I know how essential online tutorials and resources are for helping to build confidence and competence in what you’re doing.
When I started out online years ago I was over charged, under-delivered and I had no idea what I was doing. That’s why I now enjoy posting all this content for free. To help show you the ropes and sharpen your skills as a webmaster so you are 100% confident and in control of your decision making. Creating a website is now easier than ever. Ready?
You’re here, let’s do this.
Founder, designer, minimalist, traveler of 20+ countries | edgeofdavid.com
This page is constantly updated on a monthly basis, it’s been around since 2012 actually.
I wanted to create something that is the right balance between specific and detailed, but still user friendly. If something does not make sense let me know.
I’m more than happy to provide support to people who use this website to create their websites. It’s my goal to help you create a website from step 1 to step done as easy as possible.
Most other tutorials walk you through registering the domain name with the web host because they are TOO LAZY to show you how the pros do it or they may worry it’s too complicated for you to follow.
NO ONE registers a domain name with the web host.
All that does is have you end up paying a premium price for the domain instead of paying directly to an ICANN certified registrar. You want keep your domain names with a domain name company and your web hosting with a web host company.
Makes sense right?
“BUT WHAT ABOUT THE FREE DOMAIN? I like free.”
I like free too, but nothing is free.
Sure it’s free for the first year but after that you will pay an inflated price every year after since you have to pay yearly for the domain.
So let’s just do it right from the start. Let’s get our domain name at a domain name registrar.
Domain names are the web address of your website. They are made up of two parts, the actual name and the extension. Extensions are the .com, .org, .uk, .net, (and so forth) part of a domain name. Any domain with these extensions are known as “top level” domains. You register domain names on a yearly basis. The cost is minimal and it’s a cost of having a website.
That’s it! You now have an account with NameCheap.com and your very own domain name. You are now officially a “domainer” 🙂
I like Namecheap more.
Namecheap has better prices than GoDaddy, and they really are a “less hassle” way of registering domains because they don’t upsell you on every single page.
Also the user interface is more simple and easier to navigate. The only thing I like about GoDaddy is that they offer a no questions asked refund for the first 5 days of purchase. Namecheap gives you store credit. Not a big deal if you’re certain about your domain name.
When you type in a web address like Facebook.com into a web browser (like Chrome) whats happening is that you’re sending a request for a specific web page (Facebook.com) from a server run by a web hosting company from somewhere in the world.
In order for your website to be live on the Internet it must be connected to a computer. If that computer is turned off, loses power, crashes etc, your website will no longer be visible which is why you need a computer that’s on 24/7.
This is what web hosts do. They take care of the computer being on 24/7 part; making it ready and able to handle thousands of visitors a day from all over the world.
Unless you have multiple websites already created that are receiving tens of thousands a visitors a month, all you really need when starting out is a low cost shared hosting account.
Shared hosting is simply having a piece of a server dedicated to your website. As your website grows and expands in terms of traffic – eventually your needs will grow. Upgrading from a shared hosting account to something more powerful is no problem with Host Gator. But cross that bridge when you get to it. No sense in spending money for something you don’t need.
That’s why you should check out HostGator.com.
They have excellent prices and support, feature rich plans to take care of all your needs, a reputation of quality service, and years of being in business.
Over 5 million domain names are hosted with them – that alone should speak for itself.
1) Go to HostGator.com
2) Click the big yellow button on the homepage called “get started now”.
3) Order the baby plan as it allows unlimited domains to be hosted (trust me you will want to host more than one domain). I normally pay for year in advance. That way I take advantage of a nice discount.
Follow the steps to register a new account: USE coupon code WebsiteBuddha to get your first month free off your purchase.
Pay for your hosting by entering in the credit card details. Make sure the discount is applied:
This is important. Save it in your email. This email contains the details needed to log into the website on the server end (not the WordPress end) so you can install WordPress on your shared hosting account.
You registered a domain name at Namecheap.com!
You signed up for a shared hosting account (baby plan) at HostGator.com!
This is the part that answers that fundamental newbie question: How do I make it so I can type in whatever.com and up comes a website?
You need to set the name servers AT your domain name registrar (Namecheap) to that of your name servers at Host Gator. Relax, it’s easy and not technical at all.
Do you have 2 minutes?
Can you copy and past?
Great you can set name servers.
