Create a Website
SO professional your friends will think you dropped 1k on a fancy web designer.
UPDATED MAY 2019.
No experience? No programming knowledge? No problem! You’re here, let’s do this
Hey I’m David. I have a passion for creative work and beautiful design. 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 (back in 2009) 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 so you are 100% confident and in control of your decision making. Creating a website is now easier than ever and I’ll show you how from step 1 to step DONE.
While you’re here, subscribe to get a free in depth “deep dive” email course on creating a website and growing it with SEO:
I’ve made thousands of dollars from my personal blog and niche websites and in this tutorial I’m going to show you how to do the same:
Now I’m free and I work online and live abroad. Traveling to fun destinations like Europe, Bali, Thailand and South Korea with my lovely girlfriend.
Ready to take the first step? GREAT!
- STEP 1: You’re going to register a domain name
- STEP 2: Buy web hosting
- STEP 3: Install WordPress
- STEP 4: Customize and make the site yours!
This tutorial in combination with the Website Creative Pro YouTube channel has helped tens of thousands of people create their website. Click here to start your blog then follow along with the video and tutorial below
Prefer video? Check out the channel for more full length tutorials.
WAIT! What type of website should I make?
Smart man (or woman). DO NOT be a money chaser. If you create a website on a topic where you “think” can make money in (like I did when I ran a penny stock blog for 6 months) but have zero interest in, the website is going to fail as it will be chore to run without a budget.
There are some topics I would also suggest avoiding for your first couple of websites as they tend to be very competitive with a lot of mature websites. Topics like: Photography, fitness (you’ll need an angle), dating, making money online, personal finance, recipes and travel.
Lot’s of money to be made here, but it’s just going to be difficult. Instead, think of something a little more unique, personal and interesting for you. Like “yoga for women” instead of broad fitness or “sound proofing” a home if you’re into music.
Here are a few questions to help you:
- Am I interested in starting a long term project on this topic?
- Can I easily produce 100+ content ideas for this topic?
- Does this topic have a lot of potential questions to answer and low competition phrases I could rank for?
- Are there a lot of other sites on this topic? You want competition. Are these websites under 3 years old and can I beat them?
- Is there any angle for my site? Why would someone use my site over a competitors?
- Is there potential to rank for some big keywords that can drive a lot of traffic?
You seriously should subscribe if you want to more on this:
Anyways, let’s create a website!
Step 1: Get Your Domain
Get Your Domain Name With Namecheap
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. My domain name for this site is websitecreativepro.com. You’re going to have to come up with a good, catchy domain name on your own. If you need help read: How To Find a Great Blog Name in 20 Minutes.
Get a .com if possible
The extension you should get for your website should be .com, .net, .org or .co. It’s best to get the .com as it’s the gold standard, but any of these extensions are fine from an SEO perspective.
When you’re ready to register your domain name, you have two options:
1 – Get the domain name through the web host
2 – Get a domain name at a domain name registrar
We’re going to do the second option. Many famous bloggers and YouTube tutorial creators will recommend a particular web host and say that you can get a “free domain name” but that is only half true. If you sign up for say Blue Host you get your domain name for free the first year, but every year after that you’re paying an inflated price because the web host will tack on a small fee in order make a profit.
Instead we’re going to save money and use a domain name registrar and get a domain name at the lowest cost. My preferred registrar is Namecheap. Please note you have to renew your domain name every year so these saving really add up over time!
$8.88 is actually a special price because at the time of writing this content, Namecheap is celebrating their birthday! Normally they charge $10.98 a year every year. Not only is this cheaper than GoDaddy upfront, this is the cost you pay every year! GoDaddy will give you a discount upfront for the first year then charge you $19.99 every year where Namecheap only charges $10.98 a year for renewals.
Head over to Namecheap.
Step 1: Search for your domain name using the search box on the Namecheap homepage.
Step 2: Once you find a domain that is available, add it to your cart, click the big red button that says view cart and checkout. You’ll need to create an account in order to purchase. Don’t worry, the domain name will be saved in your cart.
