Starting your own business can be both exciting and nerve-wracking, especially when it comes to your budget. Often, you have limited funds to get the essentials up and running – like your branding and your website. Web development and graphic design can be expensive, and the range of options bewildering.
Fortunately, if you have the time and are comfortable with technology, it is possible to build your WordPress website yourself. Not only is it a great opportunity to learn a new skill, but it will make it easy for you to update your site quickly and easily whenever the need arises.
WordPress is a great choice for site building. It’s highly customisable, flexible, powerful, and has a huge developer community constantly improving it and making it easier to use. It has code-free drag-and-drop building tools, thousands of plugins, and phenomenal web host compatibility. No wonder almost 40% of the world’s websites are WordPress-based.
Before you get started
Some background information:
A domain name – this will be the address of your website "mywebsite.co.nz". Consider which extension you want to use, such as .co.nz, .com, .kiwi, or perhaps something a little different, like .shop. The extension you choose will determine the ongoing cost of your domain name, which needs to be renewed at least annually.
A hosting company – this is where your website will live. Your host will store your files and make your site available to online visitors. It’s a good idea to shop around for a good web host that will offer you enough file storage and online traffic to run your site and has good customer support if you run into technical issues. Make sure you purchase hosting suitable for WordPress. We suggest you use a service like Google Workspace for your email.
A WordPress theme – your theme will determine how your website looks. Themes are pre-built templates you can choose to use as-is or customise to your heart’s content. Plenty of free themes look clean and professional and will do the job, but may offer limited choices for changing the look and feel. Premium themes contain a larger range of customisation options and tools and are often inexpensive (many are under $100 NZ). We suggest you choose Beaver Theme because we will recommend Beaver Builder as your page builder.
Next, you’ll need to learn how to use WordPress. Plenty of resources are available online, such as YouTube tutorials and instructional websites, although the quality of these can be variable. You can also buy books on the subject, but bear in mind they tend to become outdated quickly as technology evolves.
A website co-creation service is a fantastic option if you're unsure where to start. Co-creation is a collaborative process where you receive coaching and technical assistance from a web developer to help you build your website. You can be as hands-on in the process as you like, depending on your level of technical skill and how much you want to learn. It can give you the best of both worlds, saving you money on web development while avoiding the wasted time and lost business often accompanying a DIY attempt.
In the next section, we will outline the ten steps to create your website.
Ten steps to creating a website using WordPress, step-by-step.
A well-designed and functional website is crucial for a business. WordPress, a popular and user-friendly content management system (CMS), offers a powerful platform for building a website without the need for extensive coding knowledge. In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of creating a website using WordPress.
Step 1: Choose a Reliable Web Hosting Provider and Purchase a Domain
The first step in building your website is to select a reliable web hosting provider. Look for a hosting service with good server performance, 24/7 customer support, and ample storage space. Some popular web hosting providers for WordPress websites include Bluehost, SiteGround, and WP Engine.
You will also need a domain name if you don't have one already.
Step 2: Install WordPress
Once you have chosen a web hosting provider, you can install WordPress on your domain. Many hosting providers offer a one-click WordPress installation option, making the process quick and straightforward. After the installation is complete, you can access your website's WordPress dashboard.
Step 3: Select a Theme
Next, choose a suitable WordPress theme for your website. As mentioned previously, we suggest the Beaver theme. This is a simple base theme that is well-supported, and then you can enhance its functionality by using plugins. By adopting this approach, you ensure that all the additional features will be carried over to any new theme you choose, saving you a great deal of work on migrated content and functionality. If you're considering using the Beaver Builder page builder, the Beaver Theme is a particularly well-suited option; the theme is well-supported and will always be compatible with the page builder.
Step 4: Content Creation
Content creation is the backbone of any successful website. It's not just about filling pages with text; it's about providing value to your audience. Quality content serves multiple purposes: It informs, engages, and persuades your visitors, guiding them through the customer journey. Whether it's well-researched articles, compelling visuals, or interactive elements, good content enhances user experience and boosts SEO. Content must be continuously updated and optimised to meet the ever-changing demands of search algorithms and user expectations. If you are not a good writer, consider preparing bullet points and then work with a copywriter.
Step 5: Customise Your Website
Customising your website is where you can make it truly unique and reflective of your organisation's identity. We recommend using a page builder like Beaver Builder to adjust colours, fonts, logos, and other elements to match your branding. Make sure to create a user-friendly navigation menu that allows visitors to access different sections of your website easily.Step 5: Add Essential Pages and Content
Step 6: Add Essential Pages and Content
Beaver Builder has basic templates for Home, About, Services and Contact. You use those for page layouts and then adapt from there. A well-structured website should include essential pages that provide visitors with valuable information. Key pages to include are:
- Home Page: A welcoming and engaging homepage that showcases your mission and impact.
- About Us: Share a bit about your business and the team behind it.
- Projects/Portfolio: Highlight various projects you have completed as examples of your services.
- Blog: Regularly update a blog to share news, stories, and updates.
- Contact: Provide contact details and a contact form for inquiries.
Step 7: Add form functionality
Add contact forms to your website. Plugins like Gravity Forms can help you create and manage registration forms. Make sure you test them.
Step 8: Optimise for Mobile Devices
With significant internet traffic from mobile devices, ensuring your website is mobile-responsive is essential. Most modern WordPress themes are already mobile-friendly, but it's always a good idea to test your website on different devices to ensure a seamless user experience. Beaver Builder has a responsive design editing function so you can tweak the layout and font sizes across device sizes.
Step 9: Install Essential Plugins
WordPress offers a vast library of plugins that can extend your website's functionality. Besides the Gravity form plugins mentioned earlier, consider installing security plugins like Sucuri to protect your website from threats. SEO plugins like Yoast can help optimize your content for better search engine visibility.
Step 10: Test and Launch Your Website
Before launching your website, thoroughly test all functionalities, including contact forms. Verify that all pages are loading correctly and that the website functions as intended. Once you're confident everything is in order, it's time to launch your charity website by updating the DNS on your domain and sharing it with the world!
Creating a website using WordPress is an accessible and rewarding process. You can build an impactful online platform with the right theme, plugins, and customisation. By following this step-by-step guide, you can leverage the power of WordPress to create a professional and user-friendly website.
Need help? We offer Co-creation Web Design.