Create a website SO professional your friends will think you dropped 1k on a fancy web designer.
UPDATED DECEMBER 2018
Hey I’m David. Let’s Create a Website in 1 Hour or Less.
You’ll love this free, step 1 to step done, how to make a website guide. It covers basically everything you as a beginner need to know about creating a website and then some.
- 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!
This tutorial in combination with my YouTube channel has helped tens of thousands of people create their website:
Let’s Get Started
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.
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. 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 part of the cost of having a website.
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 is fine from an SEO perspective.
It’s strongly recommended you use Namecheap as they simply have the best prices of all. GoDaddy is more popular due to their marketing but Namecheap is actually cheaper: Namecheap vs GoDaddy.
$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 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
The web host is what makes your website available for everyone to visit.
I suggest you get an account with SiteGround – one of the top 3 recommended web hosts by WordPress (learn more). They out perform both Blue Host and Host Gator in terms of speed and customer service. I’ve tried all of them. WebsiteCreativePro.com is currently hosted with SiteGround and I’m very happy with their service.
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.
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)
- A 1 click install of WordPress
- Unlimited domains names (how many domain names you can host on your shared server)
That’s why I like SiteGround. They provide fast hosting which is essential for your websites SEO. Google has publicly stated that your website needs to load within 3 seconds minimum. That means you’re going to want a fast web host, which means you’re going to want SiteGround.
I’m not going to insult your intelligence and walk you through purchasing something online.
Simply visit SiteGround and purchase a “web hosting” package.
When you visit SiteGround you’ll notice an option that says WordPress hosting.
Don’t buy it. It’s a managed package where SiteGround prevents you from having access to CPanel – CPanel is the software that allows you to manage your 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. 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 188.8.131.52 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.
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.
Welcome to WordPress.
How to Install a WordPress Theme
To install a FREE theme from the WordPress directory
Simply go to appearance >>> themes >>> add new
Look through the themes to see if anything catches your eye. I would also sort by most popular. To install simply click a theme and then click install.
To install a PREMIUM theme:
Once you purchase a premium 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.
For more on themes check out our best WordPress themes guide.
Making the site yours
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
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.
Setup a professional 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 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 email@example.com 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.
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 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. Now it’s time to customize that website. For that, Website Creative Pro has another tutorial for you to use:
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.
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