Are you thinking of creating your own website? An e-commerce store, sign-up page, writing portfolio, or a delicious cooking blog? While the thought of designing a website without a software or design background might seem scary and far-fetched, WordPress is here to your rescue. It is a free web design software anyone and everyone can use. It allows internet users to create every possible type of professional website – business sites, online stores, blogs etc.
Join the WordPress network. The web design platform is the engine behind one-third of the web!
WordPress powers 38.8% of all the websites on the internet. The open-source web design enabler is one of the most popular Content Management System (CMS) platforms available for internet users all over the world.
For business owners, entrepreneurs, and content creators, WordPress is a digital marketing angel. It’s a free platform for anyone and everyone to build, design, customise and host their very own website. So get ready to start your journey towards designing your very own website with WordPress.
Let’s first start by getting some clarity with a few web-based terms:
Web page – A page or document which can be displayed in a web browser such as Google Chrome or Apple Safari.
Website – A collection of web pages are connected together through various networks and have different roles to play. It’s also called a ‘web site’ or a ‘site’.
Search engine – A web service that helps you find other web pages, such as Google, or Bing.
What is website design?
Website Design or Web Design refers to designing websites (collection of web pages) displayed on the internet. It involves website development and focuses majorly on designing websites for desktop, mobiles and other tablet devices.
Web Design is a combination of working on the page’s appearance, such as colours and fonts, layout and content grid, and content such as videos and images.
WordPress enables anyone and everyone on the internet to design their very own website.
Benefits of using WordPress for Web Design
- Easy to use
- Manage your site from any device
- No additional HTML or FTP coding software
- Full control over your site
- 100% Customisable web design
- Enhance search engine ranking
- Scalable web design
- Multiple users – authors/editors
- Straightforward social media integration
Choosing Between WordPress.org and WordPress.com
The real difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com is hosting. On WordPress.org, you host your website through a third-party or external hosting provider. If you decide to go with the WordPress.org route, you will have to download the WordPress software, buy a domain name (from an external site), and manage your server.
In this case, your website URL will look like www.myownwebsite.com.
Whereas, WordPress.com hosts your website for you. If you decide to go with WordPress.com, you won’t have to download the WordPress software or even manage the back-end server. You’ll also have an option to upgrade your account and buy a custom domain name with your WordPress.com account (from an external provider). In doing so, your URL will look like www.mywebsite.com.
Steps To Designing Web Pages For WordPress
1. Select Your Domain Name & Hosting Service
Your website’s domain name helps identify your website. Deciding on a domain name is a vital and challenging step in making your website. If you have common English words such as ‘Party’ and ‘Dresses’ in your brand name, the domain ‘PartyDresses.com’ will probably be taken. Remember that your domain name should be reflective of your brand’s overall strategy, name and identity. Just make sure you do not infringe any copyright while naming your brand and domain.
For, e.g. our digital marketing agency’s name is HESK Digital, and our domain name is heskdigital.com.au.
People often confuse the domain name with the URL.
Let’s look at the multiple parts of a URL:
https:// – This protocol helps your browser identify and communicate with the server to retrieve data.
heskdigital.com.au – This is the domain name (which you will need to buy while establishing your WordPress website). This helps people type the name of your website on their browser’s URL bar.
avoiding-seo-scams – This is the path that leads to the browser to a specific web page out of a list of web pages under a single domain.
As discussed above, if you choose to go with WordPress.com, you won’t have to worry about your hosting as it is provided in both the free and paid versions. But if you decide to go with WordPress.org, you will have to find your own hosting service.
There are hundreds of web hosts which meet the WordPress hosting requirements. Here are a few hosts which provide outstanding support for WP sites –
Bluehost is a hosting provider which powers over 2 million sites on the internet. It is one of the best choices for WP websites as it offers WP-centric dashboards and tools, a free domain name, email and 24/7 support by WP experts.
DreamHost has been helping the WP community by hosting sites for over ten years. You can choose to have full control over the server or let their experts handle everything for you. The team is committed to giving you a fully secure, valuable, and supportive experience.
SiteGround provides services tools and services to host your WordPress site smoothly and efficiently. In addition to hosting, they have a 24/7 hour support team which proactively provides protection from WordPress hacks and is continually working towards evolving speed technologies to provide faster loading times.
2. WordPress UI
The next step is to familiarise yourself with the WordPress user interface. WordPress has been helping business owners reach their audiences through websites for over ten years. One of the biggest advantages it has is its intuitive admin user interface. Ever since its inception, it has constantly been evolving to provide a better and improved version of itself through every update. Over the years, the developers have added features such as the media upload screen, helpful dashboards and an extensive portfolio of helpful plugins and themes.
One of the biggest steps in marking your own website or blog is to learn your way around the platform. Even if you get stuck between steps or tasks, WP forums and Youtube videos are excellent resources to clear your queries and doubts throughout your web design journey.
3. Select Theme & Design
WordPress themes are a collection of templates and stylised sheets used to define the aesthetic of the WP site.
The creative themes are the most prominent time-saving aspect of web designing through WordPress. There are hundreds of free and paid WordPress themes available for WP users to use on their website. Each theme comes with its own set of appearance guidelines – fonts, colour palettes, layouts, features etc. They can be easily customised and managed through the WordPress admin area by going to Appearance –>Themes. WP themes can be further modified using plugins.
A basic WP theme consists of:
- Overall site aesthetic
- Page layouts
- Widget placements
- Stylised blog templates
While you can choose to opt for one of these pre-designed themes and templates, you also have the opportunity to create your theme and page layout through WP builder or page-builder software.
WordPress page-builder is an impressive addition which makes designing WP sites code-free and more visual. You can easily create complicated pages such as the Contact Us page or eCommerce homepages with page builders with simple mouse clicks.
