Once you have a solid workflow, it’s not difficult to knock out a WordPress site.
Installation takes minutes.
Initial setup can be done in under a half hour.
And customization can be done in under a few hours.
With content, design assets, and photos in hand, you can have a fully functional website in no time flat.
Even under an hour.
Newcomers, of course … especially those with limited knowledge of HTML, CSS, and front-end development … may be surprised at how long it takes to get things just right.
If you aren’t experienced, it can take days of full-time work to get a site working exactly the way you want.
These 10 steps can help you if:
- You want to learn a bit more about WordPress
- You’re an experienced WordPress user looking for some fresh ideas
- You just want to see what goes into WordPress site creation
While your results may vary, I hope this workflow helps you speed up your website building time.
And, of course, if you’ve never built a website before, then this is a great boilerplate template to start with.
My WordPress Workflow in 10 Simple Steps
- Start with a one-page website or a 3-4 page site that includes a Home Page, an About Page, a Contact Page, and a Services Page.
- Feel free to speed up your workflow even more by working with outsourced help from Fiverr, Upwork, or other freelancing sites.
- My workflow will probably take you longer than it does me, but the more you do it, the faster you’ll get
Without further ado, here is my WordPress workflow in 10 simple steps:
1. Register your domain on Namecheap.
Simply visit namecheap.com and plug in your domain name until you find one that’s semi-suitable.
It’s geting harder and harder these days to find a decent domain name, but if you’re creative you’ll be able to land something … especially if you choose one of the new top-level domains.
Having trouble finding a good domain name?
Visit namemesh.com, a domain name brainstormer.
Once it’s registered, point the domain name servers (DNS) to your web host.
2. One-click install WordPress on your hosting service.
WordPress is so popular that most hosting companies offer a one-click install option.
Find out where this is inside your hosting provider, click it once, then tell the installer which domain you’d like to install to.
3. Choose a theme.
I tend to use premium WordPress themes from themeforest.net, which is a member of the Envato Marketplace … a paradise for designers, frontend web developers, and creatives.
Recently, however, a few other popular ones have cropped up, such as Avada, which I’d like to tryout.
Free themes will work if you’re on a budget.
However, each one comes with its own limitations. And each is set up differently, so each has its own learning curve.
Also, by the time you do learn how to use it, you usually discover some part of the theme that you can’t tweak … meaning you end up choosing another free theme and going through the same cycle.
After a few months of trying free themes, I gave up on them completely in favor of premium themes.
That being said, I have used Astra on a couple sites this year, because it’s fast and good-looking.
And it’s got a free version.
4. Choose a color scheme.
I am an Adobe user, so I use Adobe for all my design needs, including getting color schemes.
Visit Adobe Color to see a veritable ocean of color schemes that you can pick from.
Coolers.co is another choice that I’ve heard a bit about, but I’ve never used it.
Once you’ve decided on a color scheme, keep it handy – you’ll need the hex codes when you customize your site.
5. Choose a logo.
Graphicriver.net is my favorite place to go for logo ideas.
Whether you choose a pre-made logo, hire a designer to customize one of the templates, or commission a
logo from a professional designer, this site can still give you some good ideas.
I also subscribe to Envato Elements, which has loads of downloadable graphic design assets, from logos to website templates.
For the purposes of this exercise, it’s useful to just go with a logo quickly, then come back later if you’d like to ramp up your branding game.
If you don’t have Adobe Illustrator and are reluctant to use it, just shoot the file over to someone on Fiverr and have them add your text and resize it for cheap.
6. Get photos
Just make sure that you find them from sites that explicitly permit commercial use.
7. Put all your content into your WordPress site
WordPress newbies can expect to spend a few hours learning the admin panel.
But you can probably get the bulk of customization done through the Appearance -> Customize menu.
I’ve noticed that in 2017 and 2018, WordPress themes are starting to make heavy use of this panel, allowing you to change most aspects of the site there.
- Add your site colors. This is where you’ll want to have the hex colors handy (see step 4 above). You can change button colors, link colors, and more. Premium themes will give you very fine control over the color scheme, which is why you should get a full color scheme from a site like Adobe Color or Coolers.co. If you want a site done even more quickly, some themes have “skins,” which are essentially pre-built themes. They’re usually simple, but they get the job done.
- Put your logo into the site. If the theme tells you how big the logo should be, make sure you fit your logo into those pixel dimensions. If WordPress or the theme has to resize the logo, it will probably become a bit fuzzy … and unattractive.
- Add photos. Chances are, the theme you choose will have some sort of pre-fabricated landing page … or even a fully pre-built website. If you are brand new, start by swapping out their placeholder pictures for the stock photos you pulled from Pixabay or another free stock photo site.
I’d advise starting with one of the template pages and using that as your homepage for now. You can always change it later.
8. Install my 10 favorite WordPress plugins
If you use my hand-picked list of 10 WordPress plugins, you can get your site beefed up with some extra useful functionality in under 5 minutes.
Simply search and install.
9. Add your web copy.
I don’t advocate cheap content or lousy copywriting … at all.
But I do take a pragmatic approach to website development … there’s no reason to buy a Lamborghini when a Honda will do the job just fine.
Once you have your web copy, throw it onto the site.
10. Tidy up loose ends
Clean up your site and make it more presentable:
- Settings -> General. Change the Site Title to your business name and the Tagline to your slogan.
- Settings -> Reading. Make sure the site’s homepage is set correctly.
- Settings -> Permalinks. I use a custom structure that includes the category and postname (/%category%/%postname%/), but the key is to make sure it’s not set to an arbitrary page number. Keywords and dates are good things to include.
- Users -> Your Profile. Make sure your display name is set correctly and you have a bio.
- Appearance -> Menus. Make sure your menu choices match the pages you’ve actually published.
- Appearnce -> Widgets. Get rid of archive posts, calendar, meta, and other irrelevant widgets. I usually choose Search, Recent Posts, Categories, Tags, and a custom text box that includes some “About Us” info. And an email subscription widget if applicable.
- Theme Options -> Bottom Bar. Add copyright info and remove links to the theme creator.
These 10 steps are enough to get your site up and running, but there will still be a lot left to do.
I liken this workflow to creating a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) … it’s a good start but it’s not the end goal.
Most businesses will want to add other functionality, such as social media integration, post scheduling, ecommerce, email signup forms, and so on.
Once you get these 10 steps out of the way, though, you’ll have your foundation to build upon.
From there, tweaking and adding more features will be a piece of cake.