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:
I suggest a 2 year minimum. This shows search engines that your site is going to be around for a while, but it’s a small enough investment where if you’re not losing out on a lot of money.
Domain Name Advice
- Stick to .com’s. When people register a .net or .org it’s usually because the .com version of what they want was taken. The most popular websites in the world are all .com’s for a reason.
- Go for a branded domain with one or two keywords. Like FinanceNinja.com would be good for a finance website. Avoid spammy sentence based URL’s lie “HowToDrawAHorse.com” as Google penalizes exact match domains for long tail keywords.
- Last, make it something easy and memorable. 1-3 words.
Step 2: Get Your Web Hosting Account
A web host is what makes your website live for everyone to visit. Without a web host you can’t have a website.
I suggest you get an account with SiteGround – They are one of only 3 recommended web hosts by WordPress . They out perform both Blue Host (another recommended host) and Host Gator in terms of speed and customer service.
I’ve used Host Gator and I’ve used Blue Host. Siteground simply out performs both these web hosts with regard to uptime, site load speed and customer service.
SiteGround is also the web host that I am currently using. Unlike some other big name bloggers who recommend one host but use another, I’m actually a SiteGround customer because they provide an excellent service.
Website speed is essential for good SEO and higher rankings. Google has publicly stated that your website needs to load faster than 3 seconds or a user is likely to leave your website before it finishes loading.
What this really means is that Google cares about how fast your website is so use a quality host like SiteGround.
Get a Shared Hosting Account with SiteGround
Simply visit SiteGround and purchase a “web hosting” package. When you visit SiteGround you’ll notice an option that says WordPress hosting.
You can safely ignore this because this is a managed package where SiteGround prevents you from having access to CPanel. CPanel is the user friendly, backend software that allows you to manage your hosting account account. You can add emails, new websites and install WordPress with the click of a button with CPanel.
You want CPanel so choose the cheaper “web hosting” option:
Now you have three options. Go with the GrowBig option as it allows for multiple domains (meaning you can have more than one website on your account) and it provides premium features like free backups that the StartUp plan does not provide.
Once you click the orange “get started” button you’ll be on this page below. You can either register a domain name with SiteGround or use a domain you already registered.
If you’re properly following along with this tutorial you’ll want to click on I ALREADY HAVE A DOMAIN. This will be the primary domain name on the account. Simply type in the domain you registered at Namecheap and then submit payment for your hosting account.
Step 3: Connecting Your Domain Name and Hosting Account
You registered a domain name at Namecheap.com!
You signed up for a shared hosting account at SiteGround!
….well now what?
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?
The answer is name servers.
You need to set the name servers AT your domain name registrar (Namecheap) to that of your name servers at your web host. 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.SiteGround.com and ns2.SiteGround.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.
Think you have a lot of phone numbers?
Imagine having to type into your web browser 22.214.171.124 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 web hosting 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 let’s set up that name server
Check your email. You should have a welcome message from SiteGround that looks something like this:
These are your Nameservers 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.
*Sidenote, if you bought your domain name through SiteGround you can skip this step and move on to step 4, setting up WordPress.
Go to your Namecheap account. You want to go into your domain name list and click on the manage button for the domain name who’s name servers you want to change.
Scroll down to where you see Nameservers. Change it to custom DNS. Then copy and paste in your namerservers from SiteGround. Nameserver 1 goes on the top row and nameserver 2 goes on the bottom row.
When finished CLICK THE SMALL GREEN CHECK MARK to save it.
Step 4: Installing WordPress in 4 Minutes
Let’s install WordPress.
Go to your welcome email and click the link to log into your “control panel.” It will look like this:
You want to click on “my accounts” then you’ll want to click on the red button that says Go To CPanel. Click proceed if a security pop up appears.
Find the auto installer for WordPress, click on it.
You will be looking at a page that looks like this:
Simply click the small “install now” button.
Here you can choose where to install WordPress. First, make sure you have https:// selected. You get a free SSL with your SiteGround account. You want SSL over non SSL because it makes Google wants websites to be encrypted for user security.
