How to build a WordPress website
In today’s world, no entrepreneur can afford not to maintain an online presence. But what should you do if you lack the necessary programming skills to create one? A Content Management System (CMS) can fix everything. Once installed, you can use this system to create, design and manage a website without needing in-depth HTML knowledge. One of the most popular CMS systems is WordPress. In this article, we will explain how to make a website using WordPress so that you can benefit from the advantages of the CMS.
- Checklist for building a website with WordPress
- Creating appropriate content
- Operating WordPress
- How to build a WordPress website
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Checklist for building a website with WordPress
To create a website with WordPress, there are a number of things you need to keep in mind. Use the following checklist as a guide to ensure you don’t forget any of them:
1. Install the CMS
Either opting for WordPress packages in which the necessary files have already been deposited on the server, like WordPress hosting from IONOS or managing the installation autonomously (the user takes care of the complete installation). In this case, you need web hosting, FTP access, a domain and download the latest version of WordPress. This guide to installing WordPress will help you in the process.
2. Edit the general configuration
You should first adjust the general settings for your WordPress homepage. To begin, you can enter the “Website Title” (if you have no already done so during the installation process), as well as the “Subtitle”. These are basically the billboards for your website: browsers and search engines access this data to lead users to your site. You should therefore spent a little extra time choosing your name, but don’t worry, you can always change these fields again and again.
Additionally, you can alter the country settings too – time zone, language, date and time format. It is also possible to change the reading and writing settings. The first is usually only important if you already have a detailed plan for your workflow. The reading settings however, do determine how your posts are displayed and read by visitors to your site.
3. Edit content settings
To do this, make adjustments to the relevant read and write settings. Establish whether users can comment on publications and whether these comments require prior approval for publication and activation of pings and pingbacks.
Before you leave the Settings section, you should also deal with permalinks. A permalink is characterized by the fact that the same URL is always the same article (which is usually not the case with dynamic URLs). Permalinks standardize the links to your articles and guarantee that your content will be accessible at this address and that links from other websites will not get lost. You can also use “speaking URLs” which make the name of the article part of the Internet address, this is better for users and search engines.
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4. Distribute roles and permissions
You retain the position of administrator by default after an installation, as an administrator, you have the option to add new users and manage privileges. If your project is managed by several users, establish who can do what.
By using plugins, you can assign and create other roles in the backend of the website. The WooCommerce plugin makes it possible to assign “Shop Manager” and “Customer” roles to different users.
5. Installing themes
Your choice of theme will determine the appearance of the web and the presentation of front-end content. Themes can be created by WordPress or a third party (free and paid). Adapt each time. For this, you can use the customizer. Also check that the design is responsive and use widgets if necessary.
In addition to the themes provided by WordPress, there are countless other themes available from other vendors. The easiest way to find and install new design templates is to select “Add New Theme” in the menu. This will provide access to the WordPress.org database, and you can filter the available themes by function or color design, or search directly for a specific theme. Many other internet platforms offer themes available to download. Good sources of “premium themes” include Themeforest, TemplateMonster and many others.
Some themes will require additional plugins to work, however you will be informed of this during the theme installation.
6. Define a menu structure
Defining a menu structure will facilitate navigation for users and display links or certain categories of publications on static pages.
7. Install plugins
Plugins add extra features to your WordPress website. Under the menu option “Plugins” you should be able to find a variety of extensions. Askimet Anti-Spam comes pre-installed. This plugin helps you keep the comment area of your posts free of unwanted advertising. Other modules can be installed just like themes. Under “Install” you can add plugins from the official database, as well as manually install downloaded files.
Some plugins (like themes) are paid for. You should always make sure there are no free alternative plugins that perform the same function before paying for one.
8. Create individual web pages
WordPress differentiates between posts and pages, although both are based on content. While posts are arranged chronologically, pages behave statically. Typical examples of pages in a blog are the “About”, the contact and the imprint pages. Conventional WordPress blogs usually contain much more posts than pages. However, as previously mentioned, you can create static web pages using WordPress too. These pages then have a much higher priority.
9. Publish entries
It is important to assign appropriate categories and labels to publications so that users can find them easily.
