How to Build a WordPress Website: A Step-By-Step Beginner’s Tutorial

How to Build a WordPress Website: A Beginner's Tutorial

Table of Contents

How to Build a WordPress Website: Introduction

When I started my business, I had no idea how to build a WordPress website. My perception was that creating your own website was difficult. It felt like a black hole with hundreds of steps. I didn’t know what it involved or where to start. I thought I had two options: either spend thousands of dollars on a developer or code it myself.

That perception stuck with me, even when I learned about WordPress and other beginner-friendly resources.

This limiting belief was costly. I could have saved a lot of money and time by learning how to build a WordPress website myself.

There are plenty of “how-to” articles on the internet about building a website. Although you might not know that – I certainly didn’t!

When I read these guides, I felt that it was a self-guided process. The other guides didn’t give me the specific, step-by-step instructions that I needed.

Why This Guide is Different

I knew that I needed a differentiated guide on how to build a WordPress website. I did this by focusing it around the most supportive WordPress hosting company, SiteGround.

SiteGround has 24/7 live chat support, and the wait times are often zero minutes. They make it easy for website owners to get started, with innovative in-house solutions like their WordPress Starter Tool.

Between this guide, SiteGround’s in-house tools, and SiteGround’s live support team, you will have support every step of the way!

You may have wanted to start a business for a long time. Even though it can be hard to start a business, bringing your concept to life is incredibly rewarding. You can start businesses for as little as a few hundred dollars, and new business survival rates are higher than you might think.

After finding a business name, creating your website is the first step in achieving your business dreams. At the minimum, writing posts on your site can give you a fun new hobby to complement your TV streaming habit!

The Goals of This Guide

We created this guide with three main goals in mind.

Success

At NameBounce, our goal is to help you create a successful business. The first step towards doing that is to create a great website.

We are super-focused on not overwhelming you in this beginner stage. Our guide, combined with SiteGround, is the easiest way to create a new website without paying a designer.

You have the ability to create an amazing website. Our guide and SiteGround will teach you how to build a WordPress website that you love. It doesn’t matter if you’re not skilled or comfortable with technology.

Savings

It’s important to manage your funds wisely in the early stages of starting a business.

By learning how to build a WordPress website using our guide, you’ll save thousands of dollars on custom design work. Even if you need a designer at some point, you’ll have saved a lot of money by getting the base site completed.

NameBounce is a self-funded business. We totally understand if money is super-tight, and we still want to help you. We also show you a more affordable option for building your website. It’s in Section 1 of this guide!

Simplicity

As I mentioned in the “success” section above, we are super-focused on not overwhelming you. Because of this, we wrote this guide with complete beginners in mind.

You won’t find advanced tutorials in this guide. But you will find enough information to get you a complete website that is ready to grow with your business.

You don’t need to let the word count intimidate you, either. We created the detail to give you more help, not overwhelm you. If you’d prefer to figure something out on your own, skip through the section!

Now, let’s get started!

To Start – Why Should I Choose WordPress?

WordPress is the most popular system for building websites in the world. Of all websites that are not custom-coded in HTML, 60% use WordPress. These range from small businesses to major brands like TechCrunch and the New York Times.

You’re likely debating whether to build your website with WordPress or a popular website builder like Wix, Weebly, or Squarespace.

Website builders work well for many business owners. We even recommend Tailor Brands’ cost-effective website builder at the bottom of Section 1.

But depending on your business goals, WordPress has many unique advantages:

Price

The biggest pro of WordPress is that their platform is free to use.

With some website builders, you have to pay for added features. For example, many SquareSpace plans charge a 3% transaction fee on each sale you make.

There are many free themes and plugins on WordPress. It’s perfectly viable to not pay for anything other than hosting (which we’ll get to later).

Plugins

Plugins are software tools that add more features to your WordPress site. There are over 50,000 WordPress plugins, and developers are adding new plugins each day.

Since WordPress is such a popular platform, many third-party developers create WordPress plugins. The website builders aren’t as popular as WordPress, and there are fewer plugin options. With fewer plugin options, you’re more limited as to what you can do with your site.

