The facts are simple, WordPress is the most popular website builder in the world. The platform is intuitive and flexible for all levels of web designers, and what's even better - it's completely free.
So, it's a perfect tool for building websites. But you'll still need to do some preparation to get ready.
If you're looking at how to design a website with WordPress, this guide is for you. These are the main steps to start your WordPress design journey:
- Choose your preferred WordPress design method
- Choose a web hosting provider and a domain
- Get inspiration from other websites
- Choose a theme
- Use the right images
- Get a font plugin
- Decide on a color scheme
1. Choose Your WordPress Design Method
There are various ways to design a WordPress website. While you can head over to WordPress.com and choose a plan based on your individual needs, I’m using WordPress.org in this tutorial.
Also, if you choose the right hosting provider, it can be significantly more affordable.
Interesting in finding out how are the .org and the .com different? We wrote a tutorial, explaining all the differences between WordPress.org and WordPress.com.
2. Get Inspiration From Other Websites
Before you start designing your WordPress site, it’s important you get inspiration from competitors. Good artists borrow, great artists steal, right?
In this case - look at other websites that operate in the same industry or niche and copy the aspects of these sites you like the most.
Please note, however, that you should never steal actual work from other sites. While stealing ideas is okay, copying their exact code, images, and overall brand identity will be seen as plagiarism and will affect your reputation.
For example, if you will design a creative blog or a website, take a look at this Adobe's 99U creative blog and a resource page that was built with WordPress. The minimalism with the pop of color really works in this instance.
3. Choose a Web Hosting Provider and a Domain
When it comes to choosing a hosting provider, I recommend you go for one that also allows you to buy a domain name as well. Additionally, make sure to have a look at their individual plans. While many of them offer unlimited storage, high speeds, and military-grade encryption, these are often features found in the more expensive subscriptions.
Choose one that gives you all the capabilities you need while also being good value for money.
I’ve created this tutorial using Hostinger because I believe it offers the most competitive pricing plans. It also comes with a one-click WordPress installation. Other alternative domain hosting providers include SiteGround, A2 Hosting, and iPage, among others.
And in this example, choosing and buying a domain name with Hostinger couldn’t be more straightforward. Once you've selected your plan, in the basket, you will be able to choose a domain name for free. Simply pick the TLD (domain ending) and the name you want, and you're good to go.
If you already have yours purchased, don't worry, once you purchase hosting, you will easily be able to connect the existing name to your new hosting account.
4. Choose a Theme
One of the main benefits of using WordPress is that the platform has hundreds of themes and templates for you to choose from. Better yet, many of these are free and extremely easy to install.
However, the theme you choose will depend entirely on the purpose of your site. For example, the theme for an online jewelry store won’t be the same as a professional portfolio website so make sure the design you go for aligns with your user intent.
Once you have an idea of the type of theme that will suit your website, log into your WordPress dashboard by typing in https://yourdomainname.com/wp-admin. Then, click on “Appearance” followed by “Themes” and finally, “Add New”. From there, browse through the various options, hover over your favorite one, and click “Customize”.
Alternatively, you can download themes from third party websites. The best part about such websites is that they have plenty of professional, business-specific templates. Here, on ThemeForest, I found 150 of themes, specifically created for pubs.
Or, if you can hire a designer that knows how to design a WordPress theme, you can get them to create it for you. Keep in mind that this might be very pricey, so try the options above first.
Once you’ve got the design you want, you simply navigate to your “Themes” page, click “Upload Theme” at the top of the page, and select “Choose file”.
5. Use the Right Images
The key to making sure that the appearance of your website aligns with your personal or business goals is to make sure you use the right media. When it comes to adding pictures to your website, however, there are two options.
The first one is to hire a professional photographer to take them for you. That said, this can be very costly and isn’t the best option for everyone. I recommend you choose images from a stock photography website. Some of the most popular ones include Unsplash, Pixabay, and Flickr.
However, always respect the copyright owners. If the picture is for personal use only, don't use it for commercial use. Also, if the images are licensed, buy the license and support the artist.
6. Get a Font Plugin
Another aspect of your WordPress website that you can personalize is your fonts. Yes, you can go for one of the fonts already available, but using a font plugin will give you more choice.
For my website, I used Google Fonts for WordPress because it gives you access to more than 870 font choices and it is free. To install this plugin, simply navigate to “Plugins” on your dashboard and click on “Add New”. Then, search for “Google Fonts for WordPress” and once you find it, click “Install Now”.
Once the installation is complete, click on “Activate”. This will redirect you to your installed plugins.
From your installed plugins, click on “Settings”. This will redirect you to the WordPress editor where you’ll be able to test various fonts to use for your base, headings, and buttons typography.
7. Decide on a Color Scheme
When it comes to color, less is often more. Unless you know about color theory, you may want to stick to two or three colors. If you’re concerned about your website looking like a children’s coloring book, I suggest you go for two neutral and contrasting colors across your site. However, if you have the time and patience, play around with a color wheel to find complementary colors and new exciting color schemes.
In many cases, using a black and white color scheme or mixing in one, more vibrant color to the palette can be more than enough. Whichever scheme you decide to go for, make sure it aligns with the graphics on your site as well as your logo.
Additional Steps You Can Take to Perfect the Design of Your WordPress Site
While these WordPress design tips will help your website look the part, it’s important that you add the right plugins so that it operates as it should. Some of the most popular WordPress plugins I recommend you install to make your site more functional include Yoast SEO, Akismet Anti-Spam, Sucuri Security, W3 Total Cache, and Updraft Plus.
To install all these plugins, the process is the same. You have to:
- Click on “Plugins” on your dashboard
- Select “Add New”
- Type the name of the plugin you want to download into the search bar
- Click on “Install Now” next to your chosen plugin
- Select “Activate” once the installation is complete
Once activated, you can navigate back to your installed plugins where you’ll be able to change the settings for each one.
In the meantime, do you have other WordPress design tips you’d like to share? If so, please do so in the comments below.