Step 1: Choose a Website Building Platform
In order to build a website, you first got to decide what platform you’re going to build
What do I mean by “platform”?
Well, back in 2005 when I got started with web development, most sites were created using HTML (code), CSS and PHP. Each of these took a lot of time to learn and were difficult to master.
That’s why most people still think setting up a website from scratch is difficult or requires a lot of coding and design skills – but that’s no longer true.
In 2021, content management systems (CMS) like WordPress have made creating a website accessible to everyone.
To put it simply, a CMS (or website building platform) is a user-friendly platform for building websites and managing your own online content, instead of creating a website from scratch using HTML, PHP and other coding languages.
Popular Site Building Platforms in 2021
Data credit: BuiltWith
As you can see, nearly half of the websites on the Internet are running on the WordPress website platform.
Why use WordPress and not website builders?
Unlike website builders or web design software, WordPress doesn’t cost a dime to download, install or use. It’s built by web developers and there’s a large developer community who have designed beautiful free themes and templates, making it easy to get going fast.
If you know how to use Google Docs, you already know how to add your own content. WordPress can be easily expanded with free add-ons to handle just about any site you can imagine – from small business websites to e-commerce sites. With WordPress “plugins” you’ll be able to add contact forms, subscription forms, image galleries, stores and so on for your website. And it’s all pretty simple.
The website you build will instantly be responsive, looking great on every mobile device, smartphone and tablet. No need to hire a web developer for that.
Step 2: Find a Domain Name and Host
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In order to get a new website online, there are two things that you’re going to need:
- A domain name (a web address like yoursitename.com)
- Website Hosting (a service that connects your site to the internet)
The WordPress platform itself is free, but hosting and domain name are not. However, the combined cost is still less than a coffee, with around $3 – $5 a month.
In order to look professional, you need to have your own domain name, instead of having a free domain that belongs to someone else (for example, yourbusiness.my-free-website.com.)
And, having a quality hosting service will also help you make sure that your website won’t go down and that it loads quickly (very important for everyone who visits your pages.)
Where do I get a domain name and hosting?
I’ve mostly used www.hostinger.in as a web hosting and domain registrar for myself and for my web development projects.
Data credit: hostinger
Their website hosting costs less than a movie ticket (₹79/mo) and they throw in a FREE domain name (a nice perk to have).
Of course, you can try other web hosting providers and even try to host your site by yourself, but it’s a very complicated process and often wouldn’t be capable of serving your website visitors. So save yourself some money and get a proper web host.
With your own domain name, you are also able to get a professional email account(s) like, [email protected] – this is much more professional than a regular Yahoo or Gmail address, specially if you need multiple email accounts.
Already have a domain name and hosting? Go ahead and skip to step 3, where I’ll explain how you can set up your website.
What kind of domain name should I pick?
When you’re choosing your domain name, there are a few rules you should keep in mind:
- If you’re setting up a business website, your domain name should match your company name. For example: YourCompanyName.com
- If you’re planning on making a personal website for yourself then YourName.com can be a great option.
Any additional tips for choosing my domain name?
For example, if you make a site about poetry then best-poetry-website.net is not a good choice: poetryacademy.com or poetryfall.com is much better.
Short, punchy and clear domain names are much easier to remember. If your domain name is too fuzzy, too long or spelled in a strange way, visitors may forget it.
There’s one rule that always applies to domain names: If you like it, go for it.
Step 3: Set Up a Website and Start Designing
If you have any questions/suggestions for this guide don’t hesitate to contact me.
Remember: I’m here to help!
Almost all well-established and reliable web hosting companies have integrated one-click installation for WordPress these days.
For the next step, we’ll be diving into WordPress themes and how to use and customize them.
WordPress themes are design templates that make changing your site’s looks a lot quicker and easier.
Luckily, WordPress has loads of themes to choose from. The official WordPress theme directory alone contains more than 8,000, which are completely free to use.
You can access themes directly from within WordPress without having to navigate to an external site.
For that, simply go to Appearance > Themes, and click the large + sign that says Add New Theme.
Before getting to site customization, you need to have some content on your site.
After all, it’s hard to customize your site when there’s nothing on it to show the changes. What you need in terms of content will vary depending on the subject matter of your site and your goals.
However, there are a few key pages that nearly every site has:
- About page
- Contact page
In deciding which pages to add, consider what information would be most helpful to your visitors. You’ll also need to think about visual content, such as photos.
To make things easier, some WordPress themes come with page templates for specific page types. Others also come with more than one layout option for each page.
To take advantage of these, go to Appearance > Customize.
In this example, we’re using the latest WordPress default theme, Twenty Twenty-One to create a site. By default, it uses a static page as the homepage that you can configure under Homepage Settings. Use the dropdown menu to select which page you want to serve as your website’s homepage.
Think of your website as a library.
Your website structure will become increasingly important the more content you add to your website.
When learning how to create a website, you need to get expert at organizing your site in a way that makes sense to your visitors and easy for them to get around it.
Add a Blog (Optional)
Adding an Online Store (Optional)
Once your site is ready, it’s time to officially launch it. Make sure to double-check your settings and proofread your posts and pages one more time.