How To Build A WordPress Website From Scratch [2021 Updated Beginner Guide]
Since you are searching for how to build a WordPress website from scratch, you are in the right spot, with this step by step guide. First, you should remember that creating a WordPress site isn’t a hard thing. Secondly, you need to think about the model and component of your website before start building one.
This complete newby friendly guide walks you through the 10 steps to get you to a completed site…
- Choose a Website Host
- Order Domain Name and Hosting
- Login To Your Customer Dashboard
- Install WordPress With One-Click Installer
- Login To Your WordPress Admin Panel
- Choose a WordPress Theme for Your Site
- Install WordPress Plugins for your WordPress site
- Configure Your Website Settings
- Add Content to Your Page
- Submit Post/Page Url To Google Search Engine
Everything I have written inside this article has one purpose: help you start creating your first WordPress site/blog.
If at any point you feel uncomfortable or confused about this tutorial, place a comment down below and we will discuss.
Important disclosure: Some of the links in this article contain affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase by going through these links, I will earn a commission. This commission won’t cost you additional money. Please understand that I have experience with all of the companies which I am mentioning here. I recommend them to you because they are useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them.
Required Time: 2-3 Hours (If you follow these steps accordingly)
Hope you will enjoy this tutorial on how to make a WordPress website or great looking personal blog (for you or your own business).
Since you are going to build a WordPress site. WordPress is the most popular free CMS platform.
Other beginner friendly wordpress alternatives.
- SquareSpace vs Wix website builder – Either are a great option if there is a template that works for you and you are after a simple site online. Both will cost more then WordPress and give you less flexibility. However, you may be able to setup a little faster. If you are looking for a decent landing page for your business, not price sensitive (±$30/month) and want to be done fast… I suggest one of these website builder options.
- Shopify – A great option for easy to build ECommerce website. Again
- WordPress – Best for someone that knows what they want, has some technical capability (don’t need much) or someone that is price sensitive. Given the options below you can be setup for as little as $5/month! Most content sites that are built to rank in Google are built on WordPress.
First one is the official version where you can create your blog or website after purchasing a plan. They offer free blogging with [WordPress] subdomain, that means when you create a free blog with any name for example “Myblog”, then your website address will be www.myblog.wordpress.com.
If you want full control and customization over your website, without purchasing a WordPress.com plan, then you have to choose WordPress.org. This WordPress tutorial is focused on WordPress.org and having a site on your own domain.
So in this tutorial, we are going to use the open source and free WordPress version (.org) which is completely free to use and a free starter theme. Remember that although the software is free you have to purchase the Domain Name (your website name) and Web Hosting (stores your website files and keep the website alive 24*7*360 days)
Note: First we need to buy two most important requirements to make a WordPress site.
#1. Website Hosting
- Website hosting is a place or cloud computer where your website will be installed and it will make sure that the website is available on the internet 24 hr/360 days.
- Initial Cost: can vary between $1.41 – $12.94 per month.
#2. Website name
- Website name (also known as a domain name) is the name and address of your website where people can find it. For example, my website name is WebsiteIncome.com. When you search this name on Google you will find my website on the result.
- Initial Cost: can vary between $0.95-$15 per year.
How To Make A WordPress Website From Scratch
(Step 1): Choose a website hosting provider
Now we will start by choosing a web hosting provider. When you are going to buy a hosting plan make sure you know about the reliability and speed of that hosting. In this tutorial, I’m using Hostgator because it’s affordable, reliable, provides great service and available worldwide.
Some more good reasons why I choose Hostgator:
- Excellent website speed and reliable web host with 99.99% server uptime guarantee.
- Unlimited monthly website visits.
- Unlimited server storage for your website & emails.
- Stunning expert support 24*7 (360 days).
- Here you can see the Awards & user reviews of Hostgator.
(It’s not necessary to always use Hostgator, there are a couple of great hosting out there like Bluehost, WPX, SiteGround or Kinsta which are all better but more expensive. You may choose any one of them either.)
