How To Make A Website
So, you want to make a website? But you have no idea how to make your own website, right? No worries – I’ve put together a helpful guide that will get you up and running with a website before the end of the day! You can actually read and follow this step-by-step tutorial and have a website within an hour, even if you have no prior experience with building websites or web pages.
If you have an email account and can type, you can build a web site. I’ll show you exactly how to build your own website in just a few steps.
This is the “address” of your website and is one of the first things people will notice about your site. It conveys your brand and image, so choose a good one.
Your web host stores all the files for your website and serves them up when someone comes to your site or web page. I’ll show you how to set it up.
You’ll need to “point” your domain to your web hosting. This part is easy – you’ll just need to log in to your domain account and enter some information from your web host.
WordPress isn’t just for blogs – this site runs on WordPress! It’s free and easy.
You’ll want to manage a few settings within your WordPress Admin panel.
You don’t have to worry – it’s pretty easy to make a website. If you have an email account and can use a word processor, like Microsoft Word, then you can definitely build a website. With easy-to-use platforms like WordPress, you don’t have to know anything about HTML, and with the many beautiful WordPress themes available, both free and paid, you have limitless choices in making an impressive website without paying the hundreds or thousands of dollars to a web designer to make you a custom website. WordPess is simple, powerful, and easy to use, and MILLIONS of websites are run by WordPress. Why not make not make one yourself?
You’ll need a couple things to get started – and this is all laid out in the steps below – and those two things are a domain name and hosting.
You’re probably familiar with what a domain name is, that’s the name of the address where your website is located, like MakeAWebsiteZone.com, or example.com. I’ll walk you through the steps of getting your domain name.
The other thing you’ll need is web hosting. A web host is simply where all your website files are placed so that when someone comes to your new website, the web host will provide all those files and a visitor can view your website. This may sound complicated, but don’t worry, this part of the process is just as easy as the rest.
So, are you ready to get started? Ok then, let’s go!
Step 1 – Choose Your Domain Name
The first step to make a website is to register a domain name. Personally, I use GoDaddy for most of my domain name registrations. GoDaddy is the #1 domain registrar in the world, and I’ve been very satisfied with them.
So, what domain name should you pick?
This is an important step, because your domain name is part of your brand, business, and personality. It should be short, memorable, and reflect what your website is all about. For example, looking at this website’s domain name, MakeAWebsiteZone.com, you can probably figure out that this website will tell you about how to make a website.
This actually leads me to my second point, and that is your domain name has an impact on how you show up in the search engines, like Google. If possible, you want your domain name to have keywords that will tell Google what your website is about (just like your regular visitors!). For example, Google sees my domain name and figures that this website’s topic is “make a website.”
Some ideas for your domain name:
- Your business name – apluslawnmaintenance.com
- Your name – johnsmith.com
- Your web site topic – howtomakegiantcupcakes.com or pinkfuzzysweaters.com
One last tip before we get into actually registering your domain name – you generally want the .com version of the domain, but if that is not available, choose a .net or .org extension.
Ok, now it’s time to register your domain name, so head over to GoDaddy right now to begin.
Once on the homepage of Godaddy.com, you should see a box in the middle of the page which asks you to search for available domain names. The box looks like this:
Type in the desired domain name you would like and click GO. Using the example of trendyclothes.com, a search on Godaddy.com shows that is already taken but it provides other suggestions for names as seen below:
Once you have found the domain name you like, add to cart and proceed to checkout. Once you proceed to checkout, you may be asked if you would like to purchase other extensions for your domain (.NET, .ORG, .INFO, etc), simply click No and continue.
Next is the registration process which is very simple and easy to follow. You will be provided with different payment methods for the domain name transaction.
You will also be asked to choose one of the many privacy protection options and web hosting services; simply decline all of these because I will show you how to get the proper web hosting further down in the guide. GoDaddy makes a lot of money off of customers on these “upsells” (getting you to buy additional products beyond the one you’re buying already, the domain name), but I don’t recommend their other services. We just want them for the domain names!
