How to Create A Website, Step-by-Step Full Guide
Even if you're not a techie, the guide is very detailed and easy to follow.
Other resources may be out of date or misleading. Every year, I update this guide.
WordPress will be used (free). Your website will be set up correctly on the appropriate platform for your needs.
3 Simple Steps to Make Your Own Website
You'll Learn How to…
Choose A Website Builder
Choose A Domain And Hosting
Set Up And Design Your Website
Step #1: Choose Your Website Platform
To build a website, you must first decide on the platform on which you will build your website.
What Does A Website's Platform Mean?
A while ago, most sites were built with HTML (code), CSS, and PHP. Each of these took a long time to master and were difficult to learn.
That is why most people believe that creating a website from scratch is difficult or necessitates extensive coding and design skills – but this is no longer the case.
In 2022, content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress have made it possible for anyone to create a website.
Simply put, a CMS (or website building platform) is a user-friendly platform for creating websites and managing your own online content, as opposed to creating a website from scratch using HTML, PHP, and other coding languages.
Popular Website Creation Platforms in 2022
I gathered some recent data from W3 Techs and BuiltWith to understand better which content management systems are the most popular.
Take a look at the graph below:
As you can see, the WordPress website platform powers nearly half of all websites on the Internet.
But what makes them superior to others?
Why not use WordPress instead of a website builder?
- 1. It is completely free (no subscriptions, It's an open-source)
WordPress, unlike website builders or web design software, is free to download, install, and use.
It was created by web developers, and there is a large developer community that has created beautiful free themes and templates, making it simple to get started quickly.
- It is highly customizable and simple to use.
You already know how to add your own content if you know how to use Google Docs. WordPress is easily expandable with free add-ons to handle almost any site you can think of, from small business websites to e-commerce sites.
Contact forms, subscription forms, image galleries, stores, and other features can be added to your website using WordPress “plugins.” And it's all pretty straightforward.
- Your website will be mobile-friendly. This means it will also work on smartphones and tablets.
Your website will be responsive right away, and it will look great on any mobile device, smartphone, or tablet. It is not necessary to hire a web developer for this.
- Community assistance is available.
With so many people using the platform (webmasters, small-business owners, bloggers), it's simple to get help quickly. You can get free assistance from their support page or hire thousands of WordPress developers from this site.
Is there a good WordPress alternative?
There are many alternatives, such as Wix, Squarespace, Drupal, and Joomla, to name a few, but none of them are as versatile and scalable as WordPress, which is why it is the most popular way to build a website.
If you want to create an online store, we recommend Shopify. It's an easy-to-use website builder dedicated to creating online stores. Go to our Shopify tutorial to learn how to get your shop online by following our step-by-step instructions.
If you don't want to build your site with WordPress, you can also look at my Drupal, Joomla, HTML5, and website builder guides.
WHAT COMES NEXT?
You don't need to look for WordPress at this point. You do not need to install or download it right now.
To ensure that your website is properly configured, follow the steps outlined below:
- In Step 2, I'll walk you through the process of selecting a domain name and locating a hosting space for your website.
- Step 3, will walk you through installing and customizing your WordPress website. Don't worry, I'll walk you through the steps with plenty of images to help you.
Step 2: Obtain a Domain Name and Hosting
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There are two things you'll need to get a new website up and running:
- A web address (a web address like yoursitename.com)
- Hosting a website (a service that connects your site to the internet)
Although the WordPress platform is free, hosting and domain names are not. However, the monthly cost is still less than a coffee, at around $3 – $7.
To appear professional, you should have your own domain name rather than using a free domain that belongs to someone else (for example, yourbusiness.my-free-website.com.)
Having a good hosting service will also help you ensure that your website does not go down and loads quickly (very important for everyone who visits your pages.)
Where can I get a domain name and hosting?
For myself and my web development projects, I've mostly used www.Bluehost.com as a web hosting and domain registrar.
Their website hosting is less expensive than a movie ticket ($2.95/month), and they include a FREE domain name (a nice perk to have).
Of course, you can try other web hosting providers and even host your site yourself, but this is a very complicated process that frequently fails to serve your website visitors. So, save some money and get a good web host.
You can also get a professional email account(s) with your own domain name, such as [email protected] – this is much more professional than a regular Yahoo or Gmail address, especially if you need multiple email accounts.
Do you already have a domain and hosting? Jump ahead to step 3, where I'll explain how to set up your website.
Which name should I choose?
There are a few rules you should follow when selecting your domain name:
When creating a business website, your domain name should be the same as your company name.
For example, YourCompanyName.com If you want to create a personal website for yourself, YourName.com is a great place to start.
Domain names typically end with.com,.org, or.net, but in recent years, a plethora of domain extensions (the final part of the web address, such as.com or.org) have emerged, ranging from.blog to.party.
My best piece of advice? Avoid unusual extensions and instead use.com,.net, or.org unless they precisely describe your website – and even then, it is usually better to use a more common extension.
Any other suggestions for a domain name?
There are a few factors that can influence your domain name selection:
#1 Can it be branded? For example, if you are creating a poetry website, best-poetry-website.net is not a good choice: poetryacademy.com or poetryfall.com are far superior.
