From Zero to Hero in 2024: How to Create a Stunning WordPress Website

WordPress is a highly sought-after content management system (CMS) that enables users to effortlessly create and manage websites. It is estimated that more than 35% of all websites on the internet are powered by WordPress, making it the most extensively used CMS globally. The popularity of WordPress can be attributed to its user-friendly interface, vast customisation options, and a large community of developers and designers who contribute to its growth. In today’s digital age, having a website is crucial for both businesses and individuals.

A website serves as a virtual storefront or portfolio, allowing businesses to showcase their products or services and individuals to exhibit their skills or talents. Moreover, a website provides credibility and legitimacy to businesses or individuals, demonstrating that they are professional and committed to their work. Additionally, a website can help businesses reach a broader audience and attract potential customers from all over the world.

Almost every other day we are asked about what goes into creating a website you need for your business, so here are the key ingredients to making that website dream come true in 2024 should you want to do this yourself. Alternatively, take a look at our website design process and pricing and get us into your plans for that new website you’ve been promising yourself.

Choosing a Domain Name and Hosting Provider for Your Website


Before you can start building your website with WordPress, you need to choose a domain name and a hosting provider. A domain name is the address of your website on the internet, such as www.yourbusinessname.com. It should be memorable, easy to spell, and relevant to your business or brand. When choosing a domain name, it’s important to consider the availability of the name and whether it aligns with your brand identity.

Once you have chosen a domain name, you need to find a hosting provider that will store your website’s files and make them accessible to visitors on the internet. Many hosting providers are available, each with their own features and pricing plans. When choosing a hosting provider, it’s important to consider factors such as reliability, speed, security, customer support, and scalability. You should also consider whether the hosting provider offers one-click WordPress installation, as this will make it easier for you to set up your website.

Installing WordPress and Setting Up Your Website

Software Update Electronic Device Display Concept


Once you have chosen a domain name and a hosting provider, you can proceed to install WordPress and set up your website. Most hosting providers offer one-click WordPress installation, which makes the process quick and easy. Simply log in to your hosting account, navigate to the control panel, and look for the WordPress installation option. Follow the prompts to complete the installation.

After installing WordPress, you can start setting up your website. The first step is to choose a theme, which will determine the overall design and layout of your website. WordPress offers a wide range of free and premium themes that you can choose from. When choosing a theme, it’s important to consider factors such as responsiveness, customisation options, and compatibility with plugins.

Once you have chosen a theme, you can start customising your website by adding pages, posts, and widgets. Pages are static content that provides information about your business or brand, such as an About Us page or a Contact page.

Posts are dynamic content that is displayed in reverse chronological order on your website’s blog page.

Widgets are small blocks of content that can be added to different areas of your website, such as the sidebar or footer.

Choosing the Right Theme for Your Website


Choosing the right theme for your website is crucial, as it will determine the overall look and feel of your site. A well-designed theme can make your website visually appealing and user-friendly, while a poorly designed theme can make it difficult for visitors to navigate and find the information they are looking for.

When choosing a theme, it’s important to consider factors such as responsiveness, customisation options, and compatibility with plugins. A responsive theme adjusts its layout and design based on the screen size of the device it is being viewed on. This is important because more and more people are accessing websites on mobile devices, so your website needs to look good and function properly on all screen sizes.

Customisation options are also important because they allow you to personalise your website and make it unique to your brand. Look for a theme that offers a wide range of customisation options, such as the ability to change colours, fonts, and layouts. This will allow you to create a website that reflects your brand identity and stands out from the competition.

Compatibility with plugins is another important factor to consider when choosing a theme. Plugins are add-ons that extend the functionality of your website. They can be used to add features such as contact forms, social media integration, e-commerce functionality, and more. Make sure that the theme you choose is compatible with the plugins you plan to use, as this will ensure that your website functions properly and provides a great user experience.

Customising Your Website: Adding Pages, Posts, and Widgets


Once you have chosen a theme for your website, you can start customising it by adding pages, posts, and widgets. Pages are static content that provides information about your business or brand. They are typically used for pages such as Home, About Us, Services, Contact, and more. To add a new page, simply navigate to the Pages section in the WordPress dashboard and click on the “Add New” button. Give your page a title, add content using the visual editor or HTML editor, and click on the “Publish” button to make it live on your website.

Posts are dynamic content that is displayed in reverse chronological order on your website’s blog page. They are typically used for news articles, blog posts, case studies, and more. To add a new post, navigate to the Posts section in the WordPress dashboard and click on the “Add New” button. Give your post a title, add content using the visual editor or HTML editor, assign it to a category if desired, and click on the “Publish” button to make it live on your website.

