HOW TO MAKE A WEBSITE
- Estimated costs (calculations)
- You get catchy domain name
- You’ll find decent web hosting
You’ll make a website which is…
Protected & secured
Optimized for search engines (SEO)
Modern & trustworthy
Last updated on January 31, 2018
Author: Donald Christensen – a developer
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
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.
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”.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
If your provider is offering WordPress one-click installation then I’m sure you can see it in cPanel/dashboard
1) Give a name/title for your site. 2) Insert your email. 3) Insert WP Admin username. 4) Insert WP Admin password
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.
…is access URL for logging to WordPress!
Choose your local and correct: Time Zone; Time Format; Date Format!
Settings ➜ General
Insert correct title and tagline. Search engines want to know what your site is about!
Settings ➜ General ➜ Site Title/Tagline
Make sure that your Search Engine Visibilty is checked! No point to show your site if there’s no content (bad for domain authority).
Settings ➜ Reading ➜ Search Engine Visibility ➜ ✓
Another way to be unvisible while your website isn’t finished yet!
Settings ➜ General ➜ MOJO 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
Move in WordPress menu: Appearance ➜ Themes ➜ Add New Theme
Just select the theme you like! Also you can check preview and read about details. For installing just hit: Install ➜ Activate
Some themes may need additional plugins in order to function normally. Install them – they’re free of charge.
Just click on Begin installing plugins in the alert box! After installation (it takes a few seconds) check your website.
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
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
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.
You’ll see everything just as in Office Word. Maybe only some bloggers are using visual output for building.
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.
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
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.
Appearance ➜ Menus ➜ “Give a name!” ➜ Create 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)!
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)
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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!