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How to Plan A WordPress Website [2024]

Updated on: May 18, 2024

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Wooden desk with laptop, notebook, phone, and coffee mug. Setting for creating a website plan.

Learn how to plan a website with WordPress using this comprehensive guide.

I get it – not everyone has the budget for a professional web designer. So to help you on your journey, I’m sharing my comprehensive strategy for designing a website on WordPress. 

Make sure your project is a success from the very beginning because your website is one of your best marketing tools. With strategic planning and guidance from a pro, you will have a website that you’re proud to show off.

1. Define your project

Who is your target audience?

Who are you building this website for? Understanding your audience’s age, interests, and online behaviors will help you create a site that resonates with them. This is where demographics and psychographics come into play.

For example, consider the age range of your target audience. A younger audience probably prefers interactive features and modern designs, while older demographics want easy navigation and clear information.

What are your business goals?

Successful website projects have a clear set of goals. What do you want to achieve with your website? Maybe you’re looking to increase sales, generate leads, or simply provide information about your services.

Define your primary goals that are essential to the main purpose of your website, then identify secondary goals that support the primary ones.

Having these goals in place will help you to make strategic decisions during the website development process. Every aspect of your site, from design to content to functionality, should be aligned with your objectives.

5 Goals to Set for a Successful Website

What key performance indicators (KPIs) should you focus on?

To measure the success of your website, you’ll need to set some Key Performance Indicators. These could be the number of visitors, the amount of time they spend on your site, or the conversion rate for sales or sign-ups. Choose metrics that align with your business goals.

For example, if the primary goal of your website is to drive sales, measuring conversion rates and average order value would be relevant KPIs. On the other hand, if your focus is on increasing brand awareness, metrics like the number of visitors and social media engagement might be more important.

Focus on KPIs that directly reflect your desired outcome to track your progress and make data-driven decisions to optimize your website performance.

Competitor Analysis

Take a look at what your competitors are doing. What features do their websites have? Which design trends are they following? What are they doing that you can do better? This research will help you find ways to stand out and appeal to your target audience.

One of the most important things you should pay attention to is their website features. Are they incorporating interactive elements, chatbots, or personalized recommendations? Understanding the benefit of these features can give you ideas on how to enhance your own website and provide a better user experience.

Additionally, you’ll want to identify the design trends that your competitors are following. Are they using minimalist layouts, bold colors, or innovative navigation menus? By keeping an eye on these design trends, you can ensure that your website is modern and fresh.

But don’t just copy their designs. Instead,s use their choices as a source of inspiration to create a unique and engaging user interface for your own website.

Most importantly, pinpoint areas where your competitors are lacking or falling short. Identify opportunities to set yourself apart and offer something that your target audience values.

Ultimately, conducting thorough research on your competitors’ websites is a strategic move that can help you differentiate yourself in a crowded market. Use this information to tailor your website to better meet the needs and expectations of your target audience.

2. Project Scope Planning

Features List

Now, let’s talk about features. Your website might need a contact form, an appointment booking system, or e-commerce capabilities.

Use your competitor analysis to help determine what features your website needs. What are they doing, and how can you do it better?

List all the features you want for your site, and describe any specific functionalities you require.

Your goal is to integrate these features seamlessly into your website design, ensuring that each element serves a purpose and contributes to the overall success of your site.

Pages List

What are the main pages your website will have? Typically, you’ll need a Home page, an About Us page, a Services page, and a Contact page. But your business might require additional pages, so make sure to list them all.

The Home page acts as the virtual storefront of your business, providing visitors with a summary of what you offer. Call to action buttons guide them to explore your site further. It should be visually appealing, engaging, and highlight your unique selling points.

The About Us page is where you can share your company’s story, values, and mission. These elements build trust and credibility with your audience. The About page helps create a personal connection with your visitors and gives insight into the people behind your business.

The Services page is where you can detail the products or services you offer, highlighting key features, benefits, and pricing information. This page helps potential customers understand what you provide and how it can address their needs.

Lastly, the Contact page allows visitors to reach out to you. It should include contact information, a contact form, and a map to your location (if you have a physical location).

You may need additional pages like a Blog page to help increasing traffic, a Testimonials page to share customer feedback, or a Portfolio page to display your work.

Content Strategy

Plan out all the types of content you’ll need, like blog posts, product descriptions, and more.

Make sure that your messaging is consistent, your information is comprehensive, and your website visitors are engaged from the moment they land on your site.

For blogs, I recommend having around 10-15 posts written and posted before you launch your site. This strategy sets a solid foundation for your blog and will help drive traffic to your website right from the start.

