Ready to make a website even if you have NO programming skills?
Hi I’m David. I have a passion for creative work & 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 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.
Blogger, vlogger, content creator and designer| Founder WebsiteCreativePro.com
Why you’ll love this free, step 1 to step done, how to make a website guide.
4 Simple Steps – Less than $50 – 1/2 Hour of Your Time
- STEP 1: You’re going to register a domain name
- STEP 2: Buy web hosting
- STEP 3: Install WordPress
- STEP 4: Customize to make the site yours!
On my channel I post tutorial videos (like the one below), website reviews and ways to earn more online. So please consider subscribing.
This page is constantly updated on a monthly basis so the information is never dated.
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.
Create a Website: Let’s build something beautiful
With WordPress, you have a ton of different options for WordPress design via various themes.
My goal with this tutorial page is to help you:
- Create a website with lot’s of web pages.
- Make something that looks awesome (because design does matter)
- Make something that gets found online.
- Show you the different ways to potentially bring in a side income or more.
- Have a website that easy to maintain and customize WITHOUT programming skills
- To create a user friendly, in-depth, high quality detailed guide that can become a default resource for creating a website.
- To help smart people create beautiful and profitable WordPress powered websites.
- To help you NOT get ripped off by paying for expensive services because you don’t know what you need and don’t need (yet).
Step 1: Get Your Domain
GoDaddy or Namecheap? We suggest Namecheap
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 (video, opens in a new tab).
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.
GET YOUR DOMAIN
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.
If you need help coming up with a domain name, read website name ideas.
- Go to Namecheap.com.
- Use the search box on Namecheap’s homepage and type in what you want your site to be called.
- The next page will be results based on what you typed.
- IMPORTANT: You want to get a .COM version of your domain because it’s the most common, popular, and well known extension.
- If your domain name is available then great! Follow the steps to check out and register your domain name.
- If it’s not available then try different word combinations or numbers.
- You will need to submit contact details for registrant, administrative, technical, and billing. Unless you’re a company, make it the same person – YOU. Consider making a separate email account just for this as it’s public information.
- Submit accurate contact information with your Namcheap account so you get email reminders when it’s time to renew an expiring domain.
That’s it! You now have an account with NameCheap.com and your very own domain name. You are now officially a “domainer” 🙂
- 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.
- If you’re building out a brand and the .com, .net, and .org extensions are available – consider registering all of them so someone else can’t use your domain name. At the very least get the .net if it’s free.
- If you’re not going for a brand, then go for a keyword focused domain name based around something thousands of people are searching for every month like “HowToDrawAHorse.com”.
- Make it something easy to spell, easy to say, and memorable.
Need a deeper discussion on domain names? Read our free guide “what are domain names and how do I get one.”
You need to register your domain name somewhere and the two most popular registrars with the best prices are GoDaddy and Namecheap.
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.
Step 2: Get Your Web Hosting Account
The web host is what makes your website available for everyone to visit.
Wait? What’s a web host exactly?
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.
When it comes to web hosting you want:
- A shared hosting account at a reasonable price
- Guaranteed up-time
- 24/7 customer support
- Cpanel (software to manage the server side of your site)
- Fantastico Delux (to install WordPress with one click)
- Unlimited domains names (how many domain names you can host on your shared server)
For hosts we have three hosts that we like:
SiteGround – A bit more expensive, but their a recommended host by WordPress and provide excellent hosting. It’s the host WCP is on.
Blue Host – They have excellent shared hosting and are perfect for someone starting out with a small website.
Host Gator – Their cloud hosting is wonderful. Right in the middle, not as cheap as Blue Host, but not as expensive as SiteGround.
For this part we will use HostGator.com – please note the process is the same with the other hosts too.
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.
HOST GATOR SETUP
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 month to month so I have flexibility.
Follow the steps to register a new account: USE coupon code WebsiteSetup01 to get your first month free (practically).
Pay for your hosting by entering in the credit card details. Make sure the discount is applied:
Keep note of the email Host Gator sends you with your name server information.
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.
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 (baby plan) at HostGator.com!
….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 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.
Think you have a lot of phone numbers?
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 let’s set up that name server
- 1) Go back to Namecheap.com and log-in if you have logged out.
- 2) Click “my account” button on the far right of the screen. There will be a drop down.
- 3) Click on domain list.
- 4) Click on MANAGE for the domain name that you want to change the name servers for.
- 4) Find the nameserver information. Click the drop down, change it to CUSTOM DNS.
- 5) Change name server 1 and name server 2 (literally 1. and 2.) to the name servers provided to you by Host Gator. Just copy and past the details from the welcome email from Host Gator – ns1 goes with name server 1 and ns 2 goes with name server 2.
- 7) Click the little green check and you’re done. It can takes about 2 hours for changes to take effect, but normally it’s instantly active.
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.
Step 4: Installing WordPress in 4 Minutes
By now you 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, WebsiteCreativePro.com is built using WordPress.
Go to your welcome email and click the link to log into your “control panel.”
You’re looking at your control panel. It has a bunch of different scripts and software you can run. For Host Gator (as well as SiteGround and Blue Host) look for the automatic WordPress installation script. For Host Gator it’s the “build a new WordPres Site” button:
Select your domain name and click “next.” Don’t put anything in the directory section. What will happen if you do WordPress will only be installed in that directory and the root domain name. So if you put in say “blog” you’ll have WordPress installed on that directory and all your posts will be blog/post-title and not website.com/post-title.
You be presented with the the option to add a blog title, tagline, user name and password. Fill all the out and use an email address you check. This will be the email your password gets sent to if you ever forget your password.
That’s It! To log into your website all you need to do is visit /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.
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.
Bonus! Essential design help for your WordPress powered website
You’re going to want to play around with your website, once you’re finished poking around check out this free guide on DIY WordPress website design to help you follow the best design practices for your new WordPress website that you just created.
WordPress creates their own line of free WordPress themes that are released for the respective year and are called as such.
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. It’s best to go with a premium theme simply because the developer has an incentive to do an excellent job.
For themes you can check out:
Theme Forest – My favorite place for premium themes. You’ll get your theme + support.
For a constantly updated list of themes I use and like (both free and paid) checkout my WordPress themes guide.
To install a theme you bought:
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.
To install a free theme from the WordPress directory
Simply go to appearance >>> themes
Look through the themes to see if anything catches your eye. I would also sort by most popular. My favorite free themes are:
Kouki Theme (Free) – Minimal, stylish blog.
Making the site yours
How to set up your permalinks to be as SEO and user friendly as possible (5 minutes)
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.
Setup an email address for your website (5 minutes)
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.
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.
5 – Make a selection for Mailbox Quota.
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 email@example.com will now be sent over to firstname.lastname@example.org
Register with Google Webmaster tools (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.
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:
- Download the file and save it to your desktop.
- Log into your server with Filezilla (FTP).
- Drag and drop the file into your Public_HTML folder.
- Click verify in Google Webmaster tools.
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.
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.
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.
Plugins to install to get more out of WordPress
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 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.
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. Now it’s time to customize that website. Once you’re set with this tutorial I suggest checking out:
How To Create a Website: Conclusion!
Please share this tutorial through Facebook, Twitter and email. It’s a small thing but it helps WCP reach a larger audience. Also, if you have any questions feel free to contact me via the contact page.
Lastly, Website Creative Pro is on the YouTube, subscribe there and join the fun!