Whether a new website owner or a seasoned site developer, WordPress makes it easy to set up a website and pack it with the content, you need to build your brand and promote your products. But building the ideal WordPress website for your business depends on making wise choices about its appearance, functions, and searchability.
WordPress powers about a third of the world’s websites, and because it is free and open-source, it can be downloaded and used by anyone in any setting.
WordPress was initially designed for blogging, but with an array of general and industry-specific themes and plugins to extend a site’s functionality in virtually unlimited ways, it’s a versatile and scalable platform for new startups, small businesses, and large corporations alike.
Working with WordPress
WordPress consists of three core components: the WordPress core code, which defines the basic structure of a site; themes that define a site’s appearance and layout; and plugins to add other kinds of functions like payment portals with WooCommerce, photo galleries, portfolios, and live chat.
New users with no coding experience can customize and set the functions of a new WordPress site from the site’s dashboard without ever working with the WordPress core code or the style sheets that define elements like colors, fonts, and images. More experienced developers can access those site files directly to make more complex changes. It is possible to create a
WordPress website for just about any purpose – but to make your site easy to find, navigate and share, you’ll want to consider these ten tips for building an excellent WordPress website that showcases your company and keeps customers coming back.
Choose your theme wisely
Your site’s theme defines how your website will appear to visitors, so selecting a theme that reflects your brand and provides a positive user experience is essential.
The WordPress theme directory is instantly accessible from any WordPress site and offers hundreds of free and premium themes, with many more available to purchase from third-party developers worldwide.
Before picking a theme, spend some time considering how you want your site to look and what elements of your brand to reflect, such as colors, fonts, styling, or images. Themes can be switched out if your selection doesn’t work, but this can create problems displaying the content you’ve already created with the original theme. So, it pays to have a plan before going theme shopping.
Free themes work well for site builders on a budget, but consider purchasing a premium theme for your business website.
Whether you purchase a theme outright from a developer or select a subscription option, you’ll get ongoing support, theme upgrades, and other features to take your site from good to great. Look for a light, fast-loading, mobile-responsive theme to give your visitors the best possible experience on your site.
Pick the right plugins
WordPress users can choose from thousands of free and premium plugins from the WordPress plugin directory and third-party developers. There’s a plugin for just about every function your website needs. When building your suite of plugins, consider your site’s goals and purposes and essential issues such as security and searchability.
WordPress developers caution against overloading your site with too many non-essential plugins that can slow it down and cause compatibility issues but aim for installing a core set of quality plugins for essential functions, such as:
- SEO (search engine optimization)
- Spam blocking
- Social media sharing
- Security, mainly if your site involves transactions and storing sensitive data
Depending on your site’s purpose, you may also need to install other plugins. Look for plugins that are compatible with the latest version of WordPress, and install updates to your current plugins whenever they become available.
Make your site mobile friendly
More than half of all website traffic worldwide comes from mobile devices, and mobile users want a quality experience on the sites they visit. Making your site mobile-friendly extends your brand’s reach and encourages mobile users to return.
Look for WordPress themes that are mobile responsive and can pass the Core Web Vitals scores out of the box. With Core Web Vitals playing an integral role in SEO and organic search performance, you should avoid selecting a theme that does not pass the test, otherwise you may need to invest in hiring a developer.
Analytics software plays a vital role in business and commercial websites by providing insights about traffic, user behavior, and more.
That information can be invaluable for guiding decisions about developing the site and creating the content that appears there. Google Analytics is a free tool that you can install on websites of all kinds.
Various analytics plugins that provide basic statistics and more sophisticated tracking features are available from the WordPress plugin directory and different third-party developers.
Add lead generation tools
Statistics show that 75 percent of people who visit a website but take no action leave the site and never return. That means business and commercial sites of all kinds need ways to engage visitors and turn them into customers and clients.
Lead generation tools such as email list builders, opt-in forms, lead magnets, and landing pages can create two-way communication between your site and its visitors.
