How To Make A Website (Complete Beginner’s Guide)
Ryan Perry—Last Updated January 17th, 2019
So, you want to create a website? Well, you’ve come to the right place.
For the past decade, I’ve launched, managed, and scaled dozens of websites that not only looked nice, but actually got a lot of website visitors, too. And today, I’m going to share the lessons I’ve learned with you.
Despite more than 5 years of experience dabbling in the wonderful world of “web design”, my journey was far from easy. I made every mistake and misstep possible and I paid for it handsomely with lost traffic, failed websites, and more than a few dollars of my own money.
To help you avoid these mistakes, make your website the right way, and get off the line faster than a souped up Bugatti Veyron, I’ve put together this quick guide that will show you exactly how to create a website from start to finish.
Sound good? Then let’s dive in.
A Quick Reality Check
Before I begin explaining the nuances of starting, scaling, and profiting from your very own website, it’s important that you define the goals for your site and understand the reality facing site builders in 2019.
I’m just going to come out and say it…
Managing a website is a lot of work. In fact, I’d argue that actually getting your website off the ground is infinitely more difficult than working your conventional 9-5 or even starting a product/service based business.
There’s a metric fark load of websites on the internet with more being added everyday. And finding a way to make your site and message stand out amidst the crowd is no easy task.
But if you’re up for the challenge, I promise it will be one of the most rewarding and (potentially) profitable endeavors you ever undertake.
So who should and shouldn’t make a website? Well, I’m glad you asked.
You should create a website if:
- You want to make a full time living online and are willing to put in the work (typically 1-3 years).
- You’re a designer looking to increase your exposure and get picked up by a web design agency.
- You run a small business and want to increase the visibility of your brand.
- You just want to share important thoughts and ideas with the rest of the world.
If this sounds like you, then great! I’ll teach you exactly how you can accomplish these goals in just a minute.
However, if you want to make a website because:
- You want to generate tons of passive income overnight
- You’re looking to “get rich quick”
- You want to have an “overnight” success like
Then I’ve got a hard wake up call for you… That’s not going to happen.
Becoming an “internet” success story takes time, patience, hard work, and thick skin. You must be willing to face failure on a daily basis, design sites that no one will see, and stick with it long after most people would have thrown in the towel. But if you do, I promise it will be worth it.
If you’re still on board with this whole making a website thing and think you have what it takes to make it in this hyper competitive industry, then it’s time to dive in and learn exactly how to do it.
Four Steps to Building an Awesome Website
Now, making your own website from scratch (and turning it into a smashing success) will take some work… but it’s fairly straightforward.
Here are the basic steps you’ll need to take:
- Get design inspiration from other sites.
- Sign up for your website builder platform (hint: we strongly recommend Wix or WordPress).
- Select your web host & register your domain name.
- Setup your new website and start customizing it!
Now, let’s dive into each one in a bit more detail so you can get off to the races and start kicking some serious website building ass!
Step 1: Get Design Inspiration
“There are no new ideas, only new ways of making them felt.”Audre Lorde
If you’re running a product or service based business, this will be the absolute easiest part of this entire process. You’re simply going to make a website that looks like other product or services businesses in your industry, and then add your own style.
If it’s just you (and not any company website), it’s a different story entirely. Picking the ideal design for your new site often feels like picking a name for a new baby. But don’t freak out… As long as you pick a flexible website builder (more on that in a second) you can always update your design later down the line so that you aren’t trapped in an idea you don’t love.
With that being said, here are a few quick tips to help you pick the perfect niche for your new website.
‘Couple Things to Think About Before All Ya’ll Start Makin’ Sites
- Pick a niche you will enjoy. If you don’t love what you’re about to build, your design will reflect your apathy. You should only create sites about topics you thoroughly enjoy (unless, of course, you’re creating a website for someone else!)
- Make a website that leaves room for growth. I know you might love those one page scroll-forever sites, but after a few months of looking at it, you’re going to get tired of looking at it. Select a design that stokes your creativity now and in the future.
- After you finish the site design, write about what you know or what you’re learning. There are two ways you can make your website awesome. By writing about what you already know (establishing yourself as the expert) or writing about what you are currently learning (and sharing the journey with your audience). For example, if you are a small business owner who already has multiple successful businesses, you can talk about how others can do the same. However, if you are just getting started in the world of entrepreneurship, you can still bring others along for the journey to watch your site grow.
Remember, if you want to profit from your website, you must become the “Go-to” guy or gal in your specific industry. If you can’t foresee yourself being that person with a unique design or engaging content, then keep searching until you find a niche where you can.
Step 2: Pick Your Website Builder
“WordPress is by far the most effective and intuitive platform for your new website.” Abraham Lincoln 😉
I’m going to be blunt here. If you don’t use WordPress, your chances of having a beautiful website (with no experience) are tantamount to winning the lottery.