Widgets are small blocks of content that can be added to different areas of your website, such as the sidebar, footer, or header. They can be used to display information such as recent posts, social media icons, contact forms, and more. To add a widget, navigate to the Appearance section in the WordPress dashboard and click on the “Widgets” option. Drag and drop the desired widget to the desired widget area, configure its settings if necessary, and click on the “Save” button to make it live on your website.

Creating a Navigation Menu for Your Website


A navigation menu is an essential part of any website, as it allows visitors to easily navigate between different pages and sections. A well-organised navigation menu can make it easier for visitors to find the information they are looking for and improve their overall user experience.

To create a navigation menu in WordPress, navigate to the Appearance section in the WordPress dashboard and click on the “Menus” option. Give your menu a name, select the pages you want to include in the menu, and click on the “Add to Menu” button. You can also add custom links, categories, or tags to your menu if desired. Once you have added all the desired items to your menu, you can drag and drop them to arrange them in the desired order. You can also create sub-menus by dragging and dropping items below and slightly to the right of other items. Once you are satisfied with your menu, click on the “Save Menu” button to make it live on your website.

When creating a navigation menu, it’s important to consider factors such as simplicity, clarity, and organisation. Keep your menu simple by including only the most important pages or sections of your website. Make sure that each item in your menu is clear and descriptive so that visitors know exactly what they will find when they click on it. Organise your menu logically and intuitively, so that visitors can easily find the information they are looking for.

How to Use Plugins to Enhance Your Website’s Functionality


Plugins are add-ons that extend the functionality of your website. They can be used to add features such as contact forms, social media integration, e-commerce functionality, search engine optimization (SEO), and more. There are thousands of plugins available in the WordPress plugin directory, each with its own features and functionality.

To install a plugin on your website, navigate to the Plugins section in the WordPress dashboard and click on the “Add New” button. You can search for a specific plugin by name or browse through the featured, popular, or recommended plugins. Once you have found a plugin that you want to install, click on the “Install Now” button. After the plugin has been installed, click on the “Activate” button to enable its functionality.

When choosing a plugin, it’s important to consider factors such as compatibility, reviews, ratings, and support. Make sure that the plugin you choose is compatible with your version of WordPress and your theme. Read reviews and ratings from other users to get an idea of the plugin’s quality and reliability. Check if the plugin has a support forum or documentation, as this will be helpful if you encounter any issues or need assistance.

Optimising Your Website for Search Engines


Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving your website’s visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). It involves optimising various elements of your website, such as content, meta tags, URLs, images, and more, to make it more attractive to search engines.

To optimise your website for search engines, you can use SEO plugins that provide tools and features specifically designed for this purpose. Some popular SEO plugins include Yoast SEO, All in One SEO Pack, and Rank Math. These plugins allow you to optimise your content for specific keywords, generate XML sitemaps, add meta tags and descriptions, and more.

When optimising your website for search engines, it’s important to consider factors such as keyword research, on-page optimisation, and off-page optimisation. Keyword research involves identifying the keywords and phrases that your target audience is using to search for products or services similar to yours. Once you have identified these keywords, you can optimise your content by including them in your page titles, headings, URLs, and meta tags.

On-page optimisation involves optimising the content and structure of your website to make it more attractive to search engines. This includes creating high-quality and relevant content, using descriptive headings and subheadings, optimising images with alt tags, and improving the overall user experience of your website.

Off-page optimisation involves building high-quality backlinks to your website from other reputable websites. This can be done through various methods such as guest blogging, social media promotion, influencer outreach, and more. Building backlinks can help improve your website’s authority and visibility in search engine results.

Adding Social Media Integration to Your Website


Social media integration is the process of connecting your website with your social media profiles and allowing visitors to easily share your content on social media platforms. It is an important aspect of digital marketing, as it allows you to reach a wider audience and increase brand awareness.

To add social media integration to your website, you can use social media plugins that provide tools and features specifically designed for this purpose. Some popular social media plugins include Social Icons Widget by WPZOOM, Simple Social Icons, and AddToAny Share Buttons. These plugins allow you to add social media icons to different areas of your website, such as the header, footer, or sidebar. When visitors click on these icons, they will be redirected to your social media profiles or prompted to share your content on their own social media accounts.

When adding social media integration to your website, it’s important to consider factors such as the social media platforms you want to integrate with, the placement of social media icons, and the design of the icons. Choose the social media platforms that are most relevant to your target audience and align with your brand identity. Place the social media icons in a prominent location on your website, such as the header or footer, so that visitors can easily find them. Design the icons to match the overall design and style of your website, so that they blend in seamlessly.