Hostgator offers two types of hosting. Depending on your budget limit you need to choose the suitable one. First, visit the Hostgator Official Website. You will know about both the hosting services as we go further.
#1. For minimal budget: Starting at $2.75/month
- Shared Web Hosting Provider
#2. For Standard budget: Starting at $4.95/month
- Cloud Web Hosting
Bluehost and SiteGround have similar pricing.
1. Shared Web Hosting
Simply Shared hosting stands for multiple websites is sharing resources of a single web server. Due to multiple sharing of server resources shared hostings are comparatively slower managed hostings. However, they are perfect for a new blog site or any kind of small business website that has low traffic and low budget.
Later, when the website starts to get enough traffic you can easily migrate to any other cloud or managed hosting plan in any time. To get a shared hosting from Hostgator you need to proceed with the following instructions.
Go ahead and select the Hatchling Plan from the plan list.
In this Hatchling Plan you will receive:
- One domain name capacity.
- One click WordPress Installer
- Unlimited Bandwidth (Unlimited visit per month)
- Free SSL certificate (encrypted connection with https://)
- 24/7/365 Phone, LiveChat, Email Support
- 60% off on apply Coupon Code
I don’t recommend you to use BABY or BUSINESS plan because at the start you don’t need additional features and you won’t need anytime soon.
2. Managed Web Hosting Provider
Unlike the shared web hosting managed hosting offers one-on-one service to every single package. Due to low-density servers, premium hardware, and multiple caching layers, you will experience 2X faster website loading time with improved performance.
Managed web hosting is recommended for reliability, scalability, and flexibility of a business website despite having lots of workloads starting from sales to promotions. To choose the managed hosting plan:
Go ahead and select the Hatchling Cloud plan.
In this Cloud Hatchling Plan you will receive:
- One domain name capacity.
- 2 Core CPU power & 2 GB RAM memory (help your website load even faster)
- One click WordPress installation.
- Unlimited bandwidth & unlimited email.
- Free SSL certificate (encrypted connection with https://)
- 24/7/365 Phone, LiveChat, Email Support.
Again in case of cloud hosting it’s recommended to use the Hatchling Cloud rather than Baby and Business cloud.
(Step 2): Order Domain Name and Hosting
1. Order Your Domain name
Once you decided which hosting plan you will use, the next step will be purchasing a domain name for your website. While choosing a name for your website either you can target a low competitive but higher volume meaningful word or a self-created a unique name.
Think about a name which will be easy to remember, understandable and most importantly describe your WordPress site. For example, my blog’s name is WebsiteIncome.com. Rank for achievement and WordPress for the software most of the people use to build a website. That means my website share tools & tutorial on how to make a WordPress site that help you rank faster on Google.
Recommended article: 7 Tips To Come Up With Creative Blog Names
Once you get the idea, put that name on the field ‘Enter Your Domain’ to check if the name of your choice is available to use or not. Also, select the prefix (.com/.org/.in etc).
2. Apply Privacy Protection (optional)
In case you want to protect your personal information and privacy you can apply for domain privacy protection while purchasing the domain name. Check or Unchecked to alter your choice.
Here is the example for your concern:
3. Order The Selected Hosting Plan
Since you have already chosen which plan you are going to use so in this step you need to buy that plan. To buy the plan simply select the following:
Package type: Hatchling (As mentioned earlier hatchling is enough to create a new website)
Billing Cycle: Select 36-month package ($2.75/month). It’s a pretty good deal for a 3-year subscription. And getting it for 3 years will make sure that the website goes on a long run.
Username: Provide a username that you can always remember and it will be required in the future when you have to access your hosting panel.
Security PIN: Pick a numerical PIN and take a backup note of the pin. The PIN will help you verify account ownership when contacting Hostgator Customer Support.