#2 Is it remembered? Domain names that are short, punchy, and clear are much easier to remember.
Visitors may forget your domain name if it is too vague, too long, or spelled incorrectly.
#3 Is it memorable? You want a domain name that is easy to remember, describes what you (or your company) do, and is memorable.
With over 200 million active domain names in the world right now, coming up with a catchy name can be difficult, but never give up.
When it comes to domain names, there is one rule that always applies: if you like it, go for it.
What Happens Next?
- Create a unique domain name that reflects your future website, business, or blog by brainstorming.
- Protect your website hosting and domain name. I recommend Bluehost.com for this, but you can use any reliable and trustworthy web host.
Step 3: Create a Website and Begin Designing
1. Setup WordPress Site
There are two ways to install WordPress, one of which is MUCH easier than the other.
USE ONE-CLICK INSTALLATION TO CREATE A WEBSITE WITH WORDPRESS:
Nowadays, almost all well-known and trustworthy web hosting companies offer one-click WordPress installation.
If you chose Bluehost or another similar hosting provider, you should be able to find your “one-click installation” either during the account creation process or in your account control panel.
For example, here are the steps to install WordPress on Bluehost (the process is very similar, if not identical, on all of the most popular web hosting companies):
- Visit Bluehost.com.
- Select your hosting plan (the cheapest plan is fine).
- If you already have a domain name, enter it here.
- Fill in your information and select the duration of your hosting (you can remove the “Extras”).
- Complete the payment process and set up your account.
- Log in to Bluehost and install WordPress with “one-click WordPress install.”
MANUAL INSTALL (if your web hosting provider does not provide an easy method):
If you don't have the option to install WordPress automatically for some strange reason (some hosting companies don't provide one-click-install for WordPress), Take a look at the manual guide below:
1) Get WordPress here: http://wordpress.org/download
2) Make a new desktop folder and unzip WordPress into it.
3) Look for a file named wp-config-sample.php and rename it to: wp-config.php
4) Now open the wp-config.php (with notepad for example) and fill the following lines:
define(‘DB NAME', ‘database name here'); – Database name (ask your hosting support if you don't know it).
define(‘DB USER,'username here'); – Your hosting username define(‘DB PASSWORD,'password here'); – Your hosting password
After you've filled in the blanks, save the file.
5) Now access your hosting FTP account (download FileZilla for that). The FTP address is usually ftp.yourdomain.com, and your username and password are the same as when you registered with your host.
6) Delete any files with the name “index.” Then, upload all of the files in your WordPress folder to your FTP server. I believe you can use FileZilla's “drag and drop” feature.
7) Once you've completed the preceding steps, navigate to yourdomain.com/wp-admin/install.php.
Simply fill out the forms and you're done!
If they do not offer 1-click installation, you may be dealing with a bad host!
This is the page you should be looking at:
2. Select a Theme for Your Website (Free or Premium)
The following step will delve into WordPress themes and how to use and customize them.
WordPress themes are design templates that make changing the look of your site much faster and easier.
Fortunately, WordPress has a plethora of themes to choose from. The official WordPress theme directory alone has over 8,000 themes that are completely free to use.
Themes can be accessed directly from WordPress without having to navigate to an external site.
Simply navigate to Appearance > Themes and click the large + sign next to Add New Theme.
Then, using the search bar, look for a theme that fits your website.
You can view a demo of any theme in the listing by clicking on its Details & Preview screen and reading more about its features.
When you've found a theme you like, click the Install button in the Details & Preview screen to install it.
When the installation is finished, click the Activate button that appears in place of the Install button.
If the official theme directory does not meet your requirements, look into premium theme markets such as:
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3. Insert Content (Pages and Posts)
Before you can begin site customization, you must first have some content on your site.
After all, it's difficult to customize your site when there's nothing to show for it. What you require in terms of content will vary depending on the topic of your site and your objectives.
However, nearly every website has a few key pages:
- About page
- Contact page
- Blog page
Consider what information would be most useful to your visitors when deciding which pages to add. You should also consider visual content, such as photos.
Some WordPress themes include page templates for specific page types to make things easier. Others include multiple layout options for each page.
To use these, navigate to Appearance > Customize.
4. Ensure that your website is well-organized.
Consider your website to be a library.
The more content you add to your website, the more important its structure will become.
When learning how to make a website, you must become an expert at organizing your site so that it makes sense to your visitors and is simple for them to navigate.
The navigation menu is an important component in this case. After you've created some pages, it's time to make them available to site visitors. You can do this by going to Appearance > Menus.
The first step is to name your new menu before clicking Create Menu.
Then, on the left, you can select which content to add to it. Tick the boxes next to the pages you want to see in the menu, then click Add to Menu.
You can drag and drop menu items to your desired order and even turn them into sub-items by moving them underneath others like below. When you're finished, select the menu position where you want this menu to appear (in this case Primary menu).
Return to your site's front end and click Save Menu again to see the new menu in action.
Finally, you want to reflect a structure that is appropriate for your site and assists visitors in getting where they need to go.
