Having a good website is essential nowadays – especially considering that between 70 and 80% of potential customers head to the internet before visiting a small business or making a purchase.
Once, just the mere thought of building a website might have been enough to bring you out in a cold sweat, but times have changed. Establishing a web presence is now easier than ever, and we’re here to help you out every step of the way.
When it comes to building your website, there are two methods we’d recommend: using a website builder or a content management system (CMS). The former is a dream for tech beginners, whilst the latter requires a little coding knowledge.
They’re both excellent options, but their setups are slightly different. Using our many years of website-building experience, we’ll take you through the key steps of each, providing some helpful hints and tips along the way. And if you’re not quite sure which to choose? Don’t sweat it – we’ll cover that, too!
Once you’ve built your business website – whether you use a website builder or WordPress – check out our 13-step guide on How to Grow Your Business Online.
Before you start building your website, there are a few things you need to decide on. You might be excited to dive straight in and begin, but taking a moment to do some serious planning will save you a lot of trouble further down the line! Peter Erlandsson, founder of allguitarstuff.com, highlights the benefits of getting your ducks in a row before you get started:
‘As boring as the planning phase might be, it will serve you well in the future. A well planned site has consistent branding, a setup that makes it easy and seamless to grow and develop, and lots of content that is optimized for SEO (search engine optimization) with the right keywords in mind.’
Below, we’ve listed a few key elements to consider before you let your creative juices flow. Click on the plus icon next to each header to find out more.
Websites have the tools to accomplish a number of different goals, so knowing what you want yours to do is the best way to avoid confusion and provide a smooth customer experience. After all, no one wants to go to a Chinese restaurant expecting to eat Italian food – only to be served sushi!
It’s the same with websites. Your customers will have certain expectations, and it’s your website’s job to meet them. Whether you want to use it as a platform to sell goods, or simply provide information about your business, knowing this in advance will make it much easier to build a website that works for you and your customers.
Figuring out your target audience early on in the game can be particularly helpful when it comes to making important design decisions later on. The demographic you’re aiming for can have an impact on the images and copy you use, and it might even influence smaller details like your font and color scheme, too.
Cost is also an important factor when deciding whether to use a website builder or WordPress to build your site. Builders tend to be more expensive, but they have a set price – beginning from as little as $12 per month – that makes it simple to track your outgoings. Although WordPress might seem cheaper on the surface, there are more costs to consider (such as hosting), so you could end up spending more in the long run.
Website builders and WordPress both offer monthly plans, making it easier to spread the cost. However, they also allow you to pay annually. In the short term, this is more expensive, but committing to a full year means you’re more likely to receive a discounted rate, bringing the total amount you pay down.
Having a clear budget will stop you from accidentally overspending, and give you a better idea of what you can afford before you get started.
Doing thorough competitor research, then, can give you a good idea of what you should and shouldn’t be including in your business website. You don’t have to limit your investigations only to websites in the same industry as you, either. Take a look at some of your personal favorites, and ask yourself what it is about them that you like. Is there anything you can incorporate into your own site to make your business stand out from the rest?
Catherine Cooke, founder and CEO of Upskillwise.com, had this to say about the importance of checking out the market before you get started:
“When building a business website, it’s important to look at what your competitors are doing. You want to stand out against your competition, but you also want to align yourself with industry standards. Find three or four elements of their web design that you can mimic, and find another three or four elements where you think you can do something completely different. This will tell users who visit your website what kind of service or product you offer and help you stand out and stick in their memory long after they’ve clicked away.”
Building a website isn’t just a case of putting the platform together, and then chucking the content on at the end. Instead, you’ll often find yourself having to add various elements as you go.
Having this to hand before you start will make the process much smoother. Otherwise, you’ll have to stop and start, prolonging the building time and delaying your website launch.
Advice From the Expert
“In the post-Covid world, having a digital presence for your business is arguably more important than having a physical presence, at least in the case of some industries. And one of the simplest ways to have an online presence is by building a website. It is inexpensive yet so effective.”
Once you’ve ticked all the items off our pre-building checklist, it’s time for your next big decision: a website builder or WordPress?
Before you can make your choice, it’s important to understand the fundamental differences between the two. Although both result in a beautiful website at the end, the way you get there – and the skills required – are different.
