HOW TO MAKE A WEBSITE


Step-by-Step Guide


  • Pro advice from developer
  • No coding with WordPress
  • Marketing tricks for bonus

This free guide has helped to launch 2000+ websites so far
    Image
    This free guide has helped to launch 2000+ websites

    Step 1Getting prepared
    • Estimated costs (calculations)
    • You get catchy domain name
    • You’ll find decent web hosting
    Step 2Setting up website
    • Sign up for your hosting provider
    • WordPress one-click installation
    • How to install a WordPress theme
    Step 3Customizing
    • Creating and building pages
    • How to add specific content
    • Customization tips & plugins

    You’ll make a website which is…


    Protected & secured


    Optimized for search engines (SEO)

    responsive layout


    Modern & trustworthy


    Mobile-friendly (responsive)

    Last updated on January 31, 2018

    Donald Christensen

        So you’re on my website because you want to create a website by yourself. You’re definitely on the right website. And it’s true that every beginner can create a website and save money at the expense of agencies. So let’s get to it.


    Creating a website has 3 main steps:

    • Find hosting provider and pick domain name
    • Install building platform (I recommend WordPress)
    • Actual creating and customizing

    – Selecting template
    – Adding pages
    – Final customization

    Step 1.

    Getting prepared



    How much creation actually costs?


    In a nutshell, the ballpark figure for creating a website is around $50-150. If you compare it with few grand that agencies are cashing in for website creation, then it’s not so significant amount, equivalent to a pair of sneakers.


      Domain registration (for 1 year)………………………………………….. $10-12*

      Simple hosting package (for 1 month)……………………….. $1.99-7.95

      Website template (one-time purchase)……………………. $40-70

      Platform (content managment system)…………………. Free*

    * Generally you’ll get a free domain name for the first year! Also you should know that most popular platform called “WordPress” is always for free.


    Creation is super easy thanks to templates!


    One of the reasons for that is the opportunity to install templates aka themes on websites.

    It means that professional web solutions and framework of the design are already developed. Thanks to themes we can create websites without coding. Just insert your own content, do little customization and all done.


    • Sydney theme
    • Optimizer

    I will continue talking about themes widely and openly after installing the building platform. Now, let’s move on and see which hosting provider is the best for beginner.


    Find hosting & domain name!


    • We need hosting because it gives a website access to the world wide web. That’s why domains starts with “www”.
    • web hosting

    If you buy web hosting you also get your new domain name, generally, they go hand in hand. Frankly, web hosting is the only forced expense which you cannot skip if you want to create a website!


    Foolproof rules for selecting a web hosting


    – WordPress one-click installation availability!

    – They should offer WordPress specific live-chat!

    – Servers must be custom built for hosting WordPress websites!

    – Free auto-made backups from provider!


    NB! It’s important to do a decent research before selecting a provider. Bad hosting choice may harm your website’s health (frequent disconnections, slow upload time, no auto-made backups)!

    www.bluehost.com – one foolproof provider who satisfies above-mentioned rules. (I’ve mainly used their services and can vouch for them. They have a good quality-price ratio. Hosting starts at $3.95/mo.)


    Tips to get a catchy and professional domain name


    • Forget hyphens, accented characters, and complex letter combinations
    • Try to pick a domain name which is shorter than 12 characters
    • Avoid long-tail keyword in domain name (for ex. www.howtocreateawebsite.com). That kind of low-value optimization was removed from Google algo almost 6 years ago
    • Make a “radio test” for your candidates. Domain name should be: easy to hear, spell and remember
    • Make sure your preferred domain name has no trademark issues. Check your candidate in trademark247
    • If your website is going to be international, then make sure that your domain name has no double meaning in foreign languages or slang. Check double meanings in urbandictionary

    NB! Don’t forget that at the end of the day domain names are meant for real people (your target audience and market) not for search engines!



    In order to move on with STEP 2 you’ll need:


      Available domain name


    Step 2.

    Setting up website



    For you guys, who love in-depth guides and want everything plain and simple, here’s my detailed hosting tutorial “Setting Up a Website with Bluehost”.

