An Easy, Step 1 to Done Tutorial for Beginners
Want to learn how to create a website so professional your friends will think you hired a fancy web designer? If you have no experience and no programming knowledge it’s no problem in 2021.
Hi I’m David. I’m a web designer, top rated user experience consultant and popular Youtuber who makes high quality design tutorials. I’ve literally helped tens of thousands of people create a websites for all sorts of different purposes. From blogging and drop shipping, to personal websites or online portfolios.
With the right tools and guidance, you can get started yourself without needing to pay for freelancers or expensive design agencies. Creating a website is now easier than ever and I’ll show you how from step 1 to step done.
What do you need to make a website?
You only need three things to create a self hosted website:
- Domain name (the web address, example.com)
- Web hosting (to host your website so it’s live on the internet)
- Content management system (CMS)
These three things work together to create your website. The first thing I suggest doing is getting your domain name at a domain name registrar. A domain registrar is an online business that is ICANN certified to register domains. You can however get your domain name directly at the webhost.
Next you will need to get a web host. A web host is a company that provides powerful webservers that are on 24/7 so your website is live 24/7. You can get started with a low cost shared hosting account and as your website grows you can upgrade your hosting.
Last, is the content management system or CMS. To publish content online, you need an easy way to create pages, add images, videos as well as links. One of the best and most popular CMS is WordPress as it is free and open source CMS. Not to be confused with WordPress.com which is a website builder.
What about using a website builder like Wix or Squarespace?
Website builders are an easy to use, all in one solutions ideal for anyone looking for a non-technical solution. With a website builder you’re paying for the CMS and the hosting with your monthly subscription.
I like website builders, but the advantage of learning how to create a self hosted website is that it’s more cost effective and you have more options, tools and flexibility with what services you want to use.
Create a Website in 5 Easy Steps
Creating a website requires you to get a domain name, a hosting plan, then you need to point the domain to your hosting and last is to install a content management system.
- Get a domain and hosting
- Install a content management system (WordPress)
- Add essential pages
- Design your website
- Create content for your website
Get a domain name and hosting
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, .net, .org, .co part of a domain name.
You can get a domain name at an ICANN certified domain registrar like Namecheap or you can purchase it through the webhost. Going through the webhost is a bit more expensive, but easier to setup. Going through a domain registrar is more cost effective and gives you more flexibility.
So in this tutorial we’re going to use Namecheap as our domain registrar.
Get a .com domain name if possible.
The .com is the legacy extension of the internet and it’s the ideal extension for almost any type of website. However, if your .com is registered but not in use then it’s fine to go with an alternative.
Not only is Namecheap cheaper than GoDaddy upfront, their renewal prices are lower too. GoDaddy is great for a lot of things, just not domain registration.
Head over to Namecheap.
I strongly suggest Namecheap, but if you want to keep things simple, please continue down to the hosting section below,
Step 1: Search for your domain name using the search box on the Namecheap homepage. If the domain name you want is taken, you have to think of a different combination.
Step 2: Once you find a domain that is available, add it to your cart and proceed to checkout.
Step 3: Once you’ve finished creating an account, it’s time to confirm your order. Here you can choose how many years you want to register the domain name for:
Domain privacy, also known as WHOIS protection is included free of charge with Namecheap. You can also lock in the low domain price for up to 10 years in advance.
Get a shared hosting account at Bluehost.
A web host is what makes your website live and available for everyone to visit. It’s where all your files and information is stored and without a web host you can’t have a website.
Bluehost is the #1 recommended web host by WordPress and for good reason. They have an easy to use interface for beginners, good customer support, good hosting speeds for your new website, a low introduction price and a low renewal rate.
Bluehost Pricing Plans
Each plan comes with a great introduction rate that you can lock in for up to 3 years. Web hosting is a cost everyone with a website pays so consider getting an account for 2 or 3 years in advanced to lock in a good rate.
After your first contract the prices are:
- Basic: $9.99 a month. Expensive and can only have 1 website on the account.
- Plus: $13.99 a month. Good for a 1000 visitor a day website, 30k pageviews.
- Choice Plus: $18.99 a month. This is the one I suggest getting. It’s perfect for growing a medium sized website.
- Pro: $28.99 a month.
With Bluehost you get a domain name for free for the first year but after you’ll have to pay a higher rate than you would at Namecheap.
