- by Trish
Okay so, you are bound bent and determined not to hire a website design service to create your winning website for you. Then please be sure to follow along as I explain to you what you will need to do in order to make a website from scratch.
1.) Find a local website hosting service provider so that you will gain the easiest SEO advantage by hosting your website locally. This is one of the easiest methods to make sure that Google’s spider software not only indexes your site but also list your website in local searches for your given niche.
2.) Be sure to pick a URL or domain name that won’t embarrass you anytime soon. Too many businesses failed this step miserably, and some still do! Many web hosting services will now include the cost for registering one domain when you sign up to use their server.
3.) Be aware of con artists who love to pray on newbies when your domain registration comes due. Heck, I am STILL receiving letters (and email notices!) from con artist. If in doubt ALWAYS ask your web hosting service support staff FIRST before signing onto these types of scams.
4.) Installing WordPress as your website content management system (CMS) is highly recommended even for newbies, given the number of free themes and plugins to help you get started building your website.
If you have access to cPanel for your website, then be sure to ask your web host for instructions on installing WordPress in order to be certain that no mistakes are made.
Many web hosts cPanels access uses Softaculous to install WordPress with.
How to Install WordPress from cPanel
Be sure to use a STRONG password so that your website will be less likely to be hacked. Please read the following linked post as protecting your website really is important.
Choosing a theme does not have to be as daunting as some users like to make it out to be.
Armed with the proper information, there really is no need for additional expenses at your start, though you may want to give serious consideration for a premium theme in the near future. The reason I say this is that there are MANY advantages to using a good premium theme.
How to Choose a WP Theme
If the first theme you install proves not to be what you want, you are not to worry. You can easily change your theme. Simply sign into your WordPress Dashboard and go to Appearances > Themes.
If you know the name of the theme that you would like to activate, then simply search for the theme by its name from those already installed in your WordPress site and then simply click on the “Activate” button.
SIDE NOTE: Once you have made your final choice of theme to use, you will not want a lot of other themes installed anymore. In fact, it is recommended that you remove all but the one theme you are using. Explained later, below…
Or… you can click on the “Add New” button to find a new theme.
Then your browser will be taken to “Feature Filter” that you can use to find that perfect theme. Simply click on the “Feature Filter” button as shown in the image below…
And that will take you to the following with choices shown in the screen print below.
From here, you can be more specific about your needs or wants by simply check marking the features you want in a theme to include, and then click on the “Apply Filters” button, top-left of the list.
Once you click on the “Apply Filters” button, you will be offered several different themes to choose from.
Simply click on the theme you wish to try. Once you mouse over the theme of your choice, you will see an option to “Preview” the theme…
…or, you can move your mouse down to the “Install” button and click it to install the theme. Then you simply need to click on “Activate” and start to work with your chosen theme.
If you don’t want to use the “Feature Filter”, you can simply click on one of the other choices in the same navigation bar… those being: Featured, Popular, Latest and Favorites, as shown in the screen print below.
5.) Make sure to purchase and have a SSL certificate installed on your website for your local business too. This will make your site safer for mobile users and Google will then list your niche in local searches made from mobile devices too.
Also, make sure that all of your web pages are displaying a green padlock. If not, then here is an easy fix for connection is not secure prompts.
6.) Now that you have chosen your WordPress theme and you no longer have any need for all of those extra themes installed in your WordPress Dashboard > Appearance > Themes, it is time to delete all of the themes you do not need.
Here is how you can easily delete those unnecessary themes.
Let’s say that I have decided to NOT use the Winter Blues theme I installed earlier. Simply go to the theme you no longer require and click on it, so that it appears on its own as shown in the screen print below.
Then all you need to do is to click on the “Delete” option shown in the screen print above, and then click on the “OK” button as shown below, in order to confirm that you DO want to delete this theme.
You can repeat this process for each and every theme that you are not using.
TIP: If you EVER decide to use a child theme then you must NEVER delete the theme you created the child theme for.
7.) Okay, so now let us look at some very important plugins you need to give serious consideration for installing and using.
First and foremost, I recommend security be your focus as there are some very clever hackers out in the wild world web (my label) and they love to test newbies websites to see how weak their WordPress passwords are… and how mismanaged their sites are too.
Here is my preference for security…
If you Google search for WordPress security plugins, you can find other options available to choose from
Wordfence Security Plugin Tutorial
For those of you who decide to use free themes, you might want to seriously consider installing a Lazy Load plugin. Lazy Load plugins help your website load faster, making it more mobile friendly which will help your site to rank higher in search results, as most users have no patience for slow loading websites.
Again, a little searching to find the right Lazy Load plugin will be to your advantage. However, this should be a plugin that is totally unnecessary IF you purchase a premium theme, as it SHOULD be an option that comes packed with any premium theme.
Next plugin to seriously consider installing is an image optimizer plugin as this plugin will compress your images so that your website will load faster again.
Once again, this plugin SHOULD be included in any premium theme today.
Don’t forget to select a social media plugin if the theme you choose to use does not have social media icons included.
There are soooo many different and great plugins that you could use that I am only mentioning a select few here.
However, I do need to warn you to keep your use of plugins minimized as EACH and EVERY plugin you install adds yet another layer of code that different browsers and operating systems need to interpret.
Using too many plugins will only serve to slow the loading of your website down, which tends to make using a quality, premium theme more advantageous than a free theme, as they SHOULD need far less plugins.
8.) If you are a local business, you NEED to have a Google MyBusiness account… it’s FREE… and, you need to make sure to complete that account (verify your businesses geographical location too!) so that you will gain even more SEO advantage over your competition.
9.) Get those valuable social media accounts setup as they serve to give your website a great source for quality backlinks, plus an inexpensive way to advertise that your business now exists. The old saying of “set it and forget it” has NEVER worked for any website.
10.) ALWAYS keep your WordPress website up to date whenever a new version is offered by WordPress itself, your theme and/or any plugins you use… but FIRST, always backup your website BEFORE clicking on updates.
Here’s my choice of backup plugin… though, once again you can Google search to find the different choices of backup plugins available.
When you backup your site, and you discover that an updated theme or plugin breaks your website, you can EASILY restore your website to what your site was BEFORE you did any updating, simply by using your backup file
Restore Your WP Site Using All In One WP Migration
Once restoration of your website has been completed, then you need to head on over to the developers WordPress support forum that caused your site to break, and report the issue so that it can be fixed quickly; though you will need to create a FREE account with WordPress.org in order to submit tickets.
11.) And last but not least, should you decide that it is more important that you focus on your business while someone else tends to your website, then you might want to take a look at my services as they are not only inexpensive but website management IS included.
This would be like having a full time employee without the cost of hiring someone full time to tend to your website for you.
Now that you know how to make a website from scratch, you may need some helpful information on your content. Is so, following is a list of posts with helpful tips:
- What pages does my website need?
- Useful tips to help your website rank on Google page 1
- How images can get your business noticed
- How to get targeted traffic to your website
- Best SEO techniques for local business websites
Should you have any questions regarding how to make a website from scratch, please do feel free to ask by leaving a comment below.