How I Designed My WordPress Website + How To Get a Website Like Mine!

Updated September 3, 2022

Katy Boykin

By Katy Boykin | Website Designer & Marketing Strategist

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you decide to make a purchase via my links, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. See my disclosure for more info.

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So… I hear you like my website, or you’re at least curious about how I built it.

I actually designed the website and branding and the good news is… you can get a site like mine too!

First, let me say that I know what it’s like to build a business online even when you have no clue what you’re doing and you feel overwhelmed, intimidated, and even frustrated. In 2015, I was in your shoes! (Read my story here if you wanna know more.)

There are a lot of moving pieces that go into building a website and marketing your blog or business online, but it doesn’t have to be complicated!

In this post, I’m going to pull back the curtain and share the exact plugins and tools I used to create this gorgeous site so you can do it too!

If you are about to create a WordPress website for the very first time, check out this FREE beginner’s guide first! From choosing your business name to hitting publish, it will teach you how to set up your WordPress website the right way.

The Tools I Used To Design My WordPress Website

Without further adieu, let’s get into the exact tools I used to build this site!

Domain

I bought my domain katyboykin.com through GoDaddy years ago (back in 2015 when I started my very first side hustle). Now, I buy all of my domains through NameCheap!

Hosting

I use SiteGround for WordPress Managed Hosting on the GrowBig plan.

I’ve used BigScoots in the past and love them, but ultimately decided to go with SiteGround because I need to create unlimited sub-domains for the demo child themes I create and sell. It just made financial sense to keep all my hosting with one provider.

Theme & Site Design

I used the Kadence Theme (Pro Version) with the Kadence Blocks Pro plugin to create the custom design without writing a single line of code!

Why I built my site with Kadence over Elementor

One of the main reasons I decided to build my site with Kadence rather than the Elementor Pro Page Builder plugin was because of site speed and performance.

In my opinion, you can create designs 10x faster with Elementor, enjoy a much more user-friendly design experience, and create more design possibilities, but I ultimately decided to wade through a clunkier design experience with Kadence to get a website that’s, at the end of the day, beautiful and also fast; it just took longer to get there.

If you want to learn more about the difference between the two, I wrote a review here: Kadence Blocks Pro vs. Elementor Pro – Which Plugin Should You Use To Design Your WordPress Website?

Looking for a design Shortcut?

The Lee Theme for Kadence was actually inspired by my very own custom website design. So if you’re REALLY in love with my specific site design, you can customize this Kadence Child theme to get a similar design on your own site in just a fraction of the time it took me to build mine!

Not tech-savvy? No worries! The theme comes with click-by-click video tutorials that show you how to set it up and tweak the design to fit your business needs.

Additional WordPress Plugins

  • For site speed and performance enhancements I use WProcket.
  • For image compression and optimization, I use ShortPixel.
  • For my lead capture forms and email marketing automation, I use ConvertKit
  • For SEO Optimization, I use the free version of RankMath. (I love the redirection feature!)
  • To optimize my blog posts, I use the SEMrush SEO Writing Assistant. SEMrush is a premium keyword research tool that I use for both my Christian lifestyle blog & this website.

Other Business Tools I Use On My Site

I also couldn’t run my business without these essential business tools:

G-Suite – I use it for my business email, shared calendars, online document editing, organization & storage, & so much more.

Grammarly – I use the paid version of Grammarly to check my emails, blog posts, social media posts, client chat messages, and more as I type. It helps me reduce silly typos and grammatical errors that make me look unprofessional.

Legal Templates – To keep my website legally protected, I bought Amira’s legal policy templates at A Self Guru. I bought the privacy policy, terms and conditions, disclaimer, and a website design agreement template as well!

Dubsado – Dubsado is essential to my business! On my website, I embed Dubsado’s forms on my contact page and embed the calendar to book a call with me on my website design service page. I use the CRM to send proposals, contracts, invoices, schedule calls with clients in different time zones, and more!

Canva – I used Canva to create a lot of the photos on my website that look like a polaroid. Canva is absolutely essential to my business because I create a ton of graphics and videos for my marketing collateral.

Ivory Mix – Most of the photos on my website (that don’t include me) came from my Ivory Mix stock photography subscription! I love these photos because they’re feminine and beautiful without screaming “this is a cheesy stock photo”!

Cloud App – I use CloudApp every day in my business! I can record my screen as a video with my voice and/or face, capture my screen and annotate the image, and record a GIF and then instantly share it as a link. This makes communicating with my clients fast and easy. I also love using this tool to add clips to my blog posts.

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