You may want to have an additional 10-20 posts written in advance to keep a steady flow of material posted to your blog in the weeks/months after launch. This will help take the pressure off content creation during the first few months allowing you to focus on KPIs and performance monitoring.

Remember, content is king, and by investing time and effort into creating quality content from the start, you are setting yourself up for success in the long run.


Will your website need to integrate with social media, email marketing platforms, payment gateways, or other third-party services? Identify these integrations early on to ensure a smooth development process.

Spend time defining the technical requirements, allocating resources, and setting realistic timelines for implementation. Most third-party services have tutorials and documentation to help get you started. I recommend setting aside a few days to learn everything you can about the software.

Technical issues are inevitable, so research common problems that other users experience, and learn how to apply the fixes.


Break down your project into key phases like design, development, and testing. Establish milestones and set realistic deadlines for each phase to keep your project on track. This strategy will help make your project more manageable and fell less overwhelming.

Milestones act as checkpoints that allow you to measure progress, identify potential roadblocks, and make necessary adjustments to stay on track.

Stick to your schedule as best as you can, but try to be flexible and adaptable when problems come up.

Remember, it’s better to have a completed project that meets the minimum requirements than get bogged down and making everything perfect. You can always tweak and adjust things later!

Budget Allocation

Websites cost money to create. Allocate your budget for design, development, plugins, and other expenses. This will help you avoid any financial surprises down the road.

One piece of advice I always give is to not skimp on hosting services. This is where ‘you get what you pay for’ rings true.

Low quality hosting providers can cause slow loading speeds and have frequent downtime. Good hosting ensures better website performance and enhances user experience.

3. Design Preferences

Design Style

What’s the vibe you’re going for? Whether it’s modern and minimal, professional and traditional, or bold and creative, your preferred design style will set the tone for your entire website. 


Inspiration can come from anywhere. Maybe there’s a website you’ve seen that has the perfect layout or color scheme that you love. Gather these references to help refine your style.

Some of my favorite websites for inspiration are Dribble, Behance, and Siteinspire. These platforms showcase work from talented designers around the world, and they have a lot of fresh and unique ideas.

25 Best Font Combinations for Elementor Websites [2024]


Your brand is your identity. Determine your brand guidelines, including colors, fonts, and logos, to ensure consistency across all platforms. This will help you create a website that truly represents your business.

Your brand is not just a logo or a name – it is the essence of your business. Clear brand guidelines help ensure that every piece of communication, from your website to your social media posts, is consistent and cohesive.

Consistency is key in building brand recognition and trust with your audience. When your customers see your brand colors or fonts, they should immediately associate them with your business and the values it stands for. This cohesive approach not only enhances your brand’s credibility but also sets you apart from competitors.

4. Content Strategy and Creation

Content Outline

Before you start writing all of your content, draft outlines for your main pages. This will help you organize your thoughts and make sure that each page serves a purpose.

Identify the main points you want to cover, and create a structured framework for each page.

Outlining helps keep your website’s content consistent and makes sure that your messaging aligns with your overall business goals.


A picture is worth a thousand words. Specify your imagery requirements, whether it’s professional photos, illustrations, or user-generated content.

If you won’t be providing the photography yourself, source high-quality photos from sites like Pexels or Unsplash. These platforms offer a wide range of professional images that are free to use.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Strategy

To reach the right audience, you need the right keywords. Identify target keywords for each page to improve your website’s visibility in search engine results.

Use free tools from Ahrefs, Answer the Public, and Google Trends. These tools offer valuable insights into popular search queries, trending topics, and keyword competitiveness.

Ahrefs provides comprehensive data on keyword search volume, difficulty, and traffic potential, making it a great resource for identifying high-performing keywords.

Answer the Public generates keyword suggestions based on common questions that users have, allowing you to tailor your content to address their specific needs.

Lastly, Google Trends identifies emerging topics and seasonal keyword trends, enabling you to stay ahead of the competition and create content that resonates with your target audience.

By leveraging these free tools and incorporating the right keywords into your content strategy, you can improve your website’s search engine rankings, attract quality traffic, and ultimately drive conversions.


The words on your website matter! Write engaging and persuasive text for all pages that makes your visitors want to take action.

Use strong calls-to-action and compelling storytelling to create a sense of urgency and motivation.

Whether it’s signing up for a newsletter or making a purchase, your copy should drive users toward your business goals.

5. Website Design Phase

Brand Integration

It’s time to bring your brand to life on the web. Ensure that the website’s design aligns with your business’s branding guidelines, creating a seamless brand experience for your visitors. 

A cohesive brand experience infuses your brand’s values, voice, and personality into every aspect of your website from the layout and typography to the imagery and interactions. This consistency helps reinforce your brand identity and ensures that visitors have a clear understanding of who you are and what you offer.