Ease of Use and Scalability

Previously, the primary advantage of choosing the website builders over WordPress was that they were more accessible for beginners.

Now, WordPress is as good for beginners as the website builders. The Elementor page builder for WordPress changed everything on this front.

With Elementor, you can create a WordPress site using the same drag-and-drop features as the website builders. The best part is that the core features are free to use.

On top of that, you won’t have to worry about eventually outgrowing your website. Even if your business becomes as big as the New York Times!

Finally, many online tutorial creators write with WordPress websites in mind. You will have a more difficult time following them if you use another website builder.

SECTION 1: Your Name and Logo

It’s important to have your domain, logo, and branding before starting your website. Having these will make sure your brand is on point before you start designing your website.

Free Naming Options

You probably came to NameBounce to use our business name generator. If you haven’t, give it a try. It will give you tons of business name ideas based off of one keyword.

If you need help, read through the content that we wrote below the search box. And check out our “How to Name Your Business” post!

We created guides on naming several other types of businesses. Navigate to the “generators” button on the bottom of the business name generator page. We have guides for mobile apps, blogs, gyms, restaurants, and YouTube channels.

This is a screenshot of NameBounce's domain name generator.

An Important Disclaimer

On NameBounce, the domain name availability checks are 97-98% accurate, and many of the false positives are likely to be solid options. Make sure to double-check the domain name’s availability before you add it to your brainstorming list.

Our Paid Naming Solution ($97)

Naming a new business can be stressful and time-consuming. The thought of wasting time and energy on naming can be frustrating. And it’s much easier to have someone take care of it for you.

We created an extensively-tested, one-of-a-kind system that will help you choose a memorable name in record time. It’s called Naming Made Easy!

We designed the course to minimize the thinking you need to do! In the course, you generate all the business names using free online tools. The tools do the thinking for you. You only need to sit back and pick the names you like.

You can find a name with as little as a few hours of your time. It’s only $97, and if you’re unemployed, you can get it for free. For more detail, check out our Naming Made Easy course page!

How to Design Your Logo in 5 Minutes Using AI

Tailor Brands is the world’s leading AI-based logo maker and branding tool. Using technology, it provides professional-quality logos for a fraction of the cost of a professional designer.

Tailor is popular with many business owners. They have over 14 million users around the world. In total, those users have created over 500 million designs.

Tailor’s AI is easy to use. You start by answering a few simple questions. After that, Tailor’s AI will design dozens of awesome logos for you. You can customize it to your liking using their intuitive logo editor. They even make it easy to add a slogan or tagline.

The best part is that the logo designs and customizations are free! You pay when you find a logo that you love.

We partnered with Tailor to offer an exclusive 30% discount for NameBounce users. After you use our business name generator, click on one of the names. We’ll double-check that the name is available. Assuming it is, you can click a button to go to Tailor with the discount applied.

For more information on Tailor’s logo maker, take a look at our comprehensive Tailor Brands review.

Tailor Has an Affordable Website Builder

Tailor offers more than the logo with their plans. They offer a full branding studio, complete with a website builder, domain registration, and more. Tailor designed their platform to be an “all-in-one” branding solution for small businesses.

Tailor’s standard annual plan includes website hosting (which we describe below). With the plan, they offer free domain registration for one year. With our discount, it costs $4.19 per month, or a little over $50 for the whole year.

While you can’t host a WordPress site with Tailor, they have many features and templates to choose from. And if costs are tight for you, Tailor’s plan is more cost-effective than almost every WordPress host.

You can learn more about their website builder in our comprehensive Tailor Brands review!

SECTION 2: Purchase the Domain Name and Website Hosting

What is Website Hosting?

When you enter a website into your address bar, your computer sends a request to a server. The server holds the files for the website you want to reach. The server will see the request coming from your computer, and “serve” the files to you. Then, you’ll be able to see the website on your computer. That is the essence of how a website loads!

To build a website, you need Website Hosting to purchase access to your own server.

What is the Best WordPress Hosting Company?

We believe that SiteGround provides the best WordPress website hosting service on the market.

