Choose a website building platform
Choose a domain and host
Set up, design and tweak your website
Step 1: Choose Your Website Platform
To create a website, you must first choose a platform on which to develop it.
What is meant by “platform”?
When I first started web development in 2000, the majority of sites were built using HTML (code), CSS, and PHP. Each of these took a long time to perfect and required a lot of time to learn. That’s why most people still believe that building a website from the ground up is tough or necessitates extensive coding and design knowledge – however this is no longer the case.
In 2022, content management systems (CMS) like as WordPress have made it possible for anyone to create a website. Simply defined, a CMS (or website construction platform) is a user-friendly platform for constructing websites and maintaining your own online content, as opposed to developing a website from the ground up using HTML, PHP, and other computer languages.
Popular Site Building Platforms in 2022
I dug up some recent information from W3 Techs and BuiltWith to better understand which content management systems are the most popular.
Take a look at the following graph:
As you can see, the WordPress website platform is used by approximately half of all websites on the Internet.
But what distinguishes them from the competition?
Why use WordPress and not website builders?
- Number one, it’s completely free (no recurring subscriptions, open-source)
WordPress is free to download, install, and use, unlike website builders or web design tools. It was created by web developers, and a significant developer community has created attractive free themes and templates, making it simple to get started quickly.
- 2. It’s extremely adaptable and user-friendly.
You already know how to contribute your own content to Google Docs if you know how to utilise it. WordPress can be easily expanded with free add-ons to handle almost any type of website, from small business websites to e-commerce sites. You can add contact forms, subscription forms, image galleries, storefronts, and other features to your website using WordPress “plugins.” And it’s all quite straightforward.
- 3. Your website will be mobile-friendly. That is, it will function on both smartphones and tablets.
The website you create will be responsive right away, looking amazing on any mobile device, smartphone, or tablet. There’s no need to pay a web designer for this.
- 4. Community assistance is available
Because there are so many people utilising the site (webmasters, small company owners, and bloggers), it’s simple to get support quickly when you need it. You may get free assistance or hire thousands of WordPress developers from this site.
In fact, I used WordPress to create WebsiteSetup.org. Here are some screenshots of my homepage and “blog” page:
WebsiteSetup Blog Page
Are there any good alternatives for WordPress?
There are some of them.
However, I would continue to use WordPress.
- Wix is an easy-to-use website builder with a simple drag-and-drop interface, but it’s more expensive, not ideal for larger projects, and it’s impossible to transfer your site out if the need arises.
- Squarespace is a very aesthetically pleasing website builder that makes constructing stunning websites simple, but it has a higher monthly cost and no way to export your website.
- Drupal is a strong platform popular among experienced coders and web developers, but it has a steep learning curve, making it unsuitable for newcomers.
- Joomla is similar to WordPress and is a fantastic tool for website development, but it does necessitate at least a basic understanding of how to write code to get things to work the way you want them to.
You don’t need to look for WordPress at this point. You don’t need to install or download it right now.
It’s critical to follow the procedures below to ensure that your website is properly configured:
In Step 2, I’ll lead you through selecting a domain name and locating a hosting space for your website.
I’ll show you how to set up and personalise your WordPress website in Step 3. Don’t worry, I’ll walk you through the steps with plenty of visual aids.
Step 2: Find a domain name and a hosting account
There are two things you’ll need in order to get a new website up and running:
- A web address (a web address like yoursitename.com)
- Web hosting services (a service that connects your site to the internet)
Although the WordPress platform is free, you will have to pay for hosting and a domain name. The total cost, however, is still cheaper than a coffee at a neighbourhood eatery, ranging from R80 to R310 each month.
Instead of using a free domain that belongs to someone else, you should have your own domain name to appear professional (for example, yourbusiness.my-free-website.com.)
Furthermore, having a good hosting service will ensure that your website does not go down and loads quickly (very important for everyone who visits your pages.)
Where do I get a domain name and hosting?
I would suggest to used lashmar.media as a web hosting and domain registrar for all your web development projects.
Of course, you can test alternative web hosting services or even host your site yourself, but this is a time-consuming process that often fails to meet the needs of your website users. So save some money and invest in a good web host.
You can also get a professional email account(s) with your own domain name, such as yourname@YourWebsite.com, which is considerably more professional than a typical Yahoo or Gmail address, especially if you need numerous email accounts.
Do you already own a domain name and web hosting? Skip forward to step 3, where I’ll show you how to set up your website.
What kind of domain name should I pick?
There are a few guidelines to follow while selecting a domain name:
- If you’re building a business website, your domain name should be the same as your business name. For instance, www.YourCompanyName.com
- If you want to create a personal website for yourself, YourName.com is a terrific place to start.
I choose lashmar.media for this site (lashmar Media).
