A simple tutorial on how to build a website of your own, just like the pros do it.
Have you ever wanted to build a website but just didn’t know how or where to start? I’m just a regular human guy and I figured out how to create great-looking websites. In this tutorial, I’m going to teach you to do the same.
Having your own professional website is a vital part of running a business. You may be wondering, “why exactly do I need my own website?”
Here are three important reasons why:
To share your ideas
A website gives you a platform to share your creativity with the world. You can write or post about anything that interests you.
To grow your audience
A website provides a hub for your audience to keep track of what you’re up to and to follow along with all of your currect projects.
To develop your brand
A professional website can help demonstrate that your business is established and lucrative. It also helps you appear more trustworthy.
In this guide, I’ll show you step-by-step how to build your website and get it up and running as quickly possible. You’ll know how to install WordPress, pick a name, set up hosting, install a theme, and make everything look nice and professional.
Even if you’re like me and don’t have any sort of coding knowledge or web design background, you can still use this guide to help build awesome websites.
So are you ready? Let’s get started!
Step 1: Choose a Topic or Niche
The first step to starting your own website or blog is deciding exactly what you want it to be about.
Unless you are creating a website strictly for your own enjoyment, you’re probably hoping to gain readers and build an audience of some sort. With that in mind, it’s important to consider what others might be interested in when choosing your niche. But you may be wondering:
What is a niche?
Instead of just writing about anything and everything, you should try to keep your focus on a more specific topic. This topic is, essentially, your niche. A niche provides focus and direction for your website which makes it’s purpose more easily understood and defined.
In general, it’s usually better to target a more specific niche or group of people, especially when you’re just starting out. By “niching down,” you will have a smaller pool of potential readers, but by doing this you will also be able to build your following more quickly.
To help decide on the topic for your website, you can ask yourself the following questions:
Am I passionate about this topic or idea?
Mabe “passionate” is too strong of a word, but you definitely want to pick a topic that you’re at least somewhat interested in. Otherwise, you will get bored easily and end up burning out.
Can I write about this topic forever?
You want to make sure that your niche is broad enough that you can continue to write about it for years to come. This relates to the previous question as well because if you fail to choose a niche that you’re interested in, it’s going to be hard for you to write hundreds of articles about.
Pick something that’s fun (for you) and it will come across that way for your readers as well. Think long-term when choosing a topic.
How will my website stand out?
There are already a bazillion blogs on the internet and probably already a few in your specific niche. So before you begin, you need to figure out how you will make your website different from the rest. Don’t be discouraged if there’s already blogs in your space. Just decide how you can approach yours in a unique way.
Will I be able to make money writing about this topic?
A great thing about building websites is that you can use them as a source to generate income. It’s hard to tell, at first, if a topic is profitable or not, but you’ll want to do your best to keep this in mind whenever you’re getting started.
Make sure your topic has certain products that you can promote. Or, are there advertisers in this niche that are willing to pay?
So pick a topic and let’s roll!
Trust me, I know, it can be difficult to pick just one topic. If you’re like me, you may suffer from shiny-object syndrome and have multiple ideas for new websites. Hold your horses for a minute! It’s important to just pick something and focus on that one thing. In the beginning, you don’t want to spread yourself too thin.
Pick one topic and stick to it. Then, after you’ve built it up over time, you can start building more. But at first, you should focus all of your energy on one website.
Step 2: Choose a Platform
Your platform is the canvas of which you will be creating a masterpiece, which is, in this case, your website.
Your platform will be your CMS or content management system. In other words, it’s the system that will manage all the content you create (e.g. articles, blog posts, etc.). Simply put, it’s the backbone that will form and hold your website together.
Building your own a fully functioning and well-designed website isn’t as hard as most people think. It’s actually very easy, even for someone who isn’t good with computers, just as long as you choose the right platform.
That’s why I’m going to make this step extremely easy and choose the platform for you.
You will want to build your website on the WordPress platform.
According to DMR, almost 30% of all websites globally are built on WordPress. And for good reason, because it’s the easiest way to build professional a website without knowing how to write HTML or CSS code.
