How to start a SEO-enabled website yourself, step-by-step

This post was last updated on February 18th, 2021

How to start a SEO-enabled website yourself step-by-step

Starting your own website or blog is one of the best things that you can do.  It’ll allow you to share your creativity with the world or build a valuable business.  It could also change your life and open new opportunities that you’d never imagined.  In this guide, I’ll show you how to start a SEO-enabled website yourself, step-by-step.  

As you are building a valuable long-term asset it’s important to build it with solid foundations right from the beginning.  I don’t want you to make the same early mistakes that I made.  So, this guide should save you time and money. And it should also stop you from rushing into setup and potentially heading down the wrong path.
 
So here are my steps to start a SEO-enabled website yourself.  Please note that I use the words website and blog interchangeably in this guide.

 

Plan your Website

Decide on the niche or passion which will be the subject of your website

It’s important to follow your passions and write about what you are interested in, as this interest will fuel your desire as a blogger or site owner to keep growing your website.  We’ve  written this article about choosing the purpose of your website which you might find interesting.
 

Observe and analyse other websites and blogs that are top of their game

I know you’re excited about getting stuck in with setting up your website, but before you spend time and money on a website design,  I’d recommend that you look at other sites with inspiring designs and roughly map out the design concept for your site.  I wrote this article about other websites and the characteristics of the best blogs.  If you’re interested in reading about how different types of blogs make money, please read our article here.
 

Come up with a catchy name for your website or blog

So now you’ve decided on the niche passion of your website and the concept of how it should be styled and laid out, it’s time to think about a domain name for your site.  This article that I wrote might help you with this process of coming up with a catchy domain name for your website.  
 
To purchase your domain name, I use and recommend GoDaddy which is the industry leader and has excellent pricing.  Once you’ve found a domain name, GoDaddy also has a tool that will give you a rough value of it’s worth using their Domain Value Appraisal Tool.
Godaddy - Find a Domain for your Website

How to start a SEO-enabled website yourself, Step-by-Step

One option that I won’t be talking about too much in this guide involves hiring the services of a web design firm and/or web designer.  A web designer will often create your website using HTML & CSS code using specialised software.  
 
While this may have some advantages in terms of total flexibility with design,  the downsides are will be that it will probably be a lot more expensive. You also won’t be able to easily update your website yourself.  So you will be dependent on paying someone else to make any changes for you.
 

Option 1 – Site Builder Platform Option eg Wix, Squarespace, Weebly

The advantage of a website builder platform is that you can build a website quickly without the steep learning curve of WordPress.  You can literally get a professional looking site up and running within a few hours. 
 
If you aren’t planning to develop your site into a long-term business yet you want a simple yet powerful platform, we recommend Wix.  We’ve written this article describing why Wix is our preferred website builder platform.  Compared to other site builders, we prefer Wix due to its inherent flexibility and ease-of-use.
 

Option 2 – WordPress – self-hosted – RECOMMENDED for setting up a seo-enabled website yourself

If you are serious about setting up your site as a serious long-term endeavour or business,  we recommend using self-hosted WordPress.  Although there is a steeper learning curve with WordPress, it will allow your website to grow more easily.  
 
You will have much greater control with SEO (search engine optimisation),  styling, E-Commerce and other optimisations.  If your site does take off, it’s likely that you will move it to WordPress later anyway.  This move isn’t easy and may adversely affect the SEO of your site. So it normally better to start with WordPress from the beginning.  
 

Self-Hosted WordPress

Self-hosted WordPress (or WordPress.org) is open-source software and should not be confused with WordPress.com which is a site builder platform.  WordPress.org is very highly regarded and used by some of the biggest names such Sony Music , The New Yorker and MTV news.
 
If you have decided on WordPress, there are two more big things that you need to decide on.  
 
First is your hosting provider.  Although the WordPress code is free open source from WordPress.org, you will need to pay to host the code with a hosting provider.  
 
Secondly, you will need to choose a WordPress theme.  The WordPress theme provides the framework for your site and defines the structure, styling, fonts and blogging format amongst many other things.
 

Choosing WordPress Hosting

Choosing fast and reliable web hosting is critical for the SEO of your website.  We’ve written this article on why speed is so important for SEO and the user experience of your site.
 
Our recommendations:
  • Your first website for basic needs if speed isn’t critical —> Bluehost
  • Your first website if speed is important and you want to expand —> Siteground —> RECOMMENDED OPTION.  To help you decide between Bluehost and SiteGround,  we’ve written this article.   Also, we have a full review of Siteground at this link.
  • If you want to grow rapidly, need maximum speed or have existing traffic —> Kinsta —> RECOMMENDED OPTION.  Please check out our Kinsta Review at this link.

Choosing a fast & responsive WordPress Theme

Once you have chosen your hosting provider the next thing to do is to choose a fast, responsive WordPress theme. In this article we describe why it’s so important to have a fast theme.
 
There are many free and paid themes available.  If you are serious about the design and speed optimisation of your site, I’d recommend either Schema – Premium by MyThemeShop or GeneratePress.  Both are very highly rated, lightweight and mobile responsive themes which should maximise the SEO of your site.  Schema has a free option, but it’s quite limited in terms of customisation options.
 
Usually the vendor of the theme will have display websites which showcase the theme in action.  Before you choose a theme, you should spend some time on these display sites. Make sure that the theme will do exactly what you want it to do.  Don’t assume that it will.  If you aren’t sure, ask the vendor.  Also read as many reviews as possible before you make a decision to go with a theme.
 
Once you’ve installed your theme you can start customising it to your needs.
 

WordPress Plugins – A few I would recommend to start a SEO-enabled website yourself

Plugins (both free and paid) are available to be added from your WordPress dashboard.  They can be added to extend your website’s speed and functionality and to do a myriad of useful things.
 
I would really recommend that you minimise the use of plugins, particularly when you are starting. They can can slow down your site and adversely affect SEO.  When you are just starting, page speed is so important.  You can always start adding additional plugins later once you are ranking in search results.

 

Recommended WordPress Site-Building Plugins:

  • Elementor is a very easy-to-use drag and drop editor.   What I love about it is that your web page or post will look exactly as it appears in the Elementor editor.  This is not the case unfortunately with the WordPress Classic Editor.  The free version of has all the basic needs for you to get started.  Elementor seems to have negligible impact on website speed.
Elementor page builder
  • Yoast SEO.  I can’t say enough good things about this plugin.  It will help you to create posts that are optimised for search engine keywords.  This will increase the likelihood that your content will become elevated in Google search rankings.   It’ll even help you to improve your writing style.  An intuitive traffic light system is used whereby green signifies great SEO optimisation through to amber being medium and red signifying poor SEO optimisation.

Recommended WordPress Security Plugins:

  • Limit Login Attempts Reloaded will help to protect your website from brute force attacks.  Due to the popularity of WordPress, brute force attacks are particularly common by bots.  With this plugin, if your site encounters too many repeated failed login attempts from the same IP address, the IP will be blocked temporarily.  There are also options for logging and blacklisting or whitelisting particular IP addresses.
 

Summary – How to Start a SEO-enabled Website Yourself

If you’re starting a blog or website, you really want it to be optimised as much as possible for search engines.  

For this reason, I recommend going with fast hosting, such as Siteground, paired with a lightweight SEO maximised theme such as GeneratePress.

Be really careful with your use of plugins, especially in the beginning when you are trying to get traffic.

Once you’ve got your blog up and running, jump right in with your first posts.  Don’t worry if they’re not perfect as you’ll build skills as you go.  Here are some examples of first blog posts that you might get inspiration from.

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