easily browse the library and insert any section or page and edit them with 100% flexibility. It has never been so easy to build a website on WordPress.
Another source for templates is Envato-elements. The plugin can be installed from WordPress. You’ll need to subscribe to get access to thousands of resources including full website templates ready to be imported with one click.
Some website design agencies sell pre-designed website templates which are basically “ready-to-launch” websites. The agency will install a copy on your WordpPess site and edit the template to match your brand and insert your content.
Install a theme from wordpress repository
If you don’t feel like starting a custom design or even editing multiple templates to fit your style, you should install a theme which is already 100% pre-designed. All you have to do is replace the text and media content with your own and, if you choose, change the colour palette.
We recommend Astra to DIY enthusiasts as this is a very versatile theme. It contains multiple layouts for multiple industries ready to be imported with one click. It’s also lightweight and thus very SEO friendly. Astra is compatible with Elementor, which is our favourite page builder.
Choosing the most SEO friendly theme
Our own website was built with GeneratePress which is WordPress’s fastest theme. It boasts extraordinary loading speeds and is very well coded for best SEO efficiency. With GeneratePress, you can either start off a blank page or use their premium feature and import a whole website template to edit.
Creating a website design on WordPress is not simply about designing a website. Make sure you make a checklist of what you need before you start your website design on WordPress.
For your website to be functional, secure and discoverable, there are multiple factors which must be taken into consideration. If you’ve got an eye for design, have the time to dedicate to the construction of your website, have a fair understanding of SEO best practices and will keep an eye on Google algorithms, then our guide above should help you end up with a very satisfactory product.
If you don’t have the time, skill or would just prefer professionals to take care of all the heavy lifting, drop us a message on our contact page or book a free consultation to chat about your project.