How to create a website
How to create a website is one of the more essential skills you should know as a small business owner in this day and age
Here’s how to create a website on your own, step by step:
8 steps to build your own website from scratch the ultimate WordPress
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Sign up for web hosting.
Get WordPress installed via the Bluehost interface.
Pick a free WordPress theme from the Bluehost onboarding.
Get some must-have WordPress plugins that will help with your site growth.
Start creating your pages and blog posts.
The key details about WordPress:
it’s open source
it’s the ultimate DIY solution for website building
it’s extra versatile – can run any type of website
it’s fast, optimized, and secure
It’s SEO-ready – creates promotion easier
Now, one important distinction; the “WordPress” that we’re talking about here is “WordPress, the software.” You can find it if you go to WordPress.org.
How to create a website? Use WordPress!
There’s also the other flavor of WordPress – “WordPress, the commercial service,” which you can find if you go to WordPress.com. We describe the differences between the two here.
For now, though, let’s just remember that what we want is at WordPress.org, since it’s a more versatile and cheaper-to-use version of the platform. This will all become clear in the next steps.
no 2: Pick a name for your website, buy a domain & hosting
When learning how to create a website, picking a name is probably the most fun aspect of the whole process.
After all, you have complete freedom here. You can pick literally any name you wish for your website.
However! There are still some things you need to understand to set yourself up for success later down the road.
First off, there are nearly 2 billion (!) websites online on the web (at the time of writing). Meaning, staying original can be quite challenging.
It’s a really good idea to construct your website’s name (and thus your domain name) around either the name of your organization (the most obvious approach) or a phrase that’s associated with the niche you’re in, but with some added words for better brand ability.
a) Buying your domain name and hosting
While things like buying a hosting package might sound intimidating at first, there’s really nothing to worry about. The process we’re presenting here is simplified and doesn’t require you to do any technical heavy-lifting.
Beginner's note: What is hosting anyway?
There are tens if not hundreds of different companies that can register a new domain name for you. Then, there are also tons of companies that can sell you a hosting package…
But let’s not complicate things for ourselves and instead get everything from a single company – and in one go.
Bluehost is a reputable web host that’s optimized for WordPress and will create sure that your website operates with no hiccups
it’s one of the few companies recommended on the official WordPress.org website
it’s cheap (from $2.95/month)
it’s easy to use and beginner-friendly
you get a domain name for free
Here’s what’s going to happen now:
Choose your free domain name
Provide your personal data:
Enter account details
Before continuing, it’s good to check and confirm the parameters of the hosting setup that you’ve chosen. This can be found in the section labeled package information:
Bluehost to install WordPress for you
Since you now have signed up to Bluehost and have your hosting setup ready to go, the only element that’s missing is WordPress.
While you technically can install WordPress manually, why would you if you can get other people to do it for you, and for free.
As soon as you completed the sign-up process with Bluehost, you should have received an email from the Bluehost crew with some details on how to log into your customer profile and begin working on your site.
How to install WordPress at Bluehost
All that Bluehost needs in order to install WordPress for you is the name of your new site and the username/password that you want to use when managing WordPress. Once you’ve completed the wizard, your site is installed and ready to go.
No 3: Get familiar with the WordPress UI
You can log in to your WordPress user panel if you go to www.YOURDOMAIN.com/wp-admin/
Use the access credentials that you’ve set in Bluehost in the previous step (the “WordPress install screenshot” above).
After logging in successfully, you’ll see the main WordPress interface in all its glory:
(1) Welcome message – Some of the most important areas of the admin panel listed as quick shortcuts links – these are usually your shortcuts to how to create a website.
(2) The current status of your site and what’s going on with it.
(3) Posts – go here to create blog posts.
(4) Media – upload/manage images and other media files here.
(5) Pages – go here to create sub-pages.
(6) Comments – this is where you can moderate comments.
(7) Appearance – change your site’s design here and/or customize how certain things are displayed on the current design.
(8) Plugins – install new plugins here.
(9) Users – manage user accounts that can access the admin panel of the website.
(10) Settings – the main settings.
a) Set permalinks
Permalinks define how the individual web page addresses – aka URLs – are structured within your site.
The most optimized structure is to have the page’s title in the URL. For example, your “about” page (more on that page later on) should be available under something as simple as YOURSITE.com/about. Setting the permalinks correctly will allow you to achieve that.
