You have successfully found the guide to tell you just how to make a website simply and easily. In today’s digital age, having an online presence is essential for individuals and businesses alike. One of the fundamental ways to establish that presence is by creating a website.
Whether you want to showcase your portfolio, start a blog, promote your business, or share your passion, building a website has become remarkably accessible, even for those with little to no technical background.
This guide will walk you through the basic steps of creating a website, from planning to publishing, enabling you to embark on your online journey with confidence.
How to make a website
Here we will show you a straightforward step-by-step guide to making a website:
Step 1: Clarify the Purpose of Your Website
Before you start investing time and resources into creating a website, it’s crucial to determine what the website will be about. Many people rush into buying domain names and hosting without a clear idea of their website’s focus or online business plan. This can lead to a waste of money.
If you’re considering launching an online business, there’s an additional planning aspect. You need to assess whether there’s a market for your business, plan its promotion, analyze competitors, and more. However, this falls under the realm of ‘business planning,’ which we’ll revisit later.
For now, ensure that you have a well-defined concept for your website and think about its main objective. Here are some simple examples of website goals:
- Building an Online Brand: Establishing a digital presence to represent your identity.
- Generating Revenue from Ads or Affiliate Marketing: Making money through advertisements or promoting others’ products.
- Sharing Ideas on a Blog: Expressing your thoughts, insights, and expertise through written content.
- Showcasing Your Portfolio to Attract Clients: Displaying your work to attract potential clients or employers.
- Selling Products and Services Online: Setting up an online store to sell products or services.
- Creating a Website Just for Fun: Making a website for personal enjoyment or experimentation.
How you proceed with creating your website will largely depend on your goals. Remember that websites can evolve and shift their focus if you decide to pursue different outcomes.
However, launching a new website without a clear plan is likely to result in a lack of motivation to invest the necessary effort.
Step 2: Secure Your Website’s Domain Name
For many, this is the moment when the idea of making a website transforms into an actual project. Acquiring a domain name involves investing some of your hard-earned money. This means that if you later decide to abandon the website, the money spent on the domain is nonrefundable.
The positive aspect is that most domain names aren’t excessively expensive. A typical .com domain usually costs around $10-15 per year. This is a great value, and during sales events, you might even snag a domain for an even lower price.
While there are numerous options for Top-Level Domains (TLDs) beyond .com, if you’re working on your first website, it’s advisable to stick with the well-established choice. .com domains are generally seen as more professional and are the standard for the majority of websites.
(Note: A gTLD, or Generic Top-Level Domain, encompasses standard TLDs like .com, .org, .net, and similar extensions.)
From a technical standpoint, there’s no actual distinction between a .com domain and, let’s say, a .coffee domain. However, unconventional TLDs can sometimes confuse users and impact how your website is perceived.
The process of registering a domain is straightforward. Choose a domain name, check its availability, and if it’s available, make the purchase. You’ll need to provide some personal details and decide if you want to include any additional features or services.
Step 3: Choose a Hosting Provider
Selecting a hosting provider is a pivotal decision, and it might seem like a complex topic at first. With numerous options available, here’s what you should consider when making your choice:
- Quality Varies: Not all hosting services are of the same quality. Some excel in certain areas, while others might not meet your needs as effectively.
- Specialization: Some hosting services are tailored for specific types of websites, like e-commerce or WordPress sites.
- Free Hosting: While free hosting options exist, they often come with limitations in terms of service quality and features.
- Pricing Tricks: Be cautious of hosting providers that advertise low initial prices but increase significantly when you renew your contract.
- Research: Reading reviews and gathering information about different hosting options is essential before committing.
It’s advisable to stick with the same hosting provider throughout your website’s lifecycle. So, make sure they offer reliable service before finalizing your decision.
When setting up your website, there’s a temptation to either go for the cheapest hosting service or invest in more than you need. For beginners, we suggest considering shared hosting or managed hosting:
- Shared Hosting: It’s cost-effective but might require more hands-on effort to optimize your website’s performance.
- Managed Hosting: This option costs more but relieves you of concerns about optimization, backups, and security (depending on the host).
If you’re planning to use specific software or a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress, choosing a hosting provider with plans optimized for it is wise. For instance, DreamPress plans come with pre-installed WordPress and managed services.
After signing up for hosting, you’ll need to direct your domain to the new servers. This isn’t an automatic process, and if you’re unsure about changing your domain’s settings, your registrar’s support team can assist you.
Step 4: Select the Software for Building Your Website
In modern times, most websites are constructed using software like WordPress. Content Management Systems (CMSs) like WordPress offer the technical framework for nearly any kind of website. With CMSs, you can effortlessly craft pages, customize them through built-in tools, alter the design using themes or templates, and even add extra features via plugins.
Impressively, 43.2% of existing websites rely on WordPress for good reasons. If this is your first website endeavour, WordPress offers a strong foundation to grow your site into a popular online destination.
Of course, if you’re comfortable with other CMS or software options, feel free to explore them. You’re the best judge of the features you require, so trust your judgment.
