The 18 Website Basics Every Site Needs (+ Checklist for Website Building)

Cody Cromwell
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Content Management System (CMS)

The most popular type of website platform for anyone looking to set up a website or blog. It’s possible to customize the layout and design of the site using website builder software or you can do it all on your own. When you have a site built, you can access the site from anywhere by simply using an email address and a login. The biggest benefit of a website builder is that there’s no need to hire a web designer or opt for a custom website that may cost thousands of dollars.

Turnkey Website

This is a website designed by a web designer and in some cases you would need to pay a designer a one-time fee to build the site. The downside of the turnkey website is that monthly fees may be required in order to keep the site updated. A turnkey website typically comes with a range of features and from what I’ve seen, they are normally more customizable and have more options that can be added on.


WordPress is an open source software that is available for free. It’s a content management system that allows you to customize your site’s look. There are lots of themes online and you can download the latest version to download.

Domain Name

Professional Email Address

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  • -=Freelance Writing Topics=–
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  • -=Work From Home and Enjoy More Time To Spend With Your Little Ones=–

Web Hosting for WordPress Websites

WordPress is one of the most popular open-source content management systems and it’s the most widely used CMS in use on the Internet. Rather than creating it yourself, you can purchase a WP site from a company that offers completely optimized websites with special WordPress-specific tools installed for you.

Although you can create an online presence with just a domain name and a hosting plan, there’s nothing quite like a custom website made specifically for your needs that comes without the hassle and cost of site upgrades, hosting, and other miscellaneous website necessities. What’s more, you can integrate your website with a number of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

The process for creating a custom WP-based website is very basic. You’ll need a domain name and host, and then a company that specializes in WordPress. One website management option for a WP site is to create a WordPress-specific hosting account with a company like 1 & 1 that will include the necessary tools and interface.

High-quality WordPress Theme

There are quite a few things the user must take into account when building a WordPress website. The themes that make up the website template are only a small part of the puzzle.

The user will also need to make sure that the server hosting the site is ready to handle it. Thus, the user must know about the necessary WordPress service checks that must be performed before launching a website.

Completion of all these processes will yield a better website and also a better time for you. This checklist includes the basic checks one needs to perform to get a website up and running in WordPress.

Install WordPress on the Server

This is a straightforward and easy step.

In order to install WordPress on a server, you should visit the WordPress Downloads page and download the appropriate version of WordPress for your server.

Following the three-step installation procedure in the WordPress User Guide will help you get websites up and running quickly.

For more information on installing WordPress, please refer to the WordPress Installing and Setting Up User Guide.

Install MySQL on the Server

This is optional. If you are too lazy to install MySQL, then you must be ready to handle websites that are not as stable and secure as they should be.

There are several reasons why you should install MySQL. Some of these are:

To create a good database for the website.

WordPress Page Builder Plugin

A WordPress Page Builder is a plugin or a shortcode that allows you to build web pages directly in your WordPress site using a drag and drop feature.

It’s generally built on top of the WordPress theme. They are also called page builder plugins, because they allow you to build web pages, making use of a handful of pre-built blocks for content items, images, galleries, forms and tables.

Benefits of Using WordPress Page Builder Plugins

These plugins are a solution to building out a website faster and easier. They allow you to build a page using a handful of pre-built blocks. Generally, this way you can avoid writing each page from scratch, using the WordPress editor.

  • Although there are some free page builder plugins available, they usually contain a limited number of pre-made blocks which can be useful if you are starting out.
  • It’s like assembling furniture and fitting it together. You can do it by yourself, or have an expert to do it for you.
  • Having a page builder plugin for your WordPress site can be a valuable asset. It can save you time and allow you to create professional looking websites in an efficient way.

Brand Assets: Logo, Site Icon, Color Scheme

Site Colors, Other Brand Assets.

The brand assets designed by the designers are a logo (used by the design agency and the client), site icon (freebie in most website templates), color scheme and the site colors (main color palette employed for website’s overall design and colors used for text and elements of design), and other brand assets. These assets are specific to the design agency used during the development of the site, and they are used to keep the brand ethos and identity intact.

When you are building a new website, you should keep brand assets in mind. While site icons and other assets are freebies, you should be prepared to spend a bit on the logo and the color scheme when it comes to designing your website. Having the right brand assets will enhance the appearance and also make your brand identity really stand out. So when I say keeping the brand assets in mind, what I mean is that you should retain the existing brand assets and create new ones that match the site’s design and the target audience’s personality.

Now, you have to learn how to select site colors and design colors, logo, and site icon ‒right away, because selecting the right brand assets is the first step to a successful website.

Website Graphics & Photography

These days, good looking websites are few and far between; in fact, most sites look more like a poorly designed brochure than an online marketing tool.

So it’s no wonder that the top considerations when trying to build an effective website are search engine optimisation and fast loading pages. As great as this all sounds, there’s an unlikely side aspect to website building that can stand in the way of both of these: the website layout.