We love SiteGround for many reasons. SiteGround offers free SSL, which you need to get the “SECURE” lock next to your website address in your browser. They give you free access to the Cloudflare content delivery network, which makes your site faster and more secure.

We aren’t the only ones that love SiteGround. They’re one of three hosts officially recommended by WordPress. There are tons of online reviews and social proof that rave about SiteGround (like this one, and this one). They have a considerable focus on introducing innovative, in-house solutions that will make your life easier.

SiteGround’s WordPress Starter wizard is one of them. We’ll go into more detail on it later in this guide.

On top of that, their support is incredible. I usually get no wait when I contact SiteGround’s support team via chat. Having live support is huge in the early stages of building a website.

Finally, SiteGround told me that all of their support representatives go through extensive WordPress technical training. They are willing and able to solve a wide range of WordPress issues.

Many other hosts won’t go as far as helping you troubleshoot your actual website, so that is a massive help for beginners. It’s like having an expert sitting in the next room over, waiting to help you.

The Biggest Reason We Recommend SiteGround

What we wrote above isn’t the biggest reason we recommend SiteGround. The biggest reason we recommend them is their overall 98% customer satisfaction rating.

As I mentioned on our About page, our most important goal is to earn your trust. To me, that one number speaks volumes about the overall quality of SiteGround’s service.

Although we think SiteGround is a fantastic web host, we highly recommend that you read other reviews online to make an unbiased decision.

You can install WordPress with any host, and there are many themes that use Elementor. There are a few SiteGround-specific items in this guide, but you can follow the vast majority of it with most other web hosts.

Click here when you’re ready to start the process with SiteGround.

This is a screenshot of SiteGround's black and green logo.

STEP 1: Choose a Hosting Plan

When you arrive at SiteGround, you’ll see three hosting plans: StartUpGrowBig, and GoGeek.

StartUp is SiteGround’s most basic hosting plan, costing $6.99/month during the introductory period. StartUp still has many of the features I mentioned in the previous section.

Some features include free SSL (which costs over $60 per year at GoDaddy), free Cloudflare CDN access, and SiteGround’s amazing 24/7 live support.

GrowBig is the hosting plan we recommend for beginners. It costs $9.99/month during the introductory period. That is only $3/month more than the StartUp plan. Here are the most significant advantages of the GrowBig plan versus the StartUp plan.

  • You can accommodate up to 25,000 visitors per month, versus 10,000 for StartUp.
  • The GrowBig plan offers access to all three levels of SiteGround’s SuperCacher. You don’t need to know the technical aspects of the SuperCacher, but the main benefit of using it is a faster website. A faster site results in a higher conversion rate and more sales.
  • You get access to more server resources. More server resources further increase your website’s load speed.

The GoGeek Plan

Are you starting an e-commerce store, or expecting substantial traffic? If so, the GoGeek plan might be for you. It costs $14.99/month, or an extra $5/month over GrowBig during the introductory period. Here are the most significant advantages of the GoGeek plan versus the StartUp plan:

  • You can accommodate 100,000 visitors, versus 25,000 for GrowBig.
  • You get advanced priority support. SiteGround assigns your chat requests to their most experienced support agents.
  • You get more access to server resources, which further increases your website’s load speed.

WooCommerce Hosting

As a side note, SiteGround is one of two hosts recommended by WooCommerce, the leading WordPress e-Commerce plugin.

SiteGround has a dedicated WooCommerce hosting plan. It comes with WordPress, WooCommerce, and a storefront theme preinstalled. Using this plan makes launching an online store a little easier.

SiteGround’s Pricing

Here is a full table with SiteGround’s pricing and features!

The introductory pricing on SiteGround hosting ranges from $6.99 to $14.99/month.

STEP 2: Register Your Domain Name

After you choose a plan, SiteGround will direct you to the screen below to register your preferred domain name.

If you already have a domain or want to register your domain name elsewhere, select “I already have a Domain.”

I use Namecheap as my primary domain registrar. However, I like to manage my domain name and website in the same place, if possible. For any domains where I want to build a website, I transfer it from Namecheap to SiteGround.

