Create Your Websites
A Beginner's How-To Guide for Creating Websites
This website is designed to be a step-by-step beginner’s guide to help you create your very own website. Unlike other educational websites, CreateYourWebsites.com is not created by a web developer or designer. The purpose here is to show you that anyone can create an amazing website without the need for having a technical background.
Once you’ve gone through all the steps listed below you should have all the necessary information for creating your own website.
Create your very own website by following these 4 simple steps.
This is where it all begins. Whether you’re looking to create a personal blog or a professional looking website for your own business, it all starts with a domain name.
What is a Domain Name?
A Domain Name is
Domain Names must be unique and you can only register one that is not already taken.
How do you Choose a Domain Name?
Put on your creative hat and think of something that is catchy and won’t easily be misspelled or forgotten. Also, you should pick a domain name that makes sense for the type of website you are creating.
For Example, since this website is meant to be a guide teaching individuals how to create their own website I chose the domain name CreateYourWebsites which clearly stated the intent of this website.
The #1 Thing to remember when choosing a Domain Name: Try to choose one that is relevant and easy to remember. It’s also recommended to try to choose one that is as short as possible.
That being said, most one and two-word domain names have already been taken so you may need to spend some time brainstorming different ideas when trying to come up with a domain name for your website.
Things to Avoid When Picking a Domain Name
What is a Domain Extension and Which One Should Choose?
A domain extension is an internet category that directly follows the domain name.
There are hundreds of different domain extensions (also referred to as top-level domains). I personally suggest sticking to .com because this is the most widely used domain extension and the easiest to remember.
Other viable options are .net or .org; however, if an identical .com domain already exists I recommend choosing a different domain name to avoid confusion when trying to market your website.
Strategies if the Domain Name you Want is Taken
After you’ve decided on the perfect domain name the next step is to get that domain connected to the internet. In order to do this you’ll need to select a web hosting provider.
What is a Web Hosting Provider?
Hosting can be thought of as the “space” on a server where your website lives. This allows you to make your website accessible to the World Wide Web (Yes, this is what the www stands for in the URL). Essentially it is the service that connects your website to the internet.
What Different Types of Hosting Services Are There?
There are three main types of Web Hosting Services.
Of these three options, I recommend starting with shared hosting. The reason I recommend shared hosting is because its cheap, easy to maintain and more than sufficient for most any new site. As your website’s popularity grows and the traffic increases you can always upgrade to a more robust type of hosting in the future.
How to Choose the Best Web Hosting Provider?
There are hundreds, if not thousands of different web hosting providers out there so how do you choose the right one?
There are many things to take into account including bandwidth, disk space, up-time, support and price.
I’ve spent many hours researching the most popular Web Hosting companies and I recommend using Bluehost. Their control panel is very user friendly and easy to navigate, they have an easy one-click WordPress installation (more on this in Step 3) and their customer support is excellent. In fact, Bluehost is what I use to host CreateYourWebsites.com.
On top of being one of the best web hosting providers, Bluehost gives you a Free domain name which will help you get started right away!
What Happens if you didn’t get your Free domain through Bluehost?
If you’re like me, you probably got really excited about creating your own website and bought a domain name a while ago on a website like GoDaddy.com. Don’t worry, you can very easily point your domain from GoDaddy to be hosted by Bluehost.
Please note, this change can take anywhere from a couple of minutes to a few hours to take place so don’t be alarmed if your website doesn’t load immediately.
If you’ve already added a domain and are looking to add additional Addon Domains you can learn how in an article titled How to Add Additional Registered Domains to Your Bluehost Account.
Choose A Domain Name
Choose a Web Hosting Provider
When the internet originated the only way you could build a website would be through the use of HTML coding. Fast forward to today and that is no longer the case with the introduction of drag and drop website builders like content management systems.
What is a Content Management System?
A content management system (cms) is a user-friendly interface designed for building websites supporting online content.