Name servers, (the typical form is something like – ns1.HostGatorRocks.com and ns2.HostGatorRocks.com) map an IP address to a more logical and memorable name. Much the same way your phone maps names to numbers so when you want to call Mike, you just select “Mike” in your phone.
This is why you can type in WebsiteCreativePro.com and come to this website instead of having to type in the numerical IP address of every website you want to visit.
Imagine having to type into your web browser 126.96.36.199 every time you wanted to visit Google!
When anyone visits your site, all that is going on is that a request is being sent to your Host Gator server via the IP address and name servers for the corresponding information and data.
Make sense? In a nut shell that’s what name servers are and do.
So in this example:
Nameserver 1 is ns2007.hostgator.com and Nameserver 2 is ns2008.hostgator.com. Copy and past these two numbers in. NS1 goes with 1, and NS2 goes with 2.
By now you should have a hosting account, a domain name, and the name servers at your domain name registrar (Namecheap) pointing to your shared server.
The next step is to install WordPress as the software you will allow you to publish content and make your website beautiful.
Why WordPress? It’s a free, extremely popular content management system that powers over 50% of all websites. Here are my top 7 reasons to use WordPress.
In fact, I build this website and edgeofdavid.com, my habits and mindset website using WordPress and premium themes from Theme Forest.
Be it for WordPress, Joomla or Drupal. If your host does not have a quick install, maybe you have a bad host!
Anyways, installing WordPress takes a whole 4 minutes of your life.
Basically, you need to log into your hosting account and then you need to log into CPanel. CPanel is the “control” panel for your piece of the server. Here you can find your quick install for WordPress with all web hosts. Want more detail?
Also, use a real email when installing WordPress as if you forget your password, the WordPress software will send the log-in details to whatever email you put in as the admin email. Need more help? Ok, if this was not helpful, I have a whole page dedicated to installing WordPress the automatic way and the manual way:
To log into your website now, all you have to do is go to website.com/wp-admin and put in the user name and password you made when installing WordPress.
So by now, you should have an account with Namecheap and Host Gator. You should have your log-in details for your Host Gator account so you can access CPanel and now you have your user name and password to log into the CMS for your website.
Want to password protect this wp-admin page so no one can access it but you? It’s a good idea for numerous reasons. Read our simple, non technical guide on how to password protect your wp-admin page if you’re curious. You don’t need to do this now, just something to be aware of.
WordPress creates their own line of free WordPress themes that are released for the respective year and are called as such. For example, the current theme is called Twenty Sixteen. The previous year was Twenty Fifteen.
You will automatically have the latest theme installed.
Nothing wrong with these themes, they’re actually quite good and coded well. But you want a design that enhances your message, that makes you feel that your online presence, your website design reflects the design vision you have in your head for your website.
To do that we simply need install a theme of our choice. You have the option between free themes and paid themes. Free themes are really hit or miss, some are well designed, others are only an avenue to get you to pay to unlock features and what not and some are filled with flaws or out dated styles.
I’ve never used a free theme that I was totally happy with. The theme for WebsiteCreativePro.com is from Theme Forest, same with the theme for my personal blog. I’ve also used themes from StudioPress and the Headway Theme.
Go to appearance (in your left hand sidebar) >> themes >> click on the add new theme box
Once you click the box, on the next page you can “upload” a theme or install directly from this page. You would want to upload if you bought a premium theme from say Theme Forest. Otherwise, look through the themes to see if anything catches your eye, do a Google search for “the best free WordPress themes” or use the search box on this page and put in keywords
I get asked A LOT of the same questions. To keep this page short in length, I’ve created dedicated pages that answer the most common questions people new to WordPress have:
Done? We’re almost finished!
What is a permalink?
It’s the url structure of the web pages within a website. Most websites do DomainName.com/page-title.html or DomainName.com/Date/page-title.html.
WordPress by default makes your url’s really weird and useless by being as SEO and user UN-friendly as possible: http://www.YourDomain.com/?p=123.
Change this – it not only helps your content rank for relevant terms it also helps the end user find the content they are looking for (does p=123 give you any idea what the page is about? No.
The best structures are:
If you have content that is time sensitive like a celebrity gossip blog or a news website. Include the date. If you can keep your categories short and sweet and have very specific and clear one work categories, like “cars, trucks, tains” use category. For everyone else use post name.
Here’s how to change it:
Settings >>> permalinks
I always go with post-name as the structure.