I suggest getting the plus plan or the choice plus plan as that plan provides the resources to grow a high traffic website. On the next page you’ll have to set your primary domain name for your hosting account.
The #1 recommended webhost for WordPress websites. Free domain for the first year with your purchase.
Setup your domain
If you want to register a domain through Bluehost, click on “create a new domain” and your account will be setup properly. You get your domain fee waived for the first year, but then pay a high renewal rate after.
If you get your domain at Namecheap select “use a domain you own” and follow along with the next steps to setup Nameservers.
On the next page simply fill out your billing detail and select a hosting plan for 12, 24 or 36 months. I suggest 24 months as this is enough time to grow your website.
You can also ignore any upsells so go ahead and uncheck any check boxes as all you need to get started is a hosting account. Once you submit payment you’ll be taken to an on-boarding process that you can skip if you like.
Next you will be in your Bluehost dashboard:
Point name servers
You have your hosting account and you have your domain name. Now it’s time to connect the two by editing your name servers at Namecheap to that of your web host. It takes just a few minutes
What you’re technically doing is that you’re mapping your domain name to your hosting account. If you bought your domain through the web host you can skip this step.
Find Your Name servers From Your Web Host
You can find your name servers in your hosting account or the welcome email the web host sent you. Check your email. All web hosts send a “welcome” email. In this email will be your name servers.
For Bluehost, your nameservers are ns1.bluehost.com and ns2.bluehost.com. These are your Name servers for your account. What you need to do is simple. Change the name servers for your domain name to that of your hosting account. Very simple. Let’s do it.
Log into your domain name registrar
Log into your domain name registrar. In this tutorial we’re using Namcheap so log into your Namecheap account. In your domain name list click on “manage” for the domain name you want to edit.
Find where it says Nameservers and change it to “custom DNS.” Input your web hosts name servers and click the green check mark to save.
Done! Name servers are setup, now it’s time to install a content management system.
Install a CMS (WordPress)
Now you need to have some sort of content management system powering the back end of your website so it’s easy for you to create content, add pictures, links and videos to your website. You’ll also want something that allows for ease of use and is highly supported and simple to customize.
There are quite a few options out there:
- Wix – Paid Website Builder (7%)
- Squarespace – Paid Website Builder (4%)
- Joomla – Free Software (4%)
- Weebly – Paid Website Builder (2%)
- Progress Sitefinity – Free (4%)
- WordPress – Free Software (52%)
WordPress is ideal for beginners and advanced users a like:
Very easy to setup. WordPress is the leader in the CMS space by a huge margin. So much so that all web hosts now come with simple 1-click install of WordPress. You can install WordPress and in 5 minutes be creating content for your website in the time it takes to make coffee.
Easy to use. Creating content, adding products, pages, images, videos, email forms and links to your website is so easy with WordPress. Unlike other platforms where you would have to know HTML and CSS, WordPress is user friendly.
Total control over your blog. Unlike Squarespace, Wix and Weebly where you’re limited on how your website looks and operates. With WordPress you have complete control over the look and feel of your website. Essential for anyone serious about internet marketing and making money with a website.
Excellent support community. WordPress has a thriving community so you can always get help and advice for any aspect of your blog.
WordPress is secure. It’s constantly updated and supported so you never have to worry about running software that is out of date.
Create a new site with Bluehost
Installing WordPress with Bluehost is very easy.
Creating a self hosted WordPress website is fast and easy with Bluehost.
In your dashboard simple click on “my sites” and click on “create site.”
Now it’s time to set some administrative settings for your website:
With creating a new WordPress website you can set the name of the site and tag line. Both these items can be changed later.
Also make sure click on the “advanced” tab where you can enter an email address of your choosing which will be your recovery email as well as an admin user name and password of your choosing.
If you leave this blank, the install process will create a admin name for you and your email will be the same email for your Bluehost account.
Install on the root directory.
Next you will be able to choose where you want to install WordPress.
To install WordPress on the entire website simply leave the directory option blank and click next.
The WordPress installation process will begin and takes a few minutes to complete. Upon completion you’ll get a verification that WordPress has been installed and your ready to launch your website.
When you’re ready go ahead and click on “next” which will begin the WordPress installation process. Upon completion you’ll be presented with:
How To Log Into WordPress
You can log into WordPress from your Bluehost dashboard or you can log in via your WordPress installation.