    Other guys, who have selected different hosting provider, just continue reading my guide. Next step is signing up.


    • Step 1 – Select hosting package

    Go to your provider’s website and start the sign up process. Usually the right button like “Let’s get started now” or “Sign up” jumps into your face immediately.

    • Now you need to pick your hosting plan. Forget all exclusive offers and start with the most basic plan. We can easily create a technically good website with that.
    • Select hosting plan

    It’s reasonable to start with the cheapest plan because when your website is not getting a huge traffic then you don’t need an advanced performance!


    • Step 2 – Insert your domain name

    Congratulations, if your favorite domain name idea is available and you didn’t spend all day to brainstorming!

    • Last important thing is the length of your plan. It’s all up to you but you should know that a longer period will save more money!

    Pro tip! Unselect all add-ons because you don’t really need them. It’s waste of money at the beginning!


    • Step 3 – Welcome to the World Wide Web (online)

    Fill the form and finish the payment. After the purchase you get an email from your provider with your personal cPanel credentials.

    • In order to install the platform you have to login to your web hosting cPanel. The cPanel is control panel of your website where all important settings are located.

    • welcome to WWW

    NB! In cPanel there are only two things to do for beginners: Install the WordPress and create an business email (with domain-ending) account!


    Install the building platform!


    Why WordPress?

    I remind you that WordPress is a building platform that makes website creation possible, in other words, we’re creating a website with WordPress. It’s free of charge for everybody.

    Basically, you just have to generate your admin user and password – that’s it. It will be much easier than setting up your web hosting.

    NB! If your provider doesn’t offer WordPress one-click installation or there are some technical issues then you can install WordPress manually!


    • Step 4 – Find WordPress icon in cPanel

    If your provider is offering WordPress one-click installation then I’m sure you can see it in cPanel/dashboard

    WordPress 1 click install


    • Step 5 – Generate WP username and password

    1) Give a name/title for your site. 2) Insert your email. 3) Insert WP Admin username. 4) Insert WP Admin password

    Installing wordpress by one click


    • Step 6 – Avoid spammy offers and complete installation
    • Many providers try to aggressively sell you themes and other extensions after the installation. You don’t have to buy anything right now!

      Anyway, congratulations, you have just created your own first website! Now use your credentials to get access to WordPress.

    • Log in to wordpress2

    www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin 

    …is access URL for logging to WordPress!


      First important settings in WordPress


      • 1. Insert local date and time settings

      Choose your local and correct: Time Zone; Time Format; Date Format!
      SettingsGeneral

      • 2. Insert your site title + tagline

      Insert correct title and tagline. Search engines want to know what your site is about!
      SettingsGeneralSite Title/Tagline

      • 3. Turn ON/OFF search engine visibility

      Make sure that your Search Engine Visibilty is checked! No point to show your site if there’s no content (bad for domain authority).
      SettingsReadingSearch Engine Visibility ➜ ✓

      • 4. Turn ON/OFF Mojo coming-soon page (Bluehost setting)

      Another way to be unvisible while your website isn’t finished yet!
      SettingsGeneralMOJO Coming Soon


      Select a template!


      The market for WordPress themes is huge… it means we have options. We can use totally free themes, semi-free themes (not fully unlocked, but still useful) and expensive premium themes (cost is around $60).

      NB! I strongly recommend to prefer premium theme because the result will come much more professional and whole process is faster and more enjoyable. So, there is no reason to make your life complicated. Trust the professionals and invest extra $50 to your project  – it’s worth it! 


      Best marketplace to find premium themes


      Go to themeforest.net and click on the then find a filter called Sort by: Best Sellers. There you can find a multifunctional and popular themes for creating a WordPress website.

      Almost all premium themes are offering theme variations a.k.a. demos. It means you’ll get numerous different demos for free per a license. Each demo has it own specification (e-commerce, businesssite, blog et. cetera).

      In case you bougth a premium theme from Themeforest – don’t forget to use my step-by-step guide: how to import a theme from Themeforest.


