If you want to design a professional website or blog (especially one that is SEO-friendly), WordPress is an excellent choice.
WordPress is 100% free and powers over 24% of websites. There’s amazing selection of themes, hosting, plugins (for adding functionality), and WordPress itself is quite easy to learn. I’ve been designing and optimizing WordPress sites since 2011 and will show why WordPress is awesome, plus tips on getting started with domains, hosting, themes, and other resources.
I definitely recommend WordPress.org over WordPress.com since this gives you full control of your website and access to important plugins (plus other options). While it’s a bit more complicated to setup, you can always hire a freelancer WordPress developer for $40/hour.
The one thing I learned about WordPress, is that there are endless possibilities from both a website design and SEO perspective. There are tons of SEO-optimized WordPress themes to choose from which can be completely customized to your unique website design and SEO needs. I also understand there is a lot of information out there, and the learning curve can be pretty steep for someone who is new to working with WordPress, let alone new to SEO.
Here are some resources to help you get started…
- 10-Step checklist for designing your WordPress site
- Migrating your existing website to WordPress
1. WordPress Hosting
Getting domain and hosting is the first step to building a website. I recommend SiteGround’s GoGeek plan ($11.95/month) since it makes your website load fast AND you get priority support. If you’re on a tight budget, they have the StartUp ($3.95/month) and GrowBig plan (5.95/month). SiteGround has the best support out there, plus you get a free domain name.
2. WordPress Themes
These are the same thing as website templates, only most WordPress themes are super flexible and can be highly customized. There’s tons of WordPress themes out there, and some are better than others. I suggest starting with these top-notch theme stores:
3. WordPress Plugins
WordPress plugins are like apps for smartphones. They add functionality to your website that might not come built-in to your WordPress theme (this can be design, SEO, Google Analytics, social media buttons, etc). And like apps, there are thousands of WordPress plugins out there. But to make it easy, here are the plugins I recommend starting out with:
4. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Matt Cutts (head of spam at Google) says WordPress takes care of roughly 90% of the SEO mechanics – a technical part of SEO. There is quite a bit to SEO so anything you don’t have to worry about is a good thing. There are also tons of WordPress plugins, tools, and resources out there. Here are some WordPress SEO tutorials to help you get started…
- How To Create A Keyword List
- The Ideal Yoast WordPress SEO Settings
- Using Yoast To Optimize Content For Green Lights
- Local SEO Guide
WordPress was originally built as a blogging platform, however over the years it evolved into a content management system used for building websites, blogs, and websites that have blogs. You can add pages and blog posts with ease, use categories/tags to organize articles, and customize them to look super nice. This article will help with both blogging and design…
“Can WordPress do this?” It’s the most common question I hear and I’ve honestly never had to say no. Nearly all WordPress themes have built-in features like portfolios, social media, contact forms, sliders and other features. If a theme doesn’t have it, a plugin probably does.
From adding content to embedding YouTube videos, all the way to selling products through e-Commerce and integrating a newsletter, WordPress can handle pretty much anything.
8. Less Coding
Once your website is setup in WordPress, you’ll be editing your site in the WordPress dashboard. The dashboard makes it easy to add and edit content without knowing code. However, learning HTML and CSS will be very helpful. You can learn this at W3 Schools:
9. Community And Support
Free WordPress help is easy to come by. WordPress forums can tell you exactly how to fix most issues. Many WordPress themes also come with their own support forum, and because WordPress is widely-used there are thousands of video tutorials on Youtube.
10. Paid Help Is Around The Corner
Finding a WordPress designer is easy (I used to be one and still take on some design projects). Check out WordPress designers on Upwork – you can filter your freelancers by reviews, pricing, etc. This is how I used to develop websites that were beyond my skill level.
11. WordPress Is Free
Every website has domain and hosting fees, but WordPress itself is absolutely free. So are the majority of WordPress plugins. You can even find a lot of free WordPress themes, however I would stick with a premium theme since the theme developer is getting paid – so they’ll make sure the theme is legit. The main cost of creating a website is your time.
12. Getting Start Is Easy
Start by going to SiteGround to get your domain and hosting. Then choose a WordPress theme that fits your design needs (check out StudioPress, Zigzagpress, Web Savvy Marketing). You may want to consult with a WordPress expert when choosing your theme, but those theme stores I listed are a good place to start. Then install WordPress and your theme on your SiteGround account, then you’re ready to login to your site and start creating.
I know there is a learning curve to using WordPress. While I don’t do any free consultations, I’m always happy to answer whatever questions you have in the comments section! Just drop me a line and I’ll get back to you usually in a day or two. Good luck with your website!