Domain names normally finish in.com,.org, or.net, but a slew of new domain extensions (the last element of a web address, such as.com or.org) have emerged in recent years, ranging from.blog to.party.
My best piece of advice? Unless the uncommon extensions properly define your website, stick with.com,.net, or.org – and even then, it’s usually better to go with a more popular extension.
If you want to learn more about domain names, check out my blog on the subject, which goes into great detail.
Is there anything more I should know about choosing a domain name?
- Is it brandable in the first place? If you’re creating a poetry website, for example, best-poetry-website.net isn’t a smart pick; poetryacademy.com or poetryfall.com are much better.
- Is it a memorable phrase? Domain names that are short, punchy, and easy to recall are considerably easier to remember. Visitors may forget your domain name if it is too hazy, too long, or spelled incorrectly.
- Is it Catchy? You want a domain name that is easy to remember, describes what you (or your company) does, and is memorable. Because there are more than 200 million active domain names in the globe right now, coming up with a cool name can be difficult – but don’t give up.
Step 3: Create a website and begin designing
Please contact me if you have any questions or recommendations for this tutorial. Remember, I’m here to assist you!
1. Install a WordPress website
There are two ways to install WordPress, one of which is significantly easier than the other.
USE ONE-CLICK-INSTALLATION TO CREATE A WEBSITE WITH WORDPRESS:
Nowadays, almost all well-known and dependable web hosting companies offer one-click WordPress installation.
If you join up with us, lashmar.media or another similar hosting company, your “one-click installation” should be available either during the account signup process or in your account control panel.
For example, to install WordPress on Bluehost (the process is very similar or even identical on many of the most prominent web hosting companies), follow these steps:
- Go to lashmar.media and fill out the form.
- Select a hosting plan (cheapest plan is fine)
- Type in your domain name if you already have one.
- Fill in your information and select your hosting length (the “Extras” can be removed).
- Complete the payment process and register for an account.
- After obtaining your login credentials through email, go in to cPanel and search for “WordPress Manager” in the upper left corner to install WordPress, or scroll down to “Software” and select “WordPress Manager by Softaculous” to install WordPress.
Just follow the prompts to insure your WordPress is installed correctly.
If you are unable to do this to contact me for assistance.
Choose a Theme for Your Site (Free or Premium):
We’ll go through WordPress themes and how to use and adjust them in the next stage.
WordPress themes are design templates that make updating the appearance of your website more faster and easier.
Fortunately, WordPress has a large number of themes to pick from. More than 8,000 themes are available in the official WordPress theme directory, all of which are entirely free to use.
Without having to go to an external site, you may access themes directly from WordPress.
Simply navigate to Appearance > Themes and click the large + symbol next to Add New Theme.
Then, using the search box, locate a theme that is appropriate for your website.
On the Details & Preview screen, you may see a demo of any theme in the list and learn more about its features.
When you’ve found a theme you like, click the Install button on the Details & Preview box to install it.
Click the Activate button that appears where the Install button used to be once the installation procedure is complete.
If the official theme directory doesn’t meet your requirements, go into paid theme markets like:
Add Content (Pages and Posts)
Before getting to site customization, you need to have some content on your site.
After all, it’s hard to customize your site when there’s nothing on it to show the changes. What you need in terms of content will vary depending on the subject matter of your site and your goals.
However, there are a few key pages that nearly every site has:
- About page
- Contact page
In deciding which pages to add, consider what information would be most helpful to your visitors. You’ll also need to think about visual content, such as photos.
Some WordPress themes include page templates for various page kinds to make things easier. Others additionally have multiple layout options for each page.
Go to Appearance > Customize to take use of these options.
In this example, we’re creating a site with the latest WordPress default theme, Twenty Twenty-One. The homepage is set to a static page by default, which you can change in the Homepage Settings. Choose whatever page you want to serve as your website’s homepage from the dropdown menu.
Alternatively, if you want your most recent blog entries to appear on your homepage, select the option Your most recent posts.
Click Publish in the upper left corner to confirm your choices.
You can then proceed to creating new pages for your website. Go to Pages > Add New in the main dashboard to do so.
The Gutenberg editor is used by the Twenty Twenty-One theme, so I can add page titles and content here.
You can add elements like images and formatting to this page.
To add more pages to your site, repeat the process.
Make certain that your site is well-organized.
Consider your website to be a library.
The more material you add to your website, the more significant your website structure becomes.
When learning how to construct a website, you should focus on structuring it in a way that makes sense to your visitors and is simple to navigate.
The navigation menu is an important aspect of this. When you’ve finished creating some pages, it’s time to make them visible to your site’s users. This can be done by going to Appearance > Menus.
The first step is to give your new menu a name, after which you should click Create Menu.
Then, on the left, you can choose which content to add to it. For example, click Add to Menu after checking the boxes next to the pages you want to appear in the menu.