I know there are plenty of other options out there like Squarespace, Weebly, and other “Free” website builders, but most of them are a waste of your time.
Note: if you are an absolute beginner, then website builders like Wix are a good place to get started with a new website, and just get your feet wet.
WordPress is the only platform used by both beginners and industry experts alike, and if you want to stand a chance of entering into the big leagues, it’s what you’ll use too.
The reasons are pretty simple.
- With other “free” website builders platforms you don’t own your content and you don’t control the website (and one misstep can mean having your content lost forever)
- WordPress has more than 7 million users meaning that you have a massive online community and an abundance of developer tools at your disposal.
- It’s incredibly simple to use.
- It’s more secure than a Nun’s nether regions. Seriously, NASA uses it and so do billion dollar brands.
- It’s insanely customizable. Want a peanut butter & jelly themed website? You can do that.
So for the love of everything holy and beautiful in this world… Use WordPress, okay?
Step 3: Pick Your Web Host & Registering Your Domain
“Want the best web hosting on the planet? Use SiteGround” Some guy on the Internet
Hopefully, you’re convinced that WordPress is the best choice to quickly make a website, but it’s only the first step in getting your site up and running.
WordPress is merely the software that will allow you to design the site, but it won’t actually put your content on the internet. To share your content with the masses, you’ll need to purchase server space through a web host (don’t worry, if you follow my recommendation, it’ll be dirt cheap).
With the myriad of web hosting services available, it can be difficult to pick the one that is right for your needs. So I’m going to help you out and make this super simple.
The best web host that I’ve found after running a web development agency responsible for hosting and developing almost 1,000 websites over the past decade, I’ve found that SiteGround is by far the best web host for first time website creators.
Not to Hard, Not to Limited…Just Right…..
Simply put they offer unparalleled performance for the price and fall inside of the “Goldilocks’ Hosting Zone”.
They aren’t so inexpensive that they lack the resources to maintain their servers and customer support team but they aren’t so advanced that you’ll pay out the wazoo for premium features that you don’t need (yet).
Once you navigate to SiteGround’s website, you’ll be presented with three hosting options.
- Startup Plan (Perfect for personal websites)
- The Grow Big Plan (Ideal for individuals looking to monetize their website quickly)
- The GoGeek Plan (Perfect for small businesses and eCommerce websites)
If you’re just getting started out then you should be fine using the Startup or Grow Big plan. However, if you’re running a small business and need the extra bandwidth and security features, GoGeek will keep your website secure and running at lightning fast speeds for a nominal fee.
After you’ve settled on the plan that is right for you, it’s time to put in your billing info and select the length of time for your new hosting service.
The longer the hosting period is, the less expensive it will be. If you have the budget for it, I highly recommend opting for 36 months of hosting since this will ensure that you’re locked in at the introductory price for the longest amount of time possible.
Once you’ve put in your details, you’ll be asked to either select a new domain name or register an existing one.
Now, before we move on, I want to digress for just a moment and discuss how you should go about selecting the ideal domain name.
To ensure that your websie has as much viral and profit potential as possible, you’ll want to make your domain:
- Short: Three words or less is ideal
- Easy to spell and remember: Avoid using letters or numbers that could be easily confused, i.e. 4 and for or using words that are hard to spell
- Versatile or Personal: Purchasing yourname.com is ideal here as it ensures that you can change niches whenever you see fit. However, if you can’t purchase yourname.com then try to find a domain name that is versatile and gives you some wiggle room should you decide to change niches. For example, topdogmarketing.com would be better than topdogemailmarketing.com as it gives you the ability to shift niches should you see fit.
With that out of the way, go ahead and select your FREE domain name and continue through this process.
Next, you’ll be asked to fill out some personal information before finalizing your order. Don’t worry. SiteGround provides all of their customers with free privacy protection meaning that your information won’t be sold off to Saudi Princes who are just dying to send you free money (sarcasm alert).
And that’s it! Now you’re ready to setup WordPress on your SiteGround domain and get ready to write words that make money!
Step 4: Setup and Design Your WordPress Website
“Design your WordPress website! Do it Nauwwww” Arnold Schwarzenegger
Installing WordPress with SiteGround
To finally get your website up and running, you’ll need to install WordPress onto your new website. Although you can do this manually, using SiteGround’s Expert Install is so stupid easy that I’m not even going to bother walking you through a manual installation.
Here’s all you need to do.
First, go to your SiteGround customer portal and then navigate to the ‘Support’ tab.
Next, scroll down until you see the section titled ‘WordPress Assistance’.
From there, SiteGround will walk you through the installation process step by step and instruct you to create a username/password combination for your new website.
All told, it will take you about 3 minutes and you’ll be ready to wrap up the design portion of the process and start making your site today!
Logging Into WordPress and Selecting a Theme
Once you’ve completed the WordPress assistance walkthrough, simply type www.yourdomainname.com/wp-admin and you’ll be brought to the following page.