4. Provide Your Billing Information
When plan selection is done, fill up the billing information. If you have a credit card then use that or use PayPal (if you have). For Indian user, The Hostgator Indian version will allow using Debit Card to complete the transaction.
Fill all the billing information correctly.
5. Add Additional Services
These additional services are optional. You may choose them according to your wish.
Free SSL: The SSL certificate will be activated on your website for free. So you don’t have to check that box or it will come checked by default.
Site Lock Monitoring: This is a monitoring service that checks your website on a daily basis and immediately notifies you about any hijacking or malicious code inside your website. This service is highly recommended by them but you may skip them if you wish to use any other WordPress plugin.
Professional Email: Provides you the professional email address with your domain name as a prefix. For example email@example.com. My recommendation is to keep it unchecked.
CodeGuard Backup: It’s an insurance for your WordPress site. This service automatically backup your website files and databases with a 1-click action. You can add a schedule according to your choice.
HostGator SEO Tool: Since you are going to integrate some powerful SEO tools with your website, that’s why you don’t need to buy this tool from Hostgator.
6. Enter Coupon Code
Few times in a year Hostgator offers up to 70% off deal. Mostly these kinds of offers come during New Year, Black Friday, Cyber Monday etc. If you are lucky enough to get started with a more than 50% off hosting deal then in the Coupon Box there will be a code automatically which you can apply to get the discount.
7. Review Order Details
Once you are done with the above part it’s time to recheck your order. In this review section, you can verify the details of services and hosting package you are going to buy. Make sure that each and every service you have selected to buy are really necessary for you.
Since this amount is for 3 years so you don’t have to pay any bills for the next 3 years. What I believe that $105 deal for 3 years is a pretty much good deal to buy your hosting. Now go ahead and click on CHECK OUT option and complete your transaction.
Once you have completed it you should get a quick payment confirmation message and new Password from Hostgator (firstname.lastname@example.org) to their customer portal.
(Step 3): Login To Your Customer Dashboard
Follow the link from the Email you have received from Hostgator right after the Checkout process. Enter the email address that you have registered with Hostgator and your Password. (If you don’t know where to put Emal and Password find LOGIN or SIGN IN link )
(Step 4): Install WordPress With One-Click Installer
After login to your personal dashboard, you will see all the options from your account settings to support.
Go ahead and click on the hosting tab on the bar.
Scroll down to hosting and click on lunch quick install.
Once you click on Quick Install WordPress you will be redirected to your Control Panel (cPanel).
1. Select WordPress From The Installer
Now in the left sidebar, click on Website Essentials > One Click Install You will see WHMCS and WordPress. Click on “WordPress”
After selecting the WordPress platform now you have to select the domain name on which you are going to install your WordPress site. So select your domain name there and click on “next“.
2. Configure Domain Name For WordPress
In the next step, you have to fill the data required to create a WordPress user account so that you can have access to your website’s back-end (internal functions).
3. Create A User (Administrator) Account For WordPress
Blog Title: Your Desired Website/Blog Name (Can be changed later)
User Name (Admin): A short name that you must use while login to your WordPress Admin dashboard
First Name: Your First name (If you have middle name type both with space between the first and middle)
Last name: Your Surname.
Password: Create a password and keep it safe.
Admin Email address: This email can be your personal email address. It will be saved in WordPress user details.
Once you have included all the required details, make sure you have a backup of email & username. Now click on Install. It will require some seconds to complete the process and as soon as the process completed you will get a notification in your provided email address about the installation.
(Step 5): Login To Your WordPress Admin Dashboard
After getting the Email about your installed website, open your web browser. Go to the URL address bar and type or copy this link.
*Don’t forgot to replace “your-domain-name” with your original domain name.
Now you will be asked to log in to your Website dashboard. Simply put your ‘username‘ and ‘password‘ to login.
After a successful login, you will be redirected to the WordPress dashboard. From your dashboard, you can control each and every task of your website. Inside the left side menu, you will see options like posts, pages, media, comments, appearance, plugins, users, tools and settings.
