How to Create a Website from Scratch Without a Theme

Launching a website can be both exhilarating and overwhelming at the same time. You finally have something you’ve been working hard on for months – a beautifully designed site that you think will be a huge success. But when you actually go to make it live, things feel a little different and you realize that there is a lot more involved than you originally thought. For example, did you know that you have to configure and setup MailChimp as well as AWeber to collect emails? Did you realize that you need to create an accounts for each of your social media platforms (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc.) and link them to your website so that your site can collect leads and brand awareness from all these platforms? And did you know that you need to find a good host and install WordPress to make your site live?

These questions are all-too-familiar to anyone who’s ever launched a website, but sometimes the answers can be found in unexpected places. That’s why we decided to put together this detailed guide – to show you exactly how to create a website from scratch without a theme so that you can better understand what is entailed in making your dream a reality.

Why Scratch Instead of Re-using an Existing Theme?

If you’re asking yourself this question, you might be tempted to simply re-use one of the many existing SEO-optimized WordPress themes that you think will make your site look and perform well enough for the task at hand. However, if you’re looking to truly find your “voice” and truly stand out from the crowd, re-using a theme might not be the best idea. Re-using themes allows you to quickly and easily get up and running, but at the cost of limiting your design choices and brand identity. If you’re looking for flexibility, a blank slate, and the ability to truly make something unique, you might want to consider going with the “scratch” option instead.

What Is Scratch?

Scratch is a tool for users to quickly build websites and apps using simple drag-and-drop blocks. Similar to platforms such as Squarespace or Wix, Scratch simplifies the process of getting your website up and running while giving you full control over the appearance. You no longer have to be a technical expert to make your site live – in fact, the entire process is completely accessible to anyone with a basic understanding of HTML and CSS. This alone makes Scratch a compelling option for anyone who’s looking to launch a website or app but doesn’t want to commit to using an existing theme. If this sounds like you, give Scratch a try and see how simple it is to build a website from scratch without a theme!

Setting Up Your Own Hosting

If you’ve ever hosted a website or an app on a platform such as GoDaddy or AWS, you might be familiar with the overwhelming amount of work that is involved in getting your site or app live. Even after you launch, you’ll still have to check on your site frequently to make sure that everything is working as expected. This is where a good host comes in – a web host that provides you with high-quality servers that are more stable and reliable than those provided by most traditional web hosts. When you’re choosing a web host, make sure that they provide you with an adequate amount of space (i.e. at least 1GB) and that they have a money-back guarantee in case you encounter any difficulties.

You must also ensure that the host you choose is accessible from anywhere in the world – having a site that doesn’t load in every country is both frustrating and bad for business (not to mention costly). Do some research before making a decision and make sure that your chosen host provides support 24/7 via phone, chat, or email.

Installing WordPress

Once you’ve set up your hosting, the next step is to install WordPress. WordPress is the “mother” of all websites and is used by over 30% of websites across the globe. That’s a lot of websites! Installing WordPress is very similar to setting up a new website – you’ll simply need to input the URL of your host into the WordPress dashboard to begin the process.

In some instances, you might also need to create an account for WordPress – this is similar to creating an account for your email service (e.g. Gmail, Yahoo, etc.). While creating an account, you might need to input a security code to verify that you are, in fact, who you say you are.

Once WordPress is installed, the last step is to activate it. Just like with many other tools you use on a daily basis, you’ll need to register with the tool in order to use it – in this case, WordPress. Once you’ve registered, login to the WordPress dashboard and click on the “Activate” button in the upper right-hand corner to begin using the platform.

Creating Your First Website

Now that you have WordPress installed, it’s time to create your first website. From the WordPress dashboard, click on the “Create a New Site” button to start the process.

Once the page loads, you’ll see a dashboard similar to the one below. From here, you can add a website name, a description, and select a hosting plan that meets your needs. You also have the option to select a pre-made theme or choose to create your own. We recommend the former – it’s easier and more convenient, and you still have full control over the design.

If you opt to create your own theme, take some time to read through the WordPress documentation to get a sense of the technical requirements. In many cases, this can be a daunting task, but it’s worth it in the end – you’ll have complete control over the look and feel of your site. For now, select the “Blank” option to start with and click on the “Create” button.

You will now be taken to a screen where you can input the content for your website. This content will be used throughout the site – unless you have a specific area that you want to keep exclusive to yourself (e.g. an events page or blog posts), it’s a good idea to upload content to the public area of your site so that visitors can easily find what they’re looking for. You can also click on the “Design” button at the top of the page to change the look of your site.

Once you’ve filled out the content, it’s time to install the necessary plugins to make your site live. Here, you will find a variety of plugins that can help you build and grow your site – from eCommerce to affiliate marketing, SEO, and more. For the purposes of this guide, we will focus on plugins that are specifically related to SEO.


SEMrush is one of the best all-in-one SEO tools available and has been rated as the #1 SEO tool by various publications. What makes this tool special is that it integrates with other major platforms (e.g. Google Analytics, Facebook, and Twitter) so that you can easily track and analyze the performance of your site. The best part of this tool is that it’s completely free for individuals (i.e. small businesses and bloggers). For larger companies, there is also a paid version that provides more features and allows for faster analysis.

SEMrush Overview

Before we get started with the configuration process, it’s important to understand how SEO and digital marketing in general functions. Basically, SEO is the process of getting traffic to, and engaging with, your website. In most cases, this involves getting other websites to notice and consider your site – in some instances, this can involve getting others to link to your site or get them to adopt your methods of providing value to their site’s visitors. In other words, SEO is the practice of getting visitors to your site so that they have a good experience and come back for more.

This is a broad overview of SEO – there are a lot more technical intricacies that go into it (e.g. getting indexed by search engines, the structural makeup of pages with SEO in mind, etc.). For now, just understand that SEO is a lot more complex than simply “optimizing” your site for search engines.

Setting Up Your SEO Domain

One of the first things you need to do to get started with SEO is to set up your SEO domain – this will be the domain (e.g. or that you use to input website URLs into (e.g. or