It’s much easier for me to manage my domain and website in one place. But that’s me, so choose whatever works best for you!

In this screen, you can choose a domain name for your website.

STEP 3: Select Additional Options and Purchase your Hosting Plan

After you select your domain name, you’ll arrive at the final order screen. There are a few additional options and extra services on this page. Here are my recommendations for each of them:

Data Center

This one is simple; pick the data center closest to your customers. The closer the data center is to your customer, the faster your site will load.

Period

The introductory pricing applies to your initial term. If money is tight, get the 12-month plan. Otherwise, go for 24 or 36 months.

Domain Privacy (If you Register with SiteGround)

To register a domain name, you have to list your contact information in the WHOIS database. That means anyone can find your information when they search for your domain name in the database.

Domain privacy is a service that allows you to keep your contact information private. If I find a cool domain name idea that I want to register, I always purchase privacy protection. Of course, that’s my preference, so feel free to pick whatever is most comfortable!

Note that privacy is free with Namecheap.

SG Site Scanner

Cybersecurity is a real issue. It’s essential to try to limit security risks to your website.

The SG Site Scanner scans your website daily for malware and checks to make sure your domain name isn’t on a blacklist. If it finds any issues, the tool emails you immediately. It costs $1.65/month, so I’d recommend getting it for your peace of mind.

STEP 4: Go to the Admin Panel and Log In

After you complete your purchase, you’ll arrive at a page allowing you to start the hosting setup process. Make sure to note your WordPress account login, as you’ll need it in a few minutes.

After you fill in the details on those pages, you should arrive at SiteGround’s main User Area. From here, you’ll want to click on the “Websites” tab, then click on WordPress Kit. From there, you’ll want to go to the WordPress Admin panel.

SECTION 3: Complete SiteGround’s WordPress Starter Wizard

Now, you’re finally ready to learn how to build a WordPress website!

STEP 1: Launch WordPress Starter and Choose a Theme

When you log into your WordPress admin panel for the first time with your new site, you should arrive at SiteGround’s WordPress Starter wizard. Going through the wizard will take you through installing WordPress on your SiteGround hosting plan, step-by-step.

Your next step is to choose a theme. Themes are design templates that tell WordPress how your website should look.

No matter how you plan to design your website in WordPress, your theme is the base. Themes are highly customizable, but you should pick the best base theme for your website.

This is the first step in using SiteGround's WordPress starter tool.

SiteGround has themes designed for several categories. Click the filter on the left side to narrow down your options.

If you don’t like the theme options, don’t worry. Pick the default theme, and install a theme from a third party. Make sure that the theme is compatible with Elementor so that you can use Elementor when building your website.

After you select your theme, a screen will appear that asks if you want to install Elementor. Keep the box at the top checked and click “confirm.”

STEP 2: Install Functionality Plugins

Next, you’ll arrive at a screen asking if you want to install four separate functionality plugins. Remember that if you don’t want to install them now, you can do so later. Here are my recommendations for each.

WPForms Contact Form

I recommend keeping the contact form selected. The form will make it easy for your visitors to contact you.

Want to get an idea of the form’s appearance on your site? Take a look at the “screenshots” section of the official plugin page.

Jetpack

Jetpack is a plugin developed by Automattic, the company behind WordPress. It has a ton of different useful features, and you can pick and choose which ones to install.

Installing it now is up to you. The features are beneficial, but the functionality this plugin has might be overwhelming at this early stage.

WooCommerce Shop

WooCommerce is the leading plugin for adding e-commerce functionality to your website.

I recommend installing it if you plan to sell any products through your website.

The Events Calendar

Install this plugin if you want a calendar like this on your website.

If you don’t want one, or want to build one later, I’d recommend leaving this unchecked.

This is a screenshot of the functionality plugins you can install for your website.

STEP 3: Install Marketing Plugins

After you make your functionality plugin selections, you’ll arrive at a similar page for marketing plugins.

Google Analytics (via MonsterInsights)

This plugin is a must-have.

Google Analytics is a free tool that tracks a huge amount of data about your website. The MonsterInsights plugin lets you set Google Analytics up in a few clicks.