Once the transaction is complete, you will receive an official receipt via email as well as a timeframe for which your domain name will be ready (usually within minutes, but definitely within 24 hours).
Step 2 – Get Web Hosting
Now that you have your domain name, you need a web host for the actual files of your website. Be sure to choose one from an established host and NEVER go for free web hosting offers – these services usually place ads or links on your website that you have no control over, or are unreliable, and may even go out of business. Web hosting is inexpensive enough that if you’re serious about making a website, you should shell out the few dollars it takes to get a reliable web host.
The only web host that I use is HOSTGATOR. They are a very reliable host and I have hosted many websites with them for many years. For the purposes of this guide, we will be using Hostgator.com.
There are MANY web hosting companies to choose from, and many of them are good. I wouldn’t worry too much about which web hosting company to choose from right now, you can ALWAYS move web hosts at a later date if you are unhappy with your service or your website grows beyond the limits of your current host. Popular hosts include HostGator, BlueHost, Hostmonster, and GoDaddy. The only one of those that I wouldn’t use is GoDaddy – they have their own admin setup that is different than most hosts and can be a little finicky to use. I’ve used GoDaddy hosting in the past, so I know. If you already have GoDaddy hosting, I wouldn’t sweat it – you can either go ahead and get another hosting account from HostGator, or continue using GoDaddy (you’ll have to adjust the guide below for their system).
- Go to http://www.hostgator.com
- You will see a big tab that says “View Web Hosting Plans”. Click that tab and it will take you to a page that shows the plans as seen below:
- Since you have a single domain, you will order the Hatchling Plan. Go ahead and click ORDER NOW for that plan.
- Once you click that, you will be prompted to the next step to choose a domain. Since you already have a Domain Name, go to that box and enter your domain name and click CONTINUE TO STEP 2. The box is shown below:
- The next step is the billing information step, which is self-explanatory. Create a username, password and enter your billing information for payment.
Your hosting plan will be available usually within one hour after payment. Check your email for pertinent information related to setting up your hosting plan. KEEP THIS EMAIL. The information in this email should be kept secure, as anyone with this information can access your website’s files!
Now, it’s time to connect the dots between the domain and the web host.
Step 3 – Connect Your Domain to Your Web Host
At first, this may come across as complicated when people hear of changing DNS, name servers etc. but this a straightforward process, and you have nothing to worry about! I’ll show you everything!
Here’s what you do:
- Go back to http://www.godaddy.com. Login if you are not already:
- Once you’re logged in, move your cursor over the Domains tab which is the first tab on the bar of tabs and go down to Domain Management and select.
- Next you will need to select your domain name by clicking on it where you will be taken to a new page related to your “domain information”.
- There will be a section about Nameservers. Click on “Set Nameservers.”
- A pop up window will appear on Set Nameservers as shown below:
- Click on “I have specific nameservers for my domains”. You will need to fill out the boxes Nameserver 1 and Nameserver 2 with the information you were given by Hostgator via email. The other slot should be left blank.
- Once that has been done, click OK and you are ready to proceed to the next step. These changes should take effect within 2 hours. It may take more time, but if you experience problems in this regard, feel free to contact the GoDaddy support staff for assistance.
You’ve done it! You have officially linked your GoDaddy domain to your Hostgator account!
Step 4 – Install WordPress
WordPress has become a popular platform for websites because it is very easy to install and simple to use. For those persons who are not technologically savvy and not versed on html coding, WordPress is the solution!
Simply put, WordPress is user-friendly. It provides you with one of the easiest tools to build a website. You can avoid paying a web designer to design a theme for the platform of your website as WordPress comes equipped with pre-designed themes for you to choose from.
More importantly, is the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) feature which WordPress offers. As you might know, SEO is very important for new websites that want to get their name out there on the internet to attract a lot of website traffic. As such, WordPress offers 3rd party plugins including the “All in one SEO” which increases a site’s search visibility on the internet.