Now to check your website you need to click on the domain name on the top left corner. It should be something to look like this.
For the first time, the website may not look fancy. But don’t worry because in the next few steps you will learn how to make the website look better using a wordpress or WP theme installed in your WordPress dashboard.
(Step 6): Choose a theme for your site
The starter theme is a pre-designed template which you can instantly change the look or design of your website. When a new theme applied the layout, icons, fonts and menu style will be changed. Now along with the theme design, one more important point is to use a lightweight and and respected wordpress theme developer. We will show you how to pick one next.
Lightweight themes are fast and well-coded they can help increase your website ranking. Especially with Google updates related to speed a slow theme can hurt your site. Previously, here is a list of the best wordpress themes for affiliate marketers. You can pick up any theme from that list. But for now, I will go with one of those themes.
Once your site has grown significantly you can then explore WordPress theme development to create a custom look specifically for you. However, at the start it is a lot faster, cheaper and still looks great to use a free theme.
1. Install a theme
Now you can browse all the available themes in the library. You can choose any theme or you can upload a theme manually.
2. Customize the theme
After installation, you can customize the theme. To customize hover your pointer on appearance and all the option for customization will be available. You can also
3. Setup a Menu
Setup the menu that you want for your site.
(Step 7): Install plugins for your WordPress site
Plugins are useful for extending the functionality of your website. Different plugins are available for different task. Mostly you can use these plugins for free but when you believe that you need to use the professional version then the subscription is a must.
I will mention the most important plugins for the new website. Later, you can add more plugins according to your need.
All these plugins are recommended and free to use.
Tip – While you are building the site and not yet proud of how it looks you can use a free wordpress maintenance mode plugin to keep it hidden from the world.
How to Install WP Plugins:
In the WordPress tutorial video below we show how to install WordPress plugins.
The configuration of these plugins will be separately published so that I can describe them in the step by step tutorial. Skipping them in this post is essential to control the article length and page size.
1. Social Plugin – Sassy Social Share
This plugin enables you to connect with social media when you update your website with any new page. You can customize the plugin in a various way as you need. To install this plugin: Go to Plugins > Add new > and search for ‘Sassy Social Share’.
Now Install the plugin and activate it.
2. Website Performance Optimizer – Autoptimize
After activation, you should configure the plugin to work properly. ** Remember, if you miss-configure Autoptimize plugin it can break your website. So follow this step-by-step guide to configure the plugin settings.
3. Database Optimizer – WP optimize
WP database optimize plugin will keep your website database clean and organized. A clean, well-organized database can boost your website performance. Install WP optimize plugin from your plugin repository and activate it. After activation goes to WP optimize on the left sidebar > click on settings.
Now go to the ‘Database’ tab and follow the instructions below.
4. Image Optimizer – Robin image optimizer
An image speaks louder than words. So the image is an essential part of your website. But more image can increase your website load. So to keep the image optimized you have to use a plugin.
For more tips on how to manage images in WordPress checkout this ultimate guide to optimizing images in WordPress.
Most people recommend WP Smush but I personally got better performance with Webcraftic Robin image optimizer plugin. This plugin is free to use and don’t need any third party access. Once the plugin is activated go to settings > Robin image optimizer > General settings.
When you have properly configured the plugin don’t forget to save the settings.
5. Insert Header & Footer – Header and Footer Plugin
This plugin is useful for placing custom codes inside your website header or footer section. Custom codes like Analytics tracking code, Adsense tracking code can be used inside this plugin. Install the plugin and activate it.
6. Create an Analytics account and configure with your site
If you do not have already got a Google Analytics account, you’ll be able to simply create one for free of charge on the Google Analytics website! To create a new account proceed through the steps mentioned below:
- Click here visit Google Analytics. (Note: If you’ve got a Google account, and don’t seem to be signed in, click sign up. If you do not have a Google account, click on create a new account.)
- Once you have got signed in to your Google account, click Access Google Analytics.