Think of wireframes as the blueprint of your website. These low-fidelity layouts will map out the structure of your website’s pages, ensuring that the user journey is logical and intuitive.

A lot of designers skip this step, but I find that creating wireframes gives me clarity and direction for streamlining the creative process.

To create my wireframes, I start by sketching out the key elements and layout components with a piece of paper and pencil. I can easily iterate through different design ideas without getting bogged down by colors, fonts, etc.

Once the wireframes are finalized, I hang them on the walls of my office as visual references throughout the development phase. This approach helps me stay organized and allows me to provide a clear visual representation of the website’s structure to my clients.


With the wireframes created, you will need to bring the designs to life with colors, images, buttons, typography. This process can be done with AdobeXD, Photoshop, Illustrator, Figma, Canva, or Sketch.

I prefer to do mockups right in Elementor. First, I define the global settings like colors, fonts, and buttons using the site settings feature.

Then, I create a template for each page, post, header, and footer based on the wireframes.

Once finalized, the templates can easily be imported to your pages.

You don’t need content, animations, or features during this phase. You can use placeholders while you finalize everything.

Responsive Design

Your website needs to look good on all devices and browsers.

Design for mobile, tablet, and desktop views to ensure everything looks good and functions as expected.

The Elementor plugin has responsive settings to make designing for mobile easier.

6. Development Phase

Domain and Hosting

Choose a reliable hosting provider and set up your domain name. This is your website’s address on the internet, so make sure it’s memorable, short, and reflects your brand.

Try to keep your domain name under 20 characters so it’s easier for visitors to remember.

Choose a hosting provider based on factors like reliability, speed, and customer service. Many hosting companies offer free domain registration for the first year, so research your options before buying a domain.

Some reliable and well-reviewed companies include Siteground, Hostinger, Dreamhost, or Bluehost. No host is going to be perfect – research reported downtimes, customer service reviews, storage space, and how many website visitors their servers can handle.

WordPress Setup

Install WordPress and configure the basic settings. Choose a theme that complements your design and start building your site. 

I prefer using the Hello theme by Elementor because it’s lightweight and flexible. The Hello theme provides a clean slate that allows me to design freely without being restricted by pre-installed styles that can potentially lead to conflicts.

Elementor Configuration

If you are using the Elementor plugin, decide which package you need. Elementor has a free version, an Essentials version (which is OK but lacks basic features like forms), and a Pro version. Set it up and get familiar with its widgets and features by working through their free Academy and watching YouTube videos.

Elementor has an official Facebook group for support from volunteers. It’s a great place to find help. I am a member and comment often – say hello if you see me!


Plugins extend the functionality of your WordPress site. List the required plugins for SEO, security, contact forms, and any other features you need.

SEO plugins, like Yoast SEO or Rank Math, are important for optimizing your site’s content and structure to rank higher in search engine results. These tools provide valuable insights and suggestions to improve your website’s visibility and attract more organic traffic.

Security plugins like Wordfence or Sucuri are equally important to protect your site against malicious attacks and vulnerabilities, offering firewall protection, malware scanning, and other security measures.

Contact form plugins like Forminator, WPForms or Contact Form 7 are popular choices if you need more functionality than the built-in Elementor form widget.

Additionally, plugins for features like performance optimization, social media integration, backup and restore, and analytics tracking can further improve the functionality and performance of your site.

Custom Post Types

If your content doesn’t fit into the standard post or page types, create custom post types. This is especially useful for portfolios, testimonials, and other specialized content.

Learn more about custom post types here.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Implement SEO best practices to ensure your site is structured properly for search engines. This includes using the right tags, creating a sitemap, and optimizing your content for your target keywords.

7. Website Testing

Functionality Testing

Before you launch, test every feature on your website across different browsers and devices. This ensures that all visitors have a smooth experience, regardless of how they access your site.

Spend time conducting compatibility testing to identify and fix any issues with functionality, layout, or performance that occur on different browsers and devices. This will help in maintain the credibility and reliability of your website.

Performance Testing

A fast loading website is critical for SEO and user engagement. Check your website’s loading times and optimize images, scripts, and other elements for quick load times. A fast website keeps users happy and engaged.

Use free tools like PageSpeed Insights to measure performance, but try not to get overwhelmed by the results. There are some things you can’t control that are implemented by your host or by Elementor and WordPress.

Focus on things you can control, like using optimized images and keeping plugins to a minimum to streamline your site’s performance. Images should be optimized before you upload them to your site.

Ultimately, a fast website not only improves user satisfaction but also contributes to better search engine rankings!

Security Checks

This topic is close to my heart! I cannot stress enough how important security is for your website. WordPress websites, no matter how big or small, are attacked every day – and yours will be too.