      WordPress bestsellers in Themeforest



          How to install free themes?


          • Step 1 – Find “Themes” in menu!

          Move in WordPress menu: Appearance ➜ Themes ➜ Add New Theme

          How to add new theme in wordpress


          • Step 2 – Pick a theme and install it!

          Just select the theme you like! Also you can check preview and read about details. For installing just hit: Install ➜ Activate

          How to select a wordpress theme


          • Step 3 – Activate required plugins (if needed)!

          Some themes may need additional plugins in order to function normally. Install them – they’re free of charge.

          required plugins for sydney theme

          Just click on Begin installing plugins in the alert box! After installation (it takes a few seconds) check your website.



          In order to move on with STEP 3 you’ll need:


           Successfully installed Theme

            Time to mess with designing


          Step 3.

          Building & customizing



          • If you want to add any content then you’ll need a page. Pages are the foundation of your website. Just as artist needs a paper, web developer needs it too.

            Also, you need pages to create a menu because you can’t create a menu without pages (except one page navigation)


          Creating pages for your website


          Please create 5 sample pages now, because after the next topic I’ll show you how to create a navigation menu. In order to create a menu we need pages, like I said. Don’t worry about the name of the page, you can always change it.

          Pages ➜ Add New ➜ Title: “Home page”➜ Publish

          If you have no idea what pages to create then create common pages like:

          Home; Services; Portfolio; Blog; Contact Us

          How to create new page in wordpress


          Choose a template for each page


          • More capable themes (even “Sydney” which is free) offer us to select page templates. Most important templates are:

            Default Template – with sidebar
            Full width – without sidebar

          • Selecting page template in wordpress

          NB! In there you can also switch on/off your main menu, header or footer. Some themes allows to choose in which side (left or right) the sidebar appears. It all depends on your theme.


          3 different options to build pages


          I bet you want to know how to build pages, add colorful design elements, buttons, widgets, sliders, contact forms and so on. WordPress offers naturally 2 outputs (visual and text) for building.

          Additionally, to the aforementioned outputs, we can use drag-and-drop builders. Builders come along with a theme and they are basically just plugins which will provide us with a simple output where we can use drag-and-drop building elements.

          I recommend to use a builder while creating a website because its easy as playing with Lego’s – just put bricks together.

          How to build pages in wordpress

          • #1 – Visual

          You’ll see everything just as in Office Word. Maybe only some bloggers are using visual output for building.

          • #2 – Text

          Everything will be converted into HTML language and you can add shortcode snippets if needed. For your knowledge, many plugins give us just the shortcode and you have to place it in the HTML output.

          • #3 – Page Builder

          Your new bestie. With integrated builders we can make pages in a drag-and-drop style. Basically the whole building is through builder.


          Very important to know!


          If you start creating pages with a page builder then you can’t edit these pages anymore in Visual or Text output. Builders have their own integrated content editor!

          For example: if you want to paste a shortcode then you’ll need to do that in builder’s own Text output. Otherwise, you will brake the code and have to delete that page or restore your website from a previous backup!


          Setting up your front page


          Select which page you want to display as front page:

          Settings ➜ Reading ➜ Tick on: “A static page” ➜ Select page ➜ Save Changes

          How to determine your front page


          Creating a main menu


          If you don’t have an idea how your menu navigation should appear, then for training purposes, try to create the menu I’m showing you below. I created ordinary menu pages: 

          Home;  Services;  Portfolio;  Blog and Contact Us

          I will then use these pages and create a simple website menu.


          • Step 1 – Find “Menus” in WordPress

          Appearance ➜ Menus ➜ “Give a name!” ➜ Create Menu

          • Step 2 – Checkmark the pages for menu

          Checkmark pages to menu from the column on the left and click on Add to Menu button (no. 1-2). Also checkmark Primary Menu for display location (no. 3)!

          How to create a menu in wordpress23

          • Step 3 – Drag and drop items and set them order!

