Explore the blog:

[2024] How To Build a WordPress Website for Beginner Bloggers & Online Businesses

Share on:

Updated April 11, 2024

Note: This post may contain affiliate links; we may earn a commission (at no additional cost to you) if you make a purchase via our links. See our disclosure for more info.

POV: You officially decided that you’re going to start a blog or a service-based online business, and you need a website. Congratulations! 

That’s an exciting yet somewhat terrifying commitment to make because now you’ve got to figure out how to build a WordPress website as a beginner, and you’re not quite sure where to start.

There are quite a few moving pieces when it comes to creating a WordPress site, which can feel overwhelming… but don’t worry! Feeling this way is normal when starting something new! I felt the exact same way in 2015 when I created my very first website. 

Since then, I’ve created hundreds of successful WordPress websites for myself, custom website design clients, and even designed DIY themes for self-starters like you.

I promise that creating a WordPress site is not as complicated as it may seem. Whether you’re 18 or 88, anyone – yes, even you – can craft a stunning, user-friendly website on WordPress. All you need is the right guidance, a can-do attitude, and a little sprinkle of patience.

Simply follow this step-by-step guide to learn how to build a WordPress website for beginners and be on your way to launching your first website!

Why Build Your Website On WordPress?

Why choose WordPress for your website, you ask? Well, let’s dive into some impressive numbers: 

WordPress powers a whopping 26% of all websites online. Since WordPress 6.3 was released, it has been downloaded over 49.5 million times!

WordPress isn’t just another content management system (CMS); it’s the most popular one in the world. Even some of the world’s largest brands trust WordPress, including:

Want to see for yourself? Paste one of their URLs into this site: What WP Theme Is That to verify!

I personally use and trust WordPress because:

  • It’s free and open-source, offering a plethora of themes and plugins to customize your site just the way you want it.
  • It’s flexible, allowing you to change hosting services, WordPress themes, plugins, and more without moving away from the website platform.
  • It’s user-friendly and relatively straightforward to update and manage. You can easily launch a WordPress website in a day! More on that later…
  • WordPress is SEO-Friendly, making it easy to be found in search engines.
  • It also offers robust security solutions, so you can rest easy knowing your content is protected.

Of course, there are many other reasons to choose WordPress, but you get the picture – it’s powerful and trusted by many, myself included.

Before we go any further, you may be wondering… 

“Do I need to hire a website designer or developer to start my first WordPress website?” 

While there’s undeniable value in professional web design, it’s not the only path to getting your website launched. 

There are tons of easy-to-use themes and intuitive page builder plugins available on WordPress that even the most non-techy users can craft a site that looks and feels professional. Today, with a few clicks, drags, and drops, you can design web pages that rival those made by pros.

Typically, I recommend that beginners build their very first website because there’s a lot of brand discovery that happens in the beginning stages. You’ll be figuring out who your ideal clients are and testing your content and offers to see what sticks. It’s often not worth the investment yet to hire a designer until you have those details nailed down.

If you want to learn which path is best for you – DIYing your own website or hiring a designer, take this short 9-question quiz to get the answer that’s right for you!

3 Things To Do Before Starting Your Website

1. Choose your business Name or blog name

Finding the perfect company name that isn’t already taken may require a bit more effort and patience than you might think. There are actually a lot of factors to consider before you decide on a specific brand name. For instance:

  • Do you want to create a personal brand that uses your name and face, or do you want to create a company name that’s completely unrelated to you as the creator?
  • Is the name you like easy to pronounce and spell without explanation?
  • Are there any other companies out there with a similar name?
  • Are there any trademarks on the name or key phrases you want to use?
  • Can you secure the domain name AND matching social media account handles?

If you already have your name picked out, great! You can move on to the next step. If you’re still in the exploration phase, you may want to move on to step two to continue doing research on different domain registrars.

2. Purchase A Website Domain Name

Once you nail down a business name, you’ll need to secure a domain name (also called a website address or URL).

What is a Domain?