Website builders are pretty easy to use, mostly because they don’t require much, if any, coding knowledge. They’re ‘out-of-the-box’ solutions, offering a range of templates and covering all of the tricky tech bits, like hosting and security, for you. However, they do have their drawbacks.
|Website Builder Pros||Website Builder Cons|
| • User-Friendly Platforms |
Built with beginners in mind, they often feature an easy-to-use drag-and-drop builder and built-in tutorials.
• No Coding Required
You don’t need to be a qualified tech genius to get up and running, with most builders offering a wide range of attractive premade templates.
• Free Plans or Free Trials
All builders at least have a free trial, with some even offering a free plan – so you can get started without spending a dime.
• Good Customer Support
Website builders usually come with a support team to help you out if you get a bit stuck during (and after) the setup process.
• Quick Setup
Website builders are often quick ways of getting at least a basic website up and running.
| • Restricted Creativity |
The templates on offer limit your creative control and make it more difficult to create a truly unique website.
• Can Be Expensive
Costs can rack up depending on the type of website you’re building. The more advanced you want to get, the more you’re going to have to pay.
• Could Outgrow Your Site
Because of limited creativity and steep costs, there’s a chance you might outgrow your website builder site quicker than you’d like.
• Swapping Platforms Can Be Complicated
If you want to swap to another builder at any point, chances are you’ll need to rebuild your site basically from scratch.
WordPress is an open-source platform, which means you’ll need to use code to create your business website. However, the creative possibilities are endless. It’s more of a ‘DIY’ fix that provides a framework for you to build a totally personalized website.
|WordPress Pros||WordPress Cons|
| • Limitless Customization |
You’ll get total control in terms of creativity, and can customize your website to uniquely suit your business.
• 50,000+ Plugins
You can access a huge number of plugins to extend and enhance your website’s functionality.
• Complete Control
You’re the one making every decision! From your hosting provider to the font you use, it’s all up to you.
• No Third-Party Ads
Unlike with some website builders, you won’t have any third-party ads cluttering up your pages.
• Popular and Reliable Software
Used by millions across the world, it’s an option that won’t let you down.
| • Not for Tech Beginners |
You will need an element of coding know-how to personalize your WordPress site and make it truly unique.
• Deceptive Pricing
Although it looks free, you’ll still have to pay for your hosting, security, domain name, and plugins, which will drive the overall cost up.
• No Dedicated Customer Support
Unlike with website builders, you’ll be on your own here!
• You’re Fully Accountable
You’ll need to stay on top of your security, backups, and updates. You’ll also be the one fixing any bugs or errors that crop up.
Both platforms will help you build a business website to be proud of, but the one you choose comes down to your own personal preference, and the level of technical skill you have.
If you’re not sure whether you have the technical prowess to tackle WordPress, we recommend taking both methods of building a website out for a spin to see which you prefer. Plus, you can always switch to the other platform later on if you decide that your first choice wasn’t quite right.
How to Build a Business Website with a Website Builder
1. Get a domain name
2. Create an email address
3. Choose a business website builder
4. Pick a template
5. Add content
6. Integrate apps
7. Optimize your site for search engines
8. Publish, monitor, and update
Step 1: Get a Domain Name
- What a domain name is
- How to choose a good one
- How much they cost
A domain name is your website’s unique address. It’s often the first thing that potential customers will see, so it’ll play a very important part in forming their first impressions.
Because of this, it’s a good idea for businesses to have domain names that are the same as, or similar to, their company name. For example, our domain name is websitebuilderexpert.com.
When choosing your domain name, make sure you do your research to check that there aren’t any similar ones floating around. You also want it to be fairly short and easy to spell. We’d recommend avoiding abbreviations or unnecessary hyphens, too. This will reduce the risk of errors and make it easier for customers to spell your domain name!
You’ll need to pay an initial cost to register your domain, and then pay a yearly fee to keep it registered going forwards. Doing this will secure your domain name and make sure that nobody else can take it.
A domain name typically costs around $10 to $12 per year. You can usually get your domain directly through your website builder, or via a separate domain registrar. Popular domain name providers include Domain.com and NameCheap.