You may drag and drop menu items into the order you want them, and you can even make them sub-items by moving them beneath others, as shown below. Once you’re happy, select the menu position where you want this menu to display (in this case Primary menu).
Return to the front end of your site and click Save Menu again to see the updated menu in action.
Finally, you want to reflect a structure that makes sense for your site and assists users in getting to their desired location.
Options for Additional Customization
Return to Appearance > Customize for more customization possibilities. When you have a look around, you’ll notice that it gives you a lot more possibilities for customising your site. You can change the following aspects of your site:
- Title and tagline
- Background image
You can also change the look of your homepage and blog page, as well as add custom code. Depending on whatever theme you’ve installed, the options that show will differ.
Aside from theme modification, WordPress has a plethora of free and expensive plugins. There are around 60,000 plugins in the official WordPress plugin directory alone that can add a variety of additional features and functionality to your site. In addition, third-party marketplaces have a plethora of options.
Navigate to Plugins > Add New to install new plugins.
You’ll be given a list of some of the most popular plugins accessible right now. If you can’t find what you’re searching for, use the search field.
Click the Install Now button to add plugins to your site.
After it has finished downloading, click Activate. Under Plugins in the WordPress main menu, you’ll discover all of your site’s plugins, as well as the ability to activate, deactivate, and delete them.
Some options to consider when it comes to which plugins to install are:
- Yoast SEO – A top search engine optimization plugin that adds on-page optimization prompts to every page and post plus the option to customize Open Graph social media tags.
- Jetpack – Includes a wide range of features to improve website speed, optimization, social media integration, digital marketing, contact forms, and site search.
- Smush – This plugin compresses images that are uploaded to WordPress, which saves storage space, and speeds up page load times.
- WooCommerce – This is the most popular e-commerce store plugin for WordPress and makes it easy to set up an online store. More on it further below.
- MonsterInsights – This plugin adds Google Analytics to your WordPress dashboard.
Installing a page builder plugin will give you even more control over the appearance of your website. These plugins give your site drag-and-drop capabilities, allowing you to create complete web designs rather than just individual pages and articles. Among the most popular options are:
- Elementor – This all-in-one website builder offers visual website editing, fast load times, and a vast selection of templates to choose from.
- Divi – Developed by Elegant Themes, Divi provides another straightforward way to customize websites.
- Beaver Builder – An easy-to-use page builder plugin that speeds up website design considerably.
Add a Blog (Optional)
A blog isn’t required for every website. Creating one, on the other hand, might be a good way to consistently post new information, demonstrate your knowledge, and provide added value to your readers.
To create a blog on WordPress, you must first choose a blog page. I already mentioned that you may set your homepage to automatically display your most recent posts. If you wish to keep your homepage static and have a dedicated blog page instead, you must first create it.
Setting up an empty page (Pages > Add New), naming it Blog (or whatever you want, but Blog makes sense because it will automatically create the address yoursite.com/blog for your blog page), and posting it is all that is required. Then, either under Appearance > Customize > Homepage Settings or under Settings > Reading, select it as your Posts Page.
All blog posts will appear on your chosen page once you’ve saved them. Remember to include it in your navigation menu!
Go to Posts > Add New to add new blog posts to your website.
This will take you to the same content editor you used for your pages before. Your blog post should have a title and content. Include graphics and formatting, as well as headers, lists, and anything else the document requires. You may also apply categories and tags, define an excerpt, and set up a prominent image on the right-hand sidebar.
When you’re through editing, click Publish. Congratulations on finishing your first post!
Including a Web Store (Optional)
An ecommerce store isn’t required for every website. Continue reading if you want to learn how to create a website with an online store.
WooCommerce is the most popular plugin for this purpose.
It’s simple to set up, with a variety of payment alternatives, and a variety of optimal themes for creating an online store. Additionally, it offers a number of extensions for purchase that allow you to modify your e-commerce site and adapt it to a variety of uses.
To learn how to add an online store to your website, follow this guide
A secure sockets layer (SSL) on your website ensures the security of data delivered to your website’s visitors. SSL is a significant search ranking component, and protecting user privacy and security is critical to ensuring a great user experience.
With Lashmar Media the SSL is automatically updated however you can check with your browser if a lock appears when you enter your domain name.
Congratulations! You now have a new website to brag about.
Even with a detailed guide to guide you, learning how to construct a website is no easy task. At the same time, learning a new talent and having your hard effort pay off can be quite rewarding.
However, don’t stop there. Learn more and develop more sophisticated functionalities and features with your newfound expertise.
This way, you’ll not only learn how to construct a website, but you’ll learn how to make the exact website you desire.
I do offer live step-for-step assistance if you need it. Please just inbox me for assistance to make your dream come true.