(Photo from WordPress.org)
WordPress is great because it lets you use “themes” to design your website. A theme is basically the skin you place on your website to give it the look and feel that you want (I’ll show you how to select a theme in a minute).
Another great thing about WordPress is that it can be easily customized by using plugins. Plugins pretty much allow you to make your website exactly how you want it. You may just want to create a simple blog or a complex e-commerce site to sell products. The good news is, WordPress can handle it all.
I use WordPress on all my sites, and here’s why:
- It’s free. No explanation needed, I’m all about saving money!
- It’s easy to use. I don’t know how to code but with WordPress I can still build awesome websites.
- It’s customizable. I can make things look how I want them to look.
- It’s responsive. This means it works well on mobile phones and tablets, which is very important.
In terms of simplicity, flexibility, and resources, WordPress is hard to beat. This one is a no-brainer, really. Go ahead and decide up front that WordPress is the platform that you’ll be using to build your website and let’s move on to step three.
Step 3: Pick out a Name
Choosing a name for your website ain’t always easy, but it’s necessary.
That’s because you can’t run a website that doesn’t have a name. Without a name, people would have no way of finding it. So now is the time to start thinking about what you want the name of your website to be.
You do that by picking out a domain name. A domain name, in other words, is the name of your website. It’s the address that internet users can use to access your website. For example, mine is motivalue.com.
I will show you how to get a free domain name for your website in the next step.
But for now, you can just come up with ideas for your website name to check to see if that domain name is available. You can do that by visiting GoDaddy.com and using their domain search tool.
Just enter your name idea and hit search. It will let you know it that domain is available or already taken. Don’t worry about registering it right now because I’ll show you how to get it for free in the next step.
How to pick a good domain name?
1. Try to make your domain name as short as possible
Size matters (?). Especially when we’re talking about the length of your domain name. The shorter you make it, the easier it will be for visitors to remember.
2. Try to select the “.com” domain, if possible
That’s because the “dot com” version is still king. It’s still the most brandable, trustworthy, and recognized type of domain. So you always want to try to get the “.com” domain, if possible, whenever building a website.
3. Make sure the spelling isn’t confusing
You want to make it easy for your audience to type and spell your domain name. Also, try to avoid using numbers. For example, say you want to make your domain name Three Blind Mice. It sounds fine, but a portion of people will try to type in 3blindmice.com instead of threeblindmice.com. Come up with a straightforward domain name to avoid confusing your visitors. Try to avoid hyphens as well.
4. Use keywords within your niche
If you want to build a website about improving your golf swing, you definitely want to include the word “golf” within your domain, and probably the word “swing” as well. Choose a domain name that clearly defines whatever your website is about.
Step 4: Choose a Hosting Provider
A host provides the server space for where all your website files and information is stored.
A web host is basically a company that has many computers that will be the storage space for all the information on your website. When you write articles and blog posts, they’re not just floating around on the internet somewhere. They have to be stored on a computer, and this is why you need a host to take care of that for you.
I recommend Bluehost for your website.
Bluehost is the web hosting provider I use for most of my sites. That’s because they offer affordable rates, good customer service, and they’re great for entrepreneurs who are just starting out.
Disclosure: Some of the links contain affiliate links. That means if you click them and make a purchase, I earn a small commission. Keep in mind that there is no extra cost for you. You get the services at an awesome price no matter what.
Now you can select your plan. Bluehost offers some of the lowest prices around and you can get started for only $3.95 per month.
Since you’re just starting out, the “Basic” plan will probably be all you need for now. Once your site starts to grow, you can always upgrade at any point later on.
After you select a plan, now you can register for your free domain name (it’s included with your hosting plan)!
Since you’ve already checked to make sure the one you want is available, all you have to do is enter it in the box below that says “new domain”. Or, if you already have a domain setup, you can use it by entering it into the other box.
Now, you can pick the details for your hosting package.
In general, the more months you pay for up front, the lower the rates will be. Also, I normally just skip all the add-ons like Site Backup Pro, Search Engine Jumpstart, and SiteLock Security. You probably don’t need them since you’re just starting out.
I do, however, recommend the Domain Privacy Protection. This will keep your personal information private. Otherwise, spammers will send you a ton of unsolicited emails and you don’t want that. It’s worth an extra buck per month.
