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

how to build a wordpress website

NOTE: WE ARE PLANNING TO LAUNCH OUR INTERACTIVE, GUIDED CHATBOT IN THE NEXT 1-2 WEEKS. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER TO BE NOTIFIED OF THE LAUNCH!

I used to think that building a website was extremely difficult. Creating a website felt like a black hole with hundreds of steps. I didn’t know what it involved or even 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 resources that made it easy for beginners to build websites.

Even when I searched “how to build your website” on Google, and saw a bunch of beginner’s guides, I was still intimidated.

I needed someone to walk me through creating my first website, step-by-step. And not just a “how-to” article; I actually needed interactive support.

Since we run a business name generator, I wanted to make it easy to find a business name, register the matching domain name, and build a website. So I wrote this guide originally as a how-to article, just like the others. I made it as simple as I possibly could, but I didn’t think it was possible to give interactive support without hiring a live support team.

Then, I found a solution. Look towards the bottom right corner of the screen, and you’ll see it!

I determined that the best way to give you interactive support was through a guided Facebook chatbot, combined with live chat support from the website hosting company SiteGround (who you’ll read more about in Section 2 of our guide).

I built the bot to be used alongside this written guide, and vice versa. Now, you don’t have to do this alone by just reading a post. Our chatbot, and SiteGround’s live support team, will be there for you every step of the way!

You can pause at any time, and our bot will be right where you left off in Facebook, whenever you’re ready to start again.

It’s the easiest way to get your website up without spending thousands of dollars.

One final note. If you’re anything like me, you’ve had business ideas for a long time. Even though it can be hard to start a business, bringing your concept to life is so rewarding. You can start businesses for as little as a few hundred dollars, and new business survival rates are higher than you might think.

If you’re worried about the cost of starting a new business, or don’t think you’ll be able to devote the time to it, there’s still a way to take concrete steps towards bringing your idea to life. Just start up the bot, click “I need more time” in the first question, and click your primary hesitation in the next question. We’d love to show you that there are different ways to getting started!

Table of Contents

The Goals of This Guide

We created this guide with three key 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 chatbot makes it very easy for you to build your website, one step at a time.

No matter who you are, you have the ability to create an amazing website. Our guide and chatbot will help you create an awesome website that you love, no matter how skilled or comfortable you are with technology.

Savings

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

By following this guide, you’ll learn how to create your own website.  That way, you won’t spend thousands of dollars on custom design work.  Even if you need a designer to come in later, you’ll have already saved a lot of money by getting the base site completed.

NameBounce is a bootstrapped business, so we totally understand if money is super-tight. We are still here to help you. By creating a personal blog (like johndoe.com), you can start building an audience and establishing expertise in your industry, while only paying for the domain name and website hosting.

Simplicity

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

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

We Love Feedback!

If anything is unclear on this guide, we’d be super appreciative if you typed “feedback” into the chatbot and noted it to us. We are continually working to make this guide better, and your feedback is vital to us!

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 website builder, such as Wix, Weebly, or Squarespace. Here are the biggest reasons why you should choose WordPress:

Price

Unlike website builders, the WordPress platform is free to use.

With the website builders, you have to pay for added features.  For example, on if you want to host an e-commerce store on SquareSpace, you have to upgrade to their second-highest plan to avoid paying a 3% fee on every sale you make.

There are so many free themes and plugins on WordPress that 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, there are a lot of third-party developers creating WordPress plugins. The website builders aren’t as popular as WordPress, so 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 just 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 ever have to worry about eventually outgrowing your website – even if your business becomes as big as the New York Times!

Finally, so many online guides and books are written with WordPress websites in mind. It will be more difficult to follow these guides using another website builder.

SECTION 1: Find a Domain Name

Choosing the Right Name

You probably came to NameBounce to use our business name generator, so you’re on the right track!

Rather than going into naming here, I’ll refer you to our How to Name Your Business post.  It’s a comprehensive, 2,000-word guide on naming your business and finding a domain name. 

If you make sure your business name checks the box with all 10 of the tips, you’ll be in great shape.  Check out the post to get started!