Most website builders (such as Wix) include a free domain name for the first year. For any subsequent years, you can pay for your domain name directly through your builder.
When choosing your domain name, make sure you also think about your top-level domain (TLD), too. This is the bit at the end of your address, for example, .com or .org. Different TLDs have different prices, with the most common ones usually costing the most. When your business gets a bit bigger, it’s worth purchasing as many TLDs associated with your domain name as possible, so that other businesses can’t buy them and divert customers away from your website.
- What is a Domain Name? – Take a look at our thorough guide to domain names. You’ll find everything you need to know right here!
- 5 Best Domain Name Registrars – We’ll take a look at some of the best domain name registrars on the market, so you’ll know where to go to pick yours out.
- How Much Does a Domain Name Cost – Get clued up on the ins and outs of domain name pricing so you can factor this in when setting your budget.
Step 2: Create an Email Address
- Why you need a business email address
- How to get one
- How much it will cost
To make your business look more professional and established, you’ll need a custom email address. For example, firstname.lastname@example.org instantly looks more credible than email@example.com.
The most common way to format business email addresses is to include the business’s domain name.
For example, our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Getting a custom business email address is quick, cheap, and fairly easy. We recommend using G Suite, which is powered by Google.
It’s basically Gmail for businesses, except you have a personalized email address. You get the user-friendly interface, reliability, and security of Gmail, with prices starting at $6 per month for each business email address.
G Suite is fully integrated with some of our recommended website builders. If you choose to use one of these website builders, it’ll be easy for you to set up your own personalized business email addresses – you won’t even need to sign up to G Suite separately. For example, Wix allows you to create a business email address by purchasing a subscription to G Suite Mailbox from your dashboard.
Step 3: Choose a Website Builder
- Our top three website builders
- The features they offer
- Who they’re best for
Now, on to one of the most important steps: choosing your website builder!
It’s important to mention at this point that there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ solution when it comes to choosing the right business website builder. Different businesses will have vastly different needs – a trendy new restaurant, for example, will require something totally different from a small law firm.
That said, having tested over 50 website builders, we can confidently say that Wix is our top choice for building a business website, with Squarespace and Weebly also offering great options. You can’t go far wrong if you pick any one of these platforms, but you can check out our best website builders for small business ranking to see even more options.
Below, we’ll give you a quick rundown of each of our top website builders, so you can judge the one that’s best for you.
Best Overall Website Builder
Learning how to use Wix is really simple. That’s probably why Wix is the builder that users were most likely to recommend following our user testing. It comes with over 800 professionally designed templates covering a huge array of industries – including food service, which is partly why Wix also earns the title of best restaurant website builder.
Wix at a glance:
- Pricing: Free plan available, paid plans start at $14/month (billed annually)
- Design: Extensive collection of over 800 templates, covering pretty much every industry you can think of
- Features: Massive app market with over 260+ apps for adding niche functionality to your site
- Support: Includes phone, email, forum, and help center
Who is Wix best for?
- Users that need a lot of design help and guidance. Wix offers pre-populated template designs, so you can easily swap in your own business images and content instead of starting from scratch. Alternatively, you can use Wix ADI – this is an artificial intelligence design software that simply asks you what you like, then takes your ideas and builds a custom website design for you.
- Users that need more flexible tools for a specialty business website. If you need apps – for example, an online booking/reservation app or a restaurant/order takeout app – Wix is a safe bet. Its app market is one of the most extensive in the industry.
Beautiful Designs, and Ideal for Scaling Your Business
Squarespace is like the Apple of business website builders. It can help you create visually stunning, minimalist business websites that capture your visitors’ attention. Learning how to use Squarespace isn’t quite as straightforward as it is with Wix, but its award-winning templates are worth the slightly steeper learning curve.
Squarespace at a glance:
- Monthly Plans: Paid plans start at $12/month (billed annually). There’s no free plan, but you can take a 14-day free trial
- Template Designs: Squarespace takes a ‘quality over quantity’ approach to template design, offering a curated selection of 60 templates across key industries
- Features: No app market, but good quality inbuilt features (although less choice than with Wix)
- Support: Includes 24/7 email, live chat, and help center
Who is Squarespace best for?