If you opt for WordPress, you’ll need to install the CMS on the server provided by your web host. Many hosts offer a control panel where you can use automatic installers for widely used software. Some hosts even pre-install WordPress when you sign up, particularly if you’re on a WordPress-specific or managed hosting plan.
Once WordPress is up and running, invest time in familiarizing yourself with its workings. Explore each section of the dashboard, experiment with different themes and plugins, and create a few trial pages. This will be your starting point for actual website design and development, and understanding the interface will significantly streamline the process.
Step 5: Plan the Structure of Your Website
You already have a clear vision of your website’s purpose, along with a domain, hosting, and the technical backbone in place. Now, it’s time to outline your site’s structure.
By structure, we mean determining the pages your site will consist of and outlining the essential components for each page. For instance, if you intend to have a “Contact Us” page, consider including a contact form.
At this stage, your layout can be quite basic. It’s recommended not to spend too much time finalizing your website’s design specifics, as this is a separate phase, and your design might evolve significantly during development.
If you’re uncertain about which pages to include, here’s a basic list that most websites find valuable:
- Homepage: The central hub of your website, where key elements should be strategically placed.
- About Us: Share more about you and your team, including your website’s objectives.
- Contact Us: Make it easy for users to reach out via email or a contact form.
- Blog: Display your latest blog posts and provide access to archived content.
- Shop: If you’re selling products, this is where visitors can explore your offerings.
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Address common queries users might have about your content, services, or products.
As a beginner, consider researching websites targeting the same audience you aim to attract. For instance, if you’re starting a cooking blog, examine other food-related sites to understand their structure. Essentially, analyze the competition to gather insights.
This exploration will help you determine the pages and elements to incorporate. Make a list of these details and save examples of pages you find inspiring. These references will prove valuable during the design phase.
Step 6: Embark on Designing Your Website
After identifying the pages and elements you want on your website, it’s time to dive into the actual work. This phase involves creating, designing, and refining your envisioned pages until you’re satisfied with the outcome.
This step can be a bit challenging if you lack a background in web development or design. While it’s relatively simple to assemble basic pages using HTML and CSS, modern websites involve advanced features that can’t be easily crafted through quick tutorials.
If creating and designing pages from scratch seems daunting, you have two options: hire a professional or leverage a Content Management System (CMS).
Option #1: Engage a Professional Web Developer
Though website building has become more accessible, not everyone has the time, skills, or inclination to construct multiple pages from the ground up. This is particularly true if your project demands a polished and professional appearance.
Hiring a skilled web developer is often a smart choice. For endeavors like small business websites or online stores, investing in a developer can yield significant benefits.
A professional developer can take your plans and translate them into reality. They understand the possibilities and limitations, and they can likely complete the project more swiftly than you could alone.
However, it’s worth noting that professional web developers come with a cost. Freelance developers charge anywhere from $35 to $150 per hour on average. This implies that a basic website requiring around ten hours of work could cost roughly $2,000 at the lower end.
If you opt for this route, it’s crucial to set up hosting and your domain before contacting a developer. You should also provide a detailed outline of desired pages, design preferences, examples of preferred websites, and any other pertinent information.
By preparing thoroughly, you enable the developer to commence work more efficiently, avoiding unnecessary expenses. Expect this process to take longer than anticipated, incur additional costs, and involve revisions. Being prepared is essential.
Option #2: Utilize a CMS with Theme Support
Modern Content Management Systems (CMSs) frequently incorporate support for templates or themes. These are pre-designed layouts for specific types of pages, expediting the website setup process You can explore the WordPress theme repository to visualize what themes offer:
These themes are often free and can be downloaded and installed within minutes. WordPress allows you to use multiple themes and switch between them effortlessly to test various designs.
Themes, however, aren’t ready-made designs. Even after setting up a theme, customization is necessary. You’ll need to personalize it, establish your required pages, input content, and ensure crucial components aren’t overlooked. Though work remains, using themes spares you the intricacies of coding and creating pages from scratch.
Apart from themes, CMSs like WordPress often incorporate visual editors or website builders. These interfaces feature pre-built elements you can drag and drop to craft and personalize your pages:
This way, you can construct fully functional websites without extensive web development expertise. While you’ll still need time to familiarize yourself with tools like the WordPress Block Editor, this process is far more accessible than mastering web development from the ground up.
Step 7: Enhance User Experience (UX)
At this stage, your website should be almost ready for launch. Pages will be operational, and essential content will be in place. This means all pages will contain both written and visual content, and users should be able to navigate between pages and complete actions seamlessly.
However, it’s important to emphasize the term “should” because many individuals skip the crucial step of testing their websites before making them public. This step is simple but often overlooked. Involve friends or colleagues to test your website’s functionality. To gain valuable insights from their experiences, ask them:
- Is the website easy to navigate?
- Did you encounter any non-functional elements or pages?
- Do you feel the website lacks any important features?
- Is there any aspect of using the site that you found difficult or disliked?