- Click sign in.
- Fill in your Account Name, website Name, website URL, and choose a business category and reporting zone.
- Under the data Sharing options there, check the boxes next to the options that you just need.
- Click Get the tracking ID.
- From the Terms of Service Agreement that opens, click I accept.
Go to settings > Insert header and footer
Now paste the Analytics code that you have copied from Google Analytics account inside the header box.
Tip – If you want to track clicks in Google Analytics you can use this trick.
7. Install Custom Page Builder – Beaver Builder
Custom page builders can help you design beautiful webpage such as homepage, contact form page etc without any coding knowledge. With easy to use drag and drop builder you can easily create a clean, organized webpage that will attract your visitor’s mind. Go to Plugins > Add New.
Search for Keyword: Beaver Builder Install and activate the plugin.
After activation by default, the custom builder will be ready to use. In case you want to find the settings then Go to settings > Beaver builder.
To start using beaver builder go to Page > Add new
Now click on ‘launch beaver builder’
Now drag the modules from the library to the blank space of your page. Available modules:
- Audio (Audio files, you have to upload to your WordPress)
- Photo (Photo files, you have to upload to your WordPress)
- Video (Audio files, you have to upload to your WordPress or videos use video from URLs)
- HTML (Modules where you can paste HTML code)
- Text Editor (Useful for add any text)
Use columns to organize the content of the page accordingly. To add a column select ‘rows’ from the library.
(Step 8): Configure Your Website Settings
After installing the plugins it’s time to adjust the default settings of your website.
1. General Settings
Go to settings > ‘General’
- Site Title
- Here you can set/change the name of your WordPress site. This site title is used to display your website name on Google search. Usually, on a direct search of your website or after page/post title.
- For Example: [Tutorial] How To Make A WordPress Site In 2019 – Rankwordpress
- The tagline is a meta description of your home page. It does explain about your website topic.
- WordPress Address (URL)
- This is your website address where all the contents of your webpage are stored.
URL: https://<your domain>
- This is your website address where all the contents of your webpage are stored.
- Site Address (URL)
- Address, which someone should type in an internet browser to access your website.
URL: https://<your domain>
- Address, which someone should type in an internet browser to access your website.
- Date formate
- Keep the date formate same as in default.
2. Writing settings
Writing settings don’t need to be changed as the default configuration works best.
3. Reading Settings
- Homepage display
- Choose if you want your latest post to be shown on the front page or you want to use a custom page as your homepage. You can design a custom page using the beaver builder that I have mentioned before.
- Article Feed Setting
- Full text: full post on the homepage
- Summary: Short summary on the homepage
- Whether the search engine can discover your page or not?
4. Discussion Settings
In the discussion setting, you can control pingback & trackback, comments, publishing notification, and article email newsletter. The following settings are my personal choice, you can follow them as well.
5. Permalink Settings
Permalink setting is a very important part, especially for SEO. Permalinks are the address of the pages inside your website. After publishing a page, if for any reason the permalink got changed, then that page can’t be obtained through that link anymore.
This will harm your website’s Google indexing and the page ranking on Google will drop. When page ranking will go down you will certainly get lower traffic. The most recommended permalink models are,
(Step 9): Add content to your page
Before starting to create valuable contents for your visitors, you have to decide what kind of content you are going to deliver them. These two questions will arise:
- Should the visitors be allowed to comment under the content?
- Will you often update the content?
If the answer to both questions is ‘YES’ then you need to create ‘post’ instead ‘page’
Post: Posts are blog entries that shorted by newest order. They are shown on your website according to that newest order. Post are variable that means they are often updated for many reasons from time to time.
1. Create a post
To create a post go to ‘Post’ > ‘Add new’
- Here’s the meaning of the color box I’m using to define elements of the Gutenberg WordPress editor.
- Add Module: It contains different module option like textbox, title, media, shortcode, etc which you can add inside your blank page or blocks.
- Add Title: In this place, you have to add the article name.