Next you can choose the domain, it should be your primary domain. Last, you can choose the directory. Leave this blank as you want to install WordPress on your root domain as it is called.
Underneath this you’ll see additional settings:
You can change the site name and site description later when you’re logged into your website. So don’t stress about this section now.
For the admin account, use an admin account name that is memorable for you as it will be your user name to log into your website. Same with the admin password. Make it something complex, but something you can remember.
To log into your website all you need to do is visit example.com/wp-admin
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.
Welcome to WordPress.
Step 5: Installing a WordPress Theme
Excellent work! You just created your own WordPress powered website. The first thing you’re going to want to do is design it 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.
You have tens of thousands of options when it comes to free themes. I do however strongly suggest you get yourself a paid theme from a professional theme developer because they have an incentive to create a maintain a high quality theme in a way a free theme do not.
Still there are a few outstanding free themes. Here are my personal favorites:
Twenty Seventeen Theme (Free) – The flagship theme from WordPress. While the latest theme is the Twenty Nineteen theme, the Twenty Seventeen theme is still superior in my opinion. It’s simple, stylish and looks great on mobile devices. Here is a tutorial on how to use it.
Simple Theme by Themify. My personal favorite free theme. Has a bit of a learning curve but once you understand how to use it you can create a premium looking website with it. Go here for a tutorial on how to use it.
Kouki Theme (Free) – A lovely theme built around minimalism. Clean, simple, elegant and cool.
Sydney Theme – This is another very popular business theme with a great homepage you can organize into different sections with a call to action. It’s actually a “freemium” theme. You can use it for free, but will need to pay to unlock all the features. The free version is still great though.
How to Install a FREE theme from the WordPress directory
Simply go to appearance >>> themes >>> add new
Look through the database and see if anything stands out to you. For the above themes, just type their name into the search box. For the Simple theme, you’ll have to download that directly from Themify and then upload it.
To get the best results I would also sort by most popular. To install simply click a theme and then click install.
Paid themes are designed and coded by theme developers. They range in price from $30 to $80. Some themes are a one time purchase, others require a yearly payment to continue getting support and updates.
What’s the difference between paid themes and free themes? Paid themes have a lot more features and functions than a free theme. They tend to be coded better and you also get support for how to use the theme. Which is great if you’re just starting out.
As such, you’ll want to be using a premium theme after you out grow your free theme.
Here are my favorite premium themes:
Ultra Theme – Obviously this is my #1 theme of choice. It’s the theme I use for most of the designs I make and it’s the theme of the website you’re on now. This theme has a built in builder allowing you to make some pretty amazing and custom designs.
Avada Theme – This is the best selling theme on Theme Forest. It’s a theme that comes with the ability to customize various aspects of your theme however you want as well as coming with different templates you can download and use.
DIVI – The Divi theme comes with a front end visual editor where you can move different element blocks around to design your website however you want.
How To install a Paid theme:
Once you purchase a paid theme you will be given a zip file that contains your themes files. You simply need to upload this zip file to your website.
Go to appearance >>> themes >>> add new >>> upload theme
Choose the file (which is your theme) and click “install now” to install the theme. Leave it as a zip file. Don’t extract the theme after downloading it.
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.
Best Paid Themes:
Ultra Theme – My theme of choice. I use it on almost all my websites. It’s not too complicated and you can create any sort of website you want.
DIVI – The Divi Theme is theme where you can visually edit the theme on the front end by dragging and dropping elements into place. Ideal for non-techy people.
Avada Theme – The best selling theme on Theme Forest. It comes with downloadable templates and the ability to customize multiple aspects of your websites look and feel.
For more on themes check out our best WordPress themes guide.
Step 6: How To Design a Logo For Your Website
You’re going to want a custom logo for your website. You don’t need anything big and complicated. Big logos just slow down your website. We want our website to load fast as possible and we do this by optimizing our images as needed. Take a look at the logo for my personal blog:
It’s not too complicated. I just applied a filter to a picture of me looking sideways to make it black and white. You can do this in any image editing program. It’s just a black and white filter.