Input your login details and get ready to create a beautiful website.
Once you login you’ll be taken to the backend admin panel of your WordPress website. From here, you’re going to navigate to “Appearance > Themes”
ou’ll be taken to a curated list of free themes that you can install and start using right away. Although free themes are fantastic, if you really want your site to *POP* off the page and wow your readers, I recommend investing in a premium theme through themeforest.net or another provider to get that extra layer of customization (it shouldn’t cost you more than $60 for a badass WordPress them).
Once you’ve selected a theme, simply click ‘Install’ and WordPress’s magic elves will set to work installing your new theme onto your site.
After the installation is complete, you’re going to be presented with a notification that the theme has been installed and you can now activate it.
Once this is done, it’s time to optimize your new website for Google and other major search engines so that your content will actually get seen by others.
Creating a Search Engine Friendly Website
The first step in getting your website set up for search engine success is to ensure that your permalinks are search engine (and human) friendly.
For example, WordPress’s standard permalink structure looks like this…
A much better structure would be something like this…
Luckily, changing the permalink structure of your website is super easy.
Simply navigate to ‘Settings > Permalinks’ and change the structure to ‘Post Name’.
Next, you’ll want to ensure that the comments on your website are set up properly. Comments can be a positive signal to search engines that your site is getting read and is worth ranking. However, if your website is receiving dozens of spammy comments designed to mass produce crappy backlinks, this will signal that your website doesn’t offer any real value.
Although you don’t want to disable comments, you want to be sure that any comments that go live on your website are actually coming from real people and provide some value.
To ensure this is the case, you’re going to navigate to ‘Settings > Discussion’ and input the following settings.
Adding Posts and Changing Headers/Font Styles on Your WordPress Website
Now that your theme is installed and your website is set up to appease the great search engine gods, it’s time to create your first post and publish that bad boy for all to see.
To get started, simply navigate to ‘Posts > Add New’
From here, you can create a title for your new post and begin writing.
To ensure that your website’s blog is as user friendly as possible, you’ll want to make sure that you implement headers and sub headers to make sure that your readers can quickly and easily scan your content to get the big ideas (afterall, people don’t read anymore… they scan)
Changing the headers inside of your post is actually pretty straightforward. Simply click on the ‘Paragraph’ button in the top left hand corner of your screen and select a header tag to use (we recommend H2 for general purposes).
If you don’t want to use a proper header tag and simply want to bold or italicize a line of text, you can use the following shortcuts.
Or, you can use the following quick keys to easily change the font style.
- “CTRL + B” is for bold
- “CTRL + U” is for underlying
- “CTRL + I” is for italics
Uploading Images to Your WordPress Website
In 2019, it’s pretty clear that it’s not always the most well written blog posts on a website that win, but rather the most aesthetically appealing.
As such, you’ll want to be sure to pimp out your new website with plenty of high quality and relevant images to make your content pop off of the page.
To do this, simply click ‘Add Media File’ above the toolbar in your new posts page.
Next, you’re going to either drag and drop or select a file to upload.
From here, you can instantly upload the file onto your website. But before you do, you’ll want to be sure to fill out the ‘Alt Text’ and ‘Title’ so that search engines know exactly what your image is about.
For example, if you were writing an article about the process of designing a new page on your website and decided to upload an image of someone coding in CSS or HTML on a computer, you’d want to use the ‘Alt Text’ and ‘Title’ tags“designing a new website.”
Once you’ve finished this process, simply click ‘Insert into post’ and you’re good to go!
Pro Tip: Make sure that your image dimensions are as small as possible within the frame of your website – Typically 640 x 420 or somewhere in that ballpark.
Adding Links to Your Site
Google uses ‘backlinks’ (or simply the links you include on your website) to determine what content you are writing about and how they should rank your content inside of the search engines.
As such, you’ll want to be sure to include a handful of relevant links, both to content on your websites and other sites, inside of each new page you build.
Doing this is pretty simple.
All you need to do is click the ‘Insert/Edit Link’ button from the toolbar.
And then fill out the link form.
The URL is the http:www link you want your readers to go to and the link text is actual text that will show up on the page.
Is the URL.
The best cheap hosts
Would be the link text.
Pro Tip: You can quickly add a link by highlighting your link text and pressing CTRL + K on Windows or Command + K on Mac.
Always be sure to select the box titled ‘Open Link in New Tab’ to ensure that reader’s stay on your website and don’t get sucked down a new rabbit hole when they click on another relevant resource.
If you followed the simple steps outlined above then you have your WordPress website up and running and you’re ready to enter into the web design arena so that you can expand your reach, build a side income, and become a world famous internet personality (hopefully).
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to us in the comments section below! Myself or one of the other authors on this site will be happy to respond and help you with any issues you might have.
Good luck! Go forth and make a website you’re proud of!