- Start Writing: Start writing is a text block, where you can start writing your article. (You can switch to another module using the ‘+’ icon)
- Publish/preview: Preview can be used to pre-check the article in reader mode before publishing. Publish held for publishing the article.
- Option: The gear icon is used to switch between enable or disable the right sidebar.
- Essential Sidebar: This sidebar contains all the important options starting from category selection, featured image configuration, tags configuration, post attribute settings, etc.
- Status: This block provides the custom post type options and control over the publication time and format.
If you are making an Amazon Affiliate site checkout this guide.
2. Create a Page
Creating a page is similar to creating a post. Only one thing you have to remember that to create a page go to ‘Page’ > ‘Add new’
(Step 10): Submit Post/Page Url To Google Search Engine
I have created an entire separate tutorial how you can submit sitemap and URL to search engine. Visit this post to know in brief.
Congratulations! You have made an amazing decision and successfully joined the world’s webmasters I wish you all the best on your journey. Good luck!
Always remember that it takes time to write a useful tutorial. I hope you enjoy this process of creating a WordPress site. I will keep updating this post with more useful information. To know more about how to increase your website visitors and designs keep reading my articles on this WordPress blog.
Provide a comment: Please send feedback to this tutorial so that I can understand your need better and improve my crafts. Also, do share with people who may need this.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to Pick and Validate a Niche
How to Select and Validate a Topic in 4 Steps
If you already know why you are making the site… for example for a personal blog or business website then this won’t apply. However, if this site is part of a new business idea it is worth looking into.
“Do what you love BUT follow the money” Business Brilliant
Objective – Identify the topic and “blue-ocean” for your website topic
Step 1 –Write Down a List of Problems/Passions/Knowledge Areas/Fears you have. If you are struggling to identify some of these aspects, look at your Internet History and your Amazon Shopping history. Pick 1-2 that jump out at you and continue working through the next modules until you have validated your idea. Expect this process to take a couple of iterations!
Step 2 –Identify Similar Sites – In this step, find a list of sites that are along the lines of what you want to create.
Step 3 –Define Your Blue Ocean – This step helps you define your unique “angle” where you combine 2-3 sites that show what your website will be about. In the book, “Made To Stick,” the authors talk about how pitching Hollywood movie ideas is done. For example, “think jaws in space” was for the movie, Aliens.
- Simple Example – The site will be a combination of a beauty blogger, amazon associate site and consumer reports site specifically focused on the topic of nails.
Identifying the potential gap in the market was the central theme of the book Blue Ocean Strategy, in it the authors discussed case studies where entrepreneurs identified the under-served intersection of 2 existing markets. This strategy was described in the offline world but is just as applicable online.
Step 4 (Optional) – Validate your idea with keyword research – At this point we don’t want you to spend TOO much time doing keyword research. It is more important to have a topic and blue ocean strategy then it is to have identified the “perfect” keyword but we do need to verify that people are also interested in the topic. If your goal is to build a website for profit then doing some basic keyword research will verify that there is a market.
- Step 1 – Identify some competitors and use SEMRush to verify that they are generating over 5,000 monthly visitors and the estimated cost of traffic which is just a measure of how valuable the traffic is is over $1,000. We don’t want to build a site in a space where no one has been able to be succesful and so seeing that both the keywords get some decent traffic AND there are succesful other sites in the space is a great sign we have a niche worth pursuing.
Now that you have an idea of what your focus area is going to be it is time to identify a domain!
Authority Sites vs Niche Sites
I think there can be a lot of confusion about the difference between an authority site and a niche site. For a start, authority sites still usually focus on a specific niche, and “niche sites” can grow to become authority sites, so there is a lot of overlap between them.
There’s also a lot of different information on the web. That’s because Internet Marketing is more than just one set of instructions. Everyone has their own way of getting success and their own interpretation of things.
However, the best definition I’ve ever seen for an authority site came from Stuart Walker, where he defines an authority site as:
- A site with some of the best content in the niche covering all topics, questions and problems.
