[UPDATED: JUN 2022]
Are you interested in launching your own web presence? One of the best ways to do so is by creating a website with WordPress. A professional-looking web presence can be used for a range of purposes, from showcasing your professional skills in a portfolio to selling your services or products online, or sharing details of your hobbies and even showing off your latest travel experience. You could also go as far as bundling your knowledge into an online course and promote it with your WordPress website.
In this guide below, I’m going to outline how you can design your own website with WordPress. Although the process takes several steps, it is surprisingly easy to plan, setup & launch a functional website with WordPress.
Steps to Creating A Website With WordPress
Now where to start may be the first thing coming to your mind! First of all, take a deep breath and let me show you how you can go from #Layout2Launch in no time. Simply follow the seven steps below in this website with WordPress tutorial.
- Plan Ahead for Success
- Find your Web Host & Setup WordPress
- Customize your Design & Add Content
- Test for Mobile-Friendly Design
- Improve Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Get Feedback & Adjust Website
- Launch & Promote your Web Presence
Let’s get started, shall we …
1. Plan ahead for success
Define your audience & branding
Before thinking about the technical aspects of building a personal website, you should take some time to consider what your overall goal is for your website?
Are you interested in creating a blog that discusses your favorite hobby? Or are you going to develop a website that demonstrates your technical skills, with the goal of landing a high-paying job? Or perhaps, you want to share your knowledge with others by creating an online course? Defining an overall objective will make it much easier to settle on a design and decide which kinds of functionality to include.
Once you have an objective in mind, turn your mind to branding and messaging. Your website’s brand is the name, design, and style which identify it and set it apart from other websites. Messaging refers to how you communicate with your audience.
If you are creating a blog that documents your travels, your brand may be all about having fun adventures. The imagery, logo, layout, and fonts on your website could be colorful and lively. The messaging could be upbeat and fun. If you were designing a website focussed on your work in the financial services sector, you would need a very different approach.
Plan out your content
The hardest part is to get started! But how can you start if you really have no clue what exactly you want to have on your website content-wise? Yes, I know you could just create as you go along page by page, but believe me, I have been there with my students in my WordPress workshops many times over and over again.
Maybe the design you envision looks amazing as a template, but all of sudden, once you place your content it is all out of whack. You just spent hours designing something that won’t work after all … sounds familiar? I am not saying the content (copy & visuals) has to be perfect right away, but have some clue and a few notes on paper on what you wish to communicate with your audience. You’ll thank me later! Once you have an idea about your content, do the following:
Now you are almost ready to either get started with WordPress from stretch or you can search for a WordPress theme on platforms like Themeforest. And if still unsure of what you want, there are plenty of ways to get inspired on the world wide web.
Look for inspiration
When creating a new website, it sometimes helps to look at what others have done for some inspiration. You can either browse the Internet to find websites that you like or visit websites like awwwards. Awwwards showcases some of the best designs currently online. Other great websites for finding inspirational designs include wpbeginner, athemes, colorlib, and dessign. In addition to getting inspiration from the design of each website, take a closer look at their imagery, tone, branding, and information architecture. And remember, since your website is “only” a sketch right now, you can easily go back to the drawing board and adjust it without having wasted lots of time.
Some of the websites mentioned above share WordPress templates, which you can download for free or purchase for a small price. Using a premade template is a great way to speed up the design process for a professional-looking website.
2. Find your Web Host & Setup WordPress
WordPress is one of the world’s most popular content management systems (CMS). There are many advantages to using WordPress for your personal website, including its excellent performance, useful features, theme system, and powerful plugins. There are two ways to use WordPress when building a personal website:
- Create a free website on WordPress.com
Simply visit the website and create an account to launch your website. There are only two downsides to this approach. It will have a limited number of themes/plugins available, and it uses a subdomain (http://yoursite.wordpress.com). However, you can pay WordPress to have these limitations removed.