- Users who want to create a visually stunning website for businesses in more creative industries, such as photography or design. You can see some examples here.
Find out more:
Great Value for Money
If you’re wondering how to use Weebly, let us explain. It’s not a heavy hitter when it comes to design, but it’s really easy to use and certainly delivers on features. If you’re after a cheap, no-frills way to get online, this could be it.
Weebly at a glance:
- Pricing: Paid plans start at $6/month (billed annually), and there’s also a free plan for you to test the waters
- Design: Weebly has fewer templates than Wix and Squarespace, but there are still over 50 themes to choose from, most of which are mobile-responsive
- Features: Biggest app store in the industry, with free and paid apps covering a range of categories
- Support: Includes 24/7 support tickets, live chat, phone, forum, and support center
Who is Weebly best for?
- Weebly Review – learn more about what it’s got to offer
Not Sure Which Website Builder Is Right For You? Get Your Personalized Recommendation Today!Take The Quiz Now
Step 4: Pick a Template
- How to pick a template
- What types of templates each builder offers
Now that you’ve chosen your website builder, it’s time to pick your template, which will act as your design springboard. This is our favorite step, as it’s the first time you’ll be able to stretch your creative fingertips and get a real sense of how your business website could look.
If you build with Wix, you’ll have total freedom to customize your template however you want, which means – for better or worse – you could end up with something completely different from what you started with.
Squarespace isn’t so keen to hand over the creative reins – but that’s not a bad thing, given that Squarespace’s templates are award-winning. In terms of customization potential, Weebly sits somewhere in the middle.
Whichever builder you go with, you won’t be short of options:
Picking Your Theme
Before making your choice, you can preview each template. When you find the one for you, simply click and start editing! You can preview and try out as many templates as you like before publishing. Weebly even lets you switch your template after your site has gone live, which can be handy for future redesigns.
Be warned though – this isn’t the case with all website builders. Wix, for example, doesn’t allow you to change your theme once you’ve published your site.
When settling on a template for your own website, try to look beyond the more superficial details, like font, colors, and images. Whichever builder you use, this stuff will be really easy to switch out.
Instead, focus on the structure of the site, the layout of the pages, and the general ‘feel’: does the template feel modern and ‘edgy,’ or more safe and traditional? Is it more ‘in your face’ or understated? Think about how this matches up with your brand identity.
- How to Choose Your Perfect Website Template Design – still on the fence? Check out this article!
- Collection of Free Website Templates – drag-and-drop web builders offer you a range of free templates to choose from. Check out some of the best here!
- How to Choose Your Perfect Website Template Design – a how-to guide that shares three simple rules to help you pick the right template design for your website.
Step 5: Add Content
- How to customize your template
- The types of pages your business website might need
Once you’ve settled on your template, you’re ready to start customizing and swapping out all the placeholder content for your own. This is the point where you can also add extra pages or sections if you want to.
Generally, website builders make this part of the process dead easy, but their formats aren’t always identical. For example, Wix and Weebly are both drag-and-drop builders, while Wix has a more extensive list of customization options. Squarespace, on the other hand, isn’t strictly drag-and-drop. Rather, the majority of changes are made in the sidebars, with limited customization happening on the actual page.
We recommend spending some time familiarizing yourself with your builder’s specific editor before you get going with serious personalization.
Adding Your Content
In terms of pages, all business websites will need:
- A strong homepage – Visitors should be able to work out what you do quickly, and navigate to other sections smoothly.
- An informative ‘About Us’ page – Tell people your story, and add pictures of your team.
- A clear ‘Contact’ page – Customers need to know where they can find you, and how best to reach you.
Many businesses might also need:
- A products/services page – Talk about what you do best, and add images if you have them.
- A blog – This can help demonstrate your expertise, keep your site feeling fresh, and help your site perform well with search engines – but only if you can commit to posting to it fairly regularly.
How to Design a Winning Homepage – what to include, and in what order.
How to Write an About Us Page – expert tips and examples to help your business sparkle.
Digital Skills to Learn at Home – how to make your business website stand out from the competition.
30 Factors That Influence Website Credibility – a helpful list of things to include on your website to boost trust in your business.