Optimize for SEO (Yoast SEO)

The Yoast SEO plugin is another must-have. SEO stands for search engine optimization, which is the process of achieving better rankings and higher-quality traffic from search engines.

The Yoast SEO plugin will allow you to optimize your site for search engines with ease. It’s an excellent way for beginners to get started with SEO.

Grow Subscribers List (OptinMonster)

OptinMonster provides a set of tools that help you convert more of your visitors into sales. They have great software – my favorite is the exit-intent popup, which shows an offer to users as they are about to leave your site.

I recommend waiting to install OptinMonster. OptinMonster is the first tool on the list that doesn’t have a permanent free tier. It’s better to start the free trial after you build out your website and are ready for traffic.

Note that you’ll need to configure some plugins before they start working on your site. After you’ve installed the plugins, you can configure them on the WordPress Dashboard.

This is a screenshot of the marketing plugins you can install for your website.

SECTION 4: Add Content and Customize your Website

At this point, you should have your domain selected, hosting plan purchased, theme installed, and base plugins installed. See, learning how to build a WordPress website isn’t as hard as you think!

Remember, if you have questions, SiteGround’s support team is available live 24/7. They are there to help you, and eager to help you get your site launched!

STEP 1: Change your Site Title and Tagline

After you pick your plugin choices, you should arrive at the main WordPress Admin Dashboard.

The first thing you’ll want to do is title your site, and enter your tagline!

Go to the left side of the page. Under the “Appearance” section, click “Customize.”

This is the customization bar on the WordPress admin dashboard.

After that, your website will appear, with several options in a bar on the left side of the page. To start, click on Site Identity. You can change the Site Title, Tagline, and Site Icon here.

OK, that was easy! Let’s keep going!

STEP 2: Change your Default Color Scheme and Font

Next, you’ll want to customize the color scheme and fonts. Try to use a similar color scheme to your logo.

After the customization bar appears on the left side, click on General Options, then “General Styling” to change the colors. You’ll see many of the changes live and see how they affect your site.

A couple of items might confuse you. These are the “Hover Primary Color” and “Link Hover Color.”

The Hover Primary Color is the color that appears when you bring your mouse pointer over a button or another interactive element.

The Link Hover Color is the color that appears when you bring your mouse pointer over a link.

For fonts, click on “Typography” and you can change the settings from there. Generally, the fonts that are selected by default go well with the theme. You can choose to leave them alone if you want.

If you’re going to change it and need some help, ThemeIsle has a great blog post on choosing WordPress fonts. If you purchased a Tailor Brands plan, you can use the fonts listed in your brand book.

STEP 3: Add a Page

First off, it’s important to know what a page is and how it differs from a post.

Pages do not have a publishing date. The best practice is to use them for content that will stay static. Your company’s “About” page is a great example.

Posts are chronological blog entries on your website (with the newest coming first). If you create a post, it will appear on a blog section of your website.

To add a new page, you’ll want to close out the customization bar and return to your Admin Dashboard. Next, look along the sidebar on the left side. Highlight “Pages” and click “Add New.”

After you click “Add New,” you should arrive at the page below. Your first step is to add a title to the page. Since the theme I chose didn’t have an about page added by default, I made the page title “About Us.”

Note that you can change page titles and URLs quickly. Go to Pages/All Pages, highlight a page, and click “Quick Edit.”

This screenshot shows you how to edit a page title in WordPress.

Next, start adding text and images in the blocks below. Start writing, and press enter to move to a new paragraph (like in Microsoft Word).

To add an image, click on the “plus” icon on the left side of the block. You’ll notice that there are several blocks to choose from.

Click the “publish” button, double-check the settings on the page, and you’re all set!

STEP 4: Add a Blog Category and Post

The process of creating a blog post is no different from building a page. The two significant differences are where you make them, and the need to add a category.

First, you’ll want to create a category. Highlight “Posts” and click “categories.” Fill out the information on the next page, and you’ll have added your category.

This screenshot shows you how to add a blog category and post.

