How to Create a Business Website with WordPress

Is having an online presence important or useful for your organization? Let’s talk about how to create a business website using WordPress.

Is having an online presence important or useful for your organization? Then creating a business website is one of the first steps you will take. It is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to find clients both locally and around the world.

So how do you actually create a website?  We will take you through the ten key steps.

First, let us look at why you should build your business website using WordPress.org

Why you should create your business website with WordPress

WordPress is one of the most trusted and used Content Management Systems (CMS) and platforms in the world. Reasons for choosing WordPress include:

  • 31% of all websites run on WordPress. With nearly two billion websites in the world, that is a lot of users putting their confidence in WordPress.
  • Websites small and large use WordPress. From personal blogs to large newsgathering sites like CNN, WordPress can handle all types of sites.
  • Get the look you want. You can create a unique style for your website by utilizing thousands of free and paid themes available for WordPress.
  • Huge community available to support you. WordPress users can access help and support from one of the largest Open Source communities consisting of developers, writers, editors, and designers. You will find no end to the amount of assistance available in the community’s support forum.

If you are a small business operating on a tight budget, using WordPress helps you build an online presence more easily. The WordPress Open Source CMS is free to download and use. You need to pay for your domain, hosting, and maintenance (if you choose to hire a developer).

You also have the option to join an amazing network of people by contributing to one of the WordPress groups. These groups are organized at https://make.wordpress.org/

Now that you have chosen WordPress to help run the website for your organization, we will explore what you will need to build it.

Create Your Domain Name and Business Email

A domain name is the website ‘name’ or the web address where users can visit your site, like www.yourcompany.com. There are a variety of top-level domains available. These can be country-specific and have a suffix like .com, .uk, .ie or represent the type of organization for example .biz, .org

Many domains will have an option for you to choose an email address which uses your website address, for instance, hello@yourcompany.com

An email address where prospective clients or customers can contact you is a vital part of having an online presence. It may not look as professional if you use a personal email address.

You can purchase a domain name through a domain name registrar. There are a number of registrars available. Each one is equipped with its own set of features and comes with a number of advantages and disadvantages. Once you have identified the one that fits your organization, you can pay to register your domain name for a set period, from a year to a maximum available from that particular registrar.

Domain Name Registrar

Many of the domain name registrars will also offer email addresses for your business at an additional cost. While you are viewing the benefits of each registrar it is a good idea to see which email package fits what you require based on the number of accounts you can create and amount of storage you might need.

Now that you have your name and contact details set up, it is time to think about exactly what you want from your website.

What does Your Website Offer?

It can be beneficial for an organization to have an online presence. But do you know what you want it to achieve?

A starting point is to consider what makes your offering unique. In other words, why will people want to buy your products or services? One of the best ways to do this is to write one clear sentence outlining your company’s value proposition.

The next step is to plan what your website will include. This can include text, images, selling or sign-up options. Make a list of the features and functionality you will need. Do you need an FAQ page to answer complex questions? What about a blog? Do you need an eCommerce option to make online sales? Do you need a contact form?

At the top of this list should be what you will include on your homepage. It can’t have everything so you will need to choose what elements are the most important to your organization. This can be by considering what will maximize customer conversions – whether that is for sales, leads, subscribers or anything else

This screenshot shows how you can add pages to your website using WordPress.

What is your branding?

A strong brand is important for businesses of all sizes. It improves recognition of your organization and fosters confidence in it which, in turn, can generate more repeat customers.

The first step is to design your logo which is consistent with your existing brand or helps you define one for your company. If you do not have an offline logo you can adapt for the web, you can either design one yourself using a graphic editors or hire a design agency or freelancer. The style and wording that form part of a logo are aimed at reflecting your business and its offerings. You will want your logo to reflect your company in a meaningful way and this can be discussed and developed as you explore what you want through the design process.

Another factor to take into account is your logo’s color — something you will also need to think about for the website as a whole. Different colors create different emotions for customers. Are you creating a youthful brand or one that is a bit more mature? Your color palette can help you develop and market your brand.

Web colors are different than the ones you work with offline. There are a number of online palette tools which can help you choose web-friendly and accessible colors, find schemes which are close to your printed publication ones, and better understand how different audiences may react to your choices.

How will you build your site?

There are two general approaches to building your business website — either doing it yourself or hiring a developer to help with part or the entire project.

If your knowledge of coding is mainly basic HTML and CSS, you can build your business website using WordPress or using a drag and drop WordPress page builder. Page builders allow you to customize much of your website without having to write complex coding yourself. However, while page builders are much more powerful nowadays, they still come with some limitations.

Page builders

The new WordPress Editor named Gutenberg has features aimed at supporting you in developing your website pages and posts through the use of blocks.

Gutenberg and WordPress


If you have limited time and would like to work alongside a web specialist, you can hire a developer, web designer, or a web content builder familiar with using the WordPress CMS. When hiring a developer, make sure they have have a track record of building reliable, fast websites, is aware of mobile-design and has an understanding of search engine optimization (SEO).

