With the rapid growth of the online ecosystem, building an online presence has become increasingly important for individuals and businesses. One of the ways to achieve that is by creating a website using WordPress.
WordPress is a versatile content management system (CMS) successfully used by numerous website owners globally. However, WordPress can be confusing for those who don’t have any experience with the CMS.
Fortunately, you have come to the right place. In this article, we will look at eight basic steps WordPress beginners need to take when building their websites.
1. Find the Right WordPress Hosting Plan
The performance of your WordPress site highly depends on the quality of your web hosting. This is a service that rents space on a server to store all your site files, allowing your WordPress website to be accessible.
One web hosting type you may consider is WordPress hosting. It is a type of hosting fine-tuned to run WordPress websites optimally.
With managed WordPress hosting, users can host and manage their WordPress site hassle-free. The provider typically offers services like website and server optimization, technical adjustments, and update management.
These include pre-installed plugins, automatic plugin and software updates, and security enhancements. Most web hosts also use servers with higher capabilities for managed WordPress hosting, such as unlimited MySQL databases and compatibility with multiple PHP versions.
If you want your site to run at peak performance without spending too much time managing technical aspects, this is a great option.
Depending on the hosting provider, you may find shared, VPS, and cloud WordPress hosting options. Due to its better performance and multiple advanced features, managed WordPress hosting can sometimes be pricier.
Fortunately, many hosting companies offer multiple WordPress hosting plans to cater to different needs and preferences.
2. Pick Your WordPress Theme Carefully
A theme is one of the core aspects of your WordPress website, as it determines the site’s appearance. Even without graphic design knowledge and skills, WordPress users can easily change their site’s look with one of the thousands of themes available online.
These themes cater to various website types, including portfolios, blogs, or eCommerce shops. While some are available for free, the premium options usually include more features and customization options.
Thus, make sure to determine your main purpose in building a WordPress website before choosing a theme. It will help you narrow down the options and select a theme that suits your needs and preferences.
The theme needs to be aesthetically pleasing and make your website look professional. Don’t forget to pay attention to your budget – choose a free theme to experiment with if you are unsure which one is more fitting.
3. Focus on User Experience
User satisfaction is a core factor of your success as a website owner. Therefore, a good website’s design should revolve around user experience.
There are several core factors you should consider to optimize the site’s design.
To begin with, visitors should be able to find the desired content easily, without having to navigate through multiple pages or unnecessary menus. It is also important to pay attention to font and color palette choices to ensure the design conveys the proper message.
Also, your WordPress website needs to have a good page load speed. The ideal page load time for a website is under two seconds. A web page that takes longer than that to load is more likely to have higher bounce rates, negatively affecting its reputation and SEO.
Check your website’s load speed using tools like PageSpeed Insights, which also provides tips for speeding up WordPress sites.
Additionally, since most of the global website traffic comes from mobile devices, one of your priorities is to cater to mobile users. Thankfully, many WordPress for beginners themes nowadays are compatible with various types of displays and devices.
Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test is a great tool to see whether your website is suitable for mobile devices.
4. Install Essential WordPress Plugins for Beginners
One of the biggest advantages of using WordPress is that it has numerous plugins. These plugins can enhance your site’s performance or add various features to it.
However, installing too many WordPress plugins on your site may harm its performance. Some may slow your site’s load speed, and others may not work well together, causing various errors.
The best practice when using WordPress plugins is only installing and activating the essential ones, which differ depending on your site’s main purpose.
5. Install Google Analytics
Google Analytics is the most popular website analytics tool in the market. It gives you insights into your website’s performance by providing you with data about its audience and traffic.
The intuitive dashboard lets you look at real-time data like the number of visitors, bounce rate, and the audience’s demographics.
This information is crucial to better plan your website’s marketing or content creation strategies. For example, you can see which page gets the most traffic and analyze what makes it so engaging.
Visitors’ demographics are also useful for knowing what type of content may attract them or even target new markets.
Google Analytics is available for free, and installing it on your WordPress site is relatively easy. Therefore, it is a must-have tool for every WordPress user, regardless of what type of website they run.
6. Compress Images
Visual elements like images and videos are essential to make your website look more interesting. Your first instinct might be to upload images with higher resolution to make sure they look clear and professional. However, these images can considerably slow down your website.
This is why WordPress users need to know how to optimize images. There are several ways to make sure your images are in the right dimension and size, including using image editing software and image compression plugins.
Popular software like Adobe Photoshop or GIMP are some examples of tools you can use to resize images. Numerous websites also offer image resizing services, which can be a good alternative if you don’t have access to the software mentioned above.
We also recommend installing plugins like EWWW Image Optimizer or Smush to optimize images on your WordPress website. These plugins are designed to ensure media files won’t slow down your page load speed by implementing various compression methods.
7. Optimize Your Site for Search Engines
Search engine optimization or SEO is a strategy that involves improving various website elements to better suit search engine algorithms. Implementing SEO gives your site more chances to rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs).
According to the Search Engine Journal, the first Google Search result has an average click-through rate of 28.5%. This means the higher you are ranked in the SERP, the more traffic you may get. Better search engine performance can also boost your authority in the industry.
There are various methods to improve your site’s SEO, including improving its security, adjusting the page structure, and using relevant keywords on your content.
Even though SEO might seem a lot of work, there are various tools you can use to make SEO-related tasks easier. Google Trends and AnswerThePublic are some examples of websites suitable for keyword research.
Plugins like Yoast SEO are also helpful to implement SEO techniques on your WordPress site. It lets you analyze various aspects, including content readability, keyword density, and internal linking structure.
8. Pay Attention to Security
Considering the ever-rising risk of cyberattacks, website owners need to implement multiple cybersecurity measures to protect their and visitors’ data. Maintaining website security involves multiple tasks, including:
- Installing SSL certificates to ensure data transfer security.
- Choosing a hosting provider that offers multiple security measures like firewall and automatic backups.
- Using the latest version of WordPress on your website.
- Installing security plugins like Sucuri, Wordfence, or WPScan.
- Ensuring all plugins and themes are up to date.
- Avoiding the use of third-party software from unreliable sources.
It is important to pay attention to cybersecurity to make sure visitors feel safe using your WordPress website. A secure website is also more likely to gain a positive reputation and rank higher in the SERPs.
Using WordPress as your content management system brings many advantages thanks to its versatility and ease of use. You can use this CMS to build almost any type of website, even if you’re a beginner.
In this article, we gave eight essential tips for building your first WordPress website, including:
- Find the right WordPress for beginners hosting plan
- Pick your WordPress theme carefully
- Prioritize user experience
- Install essential plugins
- Integrate Google Analytics to your site
- Compress images
- Optimize your website for search engines
- Pay attention to security
Remember that the best way to understand WordPress is experiencing it yourself. So, start your journey with WordPress now by following the steps presented in this article. Also, feel free to contact us if you need any help!