Most websites today have a particular layout which appears to be preferred by designers and business owners of large companies. This is a shame because there is so much more to achieving an effective website than simply displaying information and taking up as little space as possible.

Your website layout is the overall look and feel of your site; it’s the way you’ll be able to create that distinct online presence that makes you different from your competitors, while giving either your content or your products an edge over similar competitors.

There are two main ways to achieve an attractive website layout – tables and columns.

UX Design Basics

As a website artist, I’m constantly amazed at how many people out there just don’t have a clue what good user experience (UX) design is and how it’s important.

Just like websites are web form design, user experience design is user experience design. Understanding what makes a website good while avoiding what may make it overwhelming or a mess is what makes a good web artist.

Before we go any further, keep in mind that good UX design isn’t simply about making the website look pretty – although it does help. A good user experience comes from mastering the user-centered design principles, not from knowing just about as many great website design patterns and tips as someone.

Listed below are some of the basic UX design principles and techniques that every website designer/web artist should know. It’s a good idea for each site artist to have a basic understanding of these. This can be tweaked and updated, of course. You can even take this further and build a user experience checklist for web design (I do!). But we all start somewhere, so let’s start there.

SSL Certificate

With more and more people browsing the web through mobile devices, implementing a secure site is critical for your business. Web page encryption through SSL certificates provides a secure connection between your visitors and your site that’s difficult for a hacker to penetrate. Most browsers offer an option to add a green padlock icon, which signifies the presence of an SSL certificate. Having this security sign, along with an SSL certificate, is a fantastic way to inform your visitors that your site is secure and safe.

Another important thing to note is that because the data transmission between your visitors’ devices and the server is encrypted, you need to make sure that you have your SSL certificate signed by a recognized certificate authority. Some browsers default to the DV SSL certificate, a certificate authority that has an extended validation certificate. This means that the CA uses a higher level of security to ensure that the certificate is not only valid but a trustworthy credential.

User Insights & Analytics

  • An understanding of where the visitors are coming from, what they are doing, and where they’re going.
  • Website analytics tools are crucial for understanding user behavior, the conversion rate, etc. These tools are essential for understanding the traffic and business potential of the website.
  • Some of the most commonly used website analytics tools are Google Analytics, Ubersuggest and Statcounter.
  • Analytics help understand user behavior and filter content to create more relevant features.
  • You can build business continuity by tracking everything from social media activity to website traffic.
  • A free account would be enough to begin with. These tools are relatively affordable and can be of great use to you.
  • Moreover, having analytics helps understand user behavior and use it to help improve the user experience.
  • Analytics have the potential to significantly improve your website’s ability to convert visitors into customers
  • In addition to analytics, you can also check keywords and keyphrase through Google’s Keyword Planner. This is a tool that can help you understand what people are searching for in your niche.
  • You can also consider building your own website analytics tool like Hubspot’s website monitoring tool.
  • Use this tool to monitor user activity on your website to understand their pain points.

SEO Plugins & Tools

Performance & Security Plugins

There is a huge industry that has sprung up around plugins. Almost every major website is using at least two plugins in the background. Many website owners will have as many as 30 or 40, even 100 or more! WordPress itself is running twenty or more active plugins.

A tool like Yoast’s SEO plugin will actively moderate your website. These are professional tools that look at the content on your website and push you on the best possible performance and security practices.

These types of plugins are great because they add extra layers of security without costing anything extra.

If you start with these plugins, you’ll quickly realize that they add protection for you without adding a load on your servers or website.

If you build your own WordPress website from scratch and you’re installing/driving your own server, performance will be a huge issue. These type of plugins take care of that for you.

Contact Information

Did you know that 98% of consumers check the website information to find out more about who’s behind the website? (Source: Nielson.) If visitors can’t easily find your contact information, you’ll lose those potential customers who may have been interested in what you have to offer.

Make sure you have a prominent and easily accessible link that appears on the home page and throughout your site that directs visitors to your contact information.

If visitors can’t easily find your contact information, you’ll lose those potential customers who may have been interested in what you have to offer.

Check your contact information now:

  • Does it contain the right information?
  • Is it in easy-to-read font size and format?
  • Does it include an easy-to-remember web address?
  • Does it include your phone number, email address, or both?
  • Does it appear on your site and throughout the site so that it’s easy to find?
  • Is it easy to find over the phone and by email?
  • Does it direct the user to your contact page?
  • Can they easily contact you via email?
  • Is your contact information on your site in three different languages?


Most website owners do not give much thought to sitemaps. But these are critically important for a website’s success. A website’s sitemap is like a road map that site (or other web) visitors can use to locate each page. And having a good sitemap will benefit all your pages, not just the site’s front page!

