Now that we’re well into the 21st century, having a website is non-negotiable. Not only does it affect your credibility, but it also functions as a primary touchpoint for customers to interact with your business.
But building one can feel daunting if you aren’t a developer or a web designer.
Luckily, there is a solution out there that can simplify the process for you, while still enabling you to create a stellar website, ecommerce store, blog, community, or portfolio.
It’s called WordPress.
What Is WordPress?
Put simply: WordPress is a content management system that allows you to build websites of all shapes and sizes.
With WordPress, you can select templates, drag and drop elements, integrate specific tools and features (via plugins), and customize the code, from one place. This makes it possible for anyone – from beginners to expert web developers – to design the perfect website for their business.
WordPress Website Inspiration: 5 Amazing Examples
Ok, but if WordPress is that easy to use, can you actually use it to create professional looking websites?
Absolutely. In fact, some of the best websites on the internet were created using WordPress.
Here, we’ve compiled five fantastic WordPress websites to spark your imagination and get your creativity flowing.
1. Urban Southern
You almost don’t need to see the name of this business to know what type of vibe they’re going for on their site. It’s classic, comfortable, and minimalist with a hint of urban style.
And that can be seen from their photographs to their graphics and fonts.
In terms of functionality, Urban Southern also incorporates some really smart design features. One of the big ones is their sticky navigation bar, which stays with you as you scroll down the page, making it easier to navigate around the site.
The other is their CTA buttons, which change color when you hover your cursor over them, indicating that it’s an element you can interact with.
Generations Against Bullying (GAB) is proof that you can use WordPress, even if your website needs a lot of different features and functionalities.
Right off the bat, the website uses a slider to swap out high resolution header images and text. And as you scroll down, icons fade in to give the site more depth and dimension.
Where this site really shines is its plugins, though, as the website incorporates a blog, an events page, and an ecommerce store, all under one roof.
Beyond the standard of using WordPress to create a modern style website, Waaark uses WordPress to design a truly interactive experience. As the site loads, the page morphs from a basic color with the business’ name front and center to a three block page that holds all the site content above the fold.
When you select a menu option, you can move directly from the homepage to the portfolio or about page. From there, you can scroll to view past projects and information about the studio, as it fades in and out of the page.
The really cool feature? Once you’ve visited a page, a strike-through will appear on its link in the menu, so you know what you’ve seen and what you haven’t.
Method is another site that customizes WordPress to incorporate interactive background elements in the site. Being a cleaning products company, they also do it in a pretty clever way: bouncing soap bubbles around behind their text and images.
Method also has high quality videos embedded throughout its site, giving visitors a fun way to learn about the company and the products.
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5. Cutest Paw
If you’re into photography and love animals, Cutest Paw is a fun community site built to give animal lovers a place to share photos of their pets. The homepage is fairly simple, with a search bar and hyperlinks to find specific types of photos.
However, once you sign in, the homepage becomes an endless space to scroll photos of all types of animals. Super fun, and super distracting!
Pretty cool, right? And that’s only scratching the surface. There are hundreds of thousands of businesses and professionals out there that use WordPress to create and host their sites.
However, you can’t spend all of your time looking at others’ WordPress sites. At some point, you need to take the leap and build one of your own.
How to Build a WordPress Site
We put together an actionable list of steps to help you get started.
Let’s get to it.
1. Select a Domain Name and Hosting Platform.
The first thing you need to do when you set up a WordPress site is choose a domain name. This should coincide with your business or brand.
However, if you’re branding something new – like say, a blog – you should spend some time brainstorming to come up with a unique, meaningful name.
Once you’ve decided on your domain name, you also need to pick a hosting service. This enables your site to be viewed online and allows you to store information on your site, safely.
There are dozens of different options at different price points, though, so it’s good to do your research before picking one. Regardless, the hosting service you choose should be compatible with WordPress and include SSL.
As part of the setup, you’ll need to take a few minutes to connect your domain name with your web host. Otherwise, your WordPress site won’t go live.
2. Install WordPress.
With your foundational elements in place, it’s time to get WordPress installed. A lot of web hosting services actually allow you to do this on your account (e.g., cPanel) with the click of a button. Those that don’t still have manual options for installing the CMS.
One thing you want to make sure you do is keep track of all your login information, as this will enable you to access any and all aspects of your site.
3. Pick a Theme.
Now comes the fun part! Using the WordPress theme library, you can browse hundreds of different free and paid templates. These allow you to customize the underlying style of your site to match the needs of your business.
While you’re at it, you can also play around with your theme to see how it will look in action. You can add logos, change fonts, and customize color schemes to match the overall style of your brand.
4. Install Plugins.
Every WordPress site comes with a basic set of functionalities. However, this cookie cutter mold isn’t designed to support every type of business inherently.
That’s why businesses turn to plugins. These plugins provide added features (like ecommerce stores, news feeds, live chat, pop ups, and more) to your site, making it look, work, and feel exactly the way you want.
One great plugin for any business to have is HubSpot’s WordPress plugin, because it provides added sales, marketing, and customer support functionality all in one.
With it, you can live chat with customers that come onto your site, set up forms and pop-ups to show off benefits and deals, and even analyze your website traffic. This plugin integrates seamlessly with HubSpot’s CRM, as well, which makes it a great option for anyone already using their tools.
5. Add Content.
With all the core elements in place, it’s time to start populating your WordPress website with content, images, and graphics. Get creative! Allow the personality of your business to come out on each page and in each element.
Make sure that you do have the core pages of your website (home, about, and so on), so your website is as functional as it is good looking.
6. Check Out Your Live Site.
You may have a good idea of what your site looks like, based on the work you’re doing. However, it’s always valuable to see it the way your customer and site visitors will see it.
So, take some time to preview your website or view it live, using the domain name you selected. This will help you see places where you can improve the user experience and make it work the way you intended.
While building a WordPress site may seem overwhelming or time consuming at first glance, it’s actually one of the best ways to create a stunning online space for your business. So go get inspired and then use this guide to get started.