Did you know that 71 percent of small businesses have a website? These businesses recognize the power of having a website and its importance in our digital age. However, not all websites are created equal. In fact, some fail to take full advantage of the benefits of having a website. Frankly, this turns customers off. For example, 38 percent of web users stop interacting with a website if it’s poorly designed.
At Idea Maker, we’re well-versed in the art of website development, with over 40 successfully completed projects under our belt, and we’re here to pass our knowledge on to you. After reading this beginner’s guide, you’ll know how to create your own website from scratch.
Keep reading to learn more.
Benefits of Building a Website
Before we get into exactly how to build a website, let’s first explore the benefits of creating a website, and provide you with a better picture of their use cases.
Reach a Wider Audience
Without a website, your business is restricted in terms of advertising – you have nowhere to direct web users when placing online ads and no way of appearing on search engine results pages. As a result, your promotional efforts are limited to traditional advertising like billboards, print ads, and radio. Though these methods are still effective in 2023, having a website to advertise online means reaching a wider audience.
Digital Business Card
A website essentially operates as a digital business card–it’s a place to direct people, whether you meet them in person or online, where they can explore your business and services further. Using a website as a business card has the added benefit of not having to regularly print physical business cards, saving you the hassle.
Having a website also allows you to diversify your income. For instance, if you currently only sell physical products and services through a brick-and-mortar outlet, you can integrate an online store to sell your existing products plus digital products. This offers convenience to customers while generating your business additional income.
What Skills Do You Need?
Though there are many no-code platforms and website builders, developing a website still requires specific skills. For example, if using a no-code website builder like Wix, you’ll need an understanding of website design practices, such as user interface (UI), as well as an eye for detail. Additionally, you’ll need knowledge of the development platform you’re using. Website builders like Wix may be easy to use, but you’re required to understand the platform’s functionality.
Related Article: What Are Wireframes in UI/UX Design and Why Are They Important?
If you’re looking to build a website unencumbered by the limitations of drag-and-drop website builders, you will require an understanding of HTML, CSS, and server-side development. Does this sound daunting? Don’t worry; we at Idea Maker have an alternative that combines the benefits of both coded and no-coded websites, which we’ll discuss further in the next section.
Related Article: How to Build a Website Using No-Code
Popular Website Development Platforms
There are many website development platforms available, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. The following are three web development platforms you should consider using.
As mentioned above, Wix is a website builder with a drag-and-drop user interface. In simple terms, this means that Wix allows users to create a website with little-to-no technical knowledge. The platform even offers several intuitive templates to choose from to help get you started. However, Wix is limited in terms of the functionality it provides your website due to its limited customization and coding options.
- Easy to use
- Over 800 templates
- Inexpensive (starts at $14 per month)
- Limited site functionality
- Unable to switch templates once the site is live
- Slow page loads
Related Article: WordPress vs. Wix: Which is Right for You?
Like Wix, Squarespace is also a drag-and-drop website builder but with a focus on developing e-commerce sites. As a result, Squarespace comes with similar benefits to Wix in terms of convenient development without technical knowledge, along with hundreds of templates. However, Squarespace has the added benefits of an effective e-commerce tool suite.
- Easy to use
- e-commerce tool suite
- 24/7 customer support
- Limited third-party plugin support
- Templates not fully customizable
- Clunky UI
Related Article: WordPress Vs. Squarespace: Which is Right for You?
Unlike the previous two website builders, WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS). This means that WordPress enables fully customizable website development and gives you a choice between using a convenient drag-and-drop UI or code. In fact, WordPress is so effective that it powers over 36 percent of live websites. Using WordPress with its drag-and-drop editor, Elementor, is our solution to website development, as alluded to earlier.
- Fully customizable
- Extensive plugin database
- Templates available
- Learning curve
- Manual updates and backups required
- Drag-and-drop editor isn’t installed by default
How To Create a Website from Scratch Using WordPress
At first, developing a website from scratch using WordPress may appear challenging, but following the subsequent steps will help to ease the process so that you can have a website up and running in no time.
1. Set Up Your WordPress Install
The first step is to set up your WordPress install. This can be done by heading to WordPress.org and developing a self-hosted website. This means you have complete control over everything from design to server-side maintenance. WordPress.org is an excellent option for those with existing technical knowledge and confidence in web development.
Alternatively, you could utilize WordPress.com. This choice gives you full access to WordPress’s vast suite of functionality, while WordPress itself handles server-side maintenance and advanced technical considerations. While we recommend using WordPress.com if this is your first time building a website, it’s important to note that using this service incurs a monthly fee ranging from $11 to $40.
For the purposes of this article, we’ll assume that you’ve chosen to set up your website on WordPress.com, following the on-screen instructions it provides. However, if you wish to use WordPress.org, check out the article below for further guidance.
Related Article: Things to Know When Setting up a WordPress Site
2. Install Elementor Editor Plugin
After setting up your WordPress install, the next step is to install the Elementor plugin. This plugin allows you to utilize a drag-and-drop style page builder directly within WordPress while retaining the platform’s existing functionality.