30 Factors That Influence Website Credibility – a helpful list of things to include on your website to boost trust in you business.
If you haven’t already, now is a good time to check out the competition. What pages do you like on their website? Is there anything you’ve missed on yours? Any pitfalls you’re keen to avoid? Your website should look individual, yes – but it’s good to know what your customers will be expecting to find.
Some more helpful resources:
- How to Make a Logo in One Minute – Without Any Design Skills: Learn how you can create professional logos without using fancy (and complicated) image editors like Photoshop.
- Where to Find High-Quality Images for Your Website on the Cheap: Discover the top five resources where you can find beautiful images to boost the professionalism of your website.
- How to Choose a Good Color Scheme for Your Website: Picking the right color scheme for your website can help brand your business, as well as influence your visitors’ psychology. Check out our guide on how to choose and use color.
- How to Pick the Perfect Font Style Design for Your Website: Choosing the right font style design can hugely improve your overall website design, as well as improve your visitors’ experiences. Find out how to pick the right font for your website here.
- How to Use Video Background on Your Website: Adding a video background to your website can make it look trendy and professional, and “wow” your visitors. Find out how to add one, and learn more about the dos and don’ts.
Step 6: Integrate Apps
- Why apps and extensions are good for your business site
- How to add apps and extensions to your site
- What apps and extensions are available
Now that you’ve sorted out your pages and populated them with your own content, it’s time to add in some extra features.
This is normally done through adding ‘apps’ from the builder’s own app market, although some only offer inbuilt features.
Using apps, or extensions, helps you to improve the functionality of your website by beefing it up with some additional features. This is particularly handy for small business owners because it gives you the freedom to pick and choose the apps that are most relevant to your brand.
Here are some examples of apps and features that we think can work well for business websites:
- Forms – this gives your customers an alternative way to contact you, and helps you organize your enquiries. You can also encourage people to sign up for email communication.
- Social media integration – whether it’s in the form of buttons linking to your social accounts, an embedded Instagram gallery, or a live Twitter feed, there’s an app for that.
- Cookie alerts – be transparent with your visitors about how you’re using their data, and give them the option to change this.
- Live chat – another useful (and increasingly popular) way to connect with your customers in real time.
- Google Maps – an interactive map to help your customers find you.
- Customer testimonials – show customer comments and testimonials on your site. Adding social proof to your website will boost trust and conversions.
To get started, create a free account with Square Online, give whatever product you’re selling a name and a price, and create a checkout link to place on your website. Simple!
But this is really just the tip of the iceberg! All the examples we’ve listed above are from Wix, simply because it has one of the biggest app markets (with over 260 apps).
This selection works across many different business types, but there’s also a bunch of industry-specific apps for more niche functionality – check out Wix Stores, Wix Bookings, Wix Restaurants, Wix Hotels, and Wix Video as examples.
Weebly also has an App Center that’s similar to Wix’s, although Squarespace offers something slightly different. Because Squarespace’s plans have quite a variety of features already built-in, users have the option of downloading a limited number of ‘extensions.’ Don’t worry – these are exactly the same as apps – it’s just the terminology that’s different! They’re particularly handy if you want your website to have ecommerce functionality attached.
Step 7: Optimize Your Site for Search Engines
- Why SEO is important
- Key SEO tips to boost your rankings
It’s all very well and good having a beautiful website, and adding that all-important contact page to encourage your customers to connect with you. But if they never see your website because it doesn’t make it to the first page of the search engine results, then all your hard work will be in vain.
When you type a search term like ‘best brunch in Chicago’ into Google’s search bar, a complex algorithm analyzes over 200 factors to decide on the results you’re presented with, and their order.
Mastering this algorithm and using it to your own advantage is a fine art, so we’ve put together three simple steps you can take to help optimize your business site. Click on the plus sign next to each one for more information.
There are a few ways to improve your site speed, one of which is making sure you aren’t packing it full of heavy images. Compressing these using a tool such as Kraken.io is a quick and easy way of reducing your file size in a few seconds, but without compromising the quality of your visuals. This way, you can keep your website image-rich without bloating your pages.
On the topic of images, we also recommend that you give all of your files keyword-based names, and provide clear and relevant alt text when uploading them to your website. Not only does this have clear SEO benefits, but it also makes your site more inclusive, helping those with visual disabilities access your images.