Then I cropped the image using GIMP to make it a circle. Then I positioned it next to a cool font I found on dafont.com and exported it and resized it so it was small.
You can do this too. I would start with learning how to use GIMP. It’s a free competitor to the more expensive Photoshop. You’re just going to have to learn how to make decent graphics with GIMP. There are countless free tutorial videos on YouTube you can learn from.
I would also checkout Pixlr.com to help you edit images as well as Canva.com for specific image sizes like YouTube thumbnails or Pinterest pins. Canva logos is also a good resource for inspiration and templates for creating your own logo.
Remember, small is the way to go. Just look at the logo for IwillTeachYouToBeRich.com:
THIS is the logo for a multi-million dollar education business. Anyone can make this sort of logo.
Hire a Logo Designer
Sometimes it just makes sense to hire out a logo design. A good logo is critical for your branding and if you lack design skills then just hire someone to do it for you. For a small fee of $20-50 you can have a professional to make you a quality logo like:
For simple logos like this, you should check out Fiverr.com. It’s the ideal place for this sort of work as there are many talented designers who are happy to take on simple projects like this for bloggers and content creators.
Step 7: SEO and User Experience
It’s time to setup the back end of your website. These steps are essentials for any new WordPress install. Yea it’s a bit tedious and boring, but once it’s done it’s done
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.
Set up your permalinks:
What is a permalink?
It’s the url structure of the web pages within a website. Most websites use DomainName.com/page-title or DomainName.com/Date/page-title.
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:
Website.com/Post-Name – Perfect for smaller sites that are never going to have more than 50 pages of content.
Website.com/Category/Post-Name – Perfect for large websites that will have 1000+ pages of content.
Website.com/Date/Post-Name – Perfect for time sensitive content.
Website.com/blog/Post-Name – Ideal for the majority of bloggers and content creators. Go with this one in most instances.
Here’s how to change it:
Settings >>> permalinks
I always go with post-name as the structure.
Step 8: Create a professional email
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 SiteGround:
Create an email account:
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.
6 – Click Create Account.
Forward said email to your gmail account (or whatever provider you use):
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 firstname.lastname@example.org will now be sent over to your professional email
Register with Google Search Console (20 minutes)
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. I takes time for search console to gather information on your site. So when you’re 6 month in and have 30+ pages of content you’re going to be happy you verified your website with Google Search Console.
Sign up HERE.
Add your website. Next you will have to verify your website. To do so is simple. Google Search console will give an file to download that you then need to upload to your website to verify ownership.
To upload the file to your website is easy.
Go back to CPanel – find where it says File Manager:
Click on file manager. When you’re in File Manager click on “UPLOAD” in the menu and select the file from Google Search Console.
Next, make sure to check back with Google Search console every month to see any errors with your website as well as positions for where your website is ranking. If you notice a piece of content you wrote is ranking for a phrase it’s not targeting, that’s an indication you should go to that content and improve it so it’s more optimized for the terms people are searching for.
Install Analytical Programs
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.
For this tutorial sign up for Google Analytics.
When you finish setting up your account you’ll get a script to copy and paste into your websites HEADER:
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.
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 provides you a place to copy and paste your analytical script in. Paste it in the header.
Step 10: Install Select WordPress Plugins
A plugin is a a piece of software that acts as an extension onto WordPress giving it new features and functions.
How to install plugins on your new website
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 a specific feature, check to see if there is a plugin that does what you want. At over 25,000 plugins there is bound to be one.
One pro tip I can give you is this. KEEP your site simple so it loads fast. You don’t want to use any more plugins than is necessary.
I wrote a whole page on my 20 most favorite WordPress plugins. Check it out if you want additional suggestions.
Great job! You just learned how to make a website, a PRO website.
If you followed along with this tutorial, you should have your very own website up and running. If you enjoyed this, consider sharing this tutorial with someone who it could help