How to make a website, how to design a website, how to start a website, or whatever searches you made, one of them is the reason you are here – Good news is that you are in the right place.
This guide is written for beginners and is very detailed so it might take more than a minute. I have written this guide to help individuals and small business owners make their own websites without writing even a single line of code.
It’s not every time that you need a web developer and spend money unnecessarily because guess what? You can learn how to make a website and actually make the website on your own.
NB* If you ever get stuck anywhere, contact me and I will help you out for free.
Before we begin to learn how to design a website, we need to quickly jot down the list of steps we are going to follow:
- Choosing a Website Building Platform
- Choosing a Hosting Provider and Selecting a domain name
- Design your website
Step 1: Choose a Website Platform
When learning how to make a website, the first problem you need to solve is choosing the platform which you are going to use to build your website.
So what’s a Website Platform?
A few years ago, 10 or more years ago to be specific, websites were built through writing code. As a web developer, I had to learn coding languages like HTML and CSS or PHP which were not so easy to learn or master and even took a little bit of time.
Learning these programming languages made people like you and I think that learning how to create a website was hard – but that has changed since then because you no longer need a lot of coding or design skills.
Building a website has been made simpler by the introduction of Content Management Systems or CMS as many know it like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal or website builders like Wix, Squarespace, and more.
Nearly half of the live websites run solely on WordPress which means they are doing everything right. The following chart shows usage distribution across different website platforms.
What Makes WordPress more popular than Others?
1. It’s Free and Open Source
Yes, that’s right and If anyone ever told you otherwise, they wanted to make money out of you. WordPress is very much free with one of the largest developer communities which makes starting a website simpler and straightforward as it has a huge pool of free and premium themes designed to make your job easier.
2. Website Responsiveness
When learning how to make a website, many beginners skip this part. Website responsiveness simply means that your website will work perfectly fine on any device type be it a mobile phone or tablet. This is important because your users will visit your website using different devices.
Fortunately, WordPress makes it easier to design a responsive website.
3. Highly Customizable and User Friendly
Ever used one of those softwares that left you wondering why they even exist because of how hard they are to use? WordPress can be expanded to meet any sort of needs for different sites from small blogs to eCommerce websites using plugins.
With Plugins, you are able to add functionality like contact forms, pop-up banners, subscription forms, integrate payments, and a whole lot more at the click of a button while following impromptu steps.
Remember when I said WordPress is open source and has a huge pool of developers? If you ever bump into a problem, it’s easy to get help for a WordPress problem than any other website platform. Just head over to wordpress.org/support or find a cheap WordPress developer on Fiverr.
Any Good WordPress alternative?
Of course, there are tonnes of them, most of them not worth it.
Which makes me still recommend WordPress strongly.
If you are still adamant to use some other website builder that is not WordPress then I will not stop you. As a matter of fact, I will give you enough information to make your choice easy. Let us dive in.
- Wix- Wix is an easy-to-use drag and drop website builder that has invested a lot of money into advertising. You have probably seen one of their Ads on YouTube at some point. Wix is expensive and is not suitable for larger sites. It’s also impossible to migrate from Wix when your website starts growing and needs WordPress to scale up. Squarespace is Wix’s alternative which also comes with the same features as Wix such as higher monthly cost and inability to migrate.
- Joomla- This website builder is WordPress’s best alternative because it is also a Content Management System. However, what makes it not a fan favorite is because it needs a good level of coding experience and its small community of developers makes it hard to get help when needed.
Bottom Line: WordPress would be the best option to build your website on unless you want to build a completely custom-coded website then I suggest you start learning HTML & CSS or Joomla here.
Step 2: Finding a Domain name & Hosting
You can not make a website without hosting and a domain name for it.
What’s a domain name? This is a web address you give to your website which your visitors will use to access your website e.g (morenday.com)
What’s hosting? Think of it as a hard drive where your website is stored ready to be accessed by your users. Web hosting connects your website to the internet so that it is accessible.
Although the WordPress platform is free, hosting and domain names are paid for. However, the cost you incur is far less than with any other website building platform like Wix or Squarespace. Usually, with many web hosting companies, a starter hosting package will cost you as little as $3/ month.
It is important to refrain from using free domain names like morenday.wix.com because it makes your website look unprofessional but rather buy your own custom domain name as we use for this website morenday.com.
Choosing a domain name should also be complemented by a reliable web hosting company as well as a hosting package that is suitable for the type of website you are running. A good web host means faster loading times great customer support as well as good uptime to ensure your website is always available for your visitors.
Where to get a domain name and Hosting
Important: Morenday is reader-supported and we participate in several affiliate programs across this website. If you click some links on this site, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Some of our affiliate links contain huge discounts for our readers only.