In addition to this, avoiding stock photos is also a good way of building a reputable brand presence. Using your own images means that you can select graphics that are specifically related to your brand and won’t be found on any other site. You can also employ User-Generated Content (UGC) by repurposing posts from your customers – with permission of course! Given that consumers are 2.4 times more likely to view UGC as authentic, this is great for boosting your standing in the eyes of Google.
If you’re not sure whether your site speed is up to scratch, you can run your page through a free page load speed tool (we like PageSpeed Insights by Google) to identify any problem areas. It’s a good idea to do this regularly – especially when you’ve uploaded new content!
Going back to our brunch example, you might find that ‘best breakfast in Chicago’ has a measly search volume of 10 users per month, but ‘best brunch in Chicago’ is way more popular, with hundreds of monthly searches. As a result, you’d want to update your content to advertise ‘brunch’ rather than ‘breakfast’ so you can scoop up all those extra searches.
Once you’ve found a few popular (and relevant) key terms, it’s time to start including them in your content. Make sure to use these terms naturally in your copy – Google can tell if you’re simply ‘keyword stuffing’ for rankings. Keep creating good content, and trust Google to join the dots!
Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list. There are plenty of other ways to up your SEO health – such as securing high-quality backlinks, as well as including internal links to keep your visitors clicking. Connecting your site up with your social media is also a great way of fleshing out your brand and making it feel more three-dimensional, too.
Overall, however, it’s important to know that all of Google’s ranking factors hinge on quality and user experience – so if you prioritize that, you can’t go too far wrong.
Step 8: Publish, Monitor, and Update
- What to do when your site is ready to go
Step 8: Publish, Monitor, and Update
Once you’ve followed these steps to build a beautiful business website, there’s only one thing left to do: hit that publish button!
Before you send your creation out into the world, though, we recommend giving it a final once-over. This includes checking how it renders on different screen sizes, and on different internet browsers, too.
After your site has been published, it’s always good to get another pair of eyes on it to make sure everything works properly, and to check you haven’t missed anything. Recruit your family and friends for some urgent user testing. This way, any issues can be ironed out as soon as possible.
Once you’re confident that everything’s working well and your traffic is on its way from a slow trickle to a steady stream, it’s time to sit back, relax, and bask in your success…
…but not for long! Like every great masterpiece, there’s no such thing as a ‘finished’ website.
Not only do you need to keep on top of updates – uploading new blog posts, adding new projects or services, and updating your ‘About Us’ page with new team members or achievements – but you also need to monitor how people are using your site, and take steps to improve their experience.
There are three tools we’d recommend for this – click on each one below to read more about Google Analytics, Hotjar, and Optimizely.
You can use Google Analytics to find out:
- Who your audience is, i.e. their age, gender, and location
- Your most popular pages
- Which pages people spend a long time on, and which pages people ‘bounce’ straight off
You can use insights like these to make adjustments to your site, and to inform how you make content in the future.
We’d especially recommend using Hotjar to test your homepage. It’s a great way to identify points where the user is struggling. It might be that they’re expecting something to be clickable that isn’t, or are spending too long trying to navigate through an overly-complicated menu. You may find that your key content is buried too far down the page, and only a tiny percentage are scrolling far enough to interact with it.
Hotjar is free up to 2,000 page views per day, and then costs $29+ per month (with a free trial).
- Get a domain name
- Create an email address
- Choose a business website builder
- Pick a template
- Add content
- Integrate apps
- Optimize your site for search engines
- Publish, monitor, and update
You can create a business website in a matter of hours if you really want to! Yes – it really is that quick and easy!
Using a website builder means your business can have a brand spanking new, and professional looking, website in no time at all. We recommend allowing a day or two to really get your site up and running to a level you’re happy with.
Most website builders have free plans, or at least free trials, that mean you can create a business website for nothing! However, free plans do come with restrictions that can be limiting for your business, for example, displaying adverts for your website builder on your site. This doesn’t give off a very professional image, but you can get rid of them by upgrading to a paid plan for a modest monthly fee.
Wix has a free plan that you can use for as long as you want. So if you’re set on creating a business website for free, give Wix a whirl!