Why do you want to do this? Because you want to have a professional email for your website. Nothing says “I have no idea what I’m doing” like ThanitaBunny46@aol.com
Want to email me personally? I use an @edgeofdavid.com email account powered by Google Apps. Google apps is not free, but you can still setup an email account through CPanel in your Host Gator account and you can even forward that email to your current email account like Gmail.
1 – Log into cPanel.
2 – In the Mail section, click Email Accounts.
3 – In the Email field, type the name you want and select the domain name from the adjacent drop-down menu. …
4 – In the Password fields, type the desired password twice.
5 – Make a selection for Mailbox Quota.
6 – Click Create Account.
1 – Log into the cPanel.
2 – Then go to Mail >>> Forwarders section.
3 – On the forwarders page, click “Add Forwarder.”
4 – On the next page, fill in the information to send email from your website to another email account.
5 – Click Add Forwarder.
All email sent to email@example.com will now be sent over to firstname.lastname@example.org
Because it’s a tool that tells you how your site is looking to Google, what problems need to be fix, and how to fix them.
Simply sign in using your Gmail account, OR create a whole new account if you don’t have or use Gmail or want a separate Google Account for your sites (I would do this).
Then verify your site (huh?)
Make sure to verify both the www. version and the NON www. version of your site. How you do you do this? Again Google is your friend :). This is a good start but it contains a lot of information.
The most popular way to verify a site is by uploading an HTML document to your server with your FTP program (Filezilla). When registering choosing the HTML method:
If you did it right your site should be verified. If it says it can not find the file, you did it wrong by putting the downloaded file into the wrong folder (it goes in Public_HTML).
When you finally verify both versions of your site the next thing you will want to do is set the “preferred version” of your site in Google Webmaster. Remember that 301 redirect you did? If you followed my instructions you should have redirected www to non www or vice versa. Go ahead and set whatever version you set as the preferred in Webmaster tools, just follow the links in the left hand sidebar in Google Webmaster tools.
Next, make sure to check back with Webmaster tools regularly, once every week or so to check to see crawl errors, pages on your site that Google is having a problem with as well as the load speed of your site and how to make it faster.
How do you know how many visitors you received in a month? How do you know how long people spend on your site? How do you know how people found your site in the first place? The answer is analytical programs. Analytics as it’s call in the industry simply refers to your private data and stats regarding how the end user is experiencing your site. Analytics are useful for tracking performance and conversion of keywords, email sign-ups, stickiness of your online content and many other metrics.
There are many programs to choose from, the most popular and recommended by most is Google Analytics due to their free price point, integration with Adsense, and the comprehensive data they provide. However, feel free to test other equally good analytical programs out too as there are many strong competitors.
Most WordPress themes come with a “theme options” tab that appears under appearance. Look for an option to copy and past your analytical code in.
Code? Yes, when you sign up for any of these programs they give you a tracking code that you need to copy and paste into your website.
What if your theme does not provide you a place to copy and paste code in the header or footer in? No worries, install this plug-in:
This plugin now provides you a place to add your analytical code in. Paste it in the header.
A plugin is a a piece of software that acts as an extension onto WordPress giving it new features and functions. Think of it like an expansion pack 🙂
Easy, when in your WordPress dashboard go to plugins >> add new
The bigger question is what plugins to install. As you go along with your website and wish you could add this or that, check to see if there is a plugin that does what you want. At over 25,000 plugins there is bound to be one.
To make it easy for you I suggest starting with the following essential plugins:
Akismet: This helps protect your website from spam.
Contact form 7: This creates a lovely, professional looking contact form for your website. WebsiteCreativePro.com uses contact form 7 on the contact page.
Yoast SEO: This is an search engine optimization plugin (SEO). It helps to make it as easy as possible for search engines to understand what your website is about and rank it correctly. I wrote a tutorial on how to set up and install the Yoast SEO plugin correctly.
I wrote a whole page on my 20 most favorite WordPress plugins. Check it out if you want additional suggestions.
If you followed along with this tutorial, you should have your very own website up and running.
A few final words though.
Keep yourself organized. Keep track of passwords for your websites, what email you used when signing up and so forth, login information for Namecheap and Host Gator and basically any account you create in relation to building your website.
Want to keep going? Ok, I suggest you check out how to:
Please share this page through Facebook, Twitter and email. Suggest it to friends and basically, help me get the word out that WebsiteCreativePro.com has a great free tutorial on how to create a PRO website.
Thank you so much for visiting,