Next, you’ll highlight “Posts” again, and click “Add New.” Write your post like you wrote your page above. If you need ideas on what to write, check out this impressive list of 134 potential post topics.

After you’ve written your post, scroll down the sidebar on the right, and select your category. Click publish to bring the post live. Hopefully, you’re getting the hang of it!

STEP 5: Modify your Menu Bar

Next, you’ll want to start modifying your menu bars. On the sidebar, highlight “Appearance,” and click on “Menus.” You can select which menu you want to edit at the top of the screen.

Once you’ve selected the menu you want to edit, you should see the screen below. WordPress will show pages by default, but you can add posts, categories, custom links, and more.

This screenshot shows you how to modify your menu bar.

Click on the items that you want to add to the menu. Next, drag and drop on the right side to change the order. You can change the menu titles using the arrows next to each menu item.

Click “Save Menu,” and you’re done!

STEP 6: Read our Elementor Tutorial, and Start Editing

Now, we’re ready to start using Elementor. This section serves as the bulk of our guide to Elementor. It’s short, but you will find that using Elementor is intuitive.

You don’t HAVE to use Elementor; as you can see, the pages and posts that you created should look great on their own. The advantage of Elementor is the ability customize any page to look exactly how you want it.

Go to your page you want to edit, and look at the top bar. On most Elementor themes, there is an “Edit with Elementor” button there. Alternatively, you can go to the page or post within your WordPress Admin Dashboard, and click “Edit with Elementor” there.

Elementor will appear on the left side of your screen. Let’s start on the page itself. Highlight an individual section, and you’ll see the icons below appear.

These icons appear when you try to edit a section in Elementor.

The plus icon adds a new blank section above the section you highlighted. The dots allow you to edit the section, and the X deletes the section.

Once you’ve added sections, drag and drop the widgets on the left side within the section to customize your website. Below are some critical widgets to understand:

Inner Section

The Inner Section widget allows you to create additional columns within a section. The inner section comes loaded by default with two columns.

Want to add more columns? First, highlight one of the columns. Then, right-click the book icon that appears in the top left corner. The last step is to click “duplicate.”

Image and Icon Boxes

These boxes allow you to add an image or icon, along with a header and text underneath.

Heading, Image, Text Editor, and Video

Using these widgets should be straightforward. The only confusing part is the Heading widget.

For SEO, it’s important to use HTML header tags to structure your content. (Don’t get scared hearing the word HTML here! It’s really easy to change the header tag in the heading widget’s dropdown box.)

With headers, you should make sure to use the H1 tag for the title of the page. The H1 tag is the most important for communicating your page topic to search engines. Think of H2 tags as sub-headers, and H3, H4 and beyond as sub-sub-headers.

Structure your content naturally, like you would if you were writing a paper. It’s helpful to go into Microsoft Word, and try out using the Heading Styles on the top of the “Home” ribbon!

Button

Want to add a “click here” button to the page? Use this widget to add it.

Remember to Click “Update!”

Once you’ve made your desired changes, make sure to click the green update button in the bottom left corner. You don’t want to lose all of your work!

This is Elementor's navigation pane.  It allows you to fully customize your website.

SECTION 5: Final Tweaks

We’re almost there!

At this point, you should have completed the following:

  • Picked a theme from SiteGround’s WordPress starter
  • Installed functionality plugins, like the WPForms contact form
  • Installed marketing plugins, like Google Analytics
  • Changed your site’s title, tagline, and color scheme
  • Added pages and posts (or at least templates to add in content later)
  • Updated your menu bars
  • Modified any pages that you wanted to be more customized with Elementor

You’ll probably notice that there are a few additional items to clean up on your website. In this section, we’ll go through the most common tweaks that you’ll need to make to truly complete your website.

STEP 1: Add a Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

Every site should have a Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy. These documents outline the conditions that your visitors agree to by using your website, and tell them how you’ll use their data.

Most sites don’t need to spend money on a lawyer to get a Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy. Plugins will do this for you!

Getting these documents completed is much more straightforward than you might think. To get started, download the “WP AutoTerms” plugin.