Once you hit submit, you may be asked if you want to add any special offers or upgrades. You can just skip them by clicking the “no thanks” link.
Now, check your email!
When you complete your purchase, you will be sent a few welcome emails. It’s very important to locate them because your login and password information is included.
In one of the welcome emails, you will need to activate your new domain. All you have to do is open the email and click the button inside to complete the activation process.
You will also need to choose your password, which is also done from one of the welcome emails as well. It’s a step-by-step process.
Step 4: Install WordPress
You can install WordPress on your website with one click of a button.
At this point, you have a web host for your website and now it’s time to install WordPress. Thankfully, Bluehost makes this step very easy for us with their 1-click installation process.
Go ahead and login to your Bluehost account.
Then click on the “cpanel’ tab, which will take you to your control panel dashboard.
Then, click on the button that says “Install WordPress”.
Now the process is very easy. It should take about 5 minutes. Click “continue installation”, and then select the domain name that you want to install WordPress on.
Fill in the “Admin Information”. This is how you will log in and out of your WordPress website backend.
Click “Next” and then WordPress will be installed on your website. Boom.
Congratulations, you now have a functioning website!
Step 5: Install a Theme
Selecting a good theme can really make your website look amazing!
A theme is basically the skin you place on your website to give it the look and feel that you want. It includes all the colors, layout, and design. It’s important to select the right theme because this will give you the freedom to makes changes to your website and really make it stand out.
How to install a WordPress theme?
Now that you’ve got WordPress, a default theme will automatically be added to your website. You can always just stick with this default theme, but not going to lie, it’s a little plain and boring.
A better idea would be to choose your own theme that better represents the style and feel that you want for your site. You want it to look professional and represent your brand, and you also want it to be highly customizable so that you have complete control of how your website looks.
Maybe you’re like me and have no web design background or experience whatsoever. The good news is, there’s a theme out there that’s super easy to use and it will help you build great-looking websites, even if you’re completely new.
I recommend the Divi theme for your website.
Why should I use Divi for my website?
1. Divi is fully customizable
With Divi, you can build any type of website. Whether you are wanting to create a small blog or even a massive ecommerce website, the Divi theme has the customization ability to get it done.
2. Drag and drop
It comes with the ‘Divi Builder’ which lets you easily build awesome pages using drag and drop features. No coding necessary. Just insert any type of module onto the page, then you drag and drop it where you want it to go.
3. Easy to learn for beginners
This was huge for me when I was just starting out. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, but the learning curve for Divi was easy and I was able to start building websites fast. Another good thing they offer is the Divi documentation library, which has video tutorials that can walk you through anything you want to accomplish within Divi.
Also, many very smart people are also using Divi on their websites. I mention this because if you ever get stuck and need help figuring something out within the theme, there is surely already a tutorial or YouTube video that you can use.
3. Great support
If you ever get stuck or face a problem with your website, Divi offers an excellent support community. You can post your questions and usually have an answer within minutes.
How to install the Divi theme?
First you need to login to the Elegant Themes members area. Then, under downloads you will see the Divi theme.
Click ‘download’ in order to download the theme.
Next, you will need to upload the theme to WordPress. So login to your WordPress dashboard.
Navigate over ‘Appearance’ and then click “Themes”.
After you select the Divi zip file, you can click ‘Install Now’. Then all you have to do is click ‘Activate’ and you’re all done!
Woohoo! now you have installed the Divi theme and your website is ready for you to design it however you please!
Step 6: Install Plugins
Plugins are basically apps that give your website functionality.
Another great thing about WordPress is that you can use plugins to really make your website great. I like to think of plugins as apps, just as you would find in the iTunes or Google Play store. You can install plugins in order to add new features and functionality to your website.
Pretty much anything you want your website to do…
“There’s an app for that!” And by app, I mean plugin.
How to install plugins on your website?
The process is pretty straightforward. In the WordPress dashboard on the side menu, hover over ‘Plugins’ and click ‘Add New’.
Then you can search for whatever plugin you’re looking for using the search bar at the top right of the page.