It’s important to note that not all feedback will be immediately actionable. Feedback from professional designers or web developers is more likely to pinpoint usability issues. They can highlight problems like hard-to-read text, inconspicuous buttons, malfunctioning forms, calls-to-action (CTAs) needing improvements, and more.
While you can gather user experience feedback after launching and receiving visitors, attracting those initial users requires significant effort. To ensure these users return, your website must appear as a professional project rather than something hastily put together.
Step 8: Develop Your Marketing Strategy
Websites don’t naturally draw visitors out of thin air. To attract people to your website, you need a robust marketing plan.
Various approaches can be employed, but these are the main strategies to focus on:
- Content Marketing: This involves creating content that users discover through search engines or social media. If you’re inclined toward content marketing, familiarize yourself with Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
- Email Marketing: Establish an email list and encourage visitors to subscribe. Employ email campaigns to draw subscribers back to your website and promote products/services.
- Social Media Marketing: Maintain an active presence on social media platforms and direct your followers to your website.
- Paid Advertising: This approach requires a budget to pay for ads on search engines, social media, and other websites. Engaging content and offers are vital to retaining visitors acquired through paid ads.
Ideally, a blend of the first three methods is advisable. Paid advertising, the fourth option, is discretionary. It’s recommended for e-commerce sites, service-selling endeavors, or if your website generates revenue. This way, you can offset ad costs without running at a loss.
Most websites can benefit from both an email list and a social media presence. If you begin building your email list from your website’s launch, you can maximize the number of subscribers.
Initially, consider sending email campaigns every two weeks to update subscribers about new content or offers. As your website and subscriber base grow, you can increase the frequency of these campaigns.
For social media, focus on the platform where your audience is most active. Engage with accounts sharing similar interests, post about website updates, and provide links back to your site when relevant.
Remember, both email and social media marketing require time to gain traction as you gather subscribers and followers. Don’t be discouraged if interactions take a while to pick up, as your efforts will eventually pay off.
Step 9: Grasp the Essentials of SEO
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a remarkably potent tool for boosting your website’s traffic. If you can master the art of optimizing your content for search engines and provide valuable information that people are actively seeking, you’ll undoubtedly attract more visitors.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) involves enhancing your site’s position in search results. These results are generated based on various factors, including the relevance and quality of your site’s content. By optimizing your site for these factors, you can elevate your rankings and visibility.
The realm of SEO is vast, and here are some key considerations for “on-page” optimization:
- Keyword Research: Keywords are the terms people use when searching on engines. A successful SEO strategy involves identifying the keywords people are using and crafting content around those topics.
- Descriptive Page Titles and Subheadings: Search engines rely on contextual data rather than true understanding. Titles and subheadings play a significant role in determining when results should be displayed. Use clear titles that inform users about the content in each section.
- Meta Descriptions: These short blurbs appear beneath titles in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). A well-crafted meta description can improve clickthrough rates for your pages.
- Internal Links: Linking to other pages within your site enhances on-page engagement and demonstrates your site’s relevancy.
- Earning Backlinks: Acquiring links from other websites is crucial in SEO. Search engines consider backlinks as indicators of credibility, so it’s vital to garner links from other sites.
This is just the tip of the iceberg in the world of SEO. There’s much more to explore, including structured data, local SEO, voice search optimization, and more.
For now, concentrate on the fundamental SEO practices and absorb as much knowledge on the subject as possible. It’s important to note that SEO’s results might not manifest immediately; it could take months or even years to see substantial payoff.
However, investing in SEO is a reliable approach to securing consistent traffic for your website.
Step 10: Enrol in an Analytics Service
While numerous web hosts offer basic information about your website’s traffic, if you’re seeking more insightful details than a simple “You received 100 visits,” you’ll need to employ an analytics service.
Analytics tools, such as Google Analytics, provide you with the ability to track traffic patterns, identify referring sites, analyze user engagement on different pages, and access a wealth of other information.
This data proves invaluable in managing your website effectively and evaluating the efficacy of your marketing strategies. For instance, if you notice limited organic traffic, it might indicate a need to enhance your SEO efforts.
Among the range of options, we recommend Google Analytics for several reasons. It’s a free and exceptionally comprehensive tool. Setting it up is relatively straightforward for most websites. Starting data collection from the moment your site goes live enables you to oversee every facet of its growth.
Additionally, Google Search Console is an excellent complementary tool. It aids in tracking the keywords driving traffic to your site and offers suggestions for addressing performance issues. Begin making Your Website Today.
If the idea of making a website has been hovering in your mind, don’t let hesitation hold you back. While the process might be time-consuming and occasionally frustrating, it’s important to emphasize that creating a website has never been more accessible.
You don’t need coding skills to construct an impressive-looking site, and much of the substantial work comes after the pages are live.
For newcomers, we strongly recommend utilizing WordPress. This versatile Content Management System (CMS) suits both small and large-scale projects. It’s highly customizable and incorporates a visual editor that simplifies the page-building process considerably.
If you’re uncertain about tackling everything on your own, rest assured, we’re here to assist you.