Author’s Note: Build The Website is the fifth chapter of my free ebook, “Create Your Business Website With WordPress.” Each day I will release a chapter from the book onto my site.
With the staging site ready to go the time to build the website is now! In this chapter I will explain how to build the site using a website-builder plugin, where to find a template fitting the business website’s industry, and what WordPress plugins to install to make the site successful!
Just a few years ago I was against website builder plugins. I thought using those to build a WordPress site was lazy because the software gave one all the tools to develop a site. I was wrong.
Using a website builder plugin improves upon the power within the WordPress code. It allows me and other individuals to create beautiful and sleek pages that rival sites built by major companies. And we didn’t have to spend thousands of dollars on our websites unlike those major companies. Finally, we don’t need to modify the core WordPress code, which means we don’t need to know how to write PHP (the programming language powering WordPress).
With that said: What website builders do I recommend? These two:
Let’s review these two in more detail below.
Elementor states on its homepage it is the number one website builder for WordPress. The plugin allows for full website editing through drag-and-drop functionality. The company even provides website hosting now but I’m not going to discuss that service. My focus is only on their website building plugin.
Elementor comes in a Free and Pro version. I suggest trying out the free version before paying for the Pro version to get the free of the platform. I do use Elementor Pro because the Free version is quite limited. It’s great for a simple blog, simple small business, or a resume website. Yet, if a person needs an Ecommerce store or a site selling memberships/subscriptions then the Pro version is the way to go.
The plugin makes website creation easy because it offers layouts and designs for various types of business industries and/or services. After applying one of those designs, all the user has to do is add their content, images, and media.
The biggest downside to Elementor is its learning curve. Actually, that’s the biggest downside to any website builder plugin. The best way to use Elementor is to go through Elementor Academy. It’s a series of video divided up by topic teaching users how to build a website or add a popup step-by-step. I used these videos myself to learn how to use the plugin’s features, and I highly recommend them to beginners.
Divi states on its homepage it takes WordPress to another level. Like Elementor, Divi allows for full website editing through a visual editor, and it provides website hosting services. Again, I will only focus on the plugin.
Divi comes in a Free and Non-Free version. I suggest to start with the Free version to learn how to the platform works, and then pay to upgrade. Just like with Elementor, Divi Free version limits what features the user can access. Once a person decides to upgrade Divi does offer a one-time free for lifetime access. This will save a business owner money because there’s no need to pay a yearly free to continue to receive updates or technical support.
Divi offers various layouts and designs for different business types and/or services. Installing one of those layouts if easy. Afterwards, all the user has to do is add their content, images, and media.
Like Elementor, a big downside to Divi is its learning curve. I suggest watching the videos for the different topics on the company’s Documentation page to build the website. Especially since Divi includes their own theme and modules one can elect to use.
Each of the website builder plugins comes with their own theme. Elementor has the Hello Theme, and Divi has the Divi Theme. These theme work best with their specific plugin because they integrate perfectly with the visual design editor.
Now, what business owners can choose from is a collection of templates, or the layout and design. Both building platforms have templates for all types of services, like Photography to Law Firm. There’s also templates for Ecommerce sites. I suggest going this route because a template includes the following:
- The pages one includes normally with a website.
- About The Company page
- Contact The Company page
- Help page
- A complete layout with images and text placeholders.
All the user has to do is modify the image and text placeholders with their content. Finally, if the template the user chooses doesn’t work out it’s not difficult to delete the pages and choose another to install. I went through a few templates before I found one that fit my needs.
Build The Website & Install The WordPress Plugins
WordPress’ functionality is good right after installation but it improves dramatically after installing particular plugins. There are thousands of plugins available. Basically, whatever you want to do with a WordPress site there is probably a plugin ready to accomplish that. Yet, that plugin may or may not be the best one for that task. Which is why I will provide the must-have plugins for every business website. I will provide a suggestion for the following categories:
- Contact Form
- Website Analytics
The comment system built-into WordPress is basic, doesn’t offer any spam protection, and doesn’t integrate with any social media account. Thus, it’s pointless. Since comments and/or discussions are crucial for some business websites I suggest installing the wpDiscuz plugin.
I use this plugin on all of my sites. It has spam protection, users from various social media accounts can log in with those accounts to leave a comment, and commenters and upvote or downvote responses.
The developers state on the plugin’s home wpDiscuz is WordPress #1 comment plugin. It has large install base (over 90,000) and is highly rated. In addition, plugin provides simple commenter engagement features and looks pretty snazzy.
This plugin provides 100 core features for free. However there are additional extensions at a cost to extend the software’s functionality. Although I continue to use the free version, the bundle price is a great way to get all the additional features for a good price.
The contact form plugin I use and recommend is WPForms. Over six million sites use this plugin with its templates to create a contact form or a survey. The plugin uses a visual editor with a drag-and-drop feature.
Although the Free version of the plugin will work for some, others may want the additional features and will have to spend the money to get them. Especially if those individuals would like to accept payments in their forms using WPForms.
The main plugin to build a full-fledged Ecommerce store is WooCommerce. This is the plugin I use to run my online store, Let’s All Meat. And WooCommerce can create just about any online store.
WooCommerce is free to download and it comes with the Storefront theme. However, like others plugins I discussed in this section, users will find themselves wanting the additional features of the non-free version of the plugin. With the Storefront theme then I suggest purchasing the Storefront Extensions Bundle. That bundles allows users to customize the theme without any coding knowledge.
When it comes to marketing there are many plugins to choose from. Most, if not all, business websites are going to do some type of email marketing so downloading the Mailchimp plugin is one option. I know other owners who use HubSpot and there is a plugin for that service.
There are are social media plugins to either connect the business’ social media accounts to the website, or show updates from those accounts on the website. There are plugins for the various popular social media platforms available to install.
I’ll keep this short and simple: Install Yoast SEO. It’s the most popular SEO plugin and it’s easy to configure and use. I use the Free version and it works for me. However, if one really wants to make sure their site’s SEO is top-notch then purchase the Pro version.
And I’ll keep this short and simple: Install Site Kit by Google. It connects to Search Console, Analytics, PageSpeed Insights, and AdSense.