To log into your website now, all you have to do is go to example.com/wp-admin and put in the user name and password you made when installing WordPress.
This is how you will log into your website from here on out. Welcome to WordPress.
Check to make sure your SSL certificate is working
With your Bluehost account you get a free SSL certificate installed on your website. That means you should see a little “lock” icon in your web browser. If not, contact Bluehost support and they will fix it quickly and easily.
In order to check your SSL certificate:
- Log in to your Bluehost portal.
- Click on the “my sites” tab.
- Find your website and click on “Manage Site.”
- Go to the “Security” tab.
- Under “security certificate,” you will find your “free SSL certificate” status.
If everything is setup correctly you should have a secure website. It sometimes takes an hour or two for everything to get working correctly. But you can still edit and design your website.
Add essential pages
Your website is going to need some basic, core pages. Let’s talk about how to set them up. To create a new page go to page >> add new when in the WordPress dashboard.
About Page – This page is designed to tell why the website exists and why you are qualified to create it.
Contact Page – This page is what people will use to reach out to you.
Blog – This is the blog section on your website.
Homepage– While you can forego having a dedicated homepage and instead just use your latest blog posts, it’s not ideal. Learn how to make a homepage.
Blog Post Permalinks:
Permalinks are the URL structure of your pages and blog posts on your website. WordPress by default has a really weird default structure: example.com/?p=123.
Let’s change this. Here are your different options:
/Post-Name – Perfect for smaller sites that are never going to have more than 50 pages of content.
/Category/Post-Name – Perfect for large websites that will have 1000+ pages of content and multiple categories.
/Date/Post-Name – Perfect for time sensitive content like news.
/blog/Post-Name – Best URL structure for most websites. Go with this one in most instances.
To change it go to “Settings” in your WordPress dashboard and click on “permalinks.” Select the permalink structure ideal for your website. Below, “custom structure” is selected and “blog” is added to the URL.
This structure is great because your pages will still be example.com/page-title but your blog posts will be organized nicely as example.com/blog/post-title. The most popular websites in the world use this structure because it gives your website a nice structure that search engines love.
Design Your Website
SEO, content creation and good design are essential for building a profitable website that gets traffic. we will cover:
- What will my website look like
- How to install a WordPress theme
- Important WordPress plugins
What will my website look like?
You website can be designed using various themes. Some themes have a pre-built look where you can’t change much, others are designed with a drag and drop editor making creating any sort of website easy.
Most tend to be over complicate things from a design perspective. From a practical standpoint you design and layout should depend on what it is you’re trying to create.
An ecommerce website will have a different layout that a business website with a blog or a real estate website. Regardless, the look, design and layout of your website depends on the WordPress them and your design choices.
How to Install a WordPress theme
You just created your own WordPress powered website and we just went through a few design layouts. The first thing you’re going to want to do is design your website so it looks the way you want. For that we will need to install a WordPress theme.
For themes, you have two options, free and paid.
How To Install a Free Theme
To install a free theme please navigate to the “appearance” tab in your WordPress dashboard. Here you can select any theme you like from the WordPress directory.
It’s best to sort by popularity or the most downloaded as these two metrics are helpful for finding good free themes are usuTo install a theme simply click on the theme of your choice and click install.
How To Install A Paid Theme:
Paid themes, or as they are known “premium” themes are downloaded as a zip file from the marketplace or creator. As they are purchased from a developer, they must be uploaded directly to your WordPress installation as they are not going to be found in the free WordPress directory.
To begin the installation process just navigate back to appearance, click on “themes” and then click on add new and click where it says “upload theme.” When you purchase a theme, you will be able to download it to your computer as a ZIP file. This ZIP file is what you will be uploading.
After you click install, your theme will be installed. The next step is to “activate” the theme and you’re all set. You’ve just install a premium theme. Now it’s time to read up on the documentation for your premium theme to learn how to design it or to watch one of my tutorial videos for how to use your theme.
Install WordPress Plugins
A plugin is a a piece of software that acts as an extension for WordPress, giving it new features and functions. There are thousands of plugins you can install.
To install a plugin works in a similar way to themes. You have free plugins that you can install by navigating to the “plugins” tab in your WordPress dashboard or you can upload and install premium plugins.