- Download WordPress.org and install it on a server
The other option is to download the WordPress code from WordPress.org and install it on your own web server. This option gives you complete control over your website. Companies like GoDaddy and WPengines specialize in WordPress hosting and can install your website for you.
Once you have signed up for WordPress web hosting, most of the popular hosting companies offer 1-click installation for your WordPress website. Simply follow along and you’ll be almost ready to go. The manual setup of WordPress may be a little trickier, but nothing is impossible with the power of the internet.
Also, did you remember to get a domain name? It’s the URL (www.mywebsite.com) to your website that you will be sharing with your audience later on. Consider an easy to spell name, do a quick search for availability, and check social media platforms if the same name is also available so you’ll have the same name on all platforms around the web.
Or, if you want to learn more about unlocking all of the capabilities of WordPress, content creation & SEO and so much more, take a closer look at my online course Website in Week.
3. Customize your design & add content
The simplest way to get your personal site up and running is to use a pre-made WordPress theme. There are thousands of themes available, most of which are free. However, if you do download a WordPress theme, it’s highly unlikely that it will be perfect immediately. You may find that you need to tweak the theme’s colors, fonts, layout, widgets, and navigation.
If you’re looking for flexibility to translate your own vision into reality, I would highly recommend you download my favorite go-to WordPress theme & easy to work with drag and drop page builder for WordPress. In addition, check out my in-depth WordPress Web Design Tutorial.
Once you are satisfied with the appearance of your website, now you can begin to add content. WordPress has made adding new content simple by providing a powerful What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) editor. You can use this editor to add text, headings, images, tables, videos, and various forms of media. There are also powerful widgets and plugins available, which display content from other websites and social media platforms and can turn your website into whatever you have in mind.
4. Test for Mobile-Friendly Design
A mobile-friendly website is one that renders well on mobile devices. That is, it looks great and is usable on the vast majority of mobile devices. Many WordPress themes are mobile-friendly out of the box. This means they will detect if a website visitor is using a mobile device and will adjust the code of the website to make it look great. Why not, test how mobile-friendly your website is?
If your theme is not mobile-friendly, you will need to hire someone to adjust it or make some adjustments yourself. There are some useful plugins to make this process easier including OBox Mobile, WP Mobile Detector and so many more. Just search for a plugin that suits your needs.
5. Improve Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is the process of changing a website so it features more prominently in search engines. This leads to an improvement in the quality and quantity of traffic that your website receives. WordPress has excellent SEO from day one. However, you can improve it by installing plugins like Yoast SEO, Rank Math, and The SEO Framework.
If you want to learn more about SEO, head over to Moz Beginner’s Guide to SEO.
6. Get Feedback & Adjust Website
Once your website looks great, has content, and is set up to work on mobile devices, get some feedback. Ask your friends, family, and colleagues if they like how the website looks and functions. See if they like the quality of the content and how it is presented. Take notes and adjust accordingly to give your web audience the best user experience possible. After all, you only have a few seconds to impress your visitors.
7. Launch & promote your web presence
Congratulations, you have created your own website with WordPress. Finally, you can begin promoting your WordPress website. Some of the best techniques for doing so include:
- Telling everyone you know about the website
- Submitting the website to online directories
- Talk about your content on social media
- Submit your website to search engines
- Get some backlinks from other websites
- Harness the power of email marketing
- Use reciprocal linking with other websites
- Add your website to Google My Business and Bing Places
- Create some Facebook ads
- Make an Instagram story
- Connect with influencers
- Create shareable content (feel free to share this blog post)
Your Website with WordPress in No Time
As you can see, creating a professional website is not too hard if you only go step by step to a successful website with WordPress launch. Sure, it may take some time for you to really get the hang of it. But most important, don’t give up and ask for help if you get stuck somewhere along the way. There are lots of resources available to learn how to design a website with WordPress so you just have to look for the answer. Or post your question in the comment section below.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2020 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness. In addition, I believe in transparency. If you use my referral links above, then I will get a small commission at no additional cost to you.