We recommend Wix as the best business website builder. It has fantastic features and is a really flexible and easy to use platform.
With a website builder, you won’t need to source your own hosting. All of this will be covered in your chosen plan. You can leave the complicated stuff to the website builder and focus on unleashing your creativity.
How to Build a Business Website with WordPress
1. Decide whether WordPress is right for you
2. Pick the right hosting plan (we recommend Bluehost)
3. Register a domain
4. Install WordPress with one click
5. Choose a theme
6. Create content and pages
7. Install plugins
8. Preview, publish, and maintain
Step 1: Decide Whether WordPress is Right for You
- A quick recap of what WordPress is
- Who it’s best suited for
We’ll provide a quick word on this pressing issue. WordPress is extremely popular, powering one-third of all websites today. However, unlike website builders, WordPress is not quite an all-in-one package.
WordPress is a content management system (CMS) which allows you to create and customize digital content without a fuss. The other important stuff, like hosting, security, and domains, all need to be sorted separately.
You’ll also need a little coding experience to get the most out of WordPress. All in all, we’d recommend this platform to users who are comfortable with technology.
Step 2: Pick the Right Hosting Plan (We Recommend Bluehost)
- Why you need hosting
- The types of hosting available
- The best hosting option for you
Put simply, you can’t park your website online without web hosting. The right hosting plan will keep your site ticking along smoothly, without fear of lagging behind the competition.
Along with website builders, we’ve tested a whole range of hosting providers, so we know which hosts have the most. Bluehost scored brilliantly in all areas of our research, taking the overall top spot.
Bluehost even comes with WordPress-specific hosting plans to help make the whole hosting process a totally seamless task, offering extra features such as one-click WordPress installation and automatic software updates. Is it any wonder that WordPress itself recommends Bluehost, too?
Bluehost’s WordPress pricing plans are currently discounted, ranging from $2.95 per month to $13.95 per month, but these prices renew at higher rates later on.
- Why you need hosting
- The types of hosting available
- The best hosting option for you
Further ReadingBluehost Review – Read our in-depth analysis of our recommended hosting provider to figure out if it’s the right one for you.
Bluehost Pricing – Is Bluehost within your budget? Take a closer look with our pricing review!
What is Web Hosting? – If hosting is giving you a headache, take a deep breath and relax. Our thorough guide will help to demystify hosting once and for all!
Best Web Hosting Providers 2021 – Do you want to take a look at all your hosting options before you commit? Our ultimate web hosting comparison can help!
Step 3: Register a Domain
- What a domain is
- Where to register your domain
- How much a domain costs
Your website’s domain is like its digital address. It’s how users find your site on the mighty World Wide Web. Every website needs one, and it’s important that your domain both accurately reflects your business and is easy to remember.
You can register your domain separately using registrars such as Domain.com or NameCheap, which will typically cost you between $10 and $20 per year.
Or, you can register a domain for free on Bluehost for the first year when you sign up to a hosting plan.
When you choose your domain name, there are a few things to bear in mind. You want it to be easy to remember and spell – so it’s best to keep it short and sweet, with no abbreviations or acronyms. We’d also avoid numbers and hyphens – otherwise your visitors might get confused.
Lastly, while it’s a good idea to make your domain name at least somewhat descriptive of what you do, try to avoid being too specific. Give yourself a name that can accommodate any business changes that might crop up as your brand grows
Step 4: Install WordPress with One Click
- How to install WordPress to your hosting provider
Installing WordPress via Bluehost couldn’t be easier – it even provides a ‘one click installation’ feature! Once you’ve signed up to a Bluehost plan, you’ll just need to visit ‘My Sites’ on the dashboard, then click ‘Create Site’, which will generate a WordPress website for you to start customizing.
Even quicker still, your new WordPress website will already be there on Bluehost if you bought a domain name when signing up.
Even quicker still, your new WordPress website will already be there on Bluehost if you bought a domain name when signing up.
If you don’t choose Bluehost as your hosting provider, never fear. The majority of hosts come with WordPress plans, and offer seamless WordPress integrations.
Step 5: Choose a Theme
- The different types of themes on offer
- How to select your chosen theme
WordPress has thousands of themes in its directory, but you can easily filter them by industries and topics, such as ‘business’ or ‘magazine.’