After you activate the plugin, you’ll want to click the new “WP AutoTerms” item in the menu on the left side. Go to “Add Legal Pages.” You should arrive at the screen below:

Learn how to add a Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy with WP AutoTerms

Make sure you update your settings page from the reminder banner on the top.

Creating your Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions is straightforward. Click “create,” follow the wizard, and click “Publish” on the right side you create the page.

After that, you should see both documents at the bottom of each page of your website!

STEP 2: Create a Blog Home Page

On average, companies with blogs produce 67% more leads each month. Even if you don’t write regularly, having a blog is important for the success of your business.

If your home page doesn’t contain all of your recent posts, don’t worry! It’s easy to create a separate home page for your blog.

To do this, create a blank page containing “Blog” as the title. Enter your title and click “publish.”

Next, you’ll want to go to Settings on the left sidebar, then to “Reading.” If your homepage doesn’t display your latest posts, you’ll be able to pick your newly-created blog page as the posts page.

This screenshot shows you how to adjust your WordPress home page settings.

Save, add your blog page to your menu bar, and you’re done! Now, your new posts will appear on that page.

STEP 3: Edit Your Site’s URL Structure

You might want to make your URL structures more friendly to users and search engines.

Doing this is simple! Go to Settings/Permalinks on the sidebar.

I recommend either using the structure I outlined in the picture below, or using the “post name” structure.

This screenshot shows you how to edit your site's URL structure.

STEP 4: Choose to Allow or Disable Comments

If you want to enable or disable comments from visitors on your site’s pages, this is the place to do it.

Go to Settings/Discussion, and make your choice in the “allow people to post comments on new articles” line below.

This screenshot shows you how to allow or disable comments on your website.

STEP 5: Set Up SSL

Now, we’re going to go to the SiteGround user area. Instead of going to “WordPress Kit,” click on Site Tools.

Look towards the menu on the left side of the page. The first section you’ll want to go to is “Security.” Click on SSL manager.

In the “Install new SSL” section, select “Let’s Encrypt,” and click “Get.” After the certificate installs, click “Enforce HTTPS.” From there, turn on the “HTTPS Enforce” and “External Links Rewrite” sliders.

If you have any trouble, contact SiteGround’s support team. Once you’re done, you’ll have HTTPS enabled on your website!

STEP 6: Set up Cloudflare and Memcached

If your website is slow, your users will get frustrated and leave. Fortunately, SiteGround has made it simple to get your website loading faster in a few minutes.

Your first step is installing Cloudflare. You can select it on the left side of the page.

It is helpful to read the top section of the page to understand what Cloudflare does. Basically, it makes your website faster and more secure.

When you’re done, click “Set Up” in the bottom section. Create a new account, follow the steps, and you’re done!

This screenshot shows you how to set up Cloudflare.

After this, go to Speed/Caching. Make sure that you enable Static Cache, then click on Memcached and enable that too.

STEP 7: Set Up SG Optimizer

Now we’re ready to speed up your site!

Go back to your WordPress admin dashboard. Then, look to the bottom of the left side menu, and click “SG Optimizer.”

Next, enable as many of these features as you can. The only ones that I would recommend leaving unchecked are as follows:

  • Browser-specific caching: SiteGround doesn’t recommend adding this unless you’re experiencing issues.
  • Enable HTTPS: Since you did this, I wouldn’t touch it here. If you’re having issues getting the “secure” lock to appear, contact SiteGround.

After configuring SG Optimizer, you will have a much faster website!

Note that this section doesn’t cover everything from a WordPress speed enhancement perspective. My goal was to give you a few easy ways to improve your site’s load speed. If you want to dive into speed optimization, I highly recommend Tom Dupuis’ fantastic blog, Online Media Masters.

EXTRA CREDIT: Additional Website Tools and Services

If you’re exhausted right now, please take a breather! Once you’ve recovered, I’ve got some extra credit work for you!

You’ll remember the plugins that you installed during Section 3 of this guide. The list below outlines more tools and services that we recommend.

This extra credit work will give you an edge on your competition. It’s more than likely that your competitors aren’t using all of these tools.

