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There are many things to consider when building a Website. What do I want it to achieve? How much time can I invest? Will I be able to maintain it regularly?

WordPress is a great building basis for your personal or small business website and not too difficult to learn

Here’s how I went about building my website, so you only have to go through half as much pain!

Step 1. Have a clear plan on how you want it to look

Do you want a one page website? While some people like to be able to answer many questions on their website, others don’t have the time to build something so complex. A one pager is certainly an option if you only have one weekend to invest or need something low maintenance

Step 2. Choose a Budget

It might not be clear in the beginning, but there are plenty of plugins, themes and optional extras that can make your life easier, but not all of them are free. Most plugins have free features, but they usually only give you the good stuff at a fee… usually a monthly one, and these can quickly stack up!

Possible Costs of your Website
  • Website Hosting
  • Pretty Themes, most themes that look good and have been well designed come at a cost
    • Beware, themes are often locked in to work with a specific Website Builder
  • Website Builders like Elementor or WPBakery (find out more)
  • Web hosting of Images like ShortPixel or Smush (can help your images load much faster)
  • Someone to build your website for you!
    • Please don’t ask me! One website is enough, but there are plenty of professionals (and plenty more learning to become professionals)

Step 3. Make some Decisions

What content do you want? How much Text or Graphics will there be? How should people use the website? How will I bring people to the website and to the end goal (usually them buying something or getting in contact with you)

Your Theme is very important, take some time in choosing one and make sure it’s easy to use

Find some Supporting Plugins

Plugins are a dangerous thing! Many plugins are nice, you install them, try them out and then find something else (or keep them for good). The problems arise when plugins don’t play nice. Rule of thumb is that big plugins will work with most other big ones, but you may have to compromise on capabilities (or dish out some $$). Small plugins might do the jobs, but they might also leave traces if you need to uninstall them down the line. Find external reviews of plugins before installing them.

A good way of seeing how popular a plugin is remains the add new plugin page on wordpress, where you can see how many other people use it. If it’s no good, it usually won’t have many active users or a high rating.

Something I wished I’d known earlier, some plugins like to work together for example Hummingbird (Script shortening) and Smush (image resizing), however if you then install a differ programs for these functions, they start throwing error messages and not playing nice. This is irritating and I feel like it’s mostly done to sign up to expensive monthly plans. Try to read up about the plugins first before activating them as this can save you a lot of headaches later.

Some Plugins i found useful
  • Contact Form 7 – used by almost everyone who has a contact form
  • Elementor – Can be annoying at times, but it makes the building of most pages a lot easier. Lots of plugins and themes work with this website builder
  • Folder – Free version lets you make up to 10 Folders for Posts, Pages, Media, Menus and many other options that come with various plugins
  • Honeypot for Contact Form 7 – If you set up a new site and have a simple form, often internet crawlers can send you a bunch of unwanted emails. Stop them by installing this or a similar plugin
  • Media Library Assistant – The WordPress

Start filling in Content

This is where the hard work comes in!

Why don’t things look the way I want them to?

Making your website secure (HTTPS)

This was a bit of a hassle to set up and understand for me. I was working on a tight budget and so I eventaully found cloudflare, who offer a great free plan. It helped guide me through the setup, at least to 80%. I couldn’t work out why my images were only showing sometimes. Turns out, you need a plugin like “Reallly Simple SSL” to move the rest of the links to the secure part of your website. This is important, as secure websites show much higher in search results.

Make your website faster

Another thing that helps you stand out from the crowd is speed. Nobody likes a slow website and statistics show it has a HUGE influence on bounce rate (if people stick around or not). Take a look at your speed rating from this free Google Tool. If you’re not rating that well, you’ll need to look into Caching, Javscript and CSS reduction and Minifying. This can all seem a bit much, but the goolgle tool will guide you through how to make the biggest difference in speed.

Set up a Shop

Using an Online Portfolio Tool

If you’re looking for a tool so that clients can view, download and often also order prints, check out this article from photobug