HOW TO BUILD A SMALL BUSINESS WEBSITE FROM SCRATCH
A website is a must-have in today’s digital and online world especially if you own a small business. In fact, it could be argued that it is absolutely essential! This is especially true if you want to build and increase brand awareness for your business, reach a wider audience, and provide valuable information and resources to your customers and clients.
However, if you have never built a website before, creating a website from scratch can seem like a daunting task, especially if you aren’t sure where to begin or are on a tight budget. Luckily with the right tools, resources, and guidance it can be fun and really rewarding – and it doesn’t need to break the bank!
These days it is relatively easy to build a site from scratch using free website builders that are easy to use, especially for beginners who have no programming or coding knowledge.
Enter WordPress, one of the most popular and widely used website builders out there!
WordPress is a website builder that is free, user-friendly, and flexible so you can easily build websites for any type of business – from personal blogs all the way up to complex e-commerce stores and websites!
If you are a beginner and aren’t sure where to start, this step-by-step beginners’ guide will take you by the hand and walk you through how to build your website from scratch using WordPress. I’ll cover everything from choosing a domain name and web hosting to customizing your site, adding content, and launching your site.
If you haven’t already done so, don’t forget to download my free website checklist PDF. This will help you stay on track as you work through each tutorial.
My aim is to make it a complete WordPress course that will allow you to build your small business website easily without needing to rely on anyone else!
So, if you are ready to take your first steps toward making a website from scratch, keep reading!
Before You Begin
Before you begin building your website it is important to think about your ideal customer and what they need from your website. Who is your target audience? What type of information are they looking for? What problems do they have? How can you help them?
Of course, you also need to think about what you would like to achieve when prospective clients get to your website. Would you like them to buy a product, sign up for your newsletter, or request information about your services?
A great place to start is by looking at the websites of your competitors – they already have your ideal customers so you can save a ton of time by getting some inspiration from them. And the best part about researching your competitors is that you will be looking at their websites with the eyes of a customer so you will be able to see exactly what works and what doesn’t.
Make a note of everything that you see so that you can apply the best aspects of their websites to yours while avoiding the things that you don’t like or don’t work.
While researching your competitor websites, you should also keep an eye open for website designs that you love. Take screenshots of pages or elements of web pages that you really like and imagine what content you could create and include on your website if you had these elements or designs.
If you don’t already have a brand identity then take note of things like fonts, color schemes, logos, page layouts, etc.
If you need some inspiration then check out my Pinterest boards where I have collected some great ideas that you can draw inspiration from! And please don’t forget to follow me for more 🙂
Your next step is to think about what content you would like to add to your website. Start thinking about what pages you need as well as how you can sort and arrange all your information so that your clients can find what they are looking for – while researching your competitor websites, take note of their menus and navigation and how easy it is to find their information. Again, make notes of anything that works and what doesn’t.
Think about how you can split all your information into categories so that it’s easier for your clients to find what they need. For example, if you have a wedding planning business, maybe you could split your information into categories such as venues, entertainment, catering, etc.
Get all your information, text, and images together so that you have everything in one place when you are ready to begin adding pages to your website. Planning your website now will make building it that much quicker!
If you don’t have a business name or domain name yet, start thinking about names that you could use. I’ve put together a number of articles on how you can choose the perfect domain name for your website. If you can choose a domain name that matches your business name then of course, this is the ultimate win!
How To Use This Guide
If you are building your website from scratch for the first time, it can be tricky to know where to start and what to do when!
In this guide, I have tried to break down the whole process of building a website into a sequence of steps that make sense. Each step or section has a couple of tutorials that can be followed to help you build your website efficiently. I have also tried to link the tutorials together so that if you ever get stuck, you can find the relevant information you need to get unstuck easily. And if you do get stuck, drop me a message in the comments section and I’ll give you a hand!
The Blocksy Theme
In this website building tutorial, we will be using WordPress Blocksy Theme. The Blocksy theme is an easy-to-use theme that has truly impressive features and flexibility, all in it’s free version! Using the Blocksy theme you can create a stunning website that is not only professional looking but it also comes with a wide range of pre-designed starter sites so that you can save valuable time when building your website. And the best part is that it looks great on any device! Not sure what a WordPress theme is or how to use one? No problem, I’ll cover everything you need to know in this tutorial!
How Much Does It Cost To Build A Website From Scratch?
If you’ve been wondering how much it is going to cost to build your website from scratch, then wonder no more!
The good news is that I have created these tutorials so that you only need to invest in website hosting for your website (which costs less than your morning coffee – and trust me, it’s better to give up your coffee than skimp on hosting!). Everything else can be done for nothing, for free, nada, niks, zero dollars required!
If you have the time, then building your website on a budget is completely doable!
Track Your Progress!
Sign up for our newsletter and get our free website building checklist! Easily keep track of your progress and make sure you’ve covered all the important steps as you build your own website.
Step 1 – Choose A Domain Name
Choosing a domain name is the first step when building your website from scratch. Your domain name is crucial because it is the online address for your business website and it is often the first thing people see when they find your website for the first time.