The rest is easy. Whenever you find the plugin you’re looking for, click ‘Install Now’.
Which plugins should I download?
There are hundreds of awesome plugins in the WordPress directory, with most of them being 100% free. Plugin selection is different for each website, depending on your wants and needs, but there are a few essential plugins that I think everyone needs.
- Jetpack – This plugin gives you an easy way to check your stats and analytics from your WordPress dashboard. It has other awesome features as well.
- Yoast SEO – It makes it easy for you to optimize your website for SEO (search engine optimization) which makes it more visible in the search engines.
- Divi Builder – We mentioned this one earlier. It’s included with the Divi Theme and it helps you build your pages with drag and drop functionality.
- WP Fastest Cache – I won’t get into the nitty-gritty details of this plugin, but basically, it helps your site load faster.
These are just a few of my favorite plugins. Keep in mind though, you don’t want to install too many plugins because doing so can really slow down your website which isn’t a good experience for your visitors.
Only activate the plugins you truly need. Feel free to check out my full post on the absolute best plugins for any website with more detailed descriptions.
Step 7: Create Content
Fill out your website with useful content by writing articles and blog posts.
You’ve officially built an awesome new website, so now it the time to start creating content within your niche in order to engage with and build your audience.
Within WordPress, there’s really two main ways to add content to your website: pages & posts.
How to create a page in WordPress?
Pages are used in WordPress as timeless content. That means they are static and do not have a date. An ‘About Me’ page is a good example. Here are a few common pages that you may consider adding to your website:
- Start Here – This page gives you the opportunity share with your audience a brief introduction about your site’s purpose and what their next steps should be.
- Contact – This page informs your visitors how they can get in touch with you.
- About Me – This page gives you the opportunity to share with your readers a little about who you are and your background. It helps build trust with your audience.
- Blog – This page serves as an archive page for all of your blog posts.
These are just a few of the pages you should consider adding to your site. The beauty of the whole thing is, it’s your site so you can create a page about literally anything you want!
Creating a page in WordPress is very easy. To start, login and visit your WordPress dashboard.
Click ‘Pages’ then ‘Add New’.
How to create posts in WordPress?
Posts are similar, but yet a little different than pages in WordPress. Posts are listed by date in chronological order on a page that you designate as your ‘posts’ page.
You can designate whichever page you want as your ‘posts’ page. Most people just create a page with the title ‘blog’ and use that, but I made mine ‘Articles’. Whichever you choose is fine.
It’s easy to choose whichever page you want your posts to be displayed on. First, you will need to create the page itself. You can just use the steps from above and create a blank page and title it ‘blog’.
Next, go to ‘Settings’ and click ‘Reading’.
Then you can select whichever page you want your blog posts to be displayed on.
Now your ‘posts’ page is all set and good to go. Just like creating pages, creating a post is very simple as well.
Once you’re logged in, in the side menu, click ‘Posts’ then ‘Add new’.
Now you can start creating your post. Come up with a catchy title and the below you can write the content of your post.
Once you’re finished, you’ll want to make sure you assign your post to a category. Categories serve as an easy way for your visitors to navigate through your website in order to be able to find the specific content that they’re looking for.
You probably haven’t created any categories yet and that’s okay. It’s very easy to do.
In the right sidebar, navigate to ‘Categories’ and click ‘Add New Category’.
Then you can just create a new category for whatever your post is about. You can see some of the categories that I have for this website in the image above as an example.
Now you’ve written your post and added it to a category on your website, just hit ‘Publish’ to make it official and you’re all done!
The best time to start building a website was 5 years ago. The second best time is now!
So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and get started today if you haven’t already!
Learning how to create a website can be intimidating for beginners, but not to worry because now you know how to build a website just like the pros do it.
If you followed the steps in this guide then you likely already have an awesome website. To you I say congratulations! And if not, I know you will soon because I can tell, you’re an action-taker.
If this guide has helped you in any way, then I’ve done my job. If you have any questions, you can always contact me and I’ll do my best to point you in the right direction.
Also, be sure to check out my favorite tools & resources that I use to run my business. They may help you as well on your website-building journey.
I wish you the best of luck!