How to design your first WordPress website

Great news! You’ve chosen WordPress as your CMS platform to build your fist website. It’s one of the most widely used systems online today and is capable of building both small websites for start up companies as well as website design for growing SMEs.

If you don’t know where to start, designing your own WordPress website can feel like a daunting task. You’ll need to have some basic IT skills, an eye for design and content ready to put online.

All good news… once you have covered the basics of WordPress website design you’ll have your new site up and running in no time at all.

Why You Should Use A Simple WordPress Theme

As a website owner, you are looking to be efficient, and theme choices can mean that you are lost in a sea of colour palettes and options.

There is no shortage of high quality, premium themes when you choose WordPress as your platform. Themes for businesses. Themes perfect for personal blogs and even themes for portfolio websites are all on offer with WordPress, which is why it’s so popular.

It can fit into a variety of niches. There are complex and beautiful themes but for your first WordPress website we recommend a theme that is easy to set up.

The benefits of a simple theme for your WordPress website design:

  • Easy set-up. Keep your WordPress website simple so that you can get your business online quickly. You can come back and make further improvements after you go live with the first version.
  • Simple customisation. Customisation and personalisation options are point-and-click so you don’t come up against any coding, which is often what causes business owners the biggest problem.
  • Improved SEO. One of the biggest benefits of simple design themes is that they will improve your search engine rankings for a new website. A simple website that Google can crawl easily has the power to bump you up the search results quickly.
  • Better Content Focus. A simple WordPress site design can help both you and your customers to focus on your content rather than gimmicks. Traffic to your site is more likely to convert when you get your content right.
  • Faster Loading. Complicated websites can take a long time to load. A simple website design will have a better impact on your loading time, and this also helps with a good foundation for SEO.

When you have picked your theme, you need to consider the following points:

  1. You need a new domain name – People should know who you are simply by typing the domain name into the search bar. Make sure it ends in either or .com so that you can be visible to the widest audience.
  2. You need an excellent hosting plan. Avoid cheap shared hosting. This is something I can’t stress enough. Go for WP Engine which is by far the best WordPress host around. (Take advantage of a discount following our affiliate link.)
  3. Plan your content by making a list of all the pages that you want to publish. Using a company that can supply you with content from freelance writers can be the investment that you need to make your website stand out.

How To Create Your New Website Design

Once you have your domain name registered and you are happy with your content, you’re ready to get started with setting up your new site.

You also need a short guide to get you there, which you can find below.

  • Install WordPress

If you followed my recommendation about setting up your WordPress website with WP Engine, you will already have WordPress installed. If not you should follow the instructions provided by your hosting provider. In most cases this should be a one-click operation.

  • Install Your Theme

Once you log-in to the WordPress Dashboard, head over to Appearance, then Themes and Add New. Once uploaded you can then click Activate, which should have your theme up and running.

  • Add Your Plugins

Choose to add plugins to your WordPress website that add the basic functionality that you need. Don’t get carried away with this. REMEMBER: KEEP IT SIMPLE! Your dashboard can tell you which plugins would be best for your site. Once these have all been installed, scroll down and click Activate again for them to start running.


The last steps after these have been completed is to start adding your content to your WordPress site.

Creating a perfect website is not an easy task and it will be something that is continuously being developed and updated by you to keep it current. You could choose to manage this yourself, or you could use the help of a specialist to keep your website as updated.

There will always be something to optimise, an idea to implement and security issues to think about. If you plan to use your website to build your business you need regular WordPress website maintenance.

At some point, the code that you’ve used and the design that you’ve chosen will go out-of-date. As long as you adapt an Agile approach rather than letting your website grow old, you’re going to have a much more successful website, allowing you to focus on running your business.

Your new website won’t be perfect when you launch it, but that’s fine. Launch and improve constantly over time!