The Big Three
Joomla, WordPress and Drupal are the three most commonly used content management systems when it comes to building websites.
All three are great platforms providing unique options and features helping many individuals build websites. Both Drupal and Joomla are designed for more technical users and that is why I highly recommend WordPress for all beginners. WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system with over 59% of all sites using a CMS using WordPress. You can see a full report at W3Techs.
Why Use WordPress?
It’s Free! Yep, you can use WordPress at no cost to you.
Easy to Install. One-click installation with Bluehost, it can’t get much easier than that.
It’s the most widely used. Now you may be asking yourself, why do I want to use the same platform as everyone else? Well since such a large number of websites use WordPress there are far more options for themes, plugins, widgets to help you create the perfect website.
It’s beginner friendly. WordPress is built for the non-technical user. Everything can be created and adjusted in their easy-to-use interface without the need for any code.
They have a large support community. If you ever do have questions, there’s many free resources that can be found online and you’re always just one Google search away from finding the answer to any WordPress question you may have.
Now, it’s time to Install WordPress.
Follow these simple steps for Bluehost’s one-click installation for WordPress.
Login to your Bluehost account and click on hosting from the top then click on the cpanel tab.
On the next page scroll down and under the Website section click the Install WordPress icon.
From this page click the green Install button.
Next, you will want to select the desired domain name from the drop-down and click the Check Domain button.
On this page you will be prompted to add in a few pieces of information.
After you complete the form click the Install Now button.
This will start the installation of WordPress and you should see a status bar at the top of the page. Make sure you don’t close the page until it states that your install is complete.
After your installation has completed, an email will be sent to the registered email address with your login credentials so you will have those to reference in the future.
And that’s it! See, I told you it was simple.
After you’ve completed the first three steps it’s time to actually start working on your website.
Step 1: Choose Your WordPress Theme
A WordPress theme provides the general look and feel of your website layout.
You can always use the default theme provided, however, it’s not the most visually appealing and I highly recommend searching for one that matches your style and fits with the type of website you are looking to create.
There are 1,000’s of free themes out there so you should be able to find something that fits your interest. Also, keep in mind that you can always change your theme at any time, so don’t worry if you come across one that you like better at a later time.
When deciding on a theme I do have two recommendations. First, I ‘d suggest starting with a free theme to see if it has everything you’re interested in prior to spending money on a paid theme. Second, I strongly suggest choosing a theme with a responsive design. Having a responsive theme will ensure that your website’s design automatically adjusts to provide the best user experience across all devices.
Step 2: Install and Activate Your New WordPress Theme
Once you’ve found a theme that you want for your website all you have to do is click the Install button.
After the theme is installed, sign into your WordPress account and activate the it and this will now be the theme for your website.
To do this go to Appearance > Themes > then click Activate
Step 3: Create Pages and Add Content to your site
Now that you have your theme installed and activated it’s time to create your first page.
You will want to start by giving your page a title and then adding content. Here you can also adjust the style, font, size, color etc. of your text and layout of the page. You can also include images by clicking on the Add Media button in the upper left and inserting and image. Once you’ve successfully added your content hit the Publish button and it will save to your site.
Step 4: Customize Your Site
There are countless ways you can customize your website to make it your own, and this is probably where you will waste the majority of your time. I used the word waste, because this is the point where I see so many people get held up with their website.
Remember, your first draft won’t be perfect so don’t spend all your time trying to tweak and change every little thing. For starters I recommend focusing on the two most common methods for customizing WordPress websites which are through the use of widgets and plugins.
What Are Widgets?
A Widget is a small block that performs a specific function. They were originally designed to provide a simple and easy-to-use way of giving control to the user over design and layout.
What Are Plugins?
Plugins are tools that extend and expand the functionality of WordPress.
I’ve put together a list of a few popular and useful plugins that I’ve used which can be found on my Resources page. You can also do a search using the WordPress Plugin Director at wordpress.org/plugins.
At this point you should have everything in place to publish your website!
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”