The best part is that many of these tools have a “free forever” tier, so there’s no reason not to install them. For each one, I list the starting pricing tier, and the best time to start using each tool.

Let’s get started!

Website Tools, Plugins, and Integrations

Hotjar

Hotjar is an all-in one website experience solution. It allows you to see heat maps of where your users are clicking, watch visitor session recordings, and more.

Check out their Product Tour for more detail. They do an outstanding job explaining what the tool does!

The best part? Their basic plan is free forever!

  • Recommended Installation Timing: Immediately
  • Starting Pricing Tier: Forever Free

ConvertKit

One of the most valuable assets for any company is their mailing list.

Do you know those pop-ups that you see when you go to certain websites? Usually, the creators offer a helpful free guide in exchange for your email address. The marketing world calls the free guide an opt-in.

Once you’re on the email list, it allows the website/creator to build a relationship with you over time. Their goal is to get you comfortable buying one of their products.

ConvertKit is the most beginner-friendly email list management system. They will help you get ready for list subscribers within an afternoon. And the best part is that they have a free plan for up to 1,000 subscribers!

  • Recommended Installation Timing: Immediately
  • Starting Pricing Tier: They have a free plan! After that, the cheapest paid plan is $29/month.

Akismet

Akismet’s purpose is straightforward. If you allow users to leave comments on your website, it will block spam comments from coming in.

If you’re planning to allow comments on your website, Akismet is a must-have.

  • Recommended Installation Timing: Immediately, if you’re planning to allow comments
  • Starting Pricing Tier: Free for personal websites and blogs, $5/month for commercial websites

Outside Services

SEMRush

SEMRush is one of the most useful tools out there for search engine optimization (SEO) and competitive market analysis.

The most valuable features for beginners are organic research (to see where your competitors are ranking within search engines), keyword research (to find the right Google keywords to target), and paid search analytics (which shows search terms your competitors are bidding on).

I recommend signing up for an account when you’re ready to start optimizing your site for search engines. If you plan to follow the SEO blueprint using the “3 Months to No. 1” book below, I recommend waiting until you need it as part of the blueprint.

If you don’t want to do SEO, I still recommend signing up for an account. The free trial and free tier will give you valuable information on your competitors.

  • When to Start Using SEMRush: When you’re ready to start SEO
  • Starting Pricing Tier: 10 requests per day are free if you sign up for an account; free trial + $99/month otherwise.

You can sign up for a free trial with SEMRush’s Pro plan (their most basic paid tier at $99/month), or their Guru plan (the next level up at $199/month). Click whichever link you would prefer!

One final note on SEMRush. There are some SEMRush affiliates out there who offer a 14-day free trial (versus the standard 7-day). Feel free to Google “SEMRush 14-day trial,” and you’ll likely find some!

Options for Photos

If you need free stock images for your website, try looking on Unsplash or Pikwizard.

We use Canva Pro, which costs $9.95/month but has more stock images.

  • When to Start Getting Photos: As soon as you need stock images for your website
  • Starting Pricing Tier: Unsplash and Pikwizard are free! And Canva is $9.95/month.

Books

Making Websites Win

This book is worth its weight in gold. The authors are the founders of the Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) field. In the book, they give you a ton of information to improve your website experience. Having a better website experience will lead to more leads, traffic, and revenue.

I can’t do it justice in this short section, so click on the link and start reading the sample. These principles will help your company get on the fast track to growth.

3 Months to No. 1

If you want to learn SEO and get your site ranked in Google search results, this is the best book to buy.

It’s an easy read, and Will (the author) outlines a week-by-week action plan that you can follow. I highly recommend it!

How to Build a WordPress Website: Conclusion

You made it to the end! I hope you enjoyed the guide, and finally know how to build a WordPress website!

If you have a success story building a website using this guide, I would love to hear about it! I have a passion for helping people start businesses, and I love seeing ideas come to life.

I’m planning to add a testimonials page at some point. I’d love to include some of you when the time comes!

In the meantime, we wish you the best of luck in continuing to build your website and your business. If you stick with it and have a great product or service to offer, results will come!