If you’re a beginner and not sure how to go about building a website and host it then there’s some good news for you! This is the guide you need to follow to get all the details. The best part of this guide is that the steps indicated here are fairly simple to understand and follow. For your benefit, I’ve divided the entire guide into 3 easy-to-follow steps. So, here are the details…
Step 1: – Choosing a website platform
Before starting with anything else, you need to select a platform from where you’re going to build your website. This is what you need to consider before considering domain names or color schemes.
But before you get down to selecting the best platform for your website, it is important that you understand what a ‘platform’ is. To put simply, a platform is where you build your website and manage your content. In the olden days, building websites required you to have adequate knowledge on HTML codes, Flash, and CSS. All of these were pretty tough and required time to master.
However, today, you don’t need to acquire such knowledge. In fact, you can build your website from scratch with the help of content management systems like WordPress. Other popular platforms you’ll come across today are Drupal and Joomla.
Though there are quite a few options available to you in choosing a website platform, I suggest you stick to WordPress for following reasons:
- Building your website is easy with WordPress. In fact, if you’re familiar with MS Word then you already know how to add your content. Whether you want to build a social networking site or business pages, WordPress can do it all for you through free plugins. Did you know that you can use the plugins to add subscription forms, contact forms, image galleries, and many others?
- It doesn’t cost a thing to use WordPress for downloading and installing. In fact, millions are already WordPress for creating interesting and useful templates and themes. So, you too can use it!
- Irrespective of the website you need – online stores or business sites or anything in between, WordPress can easily handle your requirements. You’ll be glad to know that WordPress is already being used by reputed organizations like NASA, Google Ventures, CNN, Reuters, Mozilla, eBay, and others.
- Given that people of all walks of life use WordPress for their website requirements, like Theme developers, Bloggers, Plugin creators, Webmaster, and others, it is really easy to get help whenever you need it. Besides this, you’re sure to find a lot of information on the platform via its support forum. Even on YouTube, you’re sure to find useful information about WordPress.
- There is absolutely no need to hire a web developer for your website needs. This is because the website you develop using WordPress will be responsive. It also means that your website will look great on all devices including tablet, smartphone, and others.
Step 2: – Identify your domain name and host
For your website to be up and running, you need to have two things in place – a domain name and hosting.
Remember, it will not cost you anything to use WordPress platform. However, you still need to pay for hosting and domain name. Each of these should cost you no more than $3-$5 a month, and this is surely not going to break your bank.
Having a domain name of your own not only looks more professional but it is also super affordable. Similar is the case with web hosting. It is easy to host your own website as it will enable your website to load quicker!
Wondering where you can get your domain name and hosting? There are many service providers between whom you can select these days. I’ve always found Bluehost to be a reliable and efficient provider. Besides getting a free domain name from them, hosting a website cost me less than a movie ticket! No doubt, you can always try other providers if they meet your requirements. If you’re not comfortable with any of them, then you may have to host the website by yourself. However, this is certainly not going to be easy! Therefore, it is worthwhile considering an experienced, affordable, and reliable host for your website. When you do get a domain name, you’ll also get a personal e-mail account that will be more professional than the generic ones you’ll get with Yahoo or Gmail.
Now that you have identified the source for your domain name, you need to consider the kind of domain name for your purpose. For example, if you’re planning to have a website for yourself then the domain name could be something like yourname.com. However, if the website is for your business then consider having a domain name like companyname.com. More often than not, domain names usually end with .net, .org, or .com. However, these days, interesting domain extensions have come about including .pizza, .agency, etc.
Remember, there are a few things you need to consider while picking up a domain name. For example, you need to make sure that your domain name is catchy, memorable, and brandable. So, the thumb rule for you is quite simple – if you like the domain name, just go for it!
Before you proceed to the 3rd step, you need to do a couple of things:
- Make sure you brainstorm to select a domain name that will perfectly reflect your future blog, business, or website.
- Make sure to secure your web hosting and domain name. Whilst I’m comfortable using Bluehost for this purpose, you’re free to any other as long as they’re simple and reliable.
Step 3: – Setting up your website and tweaking it to perfection!
Once you have got the domain name and have completed hosting, you’re truly on your way to get started with your website! However, you first need to install WordPress to your domain.
So, how do you install WordPress? There are two possible approaches for your installation. While one of them is easy, other is slightly complicated.
1. one-click installation
If you have chosen responsible and experienced hosting companies like Bluehost then chances are that they would have incorporated one-click WordPress installation for your website.
More often than not this option would be seen in the control panel as ‘1-click-installation’.
Here are some common steps you’ll come across most reputed hosting companies:
- Log in to your hosting account and go to control panel.
- Under ‘WordPress’ icon, select the domain where your website will be installed.
- Click the ‘Install Now’ option. Your WordPress website should be ready before you!
2. Manual installation
While a majority of web hosts of today give you one-click installation options, there may be a few that still require you to go about installation procedures manually. You need to follow a manual guide that is available easily on the internet to get your website installed perfectly.
Now that you have got WordPress installed on your domain, it is the time you get a template or theme for your website. After all, this is what is required to make your website look different from others. The good news is that you’ll get to choose from hundreds of professionally designed and awesome themes and template to choose for your website. The following steps will help you find a perfect theme for your website:
- In the first step, you need to log in to your WordPress site and locate the dashboard. As everything is neatly labeled here, it shouldn’t be tough to locate the features.
- In the next step, you can access many free themes that are available to you. In the dashboard, click on ‘themes’ within ‘Appearance’ section along the side bar. Here, you should easily be able to locate over 1500 free themes. All of these themes are free and look professional. If you want to quickly locate a theme that matches your website needs then you can either use filter or type in a relevant keyword in the search bar and select a theme that matches your website.
- Once a suitable theme has been identified, installing it is as easy as clicking ‘Install’ and then ‘Activate’.
With the installation of theme for your website complete, it is now time for adding content. Here are some basics that can help you:
For adding pages and editing them:
It doesn’t matter the page you need for the website, just select the ‘Pages’ section and click ‘Add New’ option. Once you do this, you’ll get a screen that will be quite similar to what you would have got in MS Word. Now add content, images, and other things to come up with the page you wanted and save it in the end.
For adding pages to the menu, you need to click ‘Menus’ under ‘Appearance’ option in the side bar. Then select the page that needs to be added and then click ‘Add to Menu’.
You have an option of selecting different posts and categories when you consider adding blogs to your site. For example, if you want to add ‘blog’ category, then all you need to do is add it to your menu and get going with your posts! The process is simple – Go to ‘Posts’ and then select ‘Categories’. Once the category is created, add it to your menu and you’re done!
Similarly, there are many other customization options and tweaks available for you. All of these options can be tried out from your dashboard. Some of these options include – changing tagline or your title, disabling comments for pages and posts, editing side bar, setting up your static page, and others.
Making use of Plugins
To get the maximum out of your WordPress website, there’s an option of using Plugins that will let you add functions and features to your website easily.
Plugins are basically shortcuts that will let your site do what it wants to do, without having to build separate features for the same. For example, you can use plugins for adding submission forms, online stores, photo galleries, and more.
Congratulations! Your website is now ready…
If you have clearly followed all the steps mentioned in this guide, then you can be sure of having your website fully functional and ready for use.