Building a new website probably isn’t at the top of your list of ways you’d like to spend your time. Not in a world where there are Netflix shows that need binging and new video game releases that someone needs to beat (you take your duties very seriously).
And yet, the work of website building needs to get done somewhere in there. And there’s no reason you should spend any longer on it than absolutely necessary.
Yes, the website needs to get finished. And yes, it needs to look awesome and have all the functionality required. But that doesn’t mean you have to devote the bulk of your time over the next few weeks to working on it. And you probably don’t have that option anyways. You need to get it up fast—ideally, yesterday.
The trick to creating a website quickly is to:
- Stick to using tools that make website creation fast and easy (you’ve already decided on WordPress, so ✅), and
- Make sure that you’re approaching the process strategically, so you don’t end up doing unnecessary work. This post will help you check that box.
7 Tips for Speedy WordPress Website Creation
WordPress is great for a speedy creation process, because you can tap into a lot of the available tools and templates already out there. But to make the most of those options, it pays to be thoughtful about how you approach the overall project of creating your WordPress site.
Here’s what to do.
1. Plan first.
If you know what you want in advance, creating it will be faster. If you start without a plan, you risk bumbling your way through the process, and figuring out what you like only after you’ve done the work to create stuff you don’t. That’s a recipe for frustration—and one that will definitely slow down your progress on the Netflix show du jour.
To save yourself time and annoyance, think through what you want your website to look like and include. Consider:
- The website functionality you need. What are the different things you’ll need your website to do and feature in order to meet your goals? Is it an eCommerce website that requires shopping cart functionality, and a way to securely process payments? Or a fairly basic blog, and you just need it to be easy to load and promote new content?
- The website’s general look and feel. That may include a color scheme, the kind of stock or original photos you’ll want to include, and the visual structure you want the pages to have.
- The specific pages and categories you’ll want to create. Make a list of the most important pages you’ll be creating. And figure out what pages and/or categories your main menu will include, and how you’ll organize them all.
Having a basic vision of what you want will help you make smarter choices in each of the next steps.
2. Choose your web hosting and domain registrar.
Technically, you don’t need to do this step before you get into the building process. But knocking it out early will mean you already know what tools and features come included with your web hosting plan. And once your web design is complete you can get it up on the web without a delay.
Securing your domain name before you get too far into the design process means you’ll know for sure what your website will be called. You won’t risk having to rename it at the last minute to fit a second-choice domain name.
A lot of web hosts (including HostGator) offer both WordPress hosting plans and domain registration. Taking care of both things in one place means one less task to deal with—both when getting set up, and each year when renewal time rolls around.
3. Find the right WordPress theme.
Do this step well and it can cut your time commitment down by a lot. If you find a WordPress theme that comes close to what you want your final website to look like, you won’t have to do nearly as much work to get it to that point.
And you can save time on finding the right theme by starting with one of our WordPress theme roundups (you’re welcome):
4. Identify the WordPress plugins you need.
No matter what your grandma says, not everything’s better from scratch. (No offense to Gran, her biscuits are probably amazing.) One of the selling points for WordPress is that it saves you the trouble of having to build website functionality from scratch.
Choosing and installing a theme is vastly simpler (and faster) than trying to figure out how to accomplish the same thing through coding. So before you do any unnecessary work, figure out what plugins can do it for you.
Picking and installing plugins before you get too far into the design process will make sure you know what you’re working with. You’ll be able to design around the functionality they provide, so everything fits and works well together.
5. Customize your theme.
This will probably be the most time consuming part of the process, but it can’t be skipped. Now you need to take the theme you chose and turn it into your unique website.
Pull back up your plan from step one here. Create the pages you decided on. Bring their visual style in line with the look and feel you had in mind. Write copy that explains to visitors what your website is and why they should care. And get your menu and site organization into place so that it’s all intuitive.
6. Keep it simple.
Don’t make the job any harder than it needs to be. Only create as many pages as you need. Only add as many words, images, and page elements as get your message across. Keeping simplicity as a goal isn’t just good from a speed perspective. It also helps you avoid a website that’s busy. A site that’s cluttered and has too much going on is both ugly and confusing.
Sticking to the basics provides a cleaner user experience for visitors, and cuts down on distractions so you get better results.
7. Proofread and test.
Even if you’re in a hurry, you don’t want to skip these steps. Having to fix errors after you launch will take at least as long, only after you’ve already embarrassed yourself. So give yourself time before you publish the site to go through it page by page.
Read over all your copy to make sure it’s clear, free of basic typos, and doesn’t include awkward wording. Check the links and test out any forms. If it’s an eCommerce site, do a test purchase.
Look, at this point you’re eager to get the website there. We get it. But this is how you spot any big, mortifying issues before you launch. Catching them now gives you the chance to fix them before they cause you bigger problems.
Fast Doesn’t Mean Sloppy
With the help of WordPress and a thoughtful strategy, you can get a website up quickly without rushing any of the important parts. Give some time upfront to planning and finding the right tools, and don’t skimp on the testing step at the end. You may not have the site up yesterday, but tomorrow? That may be within reach.
Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based freelance content writer and lifelong learner with an ongoing curiosity to learn new things. She uses that curiosity, combined with her experience as a freelance business owner, to write about subjects valuable to small business owners on the HostGator blog. You can find her on Twitter at @atxcopywriter.