5. Additional Customization Possibilities
Return to Appearance > Customize for more customization options. When you look around, you'll notice that there are a lot more options for making changes to your site.
You can change the following aspects of your website:
- Title and tagline
- Background image
You can also change your homepage, blog page, and add custom code. The options that appear depend on the theme you've installed.
Aside from theme customization, WordPress has a plethora of plugins, both free and paid.
There are nearly 60,000 plugins in the official WordPress plugin directory alone that can add a variety of new features and functionality to your site.
Furthermore, there are many more available through third-party marketplaces.
Navigate to Plugins > Add New to install new plugins.
You'll be shown a list of some of the most popular plugins available right now. Use the search field to find anything else you need.
Click the Install Now button to add plugins to your site. Wait until it has finished downloading before clicking Activate. All plugins on your site, as well as the ability to activate, deactivate, and delete them, can be found under Plugins in the WordPress main menu.
Consider the following plugins when deciding which ones to install:
- Yoast SEO – A top SEO plugin that adds on-page optimization prompts to every page and post, as well as the ability to customize Open Graph social media tags.
- Jetpack – A collection of features designed to improve website speed, optimization, social media integration, digital marketing, contact forms, and site search.
- Smush – This plugin compresses images uploaded to WordPress, saving storage space and accelerating page load times.
- WooCommerce – The most popular e-commerce store plugin for WordPress, WooCommerce makes it simple to set up an online store. More on that further down.
- MonsterInsights – This WordPress plugin integrates Google Analytics into your dashboard.
Install a page builder plugin if you want even more control over the appearance of your website.
These plugins add drag-and-drop functionality to your site, allowing you to visually construct entire web designs rather than just individual pages and posts. Among the most popular options are:
- Elementor – This all-in-one website builder provides visual website editing, quick load times, and a large selection of templates.
- Divi – Created by Elegant Themes, Divi offers yet another simple way to customize websites.
- Beaver Builder – A simple page builder plugin that significantly speeds up website design.
6. Also provide a blog (optional)
A blog is not required for every website. Creating one, on the other hand, can be a good way to regularly publish new content, demonstrate your expertise, and provide additional value to your visitors.
To add a blog to WordPress, you must first choose a blog page. I already mentioned that you can configure your homepage to automatically display your most recent posts.
However, if you want to keep your homepage static and instead have a dedicated blog page, you must first create it.
Setting up an empty page (Pages > Add New), naming it Blog (or whatever you want, but Blog makes sense because it will automatically create the address yoursite.com/blog for your blog page), and publishing it is all that is required.
Then select it as your Posts Page either under Appearance > Customize > Homepage Settings or under Settings > Reading.
When you save the page, all blog posts will be automatically added to it. Remember to include it in your navigation menu!
Go to Posts > Add New to add new blog posts to your website.
This will take you to the same content editor as before for your pages. Your blog post should have a title and content.
Include images and formatting, as well as headers, lists, and anything else that is required.
In the right-hand sidebar, you can also apply categories and tags, define an excerpt, and add a featured image.
Once you’re done making changes, click Publish. Your first post is completed, Great Job!
7. Creating an Online Store (Optional)
An eCommerce store is not required for every website. However, if you want to learn how to make a website with an online store, here are two popular options.
WooCommerce is the most popular WordPress plugin for this purpose.
It is simple to set up, has numerous payment options, and a large selection of optimized themes for creating an online store. It also has a variety of extensions available for purchase to help you customize your e-commerce site and adapt it to a variety of uses.
Shopify is the most popular alternative to WordPress.
Shopify is a self-contained online store builder that includes all website aspects.
That is, you get hosting, a domain name, and a website builder all in one package.
For good reason, Shopify is the most popular online store builder on the market. They provide an easy-to-use builder with a plethora of themes and customization options.
8. Set up SSL
A secure sockets layer (SSL) on your website ensures the security of data sent to your website's visitors.
SSL is an important search ranking factor, and prioritizing user privacy and security is critical to ensuring a positive user experience.
To ensure that SSL is enabled on your new Bluehost website, perform the following steps:
- Connect to Bluehost.
- Navigate to My Sites.
- Select Manage Site.
- On the following screen, look for the Security tab.
- Verify your Free SSL Certificate or SSL Certificate under the Security Certificate section: Status of Let's Encrypt. The toggle should be turned on.
- Visit your site again to ensure that SSL is enabled. In your web browser's address bar, a lock icon should appear next to the domain name.
9. Go Live With Your WordPress Website
When your site is complete, it is time to officially launch it. Double-check your settings and proofread your posts and pages once more.
If everything appears to be in order, click the Coming Soon Active link at the top of the dashboard.
After that, scroll down and click the Launch your site button.
You can now access your live website.
Check each page to ensure that all links work, your text looks good, and your images are properly formatted.
Congratulations! You Are Now A Proud Owner Of A New Website
Even with a detailed guide to help you along the way, learning how to make a website is no easy task.
At the same time, learning a new skill and seeing your hard work pay off can be very rewarding.
However, don't stop there. Make the most of your new-found knowledge by learning more and implementing more complex functionalities and features.
This way, you won't just learn how to make a website, but how to make the exact website you want.