Luckily for you, I am a cybersecurity expert and I will explain exactly what you need to do to keep your site protected!

First, implement security measures like SSL certificates, security plugins, regular updates, and secure hosting.

SSL certificates encrypt the data transmitted between your site and users, creating a secure connection and protecting sensitive information. These certificates are free and are usually supplied by your hosting provider.

Laptop on table with glass of water and vase

What’s your WordPress security IQ?

Take the quiz to find out!

Second, install a security plugin, like Wordfence, that offers features like firewall protection, malware scanning, and login security.

Third, keep WordPress, your theme, and plugins updated. Updates often contain patches for vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can exploit.

Fourth, use a backup plugin, like UpdraftPlus, to create daily backups of your website. Store them off-site so they don’t get compromised or lost.

Lastly, choose a secure hosting provider that offers DDoS protection, data encryption, and regular backups.

10 Common WordPress Security Mistakes (and How to Fix Them)

8. Launching Your Website

Pre-Launch Checklist

Dot the i’s and cross the t’s. Go through a pre-launch checklist to ensure everything is in place. This includes proofreading content, testing functionality, and verifying SEO elements.

Proofread all your content to ensure clarity, coherence, and correctness. Spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, or formatting inconsistencies can damage the credibility of your brand; therefore, thorough proofreading is non-negotiable!

Additionally, testing the functionality of your website is important for a seamless user experience. Click through every button and every link, test forms and other features, and verify mobile responsiveness.

Every aspect of your website needs to be inspected, from smooth navigation to fast loading times.

Go Live

It’s showtime! Publish your website and monitor its performance closely. Be prepared to fix any issues that come up.

Once your website is live, the work has only just begun! Monitor performance closely to gauge how well it is resonating with your audience and meeting your business goals. Use analytics tools to track key metrics like traffic, engagement, and conversion rates.

Track user behavior and gather feedback to identify any areas that may need improvement.

As I mentioned before, technical issues are inevitable. Have a plan in place to deal with errors or any other problems that come up. Having a backup of your website will come in handy during a crisis!

9. Post-Launch Plan


Install web analytics tools to understand how visitors interact with your site. This data is invaluable for making informed decisions about future updates and marketing strategies.

Web analytics tools will allow you to track key metrics like website traffic, bounce rates, conversion rates, and user demographics. This data helps identify which areas of your website perform well and which ones need improvement.


Get the word out! Develop a marketing plan that includes social media, email campaigns, and even paid advertising to drive traffic to your new site.

Social media platforms like Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and Tiktok will help increase brand awareness and engagement with your target audience. Creating compelling and shareable content to encourage followers to visit your website and see what you’re about.

Additionally, incorporating email campaigns can provide a direct line of communication with clients, informing them about special promotions, new products, or upcoming events on your site. But don’t just use calls-to-action like ‘Get on the list’ for your email captures. Use persuasive language that gives visitors a good reason to join like, ‘Save an Extra 10%’ or ‘Download Your Free Toolkit’.

Paid advertising, like Google Ads or social media ads, can also play an important role in driving traffic to your new site. By strategically targeting specific demographic groups or interests, you can reach a larger audience and attract potential customers who may not have discovered your website otherwise.

Maintenance Plan

Websites are not set-and-forget. Schedule regular updates, backups, and security checks to keep your site running smoothly.

I recommend using plugins like Wordfence and Updraftplus for security and backups. Configure daily backups that are stored off-site.

10. Review and Iterate

Feedback Gathering

Listen to your users. Collect feedback through surveys, user testing, and analytics to understand what’s working and what’s not.

Surveys are a valuable tool in collecting direct feedback from users about their experiences, preferences, and pain points. This data helps identify areas for improvement and making informed decisions for enhancing the user experience.

User testing allows us to observe how real users interact with the product, providing valuable insights into usability issues and areas of confusion.

Use the feedback to make iterative improvements. The web is always evolving, and so should your website. Regular updates will keep your site fresh and relevant.

Final Thoughts

I hope you found this guide to plan your WordPress website helpful. While I tailored the guide for WordPress uses, the overall strategy will work for any platform.

Executing a successful website project requires careful and strategic planning. By following the comprehensive guide outlined above, you are setting yourself up for success from the very beginning.

From defining project goals and target audiences to meticulously planning content strategy and design preferences, each step plays a crucial role in the overall success of your website.

Ultimately, your website not only serves as a powerful marketing tool but also reflects the identity and values of your brand. By investing time and effort into each phase of the process, you will create a website that resonates with your audience and drives meaningful results for your business.

As always, if you have any questions, leave them in the comments. I’m here to help!

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