A domain is a web address you enter into your browser to visit a website. For example, my domain name is katyboykin.com, and Google’s domain is google.com. This is essential if you want your business or blog to be found online!

The Best Place To Purchase A Domain

You can purchase domains from various companies, but my recommendation is to buy your domain from NameCheap. NameCheap makes registering, hosting, and managing domains for yourself really easy! Plus, their domains are secure, affordable, easy to use, and paired with great support.

You can also purchase your domain from your hosting company directly, but I typically advise against that because of security concerns and future transferring headaches. Let me explain…

  • SAFETY & SECURITY – If a hacker gains access to your hosting account and your domain and website are on the same account, you risk losing control of both accounts. Separating your hosting and domains (assuming you aren’t using the same login and password for both accounts) is a great way to safeguard your company’s assets in the event of a hack.
  • AVOIDING TRANSFER HEADACHES – If you buy your domain name from your current hosting company and then decide to switch hosts, you’ll have to transfer both the domain and the full website. If you aren’t tech-savvy, transferring a domain can be inconvenient, time-consuming, and confusing. If you register the domain with a separate company and decide to move hosts one day, you can avoid this headache altogether. Instead, you’ll have to change your DNS settings to point to the new host.

If you’d like click-by-click instructions showing you how to buy your domain on NameCheap, I’ll guide you through that in this post. Once you’ve secured your domain name, you can move on to the planning phase.

3. Create A Game Plan For Your Website

Next, you need a website game plan. Who are you creating the website for? How will you serve your audience? How do you intend to monetize the website? What critical pages do you need to launch?

Define Your Ideal Client

First, it’s important to have a good grasp of the people (or target market) you want to attract to your business. Every future business decision should be made with your audience in mind including decisions about your branding, website copy, offers, marketing campaigns, funnels, blog posts, videos, and more.

In my experience, the bloggers and business owners who struggle the most with building a website haven’t clearly defined their ideal customer avatar. Don’t waste time on a website until you know who you’re building it for.

If you need some help identifying your ideal client, read this post: How To Identify Your Ideal Client In 4 Easy Steps. In that post, you can also get access to a free ideal client worksheet!

Define Your Monetization Strategy

Next, you need to decide how you want to make money with your website. Do you want to…

  • Book out your services?
  • Sell digital courses?
  • Sell a monthly membership or mastermind?
  • Promote other companies’ products via affiliate marketing?
  • Accept donations?
  • Sell & ship physical products via e-commerce?
  • Sell digital products via e-commerce?
  • Place pay-per-click display ads on your blog?
  • Place Adsense ads in front of YouTube videos?
  • Monetize some other way?

If you’re a small business, this should be relatively easy to determine.

If you are a beginner blogger, however, this may feel impossible to decide. I know when I started my first lifestyle blog, I started with an idea and good intentions, but I didn’t have a clearly defined niche or customer avatar and I wasn’t 100% sure how I was going to monetize it. For the first year or so, I floundered.

It’s totally possible to start a WordPress blog without a clear way to make money, but just know that finding sustainable success will likely take you a lot longer than someone who’s getting started with a clear monetization strategy in mind.

Create A Site Map Outline

With your ideal customer avatar (ICA) and money-making strategy in hand, you can now plan out the pages you’ll need on your website.

Regardless of monetization strategy, most websites need a home page, about page, contact page, blog, 404 page, and policies pages. With your business goals in mind, decide the other pages you’ll need on your website like service pages, landing pages, sales pages, e-commerce pages, and more.

My biggest recommendation for beginners who are planning out their website pages is to start with the most basic/ essential pages and scale over time. Your website will constantly evolve with your business. Don’t let the project turn into a three-headed moster that’s so overwhelming that it takes months to get it launched.

For more details about which pages need to go on your website, read: Planning A Website Redesign | How To Choose Your Page Structure

How To Build A WordPress Website

Now that we have all of the prerequisites out of the way, we can start building our WordPress site. Hooray!