Who will host your website?

You will need a hosting space for your website. This is where the website will live.

Before selecting a host, carry out some research on what might best fit your organization’s needs. There are generally three main factors to consider when picking a host:
● speed
● customer support
● uptime

You can start by reviewing the hosts recommended by WordPress.org.

Hosting

What will your website look like?

Think about the look and feel you want to have for your website look and and how it is going to fit in or change your existing organization’s branding.

On WordPress you can browse through thousands of themes to select one which will help your website content stand out. In the Theme Directory, you can find out more about each theme, whether it is compatible with your version of WordPress and the experience of other users. Here are some factors to consider when picking your theme and theme provider:

● is it being regularly maintained?
● are other users of the theme satisfied with what it offers?
● does it support your chosen plugins?
● will it help make your website easier to find by search engines (more on this later)?

WordPress Theme Directory

What content will you add to your website?

Good content is what brings people to your website, stay there, and eventually make a purchase or build their relationship with your organization. This is why you will need to plan the information and how it is structured. Here are some things to think about:

  • What information do you want your customers to find on your homepage? In WordPress you have lots of options from a static homepage with a welcome message to a series of blog posts and sections showcasing your products or services
  • What will appear on the landing pages (the webpage visitors reach when they follow an external link to your website)?
  • What is the strategy for the type and style of your regular articles? These may be in the form of a blog or updates to your news pages
  • When creating content, think about how people will find your information when they are searching the internet (more on search engine optimization below).

How will your website be found?

How do you get people to find your site in the first place so that you can engage with them and encourage them to spend time on the content you are providing?

Developing a solid search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is vital. There are lots of good templates available which can be adapted for an organization’s needs and incorporate useful tips from members of the WordPress community. By following a SEO strategy, you will be helping potential customers find your website through their online searches, which in turn can improve your sales conversions and increase brand awareness.

There are two avenues you can go down to increase search traffic: paid or organic.

  • Paid search involves an advertising budget to increase a search engine result when someone types in a word or phrase.
  • Organic search is based on publishing content using good SEO practices.

An effective way to organically optimize your results is by researching “long tail keywords.” To illustrate, a shoe company may want to rank first for “shoes” as may thousands of other firms. Given the popularity of the keyword “shoes,” you would need to spend a lot of money to rank well for that specific term.

A better option would be to target long tail keywords, for example, “women’s white air force 1s.” The keyword “shoes” will have more searches, but the consumers typing in “women’s white air force 1s” are much more likely to make a purchase. If your search engine strategy involves paying for Google Ads, it can be cheaper to pay for long tail keywords than a keyword like “shoes.”

Google Ads

Once you have planned your keywords, you can also plan how they link with each other. A URL map (also known as keyword mapping) can help:

  • your visitors in their journey around your site
  • encourage visitors to explore material you have linked together
  • help search engines in mapping the usefulness of your information, pages and posts
  • assist you in developing new content and promotion opportunities as the maps can help identify what other pages should link to each other and the keywords you are using on different pages.

Can your website scale?

Now that you have your SEO strategy planned, you will need to ensure that your website is capable to support your needs in delivering it.

WordPress plugins are like apps which you can use to add new features and functionality to your website. Plugins need regular updates to gain new functionality and to help keep your website secure.

SEO Plugins 


Your first step could be to install an SEO plugin to assist you in maintaining your website SEO by:

  • optimizing your content
  • giving you more control of your breadcrumbs (navigation paths which appear at the top of your page and help search engines understand your website’s structure
  • allowing you to set SEO meta-info for pages and archives
  • and through a number of other functions.

The screenshot above shows examples of the plugins you can use on WordPress to boost your SEO.

Once you have set up your website, you can build and submit your sitemap to Google, Bing, Yahoo (via Bing) and other search engines to make it easier for them to find your site’s pages.

How can you optimize your site?

All that hard work of attracting customers to your website can be diminished if it performs poorly. Users are often only willing to give you seconds of their time before leaving a web page.

Here are just some of the checks you can make to help your website run smoothly.

  • check your images are web-friendly in size and number to avoid users having to wait a long time for the page to load
  • put in security protection to mitigate against hacks and malware which could slow down your site
  • ask if your host can add an SSL licence to your site to help protect your users if you are using forms and collecting personal data
  • identify WordPress plugins tested for monitoring or improving website performance
  • avoid lots of plugins that you don’t need which will have an adverse effect on loading times
  • find out how visitors with accessibility needs use your website and make it easier for them.

If you are not experienced in web development, you can talk with a professional web developer to help optimize your website’s performance.

Conclusion

Following these introductory 10 steps will help you highlight your business to new audiences and customers. By using WordPress, once you have your basic site you can add more features and content to expand your online presence.

Get started today by downloading WordPress.org and enjoy building your new site.

WordPress.org download

Thanks to @joelobo, @webcommsat, @mcdwayne, @harryjackson1221 and @bridgetwillard in the marketing team for working on this blog and to the businesses which helped test the top 10 list.