          Visitors are used to seeing Home page on the top of the left side (first place) and Contact page on the top of  the right side (last place)

          How to create a menu in wordpress32

          • Final step – Edit labels if it’s needed

          Menu labels must be short and clean. If it’s done then Save it and visit your site!

          Here’s more detailed guide how to create a menu in WordPress

          WordPress website menu


          Customizing (layout design)


          The customizer is a cool and beginner-friendly tool for building and customizing your site, before you publish it. You can navigate to different pages on your site within the preview.

          For adding a logo or changing fonts, colors, background image, widgets and many other cool stuff on your page you, select:

          Appearance ➜ Customize   or just  Visit Site ➜ Customize

          How to customize your website2


          Every theme has its own functions and widgets. Right now I’m using quite a powerful semi-free theme called Sydney. Unfortunately, its not 100% unlocked but still, Sydney offers quite a many options and we can create a good-looking and professional website with it.


          Editing sidebar


          • Firstly, to see live sidebar editing: open a page which includes a sidebar. You can turn ON/OFF sidebar by selecting page template (select: Default template in Page Attributes).

            Secondly, go to: Appearance➜ Customize ➜ Widgets ➜ Sidebar and start editing

            On the left-side is your list of widgets which are currently planted in your sidebar. Use drag-and-drop technique to set order.

          • How to edit sidebar

          For improving your sidebar with new and cool widgets click on Add a Widget button. Pick it from the list on the right-side and add it!

          Don’t forget to adjust/check settings of each widget and lastly, when your sidebar is finished, click on Save & Publish.


          Add your site title, logo and favicon


          • 1. Add site title + tagline
            Search engines are indexing every word on your website. Tell them more about your website.

            2. Upload your logo
            I recommend to use PNG format which allows to create an image without background.

            3. Upload site icon a.k.a favicon
            This is the small icon on the internet browser. You can crop favicon from your logo.

          • How to add logo and favicon in wordpress

          If you can’t find anyone who can design a decent logo, then try this out: Designmantic logo generator. It may be the fastest way to get a logo.


          Plugins – extensions that will help to create a website


          • Creating a website is remarkably easy because we can download and use applications a.k.a. plugins.

            For example, if you want to create an online store then just download and install “WooCommerce” plugin.

          • WordPress plugins

          I’m not exaggerating if I tell you that there are plugins for almost every web solution. WordPress.org states that nearly 50 000 plugins are available, at the moment, and overall download count of plugins is 1.4 billion (BILLION!).


          How to install WordPress plugins


          1. Login to WordPress
          2. Select Plugins ➜ Add new
          3. Insert “Contact Form 7” to search bar (Its the most popular plugin for creating forms. You may need it)
          4. Click on Install now and Activate it
          5. Label (“CF7”) of the new plugin will appear on the main menu in WordPress


          7 must have plugins while creating a website


          Here’s a list of useful and free of charge plugins that you may need:

          1. TinyMCE Advanced
          By: Andrew Ozz; Active installs: 2+ million installs
          Gives you a much better and wider options for content editing

          2. Contact Form 7
          By: Takayuki Miyoshi; Active installs: 3+ million
          Build any kind of forms and place it as a shortcode wherever you want

           3. Yoast SEO
          By: Team Yoast; Active installs: 3+ million
          Insert custom Google snippets into the search engine results page (SERP)

          4. Shareaholic share buttons
          By: Shareaholic; Active installs: 100 000+
          Be modern and add socialmedia buttons on your website

          5. W3 Total Cache
          By: Frederick Townes; Active installs: 1+ million
          Increase your website upload speed to get better position on SERP

           6. Duplicator
          By: Snap Creek; Active installs: 900 000+
          Create website backups after every important change

           7. Google Analytics by MonsterInsights
          By: MonsterInsights; Active installs: 1+ million installs
          Connect your site with Google Analytics and you’ll see how many visitors your site has



          Congratulations, you’re almost a developer now!

          I hope you learned how to create a website and you made it! If this guide was useful and you would like to thank me – share it!

          Buona fortuna!
          Don.