Once you’re ready, start searching with our business name generator.  Type in a keyword or two, and you’ll see hundreds of business name ideas (with available domain names) in a few seconds.

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.

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 related to the web.  Once the server sees the request coming from your computer, it will “serve” the files to you so that you can see them on your computer.  That is the essence of the website loading process.

To build a website, you need to purchase access to a server so that you can store your website’s files.  This service is known as Website Hosting.

What is the Best WordPress Hosting Company?

NameBounce believes 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 also give you free access to the Cloudflare content delivery network, which makes your site faster and more secure.  Finally, they have competitive entry-level pricing.  With their introductory packages, you can get a month of website hosting for less than the price of a Starbucks latte!

They’re also one of only three hosts officially recommended by WordPress and have a considerable focus on introducing innovative, in-house solutions that will make your life easier.

SiteGround’s WordPress Starter wizard is just one of them, which we’ll go into more detail on later in this guide.

On top of that, their support is incredible.  I often get no wait when I contact SiteGround’s support team via chat.

I’m sure you’ve been on the phone with automated phone systems in the past.  Lots of big companies have tried to make things more personal by having the system talk to you. 

The worst part is that many of them disable the touch-tone input options, so you’re forced to talk to the system.  Half the time, it can’t understand what you say.  By the time you finally get to a customer service rep, you’re ready to slam the phone down.

With SiteGround, you don’t have to wait 24 hours for an email response, or call the phone (if you don’t want to).  Having live support is huge, especially 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.

However, this isn’t even 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.  Objectively, I can know that if you become a SiteGround customer, there’s a 98% chance you will be happy with your purchase. 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 still follow the vast majority of it with most other web hosts.

Click here (or on one of the names we generate) when you’re ready to start the process with SiteGround.

STEP 1: Choose a Hosting Plan

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

StartUp is SiteGround’s most basic hosting plan, costing $3.95/month during the introductory period.  It still is packed full of all the features I mentioned in the previous section. 

Some of the 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 generally recommend for beginners.  It costs $5.95/month during the introductory period, which is only $2/month more than the StartUp plan.  Here are the most significant advantages of the GrowBig plan versus the StartUp plan. 

  • You can safely accommodate up to 25,000 visitors per month, versus 10,000 for StartUp.
  • You get 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 means a higher conversion rate and more sales.
  • You get access to more server resources.  More server resources allow your website to load faster.

Finally, the GoGeek hosting plan is also a great option if you know that you want to start an eCommerce store or expect to get substantial traffic.  It costs $11.95/month, or an extra $6/month over GoGeek during the introductory period.  Here are the most significant advantages of the GoGeek plan versus the StartUp plan for someone creating their first website:

  • You can accommodate 100,000 visitors, versus 25,000 for GrowBig.
  • You get advanced priority support.  When you send a chat request, SiteGround will assign you to their most experienced support agents.
  • You get even more access to server resources, which makes your website even faster.

As a side note, SiteGround is also one of only two hosts recommended by WooCommerce, the leading WordPress eCommerce plugin.

If you know you want to start an eCommerce store, SiteGround has a dedicated WooCommerce hosting plan that comes with WordPress, WooCommerce, and a storefront theme pre-installed.  Using this plan makes launching an online store a little easier.

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 somewhere else, 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 when I can manage my domain and website in one place, but you can choose whatever works best for you!

choose-a-domain-name

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. I’ll outline my recommendations for each of them here:

Data Center

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

Period

The introductory pricing only 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 just my preference, so feel free to pick whatever you choose!

SG Site Scanner 

Cybersecurity is a real issue, so it’s essential to try and limit any security risks wherever you can.

The SG Site Scanner scans your website daily for malware and also checks to make sure your domain name isn’t on a blacklist. If it finds any issues, the tool emails you immediately. It costs less than $2/month, so I’d recommend getting it for your peace of mind.

STEP 4: Go to 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

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, the theme will be the base for your design.  They are highly customizable, but you’re going to want to pick the theme that will be the best base for your website.