How To Install Elementor
- Navigate to the plugins tab on the left-hand sidebar of your WordPress admin portal
- Click “add new” at the top left of the page
- In the search bar on the right-hand side, search “Elementor Website Builder,” then press enter on your keyboard
- Select “install now” on the Elementor Website Builder plugin
- Once installed, navigate back to your plugins tab and location Elementor Website Builder
- Click “activate”
After following these steps, your WordPress install will be equipped with the Elementor drag-and-drop editor, making building your website a much simpler process. In addition to the Elementor Website Builder plugin, you may also wish to install the Elementor Header & Footer Builder following the same steps as above. This plugin will enable you to conveniently customize your website’s header and footer without using code.
3. Build Pages
The next stage is to build your website pages. To do this, head to the “pages” tab on the left-hand sidebar and select “add new” at the top right of the page, then select “edit with Elementor.” You’ll then be presented with a blank page and a sidebar filled with design elements. Drag-and-drop the elements you wish to be added to the page in your desired position on screen.
When building pages using Elementor, keep in mind that it is a block editor. This means the pages are built in sections called “blocks.” Within each section, you can select a layout and organize your elements as you see fit. You can also add new blocks by clicking the plus symbol above or below your existing blocks.
As you add elements to the page, be sure to consider spacing and padding. These factors determine the distance between page elements. Failing to consider padding leads to an unprofessional-looking and, often, crowded page. Spacing and padding, along with several element-specific parameters, can be altered in the left-hand sidebar when the element is selected.
All other necessary customization options can be found in the left-hand sidebar of your WordPress admin portal.
4. Publish Site
Once you’ve built your desired pages, the next step is publishing your website. If you’re using WordPress.com, this is as simple as clicking the “publish” button on each page. Before doing so, however, it’s essential to ensure that all your site’s metadata is in order. Metadata is the information provided to search engines to allow them to understand your site and place it appropriately on search results. It also determines how your website title and description appear.
There are several plugins available to help you optimize your website’s metadata. At Idea Maker, we use Rank Math and Rank Math Pro, both of which offer a convenient way to input metadata while providing recommendations and site indexing options. Indexed pages are shown to search engines, while deindexed pages are not.
It’s also important to ensure you review each web page one last time before going live. Otherwise, your site could be published with obvious and easily avoidable errors, making it appear unprofessional.
Depending on how you choose to use your website, there are some legal considerations you must keep in mind. If you’re unsure, it’s best to consult a law professional.
If you plan to collect cookies and track user behavior so your website remembers repeat visitors, you will need to declare cookie usage. Additionally, you will need to ask users to accept your default cookie settings and allow them to set their own preferences, determining what data your site can collect. Failing to do this could put you at odds with GDPR and other data protection regulations.
Related Article: A Complete Guide to GDPR Implementation (with Checklist)
Terms and Conditions
Including a terms and conditions page on your website is not a legal requirement but is advisable, as they typically outline content ownership and any other conditions you wish users to agree to before using your website.
How To Market Your Website
Now that you’ve developed and published a website, the next step is marketing in order to generate visitors.
Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of enhancing your website with certain considerations that help it appear higher on search engine results pages (SERPs). This is an essential part of creating a successful website, as over 50 percent of web traffic comes directly from search engines. Ultimately, SEO is about optimizing your website’s metadata, as discussed earlier, along with additional factors such as site speed, image size, and user experience.
Related Page: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Services
Google Search Ads
SEO is a form of organic advertising, meaning it doesn’t require financial investment, but can take a long time to yield results. Alternatively, you could place pay-per-click (PPC) ads on Google search results. PPC ads mean that whenever a web user clicks on your ad, you pay a fractional fee to Google. PPC ads often result in a substantial influx of web visitors but low customer conversion rates. They can also be costly in the long run.
Social media marketing is an excellent opportunity to combine both organic and paid advertising. Most social media platforms allow businesses to place PPC ads; however, you can also take advantage of trends and hashtags, creating appealing content likely to go viral to reach a wider user base.
How To Monetize Your Website
Once you’ve built a solid user base, you can then work towards monetizing your website. Here are a few methods of monetization.
Sell Advertising Space
One way to monetize your website is to sell advertising space. This means allowing other businesses and individuals to place ads on your website, usually on relevant pages or blog content. You can then charge them a fee each time someone clicks their ad, or per thousand impressions the ad receives.
Implement an Online Store
As discussed in the benefits of building a website section, integrating an online store is a great way to diversify your income and monetize your website. There are several ways to implement an online store, such as Shopify and Sellfy but, seeing as you’re using WordPress, we recommend installing the WooCommerce plugin.
Website Development from Idea Maker
After reading this guide, you should now understand the basics of building a website from scratch. However, developing a website is a time-consuming affair that will come with many hurdles. As a result, you should consider hiring an expert website development agency like Idea Maker.
Established in 2016, we have years of experience successfully building large and small-scale websites, and are dedicated to providing exceptional results to our clients. So, schedule a free consultation today to learn more about how Idea Maker can help.