Securing Your Website: Best Practices for Website Security

Group of hackers trying to break information


Website security is an important aspect of website management, as it helps protect your website from hackers, malware, and other security threats. A secure website not only protects your data and the data of your visitors but also helps build trust and credibility with your audience.

To secure your website, you can use security plugins that provide tools and features specifically designed for this purpose. Some popular security plugins include Wordfence Security, Sucuri Security, and iThemes Security. These plugins allow you to monitor your website for security threats, block malicious IP addresses, scan for malware, enforce strong passwords, and more.

When securing your website, it’s important to consider factors such as regular backups, strong passwords, software updates, and SSL certificates. Regularly backup your website’s files and database to a secure location, so that you can restore them in case of a security breach or data loss. Use strong passwords for all user accounts on your website, including the administrator account. Update your WordPress installation, themes, and plugins regularly to ensure that you have the latest security patches and bug fixes. Install an SSL certificate on your website to encrypt data transmitted between your website and visitors’ browsers.

Here at Nimble Digital, we have what we call ‘Care Plans’ that include the daily scanning of your website for vulnerabilities and off-site backups as well as additional, managed firewall and other hardening services that help minimise the likelihood of a security breach.

Maintaining Your Website: Tips for Keeping Your Website Up-to-Date and Running Smoothly


Website maintenance is an ongoing process that involves keeping your website up-to-date, fixing any issues or errors, and ensuring that it runs smoothly. Regular maintenance is important to ensure that your website remains secure, performs well, and provides a great user experience.

To maintain your website, you can use maintenance plugins that provide tools and features specifically designed for this purpose. Some popular maintenance plugins include WP Maintenance Mode, Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode by SeedProd, and Maintenance. These plugins allow you to display a maintenance page or coming soon page to visitors while you work on your website behind the scenes. They also provide features such as scheduled backups, database optimization, error logging, and more.

When maintaining your website, it’s important to consider factors such as regular backups, software updates, broken links, and performance optimisation. Regularly backup your website’s files and database to a secure location, so that you can restore them in case of a data loss or security breach. Update your WordPress installation, themes, and plugins regularly to ensure that you have the latest features, security patches, and bug fixes. Check for broken links on your website and fix them to improve the user experience and SEO. Optimise the performance of your website by compressing images, minifying CSS and JavaScript files, caching content, and more.

Our Care Plans can of course cater for all of the regular maintenance a WordPress website needs if all of this seems too much to handle.

Conclusion

Having a website is essential for businesses and individuals in today’s digital age. It provides credibility and legitimacy, helps reach a wider audience, and allows for easy showcasing of products or services. WordPress is a popular CMS that makes it easy to create and manage websites. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can choose a domain name, select a hosting provider, and install WordPress to get your website up and running. Once your website is live, you can customise its design and layout using WordPress themes and plugins. WordPress also offers a user-friendly interface, making it simple to update and maintain your website without any coding knowledge. With its robust features and flexibility, WordPress is an excellent choice for anyone looking to establish an online presence and make their mark in the digital world, but as you can see there is quite a bit of work in creating that WordPress website.

Beyond the items mentioned above, there is still the critical skill of graphic design where you would figure out your colour palette, fonts and general layout styles for each page – all of which should be tied together to your overall brand. This should be done before any WordPress installation and configuration takes place as it’s easier to adjust a design before it’s committed to a live WordPress theme.

And of course, once the website is alive and well, there’s the tricky matter of promotion through your marketing plan – SEO is a long game so it might be that some other form of digital marketing is needed, such as pay-per-click, to drive traffic to your new website.

This should actually be the very first thing to consider before any design or development work takes place – what is the purpose of the website (brochure, lead generation, appointment booking, product sales etc), and how is it to be measured in terms of an effective success?

Top Tip: Do your homework here, before you begin any other part of the process and actually speed up the design & development needed.

If, after reading all of the above, your plan to create a stunning new website seems overwhelming, then reach out to us and explain your reasons for your new website and we can plan and work together to achieve the success you desire in 2024, and beyond.

Gordon Sheppard

Gordon helps owners of small businesses and entrepreneurs in the service industries run a more effective business website. He can help your business improve sales, increase profits, and gain efficiency by providing a results-driven, consultative approach. With a career spanning over 30 years in technical support, marketing and service delivery, Gordon understands business owners' pressures to position themselves ahead of their competition in the service industry sector.