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.  Just pick the basic Twenty Seventeen theme, and you can install another theme later.  Make sure that the theme is designed to be 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.  Just 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 always do so later. Here are my recommendations for each.

WPForms Contact Form

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

Check out the “screenshots” section of the official plugin page if you want to get an idea of how the form will appear on your site.

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.

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 allows you to track how many people are visiting your website, where your visitors are finding you, pages they visit, and a whole lot more. The MonsterInsights plugin lets you set Google Analytics up in just 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.

However, I’d recommend not installing it at this stage. 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 of the plugins before they start working on your site. After you’ve installed the plugins, you can configure them on the WordPress Dashboard.

SECTION 4: Add Content and Customize your Website

At this point, you should now have your domain selected, hosting plan purchased, theme installed, and base plugins installed!

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.”

After the customize bar appears on the left side, 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.

After the customize 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, so you can see how it affects your site.

You might be confused by a couple of items here.  These are the “Hover Primary Color” and “Link Hover Color.”

Generally, 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.

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 publish date.  The best practice is to use them for content that will stay mostly static.  Your company’s “About” page is a great example.

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

To add a new page, you’ll want to close out the customize bar and return to your Admin Dashboard.  Next, look along the sidebar on the left side.  Highlight “Pages” and then 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 always change page titles and URLs quickly by going to Pages/All Pages, highlighting a page, and then clicking “Quick Edit.”

Next, start adding text and images in the blocks below. Start writing, and press enter to move to a new paragraph (just 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 other types of blocks to experiment with here.

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 go to make them, and the need to add a category.

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

Next, you’ll highlight “Posts” again, and then click “Add New.” Write your post exactly 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. Then, click publish. Hopefully, you’re getting the hang of it by now!

STEP 5: Modify your Menu Bar

Now, you’ll want to start modifying your menu bars. On the sidebar, highlight “Appearance,” and then 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 scroll down to add posts, categories, custom links, and more.

Click on the items that you want to add to the menu, and then 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 finally ready to start using Elementor.  This section serves as the bulk of our guide to Elementor.  It’s short, but you will hopefully find using Elementor to be intuitive.

You don’t HAVE to use Elementor; as you can see, the pages and posts that you already created should look great on their own. However, with using Elementor, you can customize any page to look exactly how you want it, without writing custom code.

Go to your page you want to edit, and look at the top bar.  On most Elementor themes, there will be 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. For now, let’s start on the page itself. Highlight an individual section, and you’ll see the icons below appear.

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 of the 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.

If you want to add more columns, highlight one of the columns, right-click the book icon that appears in the top left corner, and 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 relatively straightforward.  The only thing that might be confusing is how the Heading widget works. 

For SEO, it’s important to use HTML header tags to structure your content.  (Also, don’t get scared hearing the word HTML here!  Once you add the heading widget, you can change the header tag in the 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.

Just 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.

Make Sure to Click “Update!”

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

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, so you can add in content later)
  • Updated your menu bars
  • Modified any pages that you wanted to be more customized with Elementor

Now, 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.

If you have any questions on additional customizations, we’d be super appreciative if you’d ask them through the bot.  That way, we can keep making the guide better in the future!

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, as well as telling them how you’ll use their data.

Fortunately, 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. The first thing you’ll want to do is 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. Then, go to “Add Legal Pages.” You should arrive at the screen below:

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

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

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

The first thing you’ll want to do is create a blank page, only containing “Blog” as the title. Enter this, and then click “publish.”

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

Then, simply save, add your blog page to your menu bar, and you’re done! Now, when you create a new post, it will appear on that page.

STEP 3: Edit Your Site’s URL Structure

You might want to change the structures of your URLs so that they are more friendly to users and search engines.

Doing this is simple! Just 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.

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.

STEP 5: Set Up SSL

Now, we’re going to go back 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.” Then, click on SSL manager.

In the “Install new SSL” section, select “Let’s Encrypt,” and then click “Get.” After the certificate is done installing, 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 just a few minutes.

Your first step is installing Cloudflare. Go to Speed/Cloudflare in the left side menu.

