Blue and White WordPress Logo (Open Source Example)

Register a Domain Name

If you want a unique name for your website address, you will want a domain name.  This domain name will be used for Content Management Systems (CMS) such as WordPress (WordPress.org), Drupal, Joomla or others. Note you do not need a registered domain name for sites made in WordPress.com (as opposed to WordPress.org), Blogger, or Shopify.  These sites use their domain with your site added (Ex. wordpress.com/yoursite). However, you can use a unque domain name for these sites if you want.

Choose a Hosting Provider

After you have a domain name, you need to choose a hosting provider.  Sometimes you get the domain name from the place where you host your website.  However, often it is better to have a domain name registered at a different location so you are not locked-in to the same place that is hosting your site.  Some of the better hosting providers are SiteGround, TMD Hosting, Kinsta, or DreamHost. WordPress.com, Shopify, and Blogger do their own hosting.

Determine the overall layout of the website

This step can be one or two steps depending on the process. You need to determine the layout of your website either by theme or a drawn layout. WordPress.org is a good place to look at themes that have been vetted. Experimenting can be done with a localhost or a “staged site.” Keep in mind things like consistency with your logo, website colors, and contrast.

Find or make a theme

Once you have your theme installed on your WordPress instance you need to either use the stock demo content or layout your content using an editor such as Gutenberg or Elementor.  It often helps to figure out what content you want to include first before you start the layout.  Look at other websites in the same genre for inspiration. Sometimes this step can be part of the previous step since the chosen theme often dictates the layout.

Testing and Additions

  • Test the Site for Mobile Responsiveness

When you have a website drafted out, you then want to test the site in the different display modes such as desktop, tablet, and mobile.  In some cases, depending on the content, you may have to make a separate mobile version because of the narrower phone screen. 

  • Test the Site for ADA Compliance

You also want to check the site for American Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance, looking at color contrast, text size, and making sure the headings are in logical order among other things. A number of ADA tools are available as plugins and extensions on browsers.  You also want to make sure that all of the links work.

  • Add Legal Policies

Legal policies such as a Privacy Policy, Terms and Conditions, Cookie Policy (sometimes included in Privacy Policy), and disclosures (if doing eCommerce or affiliates) need to be added to the website. These are often added to the footer where they can be seen on each page. The Privacy Policy and disclosures are required by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Having a Terms and Conditions is generally considered good form in doing a website.

  • Add a Security Plugin

A security plugin such as Wordfence, All-in-one WP Security, iThemes or similar will need to be added to the site before going live. This will protect the site against brute force attacks and malware.

  • Analytics Software

Add Analytics software for Google, so you can track the number of visitors to the site.

  • Test the Completed Site

Once all of the above is completed, you will want to test the site links, loading, and make sure that the site is working as it should.

Launch the Website

Congratulations! You have gotten to the launching point of your website. Put your website out the for the world to see.

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