Step 1. Sign Up For WordPress Hosting

First, you need to choose a hosting company to house your website online.

What is hosting? 

Web hosting is the process of renting or buying space to store a website on the World Wide Web. You see, your website’s content must be saved on a server to be accessed online, and hosting companies provide the servers (which are large computers that connect to other web users all over the world) as well as the connectivity and other services required to view your website online.

Which Host Should You Choose? 

There are literally thousands of hosting companies you can choose from, but… not all hosts are created equal!

I recommend choosing a company that offers “Managed WordPress Hosting.” This means your host will handle all of the technical aspects of running WordPress, from security, speed, WordPress updates, daily backups, website uptime, scalability, and more.

A managed hosting plan will cost a little bit more money but will save you a ton of time and technical frustrations in the long run, so it’s well worth it.

Read the post: How To Choose The Best WordPress Host (For Bloggers + Online Businesses) for more information, including my top WordPress web hosting company recommendations!

🔥 Spoiler alert: BigScoots is my #1 pick for established websites and Siteground is my #1 pick for beginners!

No matter which hosting company you decide to sign up with, your host will provide access to your WordPress installation and the login to your WordPress website.

Point Your Domain To Your New Website

If you purchased a domain on NameCheap or some other third-party company, you’ll need to change the name servers to point to your new hosting company.

Step 2. Choose a WordPress Theme

When you log into your website, you’ll notice that it comes with a default theme, but you can easily change the theme to update the look of your website.

What is a WordPress Theme?

A WordPress theme is a collection of stylesheets, images, template files, and some JavaScript files that work together to create your website’s design. Changing your WordPress theme will not affect the content of your blog, pages, users, or other database information. Switching your theme merely affects how all of that data is shown to your website’s visitors.

There are thousands of WordPress themes available, and you may be tempted to choose a theme based on looks alone, but there’s more to it. You need a theme that’s lightweight and well-coded.

Kadence + Kadence Blocks

My number one theme recommendation is the free Kadence Theme because it’s fast, lightweight, and extremely customizable, especially when you pair it with their free Kadence Blocks plugin and free Kadence Starter Templates plugin.

With this theme and web design plugin combo, you can launch a beautiful, fast website in a day without spending a dime…perfect for budget-conscious business owners and bloggers.

If you’re looking for a more robust theme and advanced Gutenberg block elements, I highly recommend upgrading to a Kadence Bundle, which will give you access to Kadence Theme Pro, Kadence Blocks Pro, and Pro Starter Templates.

I personally think it’s worth the upgrade for the Element Hooks feature alone, but there are a ton of additional worthwhile features inside.

If you need help designing your Kadence site, check out this post: Where To Find The Best Kadence Child Themes & Block Templates. I’ve compiled the ultimate list of third-party creators who have designed Kadence Child Themes and Kadence Block Templates so that you can save time on design and get a professional-looking website with just a few clicks of your mouse.

Astra + Elementor

If you don’t want to design your website using Gutenberg blocks, I recommend using the Astra Theme with the Elementor Pro Plugin.

I’ve built dozens of custom-designed websites for clients using this combination of Astra + Elementor including Keris Timol’s SiteJade Alexis’ SiteSub-U Systems’ Site, and more.

Astra is a fast, lightweight WordPress theme using only 50 KB of resources. I personally like to pair Astra with the leading website builder plugin, Elementor Pro, because Elementor gives you maximum design flexibility over every single part of your theme with a front-end editor experience.

Like Kadence, Astra also has ready-to-import Starter Templates designed just for Elementor, making it really easy to add to your site, customize and launch.

If you’re unsure which option is right for you – Kadence or Elementor, check out this post where I compare Kadence vs. Elementor and walk through the pros and cons of both and make it much easier for you to decide!

Step 3. Install WordPress Plugins

After you install your theme, you need to install any desired plugins.

What are WordPress Plugins?

WordPress plugins are similar to apps on your smartphone in that they allow you to enhance your WordPress website’s functionality, features, and capabilities.