Once there, select this setting:
b) Making your site public
c) Set your website title and tagline
Go to Settings → General and set the Site Title and Tagline fields to what you want.
Your site title and tagline might appear in various places throughout the site. Some WordPress themes display those on the homepage and in the SEO description – which Google uses when listing your website on the results pages.
The tagline is optional – you can leave it blank if you don’t have a tagline for the site.
d) Allow or disable comments
Whether or not you want to accept comments on your website is up to you.
On the one hand, letting readers leave their opinions and questions under your articles/pages can be great for building a community around the website. But, on the other, you’ll also have your hands busy dealing with spam and making sure that there’s no trolling.
e) Disable pingbacks and trackbacks
I don’t know why this setting is even still in WordPress. It’s mostly a leftover from back in the day when pingbacks and trackbacks were a thing.
f) Set your time zone
Setting your time zone correctly will create publishing new pages and posts more predictable.
Generally, you want to set the time zone to either where you’re at or where your target audience is at. Whichever creates more sense.
You can set the time zone in Settings → General.
With the basic settings out of the way, we can get to the fun stuff:
No4: Pick a theme / design for your website
The great thing about WordPress is that it works with interchangeable designs – called themes.
a) Pick a theme that you like
As I mentioned, WordPress themes are out-the-box design packages that define the way your website looks. You can install them quickly and then change them in the future if need be.
The critical detail here is that themes don’t change the contents of your site but only alter the presentation.
There’s a huge abundance of WordPress themes out there. Just looking into the official directory at WordPress.org, there are hundreds of themes there.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are a lot more free themes on the web on third-party sites (like JustFreeThemes), and there’s also a whole other world of paid themes that are distributed by independent theme stores (like ThemeIsle or aThemes) and even theme marketplaces (like ThemeForest).
Even though there are myriads of paid themes out there, for most users, free themes are a great option to start with. The surprising thing about some of the best free themes is how many impressive features they bring to the table without asking for anything in return.
We can do that because the theme you choose today doesn’t have to be your final decision. You can always come back to it later on and change it in a matter of minutes.
b) Install your theme
If the theme you’ve chosen is available in the official directory at WordPress.org then the only thing you need in order to install it is the theme’s name. Yep. That’s it.
Here’s how theme installation is done:
Go to Appearance → Themes from your WordPress dashboard and then click on “Add New.”
Theme add new
From there, input the name of the theme that you want to install, like so:
You’ll see it displayed on the list below the search field. Just click on the Install button under your desired theme:
After a second, the theme will be installed. To fully enable it on your site, click on the “Activate” button that will appear in place of the “Install” button.
Hestia is one of those themes that offer some excellent onboarding for new users. To see what the theme has in store for you, click on the button from the welcome prompt.
Orbit Fox is a nice addition to Hestia as it delivers some cool features to upgrade your site’s looks. For instance, you get some useful new modules for the homepage, a template directory that will be helpful when building your sub-pages (such as “about” or “contact”), and custom menu icons.
At this stage, your new theme is active on your site. You can see it in action simply by going to YOURDOMAIN.com.
c) Customize the theme
While the out-the-box look of your theme might be already quite nice, you should still do some basic customizations to create it fit your needs hand-in-glove.
Do the following:
In the sidebar, go to “Homepage Settings.”
Select the option, “A static page” under your homepage display setting.
Click on “Add New,” to create a new page to act as your homepage.
Input the name for the page – “HOME” seems like a good idea – and click on “Add.”
This will replace the default listing of your site’s most recent articles with a completely custom homepage. By default, you’ll see some cool elements on your new homepage.
Through it, you can:
Change the background image – create it something related to your business
Change the text under the title – you can remove this completely if you want to
Change the button text – usually leading to your products or most crucial pages (more on that in a minute)
Underneath that, you get to adjust any of the other available homepage blocks. By default, you get all of these (see this list by going to “Frontpage Sections” from the Customizer sidebar):
The Features section is a great place to explain what your company has to offer or what the purpose of the website is – that “purpose” is probably the no.1 thing to keep in mind as you learn how to create a website.
The About section is a great place to talk about your story.
The Team section you can use if more people work in your business and you’d like to highlight them.