I have used a good number of web hosting companies during my 7 years of being a web developer and blogger which makes it easy for me to highly recommend BLUEHOST as a domain registrar and web host for your next project.
Their hosting packages start from $3.95/ month bundled together with a free domain name valid for a year, a free SSL certificate for security, and some free custom themes to choose from.
So far, how are you doing learning how to start a website using this guide? It’s simple right? Let us continue a few more minutes and launch your first website designed by you of course.
Also Read: Best WordPress Web Hosting in 2021
How to Choose a domain name
When choosing a domain name, follow some simple rules that make your business or website stand out from the rest. Also, remember the domain name you choose can also be used for your emails like my personal domain name is (calvinslist.com and my business email is firstname.lastname@example.org).
A business that uses a custom email address containing its business name is likely to be more trusted by customers than a business that uses GMAIL. Would you have trusted buying from Verizon or MTN if their emails were at @gmail.com? My thoughts exactly.
The best way to figure out a domain name and its availability is using the search form below. I advise you to search for a .com,.net, or .org domain name. However, you can also search for country-specific domain names such as the .co.za for South Africa.
When choosing a domain for a business, make it memorable and align with your business name, A good example would be yourbusinessname.com or yourname.com if the website is a personal website.
Choosing a domain name is very important because it tells who you are among many others. The name should be brandable and easy to remember because one misspelling by the user will send them straight to another website – possibly a competitor.
Assuming you have gone through everything we have outlined so far like:
- Choosing a Website Platform (WordPress recommended)
- Buying a domain name
- Choosing your hosting
You should be ready to dive into the last step of this guide where you will learn how to set everything up and start customizing your website.
Step 3: Design your website
Learning how to start a website is very simple if you follow this guide carefully. The first step when designing your website and customizing it would be installing WordPress.
Install and design a website with WordPress
The advantage of using these well-known and trusted web hosting companies like Bluehost is that you get One-Click WordPress installation when you use them for hosting.
If you want another option for WordPress hosting besides Bluehost, Please read our list of the Best WordPress hosting companies in 2021 and make your choice. However, although the instructions are almost the same, we will be using Bluehost for this guide.
Within Bluehost, you can either find the one-click installation option within the account creation process or what is called the Control Panel.
- Go to Bluehost
- Choose your hosting plan
- Search for your domain (connect your existing one if you already have one)
- Choose your hosting length (1 year and above gives huge discounts)
- Within Bluehost, locate and use One-Click install
After the installation is complete, the next steps would be to choose your theme, either from the 8,000 free themes on WordPress.org or use a premium theme from Themeforest.
For a full guide on installing and customizing a WordPress theme, follow our WordPress for beginners guide.
Designing your website with WordPress goes beyond just installing a theme and customizing it. There are thousands of plugins that support your WordPress website in different ways. The following plugins are essential and must-haves for every website.
Smush- This plugin compresses images that you upload to WordPress and help improve the loading time of your website. This improves the user experience.
Rank Math- Every website needs to be found on Google search results. You do this by implementing what is called Search Engine Optimization or SEO as you know it. This is where Rank Math comes in as it allows you up to 5 keywords on each post or page you publish unlike Yoast, its competitor which only allows a single keyword.
Jetpack- This plugin has a wide range of features spanning from website security to website speed, social media integration, and contact forms among other features that will significantly improve your website.
WooCommerce- This is the eCommerce industry-standard plugin and the most popular too. Definitely a must-have if you are planning to turn your website into an online store. However, there are other alternatives that may have better functionality than WooCommerce.
Installing an SS certificate is another important step for your website. It’s not just for security purposes as it is also used as a ranking factor by Search Engines like Google, Bing, and other search engines alike.
This guide on Search Engine Optimization for beginners explains SEO in detail. Follow the guide to improve your organic traffic and be better than your competition.
Launching your Website
If you have gone through every step I have explained from the beginning of this guide, your website should be ready to be live for your audience. For this to be certain, you have to have gone through every step including reading our guide on WordPress for beginners which should teach you the basics from installation to themes, plugins, customization, and writing your first posts as well as creating pages.
When everything is done, double-check every post and page for errors, if you are satisfied then we are ready to go live.
Congratulations!!!!, you have just made your own website on your own.
Learning how to make a website is no child’s game, it is not easy but learning a new skill is always satisfying and so is saving a lot of money you could have used to pay for a web developer like me. Now that you have started this journey, don’t stop there because you have more to learn.
Let us continue this together, If you need help somewhere with your website, I would be happy to help for free. Just head over to our contact page to get in touch with me.