Here are some principles for building a good sitemap:

  • Have a plan … and stick to it
  • Be thorough … make sure all the links are valid
  • Write every information each page has
  • Include both main and sub-navigations

Leave at least one page to the user for scrolling Altough, you can find shortcuts with a comprehensive site map. You must make sure your site map is complete for your website. It is important to read your site map and have a clear understanding of its purpose. The website map helps your visitors to find the site easily. At the same time, you should have a clear understanding of what a sitemap should do. Before you set out to build a sitemap, find out what you should expect to achieve. You may want to get a mentor or collaborate with someone who has expertise in the area to connect with others in the industry.

Lead Generation Magnet

Magnetism is the key to successful campaign sites. It is the driving force behind a site’s reader and can make or break an event’s campaign.

The idea behind any campaign site is to creatively overcome the friction which keeps the reader from parting with their credit card. But to create a site that will stand out, the site must be built on the foundation of magnetism.

Here are some tips on what makes a great magnet based on my experience and insight.

Email Marketing Automation

Email marketing automation (also referred to as email marketing list building) is a way to add subscribers to your lists on autopilot. You may have heard the term 'automation' in email marketing, and it's exactly what it stands for: automatically adding subscribers.

With email marketing automation, the system takes care of the most time-consuming and labor-intensive part of email marketing: nurturing your subscriber list. You won't have to do it manually anymore to ensure that your list is growing. You will save yourself time and have a deeper grasp of your company's marketing efforts through better communication with your email subscribers.

Here are some of the common email marketing automation tools and software that can get you started:

  • Mailchimp : MailChimp is an excellent tool that enables you virtually manage your entire email marketing process right from your desktop. It's free to use for up to 2,000 subscribers, and you can upgrade to additional plans depending on your needs. Free trial available.
  • AWeber : AWeber is one of the oldest email marketing platforms on the market. It gives you the same basic features you need, but you'll have to pay to get access to its advanced functionalities.
  • CampaignMonitor : CampaignMonitor is famous for its multi-channel email marketing solution, allowing you to capture and nurture leads from different sources. It's highly customizable and costs a bit more than the competition.

Live Chat

As technology gets better and more websites feature live chat, there are still plenty of those sites that don’t have the luxury of having one. And that’s a shame! After all, a perfectly designed live chat can often go a long way towards getting more conversions.

For some webmasters, it’s just a matter of not having yet budgeted for the right amount of hardware to support the software and other IT systems needed for live chat. If you’re one of them, here’s a bit of good news.

The preferred method for many tech companies today is to have a chat platform in place before the site itself is built. The benefit of that is you often won’t have to worry about site downtime while your chat platform’s being installed. It’s also much easier for the tech team to troubleshoot any issues that might arise during the website’s launch, since you’ve already got a live chat solution in place.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do you need to be a web designer to create a website?

The answer is No, You don’t need to be a web designer to build a website, ever though it may not appear that way. You don’t need to be a web designer to build a website, but you do need to understand website design. You will need to know what web design is, what it takes to build a website, and how to build a website. If you don’t understand website design, you will likely struggle to build your website.

You’ll need to be a web designer if you’re planning to build a website using HTML, one of the two primary languages of the web (the other is the more commonly known JavaScript).

This is what you need to know to build a website using HTML:

What website design is and what it takes to build a website.

The different technologies in website building.

What’s the quickest way to get a new site found in Google?

Getting it listed in Google’s top 10.

If you have a site that has a great deal to offer, it does not hurt to make sure that you have given the possibility of having that site appear in the top 10 in Google. This is by no means a guarantee, but it does give you a great chance to grab the attention of visitors who may like or dislike your offerings. It’s also an opportunity to make sure that your site stands out, but in a good way.

Like you might have thought if you have taken an interest in SEO, there are a lot of things that go into this. You can’t just put up a list of items and have it get to the top. Attempting to rig a site, as some sites have done, to get on the top results list could leave you with a whole lot of trouble and seriously bad publicity from your search engine. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t work on getting your site to the top of the list for SEO.

How do you get your business into Google’s local rankings?

According to Google, 50% of our user’s searches start from a mobile device. Because of this, it is more important than ever for us to ensure our websites look great on the mobile platform. If done right, mobile website’s can not only be ranked higher by Google but you will also be able to entice your customers that are doing all their search engine searching on a mobile device.

Google’s mobile friendly index has been around since 2011 which means you must have already ensured that your website is mobile friendly. However, when I speak to the majority of our customers they are missing the bigger picture and are missing out on many opportunities.

Even though your website is mobile friendly, it can still be trumped by a mobile optimized website. A mobile optimized website is the combination of a beautiful website with a mobile friendly layout. Companies that are mobile optimized are not only higher in the mobile rankings but in general the higher you are in ranking the more traffic you can expect to get.

Take a look at the list below that I have put together to ensure that your website is mobile friendly and then take it a step further and make it a mobile optimized website.

Understand why you need a mobile website.