So what are some decent plugins to be aware of for your own website? Here are few important suggestions to get you going with optimizing your website properly:
- Rank Math
- Smush Images
- W3 Total Cache
Rank Math – The best SEO plugin for WordPress
Rank Math is an on-page SEO plugin. That means that by installing this plugin you have the ability to adjust the meta description for your blog posts and pages.
This is important when creating content that is targeting a keyword phrase you wish to rank for as you can now “optimize” your content to have the best chance of ranking.
With it you can give an dedicated SEO title, a meta description, you can enable breadcrumbs on your website and Rank Math will give you an overall score as to how well optimize your content is for a specific keyword.
Smush – Image optimization
Smush It is a WordPress plugin that compresses your images upon upload to your website. It reduces the file size and thus makes your website load faster.
While you should be using a .webp image format, sometimes you’ll need to upload .jpeg files or .png files. This plugin is very helpful and making your website load quickly.
W3 Total Cache – Increase speed
W3 Total Cache improves the user experience of your website by increasing the performance of how quickly your website loads while reducing load times for different aspects of your website.
A cache plugin is a must have for all blogs. Your website needs to load as quickly as possible and that’s exactly what this plugin helps to accomplish.
Woo Commerce – Add ecommerce functionality to your website
Now you can build out an online store with WordPress. Woo Commerce allows you to sell digital products, drop ship, your own physical products as well as product bundles.
Manage inventory on the backend, customize your emails that get sent out to customers and integrate multiple payment gateways for credit cards, PayPal and even crypto currency.
Create Content for Your Website
Now it’s time to create content for your website. Within WordPress you have blog posts and pages. From an SEO perspective there is no real difference between the two, it’s more for you as a content creator to organize your content.
Blog posts are found under the “post” tab in WordPress and are organized into categories. You get to choose the categories, so it’s a good idea to start off with 4, keyword rich categories related to the topic of your website.
Pages by contract are not organized by categories. They are more static and much better suited for things like your about page, contact page and so forth. You can also make pages into child pages. For example, you have a Woo Commerce powered store, maybe you want a page called store (/store) and a child page for a product (/store/product).
Tags vs categories
In WordPress you’ll notice you can also “tag” a blog post. The idea behind tags was to create a way to organize a piece of content in a very specific way. For example, if you have a category called “Europe” and write a few posts about France you could tag those handful of posts as “France.”
In general, tags are not particularly useful. Focus your efforts on putting your blog posts into one relevant category.
What to blog about?
With a blog you have two options. Either use your blog for casual, company or status update or engage in content marketing. The reason most individuals and companies blog (see what is a blog) is to get free search engine traffic and to then convert that traffic in some meaningful way.
To get traffic you need to build out a website with relevant content, build links, have a high quality design and create best in class content.
Interlink your content and link out to other websites
You can and should go through your older content and link it to new content as appropriate. You should also link out to other websites as needed. A good website structure helps your website from an on-page SEO perspective as well as your visitors.
A great premium plugin that helps does this is Link Whisper. It’s a plugin that tells you what blog posts to interlink to, 404 errors as well as how many inbound and out bound links a page or post has.
Your URL structure is important. Earlier we stated that example.com/blog/post-title was the best structure for most websites. But also strive to keep your URL’s short and concise by avoiding stop words and URL’s that are just way to long.
Google and people like shorter, cleaner URL’s. Search engines are sophisticated enough to figure out what your blog post is about, so it’s not something to worry too much about. But when possible use optimized URL’s.
Last are header tags, also know as H1, H2, H3 tags and so forth. For blog posts and pages your title will be H1. Sub headings should be H2. Sub heading for anything under H2 should be H3 and so forth.
Headers are important because it is how search engines can help understand the content and structure of your blog post. It’s also just good on-page SEO.
Blocks – Media, pictures, video and more
The WordPress editor, sometimes called the Gutenberg editor works by way of blocks. You can install additional plugins to add on more custom blocks (see Stackable above) as well.
Blocks are quite helpful as they allow you to add videos, images, call to actions, feature boxes, HTML code injections, tables and so forth in addition to simply writing text blocks.
How to Create a Website Conclusion
So that’s it for Website Creative Pro’s guide to how to create a website from step 1 to done with WordPress and Bluehost. You should now have the ability to create a well structured, well designed website with WordPress.
You can now take this and create any type of website you want from a blog, online store or a personal website.