You can choose from either free or paid themes, but it’s worth noting that some options require a subscription payment in exchange for customer support, updates, and general maintenance from third-party developers. However, most paid themes simply need a one-off payment.
To install a new theme, select ‘Appearance,’ ‘Themes,’ and then click ‘Add New.’ This will take you to the theme directory. If you’re comfortable using code, then let the creativity begin!
- Picked a theme that you’re happy to customize and that best represents your business
Step 6: Create Content and Pages
- How to add pages and posts to your website
WordPress content is categorized into pages and posts, and your chosen theme will dictate what that content looks like (at least to begin with). Pages are static elements that represent the main structure of your website, such as your ‘About Us’ page. Posts are usually more time-specific, such as blogs.
It’s really simple to create pages and posts. To add both, all you need to do is click ‘Pages’ or ‘Posts’ on the main dashboard, then select the respective ‘Add New’ button, which will take you to the main editor page.
If you completed all of the tasks on our pre-building checklist, you should already have a nice selection of content to hand, which will make this step much faster.
Once your content is uploaded, you’ll be able to use your coding know-how to customize the theme’s text and images to determine how it appears and create a more fully personalized website.
Step 7: Install Plugins
- Why you should use plugins
- A few of our favorite plugins
When it comes to plugins, there are no half measures with WordPress. It has over 50,000 to choose from, both free and paid, which are all really easy to install from the plugin directory.
You’ll find a plugin for any area of business, whether it’s SEO, social media marketing, or visitor analytics. WordPress really does have a plugin for everything. We always recommend checking star ratings before installation to make sure you’re choosing a high-quality plugin for your site.
Some of our favorite plugins include:
- WPForms – add a contact form to make it easy for customers to get in touch with your business
- MonsterInsights – the best Google Analytics plugin for WordPress
- Social Media Share Buttons – encourage visitors to share your content on social media quickly and easily
- Yoast SEO – a comprehensive SEO solution to help bring more search engine users to your business website
To get started, all you need to do is make a free account with Square Online, give whatever product you’re selling a name and a price, and create a checkout link to place on your website. Simple
Not all third-party features come from the WordPress directory, though. You’ll also get some handy features from your hosting provider. For example, Bluehost provides a $100 marketing credit to be used on Google Ads and Bing Ads. These are paid advertising platforms, which help your business bring more search engine traffic to your website using paid methods, rather than just organic methods like SEO.
Advice From the Expert“WordPress gives you complete control over your website and has a plethora of great plugins for those of us who aren’t comfortable with coding. Plugins make your life easier by allowing you to easily share content on social media and simplifying email marketing.”
Amira Irfan is a business lawyer, seven-figure blogger, and coach at www.aselfguru.com, an online company that helps entrepreneurs make money online and legally protect their businesses.
Step 8: Preview, Publish, and Maintain
- What to do when your site is ready to go
Happy with your creation? Great! It’s time to check, preview, and then publish your business website.
Before you publish, you must double-check your website for any issues or formatting aches and pains.
Just like any area of business, the work is never truly finished. After publishing, you’ll need to maintain your WordPress website by updating the design, fixing the unfortunately inevitable tech issues, and restructuring pages to help improve your rankings on search engines. The list goes on, but staying on top of these updates is the best way to achieve a successful website!
- Decide whether WordPress is right for you
- Pick the right hosting plan (we recommend Bluehost)
- Register a domain
- Install WordPress with one click
- Choose a theme
- Create content and pages
- Install plugins
- Preview, publish, and maintain
Most hosting providers, such as Bluehost, provide one-click installation. This means you can technically set up a WordPress website for your business in a few seconds. And even if you’re being more detail-oriented, adding your content and customizing the code shouldn’t take longer than a day.
Yes. WordPress is a self-hosted platform, which means you’ll need to organize your own web hosting. Having tested dozens of hosting providers, we know that Bluehost is the best option for building WordPress websites, offering brilliant server uptimes and WordPress-specific hosting plans.
You’ll usually end up paying between $100 and $200 per year to maintain your WordPress business website, depending on the size of your site and the type of web development support you require.