Now here comes the tricky part. If you decide to manually install WordPress, you may experience quite a lot of difficulty, even more so if you are new to it all. That’s exactly the reason why Hostgator was recommended. HostGator makes this part EASY.
Ideally, Hostgator is equipped with an integrated automatic WordPress installer! Cheerio! Less work for you! It’s a free feature that is included in your Hostgator package. So with that being said, you’re one click away from installing your WordPress via Hostgator auto-installer. Here are the steps:
- Remember in Step 3 of this guide where you have to connect your domain to your web host? Assuming your domain via Godaddy is already pointing to Hostgator nameservers, go and type in this URL: www.yourwebsite.com/cpanel
- Using the login info for Hostgator cpanel which was provided to you via the email received from Hostgator when you purchased your web hosting plan; login in where you will be directed to a page that shows the Hostgator cpanel. This page is something you should definitely familiarize yourself with as it offers a lot of features that will prove beneficial to the smooth running of your website. It also makes it more appealing to website traffic.
- On this page, locate the Software/Services box and click on Fantastico De Luxe which has a blue smiley face as the icon.
You will then see a bar looking like this:
You are interested in the left side which illustrates Navigation and options under it and Blogs, also with options. Click on WordPress under blogs where you will be given the option to select New Installation.
- Select this and follow the instructions it provides. What is asked of you is to fill out information related to configuration such as your email address, the username and password you would like for your WordPress etc. NOTE: Leave the field named “Install in Directory” BLANK!
- Next, it’s time to install WordPress which is done by clicking “Install WordPress”. Once that’s been done, the next page will provide you with your MYSQL username and access to URL which should be saved for future purposes. Once you have recorded this info, click “Finish Installation”.
Congratulations! You have successfully installed your WordPress website! That wasn’t so bad after all was it? But you’re not quite done yet, next you want to configure the actual website including changing the theme from the default “twenty-ten” to which ever pre-designed theme you wish to use!
Step 5 – Configure WordPress Website
After you have gained access to you WordPress website, it is time to configure it to your preference. So now you are going to sign into your site using the information you just set up. In a web page, type your website URL and add /wp-login [www.yourwebsite.com/wp-login] and you will be taken to a page to sign in. Once that’s done, you will be directed to a page that looks like this (you can click on the image to expand it):
This is known as your WordPress (WP) Dashboard and you should familiarize yourself with this as you will be accessing very often. Everything that you do on this WordPress site including making changes, it will be shown on your Dashboard as shown below.
One of the first things that will pop at you is the easy-links to posts, pages, category, tags as well as to comments and to change your WordPress theme.
Now, on the left hand side, these are the sub-menus that you need to concentrate on:
- Posts- If you will be utilizing your WordPress website as a blog, then this feature will be of most importance to you as it provides the means of adding content to your site. When you create a post, you can stipulate which page you would like it to show on, if you would like more than one posts on the same page etc.
- Media- This option is used to manage the uploading of pictures and videos to your WordPress site.
- Pages- Here, you can add and remove pages from your website. You can also format the pages to your preference such as the page templates or changing the order of the pages.
- Links- This menu option allows you to create numerous links and link categories which can be used later on to create customized sidebar widgets.
- Appearance- This deals with everything related to the appearance of your website and allows you to play around with its features until you find the look you wish your website to have.
- Plugins- This feature comes in handy when you want to increase your search engine visibility of your site as well as increase the speed of the site’s performance.
- Users- If you ever are in need of others accessing the backend of your site to add posts or modify its features, you can add a user without giving them your personal username and password to use. Simply add a user, create the username and password for that person (persons) and provide them with the information. You can also limit their control of your site e.g. you can allow them to add posts as drafts but never publish them. That way, you can review their work before it is shown to the public!
Lastly is the Settings section which allows you to do everything else related to your website including adding the site/blog’s names, date format, description as well as monitor the comments of the public etc. You can also access the plugins feature from this menu! Have fun!
Congratulations! You have officially made your own website!