Here are a few of my favorite WordPress plugins for beginners:

  • Your Page-Builder plugin of choice: either Kadence Blocks or Elementor
  • Short Pixel – This improves website performance by using advanced compression technology that reduces image size without any before/after difference in quality… thus making your pages load faster!
  • WP Rocket is one of the most powerful and user-friendly caching plugins that can drastically improve your site speed. Even if you’re not a developer, you can quickly implement & configure this plugin!
  • RankMath – This is an SEO plugin for WordPress packed with features to ensure your website is optimized with search best practices in mind. Use this plugin to optimize your content, customize SEO settings, control page indexing & setup redirections, and more. (I prefer RankMath over Yoast!)
  • Easy Table of Contents – This user-friendly plugin will automatically generate a table of contents for your pages and posts by parsing its content for headers. (If you have Kadence, this isn’t necessary)
  • Cookie Notice – This GDPR compliance plugin lets your visitor know how to track them on your site.

Keep in mind, plugins can slow down your website. I recommend deleting plugins that you are not using and only using the plugins you really need. Less is more!

If you want to see even more of my favorite plugin/ software recommendations to build a thriving business online, check out my favorite tools.

How To Install A WordPress Plugin

There are two main ways to go about installing plugins. I’ll show you how to do both:

How to add a plugin to your WordPress website from your dashboard:

  • In your WordPress dashboard, select Plugins > Add new.
  • Use the search bar in the top right corner to search for a plugin. A number of results will appear.
  • Once you find the plugin in the results, click Install Now. You can also click the plugin name to get more details about the plugin.
  • To use the plugin, you’ll need to activate it. Click the blue Activate button when the installation is complete (it normally takes a few seconds).

How to manually upload a plugin to your WordPress website:

  • Download the.zip file of the selected plugin from the WordPress directory or a third-party source. Make sure the plugin creator is legitimate if you’re downloading from a third-party website.
  • From your WordPress dashboard, choose Plugins > Add New.
  • Click Upload Plugin at the top of the page.
  • Click Choose File, locate the plugin .zip file, then click Install Now.
  • After the installation is complete, click the blue Activate Plugin.

Step 4. Customize your website

Your themes and plugins have been installed, and you’re ready to start customizing! Suppose you’re using the Kadence or Astra theme. In that case, you can go into the customizer settings and update the typography, colors, page layouts, site identity, header and footer, and so much more.

If you feel overwhelmed by all of the customization settings, I can help!

  • I have tons of free website tutorials here on my blog and YouTube channel.
  • Join DIY Dream Site and get the WordPress website templates, tutorials, and coaching you need every month to launch your own website and promote your business online – without breaking the bank.
  • If you just want a professional to take your website project off your plate, you also can hire me to design your WordPress Website!

Step 5. Launch Your New Site!

Once you’ve completely customized your website, let’s double-check a few things:

  1. Do your web pages look good on desktop, tablet, and mobile? If not, optimize each page design for those device views.
  2. Are there any broken links on your website? You can use the Broken Link Checker plugin to double-check!
  3. Have you added your Google Analytics Tracking Code to your website’s header? If not, follow this tutorial to ensure it’s set up correctly.
  4. Do you have three blog posts published on your website? This will help your website feel like there’s content available for new users to consume!
  5. Have you tested your website’s functionality? If you have WooCommerce installed, have you ensured the buying/checkout process works smoothly? Do you have contact forms or mailing list integrations work properly?

After you’ve reviewed your site with a fine-tooth comb, you can publish your website and confidently share it with your ideal client and create an online business or blog you love to show up for every single day.

Share on:
About the Author

Katy Boykin is a WordPress website designer, marketing strategist and CEO of DIY Dream Site. She and her team have helped hundreds of business owners launch scroll-stopping websites, rank on the first page of Google for targeted keywords, grow engaged email lists on autopilot, create digital products that sell like hotcakes, and book dream clients! Want to create these same results? Shop now or hire us.