Your domain name plays a major role in building your brand so it is really important that you choose a name that reflects your brand and your business well!
What Is A Domain? And How Does A Domain Name Work?
15 Awesome Benefits Of Buying A Domain Name For Your Business
How To Choose A Domain Name For Your Business: 11+ Tips To Help You!
3 Ways To Get A Free Domain Name In 2023 (Number 3 Is Best)!
Step 2 – Choose Web Hosting
Website hosting is another really important thing to consider if you are creating a website from scratch!
Think of website hosting as the online home of your website because it is the place where your website and all its files will be stored. Choosing the right website host is essential because it directly impacts the speed, performance, security, and reliability of your website.
Website Hosting vs Domain Name Hosting: What’s The Difference?
What Is Website Hosting? 5 Web Hosting Options Explained
What To Look For In A Web Host – 15 Essentials You Need
Top 11 Benefits of cPanel Hosting: Why It’s A Must-Have For Website Owners
My Top Pick For The Best Web Host For 2023
How To Sign Up For Web Hosting (Step-By-Step Guide)
What Is cPanel? Plus 9 cPanel Tools You Need For Your Website
Step 3 – Set Up Your Email
Having a domain-specific email address is really important for any small business that wants to create a professional brand and business image. A custom email address that uses your domain name shows that you are established, professional, and credible so it really is a no-brainer!
When you build your website, you will be using your email address to set up your contact forms, newsletters as well as contact information for your legal pages.
How To Create A New Email Account In cPanel (Easy 5-Minute Tutorial)
Step 3 – Install WordPress
WordPress is an awesome website builder that has built over 40% of all the websites on the internet! Yes, 40%! Impressive right?!
Installing WordPress is pretty straightforward and can be completed in just a few steps, allowing you to quickly and easily make a website without needing to code anything.
11 Reasons Why You Should Use WordPress To Build Your Website
How To Install WordPress Using cPanel And Softaculous
Step 4 – Getting To Know WordPress
To get the most out of WordPress, it is important to understand how WordPress works and how to set it up correctly.
To do this, you will need to get to know the WordPress Admin panel. The WordPress Admin panel is like your website’s control room and it is from here that you will customize, control and build your website. And if you are building your website from scratch for the first time, then learning how to use the WordPress admin panel is one of the best things you can do to make your work easier and more streamlined.
The WordPress Admin Panel & Dashboard – A Beginners Guide
WordPress Settings Made Simple: A Beginners Guide
How To Add A Plugin To WordPress (Beginners Guide)
Step 5 – Create A Coming Soon Page In WordPress
A coming soon page is a great way to make your website look professional while you are still busy building it.
A well-designed coming soon page will not only help build excitement about the launch of your website but can also be used as a marketing tool, collecting website visitors’ email addresses when they land on your site before it is even launched!
How To Create A Coming Soon Page For Your WordPress Website
Step 6 – Install A Theme
WordPress makes it really easy to control and customize the look and feel of your website by using themes. Themes control the layout, color scheme, typography, and other visual elements of your website making it easy to create a business website that looks professional and attractive. WordPress Themes make building a website from scratch super easy!
WordPress Themes: The Basics + My Pick For The Best WordPress Theme
Step-By-Step Guide To Installing The Blocksy WordPress Theme: Beginners Tutorial
The WordPress Customizer: A Quick Overview For Beginners
Step 7 – Create A Favicon
A favicon is a small image or icon that is displayed next to your website name in the browser tab. Favicons help users quickly recognize and find your website if they have lots of website pages open and they are also a really cool way to brand your website and make it memorable.
How To Create A WordPress Site Icon (Favicon): Quick & Easy Guide
How To Add A Favicon To Your WordPress Website: 11 Easy Steps
Step 8 – Understanding the WordPress Media Library
The WordPress media library is where you will store and manage all your website’s media files such as images, video, audio, and documents. It gives you a convenient and organized way to upload, manage and access all your media files in one place.
How To Use The WordPress Media Library: 5-Minute Tutorial
Step 9 – Customize The Website Header
Your website header is often the very first thing that people see when they land on your website. It is also that place where your main navigation menu will be so it’s essential that your header is well-designed and easy to use.
Step-by-Step Guide to Customizing Your WordPress Header and Uploading a Logo
Step 10 – Understanding WordPress Widgets
WordPress widgets are small blocks of content that can be added to different parts of your website to add additional functionality and features. They are most commonly used in your website sidebars and footers and sometimes also the header.
Widgets are easy to use and can add dynamic content such as calendars, archives, and social medial links to your website. And the best part is that you don’t need any coding knowledge to use them! Simply drag and drop them in place.
Learn How To Use WordPress Widgets In 5 Minutes
Step 11 – Customize The Website Footer
Website footers are often overlooked because they are right at the very end of your web pages! But don’t let that stop you from taking advantage of this extra space where you can add all sorts of helpful content such as menus, contact details, social media icons, etc.