The Testimonials section is awesome when you want to showcase what your previous customers had to say about your business.
The Contact section is where you can display your contact information and let people know how to best reach you.
There are also a handful of more sections available. It’s best to browse through those and pick the ones that create sense to use for your business and in your specific situation.
When you’re done adjusting the homepage, don’t forget to click on the main “Publish” button that’s at the top.
Out the box, your new theme is going to use a couple of primary colors that define its default color scheme. You can change that setting in the WordPress Customizer. Just click on Colors in the main sidebar.
The Accent Color is usually the color used for buttons, links, and everything else that’s meant to stand out from the rest of the site’s design
After doing the above, your website will start feeling like it’s truly yours. You will have made all the necessary tune-ups and customizations to create it fit with your brand.
No 5: Get plugins to extend your website’s abilities
Plugins are to your WordPress site what apps are to your iPhone.
In other words, they extend the standard functionality of your site by adding some much-needed features. Essentially, as you’re figuring out how to create a website on your own, plugins are how you can get some great features without knowing any coding.
Yeast SEO – helps you create search engine optimization tweaks and create your site more accessible to the search engines in general.
Google Analytics for WordPress – this one integrates your website with the most popular traffic analysis solution on the web.
Word fence Security – improves the security of your WordPress site.
Updraft Plus – does automatic backups of your website.
Optimal – optimizes your images.
WPForms – lets you add interactive contact forms to your website, which your visitors can use to reach you directly – much better than displaying your email in plain text on your site.
Installing plugins is simple. If it’s a free plugin that we’re dealing with, then all you need is the plugin’s name.
Go to your WordPress dashboard and then to Plugins → Add New. From there, input the name of the plugin that you want into the search field, and then click on “Install” and “Activate.”
No 6: Create basic pages
There are some pages that all websites should have, regardless of their purpose or goal.
WordPress add page
(1) A place for the headline of the page.
(2) The body section – the main content of the page. The interface is very similar to MS Word. You get all the basic text formatting features
(3) You can add images by clicking this button.
(4) Switch between the Text and Visual editors. Use the former only if you’re at least vaguely familiar with HTML code.
(5) The Publish section. This is where the main Publish button is.
(6) Discussion. Decide whether or not you want to allow comments. The “trackbacks and pingbacks” setting you can leave unchecked.
(7) Featured image. Most WordPress themes take that featured image and display it somewhere in a prominent spot alongside your page.
About – Your About page is where you get to tell the story of what your website is and why people should pay attention. This one page is basically a must-have for everyone who wants to learn how to create a website.
Contact – this is where you can display some contact info along with a nice contact form, through which people can reach you directly
Portfolio – a place for you to showcase your past work.
Store – a crucial thing if you want to sell anything from your site. To create this work, you also need a popular WooCommerce plugin – the best e-commerce solution for WordPress.
No 7: Consider starting a blog
A blog (as well as marketing through content – aka “content marketing” in general) is among the most effective ways to promote not only your website but also any products that you might want to sell through that website.
And it’s not just me saying this; there’s raw data proving that blogs are a superior tool for marketing online, with 55% of marketers saying that blogging is their top inbound marketing priority.
Running a blog is a straightforward concept. What you do is publish articles related to the topic of your website and do it regularly.
From a technical point of view, WordPress has blogging tools built right into it from the get-go. In fact, WordPress started as a blogging platform.
One of the few differences is that you can also assign your posts to categories and tags.
This is what adding a new blog post looks like:
Once you’re done working on a blog post, click on “Publish.”
Add New and create a blank page. Call it “BLOG” – just to create things clear.
Next, go to Settings → Reading, and select your newly created Blog page as the “Posts page” like so:
No 8: Adjust your site navigation
With all your key pages online it’s now a good moment to adjust your site’s navigation and create it overall easier to consume for the visitors.
Menus are the primary vehicle through which visitors navigate your site, thus they’re crucial when figuring out how to create a website.
Depending on your theme, you will have a couple of options to choose from regarding menu settings. Here’s what you can usually do (on Hestia’s example):
First, go to Appearance → Menus in your Word Press dashboard.
You’ll see this default panel:
Widgets are an old-school feature in WordPress. In simple terms, a widget is a small block of content that can be displayed in various places around the website.