10. Use the media library
You can use the media library to store pictures, videos and audio files that you may use in your posts and pages. The images can also be accompanied by an alternative text that briefly describes what they show. In addition to being essential in SEO, the alternative texts serve to give greater accessibilty to the website.
Creating appropriate content
What content is right for your WordPress website depends heavily on your target group and the effect you want to achieve. Does your audience want more information on a particular topic? Or are you trying to share specific information about your company? Try and put yourself in your visitors’ shoes, or ask friends and acquaintances for their opinions. However, regardless of what you write about, some rules apply equally to all website texts.
-The information must be relevant, reliable and of good quality.
-Objective: To make the reader want to visit the site regularly.
-Method: Link to other external or internal articles, use explanatory graphics, images, etc.
Simple page structuring
-The information has to be available and localizable, the structure of the website has to be logical and intuitive.
-Objective: To attract the reader’s attention visually, to favor the content’s presentation.
-Method: Titles, marks and lists, reading pattern in F, inversted pyramid principle, menus, categories, labels and clouds of labels, etc.
Attention! Overused graphic elements can distract the user from what is essential. If navigation is also complicated, most visitors leave the page prematurely.
Information should be entertaining
-Readers value this effort because it is very difficult to pay attention to a text that, although informative, is difficult to understand.
-Objective: To present information in a register that favors the reader’s decision to remain on the page.
-Method: Get to know the target group of readers, investigate how content is presented on similar pages, use images, videos and graphics.
Attention! When introducing multimedia material from third party sites, it is important to pay attention to image rights.
Now that you have learned how to create a website with WordPress, it is time to learn about maintaining and backing up your website.
If you have created a WordPress website with the purpose of providing information about your company for example, you need to ensure that all the information you provide is up to date and current. If your company changes location, you expand your service spectrum or your prices change, you need to immediately make the changes to your website. It is the first point of contact for many consumers to receive information about companies.
Being consistent is also very important if you maintain a blog, or another type of frequently updated website. Visitors will only continue visiting your page if you regularly provide interesting content. In order to keep producing regular material on a long-term basis, it might be useful to create an editorial plan. This is especially relevant when you have a team working together on content creation.
To ensure the accessibility and security of your website, you should take a number of steps. First of all, you should be aware that installing the updates will help you minimize possible security breaches. Also, creating regular backups may be of great help against possible structural failures. You can create them manually or through plugins and free or paid programs that will make your job easier. Another option available is to guarantee password protection by choosing long passwords made up of letters, numbers and special characters. In addition, to protect yourself from cyber-attacks, you can use plugins like Limit Login Attempts, which blocks the user’s IP address after a certain number of unsuccessful access attempts.
To get the most out of your site, you should keep track of performance and visitor statistics. This will allow you to react quickly to bad results and adapt your strategy and programs accordingly. To obtain user statistics, you can use Google Analytics, although most website operators use Piwik which requires a specific plugin to use with WordPress, WP Matomo.
Not all visitor statistic plugins comply with European data protection laws. Be sure to read the plugin user guide before you install it.
There are plugins available to test the WordPress website’s performance itself, but you can also use IONOS' website checker, which will allow you to discover where you can improve your online presence:
To attract as many visitors as possible, you should make sure that your website appears far up in the search results of the most well-known search engines, especially Google. Unfortunately, more than 200 SEO factors influence the algorithm that creates search result pages (SERP) and not all of them are known. However, in our Digital Guide, you can find a list of web positioning factors that have proven their effectiveness in daily use.
How to build a WordPress website
WordPress is an easy tool to use, only taking a short familiarization phase. If you are running a website with regularly updated content, it is always advisable to make use of a CMS. You can use the backend to create, manage and publish your content, and thanks to numerous themes and plugins, your website does not have to look like an ordinary blog. Beginners however, will reach a limit in their ability to alter the design and individual adjustments. But anyone with a small amount of programming knowledge can customize WordPress to make it even more versatile.
The source code of the themes and plugins can be modified in the backend editor, although it is preferable to avoid this option if you have not yet worked with CSS or PHP code, as you may jeopardize the entire content of the web page created with WordPress.
If WordPress is not the right option for you, the IONOS MyWebsite Editor may be what you're loking for. It includes many design templates, making setting up your own homepage easier and faster than you think!