Editing The WordPress Footer: Beginners Guide (Blocksy Theme)
Step 12 – Customize Theme Colors
Make your website your own by customizing its color palette!
Whether you already have brand colors that you use or you are just starting out, WordPress makes it easy to change your theme’s colors. And the best part is that you can see what the colors will look like in real-time!
How To Choose The Best Color Palette For Your Brand And Website
How To Change Theme Colors In WordPress: Quick & Easy Tutorial
Step 13 – Customize Fonts
Customizing your website fonts is a breeze with WordPress!
Using the WordPress customizer you can change the fonts for individual elements all while previewing them in real time. Need to change a heading font? Or perhaps the fonts you use for your quotes? No problem!
How To Change Fonts In WordPress (The Easiest Way!)
Step 14 – Add & Customize Sidebars
Sidebars are an awesome addition to any website design because they provide valuable space to show additional content that is relevant to your website as a whole. You can easily include things like newsletter sign-up forms, your latest articles, products, social media links, advertisements, etc.
WordPress Sidebars: How To Add, Edit & Design Your Website Sidebars
Step 15 – Add Content To WordPress
Content is what makes your truly website valuable and interesting! Your content is what lets people know what your business or website is all about and how you can help solve their problems. It also helps to drive traffic and makes it easier for search engines to find your website.
With WordPress, you can use pages and posts to publish just about any type of content you’d like including text, images, videos, and more.
So, whether you are building a small business website, a portfolio, a blog, or an e-commerce store, WordPress makes it easy to publish your content.
WordPress Posts vs Pages: Understanding The Differences
How To Add Content To WordPress: The Gutenberg Block Editor
How To Add Posts To WordPress: Ultimate Beginners Guide
How To Change The Layout & Design Of Your WordPress Posts
3+ Must-Have Legal Pages For Websites & How To Generate Them
How To Create Pages In WordPress: Beginner’s Tutorial
Step 16 – Website Menus & Navigation
Your website menu is like a roadmap that guides your website visitors and clients through your site helping them find what they are looking for.
Without navigation menus, your visitors would literally be lost!
Luckily designing and creating easy-to-navigate website menus is a breeze with WordPress!
Website Navigation: A Guide To Creating & Adding WordPress Menus
Step 17 – Customize Your Homepage
First impressions count! And because your homepage is often the first page people will see when visiting your site, it’s really important that it sets the correct tone for the rest of their visit.
Your homepage should be eye-catching, easy to navigate and give your visitors a clear understanding of who you are and what your business is about.
How To Change Your WordPress Page Layout And Design In 5 Steps
How To Set Up Your Website Homepage With WordPress
Step 18 – Set Up Your Contact Us Page
Your website’s “Contact Us” page is key when it comes to helping your clients and website visitors get in touch with you!
Your “Contact Us” page should not only be easy to find and easy to use, but it should give your visitors a clear understanding of how they can contact you if they need to.
How To Create The Perfect “Contact Us” Page (With A Killer WordPress Contact Form)
Step 20 – Set Up Your Newsletter & Email Marketing
Collecting email addresses is arguably one of the very best things you can do for your business! This is especially true if you are building your small business website from scratch for the first time.
Email is not only cost-effective but it is also an awesome way to build and maintain relationships with your clients and customers. And unlike social media, where algorithms can change and limit the reach of your business, email allows you to directly reach the inboxes of your clients and subscribers whenever you would like to.
There are a few steps that you need to take so that you can set up your email subscription correctly.
Getting Started With Email Marketing + The Best Email Marketing Platform For Small Businesses (FREE)
How To Create A Thank You Page With WordPress [Easy Beginner’s Guide]
How To Create A Newsletter Subscription Form & Add It To WordPress
Step 21 – Finishing touches
We are almost done! Your website should almost be complete by now. Go back and customize and tweak everything you have done so far. Go back and check all your pages, posts, links and forms are working correctly.
When you are happy with everything and ready to launch your website, all you need to do is deactivate your “Coming Soon” page. When your coming soon page is deactivated, everyone will be able to see your website and you can start promoting it.
Very Important! Don’t forget to check your website on different mobile devices and tablets! Make sure that everything is being displayed correctly and that all your forms etc. are working properly. Also, don’t forget to check that your website is being displayed correctly in different browsers.
Once your website is live, it’s also a great idea to ask friends and family to visit your site to critique it and give you suggestions on how you can improve it. Sometimes, what might seem intuitive to you might be confusing for someone who is visiting your website for the first time. So, getting a fresh pair of eyes on your website is essential!
And if you received any email sign-ups through your Coming Soon page, don’t forget to drop them an email to let them know you have launched your website!
Building a website from scratch using WordPress can be fun and rewarding, especially when you successfully launch it for the first time!
If you have come this far, CONGRATULATIONS!
I really hope that my tutorials have helped to make your journey in building your own website a lot easier. I will be adding more tutorials and tips and tricks so make sure you sign up for my newsletter for more content on improving your website!
I would really love to hear from you! Did my tutorials help you? How can I make them better?
I would also love to see the websites you have built! If you are happy to share, please get in touch 🙂