- So good it gains natural links from around the web including other authorities in the niche, people outside the niche and press / media.
- More than often the owner of the blog doesn’t write the content themselves but has a team of writers or pays already established names in the niche to write.
- Huge followings on social media, blog post commentators and email subscribers.
- Usually on a niche that is super enthusiastic and passionate.
- On a topic that is in high demand and evergreen.
I think that’s a pretty good explanation, so I’ll run with it.
So while a “niche site” (how most people define them) might not get many natural links, might not bother with social media, and might be on a small topic like kettles, authority sites tend to be on much bigger subjects, and aim to dominate their niche.
How Should a Websites Content be Structured for Maximum SEO Benefits?
As emphasis has grown on authority sites over the last few years, a lot of people have written some great guides into structure. Off the top of my head, Gael Breton’s “topic pages” stand out as a good example.
Let’s Talk About Silos.
A lot of people will build a silo for their authority sites.
A few years ago, these weren’t all that popular. If you look at many sites like AuthorityWebsiteIncome, you’ll see that they’re more along the lines of “Blogroll + Money Pages”.
This structure works too, and when you’re posting a lot of content it’s fine, but a silo will really help with SEO. I don’t believe in using a 100% rigid silo structure (I’ll go into this later), because I find in some cases it is counter-intuitive and doesn’t fully benefit the user.
What’s A Silo?
Here’s how it’s defined over at scratch99.com.
Siloing is an SEO technique that creates strong keyword related themes on your site, improving the relevancy of your site in the eyes of the search engines.
If that didn’t make sense to you, don’t worry.
Really all a silo does is build on the concept of “categories”, but stronger and with more seo advantage.
In a traditional “blog” structure, it might be something like this:
It looks organized, and it might be neat and tidy, but there’s no real relationship between pages and posts etc.
You’ve got your static pages like About and Contact, and the rest are posts. You might also have one or two “money” or “pillar” pages set up as well.
Even though your posts are sorted into categories, they are not regarded as that relevant and the seo structure isn’t very strong. The home page doesn’t really count as the top of a silo either, so even if you have category links in your navigation bar, this isn’t a silo structure.
For a silo, it’s a lot more rigid.
See the example below, I’m using a silo structure based on Home Theaters.
Each “tier” is actually a page of around 1,000 words with videos, images and everything you’d expect.
It’s not just a “category” page where all the posts in the category are listed together.
What this does is create a highly relevant structure for search engines (and people) to follow, and will mean that each post or page is contributing to the overall seo power of the site.
How A Silo Ranks
On top of that, when you add links to the top of the silo, link juice flows down and slowly ranks each tier in turn.
Your posts/reviews at the bottom of the silo will usually be the easiest to rank. They might only need 1 or 2 links to rank, which means that a handful of links added to the top of the silo will be enough. As you get more links added to the top, each tier ranks in turn, until you finally reach the top page.
Therefore, you want to make the top of your silo the most difficult page to rank, and can expect to rank it last. It doesn’t always work out this way, but that’s the basic theory.
When doing guest posts, using PBNs, building broken links, or any other kind of link building, you should always try to get the links built to the top of your silo.
There’s also the argument that as a silo naturally increases pageviews, time on page, and reduces bounce rate, that will have a positive effect on SEO as well. This part depends on whether or not you believe Google when they say they don’t use analytics data for ranking.
Either way, more usability is always a good thing.
Ideally you don’t want silos to link to each other. You can link to the TOP of another silo (known as Uncle/Auntie pages), but you shouldn’t be linking to other pages in various tiers in parallel silos (known as Cousin pages). This dilutes the strength of the silo, and leaks link juice.
However, sometimes it just makes plain sense to link to other silos and some posts might appear in more than one silo. Given that this really helps usability and benefits your audience, I think it’s fine to do this. You’ll still have a pretty good silo and your SEO will be solid.