Elementor is one of the most advanced drag and drop WordPress page builder plugins. It is a professional and user-friendly tool with multiple built-in widgets to build all parts of your website. Through Elementor, you can easily add sliders, icons, testimonials, animations and much more to your web design.
The best part is it is free!
Beaver Builder is a creative page builder for those users who are seeking something more than simple functions. It lets you gain full control of an unlimited number of sites with the starting cost of $99. The visual builder allows designing your own site theme with an easy to use drag and drop system with precision-based controls.
The Visual Composer is one of the most efficient 3 in 1 editors – backend, live front end and tree view. It has more than 50 premium content elements and over 100 predefined layouts. The front end editor lets you see real-time edits to your website. You can also make changes to your backend coding to add heavy customisations to your web design.
4. Get Plugins
WordPress allows you to add plugins to your website based on your needs and business objects. Here are a few free plugins which you can add to your website. While the core software allows you to customise essential elements on your web pages, you can easily add additional features and tools to your WordPress web design through plugins.
What is a Plugin?
A plugin is a type of software that adds customised functions and features to a website. They are vital components to make your website stand out from your competitors and make your web pages more user-friendly for your visitors. They are similar to mobile phone applications; Facebook Messenger allows you to text and call your friends and family, Google Maps help in navigation, Banking applications enable you to transfer money quickly etc.
Benefits of using plugins in your WordPress Web Design
They save time during web design and development. Plugins add quick customisation and features to a website without additional coding. You can add payment functions, track Google Analytics and enjoy thousands of other features just by adding plugins.
Most WordPress plugins allow designers or developers to turn-off various settings such as colours, fonts, and sizes to customise the plugin interface with the website’s tone and feel. E.g. you can change the font of your payment form and gateway to match your website’s overall branding.
Plugins have become an integral part of WordPress based web design. They are developed and managed by reputable companies. Plugins are regularly updated to fix bugs and improve security. While most plugins have basic free versions, the paid versions are often cheaper as compared to the time and money spent on developing customised features for websites from scratch.
Here are a few plugins you should add to your WordPress Web Design:
Source: WP Forms https://wpforms.com/
The WP Forms Plugin is a useful tool for creating and customising forms on your website. It is a user-friendly drag and drop form builder. The spam-protected plugin is helpful for survey forms, payment forms, registration forms, contact forms etc.
MonsterInsights is one of the most popular WordPress plugins for Google Analytics. It helps connect your website to Google Analytics and enables you to track your statistics and data directly from your WordPress dashboard. It gives helpful recommendations on optimising your content, enhances your online store capabilities, and enables your website for features such as A/B testing and speed enhancement.
Are you a photographer, artist, photographer or a studio? Modula is a gallery specific plugin which enables you to customise your gallery layout with its innovative drag to fit grid system. It is a user-friendly solution to finding the perfect layout and fit for your image-based content. The plugin works wonders with videos and optimises your website gallery for quick loading times and easy viewing.
5. Create Your Pages
Start creating your very own web pages.
Remember to write your own content and try to put original pictures in to increase your originality factor. If you decide to use pictures from other sources ensure to add links to the original destination or credit the author.
Break your content with images and videos to make it a more enjoyable read for your visitors.
Web Design Trick & Tips
Here are a few tips and tricks which you can use to enhance your WordPress web design:
1. Write An About Us Section
Write a customised About Us section to add a sense of personalisation and credibility to your website. Use this section to talk about your brand, your beliefs and values, and an opportunity to form a unique brand with your current and future consumers.
2. Mobile Responsiveness
Pay special attention to your website’s adaptability to different devices such as mobile phones and tablets. In 2020, most of the brand-consumer introductions are taking place via quick mobile searches, leisure browning during daily travel or voice searches. You can add plugins to your WordPress web design to make your website mobile responsive.
3. Visuals & Videos
Always add a mix of visuals and videos, along with the written content on your website. Balance out the words on your web pages with related imagery and video content to break the monotony for the reader. Images add much-needed breaks in between long paragraphs while adding significance to the overall meaning of the content.
4. Site Speed
If your site takes too long to load, most internet users will shut the browser tab or click the return button. A website’s site speed is highly dependent on the time required to load images and videos. Compressing your imagery-based content helps reduce your site’s loading time. Using plugins like WP-SmushIt helps process images automatically, thus helping your site speed.
5. Customised Permalinks
Permalinks are the permanent URLs that are static for a particular web page. They improve user experience, help with link-building, enable social link sharing, and enable Google to index your content (optimise your SEO).
The default WordPress settings are not optimised. You can edit your settings by following: wp-admin -> Settings -> Permalinks
6. Optimise Your Homepage
Your homepage is one of the first points of contact a potential customer makes with your website. Ensuring a quick loading time increases your on-page time and improves user experience. You can do this by showing excerpts of your content (blog) instead of full posts, reducing the number of sharing widgets, and by removing unnecessary plugins from your homepage.
In 2020, having a business website is a crucial element of a marketing strategy. Whether an online business or a brick and mortar store, every type of business needs a website for increasing brand awareness and building credibility amongst its consumer audience. Designing your own website is a brave step for any non-designer or non-developer.
WordPress definitely makes designing and building a website an accomplishable task for business owners all over the world.
It’s time to take the creative plunge. Keep calm and design your own website on WordPress.
HESK Digital is a Sydney based digital marketing agency specialised in business growth. Take your business to the next level with our customised digital marketing solutions and innovative methodology. We are specialised in SEO, Pay Per Click and Social Media Advertising, Analytics and Website Design and Development. Our experts have over three decades of digital marketing experience in converting traffic into real sales through customised strategies.
Grow your business with HESK Digital.
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