It is helpful to read the top section of the page to understand exactly 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!

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

STEP 7: Set Up SG Optimizer

Now we’re locked and loaded 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.”

What you’ll want to do now is 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 already did this previously, I wouldn’t touch it here. If you’re still having issues getting the “secure” lock to appear, contact SiteGround.

After configuring SG Optimizer, your website will be much faster!

Note that I didn’t cover everything from a WordPress speed enhancement perspective here, just a few easy steps that you can take to get a faster site. If you want to dive into speed optimization further, I highly recommend reading through Tom Dupuis’ fantastic blog, Online Media Masters.

EXTRA CREDIT: Additional Website Tools and Services

You might be exhausted at this point, so please take a breather!  Then, 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 highly recommend.

This extra credit work here will give you an edge on your competition.  It’s more than likely that your competitors aren’t using 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, as well as what I think is the best time to start using each tool.

Let’s get started!

Website Tools, Plugins, and Integrations

Hotjar

See the Feedback button in the bottom right corner of this page? That’s one of the Hotjar’s most helpful features. It helps me see what you like and don’t like so I can make my website better.

Hotjar also allows you to see heatmaps of where your users are clicking, watch visitor session recordings, recruit users for surveys and user tests, 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 (this is known as an opt-in).

Once you’re on the email list, it allows the website/creator to build a relationship with you over time, which increases the chance that you will buy one of their products.

ConvertKit is the most beginner-friendly email list management system, and you can be set up and ready for list subscribers within an afternoon. Sign up for it once you’re prepared to start marketing your business.

Through our affiliate link, you can take advantage of a 30-day free trial with ConvertKit.  Their standard free trial is 14 days, so this gives you an extra 16 days to try out the tool. Sign up here!

  • Recommended Installation Timing: When you’re ready to start building your email list
  • Starting Pricing Tier: 30-day free trial, followed by $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 highly 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.

Even if you don’t want to do SEO, I still recommend signing up for an account and taking advantage of the free trial and free tier.  It will help you get 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).  Just click the links on whichever you’d 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!

Unsplash

If you need stock images for your website, start by looking on Unsplash. Unsplash has royalty-free photos, and many of them are super-high quality. 

We also use Canva’s Photos Unlimited feature, which costs $12.95/month but has even more stock images.

  • When to Start Using Unsplash: As soon as you need stock images for your website.
  • Starting Pricing Tier: It’s Free!

Placeit

Placeit allows you to create logos, mockups, videos, and designs in seconds using smart templates.

I already had a logo when I discovered Placeit, but I plugged in my name and colors and got some pretty cool logo options. Click here to check out the results!

It may take some time to load the results, but give it a little time.  Generating all of those logos is difficult!

There are plenty of other options out there for logo design.  99designs is one of the most popular sites; you pay $299 and get a ton of different logo options submitted by professional designers.

However, I’d recommend giving Placeit a try first.  You might find something you love, and it’s free to look.

If you want some ideas on picking colors for your logo and website, Vexels has an excellent post on logo design psychology that is worth a quick readthrough.

  • When to Start Using Placeit: When you need a logo.
  • Starting Pricing Tier: If you want to purchase a single logo, it costs $39.95.  If you are buying a subscription ($14.95/month), you’ll get 50% off the logo price ($19.97).  You’ll save a little money if you subscribe for a month, and you can try out the rest of the features to see if you want to keep using Placeit’s other functions.

Books

Making Websites Win

This book is worth its weight in gold. Written by the founders of the Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) field, it contains a ton of information that will give your users a better experience on your website.  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. If you build your company with these principles in mind, your business will be 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!

Congratulations!

So, we’ve finally made it to the end.  I hope you enjoyed the guide and chatbot!

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

I’m planning to add a testimonials page eventually, so I’d love to include some of you in there when the time comes!

Over time, I’m planning to create more content, tools, chatbots, and courses that will help you continue to grow your business.  If you found this guide helpful, sign up for our mailing list below, or sign up for push notifications in your browser.  We promise not to spam you!

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

All the Best,
Axel DeAngelis

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