WordPress offers multiple ways to integrate lead generation on your site. Some themes are designed specifically with lead generation in mind, with templates for sales pages, squeeze pages, and landing pages. Several free and premium plugins also feature tools for creating subscription forms, contact forms, live chat, email newsletters, and more.
Establish a purpose
Think about the purpose of your new site. Do you need a website to market your business? Is this a hobby site?
Are you looking to sell products online and need to set up an eCommerce site to accept payments, process orders, and track inventory? Then, you may want to start blogging.
Each type of site requires different content and capabilities, so it’s essential to grasp your site’s purpose first. For example, blogs are typically very straightforward to set up and manage.
On the other hand, eCommerce sites can involve a high level of complexity if you have several products to manage and want to accept payments online.
Choose the right features
Once you figure out what type of site you want to build, it’s time to create a wishlist of features your need. For example, are you looking to open your hair salon?
Then a WordPress plugin allowing customers to book appointments on your website is a good idea.
As a blogger, you need a way for readers to subscribe to your blog feed so that when you make a new post, they receive the content in an email. This is a crucial way to grow your readership.
WordPress offers thousands of plugins (52,867 to be exact!) that, when added, can provide these other specific functions because there are so many to choose from, decide what features you need on your site.
Then do some research on the different WordPress plugins available for each of these specific functions. There might be five plugins to choose from that say they do the same thing. Read more about the ones that catch your attention, as one might serve your purpose better than the others.
Take an eCommerce site, for example. Several options appear in your search results when you search for an eCommerce plugin on the WordPress site. For example, some plugins might better suit your site if you want to sell hundreds or thousands of products online.
Other plugins may be ideal for a smaller business with a max inventory of 10 items. Not only do you want to ensure the plugin features fit your needs, but you also want to ensure the price is within your website development budget.
Focus on UX and Design
This is an essential part of your planning process because the appearance of your website is an integral part of branding, especially if you are building a site for a business. WordPress has thousands of pre-designed templates you can choose from.
This is great because some of the heavy lifting is designed for you. A template will give you a format to start with. Then, you can customize the site colors and fonts to reflect your brand and style.
If you are a business, a great place to start when choosing site colors and fonts are to align these to the look and feel of your company logo. This will create consistency throughout your pages and is an excellent subtle way to convey your brand. It also makes your website look more professional.
Establish a user friendly structure does your site need?
Now that you have solidified the high-level details of your website, it’s time to start mapping out your website structure. This means deciding what your main menu items should be and what submenu items you need beneath each main menu item. This is how your site visitors will navigate your site, so keep this in mind.
You want to create navigation that makes a great user experience. Mapping also makes your site creation process easier because you know exactly where to go in WordPress to entire your different items.
Here’s how to map your site:
- Write down your main menu items at the top of the page.
- Decide what your submenu items should be. Think of these items appearing in a dropdown menu when you hover on a main menu item.
- Decide what content you want on your homepage and where you want it positioned. Put your most attention-grabbing content below your menu so people immediately see it when they first visit your site.
For a business site, some examples include a call to action or an announcement like a promotion you are running. For a hobby website, add a slideshow with your newest photos if you are a photographer. Make this content engaging!
Gather your files and write your content before entering it into WordPress
This step can save you time in your building process. At the very least, decide the gist of the content you want to include on your web pages. Then, think about what the theme of each page needs to be based on your menu category.
If you want to be super organized, write your content and copy and paste it into your WordPress page. However, when it comes to content, keep it short and engaging. A good rule of thumb for text blocks, or paragraphs of web text, is between 40 and 55 characters per line or about 8 to 11 words.
Jotting down your content can give you an idea of where to insert your content in the template you have chosen.
Also, gather the files you want to use on your site, photos, or documents like PDFs, into one folder on your computer. This will make uploading the files to your site much faster since you already have your files all in one place.
The best WordPress websites are fast loading, mobile-friendly, optimized for search, and have a great user experience. With the right combination of themes, plugins, and tools for searchability and lead generation, your WordPress website can showcase your brand to the world and turn browsers into buyers.
We invite you to learn more our WordPress hosting plans so you can start building your dream site today!